I've been continuing to process through my emotions and thoughts from our adoption journey thus far, and the devotional I read this morning really spoke to me on it all, so I want to share a little bit of it with you, as well as a little more of our story from the hospital...
"If you're going through hard times, don't automatically assume that you must be doing something wrong or that God is disciplining you. Seek Him out. Walk with Him and know that He will accomplish His purpose in the middle of your circumstances, whether or not you ever know what that purpose is. Take heart: God is working through your circumstances. He will never let His children endure pain without a purpose, and we'll never go through it alone." (from Journey on 7/19/12)
This particular entry also mentioned 2 Cor 4:8-9, which says this:
"We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed."
And if you go on to read further in the chapter, you'll find verse 18:
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
The past several days, I've been so overwhelmed by God's mighty works. Even when I could not see evidence of it, God was behind the scenes working out every detail of our story so beautifully. As we cried out to the Lord for a child, He was knitting together Gabriel in his birthmommy's womb; as we were filling out all of the necessary paperwork, taking required courses, and raising funds, God was working on this birthmother's heart to place her child for adoption; as we waited and trusted in His perfect timing, God was preparing the path for us to walk down with Him as our guide. He was always working, even when I couldn't see it. Looking back over my journal entries and prayer journal, I can recall pouring my heart out to God, many times with tears streaming down my face. I knew God was there with me and comforting me, but now looking back it all takes on a whole new perspective. I can just imagine my Heavenly Father sitting there with me so patiently and holding each tear in His hands as I clung to his promises, all the while He was answering my heart's cries even though I didn't know it. He knew I was hurting, but He also knew that He was working...but I just couldn't see it...and I didn't need to be able to see it, because it wasn't the right time. While God was answering my requests, He was also working on my heart to be prepared to receive His answer to me. It just puts a whole new perspective for me on faith and trust. Can't you just picture God as He is wiping our tears wanting so badly to say, "Don't lose heart! Just trust me! I really am working, and it is going to be so much more amazing than you could ever dream it to be, but you've got to wait. It will be worth it; trust me!"
...The day before Gabriel's birthmom was able to sign over her rights, she had requested some time alone with him. I definitely understood her wanting that time with him, but you can imagine my heart was so very torn. I wanted so badly to be with him, but I was reminded he wasn't mine, and he might not ever be mine. I had left some things in the hospital room that I needed for the evening, so I went up to get them and to tell her and Gabriel goodnight. I was such a mess! I was going on about two non-consecutive hours of sleep from that past 24 hours, and the weight of the situation was really starting to get to me. As I walked down the maternity wing of the hospital, I passed by a couple walking the halls with their newly born baby. I found myself saying to the Lord, "God, it just would have been so much easier if we could have just gotten pregnant and that could have been us..." I was so overcome with an emotion of really wondering if I could go through with this whole thing, because, as badly as I wanted this little boy to be my son, me being able to call him mine meant that his birthmother would not. And then I walked into the hospital room to see Gabriel laying their next to his birthmother. I was overcome by this precious and beautiful baby boy who had absolutely no say in the matter of what was going to happen to him, and I was overcome by the love I saw in his birthmother's eyes for him, and as I kissed his sweet face goodnight for the evening, I was overcome with my own love for him, and a reminder that once again, God was in control of the situation and not me. There was nothing I could do to change the situation but have faith and trust that God was working and His perfect plan for that little boy would be the end result.
Trust is a funny thing...the reality of it is that it's very simple: God is in control, so why would we NOT trust Him completely? But we lose sight of that simplicity by getting caught up in the twists and turns along the road. When we encounter a sharp turn or a steep fall we begin to doubt: "If God was really in control there is no way He would let that happen." But those bends and crooks are what makes the pathway to His perfect plan so much more beautiful once you get to the end of the road. Anyone can lead you across a straight path, but only a mighty God could lead us safely through all of the twists and turns and rocks and rifts.
As I look back on our journey thus far, I can say with ALL honesty that the heartache, the tears, the uncertainties, the lack of control, the stress...every single thing has been well worth the end result. Yes, it would have been easier if we could have just given birth to our own flesh and blood, but if that were the case, I wouldn't have Gabriel, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is the child God placed on our hearts to have; this is the son God gave me the desire to parent; this is the precious life that is meant to be a part of our family, and I cannot imagine our family without him. A different path might have been easier, but it wouldn't have been as good...
So today, I'm just so overcome with emotion. As a family member put it recently in regards to Gabriel, "God is always good, but sometimes He just overwhelms us, and this is one of those times."
Truly, God is always at work and the pain He allows us to endure is never without a mighty purpose. So trust in His purpose for YOUR life today, and embrace the process, for we truly do serve a mighty God who desires such amazing things for His children!