|This is an old picture, but it reminds me of how forests grow back with such beauty after a fire|
The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. We have experienced great joy and great sorrow, peace and confusion, faith and doubt. This hasn't been an easy season, but it has been a time of growth. I thought I'd take a few minutes to share a little bit of what has comforted and encouraged me, in the hopes that it might encourage you as well.
As most of you know, we recently matched (and unmatched) with a birthmother for our adoption. We were so excited to match! It really was a time of rejoicing and expectation. We were so happy to be able to call up family and friends and share our great news (so many had "labored" with us for years, offering up prayers and sending words of encouragement our way). We talked to the birthmom almost every day and things seemed really solid. Even though we knew that nothing was a guarantee, we began to make plans for bringing our baby home. We talked about baby registries, joked about preparing for sleepless nights, and basically allowed love to blossom for this little one we had never met. We traveled to have our match meeting and the first day of meeting the birthmom went relatively well. We spent the whole day together...talking, dreaming, and making plans for the baby and her. She even invited me to feel the baby kick and as the tiny foot thumped against the palm of my hand I thought, "Wow, this is really happening!" We went to bed that night, so happy, so thankful, so at peace.
But what a difference a day makes. Without going into details, things began to deteriorate with our birthmother the second day. Instead of spending the day with her, we sent text messages back and forth...beginning to suspect that something was wrong, but unsure of what to do. When we did spend time with her that day, it was a very different experience from the day before. It felt like our world was crashing down around us and there was nothing we could do about it. We tried to hold on, we kept hoping for things to turn back around, but in the end (and after many tears and prayers) we had to let go. This was not our match...we were crushed, confused, and left wondering how things could go so wrong, so fast.
As the days went on, it was confirmed over and over again that we made the right decision to unmatch. In reality, the birthmother had likely already walked away from us- but we were still left with so many questions. What had gone wrong? Why didn't we see the red flags earlier? What would happen to this baby that we were already beginning to love? Why were we allowed to come so close to having a baby, only to have our dream crushed once again? Why did God allow this to happen? How much longer would we have to wait?
We still don't have any real answers to our questions, but faith and trust and peace are slowly returning. We do know that God cares and has given us awesome friends and family to encourage us and hold us up in prayer. Thank you! You don't know how much it helped to hear from so many of you that you were praying for us and believing with us.
One one particularly hard day, I put in a cd by Steven Curtis Chapman called "Beauty Will Rise." The songs on this cd were written after he and his wife lost their little girl to a terrible accident. The words come from a place of grief and pain that I can't even imagine...yet the songs also speak of hope. Much like the Psalms of David, his faith is renewed and restored through raw honesty with God. I found myself encouraged through lyrics like:
"When I cannot have the answer/ that I'm wanting to demand/ I'll remember you are God/ And everything is in your hands..."
"Even then I will say again/ God I trust you, I will trust you/ Even when I don't understand...I know your heart is good/ your love is strong/ your plans for me are better than my own..."
"God is it true that you are thinking of me at this moment?/ God is it true that you hear every prayer that I pray?/ God is it true every time my heart beats you know it?/ Well if it's all true then that must be you I hear saying 'trust me'."
But one song really captures the prayer of my heart right now. It is called "Beauty Will Rise." It is based on Isaiah 61:3. "To all who mourn, He will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair..." The song talks about how "Out of the ashes, beauty will rise."
"Out of these ashes/ Beauty will rise/ And we will dance among the ruins/ We will see it with our own eyes/ Out of these ashes/ Beauty will rise/ For we know joy is coming in the morning/ In the morning/ Beauty will rise"
Ashes are not beautiful. They are grey, lifeless, and an ugly reminder of destroyed dreams and hopes. Yet, God says that out of these very ashes, He will bring beauty...He will bring hope...He will bring Life. What a comforting thought. We don't know why we had to go through this. We definitely don't like the pain. But if we allow Him to, God can and will cause beauty to rise in our hearts and lives.
More than ever, we truly believe that there is a baby for us...we continue to pray, to hope, and to trust.