Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Life is an adventure, and GOD IS FAITHFUL

I don't even know how to write this, so many thoughts & emotions are still running through my head, but I feel the need to share because this past week is a huge part of our story.

How do you get through the loss of something that wasn't quite yours to begin with? 

This question is running over and over through my thoughts. I honestly don't have the answer to that question. I've tried and tried, but all I've come up with is that it takes FAITH, and more FAITH to trust God and walk in belief that God is in control when the situation seems such a mess.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

 Last week we experienced a failed adoption. 

Some of you know exactly what this means and the heartache that goes with it. Some of you might not, so I'll explain a bit. A failed adoption is when there is an attempt to adopt a child and it doesn't work out. In our case, from match to failure happened over a span of 36 hours.

A quick synopsis: Wednesday morning an adoption agency that we'd put feelers out to back in August contacted us that there was a baby boy due any day that needed an adoptive family. We were matched with the birth mother officially that afternoon. For 24 hours we rushed around pulling out baby gear, clothes & blankets, setting up cradle, borrowing baby boy clothes from my sister in laws, trying to pick just the right name & getting ready to bring "our" son home. We called family to share our news, and even got to FaceTime with my parents who were in Cambodia. Everyone was so supportive and willing to pray and help us in any way they could. We wanted them to know what was going on, even in spite of the risks, because we knew we'd need them if things fell apart. Our amazing church family rallied around us to help us prepare and try to figure out how to raise the money we'd need for adoption fees in less than the 2 months till finalization. (yes things happen much quicker here than in California!)  Then Thursday afternoon our agency contacted us that the birth mother was already working with another couple and wasn't being honest about the situation. We were crushed, broken hearted, devastated to say the least. BUT we were glad to know that we wouldn't be bringing a baby home that was meant for another couple, when you look at the big picture. We knew there could be risks, there always are with a domestic adoption. We were beyond blessed with an easy adoption for Karis. I've a dear friend who experienced a couple failed adoptions, as well as my older brother had a difficult adoption journey, and I've seen the pain they go through, and the fear of trying again. That unborn baby boy was not placed in our arms, but he still reached int our hearts so quickly. We still bonded, dreamed dreams and anticipated his birth as an amazing thing, trusting God to guide our steps.
All day Wednesday I strongly felt that no matter the outcome, we should move forward in this until God closes a door. So we did, hearts open, excited at the possibility of having a son :) and Karis having a baby brother! So now, how do we let go of a dream that wasn't officially ours?

Cheyenne said it best. He said we are called to live a life of obedience. As a couple we've been very proactive in making sure we are available to God for whatever He calls us to. Whether it's being willing to move overseas, open our home to whoever needs a place to live, following God's call to move our family to Kansas, pursuing both adoption & fostering (we're 7 weeks into our foster care classes!) so we can grow our family and to give children in need a safe & loving home, or anything God has for us, we believe firmly we are called to be available and to obey. If we obey, then there is no reason God won't carry us through the difficult times.  Yes there is sadness, yes there were (still are) tears being shed, but through the grieving process we refuse to take our eyes off our God.

It's hard to know if it's worth opening up our hearts, becoming attached to the possibility of having another baby, when the risk and heartache are so great. And after going through the past week, I know that it is. It is worth it. Especially when we are surrounded by our amazing family & church community who surrounded us with comfort Sunday at church. We are desiring to get involved with helping our church start an adoption ministry, and maybe we needed to experience this to be able the help another couple through a failed adoption at some point.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

We've lost babies, lost grandparents, lost a parent, and now we've lost the possibility of adopting this baby boy. But we won't give up, we're continuing in the adoption process, wanting to remain available to God. We pick up the pieces and keep going. Life is an adventure, highs AND lows! 
This is my truth for today: GOD IS FAITHFUL!

Psalm 55:22 
"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."

Friday, February 1, 2013

The "worst" day of my life

**Disclaimer:  I've had many different blogging ideas on my mind over the past weeks, but nothing has stuck once I sit down to write. This particular thought though has stayed with me all week as I've been processing my own life's trials and how I can use them to glorify God. So I hope this isn't too patchwork-ish for you. :)

"Today is the worst day ever?"

