Sunday, July 10, 2016

The In-Between

A few months ago, God started whispering to my heart that we would be traveling to get our daughter in August. Not one to keep good news to myself - I started by sharing it with my husband, and then my brother and sister-in-law. Then after we got matched, I shared it with the world via my blog (and literally every person who has asked about our adoption in person!)

Well - now I've gone and done it. I heard a word from God... a word that will require a crazy miracle... and then I spoke it out loud (like a crazy person). Now here I am in the in-between. I've got my word... but I don't have a miracle yet. And let me tell you... the in-between is a very uncomfortable place to be.

You start out in this place in full FAITH - while the voice of God still feels almost as if it were audible. You do faith-full things... like buy clothes, plan baby showers, and start working on a room. You might even turn down a job or two for the Fall (because you are convinced you'll be traveling in August of course!)

And then time passes... and 5 Adoption Board Meetings happen without your approval. And you start to doubt. And you start to wonder. And you start to feel the fear set in.... "What if this doesn't happen?! What if I was wrong? What will people think if we don't travel in August? What if they think I'm crazy?"

Sometimes I forget that you have to FIGHT to be FAITH-FULL. It's an active thing, this "taking every thought captive" sort of life. I let myself feel guilty and ashamed for those fleeting doubts recently, until I re-read an old journal entry I wrote several years ago (just after we started our adoption) about Phil 4:7, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

In that journal entry, I wrote about how guard is a verb. It's something that happens actively - not passively. This leads me to believe that doubt is a pretty normal thing (just part of a broken world I think)... and usually, it manifests as logic (because operating in faith has always seemed foolish to the world!) but God uses His peace to actively guard our hearts. Which means He is always at work - always on the job! We just have to be willing to listen.

I have seen God show up on hard days in this "in-between" lately, with specific truths to guard my heart. At just the right time, the right verse will pop up into my mind or show up on social media. On just the right day, God will give me a song that will encourage me.

But even with the encouraging verses and songs, it's easy to think I should fill this time doing things that will help bring Kate home. Somedays I wonder if I should be fasting... or fervently, tearfully praying (all day every day). I wonder if this will somehow be my fault (did I pray enough?!) if we don't get travel dates in August. But then I think about how I didn't ask God for August... I felt like He told me August on His own. So why would I beg Him to do something He's already said He would do? After all, Hosea 6:6 says God desires mercy (relationship) not sacrifice. And do I really think that I can control whether or not Kate comes home? (Do I really think I have that much power?) Or do I need to trust that God is in control - not me?

This realization helped me see that a lot of this "in-between" time is best spent learning to trust Him more. If I know God loves me, then why can't I trust Him?

I was talking to my husband about it all recently - in light of how we want Kate to love and trust us. I told him...
"If I took Kate to school one morning, and told her that we would get ice cream after, then I would want her to trust that I would do what I said (because she knows I love her). I would hope that she would spend the day excited about the treat waiting for her after school... never doubting it would happen. I would *not* however, want her to worry, or stress, or be fearful that I wouldn't actually take her for ice cream.  
I also wouldn't want her to call me 15 times that day and beg me by phone to take her for ice cream (when I already said I would). And I wouldn't want her to skip recess or lunch to write down all the chores she was willing to do in return for the ice cream. I would want her to enjoy her day.... rest, play, and be happy, knowing the treat I promised was waiting on her. "
I am trying to figure out how to fulfill this myself. If I want Kate to trust me someday... then I'm quite sure God wants me to trust Him. And most of all, I think He wants me to trust His love for me (and it's not the kind of love that requires fasting or tears or begging or bargaining or days filled with worry. He doesn't require sacrifice like that, and he doesn't delight in seeing us fearful or tearful.)

And so... in this in-between time I am working on that. I am fighting to take every thought captive... watching as God gives me the truth I need to actively guard my heart... and working hard to trust Him more. I have never felt this much peace about a word from God before (despite what logic says!)... so I am fighting to stay in a place of FAITH... to actively HOPE... to focus on things unseen (Heb 11:1). It is not an easy place to be - it is actually quite scary to think "what if I'm wrong" with so many people watching our story unfold. But you know what? I'd rather be wrong than be faithless. 

One of my favorite quotes in college was from Oswald Chambers. "Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes." And my old boss used to say, "We believe in doing things that will fail if God doesn't show up."

So here I am. Completely helpless unless God shows up. Trusting. Hoping. Believing (or trying to at least) - and learning more about a God who loves me (and my daughter) more than I can comprehend.

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