Tuesday mornings are our women's Bible Study. We are doing a Beth Moore study entitled "A Woman's Heart". This week included materials on obedience and the leader, who happens to be my mom, asked me to share. I want to share what I shared this morning. Sorry if it gets long.
When my mom first asked me to share I said, " Are you sure now is the time." The journey I want to share with you is just beginning. I want to start with some words from Day 3. (In our study.) "Have you noticed that God often requires us to leave our comfort zones to answer our calling: That through which God hones us is rarely within the parameters of the familiar. You may be thinking: Thank goodness I'm not important enough to be called by God. I don't like new territories and unfamiliar assignments. If you consider yourself a Christian, consider yourself called. No amount of comfort is worth missing the greatest adventure humankind can experience." She ends with a quote from Colossians 4:17 which I am going to read from the NLT, "Be sure to carry our the work the Lord gave you."
I am not overly good with "new territories and unfamiliar assignments". Here are just a few examples. When my parents left me at college in Minnesota, they left me crying on a step. I flew home regularly to visit and dwhen I came home for Christmas break I begged not to go back and ended up transferring to UNI. (a college about 10 miles from my home!) Though I was a big girl and stayed in the dorms not at home! Then when I went on a missions trip to Fiji in college, I called my dad from the Los Angeles airport and said, "I really don't think this is God's plan". He sais if you truly believe that stay in the airport and call me back and I'll get you home. Somehow I got on that plane. Praise the Lord because that is where I met my husband, who is God's greatest gift to me! One more story. On our wedding night, mind you I was only 21, I began to cry and called my mom in the middle of the night. So I am sure I appear brave, it is only a front!
I used to always wonder how to know the Lord's will. Obviously I still do at times. I would joke if God just put it on a billboard or gave me a call I would definitely do as He asked. But many times the Lord speaks with a still small voice and we have to be attentive enough to hear that voice. Obviously the louder and busier we are, the harder that is. And I am pretty loud and generally very busy.
This story begins in the late 1980s, in a church in Green Bay. Scott and I were visiting his parent's church. I don't remember for sure if we were married yet or not. A white woman walked by with an African-American baby and Scott said to me, "someday we should adopt a baby like that" or something to that effect. Scott thinks it is silly that I still remember that but it is important to my story.
On and off throughout our married life we have been intrigued by the idea of adoption. Approximately five years ago the thought became strong enough that we actually met with Bethany Christian Services. After our meeting we spoke with family and felt discouraged that they did not feel this was a good choice for us. It was easy to file this notion away.
Missions has been another call that Scott and I feel on our lives. In March of this year he and our son Jake went to Thailand. While there, they visited an orphanage. Scott was touched. In April for two days, I felt strongly that I/we were supposed to do something sacrificial. We feel very strongly called to give but I felt certain that this was not a financial call. When I shared this with Scott, he said we were being called to adopt. I said, "that would be sacrificial."
A little background for those of you who do not know me as well. My husband and I are 41. Our children are 11 and 15. More importantly I don't really like young kids. I like my own and I love the youth (that we volunteer extensively with) but when I see a baby or small child very rarely do the maternal instincts start flowing.
Yet, I had to admit that this theme had been nudging it's way into our lives for a long time. I did not feel any more that we could ignore that this was God's call, God's will. So I started to research our options. I cannot explain why, other than to say it was God's leading. But Scott and I both felt led to Africa. Not Thailand where he had visited, not China where our niece is from. We began to explore Ethiopia as an option. Then on Mother's Day my sister gave me an article from the Des Moines Register, the front page actually. It was an article about a little girl that was adopted from Liberia. (This is Patience Duval, adopted through AoH!) After talking with her mother and another family we have decided to adopt from Liberia.
Our home study was completed this summer and we will be fingerprinted in October (on the 10th) to finish our government approval. Then we will wait for God to pick out a child for us.
So far the most amazing part of this journey is how it has drawn me into greater intimacy with Christ. I am now spending my spare time in the deep places of God's word and prayer rather than HGTV. Every reason that Scott and I came up with not to be obedient to this call was selfish. Another adoptive parent put it well, "Your life is not about you, or your retirement or becoming empty nesters...your life is about glorifying God."
There are those that still don't think that this is a good idea. Our son, whom I covet your prayers for, is not able to say he thinks this is good. I don't know that I feel that my family is able to be excited about this. This topic is sometimes the elephant in the room. Along the way God's timing for His encouragement has been amazing and an answer to prayer. We mailed our application on our 20th anniversary not by our design but by God's design. That morning, despite Jake's reservations the four of us each prayed over that application. Everywhere I turn there are small things that help me know I am on the right path. I feel as if I got my billboard. I know this is God's call on our lives and I cannot stand before God and say I know you wanted me to pursue an adoption from Liberia but Jake didn't want me to or I just really am not into babies or whatever. I am ready for my "great adventure".
In closing I read a couple of things that God has placed in my path. I read from "Fields of the Fatherless", by C. Thomas Davis. And I read a poem from Beth Moore's blog:
My dear sister
God's divine power
Has given you everything you need
To do life and to do it His way
God has given you
Great and precious promises
Start believing them
And acting on them
When circumstances overwhelm you
Or people annoy you
Turn your faith into action
Dispatch what you need
From the holding tank of the Holy Spirit
And God will blow your mind
With what He can do through you
Never ever forget
You have been cleansed from past sins
Go FREE from this place
And live on purpose
Pour out your life for others
Then one day
When you close your eyes on earth
You will open them and see Jesus
And with arms full of riches
He'll say, "Welcome Home!"
"Aren't you beautiful!"
Now, go out into this world
And live like crazy!
Because your God
Is everything you need!
That's what I shared. I think I was most nervous to speak about my family's feelings since my mom was there. She thought I did a great job. Hopefully this will lead to some more honest discussions about the adoption, and maybe someday they can be excited about it!