Our bedtime routine with MK has become pretty consistent…we sit on the floor of the kids’ bedroom, read from The Big Picture Bible, pray and sing “Nothing But the Blood”. Some nights are hairy as she doesn’t really want to sit still atnd we are working on “honoring the Lord” with a reverent attitude(which means sitting still for these five minutes!). Tonight, she was pretty attentive and cuddled close as we sang “Nothing But the Blood”. I looked at the empty space on the floor and for a few seconds, could actually see Mikias and Miles cuddled up with us. Of course we’ll have to add their hymns to our singing (we’re thinking “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” for one of the boys), but very soon we are going to have the amazing privilege of continually bringing three little souls before the throne of our awesome God. Ahhhh….!
I can give praise to God today that He is faithful and that He is near. Last week was almost unbearable…almost. After we found out that we the boys’ cases were not approved, I sunk into despair. I was not frustrated with the courts or impatient so as to rush God’s timing. I was by and by wrestling with the very character of God. I was striving morning, noon and night to understand how a God who is Father to the fatherless, the Giver of good gifts to His children and the Author of all families would consider it good to leave our boys in an orphanage. In all of our trials to date, I have been able to rest and be comforted by God’s character. I could read His promises and knew that they were true. But last week, God’s Word seemed skewed and my world was dark and lonely.
On Saturday, the clouds began to somewhat part as I sensed in my heart that God was near to me, even in my despair. I asked Kevin to take MK to the park so that I could spend some time alone with the Lord. I opened my Bible to Psalm 73, a psalm of Asaph, and felt as though someone had looked inside my heart and put my feelings into words:
“But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped.” (v.2)
“When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.” (v.21-22)
This is where I had been for a week…slipping, embittered, senseless and ignorant. I felt so lost when I could not count on the character of my Lord. But (this one is big!), God had not left me. And in my despair, He had not left me. And because His Spirit is within me, I could look at His promises Saturday morning and believe! And all that I’ve been through in the past year, but even in the past two weeks, has been for my good because ultimately it has been leading me to a greater confidence in the very nature of God Himself.
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (v.25-26)
The lesson is far from over, but this is what I’ve learned: We live in a fallen, sinful world. My God does not delight in sin and His heart is most assuredly grieved at the large number of orphans in this world. This is not His first creation and because He intended for children to have parents, He is not pleased by the fact that our boys are in an orphanage. Nevertheless, He allows it. One clear reason from Scripture is that God is patience with this sinful world as He waits for more people to repent of their sin and trust in Christ (2 Peter 3:9). In this same sovereign wisdom and high and lofty plans, He sees it best to allow our boys a bit more time there. Though I may not understand it or necessarily like it, I can trust that He is all-wise and all-knowing and that His plan is perfect. Bottom line, this is the only thing I “need” to know. But I am comforted still by believing that He is Father to the fatherless…our boys need Him more than they could ever need me and I know with all my soul that He is meeting their every need during this period of waiting. So, today I can praise God for His faithfulness and that He is near because I am confident it is true.
Our conversation tonight at dinner:
Kevin: Molly Kate, where’s your brothers?
Molly Kate: points to pictures on the fridge and smiles
Me: Molly Kate, where do your brothers live?
Molly Kate: shoves plate out of the way and points directly to Ethiopia on her world map placemat
Me: Molly Kate, where is W going to sit?
Molly Kate: points to high chair
Me: Where is Kai (her nickname for M) going to sit?
Molly Kate: points to the only empty chair at our kitchen table, then decides he is actually going to sit in Kevin’s seat and Kevin is going to move to the empty chair.
Me: Molly Kate, where is Kai going to sleep?
Molly Kate: looks at me with a sly grin, turns around and points to the backyard!
Yep, she’s definitely ready to stand her ground!
I’ve been dreading this day for weeks. I knew it was coming and I had hoped I would have at least passed court so that it wouldn’t be such a hard day. Today our baby boy W turns one year old! Thankfully, a good friend of ours was traveling to pick up his son this week in Ethiopia and was able to take a birthday present to W. Apparently the toy was a big hit among all the babies!
Sweet W – you have already touched our lives in numerous ways. Your sweet smile and big brown eyes have captured our hearts and we cannot wait to have you in our lives for as long as the Lord allows. May God comfort you while we are away and may He unite us soon.
Okay…I’m desperate! We own a piece of rental property in Oxford, Mississippi and need to sell it fast. My dad financed it for us about five years ago, but is no longer able to help and we need to move the property. We’ve rented it 12 months a year for the last four years, so its definitely a good investment. We just don’t have the means to finance it ourselves. As of tomorrow, the price will drop by $10,000, which is a steal! Here’s the MLS info, if you are interested!
We learned last night why the boys’ cases weren’t approved by the Ethiopian courts. Both boys are from Oromia and had to go through a lower court system before going to court in Addis. They both went through the system and typically that’s all that is required, but on our court date, they decided to also have MOWA begin signing off on the lower court process. Since we were missing this approval, our cases didn’t pass. The good news is that our cases have been sent to MOWA and should receive proper approval before June 9th. So, at least we have an answer on the horizontal plane.
On the vertical plane, (i.e.-why did God allow this and what is He doing in our lives?), well, that’s a whole other question. For now it seems, I should be satisified to know that God is refining my faith and working all things for my good and His glory. And I’m praying that I would be satisfied. Nevertheless, I feel more like I’m wrestling with God and than waiting calmly before Him. To know that He has ordained for our boys to spend at least three more weeks (it could always end up being more) in an orphanage and that its His good, perfect and pleasing will is a hard reality for me to swallow. I want to trust Him, but this is harder than I could have ever imagined. So, I’m still processing…it may take all the way until June 9th to wrap my head and heart around this one.
“Be still before the Lord and wait paitently for Him;” Psalm 37:7
Word came this morning from our agency that we will be waiting a bit longer for our boys to come home. Neither of their cases were approved today and we were rescheduled for June 9th…three weeks from tomorrow. There really are no words to describe the ache in my heart to have my children in my arms. I’m weary and worn from the trials, yet God graciously sustains me and keeps me trusting in Him. And I can still praise Him! He protected us from the hurt of one passing and the other not and having to travel to pick up one child and leave the other there. He has protected our boys from sickness and disease. He has given me an incredible husband and an adorable little girl. He allowed three orphans to be united to families today (at least that I know of!). He gave me this big heart for children I have never known nor carried in my womb and the ache I feel is entirely because He gave me such enormous love and affection for these two precious boys. They will be our sons in every sense of the word one day…I know God has promised us. And, so we wait for Him to act…He speaks one word and it is done.
Pray for June 9th…ask the Lord that it may be the day where our waiting and mourning turns into joy and gladness!