Thursday, January 21, 2010

holding on

"Think of all the wonderful things He has done for you."
1 Samuel 12:24b (NLT)

My eyes are so swollen from crying all day that I can hardly see. My heart is grieving and I'm feeling really, really disappointed.

As I shared yesterday, God has been working overtime on behalf of our family. His blessings and miracles are almost too good to be true. Funny how quickly a phone call can make my human mind forget His goodness and grace.

You see, we were just shy of a week away from finally traveling to Ethiopia to meet Mesfin. And then our agency called with some really bad news.

Although he finally arrived at the care center, he was a day too late. The US Embassy requires that children's passport photos are submitted two full weeks before their appointment. And, because of the holiday, he wasn't able to have his photos taken. Sigh.

I realize that two weeks doesn't seem like a long time, but it is when you promised your son that you would be there soon. And you can't. My momma's heart is breaking in two. He's been through so much and this wait has been excruciating for all of us, but especially him.

We have travel plans that need updating and a whole list of other details to undo and redo. That I can handle. It's the not being where we said we would be that makes me so sad.

And yet, we trust God and His timing and remember all that He has done so far for us.

We know that this unexpected delay is a part of His plans for us. This is happening for a reason and He will see us through. We know that once we are on the other side of this seemingly huge mountain, the fourteen extra days will seem like nothing. But, today it hurts. Today I'm crying and I can't stop.

But, in the midst of that, God is showing His incredible love for me and my family through the beautiful friends He has filled our lives with. I have received so many sweet emails and phone calls. God cares about our sadness and He's using our friends to love and support us through yet another bump.

This journey we are on has been more than we could ever have imagined. While doubts and fears try to steal my peace and joy, God is refusing to allow me to doubt His love for me and His goodness. His love through others keeps me holding onto the truth of His promises.

My heart grieves and the tears flow, but God is good, all the time. He'll get us through this, I know He will. And, He'll get you through whatever struggle or bump you're facing in your own life, my Friend.

His love conquers all. Keep seeking Him and allow His love to wash away your pain and tears.

God's grace is sufficient for today - and because of that - I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE! (Tears and all.)

Seeking His face,

Photograph courtesy of Chelsea Lauren

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

counting the days

"Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies."
Psalm 36:5 (NIV)

The last few weeks have been a wild ride, to say the least. Through it all, God has greatly blessed us with His grace and faithfulness.

On New Year's eve we learned that Mesfin had not yet been transferred to the transition home as planned. (Once children in ET pass court, our agency moves them to their care center to begin preparing them for life in the United States.) We spent the next several weeks waiting for the move to happen.

Last Tuesday, our agency called to discuss the problem at hand. First of all, I love our agency. They have been so amazing over this past year and have remained steadfast and professional despite all of the unexpected challenges that international adoptions bring. They had done everything they could to make the move happen, but were being stalled by distance and cultural differences.

While I am still trying to understand the details, the short story is that the orphanage director was refusing to relinquish our son. Talk about feeling helpless. Thankfully, our agency's director made the decision to fly to Addis Ababa over the weekend to resolve the problem.

Depending upon the outcome, Geoff and I agreed that he would fly a couple of weeks early to be with Mesfin until I could join them. Needless to say, being halfway across the world when your child is in need is a really, really awful feeling.

I honestly don't know what I would have done without my faith in God and His goodness.

We prayed and waited. And prayed a lot more. Our incredible friends supported us greatly through prayer and fasting. (Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!!)

In the midst of receiving this devastating phone call, we received an offer on our house. Talk about a crazy week. We were able to come to an agreement with the buyers and then spent the entire weekend shopping with our fabulous realtor.

Our prayers were answered at 2am Saturday night when our telephone rang. It was MESFIN!!! (We had asked our agency if they could please arrange a telephone conversation with him as soon as they were able to confirm his well-being.) I still tear up thinking about that priceless moment that I "met" my new son for the first time.

Through the help of our agency director and a translator we had a short but very sweet conversation.

Mesfin said, "Hello Mommy. Hello Mama. Come get me. (sigh)" He told us he was where he was supposed to be and then added, "I'm cute." (He's really good at repeating words and phrases in English. His accent is way too precious.)

Since our other kids were sleeping, I was able to record our conversation. They have been extremely worried about their brother and were beyond ecstatic to know that he was safe.

Lisa sent the above photo via her cell phone to calm my mother's heart. She says he's really small and is missing one of his permanent front teeth. We're not sure what happened and while I'm thankful that he appears to be doing well. However, my mind won't fully rest until he is safely in our own care. We're almost there...

The next day, God answered one of our other prayers. A new house that went above and beyond our wish list. I have to say, though, as happy as we are to be able to move to a bigger house for our ever-growing family--a house is just a house.

The past few weeks have really cemented the fact that the material things of this world really don't matter. It's serving and loving our amazing God and the beautiful children and friends He has graciously filled our lives with.

Geoff and I were able to fully surrender our plans to the Lord and trust Him with the outcome. He answered in ways we never expected and has continued to work out not only the big, but little details along the way. He is SO good!!!

But, I'll have to save that story for another day. For now, we're thrilled to be packing for our long awaited trip to finally bring our precious son HOME. (And then soon after, we'll pack up our house and move all six of us to a new home.)

God is so faithful. He has brought our family through so many challenging times.

Friend, I trust that whatever you are going through in your own life that God will meet each and every one of your needs as well. Sometimes He calls us to wait for His answer to our prayers, but He will never, ever leave us without His love and grace.

In Him, through Him and for Him, I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE! I pray you are as well.

With JOY,

AmyJo