This will be my last big post before heading back....
We had our consulate appointment which was a little humorous as we all raise our right hands & take an oath... all the while, holding squirmy babies. And that was about it. No photos allowed in the consulate office so I don't have it documented.... but really pretty uneventful. When we land in detroit, we have papers to hand immigration and MS officially becomes a US citizen!
So now, I sit here in a reflective mood.... this may be a rabbit trail of thoughts. As I look back at our time in china the 2 words that stick in my mind are Redeemed and Refined.
I've said it before, but when we began this journey, I knew that it wasn't just for us but something that the Lord wanted me to share... If it weren't for God's nudging, I would have preferred to not be so open on a forum like this where I have no clue who is reading. And along the way, I have prayed that God might use my words to allow one more person to be "redeemed." Perhaps there is one more orphan who will find a home as a result of someone reading MS's story.... perhaps even now, God is pricking someone's heart to think "maybe.... just maybe..." After all, that is how it started for us.... just a thought... that ultimately led to our daughter. When I look at MS, I know that we still have many mountains to conquer but I see a light in her eyes now.... she knows.... even at 16 months old, she knows that her life will never be the same. I pray that this is simply the beginning of a path that will ultimately lead her to her Savior.... where she can be truly "redeemed."
When I look back at our experience, it is not just MS who comes to mind when I think of the idea of redemption.... I feel as though I have been hit all over again with a freshness and realization of my own redemption. The image of all the babies lying in their beds will forever be burned into my heart & mind.... I realize that I am one of them... granted I wasn't in an orphanage but I was lying helpless in my sin with no hope of getting out.... I've often heard that analogy that we weren't just drowning in an ocean and Jesus throws a life preserver but we are dead on the ocean floor.... and that is all fine and good but harder to picture myself dead on the ocean floor since it is not a real image I can see in this life...... but seeing a helpless baby.... alone in an orphanage.....that is a real image that I can wrap my mind around.....
Those babies are laying there with no future were it not for the gift of adoption... it takes an outside person coming in to give them that future and hope. Just like them, nothing I could do could change my situation.... Nothing but Jesus... He swept in and claimed me as His own... He died on the cross for all of my sins that I may be an heir before the throne of God.... His righteousness became mine.... It is mind boggling. And while I love MS with all my heart, I know that Jesus loves me even more... He laid down his life for me. I have known that adoption was at the heart of God.... he commands us to care for orphans.... His plan for redeeming creation is an adoption plan.... but somehow it gets more real when I look into the face of my little girl.... I see her transforming and waking up to life and I find myself doing the same. My hope and prayer is that through our journey someone else may awaken to true life.... life made possible by the blood of Jesus, shed for you and for me. The babies in her old room have no idea of the life that is possible outside of those four walls... but we do know... and it is more abundant than their wildest dreams.
While this has been a path of redemption for MS, it has been a path of refinement for me....By God's grace, I have known him as my savior for a while.... but man, oh man, I feel like I have been through the wringer this past week and a half. I have cried, I have been held captive by fear, I have been overwhelmed and worried.... and through it all, God is asking me "Do you trust me? Do you trust me to provide? Do you trust me to equip you?" Yesterday, I just felt a pit in my stomach and could feel fear creeping in but felt powerless to stop in and so I cried to Derek.... I feel overwhelmed at coming home to 4 children (and jet lag & spring break, I might add), I feel overwhelmed when Mei Sims goes utterly psycho like she did this morning while I dried my hair.... my mind drifts to thoughts of "how will I change henry's diaper when MS won't let me put her down? How will I fix breakfast and get the kids ready for school when MS wakes up scared and crying every morning?.... you know, just a general fear of how to navigate our new life.
Let me add that I KNOW it will not always be like this! ( I go through this same fear cycle each time we add a child to our family!) I have confidence that God will change her tears to laughter... but I just let my mind go down a path that made it hard to really really believe that and made it easier to cry. And so goes the refining process... it is never fun to see your fears and insecurities and lack of trust in a God who like I just said sent his Son to die for me.... surely He will give me strength to do something as minor as get the kids dressed in the mornings?! I know I love Him and trust Him (I think of the bible verse that says "i believe! help my unbelief!") but I also know that this life will be a continually process of shaping me to be more like He wants me to be.... so it is ok when life hurts or gets a little scary....it's ok... especially when it makes me realize that I can't do it on my own.... when it takes me back to the cross. Life can be scary and good at the same time..... which reminds me of the part in the chronicles of narnia when the kids see aslan and ask "Is he safe?" and Mrs. Beaver answers is "Of Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
A friend wrote me an encouraging e-mail this week and I love how she summed everything up when she wrote "Somehow all the broken pieces will make the story much more beautiful".... and I think that is how the whole redemption & refining processes are.... lots of broken pieces that Jesus puts together for something much more beautiful. MS's broken pieces may be more obvious to the naked eye but those pieces are in all of us..... all details in a beautiful love story He is writing. You may have to remind me of that if you come by my house and find me curled up in the fetal position in the corner! :)
I would love your prayers to continue as our family is reunited and finds our way as a new family of 6.... little Henry may especially need your prayers as I fear this may be the hardest for him. I also ask for prayers for me.... that I'd be able to provide what each of my children need and seek Him daily in the midst of the chaos. I also pray that Mei Sims would feel safe and secure even when I can no longer hold her 24-7. Today she has started screaming when Derek even hugs me.... this is about to get real interesting! Thanks friends for your prayers and everything! I'll do some updates when there is news from home and when we have been home a week, a month, etc. One of our dear friends leaves the day we get home to go get their little girl.... so if you want to see another adoption story unfold, check out the link to LittleRedHead on the side.
I'll leave you with the last verse of a song that another sweet friend sent to me as a prayer for us:
Haste, then, on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith and winged by prayer;
Heaven's eternal day's before thee,
God's own hand shall guide thee there.
Soon shall close the earthly mission,
Swift shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope soon change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.
See ya'll on the other side! Oh, BTW, you can also pray for the 15 hours flight with a child in my lap!!! And here is a little video of our sweet pea during a really great afternoon. Enjoy!