Friday, March 22, 2013

Now what?

I don't even know where to start this post.  I'm all over the place mentally and emotionally and, if you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that writing is how I process.  I've been contemplating how to start this blog and have deleted and restarted no less than 5 times.  This time, I'm hoping to just "go with it" and see if I can get out where we've been and where we are.

Last June, we were approached about possibly attending youth camp with our youth group at the church.  We prayed about it for about...oh, point 5 seconds...and knew immediately this was something the Lord was calling us to do!  Camp was 2 weeks, without knowing any of the 40+ kids very well at all, we boarded a charter bus at 4 am on a Monday morning and set out on a journey that began a series of events that we can only describe as being Divinely appointed.  Over the week we began to really get to know most of the junior high and high school aged kids and fell in love with most of them...I kid...we fell in love with EVERY ONE of them!  When we returned from church camp a week later, we were different people and couldn't wait to start working with them on a more regular basis! 

Then, a few weeks later, we had a "girl talk" at church with the girls in the youth group and I was asked if I would be willing to lead a short devotional.  The Lord immediately laid on my heart to teach the girls about waiting on the Lord.  Probably the longest wait we've had is our wait to have another child in our arms.  I shared with them our journey of secondary infertility and the heartache we've faced.  I used illustrations of Sarah and Abraham waiting...Rachel waiting...and tried to explain that even though those women were waiting on the Lord...they had faith and God sustained and answered their prayers.  Truthfully...I was trying to convince myself just as much as I was trying to teach them!  At the end of that lesson, I told the girls they could ask me any questions they had and that no question was off-limits.  ;o)  There were the typical questions about mine and Thomas' relationship and when we started dating...chocolate or vanilla, etc!  But then, one extraordinary young lady asked if we would ever consider adoption.  I'll be honest - EVERY OTHER TIME I'd been asked that question, I answered quickly, "No, we have a biological child and I don't know if I could love another woman's child like I love my Malachi."  However, this time, something was different.  I felt the Holy Spirit leading me down a path I'd never considered before.  My immediate answer was different than it had ever been.  "I haven't considered it to this point because I don't know if I can love another child like I love Malachi."  (And this is where it changed)  "...BUT, God gave me the love I have for my son, I didn't create that.  So, if the Lord chooses to give me a child that's not biologically mine, I trust that He'll supply the love I need for that child."  That was a life-changing moment that I'm not sure I'll ever forget.  I cried...some of the girls cried...Thomas cried when I shared it with him later.  And, immediately, we began praying a different prayer.  I prayed that if the Lord wanted to give us a child that isn't biologically ours to love and raise, that He would make it clear and create in us the capacity to love that child.

Fast forward 4 days to the next Wednesday when a beautiful little girl named Marie was introduced to us.  I'm not going to share details, but suffice it to say that the Lord was working in a mighty way.  That was August.  Then, on October 29th, after much prayer, consideration and countless lives involved, Marie came to live with us. 
We were taking care of this precious angel not as foster parents...but in a similar situation.  We immediately transformed our office into her bedroom and were ecstatic to love on her!  
We were able to keep her until one month ago.  But for 4 months that baby girl touched our lives.  We tried to love her the best we could and give her an incredible home.  But it was not in God's plan for us to keep her.  When asked what we would do if we lost her, we always answered that our plan was just to show her love and that hopefully she would be able to remember something from her time with us.  We never dreamed we would lose her as quickly as we did...we poured ourselves into her.  She grew so much in the time we had her and we pray that we showed her Jesus.  The last 4 weeks have been spent grieving and trying to regain a sense of normalcy for Malachi's sake.  His little world has been turned upside down too.  Most days are ok...but there are times, like right now, that I find myself begging God to please take care of her and draw her to Him.  I was reminded last week that God loves her more than we ever could have.  I can't fathom the depth of love He has for her...and that sustains me. 
So now what?  Now, I guess we just try to move forward the best we can...with the gaping hole in our hearts.  There are no words to describe that hole.  She was an answer to our prayers.  We prayed that the Lord would send us a blond hair, blue eyed baby girl.  He did.  Not how we envisioned it, but He did answer.  Now we face more waiting.  I keep trying to tell God I'm patient...I'm faithful...I believe.  Yet, He has us waiting again.  He is growing us...He has grown our faith tremendously...He has spoken almost audibly to us at points in this journey and those are experiences which I wouldn't trade for ANYTHING!  We don't know why God has chosen us to walk this particular journey...but we haven't asked why either.  Malachi reminded us that he still wants a baby sister (he calls her by her name...yes, we've picked out her name).  I reminded him that we can start that prayer again, although I must admit, that prayer has been difficult.  I don't know if we are supposed to be content with being a one child family.  My heart still wants that baby girl we've been praying for.  This time, though, instead of just praying that we can have her, we'll pray that we can keep her. 
Sometimes I wonder why the Lord has chosen give us and take away 3 children now.  And, to further exacerbate the situation, our church family has faced great infant loss in the last 6 months.  I truly believe that the Devil doesn't want the women I know to have babies.  Satan knows good and well that the children that have been lost recently (mostly miscarriages) would've been raised in godly homes.  He knows that his demise is coming and he doesn't want the Lord's army growing any more and making his fight any harder.  Although, we as saved children of the Lord know that the war has already been won and Satan has already been defeated.  After all...isn't that what we're getting ready to celebrate? 
Please join us in praying not only for our family, but for continued prayers for our sweet Marie.  She touched our hearts so tremendously in the short time we had her and we will forever miss her.  I pray that the Lord works it out for us to know her later in life.  I pray that He watches over her and keeps her close to Him.  I pray that He protects her heart and allows her to stay with the family she's with now FOREVER.  I pray for that family to be a good Christian family that WANTS her and that her little heart will heal from the events of the last year.  I pray that Malachi will know how much we adore him and that we can be the parents God has chosen us to be.  I pray that the Lord will answer our prayers again...and that we will acknowledge Him in all our ways so He can direct our paths.  He never said our paths would be made straight...just that He would direct them and walk them WITH us.  Nothing about our journey has been straightforward.  It has been wrought with perilous turns and twists and drop-offs and mountains.  But through it all...God has been right there sustaining us.  I pray we won't forget what it feels like to FEEL the Lord lifting us up and protecting us.  I pray we won't forget the myriad prayer warriors who have been walking this journey with us.  I pray God blesses them for their faithfulness and for being the hands to hug and shoulders to bear our burdens as brothers and sisters in Christ! 
Most of all - I thank God for the victories and trials we've faced.  Each experience that the Devil has meant for harm, God has meant for good.  Had we never walked through the fire, we may never have known the depth of God's love and protection.  We may never have truly learned the lessons that God has taught us.  And, if that's the only good that comes from this - that's enough to sustain me for the rest of my life.  I want to be like Paul and Silas - I want to sing praises to my Jesus in the midst of my most terrible circumstances so that I can lead others to Him!