Full Circle Faith

I shared on social media a few weeks ago that we had taken a step in a new direction regarding our impending adoption.

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So, this week we took a step. It was unexpected and not the way we thought we were going, but we have felt 100% at peace about it since. • We have felt for years that we were supposed to wait on a phone call and adopt privately. Lately, though, several opportunities have arisen that we felt the need to check into. We never wanted to look back and feel like we missed steps we had been led to while waiting. After checking out one avenue, Mr. Gray and I both felt very clearly that it wasn’t the way for us. When we got home, I sent an email to an agency we had been interested in for several years. Previously, they had a waitlist for families and we took that as a sign we were not to pursue it. This time, they didn’t. They were updating some of their processes and told me they’d get back with me when the new information was ready to roll. I considered that a probably not and went on my way. Within days, I received another email from them with the new information. We took that as our go-ahead and officially submitted our information this week. • We still don’t know anything about timing or place or any details, but we know this felt right. So, here we are. One step down a different path and still waiting.

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We were excited, but not quite convinced this would be the ultimate path to our baby. I mean, we don’t know what the path to our baby is, or we would have already taken it. Basically, we pray through any option that is presented and then decide whether to step forward or continue holding. In this instance, we stepped forward. We found out Friday that we were not going to be moving forward with that agency, and while it wasn’t surprising, it still kind of sucked. ( I don’t have a better way to say that; it did.)

This morning at church, when Pastor started the message, I knew exactly where he was going with it: 1 Kings 18. I started nudging Mr. Gray and tapping him on the shoulder before the scripture was ever up on the screen. While still taking today’s notes, I was scrambling to notes from several months ago. (This is all going to get a bit choppy here; hang in there with me.)

You see, one Sunday several months ago, I was at church by myself (it may or may not have been raining–I’m not 100% on my memory there), and Pastor wrapped up a sermon on having faith with a piece of the story of Elijah sending his servant to look for rain seven times. That morning, there in the front row, it had never been more clear to me that we were looking for that rain cloud.

‘Go and look toward the sea,’ he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
‘There is nothing here,’ he said.
Seven times Elijah said, ‘Go back.’
The seventh time the servant reported, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.’
So Elijah said, ‘Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.””

I started listing off the times we had been approached about adoption and it had never been right. Before taking the time to do that, I likely would have told you the number was astronomical. It seems like so many missed connections. But. It was just under seven–an encouraging number below seven. A place where we could see that even if seven wasn’t the end-all-be-all magic number, that God was with us. He saw us. He knew we were there in the wait and trying to lean in and listen. So, for the past few months, as I have seen Elijah references pop up, my ears have perked up. It’s been worth the time and the listen to see what God’s got in this.

As he started in on it this morning, I got my old notes and re-read while I listened. I flipped back to my new notes and kept jotting. The sermon series we are in is titled Coming out of Your Drought. It was pouring down rain this morning, which seemed fitting. This time, instead of simply talking about sending the servant seven times to check for rain, Pastor was more focused on what Elijah was doing in this time. He was on his knees, with his face between his knees. He couldn’t see what was going on around him, he was removing himself from all the distractions and focusing on his faith. He knew the rain would come. But he didn’t know when. As Pastor illustrated that with a few moments of awkward silence, it was resonating so much. That awkward silence is where I feel like I’m sitting sometimes. Just me and God in a quiet room, with nothing to do but hold on to the faith that I know we will someday have another child to call ours. We talked about seeing things in faith and using  that to build our hope. To hang onto what we know is planted, even when we can’t yet see. There in my notes from today, I wrote as I heard, “The drought is about to be broken.”

Tears streamed down my face as I wrote that. On the heels of what could have been discouraging news Friday, God was using this message to remind me that He is still good. He still keeps His promises. (Did I mention we saw three rainbows in two days last week as well?) What the devil would use to discourage us and bring us down, we can see as just another stepping stone in our path.

As we served second service, the worship leader began one song with a reference to Elisha (new prophet here–the apprentice of Elijah–part of the story in Greater). And it took me back–to a time where I was broken, hurting, and grieving in the late summer, early fall of 2012. In August of 2012, my brother-in-law passed away. It was a tough kind of grief for me to process–different than anything I had been through. That week, as prayed, read, and journaled, I read Steven Furtick’s Sun Stand Still. The week of his birthday (just under a month later, still in 2012) I had the opportunity to go to a conference in South Carolina with other leaders from our church. While there, I received such a word of God and a ton of peace. In a room of thousands, it was as though God was speaking directly to me.  (Steven Furtick, Perry Noble, Craig Groeschel, Judah Smith, and others were there.)

Back to 2018. Today. When I was flipping through my notes from church after we got home, I also flipped to 1 Kings 17 and started from when Elijah announced the drought. I read through to 1 Kings 19 where Elisha burns his plows. As I read, I remembered Sun Stand Still. Over my shoulder, I asked, “Hey, did you read Sun Stand Still after I did?”

“Yes, why?” But I didn’t respond. I was piecing.

Once I finished the passage, I headed for the highlights in my copy (albeit electronic) of Sun Stand Still. (It should also be noted I almost never make highlights in books.) I read through them all. I only needed additional context for a few.

One in particular stood out:

And it illustrates a fundamental principle of audacious faith: when what you see around you doesn’t match up with what God has spoken inside you, you’ve got to hold on to what you’ve heard. Paul said it more plainly in 2 Corinthians 5:7: ‘We live by faith, not by sight.'”

Mr. Gray was in the chair watching football when I sat down on the couch to lay it all out. I started out a little all over the place, but I finally got there. (I’m going to jump around on you one more time.)

I said, “Do you remember when we said we would wait until the boy was two to make a decision about whether we were going to have another biological child or adopt?” He did. (And for what it’s worth, it was like so much with us, we always knew we would adopt; we just needed a timeframe in which to go forward.)

So basically, the long and short of it is this. In a time of major grief and processing, we both read a book with the story of Elijah and Elisha. That same fall, just about a month later, is when we “officially” decided we would adopt. Now, within the span of less than a year, two different messages about Elijah have given me a little more clarity into the journey we are on. The boy will turn eight this month, so to say this path has been long (or short) is relative. I don’t know the end of the story. I don’t know when we’ll get an opportunity to move forward “officially” with an adoption. But I know it’s worth the wait.

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