How often do we ourselves think or say this? How many times do we think that things can't get any worse, that our day is the worst ever and no one could possibly understand?
Lately I've been hearing people say this, or maybe I've just been more aware of hearing it these past few weeks. I know it's all relative, that each person's "worst" day could very well be their worst day ever.  I'm not trying to sound cynical or judgemental. I've been there myself, many times. Each time I would think that my day couldn't possibly get worse, that this day/event is the worst ever. And each time, I get through that day...and it DOES get better, but that doesn't always help in the midst of the "worst" part. And I have to remind myself that no matter what life throws at us (by which I mean what God allows into our life path), no matter how awful it feels our day is, it still could be/get worse.

I've had my fair share of heartache, pain, and questioning how life could possibly get any worse. But...even in the midst of that...My God is FAITHFUL! He hasn't left me alone to maneuver the rough waters of life's trials alone.  When the doctors told my husband and I that our first unborn child had stopped growing and had actually died days before, yes we felt that it was our "worst day ever". When test results showed a year later that we were loosing yet another baby, yes we felt that was again one of our "worst days ever". When news came that my mother-in-law was dying, yes we felt that it was another one of our "worst days ever". And this week as we sat in yet another doctors office hearing news for the hundredth time (it felt like) that there's no medical reason why we aren't able to conceive another baby, and our best bet was to spend hundreds of dollars on a procedure that had absolutely no guarantee, it sure felt like one of my "worst days". And those are only examples of the major most recent days.  I know that many of you reading this have had some of your worst days ever as well, not necessarily for the same reasons, or in similar areas, but your days none the less. And no one can diminish what you've been through or are going through. Just like I wouldn't want anyone to do that to me. It could be job loss, family frustration, transition, moving, work stress, or relationships or lack of.

Something my sweet husband reminded me of just this week, as I thought my heart couldn't hold any more disappointment and heartache, that we didn't receive terminal news, or a diagnosis that was incurable. So many people just this month have sat in doctor offices and have. Parents have found out their child has cancer, or an incurable disease. Children are told their parents don't have much longer to live. So to those who have received news like that, I don't by any means compare my "worst" day to yours.

During different times in my life I've had people misuse the verse 1 Corinthians 10:13 (" No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.") Well meaning friends would tell me that it means that God would never allow more in my life than I can handle. Or that God would never give me more than I can deal with. Hm....some how I feel that most of what life has thrown my way I couldn't handle on my own! :)
Here is a great explanation of this verse!  For me, I've learned that whatever trial comes into my life, God will always be there to help me through it and that I need to realize that it's in HIS strength that I can overcome.

The Bible says that we are called to "Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (Gal 6:2) This means, when someone we know is having their "worst day ever" we are called to encourage them. What this verse does NOT say is that we are to compare, someone else's worst day might be very different than ours. Does it really help our hurting friend when we share our own story that is worse that theirs to try to cheer them up? NO WAY! It just invalidates their feelings, doesn't encourage them one bit. I've made this mistake often, and even have scenarios in my head of responses I've held my tongue to avoid verbalizing. That is not a loving and caring response.

So what can we do to help our friend who is having their "worst day ever"?  LISTEN! :) And PRAY with them. Don't just tell them you'll be praying, but stop right then and there and pour out together their burden to the Lord.  Matthew 18:20 says "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." Often the best thing a friend can do is to be that friend, a shoulder to cry on, and ear to listen, a sister in Christ to remind them of encouraging verses, reassurance that they are not alone, and most of all just being with them. I've been blessed with amazing friends who have led by example of how to be a godly friend. I am the friend to others today because they've taught me well!

The next time you hear a friend say they are having one of their "worst days ever", love her as you would want to be if you were in her shoes. Because often that is what can get them through their day!

Is there one answer to "fix" all our worst days ever???? Nope!! Not on this earth anyways!
So I say....MARANATHA! (translation: "come O Lord")