Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas this year did not happen the way we thought it would.  Just a couple of months ago, we thought we'd be spending Christmas in Ethiopia, meeting our daughter for the first time.  I have to say that it was hard for me to feel like celebrating.  After all the time we had put into this adoption, it seemed that we were finally near the finish line.  Now the finish line has fallen off the horizon, totally out of view.  If we had known two years ago that this path to adoption would lead us to the heartbreak that we have been through, I don't know if I would have wanted to do it.  I certainly would not have approached it with the hopeful optimism that I approached it with back then. 

I've thought a lot lately about the story in Genesis where Jacob wrestles with God.  God tells Jacob that he has struggled both with man and with God and that he (Jacob) has overcome.  I feel like I've been doing a lot of wrestling and struggling lately, but I don't feel like I have gotten much resolution.  We had the chance to see the Christmas program at the church James grew up in while we were there for Christmas.  One of the songs the choir sang was "Take my Life and let it Be."

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose,
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.

I will confess, that song brought hot tears of anger to my eyes.  While I know that God has a purpose for all things, it has been hard for me not to be angry with Him.  We both feel that the call to adopt was from that Lord, and we both would willingly go anywhere on this earth that He sent us to.  We both believe that the church is called to be the hands and feet of Christ, and serving as a part of His body is our delightful duty.  We poured ourselves into this adoption.  We answered the call to adopt.  We gave of our time, our money, and our hearts, and all we have to show for it so far is broken hearts.  Just because you are willing to be obedient to God, it doesn't mean that your life here on this earth will be full of happy endings.  It is certainly painful to wait on the goodness of God. 

During the season of Advent this year, I wondered what it was like for Mary to obey God when it very well could have cost her life.  Getting pregnant before you were married was quite a scandal in her community.  Was she scared?  Did she doubt God?  I don't know, but we do know how the story ended.  She was faithful, Joseph stayed with her and she saw her Son bring redemption.

Have you cursed at the wind
Have you cried to the heavens
Have you fought with this mercy you don't understand?


  1. Steph - we are praying for you guys. Can't imagine the emotional roller coaster you all have been on this year. 2010 was a very hard one for us - I have thought often of the song God Moves in Mysterious Ways (http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/m/gmovesmw.htm). I'll be praying for you that though the "bud may have a bitter taste, sweet will be the flower."

    If you guys are ever near, give us a holler. We'd love to visit with you.

  2. Stephanie, I pray that one day you will look back on this and understand the "whys" of it all. Until the Lord blesses you and James with a child I pray you will feel God's grace and peace surrounding you. And, I pray you all will be blessed with a baby very soon. Love you bunches!