This past week I’ve learned that it’s really hard to stay the course God has for you when so many people are changing directions. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement around you and before you know it you’re running down a path that isn’t the one God has for you. Then BOOM! Reality hits you in the face and you’re stopped in your tracks. You realize that the big knot in your stomach is the Holy Spirit telling you to stop trying to figure things out on your own. You realize in that moment that you took things into your own hands and never once hit your knees to ask God what His plans were.
That’s what happened to John and I last week. Several of our friends have made the decision to leave the Ethiopia program and adopt children from the Congo. After hearing about the need for families to adopt from the Congo, the shorter wait time, only one trip to the country, etc. I decided (without asking God) to do some research about the Congo program. Before I knew it, I was stressing about getting paperwork updated and trying to figure out if we could financially swing changing to the Congo. The whole time I ignored the big knot in the pit of my stomach.
I even went as far as calling our agency to inform them that we would probably be leaving the Ethiopia program. I turned in the application to the agency we would have to use if we decided to adopt from the Congo and we were accepted into the program. I was mailing off requests for marriage licenses and birth certificates. With each step, there was no peace; only anxiety. There has never been anxiety about Ethiopia. There has always been peace – even when the wait time gets longer.
After doing some research and feeling a lot of turmoil about changing to the Congo, I called our social worker at Gladney desperate that she hadn’t started the process of closing our file. I felt a wave of peace the moment she told us that nothing had changed with our status. I am so thankful for God’s grace. When I decided to take things into my own hands, He was still ultimately in control.
There were no big neon signs telling us to stay with Ethiopia or to change to the Congo. Sometimes I wish there were. All I had to go on was the peace I felt about Ethiopia and the knot that was lodged in my stomach when I was chasing after the Congo.
“You may be living under the illusion that when God ignites great things in your life, he’ll announce it with a big bang. He might. It’s more likely that He won’t. So stop waiting around for the big bang. Pay attention to the subtle clues and the still, small voice.” (Sun Stand Still).
There are a few things that John and I know for sure. We are supposed to adopt. God has called us to adopt internationally. We feel very strongly that we are to stay on the path God has us on towards Ethiopia – even if it takes 18 months to receive a referral.
But can I be really honest with you? It’s really hard to persevere and stay on this path, when so many are going to the Congo. It’s emotional and hard when the friends who were on this journey with us, who we thought would be waiting with us and even possibly traveling to Ethiopia with us, will probably, have referrals by the end of the year. I feel like I’m on this 18 month (or longer) journey alone. It kind of scares me.
Right about the time all this adoption uncertainty started taking place, I started reading the book Sun Stand Still. The whole concept of the book is based around Joshua 10:12. Joshua prayed a HUGE prayer. He dared to ask God the impossible and God answered.
“O sun, stand still over Gibeon,
O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
Joshua needed God to intervene in a big way so that he could fulfill God’s promise to him. God did – he literally made the sun stand still!
“The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down for a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since…surely the Lord was fighting for Israel.” (v.13-14)
The whole book is about daring to pray Sun Stand Still prayers; boldly asking God to do the impossible.
If God can make the sun stand still for Joshua, surely He can move the mountains that are standing in the way of Ethiopian children being placed with their forever families.
I don’t know why John and I have to wait so long for our children, but I know God has a purpose for the waiting. I know that I don’t want to step outside of God’s will for us. I don’t know what the future holds for our family, but I know who holds the future.
I pray that in the midst of our wait, God will be glorified. I want to have the kind of faith that believes God can answer my Sun Stand Still prayers. As the months pass by and the waiting gets hard, I hope that I will remember something else that I read in the book:
“The darker it gets, the brighter our faith can shine.”