It's getting real, y'all. On Friday morning, as I thought about sending in our contract and a large sum of money, I started to panic a little bit. Things are turbulent in Ethiopia right now with the adoption process. There are adoptive families experiencing incredibly hard times in their journeys. So every fear you can think of was running through my head . . .
What if we pay this money and Ethiopia closes its adoption program?
What if we experience the nightmares that some families are having to endure?
What if I get pregnant and we have to stop the adoption?
What if it takes longer than 2 years?
I was getting consumed and overwhelmed with the "What Ifs" when God spoke straight to my heart. (Don't you just love that we serve a living God that SPEAKS? And doesn't just speak to a high priest or prophet, but speaks to little ole me wrapped up in my fears.)
God said, "Cole . . . I have a purpose in every step of the journey, not just the final destination."
He brought Hebrews 11 to my mind and continued to speak as I read and meditated on the Word. Verse 13 says, "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance." If God's purpose was just found in the final destination, claiming the thing promised, then those men of great faith listed in Hebrews 11 would be sad, sad stories to study. The life they lived and the things they endured would have been for nothing. But that isn't the reality! God had a purpose in every twist and turn on their journey . . . to conform them to His image, to make His glory known to all nations through them. And this truth hasn't changed. I must have faith that as we seek God's will and walk in obedience, not just in this adoption, but in life, His purposes will be fulfilled. Whatever is in our future, whatever twists and turns this journey takes, whatever hardships we endure . . . God is faithful and I can trust in Him.
As I continued to meditate and wrestle with this, I asked the question . . . What has God promised us in regards to this adoption? I guess I wanted to know what I could hold on to when things get hard. I wish I could say that He has promised us that a little Ethiopian boy will be part of our family, but I don't think that is true. Don't get me wrong . . . that is what we hope for and that is the final destination that we feel like God is leading us to walk towards. But as I prayed, the only promise that God spoke to my heart that I could cling to is that He will be with us as we walk in obedience. This whole process might not end the way we think or hope it will, but God will still be faithful to His promise. I don't feel like He is calling us to adopt just to later squash our dreams, but it may look completely different than we expect. But whatever path this journey takes, God will be with us and will be using it to make us more like Christ. Hebrews 11:8 resonates with me in a new way . . . "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." This is us . . . we have no clue what this journey will look like, but we know the One who does and will place our faith in Him.
These hours of wrestling through this were hard on my heart. Many tears were shed as I confessed my fears and heard God speak, as I laid down my expectations and even desires on the altar, as I sought to have the eternal mindset of those spoken of in Hebrews, "they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one." God was gentle with my heart, but led me to a new place of faith.
Later that afternoon, I shared my fears with Chad and asked him the same question I had wrestled with . . . What has God promised us with this adoption? He thought about it for a few minutes and then said, "That He will be with us as we follow Him." I lost it. I needed a confirmation of what God had spoken and He gave it through my husband and at the same time united our hearts in faith for the journey that lies ahead.
I'm humbled and overwhelmed at God's grace, gentleness, and the fact that the Creator of the universe would be so intimate with us. I know this is an experience that I will need to look back on when things get tough to remind me that we are in God's will and that He will never leave us.