However, in the midst of all that, there are lessons being learned and lived.
Right now on my table there is a 3-ring binder full of lists: what to take, paperwork, what to do, what to buy, bonding hints, how to get the kids ready. Next to that are a few books that I am reading on that same tack. And finally, I spend an inordinate amount of time scouring the net for any hint or tip that will make all this easier, faster, better.
I tend to make big deals out of little things. The other night I was running errands when I found myself on the toy aisle considering toys for the long flight. I started to panic. How do I buy toys for a little girl I don't know? Who is she? How does she play? Does she like pretend? dress up? dolls? I started to get a bit frantic. It seems silly, I know, but I didn't know what to do or what to choose. And I sent a frantic prayer up to God.
And he whispered back:
"It's not about the toys, it's about relationship."
Last week, amidst my travel planning, I decided to check and see what the State Department had to say about international travel. [Note to self: Don't do that again]. What did I learn? The world is a scary place where a lot of bad things happen every single day. Then, our enemy crept in and used two fierce weapons, fear and anxiety, to make me question many aspects of this trip we were planning.
And then God whispered to me,
"For I do not give you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind."
(2 Tim. 1:7 NKJV)
It's going to be okay.
Earlier this week, I spent a great deal of time thinking about this scary place that our entire family is walking into. It's unknown--how will the realness of adoption affect all of us? And I began to fear: knowing that there is darkness to come and fearing that the darkness will be too strong and that I won't be able to see the Light. And I worried and feared.
And God whispered to me, through the words of a wise friend:
"Remember the promises I made and the call that I gave you."
"I will lead the blind
by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do,
and I will not forsake them."
Is. 42:16 NRSV
He who leads me in will lead me out.
And in the midst of these fears, I began to feel very alone, and again fear raged in me. I am all alone. I have to do this by myself. I will fail.
God in his infinite provision and wisdom used the hands and words of many friends to surround me with love and friendship and help. He whispered words of love and compassion through their actions and words.
I am never alone.
Finally, I'm reading a book on claiming Sunshine's life story and preserving it for her someday. And it forces me to look deeply into the circumstances of her life. The book challenges me to look into her life and declare them good, to acknowledge that in all things that God is sovereign. And I struggle with this: how is abandonment good? how can it work together for good? How can I acknowledge that this is a good God's plan for a life?
And God whispers into my heart my own life verse, the one that I have claimed through my own difficulties in childhood and life, the one that I stake me entire life on:
I praise you, O Lord,
For I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was formed in that secret place.
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before a single one of them came to be."
And I am reminded and comforted, because God's whispers are louder and more life-changing that the enemy's weapons. These are the promises that I claim, these are the truths upon which I will stake my life.
For me, for my family, for my daughter.
In all this you greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—
of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—
may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1: 6 & 7