The Last Leg

The Last Leg

We are awaiting one more approval before we receive our court date. It’s now been five years since we first started this journey. We’ve done a half-dozen home studies, put together two complete dossiers, had our fingerprints taken more times than I could count, and the folder that holds all our adoption related papers now weighs more than six pounds. We are currently updating our home study again in order to extend our I-171 for the fourth time.

This last leg feels like it might kill me. Through tears I told my friend who has walked the entire five years beside me that it feels like mile 23 of my marathon. As we came up on mile marker 23, the pacer I had stayed with the whole race told me that if I wanted to I could pick up my pace for the end. I told him I wanted to give it one more mile. I knew I could keep a faster pace for a little over two miles, but I wasn’t sure about three. I stayed with him for one more mile, and at mile 24 I gave my legs every remaining bit of energy I could muster.

“The scariest thing,” I told my friend yesterday, “is that I don’t know if I have two miles left or ten miles left. I feel like I’m sprinting, giving it everything I have but I don’t know where the victory is.” I don’t know when we will get the call that we have court approval. The only predictable thing about international adoption is that it isn’t predictable.

This morning I received a text from my friend, “There’s a picture of that sweet girl on my treadmill that I see every single day. You and I both know that the last stretch of the race is the hardest. I’m running it with you. And if you start to slow down, or can’t see the end, I will hold your hand. We are on mile 24, and I’m with you and for you. Your faith is going to be made sight. And if we have to crawl on our hands and bloody knees over that finish line–the race will be won.”

We would appreciate your continued prayers, especially since the crossing of one finish line means the beginning of another journey–the journey of helping our daughter heal and process and grow as she lives out the incredible story God is writing through her life.

“For am I already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:6-7

 

*photo by my dear friend Robyn Smith of abideinhimphotography.com.

Is Jesus Enough?

Is Jesus Enough?

I gave my key away–the one I wore around my neck, the one my Mamaw jokingly thought was my house key, the one with the word dwell engraved into its aged brass. This isn’t a story of my generosity. If you knew my initial reluctance, you would see a glimpse of my selfish brokenness.

But I was in the shower a few weeks ago (read: a mom’s semi-quiet space to think) when I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to give away my key to a friend. Matt gave me the key last Christmas because he knew my word for the new year was dwell. In the shower I thought, “Sure, I’ll give it to her at Christmas. That’s a great idea, Holy Spirit.” But I felt Him say to me, “No, now. Give it to her now.” I love this friend so much, but the giving away of the key was more than giving a necklace. It was a surrender, a declaration to a trusted friend that even if my desires don’t come to fruition, Jesus is enough. I wrote her a letter to go with it, and it went something like this . . .

Dear friend,

I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to give this to you. As you know my word for this year was dwell. At the beginning of the year, I hoped this might be the year we got to put down roots in a new home, to spread out a bit and create a new space for our family to dwell. But then we got the call and knew we needed to stay in this house for home study reasons so as not to mess anything up with our dossier in Ethiopia. And so I thought the word dwell would represent our Ethiopian daughter coming to dwell with us, united with her forever family. And while I still pray and hope God does the impossible, I recognize that unless God intervenes in a supernatural way she won’t be here before the end of the year.

While God might not have answered my prayers as I originally desired and on the timetable I had in mind, He gave me something even greater. He has shown me that in the midst of much uncertainty and right in the middle of the pain of waiting His presence dwells within me as a child of God. He has shown me that the opportunity to dwell in His presence is always there and always enough. I’ve prayed many prayers and sung many songs to my God with my hand wrapped around this key. Now, it’s yours to grip while you pray the prayers He has placed on your heart and sing the song He’s given you, while you dwell in His presence as He writes your next chapter.

With all my love,

Liss

Sometimes, for reasons He knows and I don’t have to, He moves in ways different than I prayed for. Sometimes, the loved one isn’t healed and the job isn’t saved, the pregnancy isn’t rescued and the timeline isn’t quickened. But the gift of this year has been finding His presence is always there. I can always dwell under His wings, and He is always enough. My raw, broken heart can be honest with Him, and He is always a safe place for my weary heart to find rest.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90:1-2 ESV)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2 ESV)

Thus says the Lord GOD: “I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it.” (Ezekiel 17:22-24 ESV)

 

The Mistake Sarah Made {And the One I Make}

The Mistake Sarah Made {And the One I Make}

Aside from the no air conditioning (and pretending I was my husband’s sister), I think Sarah and I could have been BFFs–a couple of control freaks who love to laugh and have a hard time waiting. There are several things I’m waiting on right now, a list of things I’m praying for daily, and a child we continue to press on for. I’m guessing you are waiting on something too–a husband, a child, a job, an answer, a good night’s sleep. When I read Sarah’s story, I always think to myself . . .

She had the promise but not the timing.

God had given Sarah and Abraham the promise, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have” (Genesis 15:5).  There are a lot of stars in that inky sky that blankets our every night–1,385,859,623,298, 1,385,859,623,299, 1,385,859,623,300… they would still be counting today. The promise had been given, but the timing wasn’t there yet. And that’s when Sarah made a mistake. A mistake that still echoes today. She took the promise and tried to make it happen in her timing.

And that’s where I am right now. On my knees begging God to hold me still until His timing. I’m really good at running ahead and fixing things like I think they should be remedied, finding a solution that makes me happy. And He keeps whispering to me, “Wait, child. Wait. I’ve got this.” One of the verses I pray every day is Galatians 3:3, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” God doesn’t take us 90% of the way and expect us to finish the last 10% on our own. He is the Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end. I think maybe I’ll write those words in my prayer journal today. He is my beginning and my end, my Alpha and my Omega.

Whatever it is we’re waiting on today, let’s keep surrendering. Let’s keep coming to His feet with our requests, but let’s keep giving Him our content and satisfied heart that says, “You, Jesus, You are Enough. I have your promise, and I will rest in Who You are.”