Around this time last year, things looked a lot different in our lives. We experienced a pretty big setback in our adoption process. Our hearts were broken as we had been rejoicing and dreaming of days that we thought were soon to come, but in the matter of an instant, everything changed. You can read the post I wrote about that here.
I spent the better part of 2016 second guessing myself. In some ways I felt like I should have known better. I should have known not get my hopes up. I shouldn't have picked a name. I shouldn't have been so public about our process. I also began to wonder if I'd heard the Lord correctly: Did He really lead us to adopt from Ethiopia? Were we subconsciously influenced by people we know who had adopted from Ethiopia? Did we get confused and believe that this is how we were called to go to the ends of the earth? Was I actually listening to God? Did I want to avoid vulnerability so much that I didn't want to put myself and my family out there to be screened by birth mothers, so I chose a path that would eliminate that possibility?
As you can see, I had some rough stuff to work though. God had to do a lot of work in me. There's a line that I can't get out of my head from a song that we sing at church that says, "You are working in our waiting, sanctifying us; And beyond our understanding, You're teaching us to trust." As I wrestled through all of these big thoughts with God, I knew that we He was working in me and through me and teaching me every single day to trust Him more.
In April, I woke up one morning and knew our story was about to take a very different turn. You see, God wasn't punishing me by out setback, He just had a detour in mind for us - one that would change our lives and the life of someone else forever. He had something for us that we wouldn't have never considered if things would have gone like we thought they were going to.
As I sit on my front porch on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, my heart simultaneously aches at the pain that I have felt for the better part of a year and skips a beat as I gaze at my beautiful, sleeping baby girl. You see, God did not intend for us to stop what we were doing when we experienced heartbreak - He kept calling us to forge ahead; we continue to wait for Judah expectantly. But, approximately one month before she was conceived, God brought us to a halt to make space in our home, hearts, and lives for a little girl who needed a family.
We now know that Judah's story and Brighten's story are intertwined by our family and by our loving Father. We now know that we've moved a significant amount on the new waiting list this year, but not so much that our adoption of Brighten would interfere with our adoption of Judah. We now know that had Dove stayed open, there's a very good chance that I wouldn't be sitting in this place, at this time, with this precious little life sleeping next to me. And what a terrible tragedy that would be.
If you've ever doubted that God is completely, 100% sovereign, don't. Our family is living, breathing proof that He is. If you've ever doubted that God could bring something beautiful out of ashes, don't. Our family is living, breathing proof that He can. If you've ever doubted that God has a perfect, loving plan for your life, don't. Our family, and our daughter, is living, breathing proof that every life has meaning and a purpose that God will work in and through.
Last November, I naively thought I knew how to trust God. But I can say with full certainty that this November, I trust God more because He has sanctified me my waiting and brought absolute beauty from ashes in our daughter, Brighten. However, I still have a lot left to learn about trusting God wholly and completely, and I can't wait to sit on my porch next year and reminisce and praise God for all He will do over the course of one, small year.
I'm thankful to live in a world where there are Novembers.