Thursday, December 31, 2015

It is Well

As I sit here on this last night of 2015, there are many thoughts, words and emotions running through my mind to describe this year. If I'm honest, this year hasn't gone anything like I planned or hoped. To be completely honest, it is far from what I hoped.

Recently, our missions pastor preached a short series on the book of Habakkuk. This was such a timely sermon series for me personally as it came during an extra hard month of waiting in the adoption process. If you've ever talked to anyone who has adopted, I know you have probably tired of hearing how the "waiting is so hard." But it is. Hard. Just really really hard. 

Going through the short book of Habakkuk was refreshing to hear Habakkuk's real and honest dialog with the Lord as well as his questioning to the Lord. If I would have gotten nothing more from the sermon series, I was reminded of the ending of the book which we had read at our wedding nearly 10 years ago.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 "Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places."

Yet... Yet... such a powerful conjunction! Sometimes as Christians, we let ourselves get consumed in all those phrases before the Yet. We wallow in the trials. We whine about our circumstances. We throw ourselves a pity party.

Yet we forget all God has done. Yet we forget how he has ALWAYS been faithful to us in the past. Yet we not worship him for his work of salvation through Christ on the cross!

I have not always rejoiced in 2015. I have not always been thankful. But the Lord is good and does not leave us or forsake us. He even sovereignly put me in a Bible study this fall on the book of James. Yes, that's right, James. The book of the Bible on Faith. The book that starts off with "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." That verse inspired the title of this blog. God was in every detail, big and small, of 2015.

Ok... back to Habakkuk, in the last sermon of the series, the pastor shared a story of a man from our church who went through a battle with cancer and at the start of it in 2009 was given one year to live. He told our pastor "I'd go through it again because God taught me so much through it." Our pastor described it as a bold and quiet trust in God in the midst of calamity. Philip turned to me and said, "Would you do the three plus year adoption journey again for God to teach and grow you so much?" My response that Sunday was to ask me after the twins were home. :)

I've recently thought a lot about how God called Abraham to go "to a land I will show you." Abraham packed up his family and left all that he knew, all that was comfortable, to follow the Lord into the unknown. I've pondered the thought of if I had known in September of 2012 that we would be entering 2016 and still not be done with this process, would we still have gone forward? In April, when we accepted the referral on the twins, what would I have said if I had known we wouldn't have even traveled for our first trip by the end of 2015??

So often we long to see into the future, but God knows we aren't prepared to handle that knowledge. Thankfully we have the gift of hindsight and looking back. He shows me daily as I look back at this much longer than expected journey how every detail has been by his plan and in his time. He reminds me that none of it has surprised him or been outside of his control or will. I pray for eyes of faith to continue to see his hand guide us to the end of the adoption process and throughout the rest of our lives. He gets the glory of this adoption process. He is to be glorified through our lives. He guides us day by day, step by step, moment by moment. He calls us. He gives us grace upon grace. He bears our sorrows and feels our pain. He sees us crumpled to tears by yet another dose of bad news. He knows our fears of inadequacies to parent these two boys who he has given into our care. He knows!

As we look forward to 2016, some of our toughest days may still be ahead. We know this journey God has called us to in which these twin boys will join our family will be difficult and rewarding, trying and awe-inspiring, full of tears and triumphs, but one thing is certain, the Lord will bring us through and refine us to be more like Him. 

We have much to be thankful for from the year 2015. As for our adoption process, there really is finally light at the end of the tunnel as the Lord saw it fit to move our case forward in December by issuing the unpredictable approval letter and a week later have our court date for January announced. We are finally on the last leg (well last two legs since we travel twice).

This past week a sweet refrain has been coming to mind as I've thought through the ending of a this year and the start of a new year. 

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, 
when sorrows like sea billows roll; 
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well with my soul. 
It is well with my soul, 
it is well, it is well with my soul

There have been days in recent months where the sorrow of this long journey has billowed over me; the sorrow of my heart to not have these boys home in my arms has overwhelmed me. There have been days where peace has washed over me that is unexplainable and surpasses all my earthly understanding. The quiet peace the Lord has given me within my soul has astounded me as I wouldn't describe myself as a peaceful and quiet person typically. I pray he continues to give us peace as we walk the road ahead.

To my fellow adoptive moms and families still waiting for a referral or have lost a referral, still waiting for an approval letter, for a court date, for the light at the end of your tunnel, you have my daily prayers for God's comfort and peace to wash over you each day. As a dear adoptive mom put it, it will be a glorious unfolding as we see all that the Lord will do in our lives and in our children's lives. 

For those still reading, thanks for journeying with us. Thanks for celebrating the good news and encouraging us through the tough days. Thanks for asking about the details. Thanks for not giving up and forgetting about us. 

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