I for one love it! It is built into my phone and gives me a sense of security any time I have to travel to somewhere I have never been. To date, it has never failed me. Time and time again, without error, it has gotten me safely to where I am going and back home again. It has proven itself faithful and I rarely, if ever, question the route it chooses for me.
With that said, this past Friday, we packed our bags, piled into the car, and took off for the beach. We were going to a place that we do not frequent very often, therefore the roads leading to our destination were, for the most part, unfamiliar to us.
This unfamiliarity with the roads leading to our get away spot prompted us to program the address of the hotel where we would be staying into our trusted GPS. Confidently we were Rest&Relaxation bound.
True to form, a few hours later we arrived at the hotel. Once again, GPS had proven faithful.
Knight in Shining Armor, however, continued to question the route the GPS had chosen for us. To him it didn't seem to be the best choice. He was sure that there was a faster, more direct way to go. He was convinced that GPS had a "good enough", "most popular", "it works every time" kind of mentality keeping it from considering any route outside of its set path.
Yes, we had gotten to our destination, but had GPS really considered the options or alternate routes available to us. Maybe, just maybe, there was a better way. Knight in Shining Armor wanted to see a map for himself and look at the roads leading to the hotel. He wanted to see for himself whether or not GPS had chosen the best route for our family to travel.
That thought quickly left his mind at the sight of the surf and sand.
We enjoyed three lovely days at the beach before heading home.
It was then, on our journey homeward, that the thought of GPS and its chosen path reoccurred to him. Being the adventure seekers that we are (Ha!), we decided to test his theory on the way to our final destination, home.
Hours on down the road, rather than following GPS's directions, we did not exit the highway when it told us to do so. Although the name of our home city was clearly printed across the exit sign, we chose to drive right by. You see we had looked at a map and knew that up the road a ways was another exit that would take us to our destination even if it was not the one GPS was telling us to take. On paper, it looked faster and less congested. It seemed like there was less possibility of delays and traffic jams. It was appealing.
GPS did not like our deliberate rebellion of its instructions. We began to experience what I will call GPS "FREAK OUT!".
Every exit we passed, the computerized voice told us to exit and turn around. It wanted us to go back where we had come from. Every exit ramp we by-passed caused the device to reroute itself and continually tell us to GO BACK....GO BACK.
At the bottom of the screen, the estimated time to our arrival home steadily increased the further and further away we got from the exit it originally wanted us to take. Knight in Shining Armor and I would look at each other, first humorously, then as time passed, nervously, questioning if were making the mistake of our lives by not following the chosen path...the popular route...the pre-programmed way...the recommended roads...the way we were expected to go.
When I faltered and said, "Maybe we should listen to it", he remained strong continuing forward at cruising speed. When he doubted and looked in the direction of the upcoming exit, tempted by the GPS's plea to TURN AROUND, I encouraged him to just keep on keepin' on. Meanwhile, the estimated time of our arrival home kept increasing the further and further away we got from the exit GPS originally wanted us to take.
Then it happened!
Very suddenly, in one brief moment, GPS successfully rerouted itself. Now it spoke in what sounded like a calm, cool, and collected voice...we were 19 miles from the exit that would take us home. On the bottom of the screen, our estimated time of arrival went from 1hr25min to 50min.
We did it!
Admittedly we faltered. We questioned. We sweat a little bit. But clearly this path was taking us directly to our final destination...HOME.
Recently, I began to question our journey on "the Adoption Highway"...not adoption itself, but the path we were taking. I thought about the circumstances that surrounded the programming of our GPS.
I remembered early on in the process sitting with a psychologist during an interview for our required psychological report and she said to me, "If you could spin the globe and stop it anywhere in the world, where would you adopt from? How old would your child be? Would it be a boy or a girl?"
The questions she posed conjured up an image in my mind that looked something like this:
God had given us a mission...adoption. We accepted the mission, chose a travel agent, packed our bags, piled into the RV, and fueled up. Then, before actually leaving town, we went to McDonald's to place an order for our impending adoption because at McDonald's you can "HAVE IT YOUR WAY". You simply step up to the counter and when it's your turn to order, you choose the country, the age bracket, and the gender of the child/ren you want. Wait times may vary, of course, but they promise to get you through the line as quickly as possible.
Whether I had to answer these questions on the adoption application, in the psychologist's office, or sitting with the social worker during the home study, they have always made me uneasy. Fortunately, the answers came much easier for Knight in Shining Armor and by the time the psychologist and I were having the conversation, the answers had already been decided. So I went on to share our decision with her:
- Knight in Shining Armor has a soft spot in his heart for the children of Central America as a result of his close relationships with men and their families from that region who work in our family owned business.
