The second reason I haven't posted much lately is because I've had an increasingly hard time with how long this adoption is taking. It's been almost eleven months now, and I'd just hit a point where I was just so sad and wondered if I could possibly continue to walk this thing out. One can't help but feel that God has forgotten them sometimes. I was feeling like God was remembering everybody except for our kids. I was just so tired and weary from the journey.
But, indeed, God is faithful, even when I can't see His goodness and faithfulness, He is still good and He is still sovereign. He so sweetly reminded me of his emnat na mihret (faith and mercy) this weekend.
It started with such a wild time at day one of the Enter the Worship Circle conference in Greenville, NC on Friday night. http://www.entertheworshipcircle.com/ It was last year at this time that I first heard this group perform. It's not their music so much as their heart that captured me. They have such a desire to reach people with the fact that God is crazy in love with people like you and me. It seems like we so often get it backwards, at least I know I did for a long time. We think that God is so concerned about the things we do and say and the rules we keep and how good we are, etc. We get so caught up in trying to please God in an effort to earn His approval that we completely miss the point of life. The point is that God loves us so very much more than I can describe in this blog entry. He doesn't love us for the person we ought to be. He just loves us exactly where we are. He invites us to give Him our hearts in complete honesty. That's the God that was there for me this week as I turned to Him with disappointment, grief, and anger over the fact that I've been looking at my beautiful Ethiopian children, burakaeyae, for almost a whole year now, yet I have still not held them in my arms. It wasn't supposed to be this hard! The Father I have come to know doesn't get angry when I come to Him with such honesty. He embraces me and loves me in my pain. He restores hope to my weary heart. He give me just a little more so that I can keep walking on this journey of emnat (faith) because He is faithful and good. When I go to Him with questions and anger, He turns to me with mihret (mercy). Friday night was exactly what I needed.
I threw up twice on the way home from the concert, collapsed into bed, and woke up the next morning with the same nausea. I called every friend I have to pray for me because on Saturday night, we were supposed to go to see Steven Curtis Chapman in concert where we were going to get to meet him and thank him for the Shaohannah's Hope grant we received for our adoption. What an honor to get to thank this man for the countless lives he has touched. To date, over 900 families have received grants. He could have adopted his children and come home to America and gone on living his life. But he and Mary Beth have poured so much of themselves into meeting the needs of orphans around the world through Shaohannah's Hope.
The concert was wonderful too, particularly the song, "When Love Takes You In". Please visit the Shaohannah's Hope website for a most touching 5 minute video. You won't be sorry. Even if you're not a Christian, this will be a most touching video for all adoptive families. http://www.stevencurtischapman.com/ Well, he performed that song at the concert and God reminded me of the first time I heard him talk about adoption at a concert in Sept. 2000. Avery and I had already said we wanted to adopt from a third world nation, and at the time, China was the only thing on our minds. We went home from the concert and checked into adopting a Chinese orphan only to discover that we were too young and didn't make enough money by their government's standards. So we figured it wasn't the right time. But my heart had been captured and I began to pray for my daughter. I had already prayed for my child's mother since 1996, starting shortly before she conceived the boy who would oneday be my son. Well, after the concert, I began praying for my daughter too. (I didn't yet know that I had a son- I'm sure that story is in a previous entry, or will be in a future blog entry). My daughter was born in Ethiopia 4 months later. I was just reminded this weekend again of God's faithfulness. I have prayed for my children for their entire lives. My heart was first captured by Ethiopia when I was about 5 or 6 and saw the famine in television. Little did I know that the mother of my children was one of those babies that I cried for. She was born when my heart first broke for Ethiopia. Wow. That is the work of a sovereign God. As I listened to that song, my tears flowed as though a dam had broken inside of me. It was a good thing. God knew exactly what I needed.
Then, as though that wasn't enough, we got to go back to see Enter the Worship Circle again on Sunday night with some very good friends. We had such a blast! We took a "girl" car and a "boy" car. That alone made it all so much fun. :) Our kids really loved the concert. This group has an artist that does performance painting. Since Kaitlyn wants to be an artist when she grows up, she loved seeing this. She set up shop both nights with her paper and crayons and markers and drew pictures, sometimes out of her own creative design, and sometimes copying the pictures made by the artist. What a sweet girl. Lucas danced his crazy, wild "wock-n-woll" star dances. He calls it his "moves." He thinks he's so cool and I for one agree!
So, with renewed focus, I continue to walk down this loooooooong road. One of the things I felt like God spoke to my heart this weekend was, "The fiercer the battle, the sweeter the victoy." Indeed, the moment I hold my babies in my arms will be a sweet, sweet moment. It's a moment I dream of. Oneday soon, I pray that it will be a reality.