Friends, it has been too long since I last wrote. I'm very sorry. On the last post, we had just returned from our initial visit to eastern Europe. We are still in that waiting mode. We have had medical exams updated, background checks updated, and trips to the statehouse to have already notarized papers officially apostilled. (which, by the way, I'm told is pronounced AP-us-stilled, not uh-POS-tlled as I had believed. But I'll be guided by the Secretary of State and change my way of speaking.) I get to wondering, does anyone's background check come back "bad" on the fifteenth try? I mean, really?!? Unfortunately, I'm sure that it does. We've done all we can on our end and we now await a court date in our child's country. We will have a representative at the court on our behalf where the papers will be signed to officially make him our child. As hard as the waiting has been, I think that is when the despair and urgency will kick in. At that time, all paperwork will say that he is ours. We are very happy with the situation that he has been able to grow up in thus far, but I can't imagine MY CHILD being in another country without me. To be totally honest, it already feels that way but there is nothing we can do until it is all official. So we wait on due diligence. Most everyone has been very helpful in the process and I know that it just takes time, but it's hard. I've written about it before, but the waiting doesn't get any easier. I did have something happen this weekend that gave me a different perspective on the waiting. As many of you know, I'm a terrible waiter. I'm certain there are some people out there that just sit back and relax and say, "It takes time, I know that. God will oversee it all and He'll get it done in the appropriate time." I know that, and I believe that, but in my head I'm thinking about a million things that MUST be done, or COULD be done, or SHOULD be done...on and on. Well this week, I and a few others were helping a friend move a swing-set/fort from the backyard of their old home to their new home. It was heavy and awkward. We hoisted it up onto a flatbed truck and thought, "that wasn't too bad. Meet you at the new house." Then we heard the whirrr of the truck engine. Whirr, but no Vroom (don't you love my highly technical, mechanical talk)? The engine was turning over, trying to start, but it just wouldn't fire. After numerous tries we determined that the gas gauge must be off and it must be out of gas. We located a can, put a few gallons in the tank and tried again. Whirrrrr, whirrrr, whirrrr......whirrr, whirrr, whirrr. Still nothing. Finally, a guy familiar with the truck arrived to help us. He moved the gear shift into drive, then slammed it hard up into park. Whirrr...VROOM. It immediately fired. It just wasn't fully in park. I always thought that an engine would only click or something if not in park, but this one did try to turn over. But it wasn't until it was fully and totally "parked" that it actually "fired". Psalm 46:10a says, "be still and know that I am God." I've heard it before. I believe I've written about it before. But this weekend, I saw it in a new way. You see I've been saying to God, "ok, I'm being still". But I only appeared to be in "park". To those around me, I look parked. Calm, rested, relaxed. But in reality there are things that nobody can see that suggest that I'm in gear, trying to move. It's not until I am fully parked that I can fire. God says, "I've got this one" but I have a hard time "parking" to let him spark my ignition.
As I've looked back over my life, I've seen that pattern so many times. On the outside, I look to be in control and settled. I appear to be in relationship with Christ, but there are things going on under the hood that suggest otherwise. I pray to God and tell him, "Lord, I'm so sorry for those times when I've let You down." And it's amazing the response that God gives back upon hearing those words. "My child, you can never let me down...because you don't have the ability to lift Me up. It is I that lift you up. You are my created being. I don't make junk, so stop thinking that you're failing, or worthless, or whatever. Just relax. Be still and let Me work through you. You'll see how wonderful it is when you let Me be in control." You see, all this time when I've made mistakes, I've been quite ashamed. I've often dwelt on the times in my life that I've failed. But the problem with that is, I haven't failed. I have succeeded. My life became an absolute, unquestionable success story the moment that I gave my life to the Lord and accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour. Is life perfect? No, not here on this earth. But in Romans chapter 4, we are assured that to those whom believe in the One who raised Jesus from the dead, that our belief is credited to us as righteousness. Righteousness. Perfection. In God's eyes we are perfect.
There is another Bible verse that I've quoted before, thinking of it as a goal. I've heard many others use it, and it's quite good. It's in Matthew 25. "Well done, good and faithful servant". The context is in the parable of the talents where the men took their master's money and put it to work to earn more. He was telling the men that they did good and deserved to be in charge of other things. We often use the phrase as something that we want to hear when our life on this earth is over. "Well done, good and faithful servant." Well, it probably won't surprise you based on what I've already written, but I used to feel a ton of pressure from that verse. Pressure that I put on myself. Rather than embracing the grace that God gives, I've condemned myself far too many times and thought, "so much for hearing that verse". Let me tell you, God's grace is sufficient. It is amazing. And for the times that I'm lost, God comes to find me. Just like in the world of adoption, and just like the one lost lamb, the shepherd will seek out the lost one and bring it back into the fold. Friends, don't get caught up in thinking that you, as believers, are anything less than righteous. God doesn't make junk. So I'm learning how to accept his grace and mercy and allow myself to live freely. Live fully in His awesomeness. I still have a little issue with the "well done, good and faithful servant" verse. But these days it is to keep myself in check. It's the "done" part of the verse. Well "done", as if it is my own doing that earns me a spot. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the verse and the bible does tell us that faith without works is dead, so I know there is "doing" to be done on our part. But for me, I have to be careful to check my pride and not think too highly of myself and what I have the ability to do. So for now, instead of "well done", I like to sit back and imagine my Father's house, with all the rooms, and lots and lots of food and hear him say, "welcome to the table. I don't care if you've done enough, because you never can. I don't care if you've made mistakes, because you always will. I just care that you loved me and sought to put me first. So welcome to the table."
This adoption process has really helped my relationship with Christ. I look at things so much more clearly, with less cynicism and with more grace. I'm still growing, I hope I always will be. I cannot wait to get our child home and to share God's love with him, just as we've been sharing God's love with our biological children. Watching them grow in Christ has been so amazing. Soon, hopefully soon, we will have another one home to love, teach, and to watch grow. We know from studies that gathering around a meal is a great nurturing and attachment tool. We can't wait to bring him home and say, "welcome home. Welcome to the table". With God's grace, he will one day hear those very words from the One that it matters most...."Welcome to the table, my beloved child".