Sunday, October 25, 2015

God can take the mess.....

Many people know our "story", but I was thinking the other day that some may not. Some do not know how God took me from a place of ashes of mourning to a place of utter joy, how He showed me how to open myself up once more to love after I'd decided to never open my heart up that way again, or how He took me from a place where I never smiled to a place where "smiling is my favorite." So, here is a part of that "story." Perhaps later I will share part two, otherwise known as Levi.

We have always known what a blessed family we were. Since our daughter entered our lives through adoption over 20 years ago, we have been a family living with the constant reminder of God’s grace toward us. When we were blessed almost three years later with her baby brother, we knew life would never be the same......

Most families begin the same way, man and woman fall in love, get married and have children. For us however, things didn’t follow the pattern they were supposed to. I met my husband in Jr. College. He was sitting on the air conditioner - right above the sign that said “Do not sit on the air-conditioner” and it was love at first sight. Of course, it took us 5 more years to get to the married part. Soon after we married, we decided to start our family…only things didn’t go according to plan. Things rarely go according to my plan.

Our story isn’t unique, many couples go through the heart-ache of discovering that having a baby isn’t an option for them. Since we realized that the love in our heart didn’t require that the child be “flesh of our flesh”, we decided to adopt. Unfortunately, after loving this child for over 7 months in our home, the adoption fell through and we found ourselves heartbroken and questioning God. I couldn't understand why this was happening. We loved and served God. Things weren't supposed to go this way. 

I didn’t understand why God wasn’t hearing our prayers….why it seemed that the world was crashing down around our shoulders and there was nothing we could do except ache. Life lost its color and joy. Laughter left my heart for a very long time. I think I went for months without a smile ever crossing my face. I even shook my fist at God and said "If this is who you are, I choose not to serve you." Fortunately God had mercy on me and the next day He began a healing of my heart that showed me I had no idea who He is. 

God did slowly heal the hurt, but there was still that empty space in me that longed for a child. I simply wasn’t willing to open my heart up to be hurt like that again. I often said "God would have to send a telegram telling me Himself that we were to adopt again." Eight years later that telegram came in the form of an invitation to a Bethany Christian Services banquet.

At that banquet, we heard adoptive parents speak, a birth mom speak, and we saw countless pictures of happy children who had found their forever families. Before the night was over, we knew that we were on the road to adoption once again. Miraculously, nine months later our daughter came into our home. With her came laughter like refreshing water to a thirsty soul. I never knew how much I could love someone until I held her in my arms. I also realized what a sacrifice her birth mother had made in choosing adoption and I prayed for her….I still do.

As our daughter grew, we were blessed with joy that words could not express. She was and is the apple of our eye. We talked wherever we went and she was becoming quite expressive with her language. As we would drive, I’d point out the beautiful colors in the sky and ask her, “Who made the sky?” She would respond, “God made the sky.” I just knew that we had a child prodigy on our hands.

At the park, I’d point out the flowers and ask, “Who made the pretty flowers?” Her response would be, “God made the flowers.” What a joy! My child was so smart!

When we’d see butterflies, I’d point out their beautiful colors and ask, “Who made the butterflies?” She’d answer, “God made the butterflies.” Obviously, my child was destined to become a spiritual giant!

Then one day, I walked into the living room to find the floor covered with crayons! I put my hands on my hips and said, “Who made this mess?” She looked up at me with those big brown eyes and said very matter-of-factly, “God made the mess.”

I still laugh when I think of that day, but her words make me realize afresh and anew just what a miracle working God we serve. Through all the turmoil, He brought laughter. He gave us hope where there had been only heartache. Where there was emptiness, He brought fullness of joy. Where there were wounds, He brought healing. He truly did give me the oil of joy for the ashes of mourning. Though I did not deserve it, He gave us the most precious gift and He did what no one else could do.

No, God didn’t make the mess….but God certainly can take the mess and make a miracle.

Isaiah 61:3New King James Version (NKJV)

To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Psalm 34:8The Message (MSG)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

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