I have a confession to make. It’s time to take off the mask, as my friend Betsy would say, and get real.
Lately, I’ve been struggling. I’ve been a bit deflated. A bit frustrated. A bit….itchy in my own skin.
Lest you start to worry or think I’m in tears throughout the day, I’m not.
I’m generally an upbeat, resilient person and I have so much to be thankful and grateful for.
But sometimes, in those quiet moments between the to-do’s, when I haven’t quite decided what to tackle next, there’s a yearning that tightens my chest.
You see, we started this adoption journey a year ago. Twelve months. 365 days.
I thought by now we’d have our little one home or at least be somewhere in the vicinity of traveling.
Only that is far away–a pinprick of light at the end of a very long tunnel–and I’m stuck waiting.
While I wait, I find it all too easy to look around at other people, other families. And the more I look, the itchier I become.
Comparison is a tricky, sticky trap. I know this. Yet I still step right into the mud.
That friend is pregnant. That family received a referral. That couple is traveling soon. That family is growing. That boy is playing with his little sister.
Things seemed to be moving for a bit. We were matched with an adorable two year old boy. But that fell through (and praise the Lord, we learned that he is reunited with extended family in the Congo, which is the BEST option) and now we’re in a standstill.
Feeding empty words to our son when he asks, “Are you going to get my brother now?”
Waiting as the country falls into turmoil because of a rebel group called M23.
And as we wait, it’s so easy for the doubts to creep in.
Maybe we chose the wrong agency (we didn’t). Maybe we chose the wrong country (we didn’t). Maybe we should adopt domestically or maybe we should quit altogether. Maybe this will never happen.
Have you ever been there, friend?
Doubting yourself? Second-guessing whatever journey you’ve set your feet upon?
What can we do when this is us?
We can go back to the beginning.
We can get out the prayer journals if we make a habit of keeping them. We can reflect and get on our knees and pray and seek and ask and remember how and why we are here in the first place.
For Ryan and I, it was an undeniable call. A whisper straight to my heart from the words of Esther.
“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this?” ~Esther 4:14
Only replace the word Jews with orphan and queen with infertile.
It was as if God were saying, “I will rescue these children with or without you. I’m inviting you to be a part of this story. Are you willing?”
Was I willing to risk the potential heartache and the financial strain and the unknown and the frightening work of parenting a child with deep scars to become part of a bigger story than Katie’s little corner of the universe? Was I willing to step past my fear and laziness and selfishness and comfort and let God graft a lonely child into our family?
The questions were directed at me, because, you see, my husband was ready. He has a big heart. A compassionate heart. When people are hurting–especially children–he hurts with them. He is a man, if ever there was a man. He didn’t need convincing or persuading. He was on board.
That can’t be a coincidence. That God would give me this soft-hearted, merciful man for my partner. It couldn’t be a coincidence that for no apparent reason, Africa was seared into my soul or that God would bring people into our lives passionate about the plight of the orphan or that those thousand-year old words meant for a Jewess would fall so freshly on my ears or that a good friend would bring my attention to an obscure pilot program in the DRC or that the more we researched the country, the more we felt pulled toward its people or that some other friends would open our eyes to corruption which led us along a twisty-turny path to the agency we have now. One that might take longer than others, but is determined to avoid the landmines of corruption in a country where corruption runs rampant.
We go back to the beginning.
We remember why we took that first step.
We remember that the hard journeys are the worthwhile ones.
We remember that God does not call us down a path just to leave us stuck in the mud.
He has a plan. He has a purpose. And we are privileged and blessed to be a small, teeny-tiny part of a story much bigger than any we could write for ourselves.
Let’s Talk: What do you find when you go back to the beginning?
*The photo above was taken by Krista Johanson on stock exchange.
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