The Pursuit

The phrase "pursuit of happiness" is all too common in American culture. It's what we strive for. It's chasing after the American Dream that we're so familiar with. 

We can pursue many things. We can pursue sin. We can pursue success. We can pursue joy, love, and gladness. We can pursue destruction, dysfunction, and pain. In life, we choose to pursue many things, both good in bad, but yet it's rare that we choose to pursue idleness and waiting. 

But yet, that's where I find myself now.

I live in pursuit of waiting. 

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In less than 30 days, our part will be over. Our home study will be complete, our paperwork will be submitted, and the days will go on while our names sit on a waiting list. 

In reality, getting on the waiting list is a goal achieved. We still have a few months before we get there, but our part will be over shortly. This is what we've been working for since the beginning of the year. It's what we've been aiming for. But yet, I haven't felt as excited as I thought I would.

There's a part of me wants to just stand still so that we don't ever have to emerge ourselves in the unknown of waiting. 

I've always known that adoption is beautiful, and wonderful, and a vivid illustration of the gospel and the grace we've received in our lives. I've also known that there is pain, and tragedy, and loss. And sometimes knowing that there will be pain, tragedy, and loss in the life of my little Judah hurts so much that I feel like it's overshadowing all of the beauty and grace. 

In an effort to be fully transparent, I have felt over the last 6 weeks or so, like I'm walking through a valley now, and I'm struggling to see the mountain up ahead. Only 7 months in to this process, and I feel like the road ahead seems long, too long, and at times it also feels lonely, too lonely. 

These last few weeks, my emotions have not had any sort of anchor. Sometimes my tears are for the little boy I'll someday call my own, but sometimes they're for me. I try to take control too often, and I suppress my emotions, until they sneak up on me. This manifested itself quite embarrassingly in church a few weeks ago on Mother's Day. As our pastor's wife was praying over the women in the room, I just had to sit down and had an ugly cry right in the middle of it all (I apologize to all who were around me and had to witness that). It was then I realized that this struggle is real, and it begins in my heart; my hardened, sinful heart. 

But the Lord is faithful, and I was quickly reminded, just minutes later of Psalm 57 which says, 

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
— Psalm 57:1-2

Sometimes His purposes are for us to walk through difficult times so that He can carry us through to the other side.

In the last week, my perspective has been changing a bit. We've begun the LAST phase of our home study (which I never thought we'd get to), had our last in-person interview with our social worker, and celebrated Father's Day. 

And the pursuit continues.

Mother's Day, just one month ago, trudged up many foreign emotions for me this year, but somehow Father's Day was such a glorious celebration for our little family. I bought Jason his first Father's Day card this year and we just had such a fun day together dreaming of life when Judah arrives.

It's as if I needed to experience Jason's excitement for what is to come, for me to get over my sadness of what hasn't yet come to pass. 

Then, on top of such a wonderful day yesterday, and such a wonderful week of moving forward, I get in the car this morning and put on a sermon from Brook Hills that I had missed a few weeks ago. It's titled, The Steadfast Love of God's Adoption, so of course I wanted to hear it. Within the first four minutes of this sermon, Pastor Jim said this:

My faith is so helped, is so strengthened when I meet families who have adopted children. This congregation is full of them. Many of you been on that journey. And I’m so encouraged when I talk to children who are navigating life having been adopted with all of the challenges that go along with that. And I am helped in my walk with our Lord when I encounter women and families who have courageously chosen to place children for adoption rather than to have an abortion. And I want to tell you why that helps me, why it strengthens my faith. One of the biggest reasons is because adoption is such an incredibly clear picture of what God has done for us. I’m confident that in those journeys there is a mixed bag for both children and parents, feelings sometimes of abandonment, and being alone and being afraid and anxious and having anxiety about the future and all of those things and yet, in adoption, in that whole journey, we see such a clear picture of how God speaks into all of those feelings and He draws into Himself and takes us into His family. No doubt adoption is a clear clear picture of the gospel.
— Pastor Jim Shaddix

I teared up. Obviously. 

It was exactly what I needed. 

I needed to be reminded that this isn't supposed to be easy. But neither is life as a Christ-follower. We don't know what the future holds for our lives, for Judah, for the waiting list, and for all of the time in between. We don't know what life will be like when we bring him home. We don't know what his past will look like, or what traumas he may have faced. But God does.

God speaks into the emotions that I'm feeling now, just as He spoke into my life when He called me to Himself five years ago. He takes my tears, my worries, my fears, and He uses them for His glory, His kingdom, and His purpose. I cannot save Judah from whatever life has for him, but God can, and that's enough. 

He's enough for me, for my family, for my future family, and He is enough for you too. Sometime the hardest thing is just throwing my hands up in defeat, but whenever I do, it's as if I can feel God just saying to me, "Finally", 

I'm in the pursuit of waiting, but my God's already knows the end of the story.