Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fear, Doubt, and the Names of God

This is a post that has been sitting on the back burner simmering for a while.  I get goosebumps and tears every time I think about it but haven't quite had the courage to try putting it to words yet.  Now as I prepare to post, it has been months since the week I am about to describe to you.  I decided it is time to finish it off and post it, as we are currently facing an unexpected delay in our process.  I need to finish and share it today because it is full of hope and good news.

After our months and hours of searching, we found Titus!  And after we found him, we were able to orchestrate his file transfer!  Two huge steps to begin our journey.  Miracles, in fact.  I told my husband early on as we discussed pursuing this adoption that "if God will find this little boy, he will provide the funds to bring him home."  In my mind, funds were the only obstacle once we "found" him.  I hadn't yet considered myself as the enemy.

No matter how many times we hear a truth, or how well we know it and could even teach it to others, there must be a crucial point of decision to allow that truth to change us.  When it comes to spiritual truths, we must invite that change over and over in each new situation.  Because, let's face it.  We're a bit like Ogres and onions.  We've got LAYERS.  There's the layer that says "I trust God".  Underneath that is the layer that says, "I trusted God really well with [fill in blank] in the past."  Then there's "I trust God... with some things."  And then it starts to get rotten at the core when we hit something we've never faced before; In my case, the unknowns of adoption.

So, God led us to find our little boy and get approvals for the file transfer.  I was over the moon!  And then the darkness settled in.  I'm not talking about the application fees and the first agency payment, or even paying for our homestudy, fingerprinting, medicals, and background checks.  We took those steps of faith in joy, because "If God will find this little boy, he will provide the funds..."  But as we began writing those first checks and waiting on the news that the file had indeed transferred and our family had been officially "matched" to Titus, I developed new fears.

It started innocently enough, reviewing what I had seen so far of his file.  Limb deformity.  Ear deformity.  other minor conditions.  HOURS of research, and love growing like crazy for this little guy who needs a family to help him navigate this world and discover his abilities.  Research is a great thing, and we have SO MANY resources available to us.  But as other research junkie moms can confirm, too much research can be a really bad thing.  It can turn a common cold into a rare deadly disesase.

Thus began the greatest week of fear and doubt that I have ever experienced.  What if his conditions are worst-case-scenario?  Can we meet his needs?  What do his conditions mean for his future?  How will it affect our family?
And I questioned..
What about the calling we so strongly felt to bring him into our family?  Did we hear wrong?


The Bible study I am working through with the girls had a quick section on Old Testament names of God.  They were enjoying it so much that we decided to take it more slowly, focusing on one or two names per day, researching its origins and uses and discussing how God fulfilled those names both in the Bible and in our lives, praying through them.  So as I struggled with all of this fear and doubt, I was teaching my children that

Are we doing the right thing?
  Jehovah Raah                                                                          El Elyon
          The Lord is my shepherd                                          What if he has [x] condition?
                                                                                           God is Sovereign
What if his medical records aren't accurate?
                                    Elohim   God is our Creator

Jehovah Shammah                                                 
God, this is scary!                                              Jehovah Rapha
The Lord is There                           How do we treat his conditions? Can they be healed?
                                                                      God is our Healer/Physician
                                                        Jehovah Shalom
                                       The Lord is our Peace
And my sweet artsy older daughter began adorning our house with reminders.
How can I expect my children to believe and trust, unless they see me exercising complete faith and trust?

I think that certainly all the questions we had we valid and obviously we need to prepare with lots of good research.  And there is no problem with revisiting and asking God for confirmation of his calling, so long as it is balanced with trust and faith, not controlled by fear.  I am so thankful to have a patient, loving Heavenly Father who reassures me when I am scared.

Our choices matter and they change the course of lives.  Had I let fear cripple me, we would still be a family of 5.  Beautiful, but incomplete.  Had I let my doubts consume me, our lives would be relatively easy right now.  Risk-free, but less fulfilling.  Had we listened to the world instead of the Word, Titus would still be an orphan instead of becoming a son.  We have a long and difficult road ahead, but I am choosing to focus not on who I am, but on who GOD is.

Today, as we face a potential delay in our process, I'm reminded that my reaction matters.  Do I react from fear, or from faith?  I am powerless, but he is All-Powerful.  God is showing me that it is only through Him that Titus will come home.  And I have a feeling I'll need that reassurance one day when I've been awake all night with a disoriented little boy who doesn't understand where he is and fears being abandoned or displaced again.  I'll need it when I overhear the first snide comment about his appearance or hit a snag with his healthcare or educational plans.
Only God.  Only God.  Only God.

Only God, our Shepherd, our Creator, our Healer, our Peace.

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