Thursday, March 24, 2011

Searching the Heart

Four or so years ago, I was struggling. I was happy, content, joyful... but struggling.

You see, there was a corner of my heart that I'd set aside for our "someday" children...

... and "someday" would not come.

Tears and questions and searching and wondering were there, and sometimes in abundance, but I wouldn't call them my travelling companions down that road. No, my faithful companion was God's patient grace. His comfort, His truth spoken in love, and the way He gently unfolded corners of my heart that needed examining on that journey.

You see, adoption was a grand hope of ours, regardless of whether or not we would have biological children, too. It was never a "plan B" for us; it was an exciting hope... and yet that door seemed closed to us, too, at the time. I spent hours upon hours over the years investigating adoption: domestic and foreign, open and closed, agency and private, but I was missing an important point. I should have been investigating my heart, too.

One night, I was reading 1 Samuel chapter 1, and Hannah's plea for a child. I probably read it through tears, as I related so much to her "plight." One thing stood out to me: she prayed for a son and promised to give that child back into the Lord's service. I don't think she was bartering here, though this is just my speculation; I think she had it on her heart to pray for this child, and God placed the desire there to pray specifically for a child who would live his life for Him.

The heart-searching unfolded a bit more. Why did I want a child? I do believe the Lord had placed the desire on my heart, but I think I was pursuing that desire less for the fact that HE'D placed it there, and more for the reasons that I wanted it, it seemed the natural thing that should happen next in life, and it's what I'd always pictured.

The word "motive" comes from the Old French word motif, meaning "brought forward." My motives lay before me, raw and ready for examination. They'd been brought forth to be not only weighed, but covered in grace and amended.

I had embraced and pursued that desire for ME, not for Him. Hannah seems to have prayed for a child because her hope in that moment was the ministry God had laid before her.

Things began to change for me after that. We attended an adoption seminar whose message was largely that adoption is just that: a ministry. A ministry to the birth parents, the baby, the social workers...whoever may cross your path during the journey. I've never given birth myself, but I would imagine that pregnancy is a similar road of ministry to doctors, nurses, friends, and others who cross your path on that journey.

Suddenly, I found my heart so full of an excitement to serve HIM on that road, wherever it led. I felt called into that mission field. I relished praying for our possible "someday" child and praying for the comfort, peace and direction for his or her birth mother.

I felt like Hannah- the desire that was initially there to be a mother, now grounded in a calling. The fears and unknowns of the adoption road now rested in His hands, and we knew that as long as we sought Him every step of the way, there was no "failing," even if the adoption did "fail" (more on this here).

And then the doors began to open... and stayed open... and when they hung on the precarious hinges of "will it work out?" we clung to the knowledge that He'd called us and led us there, regardless of what happened. We found refuge in the knowledge that he would comfort and heal if the road forked that way, and he would rejoice and give wisdom in parenting if the road forked the other way.

And, dear reader, that's the way the road did wind:

...we do not know what the Lord holds for our family in the area of future children, but we are so thankful for the ability to look back and see His faithfulness on this road, and to know the God of what's past in this story is the same God who holds our future in the palm of His hands.


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