Written back in March 2015 for Cat Holloway’s blog:
Pursued and Purposeful Waiting
Hi. I’m Emmie. And I’m addicted to laying out all of my own plans in my idealistic ways and asking God to make it happen. My timing. My will. With all the bells and whistles.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord….” Jeremiah 29:11
I like to ignore that part. I like to skip ahead to the ‘plans to give you a hope and a future’ and then tell God, ‘Great! Here is what that hope and future should look like.’
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…” Jeremiah 29:11
I’m going to let you in on something that I know more fully now than I ever would have known if not for God’s plans: waiting is hard impossible.
And you just need to know that right now. I’m guessing that if you are reading this, you are hoping for some encouragement right now during your own period of ‘waiting.’ Maybe you are in your own adoption journey, or maybe you are thinking about pursuing adoption, or maybe you are waiting on something else that God has called you to be a part of.
But you need to know that waiting…not only is it impossible to do on our own, but it is agonizing.
And when I say agonizing, I mean I never knew a heart could hurt the way that my heart hurt three weeks ago. The tenderness…the bruised throbbing. And all because I’m done waiting. I’m over it.
If I can offer any advice, it is to plead with the Lord to make you sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, especially during the wait. There is purpose in the wait. I promise. And while you wait, God is waiting with you. So ask Him to help you during the wait and to teach you how to pray. And to teach you to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
Last year, I had an overwhelming burden to pray for our child. And my prayers for our child have been different ever since that day. I don’t know what was going on in the life of my child and I might not ever know; but for whatever reason, I was burdened to pray so that is what I did. And I ponder that precious time in my heart, knowing that one day (perhaps not on this side of Heaven), I will know why it was so urgent for me to pray at that specific time.
Several weeks ago, I had the worst week during ‘the wait’ that I’ve ever had. I was broken. I knew in my soul that I needed to stay away from the world that day. I needed to bury myself in His Word, to be in prayer, to read my devotional, and my goodness…I knew I needed to stay away from Facebook. I couldn’t shake the feeling that God was protecting me from something, and I needed to surround myself with His Truth and not let the outside world in. But then, right before bed…I clicked myself right on into Facebook, and at the top of my newsfeed was the announcement that one of my friends had just brought her son home. Their adoption process had gone so quickly, I didn’t even know she was adopting.
And that emotion was one I hadn’t felt before. The feeling that I had been forgotten. Like our child was a blind spot. That God had skipped over us. That He had called us to do something but didn’t have the blueprints to finish the task. I care much about the fatherless, and yet in that moment, to learn of an orphan becoming an orphan no more, selfishness choked out my rejoicing because I wanted it to be *my turn.*
And you know what? That is not okay. At some point during the wait, I had lost sight that this is all God’s plan, for His glory, in His timing, in His perfect ways. “The heart is deceitful above all things…” Jeremiah 17:9. I had allowed my heart to believe the lie that I know better than God and that my timing and my ways are better than His.
Let me tell you real quick (so you don’t have to *wait*) what brought us to where we are now. In March 2004, I held an orphan in my arms while on a mission trip in Romania. I knew, in that moment, that God was calling me to adopt one day and I have been looking forward to this for 11 years now. (How’s that for waiting, huh?!)
In November 2012, we started raising money for adoption. In May 2013, we decided on our country program, Lesotho. In August 2013, we met two government representatives that flew here to Nashville to meet those of us that would be ‘guinea pigs’ in the Lesotho program. In October 2013 we started our Home Study, completed it in January 2014, and submitted our Dossier to Lesotho in March 2014. In November 2014, after much prompting and pushing from the Lord, we entered into the Domestic program as well.
And this 2 years, 5 months of us being in this adoption journey and waiting to bring our child home…waiting to see the first picture of our child, has been fraught with mountains and valleys, and right now…right now…the waiting is an ocean that I am ever sinking in. If I take my focus off of God’s sovereign hands for one moment, the fear of the unknown literally takes over.
