The two entries below are excerpts from my journal during the 'waiting room' season of our adoption process. One of the reasons I have kept journals over the years is in order to be able to go back and see how the Lord was at work in the hard places, when I couldn't see what He was doing.
ENTRY: August 21, 2008
The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Prov. 3:5
We received a picture of our daughter last night. And there was nothing to do but cry. How is it possible that she is even smaller than before? Sicker? Her arms and legs look like bones. She looks like an old woman, not a child. And is that her hair falling out? Strands of dark brown lightening to red from malnutrition? My mind lingers over these terrible questions and yet my heart cannot even bear to go there.
Am I watching her die?
Father, you are asking me to trust you with the life of my daughter. And so I find myself wondering if I ever knew what it meant to trust - to relinquish ALL control. No...to acknowledge that I never had it. I realize now that in the deepest parts of my heart I have been deceived into believing that I do have control - over my life and also over the lives of my children. I feed them. I clothe them. I take them to the doctor when they are sick. I take care of their every need. Don't I?
I am now feeling the fear of what it is like to be totally and completely out of control. I have no earthly power to save her life. I have none but You. Is it because, for the first time, I am helpless? Or is it that for the first time I am seeing that I have ALWAYS been helpless? That I have no control over any of my children's lives, not just hers. Every day we're dependent on the One who gives and takes away.
Nothing that has come to be, or that will eventually come to be, happens without first passing through Your hands. And if I truly believe that this adoption is ordained by You - that this little girl is our daughter, our covenant child - then I must also believe that she was Yours before she was ever mine. In fact, she will never be mine. Always Yours. So I have no other choice but to trust You with what is already Yours.
I plead every moment of every day that she will make it home to my arms. My heart groans with words that only Your spirit understands. Please save her life, Father, if it be Your will. Please bring her home to us, if it be Your will.
But what will Your answer be? We don't know. And all I have to cling to are Your promises, no matter what the answer may be. I must tell myself what I know to be true - the minuscule and finite understanding I have of who You are. Yet my understanding is too small; I must not lean on it too heavily. And so I find myself repeating this over and over again:
I trust You. I trust You. I trust You. Whatever the answer may be...she is Yours.
ENTRY: December 28, 2008
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27
The thing about John 14 is that it takes place before the cross, and the irony is that Jesus is about to make this gift of peace possible because of that fearful thing He is facing.
What kind of power is this?
He knows that He is facing torture and death and yet He speaks of peace. KNOWING peace - a gift not of this world, because He does not give to us as the world gives. Other worldly peace.
I have learned this in its fuller meaning these past seven months. First You were teaching me how to trust, and now I realize that I could not experience Your peace without first trusting You.
Peace is the bloom that flowers from the scraggly roots of trust which are gripping tightly to their source of nourishment.
The terrorist attacks in Mumbai could have sent me into a new wave of concern - realizing the turmoil in India in a new way, and worrying that our travel may be inhibited to go and get our daughter, even worries for our own safety when we travel. I could have been sent flailing into a stormy sea of fears.
We felt incredible sadness for the families involved, but somehow no fear was added to that sadness. And the strangest thing happened as I watched the horrible news stories flood in: there was a profound peace, an unusual and very present sense of peace. And this passage came to mind as Your peace washed over me.
Mary's Song: "My God has been mindful of the humble estate of His servant. The Lord has not abandoned us here. He has performed mighty deeds...brought down rulers and lifted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things."
Those words I had never memorized were whispered in my mind as I watched the images of terror on the television screen. Your Holy Spirit was reminding me of all you have already done - not only in continuing to preserve her life, but in teaching my heart contentedness. You have opened every closed door that seemed to signify the end of this adoption. And now those words in Mary’s song, "filling the hungry", mean so much more to me than ever before. You have physically sustained her tiny, hungry body, just as you have sustained my fainting spirit.
You have made my heart, as the proverb says, like a weaned child is with its mother; content to just sit on Your lap and be held by You. The struggling to meet my own needs has vanished. You will meet them in Your way, in Your time. Every day I give her back to You. She is Your child. You have brought her this far and Your mighty hand will bring this work to completion.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”