Thursday, July 11, 2013

I Hold Still

We recently returned from a mission trip to St. Louis, where our team worked with refugee children.  Before leaving, my heart was shattered and broken and weary from the struggle and the wait to have children.  I had been asking God for weeks, months, years to grant us our deepest desire and still He hadn’t granted it to us.  Why?

As I journeyed through our week in STL, I prayed to see God in the people to whom we ministered.  We mainly “loved on” refugee families.  Most of the people we worked with were from Liberia, Nepal, and Burma.  I loved absolutely every minute of my week in STL.  God took my broken and shattered, weary heart and showed me something bigger.  For 3 years, Shawn and I have prayed to our sovereign God and asked that He grant us the ability to have children.  And for 3 years, we have waited.  We got pregnant – twice, and then miscarried – twice.  And still we have waited. 

As I served in STL last week, I began to realize that I’ve been so stuck in my own lost dreams that I had stopped looking at God’s bigger kingdom view.  I was being a spiritual ostrich.  Go ahead and laugh but you know what I’m talking about.  We’ve all heard that when an ostrich is frightened or threatened, it will bury its own head in the sand.  I had buried my head in the sand and become so frightened of my own experiences that I was blind to all else.  (Now, I just looked this up on Wikipedia and found out that this is a huge myth…and that in fact, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand.  But, it’s such a good example that I’m using it anyway – so play along, okay?) 

Well, we all know that God has a funny way of ripping our heads out of the sand.  Gently at first, but when we refuse the gentle method, He might just decide to use a more forceful method.  And guess who has refused this gentle prodding and remained determined to keep her ostrich head in the ground?  If you’re pointing to the screen (at me…kinda), then you would be right!  So, how did God rip my head out of the sand, you may ask?  By sending me to St. Louis!

I have been begging God, pleading with God, even crying before God to give us children.  And a couple of weeks ago, my eyes were finally opened (AKA – my ostrich head finally came up out of the ground) and I saw His bigger kingdom plan.  God didn’t just send me to STL to love on refugee children and be spiritually stretched.  He took me to STL to show me that I could love His children as my own children, even if they’re not my own flesh and blood.  He took me to STL to show me that I would LOVE to adopt His little children from all over the world!

As I tutored a little boy, Maung, in the mornings and played with the Bible Club kids at night, I would catch myself thinking, “I sure wish I could take these kids home with me.”  And that was the exact moment my ostrich head came up.  It dawned on me that I absolutely could bring children home to my home and love on them as my own children.  Not these kids, of course – but there are literally MILLIONS of children just waiting and hoping that someone will decide to love them.

I am so excited, even as I’m typing this.  I’ve only told a handful of people about this and I really just want to shout it out my front door for the whole world to hear….although nothing but the beans would hear me - but it’s still tempting!  WE ARE GOING TO ADOPT….and yes, it’s official!  We made the official, no-turning-back-now decision when we got home from STL!  My sweet husband has been ready for a long time, but he’s had to wait for me to come around.  In complete honesty, my heart jumps at this decision – but it still aches.  I know that if we walk away from pursuing pregnancy now that we may never have this opportunity again – and I’m beginning to be okay with that.  I know that I might never get to experience what a woman has been created to experience in carrying and delivering a child.  I know these things – and the pain is huge – but God has shown me the bigger kingdom picture. 

Why have I waited so long to have children when there are so many children around the world with nowhere to call home?  Why have I been so determined within my ostrich-self to become pregnant and in doing so, neglected what God has been showing me all along?  I’m not pretending that this will be easy – in fact, I know it will be harder than I even know.  But I think I’m finally ready to give up my dream and grab God’s dream for me, for us…I’m terrified and excited, but confident that God is calling us down this road.

As Shawn and I begin this road to adoption, I think of a poem that a good friend, Jennah, posted to her blog recently.  So often, we can look at our suffering and pain and refuse to be changed.  I know that I’ve refused to be changed by God regarding children.  In my mind, there was ONE way to have children and it was going to happen.  But God held me in the refiner’s fire just a little bit longer to show me that there is another way.  I’m still in the refiner’s fire and I’m praying that I would hold still long enough for God to complete His molding on me. 

Would you pray for me?  For Shawn?  For us?  Some days, I don’t think I can take much more of God’s blow-on-blow molding love.  I still struggle with what I might never experience as a woman.  Will you pray that God would give me peace about this new journey He’s sending us on?  Would you pray for wisdom as we will be choosing an adoption agency very soon?  Please also pray that we would know which country God would have us adopt from and how many children He would have us adopt.  God is holding me in His fire.  Pray that I would just hold still….and let God work.

Here’s the poem from my friend’s website:

I Hold Still
By Julius Sturm

Pain’s furnace heat within me quivers,
God’s breath upon the flame doth blow,
And all my heart in anguish shivers,
And trembles at the fiery glow:
And yet I whisper, As God will!
And in his hottest fire hold still.

He comes and lays my heart, all heated,
On the hard anvil, minded so
Into his own fair shape to beat it
With his great hammer, blow on blow:
And yet I whisper, As God will!
And at his heaviest blows hold still.

He takes my softened heart and beats it,
The sparks fly off at every blow;
He turns it o’er and o’er, and heats it,
And lets it cool, and makes it glow:
And yet I whisper, As God will!
And, in his mighty hand, hold still.

Why should I murmur? For the sorrow
Thus only longer-lived would be;
Its end may come, and will, tomorrow,
When God has done his work in me;
So I say, trusting, As God will!
And, trusting to the end, hold still.

He kindles for my profit purely
Affliction’s glowing fiery brand,
And all his heaviest blows are surely
Inflicted by a Master-hand:
So I say, praying, As God will!
And hope in him, and suffer still.

Thanks for listening!