Thursday, September 22, 2011

It Seemed Good to Me

Don't you just love it when something brand new is revealed to you from scripture? Maybe even from a verse you've just glazed right over for years, and then suddenly ... new revelation! This morning I was at Bible study (and had my socks blessed off, by the way), and we were studying the concept of divinely inspired scripture. Something Beth Moore pointed out from the book of Luke really stood out to me. Luke 1:3 says, "Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you ..." It seemed good to me? Do you ever feel like God accomplishes His purposes in spite of humans? I mean Luke was most definitely a capable, meticulous doctor who wrote an incredibly thorough, historically accurate, God-inspired account of Jesus' life. But why? And maybe he knew by the time it was complete. Starting out, though, it just seemed good to him.

I wonder how many times God works in our lives through us without us even being aware of the significance of the circumstances? On the way home from Bible study, I was reminded of an example in my life. It has to do with my son's name. Jackson.

The year Jackson was born was one of those that can go down on the books as one of the best and worst years of my adult life. About 8 months before Jackson was born, I had gotten pregnant. This was no small thing, mind you. We had been dealing with infertility for a year and a half. Had been seeing a fertility specialist for testing. Had been praying for a miracle. And there it was. I just knew this was going to be my big "God testimony!" A video clip of this testimony – about how God provides in His time, in exactly the right way – was shown at a women's conference at my church. What a blessing to be able to give God the glory ... and then go on about my regularly scheduled life.

The very next week, my doctor told me the baby had no heartbeat.

What now, God? I decided I would no longer contribute to working out the problems in my life (as if I ever had any control in the first place!). I decided to wait for God. I did not go back to the fertility specialist. I did not call an adoption agency (I already had an appointment to meet with someone before the pregnancy. I'm telling you ... I wanted to help God fix things!).

I just waited. And during the next six months, it appeared things got worse. There was a cloud of uncertainty surrounding us about our house and Scott's job.  I cannot tell you why I did this, other than that God was in control, but I called a principal friend of mine to ask if there were any teaching jobs available. Not only was there a job, but within a matter of days it was mine. I started that school year feeling so forsaken. It seemed I was trading my dream – a new baby and being a stay-at-home-mom – for a full-time job and public pre-k for my daughter. And everywhere I went I met pregnant women whose due dates were THE SAME as mine. I can literally recall 4 right off the top of my head right now.

Well, over the course of about 3 months, God set in motion a chain of events that led to the adoption of our son. I tried to follow God's leading without taking over, and even the people who came into the picture to help us with the process came through Scott. Not me. God is good! And He DOES provide in HIS time, in exactly the right way – right down to that job I thought I didn't want or need to give us the financial means to complete an adoption so quickly.  And this time ONLY HE could get any glory whatsoever, because He truly worked out every detail.

But, that's not all. God ministered to me so deeply through even the smallest detail. His name. We picked the name Jackson when we found out we were getting a baby boy. No reason, really. It just sounded good to me. It was over two years later that I really started wondering what his name meant. When I looked it up, it meant "son of Jack." Hmm. Okay? So I looked up Jack. It said "derived from John or Jacob." Now this is good. John means God's gracious gift – and oh, was he ever. That alone was enough to bring me to tears. But Jacob means supplanter ... or SUBSTITUTE. Now, don't get me wrong here. My son is not a consolation prize or second best. But that HOLY GOD would look upon me in my deepest sorrow ... and give me His most gracious gift ... HIS substitute for the precious baby I lost within the same month that he or she was due ... and give me that name without me even having knowledge of it's meaning ... well, that's miraculous. What God has in store to substitute for what we think is best, is ALWAYS better. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55: 8-9

Now that's what I call a GRACIOUS GIFT.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Conspicuous Family

Part of our homestudy included 10 hours of adoption training. We took online classes about China's history, language, and culture. We're taking one about making a lifebook for our child. There are classes about special needs, attachment & bonding, and pretty much any adoption topic you can think of. One of the classes we took was called "Conspicuous Families: Race, Culture, and Adoption." I had to laugh when I read the definition of "Conspicuous Family".  "It means (and I'm quoting) that your family stands out. It means that your family is different." It goes on to say that for conspicuous families, their child's adoption is obvious, public, and visible. They can't deal with issues of race and adoption when they choose to, but when comments, questions, or odd looks are sent in their direction.

I think the reason I find this definition so ironic for me is that for the majority of my life I wanted nothing more than to blend in. I don't know if that was because I was just naturally shy and didn't want to draw attention to myself or because I was blessed with a face full of freckles and curly red hair hanging down to my waist which made it impossible to go anywhere unnoticed! Either way, choosing something that made me stand out – that made me different – was not on my agenda. I guess you could say that insecurity was a major weakness for me.

Well, good thing for me I serve a God whose power is made perfect in MY weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)! The Bible is FULL of examples of ordinary, weak people being used to fulfill God's purpose. Look at Moses, David, Jonah, Paul ... and the list goes on. What I take from reading these accounts is that my fear and insecurities are NO EXCUSE not to obey God's calling in my life. The first time we ever looked at an adoption application and contemplated the checklist of racial preferences, we were faced with a decision. Check the ONE that would allow us to blend in forever OR listen to the still small voice that said, "Check them all."

From that point forward, I knew it was in God's hands. I was aware that we might get funny looks or questions from strangers, but honestly, I believe that was all by design. The attention our family has gotten over the years has given us so many chances to tell others about how God has blessed our lives through the miracle of adoption. I love the way my family looks ... would not change a thing (even the red hair)! And I can't wait to see the looks when our sweet little Asian princess joins the mix! ;)

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will." Romans 12:2

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Update: We have the last of our 4 home visits this weekend for the home study. Then we'll be waiting for that to be written and approved. My blog silence in no way represents silence in my life or my heart! My life has been busy with a new school year and a new routine. It's hectic ... but good.

But my heart is undergoing a transformation. Only someone who has been lodged in a period of waiting can understand what I mean. (And who hasn't been there?) I am trying to savor this time, which is strange for me because I usually HATE to wait! I cannot even verbalize what God has been revealing to me. I am in a place of complete dependence on Him. I don't know if I've ever listened so intently for His voice. And I'm not really looking for answers ... like, "Who is she?" or "Where is she?" or "When will we see her?" I'm just looking for HIM. For His purpose to be fulfilled in this incredible thing He's asked me to do. And I really have no idea what these "revelations" will look like in my life ... well ... because I'm right smack dab in the middle of it all. It feels kind of like staring at a tapestry from 3 centimeters away. It just looks like a blur of colors. But I know that when I step back – when He completes the picture – it's gonna be breathtaking. And I can't wait.

I watched this video about a week ago, and have watched it about 5 more times since then. It so closely aligns with what God has been speaking to my heart in these past few weeks. It's deep. And it's personal. It challenges my whole way of life. I hope you'll watch. (Pause the music at the bottom of the screen before starting the video.)