If this is resonating with you at all right now, then you are not like my husband. You see, we were not on the same page until around September of 2013 as to if we should adopt one child or two children on this first journey. So subtract all of those months between November 2012 and September 2013 from his ‘waiting’ clock. Then subtract all of the months that our Dossier wasn’t actually in Lesotho. Now subtract all of the months before we entered into the Domestic program, because at this point, we will probably receive a referral from the United States of America first. So me…I’ve been waiting 2 years 5 months, and I.am.weary. I feel deeply, and every moment of this wait threatens to take me down. But Zane…he feels like he has only been waiting 5 months. His clock just resets. He’s good. Besides, we don’t know if our child is even alive yet…he doesn’t understand what all my fuss is about. So when I bury my head in my hands and weep and tell him how desperately I want our child in my arms right now, he looks at me like I’m speaking a foreign language. And to him, perhaps I am. (Don’t worry, he is so gentle and definitely consoles me….but he just doesn’t ‘get’ my emotions.)
But to me, and to so many people out there who have walked this road before me, with me, and will walk into adoption after me, the waiting is unbearable.
Because you simply do not know who your child is.
You do not know if your child received any nourishment today.
You do not know if your child was abandoned to an orphanage today with no clean water.
You do not know if your child is in the womb of a birth mother who is injecting drugs into her body.
You don’t know if your child is crying right now…and no one is there to comfort him.
You don’t know if your child is being physically hurt right now, and no one is there to make it stop.
You just don’t know.
And when you take your focus, for one solitary moment, off of God, your mind goes directly to all of the unknowns. And fear will steal your joy. Satan will rock you off of your foundation. And you will buckle under the wait of the uncertainty.
And when Satan has you buckled there, he rejoices in your inability to rejoice in the Lord for bringing orphans into other families while you wait for God’s timing in your own journey.
I do not know how anyone can walk this road without Christ. I really don’t. If I did not have Him in my life, I would have given up by now. I do not possess the strength that it requires to walk this road.
But I have learned that He lifts me from despair and restores my joy.
I have learned that He has a purpose for this period of waiting.
You see, if God had brought in all of our fundraising at once, then we, along with our supporters, would’ve missed the donations trickling in one at a time and when we thought we had tapped out all of our friends and families and connections, a crazy set of events occurred and a friend donated $10,000. Our Army of Supporters got to witness that. And rejoice in the Lord with us.
If God had allowed our referral to happen within the ‘expected referral times’ for Lesotho, then we would currently know who our child is, but our child would be stuck there, without us, while Lesotho determines what they want their adoption processes to look like with their newly elected officials.
If the Lesotho program hadn’t become stalled, then my heart would not have been softened towards the plight of children in the USA that are need of families, leading us to be in the Domestic program as well.
If my heart hadn’t become so clouded with my own circumstances, emotions, and desire to bring our child home *now,* then I wouldn’t understand now that God really can turn a broken, weary, shattered, sorrowful heart into one that can say ‘congratulations! I am so happy for you and your growing family’ to my friend whose process looked like the idealistic one I had hoped for…and truly be able to rejoice with my friend because God is good, and the plans He has for us are far better than any I could imagine for myself.
It doesn’t look at all like what I had planned for our adoption journey.
But God’s fingerprints are on every single page of this story. He is evident.
And if waiting brings Him the most glory, then I will praise Him not just during the wait, or after the wait…but I will also praise Him for the wait.
He has a purpose in it. And He will AMAZE you with what He has had planned since the beginning of time.
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34: 18
I have never felt His presence so consistently as I have during this adoption journey. He has held me. He won’t let me go. He beckons me to rest in Him and continually proves that I can.
“Cast all of your anxieties on the Lord, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:8.
Waiting truly is impossible…if you do it in your own strength. But I can promise you that God cannot fail, and His strength will not forsake you. Walk this road with your eyes on Him, and He will carry you to the finish line of this path He has called you on.
If you become weary, rest in His arms.
If you are broken, be amazed at how He heals.
If you want to give up, give it to Him.
If you fear, trust that He has already overcome your fears.
If you cry, cry out to Him.
If the waiting has proven unbearable, praise Him for the wait, knowing that He is pursuing you in every moment of it, and He has purpose in it. Receive that purpose with thanksgiving.