I receive emails from blog readers often, mostly with questions that central around different aspects of beginning the adoption process, and those who are in-process. These emails really keep me on my toes, and get me thinking. I love that! I am certainly no counselor. But the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is (John 14:16-17). Honestly, there are times when I have no idea how I am going to respond to people’s questions (which is how I felt initially with the one I am sharing below), and it really drives me to wait on the Holy Spirit until He instructs me on what to say back. That is definitely one of the benefits of blogging and writing in general. You have plenty of time to think, churn and listen for what the Lord is whispering. Sometimes I wish I was afforded that luxury in real-time conversation!
I feel like the Lord is prodding me to share a recent email that I received, out loud here on the blog. This one was just so transparent and genuine….I really appreciate the realness of it. And I think that’s why it’s important to share it. There are REAL people out there, going through REAL (tough) things, and I hope others will glean encouragement through our email conversation as I share.
With her permission, here is an email that I received from Maggie:
I wanted to turn to you for advice and a bit of a “faith” refreshment. My husband and I are currently going through the adoption process and it is incredibly overwhelming. Not only the emotional piece of it and feeling like every inch of my life is exposed and under scrutiny but also the financial aspect. I’ve read on your blog how you kept the faith that the finances would come together for your beautiful girls…but how? How did you keep the faith when thousands of dollars were needed? We are doing a garage sale, taking on PT jobs, etc. but it still isn’t enough.
I guess I’m just feeling a bit of a pity party (Why me? Why can’t I get pregnant? Why do I have to go through all of this when there are drug addicts with babies?, Why is it so hard when I just want to share the love in my heart and home? etc.) and wondering if I am strong enough to make it through this process….any insight/faith renewal you could give would be greatly appreciated.
So, what do you say to that, right? Exactly. I sat on this one for a few days until it all came together in my mind. Here is what I said to Maggie and what I would say to you if you are facing something similar…..
I sincerely apologize that I have not gotten back to your message yet. These are real hurts and deep emotions that you are expressing so I wanted to ensure that I allowed the Holy Spirit some time to instruct me on what to say back to you, and it wasn’t all fitting together in my mind until today. Here are my thoughts…..
You aren’t strong enough to make it through this process. Self-sufficiency, trying to control outcomes, and hoping in what we ourselves can accomplish drives us away from our Savior and our need for Him. When we start trusting in ourselves, and our strength, it breeds a prideful heart. Rather, the times when you feel that you are completely in over your head, or facing something that feels like it is beyond your capacity to handle – those are the perfect conditions in which we learn to rely on God. Because it’s during those times alone when we are driven to our knees in complete humility and find ourselves begging God to come through. I’ve always enjoyed this definition of faith that I came across in a book a few years ago:
Faith is stepping forward as God directs, even when we don’t know what the outcome will be. It’s doing something bigger than ourselves- so big that we are dependent on God and not on our strength and ability. When we step out in faith, God gets the glory, because whatever is accomplished is done by his Spirit at work through us. (The Power of a Positive Woman by Karol Ladd)
And I’ll add that although you can’t SEE what is going to happen, you aren’t necessarily trusting blindly. Your trust is based upon God’s character. That He is sovereign and in control of every single piece and detail in your life (Acts 17:24-28). That He is powerful and can ordain any outcome in any way that is according to His will and that will bring glory to His name - that in any and all situations He works not to hurt us, but for our good (Romans 8:28).
People often wonder why if God loves us, why he would bring situations into our lives that are painful or that seem unfair (in your situation infertility). God’s desire in our lives is to teach us that true fulfillment and happiness doesn’t come from things or friends or family or status. It comes from a relationship with Him alone. All people are taught this in different ways, and in almost every story in the Bible it is shown that one of the main ways God works in us to develop our faith is through trials, hardships, suffering, and persecutions (read James chapter 1). We would never understand that the Lord is truly our comfort, strength, refuge, provider if we never faced situations in which we were hurting or weak or in trouble or in need. Through your trial of infertility, God is desiring to teach you about His character. That He is the only source of true fulfillment (John 4:13-14 and John 10:10). Perhaps He will allow your body to have a child someday. But, perhaps, right now, He’s wanting to teach you these characteristics about Himself, to bring you closer to Him, to teach you to rely on Him in ways that you have never known.
That of course, does not change the desire and longing in your heart to experience pregnancy and have a child of your own. But, the truth is that we live in a fallen world. Bodies are prone to disease and malfunction and death. Things that were meant for right, are used for wrong (i.e. drug addicts with babies). The longing and desires that you feel to have your body made right, is really a longing and desire for heaven itself – when everything will be made right. When there will be no more suffering or crying or pain (Revelations 21:4). It’s not fair. But one day, we will get to experience the fullness of perfection and fairness and righteousness that our hearts so desperately cry out for. Knowing that we will live forever with God in a place without sin and suffering (because of what Jesus has done for us) can help us live above the pain that we face in this life.
Until then, you march on in this adoption, knowing that this is the place that the Lord has brought you to, right here, right now. You can gain confidence in this adoption journey by settling your heart and mind on God’s promise that He is with you, and you face nothing alone (Deuteronomy 31:6). If you don’t feel that, then be honest with God and cry out to Him. Tell Him that your heart’s desire is to see His hand in this, and to hear His voice more clearly (if that is your desire). God reveals Himself to those who draw near to Him (James 4:8). The best way to draw near to Him is by reading your Bible. I think the perfect place for you right now would be to read a Psalm a day. The Psalms are so honest, and they also talk a lot about God’s character, which again, is the starting point for you to base your trust in Him on.
The way that I was able to have faith that the Lord would provide the finances for us to complete our adoption was by remembering the past, and how He has come through for many people before me. There is story after story after story in the Bible of people facing IMPOSSIBLE situations, and yet, God shows up and delivers them, or provides, or makes a way (ex: read 1 Samuel chapter 17 and Daniel chapter 3). The evidence stacks high of God’s desire to do the impossible, because that’s always what gets people to stop and look up isn’t it? When the odds are stacked against you, not only is your faith in God tested and grown, but this is also the way that outsiders observing your situation will stand absolutely astonished and in awe when God comes through. Glory is brought to His name, when there is no other answer of how you made it through, other than by the hand of God.
I hope these thoughts help you...
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ~ Jesus ~