Thursday, August 20, 2015

Remain Faithful

Last August I attended ReNEWed Life Women's Event for the first time as an attendee rather than an organizer.  I had just made it through eight weeks of recovery after spinal surgery, so it was good just to be out and feeling decent.  The music was good.  The speakers were good.  The atmosphere was good.

But I was distracted.

I heard the speaker talking that morning about God's goodness and faithfulness.  These were things I know to be true.  In fact, I had experienced God's goodness and faithfulness personally in the past, through all my health issues and three miscarriages.  Yet, my mind was spinning this particular morning.  I wasn't experiencing peace.  My husband and I had just received our first call for an adoptive placement...of three children. 

I questioned the LORD.  "Is this really what you want us to do?"  I questioned my own ability.  "How can I do this?  We already have two young three more , virtually the same age as our two.  Really, Lord?"  I questioned God's direction.  "Is this really what you're wanting us to do?"  My mind was whirling through all the details.  I couldn't concentrate on anything else it seemed.  I was trying to figure it out.  Reason.  To see what God was doing.  I was anxious.

It wasn't until the afternoon session that my mind settled down a bit.  At least enough to hear the speaker say something like because God is good and faithful, He asks us to remain faithful.  Then, while another speaker shared her testimony, she said something like through her experience she had realized she was a control freak, and my eyes filled with tears.  It hit me.  I didn't need to have it all figured out.  No, I needed to relinquish control and remain faithful.  To do the next right thing.  To trust Him.  That's what God was calling me to do.

Well, it turned out, as usual, I had no idea what lied ahead in the days to come.  But God knew.  And I was thankful for the reminders I heard that day.

It didn't work out with the three children.  God made it clear that it wasn't the right placement for them or us.  So I had wasted a lot of time fretting about something that didn't even happen.

In September, we received another call, this time about an 11 month old boy.  Our family spent two months getting to know this little boy in hopes of adopting him, only to have some distant relatives in another state come forward and say they wanted him.  In Iowa, relatives get top preference.

That really hurt, not only my husband and me, but our two little boys who had fallen in love with him.  They were excited to welcome him as their little brother.  This made no sense to me.  I truly felt we had followed God's lead to pursue this adoption.  Sure, we had prayed for God's best.  But how could we not be the best for him, right?!  So, again, I wondered what God was doing.  I wondered why He allowed this to happen.  But we kept moving forward in faith. 

In November, there was a precious baby girl.  That didn't work out.  I just wasn't ready physically or emotionally.  I didn't realize it at first.  Fortunately, she went to another loving home instead.

Then, in December, we found out I was pregnant!  After me having 2 years of early pre-menopausal symptoms and having had three miscarriages, we were just thrilled to be expecting a baby!  We reasoned, this must be why things didn't work out with the other kiddos (always trying to figure it out). 

It seemed like the pregnancy was progressing well.  I was showing early and experiencing all the pregnancy symptoms that I experienced with my two healthy pregnancies.  We announced it to the world in January.  We were excited!  Everyone else was excited along with us!

A few weeks later we lost our baby; a fourth miscarriage.  Honestly, it just seemed too much.  I mourned deeply.  But the same words came out of my mouth, "God is good.  God is faithful."  I was reminded again, that I also needed to remain faithful...even though I didn't understand (and still don't). 

This scripture ministered to me in my grief:

Romans 11:33-36 (NLT)
33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
34 For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
    Who knows enough to give him advice?[a]
35 And who has given him so much
    that he needs to pay it back?[b]
36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

We were still grieving and we were on hold from taking foster and adoptive placement calls, when one day I opened up my Facebook to read a message from a dear friend I had made through the connection with the 11 month old boy I mentioned earlier; the foster mom of the little boy we didn't get to adopt.  She said she knew it might not be the right time, but the situation was time sensitive so she was just going to throw it out there.  She had heard about two children legally free for adoption that she thought might be a good fit for our family.

At first my husband, Alan, said, "No way!"  We were still mourning.  I was still recovering physically.  So I thought about just saying we weren't interested.  In fact, I went to my Facebook and began a message.   But I didn't feel right saying no.  So, instead, we agreed to pray about it for a few days.

After a lot of prayer, a few phone calls, meeting the kids and having visits with them for a month, those two precious kiddos moved in with us in March.  Legal adoption day is quickly approaching.

Through this adoption process God has asked me over and over to surrender.  To relinquish control.  To stop trying to figure it out.  To trust Him.  To walk forward in faith, faithfully.  It hasn't always been easy.  But... 

God is good.  God is faithful.  We need to remain faithful to Him.  Surrendered.

Through all the ups and downs of life this past year, God was a work.  Even though I don't need to know all the "whys", God is good to give us little glimpses into His glory.  It helps us press forward in faith.  For instance, when things didn't work out with the then 11 month old boy, it just didn't make sense to me.  But it was through our connection with him that we met his foster mom who connected us with the two children we have now.  He's also in a very good place for him.  The LORD is good and faithful.  He is sovereign.  He provides.

Faith is something we talk a lot about.  But it's another thing to live it.  Faith is an action.  It's taking God at his Word.  It's remaining faithful, even when (especially when!) it doesn't make sense to us.  When we can't see.  Because even when it doesn't feel true, God is good and faithful.  And He's always up to much more than we can even fathom, in fact.

I mess up a lot.  I want to control.  I want to know.  I'm not always faithful.  But God is!  I'm so thankful for His grace.  But I long to live a life more wholly surrendered to Him.  To trust Him more.  It's a process and a daily choice.  None of us know what tomorrow holds.  God does.  I must remember His faithfulness in the past...and keep moving forward.

Will you join me, friend?  

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