Wow! One month ago, Julie and I had just returned from our Idaho vacation. All vacation long, we talked and prayed about the new era we would come home to – the era of opening our home to foster/adopt children. I kept telling Julie that I thought it would be a quick change. Throughout the whole process, I sensed and urgency that carried us through the certification process with Koinonia in 6 weeks (as opposed to the 3 – 6 months that they suggested it would take.) Well, on Wednesday, August 30, 2006, a little baby named Maria was born. On the next day at 4:30 PM we got a phone call asking us if we would like to bring her into our home. By 6:30 PM we were driving out to Joshua Tree and around 8 PM, just as the sun was setting, we met Maria.
I have never seen a more beautiful baby – small with perfect features. I am totally taken with her, and I was that very night. I had no idea that I would attach so quickly, so completely as if she was my own. There’s even an additional sweetness knowing that we are pursuing her, bringing her into our family, giving her a new name, a new identity, and a new future. There’s a humble feeling of awe that God would choose us to do this.
Of course, there is the faith and trust issue here, the nagging knowledge that this isn’t final – that Maria is not ours. Every hour, my watch beeps and I pray, “God, Maria belongs to You. I trust You with her life. I want so desperately to be entrusted with her for the entirety of her or my life. I want to call her mine. Yet, Your will be done. I trust You completely. Help me to be the best father I can be to her right now – each day that you’ve entrusted her to me. Amen.”
In a way, is it any different for Billy? Perhaps it’s just more vivid of a reality that Maria belongs to God. However, everything I have belongs to Him and has been entrusted to me to use and influence for His glory. After all, it’s all about God, not about me. It’s not ultimately about Julie and my desire to have Maria as our child. Yet, I can come to my loving Father with my requests, and trust Him to give me what I ask for in His name. There’s just always that surrendering phrase that Jesus obediently used in the garden of Gethsemane. “Not my will, but Thy will be done.” In His case, His will to be delivered was not granted, because God had a greater good in mind – the salvation of the whole world. Thank you, Jesus for modeling this submission for me.
My heart is so full as I walk through these days. I barely have had time to stop and reflect. I think about the first Worship service on 9/3. I was leading with David Finley and he had planned the worship set. Every song pointed me to God’s sovereignty and my need to trust.
Blessed Be Your Name was a real moment as I sang “You give and take away, Lord, blessed be Your name.” “Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise.” You Are God Alone reminded me of God’s character and that “In the good times and bad, You are on Your throne.” Immortal Invisible reminded me that ‘To all life Thou givest to both great and small. In all life Thou livest, the true life of all. We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree. We wither and perish but naught changest Thee.”
I continue to trust God as we walk through this time. I’m very aware of the risk we are taking, even now knowing that a family from The River, just lost their fos-adopt 4 year old son after having him for 9 months. They were way further along in the process. I pray for them every time I think about them. I also am aware of the threefold process that God has commissioned for us. First, to change the life of Maria forever. Second, to lead our church in worshiping Him by being obedient to this specific call on my life – by being willing to throw myself into His loving arms in a deep trust that He will sovereignly work His will in this process. By being willing to surrender the clean, easy, safe life that I sinfully cling to and that can keep me from reaching out to the lost and the least – the very people that Jesus primarily hung out with during His years on earth. Finally, allowing this process to change my heart forever as I am drawn closer to God’s heart. In the book I am reading about Bono, called Bono, I am most impressed by how he describes his work in Africa. “On the Africa stuff we can’t lose, because we’re putting our shoulder to a door God Almighty has already opened. We carry with us–this is something that’s important–the moral weight of an argument… The argument has some sort of moral force that they cannot deny. It’s bigger than you, and it’s bigger than them. And history as well as God is on its side.” That’s how I feel about what we’re doing right now. I sense God’s pleasure – the same huge hug I felt at the Saddleback Conference as He assures me that this is the call He’s placed on my life. I praise Him that the time has come and the process has begun. I praise Him for His timing and for my partner in this all – Julie Ann. Here’s to the future as we continue to open the floodgates of love in our home.