Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Waiting with My Foot in the Door

It was over a decade ago I when walked on the beach of South Africa; I cannot blot out from my memory the young orphan boys begging for spare change. They risked being chased off by local store workers with crops, similar to the ones used in horseback riding, for amounts totaling less than our American dime.  It was there that my heart was broken for those who do not have a mother's love.  There were many opportunities to hear God's whispers on long van rides through the African country side.  His heart is for the orphan, and He has planted the desire of adoptive motherhood in mine.  I get a little over excited when I hear God's calling.  I left Africa with plans to become a successful therapist and to sell all I had to move to South Africa.  I was going buy a house and open my home to children like the ones I had seen on the boardwalk.  However, God had set a different path under my feet and called me to trust His plan over mine.  In a matter of months before my undergrad graduation my heart was captured by a young man, and my self drawn plans were interrupted for a greater purpose.  Greater than selling everything and entering the mission field in Africa?  Yes.  It had been made clear that His purpose for me is in my home. It is where I can be most effective for His kingdom.  My mission field is in the everyday battlefield of raising a family in God's word.
Before we were married, Matt and I spoke of our desires for children.  Matt envisioned two children and didn't feel that adoption was for him.  I, on the other hand, wanted four children and would adopt as many as God would will.  Though our plans couldn't be more different, we were two people who trusted God's plan over our own.  We knew He would bless us with as many children as He had planned.  I accepted Matt's stance on adoption because you can't be kind of committed to adoption; you have to dive in with all your heart.  Parenthood in general isn't for the faint of heart.  It is an all consuming call to bravery, strength, commitment, and relentless love.  It is mission impossible, without Christ.  Though worth every struggle, it is hard to endure even with your own flesh and blood.  We as parents are commissioned with the task of not only equipping our children with necessary skills for survival, but for training them to thrive.  We step onto the battlefield of a broken world everyday, equipped with Sword and Shield, as dedicated warriors with the promise: if we teach and train them in God's word, it will not depart from them.  Adoption means being willing to take on the parenting challenge and carry the extra baggage that has been unfairly packed in a child's heart. Being willing to be vulnerable, even at the risk of heart break to be a mere reflection of Jesus' love.  I couldn't ask Matt to make that sacrifice, only God could.  
We had been married for nearly eight years when we moved to Wisconsin and started attending Elmbrook Church, a mission driven church both globally and locally.  It was Mother's Day three years ago when they played a video about foster care.  After church, we were visiting with friends, and I began sharing my heart with my dear friend. "I would love to foster or adopt, but Matt wouldn't want to."  Matt had overheard my comment in the other room and peeked around the corner and said, "Yes, I would."  I was pleasantly surprised at his statement and saw it as an open door for future conversations.  I made sure to stick my foot in it so that it couldn't close.  Over the next couple of years, opportunities passed where I would bring up my hearts desire, hoping he would share my enthusiasm.  More times than not our conversations would end in frustration, because Matt wanted to process and I wanted action.  I had began to push on that door and he wasn't ready to open it fully.  I knew if I kept pushing I would get my yes, but it would be a bitter yes, instead of a wholehearted, sweet yes.  So I stopped pushing and prayed, "God please either change his heart or help me close this door."  God's answer was for me to be quiet and still.  Ahh, He knows that's not in my DNA, but He didn't tell me to take my foot from the door! So I kept hoping and praying for my chance to adopt.  We are still praying about this life changing decision for our family and Matt's heart has slowly grown open to consider all options.  He has even registered us for a conference called Wait No More, hosted by our church and sponsored by Focus on the Family.  This step is exciting and I pray that God speak clearly to our hearts and that the attending families prayerfully listen to God's calling.  Though exciting, I too have to be ready to accept Matt's decision one way or another.  Regardless of whether we adopt or not, I wholeheartedly feel that I have a little boy in this world that I am called to love and pray for.  I would love for him to be my adopted son, but accept what ever role God gives me in his life.  Here is my letter to him:  

To my little boy,

You're on my heart today, like many days before. My eyes are swollen with tears thinking of where you may be, but my heart is steadfast in knowing you are mine to pray for.  I sometimes wonder if you are still being crafted in those quiet moments when only God knows of your existence or if you have seen hardship in your tender years.  Wherever you are, I know that God has a plan for you and one day I will be part of it.  
I wonder about your personality and what your favorite foods are.  I want to send you to school in the morning with a hug and kiss; bidding you, "Have the best day ever." I want to hold you in my arms and sing, "You are my Sunshine."  I want you to know and experience your mother's passionate love and comfort in times of celebration and in need. 
I know the promises that God has for you and I know that not a moment is wasted, even if we are apart.  I can't wait to speak His promises over you, but for now I will pray them over you.  I pray that God bless you and keep you safe, that your heart and mind be guarded by the Almighty, and you be sheltered by His wings. Be overwhelmed by His presence and aware of His unfailing love.  I pray that you are strengthened in the moments that we are apart, and your heart is kept open to hear the voice of God in your current circumstances. 
I pray that God continue to prepare my heart and your father's, so that we can be a reflection of His love.  May our hearts be filled with His grace and mercy so that they overflow with teaching and encouragement. Where we are lacking, may we rely on Him for wisdom and understanding, because He will provide in abundance.  May you be drawn closer to Him because you see His strength in our human frailty. 
I am not sure when I will be able to hold you in my arms or gaze into your eyes, my precious son, but when that day comes I will rejoice for you are home.  With thanksgiving I will wait for you and continue to pray.

Your Forever Mommy


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