- We respect the family oriented culture.
- The wait times seemed reasonable.
- We met all of the dossier requirements.
- It was on our side of the world.
- We could afford it.
- We chose toddlers because we thought it would be easier to assimilate them into the family and it didn't upset birth order that already existed.
- Knight in Shining Armor said "boys" so we were requesting boys.
Today, however, we are not the same people that we were a year ago when we started this journey. God took our saying "yes" to adoption then proceeded to mold us and shape us. I believe that God rejoiced the day we surrendered to the mission of adoption. I believe that He accepted the soft spot we had in our heart for Central America and honored our decision to adopt from Honduras all the while knowing that He was not done with us.
As the journey began, mile by mile, we listened to the voice, followed the signs, navigated the lane changes, regrouped at the pit stops, took the detours, waited through the road construction and the delays, heeded the warning signs, and got stuck in the traffic jams. We stayed the course when the well lit highway became a dark, dusty, dirt road barely illuminated. We stayed the course when we traded in the RV for a small two-door vehicle with no room for any extras.
Mile by mile God squeezed us out like wet sponges as our selfish desires...Honduras, toddlers, boys, cost, referral time...puddled at our feet. He moved mountains. He opened doors and closed doors...not the ones we anticipated Him opening and closing, but the ones that would bring Him the most glory and simultaneously take us to a place of brokenness where His plans could be fulfilled through us.
We needed to be broken in our surrendered state to realize that our GPS had to be programmed to ADOPTION with a final destination of HOME. God, full of grace, let us have it our way the day we set out on the highway. Then mile by mile He had His way. Through each lane change, stop sign, pit stop, detour, delay, rough road, and traffic jam He reprogrammed our hearts, conforming our desires to His.
As a result I felt a need to pull over, turn on the flashers, and look at a map.
Could there be a better way HOME for us?
The truth is that God and only God truly knows where our children are.
So the question becomes, who is driving our vehicle?
Or better yet, who programmed our GPS?
Are we traveling His way?
Did we spin a globe? Or place an order at the take out counter? Were we truly seeking God's will?
Was our heart for the orphan? Or were we satisfying our own needs and desires?
OUCH! That question really stings. We shed many a tear searching our souls for the answer to that one.
I am not of the belief that God gives us a detailed map the day He casts a vision or calls us on mission. He simply says "GO" or "COME, FOLLOW ME." His desire is for complete dependence upon Him every step of the way. If we knew exactly where we were going from day one, we would be tempted to seat ourselves behind the steering wheel. We might not listen. We might be tempted to go our own way. We wouldn't need Him anymore and that would defeat the purpose of the journey.
Only when we surrender to the mission and die to our own selfish desires...only when ADOPTION becomes the journey and HOME becomes the destination, is it possible to see the path that wasn't visible when we first programmed our GPS. In the beginning, Knight in Shining Armor and I needed the assurance of a destination, a place with a name, so God mercifully accepted our inadequacy and started us out on the highway never losing sight of His destination. In the accumulation of miles He worked through all of the lane changes, pit stops, detours, and delays to bring us in line with the His path. He prompted us to question our route.
What I know now is that if we program our GPS for ADOPTION with final destination of HOME, GPS becomes a GOD POSITIONING SYSTEM rather than a GLOBAL positioning system. At this point, and only at this point, is God in control to take us to the children He has already chosen for us...those to whom we will be the biggest blessing and those whom will bless us.
In response to our twelve month journey on "the Adoption Highway", most notably, our time detouring with the BEAUTIFUL migrant girls, we realized that we have no deep longing to adopt from a specific country. We have no deep longing to adopt toddlers. We have no deep longing to adopt only boys. Our deepest LONGING is to respond to God, to walk in obedience, to give an orphan a home, and to grow our family. We have tasted the blessings of saying "YES!" to God.
When two BEAUTIFUL migrant girls walked out of our lives and the news from Honduras continued to be discouraging, we felt the door of adoption closing on us. Our GPS (Global Positioning System) was telling us to exit the highway. BUT...
Our true GPS (God Positioning System) said, "NO, do not exit."
We faltered. We questioned. We sweat a little bit. Then before we had a chance to close our hearts to this mission, God, as only He can do, opened another door. We looked at the map again and saw that "the Adoption Highway" was not a dead end. Exciting possibilities for ADOPTION and a final destination of HOME with Thunder and Lightning are waiting for us at the end of a different road.
ADOPTION is the journey; HOME is the destination. An orphan is an orphan. There are literally thousands of waiting children who are ready to come HOME and this family will grow by welcoming HOME an older sibling group from COLOMBIA.