We were laughing and chatting, enjoying an incredibly rare ladies day, when she filled me in on the latest in her adoption process. They were in the last stages of completing their home study and had already completed mounds of paperwork and interviews that probed into every aspect of their lives. They had gladly handed over the long list of friends and family they could call on for support during the initial transition time of bringing home a baby from overseas. All in all, things were going incredibly smoothly. Seeing the long list of nearby support had reminded them how blessed they were with reliable friendships and people who genuinely love their family. Of course, every adoption process has it's hiccups and they had been wisely warned by the counselor assigned to them that there would be something to crop up and slow things down along the way, but just to keep the end in focus and be flexible with the process. Then they got the news they weren't expecting...
Her husband received the news that he might be transferred and her family may have to move. While it would be a couple months before they found out where, they instantly knew everything had just been shifted to a new course in their adoption process. If they moved, the home study would have to be redone. The support system they had gladly handed over with confidence and a smile would be irrelevant and would have to be built again from scratch. If he was sent oversees, their family could be separated for a time and at a minimum, their adoption would be put on hold while she faced a period of time being the wife at home raising young children with a displaced husband.
As she told me all of this and we talked through all the options, you could hear the anxiety in her voice. You could hear the nervousness that comes when knowing a big change is coming but you don't know where it's going to leave you. But time and time again, she repeated, "I know God is in this. He lead us into this and He's going to see us through to the end. We have to trust Him and His timing for both my current family and for when we get to bring our new baby home." We gladly prayed with her for weeks while they awaited the orders and what it would mean for their family and their adoption. But the question remained theirs to answer... Will we still trust Him when everything we've come to lean on is stripped away? Is He still good when we have to move away from all our friends and family and incur significant delays and additional expenses on an adoption we felt certain He was leading us to? Can we trust His timing is more perfect than our dreams and plans?
I could relate to her on so many levels. Not long ago, my family was faced with a similar test of faith. We have built a wonderful life here in Dothan. We have so many good friends here, several who have become like family. We have established careers here, brought a child home to our Dothan home and found a church that we could not love more. I was looking forward to raising our daughter here, in the heart of a city big enough for variety but still with the small town feel. It's safe here.
But something had been stirring for a while. My husband had been growing increasingly more unhappy and stressed at work. The long hours and stress were taking a toll on his Type 1 diabetes and we were watching his blood sugar levels continue to rise, despite tightening up on diets. We finally reached the breaking point where we had to decide if we were going to stay here where we were comfortable, with an incredible support group, but with his health being put at risk and him missing out on so much home life; or were we going to recognize God at work, using his health as a measurable indicator for us to pay attention to that life was way out of balance and He was not our priority? But that meant taking a big risk to start looking for other opportunities elsewhere? It was the easiest and yet most difficult decision we had been faced with in quite some time. We would, of course, put our family and my husband's health first, but this had been our first real home together... 12 years of putting down roots. Giving that up that meant finding all new friends and a new church to be part of. That may not sound like that big of a change for you, but keep in mind, I'm a stay at home/work from home/mom now. My friends are my whole life these days! The thought of moving away from them made me sick. And it made me remember that "I know God is in this. He lead us here and He'll lead us to where we need to be next. He will provide for our needs, including friends, no matter where He sends us. He will provide if we trust Him." But the question still remained... Do I trust God when it's uncomfortable and scary? Am I willing to follow Him into the next unknown?
We sat at the kitchen table late in the night many nights talking about how God brought us here and provided so much and how He would do that again if He lead us somewhere else. We prayed for direction and guidance and peace. We prayed for a break in stress that would save Rob from a significant decline in health. We prayed we would know the right place to raise our daughter. I struggled through tears as I asked my girlfriends to pray with us through this decision. I struggled with knowing God was my only foundation and the comfortable friendships were the blessings that come with following Him, but they were not my foundation. Job applications were submitted with prayer and trusting that God would making things obvious for us. Hiring processes were significantly delayed for a number of reasons, and during that time, an opportunity presented itself at home. Rob was able to switch jobs within the plant to one that is a much better fit for his health and our family. We took a cut in pay, but didn't have to move. We were reminded that we have to be willing to move if we are going to completely trust God in everything. He alone is our foundation and He will always provide.
Jenny was born and raised in the Dothan/Wiregrass area. Her parents lived here, along with her Grandmother. She knows just about anyone you can think of and is definitely the hometown girl. We were just getting into the grove of the regular play dates with our little blessings and were having so much fun with our friendship growing as they sparked their own little friendships. She was actively involved in her church family here. Her parents lived close by and were a regular part of their weeks. Then her husband got an opportunity to take a different job, but it would require them moving a couple hundred miles away. But with college being the only time in her life she wasn't living in this area, that opportunity came with a lot of questions, emotions, and a willingness to give everything over to trust God would lead them to a place He had planned for their family. Similarly to my situation, they were faced with God nudging them to move to put Him first, to put a priority on their family, and to trust Him without the safety net of the comfortable, already established life.
Just a couple short months later, the moving truck pulled away with their entire life packed up in boxes to move them to Augusta where they now reside. Her parents left the home they had always had to follow them. They fully trusted God in their move and though they were not without tears, they were peaceful and excited about what lied ahead for them in God's plan. Since the move, they have been blessed many times over by seeing God's provision, by putting them in the city where her mom would later be paired up with a doctor and clinic perfectly suited to helping her fight a nasty battle with cancer. Jenny, Asia and Ethan have flourished in their new home, have found new amazing friendships, and have found a new church that loves adoption as much as they do.
God asked them to move and they did. It wasn't easy leaving so much that was familiar, but they knew it was the right thing to do and God has provided in amazing ways for them.
That's the big question... Are you willing to be unconditionally obedient? Will you follow God when He says go? Or do you only follow Him when you get to keep the things that make you comfortable?
What if seventy-five year old Abram (Abraham) had put limitations on his obedience to God? Thank God He was fully faithful and fully obedient. The great nation that God promised would come from him included Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Because he went, as the Lord told him, without limitations, we are all blessed today and have the opportunity to accept God's grace and salvation.
Our choices have consequences. Choosing to follow God into whatever our wilderness may be -- unknowns in an adoption process, uprooting your family to move for another job, facing a pay cut or transfer to another city -- will always yield blessings, not only to our own families, but to all those we will encounter. He is good and faithful and will always provide for our needs when we put serving Him first in our lives.
What is God trying to get your attention with? What in your comfortable life are you at risk of giving more importance to than you give to God? Are you willing to be obedient, no matter what the cost? If so, He will always provide.