A few days ago I mentioned there was one last question I needed to answer. It's kind of the big one, the one that most people probably already know the answer to whether we've spoken the words directly or not. It's the question of "What now?" This is the question...
What are your plans now that Kate has returned home?
To answer this in it's entirety would take days, possibly weeks. But here's the answer in one word.
God sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6a).
God delights to give families to the orphan.
And our sovereign God holds His foreordained plans for the course of history in the palm of His mighty hand (Revelation 5:1).
I sit here completely humbled because it was a year ago that I wrote a post that I never published, but today I am making it public. It was my hope a year ago that this day would come. For this day I have prayed and cried and pleaded.
Now I rejoice because God heard my cry.
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer (Psalm 61:1).
The prayer I never published...
Maybe it's weird that I'm writing this prayer to my God. A love letter of sorts that potentially one day the whole world could see. For right now, it's just between me and my Jesus. Maybe some day I'll share it, but for now it's just me and Him.
Oh God, You've been stirring in my heart so much lately. I feel a restless peace, if one exists. I reading book after book after book and Scripture as if for the first time because I can't get enough of You and reading of the ways you have worked and are working in people's lives today. Reading these stories has brought me new passion, a zealousness for You that I'm certain has not always been there. You've used the words of these authors (both the divinely inspired and those that have written since) to draw me to You and to Your Word unlike any other time in my life. Your Word is alive in my heart now more than ever.
While you're doing amazing things changing my heart, giving me a desire to be conformed to Your image no matter what it takes I'm also a bit fearful. Okay, maybe a lot fearful. First, I fear that this "feeling" (and I hate to even call it that) will go away. That this will be another "mountaintop" experience that so many of us Christians have only to make the trek back down the mountain in time and wonder how we ever got to the top in the first place. I don't want to lose this feeling, this knowing that You are good, that You are great! My second fear is that in offering You anything, that You might just take me up on the offer and actually take everything from me, not just the things that I can imagine giving up to You, but also the things I'd kind of rather hold onto...like my family, my health, the roof over my head.
But You have given me Your everything, Your Son, and so I want to give you my everything, though it pales in comparison to the everything You gave me. I don't feel like I have much to offer, but I trust that You know me better than I know myself and that you want greater things for me than I do of myself. I have to be honest, I kind of don't mind my comfortable safe life, but I am continually reminded that love is not safe. There is nothing safe about giving yourself away, wholly and completely.
And so, You are stirring my heart towards a specific something. Something I've always admired in others, but just didn't have the passion for that I do now because You've given it to me. This something is a love for the orphan. I have always felt badly for the orphans of this world because naturally I believe everyone needs a mother and a father, but my heart never completely broke for any one of them. And now it does. I get teary just typing this because I get it now. I was an orphan myself. And You, in Your grace, reached down and said, "Ashley, I want you to be my daughter." And now I have a family with a Father who has a "Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love" (Sally Lloyd-Jones' words, not mine) for ME.
I want to love like that. I want to love my husband, my Charlee and my Andee like that. And I feel a stirring that perhaps this family isn't complete quite yet. I have zero desire to experience pregnancy again, at least not in the traditional sense of the term. But what if another pregnancy for us meant one involving mountains of paper work, home studies, travel, etc. I don't know what to do with this heart of mine, this heart that is sitting here breaking for the millions of children around the world who do not have forever families.
What I do know is that I want to obey You. When I stand before You, Almighty God, one day, I want desperately to hear you say, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me." I want to glorify You God.
I have this stirring, this ache in my heart for the least of these and I can't get the thought of adoption out of my mind. I go about my day wondering what it would be like to bathe more than two children, to feed more than two children, to drive around town with more than two children, to travel with more than two children. I've never thought about this before. Not too long ago I specifically said to Adam, "I love our little family. It's just right." Now I'm not so sure. Not that I'm not sure about the love, but maybe it isn't as right as I thought it was. Maybe it's not complete.
So God, I beg You to help me. I want to fly to Uganda now and bring home as many motherless children as I possibly can. Please give me discernment. I pray that if this is what You have for our family, that Adam and I would be in complete unity about it. I'm asking You to move in his heart, to give him this burden if this is part of our "anything." I absolutely do not want this to be all my idea and so, just because he is such a kind, caring husband who wants nothing more than to have a happy wife, he agreeably goes along with my "plan." This is your plan, Lord. I just want to be a willing servant and want my heart to be open to anything and everything.
Your peace-filled, but sometimes scared, daughter
Alright, there you have it. I prayed. God answered. Simple, right?
Sometimes simple is life changing.
Sometimes simple is life changing.
So, we've committed...committed to drawing near to the heart of God through adoption. We've officially been in the process of adoption since June. We pray that it will be Kate that we bring home but we are also well aware that we have very little control over the "who" of the child we adopt from this country as it is a blind referral country.
So, for now, we ask for prayer. And we hope...we wait...with eager expectation.
And hope does not disappoint.
And hope does not disappoint.