2 1/2 months ago, God fulfilled a promise that He gave to me 3 years ago. It was not vague like, "I will provide for you," or "I will be with you." It was a very specific, tangible and concrete promise. To all earthly standards, it would take a miracle to fulfill.
When we began our ministry in Swaziland, we had no intentions of adopting. We were called to come alongside the people, partner in any way that God led us and help meet the needs that He revealed. We wanted to be advocates for the children and women with whom God crossed our paths. We desired to create opportunities for the people of Swaziland to not only survive, but thrive, thus the name "Beyond Survival."
In July '08, God expanded that calling to Swaziland to include adoption. When He placed that calling on my heart, He promised me that He would provide the $40,000 it would most likely cost. Yes, you read that right. Unfortunately, international adoption is extremely expensive. That fact alone deters a lot of people from moving forward in this calling. Our family did not have that kind of money to spend.
This calling was overwhelming and painful in so many ways. The process alone is enough to weed out the weak. The amount of paperwork, documents needed, classes to complete, and homestudy will send anyone over the edge. To add to that, we had only 3 months to complete a process that most families complete in a year or more. It was the stressful adoption process on steroids.
In addition to the actual paperwork process that we had to complete, came the emotional process. We did not have the support of everyone in our community of friends and family. In actuality we faced some strong opposition about this decision. It was extremely painful. It is so easy to doubt in the midst of opposition. It is so easy to give in to all the arguments of why this is a bad decision for your family. Believe me, there are many, and we heard every one of them.
The spiritual warfare part of adoption will mess with your mind in ways you could never imagine. I believe Satan wants to do everything he can to oppose adoption. He uses other people to oppose it. He hinders the process to oppose it. He creates so much doubt and fear in your mind that you feel you almost cannot stand up against it. I cannot tell you how many sleepless nights I had in this process. Every time I was up during the night battling with Satan over this calling, something MAJOR would happen the next day. It was during all the doubt and fear that I experienced that God continually reminded me of His work in this process. God gave us so many evidences of His Hand and His direction. That is the ONLY thing that got me through.
When God promised to provide for our adoption, I had a picture in my mind of how I thought that would look. I thought we would have every penny provided by the time we traveled in March '09 to pick up the kids. What a great story that would be to tell. Look how much God would be glorified by that. I never imagined that it would be 2 1/2 years later before we would pay off that last amount of debt from the adoption. God didn't give me a timeframe. I created one in my mind.
I can say that during that 2 1/2 years we saw His Provision in more ways than just actual money to go towards the cost of adoption. People gave us clothing, furniture, meals, baby items(I had gotten rid of everything), etc. We never went without a need in our family. We had to max out 6 different credit cards to make all of the adoption payments. We had 3 weeks in a row where we had thousands of dollars due each week. We had 2 payments that God provided by people just in time, and those people did not know the amounts we owed. Many people sacrificed and gave to our family to participate in this calling with us. It truly was a "family" effort by those in our circles of friendship. We experienced community in a way that we never had before. Without this sacrifice, we would not have experienced the blessing of seeing God work the way He did.
I could not go through this journey He has taken us on over the last 3 years and not be changed. I am not the person I was 3 years ago. I am so thankful for that. God's plan of provision for this calling was exactly what we needed to grow and develop us into the parents, spouses, friends, and followers that He has called us to at this point in our lives. Every time Laila kisses me(she does this about 100 times a day) and tells me that she loves me, I feel blessed to have been called to this process. Every time Isaiah gives me that look that he gives and puckers up those lips of his to kiss me, I am grateful to be on this journey. It hasn't been easy, but that is a different post. Today I choose to praise God for his fulfillment of that promise He gave me over 3 years ago. I praise Him for the promise. I praise Him for the pain. I praise Him for His provision.
I encourage you to follow WHATEVER it is that God might be calling you to. You will not regret your obedience. You will feel purpose even in the pain of it.
My prayer is that He will give ALL of us the strength to take that step of faith. I don't feel like He is finished with me yet. There is so much more for me to learn. There are so many areas where I am weak and fail.
Today, I am thankful, and I praise Him for His Hand in my life!!! I look at this picture and I think, "WOW, I never could have dreamed up this plan for my life."
I wonder what the next 3 years hold????