I like faded cut-offs, worn cotton t-shirts, shoes that mold to my feet, cars that smell like....well, okay, I do like the smell of a NEW car straight from the factory, but generally speaking, I like the security and warmth of things that are familiar. I've carried the same handbag, driven the same car, indulged at the same eateries, been married to the same man, vacationed in the same town, had prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy, and put up the same Christmas tree with the same ornaments year after year. There is an overriding comfortable and content rythm to my life.
Now I find myself in a situation where I have to do things that are unfamiliar to me and go places that I have never been...I am cruising down the "Adoption Highway". Though the destination is clear the road we must travel in order to arrive is full of twists and turns, speed traps, lane changes, detours, STOP signs, pot holes, caution signs, and warnings. At times, navigating the difficult terrain has been a burden. This journey has, at times, interrupted the comfortable and content rythm of my life.
This is where I had to STOP. I had to realize that the comfortable and content rhythm of my life is not a result of doing the same 'ole thing in the same 'ole way for years. The comfortable and content rhythm of my life comes from being S.U.R.R.E.N.D.E.R.E.D. The frustrations and disappointments along the "Adoption Highway" have made me realize again and again that my contentment must not be contingent upon my circumstances or my expectations being met.
As of late my adoption expectations have been derailed. I expected our dossier to be presented to IHNFA at least three weeks ago. I have no reasonable explanation as to why it wasn't. It just wasn't...end of story. I expected that we might be on the national waitlist by September, now we are aiming for November...right before the winter break when everyone vacations from mid-December to mid-January. I was expecting a referral this winter, now we are setting our sights on next spring. I expected our request for two male siblings under the age of four to meet IHNFA's "difficult case" requirement and therefore expected the processing of our paperwork to be expedited. Now, just one week later, "difficult cases" are being redefined as children over the age of five, siblings groups of three or more, and severe special needs of all ages. We will be processed along with everyone else, no expedited pace.
What can I do?
In Philippians, the apostle Paul says that he has learned to be content whatever the circumstances. He knows the feeling of being in need and he knows the feeling of having plenty. He reminds us not to be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, he says to present our requests to God. Then the apostle tells us something even more amazing! If we choose to surrender ourselves to the same truth that he is speaking of, we, too, will find contentment whatever our circumstances might be. In verse 13 of chapter 4, he proclaims, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
When I choose to focus on my circumstances, I invite fear and doubt to grip me and the hope of all contentment is lost as I lose sight of God. His word tells me that I can cast my cares upon him. It says that my hope comes from Him. His word commands us to trust in Him at all times. We are warned to stop trusting in man who has but breath in his nostrils. The Spirit of God alone is the source of true happiness.
I challenge you to fill your mind with thoughts of abundance, not scarcity. Dare to believe that our Heavenly Father can and will move mountains to bring our babies home. Right now He is blessing our children wherever they are. Dare to see the glass as half full. When we, His people, are faithful, His promise of blessing is fulfilled. I dare you to throw off everything that hinders you as well as the sin that so easily entangles us and run with perseverance the race marked out for us on the "Adoption Highway". Dare to do it. Fix your eyes on Jesus so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
It's time to do the next thing. This is a poem from an Old Saxon Legend that is said to be carved in an English parson somewhere by the sea:
"Do it immediately. do it with prayer, do it reliantly, casting all care. Do it with reverence, tracing His hand who placed it before thee with earnest command. Stayed on omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing, leave all resultings, DO THE NEXT THING."
Old or new, familiar or not, do not let circumstances rob you of your contentment. Right now, there is only one thing we have to do. It is the one thing required of us every minute of every day...trust in the Living God. Miraculously, the peace of God descends upon us when we take things calmly, peacefully, and humbly. Miraculously, the peace of God descends upon us when we find our hope in Him, not our circumstances or the fulfillment of our expectations.