Saturday, August 18, 2007

And They're Stepping Out Onto The Tightrope...

Teachers in Rock Hill went back to school on Wednesday. Summer’s over! The kids are coming back, ready or not! People always ask, “are you ready?” My answer is always the same, “I will be when the kids get here next week.” That’s my favorite part. They’re excited, refreshed and ready to learn at the beginning of the year. I’m always happy to see how much they’ve grown over the summer and hear their fun summer stories.

For the past several years, during the work week, I have worked from 7:30 AM to about 5:30 PM, then I would go home and help with dinner, then clean up, then get ready for the next day, and by then it would be time for bed. So, this summer I decided not to work so that I could accomplish several things before the next busy school year started up. Item number one on my to do list this summer? Adoption. At least to get the process started, at least to have called a social worker.

But, the research alone took all summer. Then, at the end of summer things just got too busy. We went to Guatemala and the day after we got back, Andy started seminary (yeah!). So, the closer the end of summer got, the less hope I had that anything would ever happen. I knew that once school started back I wouldn’t have time for anything else.

During his seminary class, Andy didn’t have a lot of time to talk because he was studying for hours every night. He didn’t have time to help with things around the house either, so by the weekend after his first week of class I hadn’t done the dishes all week. I had been sleeping on and off throughout the day. There were clothes in the washing machine from Tuesday to Saturday that had actually started to stink. There were two days I didn’t even shower. I had started slipping into depression.

By talking to Andy about my week, I started to realize my lack of hope. Everything I said was negative. I couldn’t even make myself imagine that adoption would ever happen for us. As I talked through it, I began to realize it was because I had imposed a deadline on myself. I had told myself that it would never work if I had to balance work, church, friends and family, and adoption.

Andy was great. He promised that when his three-week intensive Greek class was over he would be fully available to help. He also prayed for me. In his prayer he asked that God would help me to be satisfied in Him, that I would seek Him first. That made me think. Hum, I hadn’t been doing that, at least not for a while.

The next day, Sunday, all the music at church was about loving God just for who He is. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Then, at a training class I went to that afternoon, the message I got was, "pursue Him with the intensity that you pursue the things you really want." I realized that besides imposing an unreasonable deadline on myself, I have also been ignoring my relationship with God. In fact, I had replaced my time hanging out with Him with adoption research. I feel so confident that adoption is what He wants us to do that I began to pursue that and figured it was OK since He was calling us to do it. In a sense, adoption had become my God. But, I realized quickly that pursuing God is totally different than pursuing His calling on your life.

I revived my prayer time and time in the word that night, and God has been faithful. Starting my days that way has helped me focus on Him instead of adoption and the fact that it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve also been able to let go of the deadline and realize that adoption doesn’t have to be so urgent. It’s going to happen. I’ve just got to take it day by day. I’ll do what I can in one day and do some more the next day. Eventually it will happen.

So, we’re asking that you pray that we’ll be able to walk the tightrope of our lives, to find balance. Between full time jobs, Andy’s seminary, church, family and friends, after school clubs, etc. it’s going to be a challenge. But, I have renewed hope and faith that it will happen. We’ve waited five years; we can wait a few more months. ☺ And, Andy has also held true to his promise. He talked to a social worker this week!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

"Get In My Belly!"

Guatemala...ahhh. Our time in Guatemala was...I don't even have the vocabulary to explain my feelings. It was more than we could have ever hoped for or expected. We stayed in Chichicastenango, but we worked in the rural areas outside the city. According to Ron, the founder and director of Manos de Jesus (Hands of Jesus), it is the second poorest area in the Western Hemisphere. But, you would never know it by the kids’ smiles. These kids played and laughed in a language that we could all understand. Some of them struck me in such a way that all I could think was “get in my belly.” (That’s a line from Austin Powers, for those of you who are like, “What?” For those of you who’ve seen it, say it with a strong Scottish accent for better effect.) ☺

I’ve wrestled with a lot of things as a result of this trip, but I’ll only talk about the ones that have affected us regarding adoption. One night during our stay in the House of Prayer, the compound for Manos de Jesus, Ron gave his testimony. Throughout his life he’s been in positions where he didn’t have money for something he felt called to do. But without fail, just when he needed it, God provided. I’ve heard so many stories about people who “stepped out on faith” to do something God had “called” them to do, and in a miraculous way, He provided.

For the past several weeks I’ve been weary, feeling like we’re ready to adopt but can’t because we don’t have all the money it’s going to take saved yet; so close yet so far away. It’s been depressing, actually. But, Sunday was the hardest day I’ve had in…years, maybe.

A new team was coming to stay at the House of Prayer Saturday, but we weren’t flying out until Sunday. So, we HAD to stay at the Marriott in Guatemala City. Stinks to be us, right? ☺ It was extravagant. But, that’s not what struck me most. It appears that the Marriott is the hub for “gringos” (white people) adopting Guatemalan babies. They even have a Baby Lounge. Everywhere you turned there were gringos smiling dreamily as they fed their Guatemalan babies that had just joined their family that day or the day before. Some of them were even video taping their new baby/child eating. It was beautiful, and yet my stomach churned at the sight of it. I have been waiting five years to feel like that.

Sunday morning I was particularly emotional. Not only were we leaving Guatemala where so many great things happened, but also the feeling that adoption is so far away was right there in my face. I was so emotional I couldn’t even finish my breakfast! If you know me, you know that’s VERY unusual considering how much I LOVE to eat! Then…oh boy, here it comes…then we had a worship service. We met by the pool (where all the gringos were playing with the new babies). The message was about Zachariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1) who were barren. Need I say more? Just go read it. You’ll see. Immediately, Andy put his bible down and hugged me. I put my bible in front of my face and the tears started rolling. My insides were shaking. Out of the sides of my eyes I could see others who knew of our situation who were crying too. They lined up for hugs afterwards.

I went to our room and sobbed for a while. It felt better to get it out. At that moment Andy said, “I don’t care about the money anymore. It’s time to move forward.”

Since we’ve been home I’ve been looking into grants. All of them say you can’t apply until you have completed your home study. Andy called a social worker before we left to get one started, but we haven’t heard back from her, so we’re going to call another one soon. I guess we’re just realizing that we’re not going to have all the money saved before we begin this process and that’s OK. We don’t know how God’s going to provide, but we feel we’re called to this, so we’re going to step out on faith and trust that He will. It should be fun to watch and see how God provides. This way He can have all the glory since everyone will know that we’re not the ones who made this happen! That’s good stuff!