Tomorrow, thanks to a willing daddy, a helpful grandma (the twins) and a fun aunt (big sister) . . .I'll be heading to spend my weekend at the Created for Care retreat (child free! : ) ).
Created for care is a retreat inspired by adoptive moms for adoptive and foster care moms, mom-to-be and orphan advocates. It was created to provide a place of rest and refreshment for the adoptive and foster care communities amidst what is often an emotional, exhausting, and long! journey.
I'll be honest . .. when I first signed up for it last september, part of me wondered about it. I wondered if I should go with this long of a wait still ahead of us. I was going alone . . .and I wondered how that would go. Yet I really felt like it was important for the time and with God filling in the details, signed up.
Yet while we're being honest?
It's been a hard few weeks at our house. Mommy has been tired. Children have been stretching. Life's had a few curve balls. And our wait? That seems to be growing longer at times more often than growing shorter.
I love to look back to september and believe that God knew all of that.
He knew how much I'd need a weekend of rest. He knew I needed a perspective shift. He knew I needed to step away from me and closer to Him.
If there is one thing I have learned about this adoption journey?
It's that it is really easy for my world to become small. When there isn't much news, when there isn't much movement, and when life just seems hard, our natural inclination is to focus on waiting for that "something" new.
Like any waiting stage in life, it's easy to want to focus on that "someday."
Yet God has clearly said that "someday" is not now.
So what I love about the heart of Created to Care is that even while it's for the adoptive community, it is about bringing the heart of a mommy back to the Creator. It's remembering the bigger picture. . . .and while we do that, helping equip and strengthen momma's to mother our children where ever they may be today.
I've commented before that there are moments the reality of how long we still have to wait that totally catch me by surprise and take my breath away. That's true.
We started this process a year ago this past november fully thinking there was a chance we might welcome our child home this year.
Several have asked me lately and I'm preparing my heart to wait as much as another two years. I pray it's less but have to trust God to write this journey and that it will be right.
I'm seeing the wisdom in His timing, even when it's hard sometimes. I'm learning the stretching and at time, painful molding that waiting is and the beauty in finding my satisfaction in Him.
In BSF this year, we've been studying Acts.
One of the real truths that has been hammered home is that as we respond to God's call on our lives, we need to be prepared for tribulation and trial as satan attacks that call on our life.
I'd love to live a life that with every time I responded "yes" to God, the path was clear sailing and His favor was poured on to my life.
It's easy to ask for that, look for that and desire for that if I'm being honest.
But God's shown me how much that is a lie from satan . . .that I have believed it more often than I care to admit. Yet it isn't biblical.
His eternal reward is promised.
Yet a smooth life as a Christian? That is not.
The book of Acts is such a testimony of that.
As the apostles responded to God's call to spread the gospel, they encountered so much suffering, so many obstacles and seemingly setbacks.
Yet they did not question if they should continue. They did not ask if it was worthy it (they knew it was!).
I love the results.
Time and time again, because of the persecution, supposed setbacks and change of routes, God was glorified and the gospel was spread as a result.
People found Jesus as they saw a God who was bigger than circumstances.
God has shown me that I can not allow satan to discourage me with doubts about our journey or how it's going to work out. In fact, He's showing me that I need to take the offense and equip myself with His strength and His word.
That's a huge prayer of mine as this journey stretches out in front of us and that's definitely a prayer request of mine that I can be prepared to stand strong against the discouragement in our journey still ahead.
I want to continue to look up and out instead of in.
That is going to only get harder.
Yet as I've studied this in BSF, I have to admit, I've often thought about the slow downs that have happened within the Ethiopia adoption program and seen parallels.
At times, it seems like for every two steps forwards the program makes, there is one step back.
Children are waiting, momma's are hurting, and there seems to be this gap between the two.
None of it seems to makes sense.
Yet amidst it all?
Families are changing too.
Moms are being refined.
Children are growing and parameters are being changed so that more special needs children are finding families and more older children are finding families.
Families in the adoption process are praying for the Ethiopia program like I believe it's never been prayed for before.
Families are becoming advocates for other adoptive communities.
Families already paper ready are available for other waiting children that may need a home with simple modifications (well as simple as adoption paperwork ever is).
And dare I even say that even occasionally, birth families are being reunited as real life circumstances change?
Through it all, God's faithfulness is being shared with every trial, roadblock and extra days encountered.
His name is being spread and we learning He is enough.
It's easy to look at the apostle's journeys in Acts and so clearly see God moving amidst trials. I have to believe satan attacked them in the same ways. Yet they continued to respond to God's call on their lives regardless.
So that's my prayer for this weekend and in the months (or years!) ahead.
That despite the incredible women and friends I may encounter this weekend. . .
Regardless of the things I learn, speakers I hear or lessons taught. . .
That I can turn my eyes back to my Creator and find that rest in Him.
And call me crazy?
But I don't even think my kids will miss me while I'm gone. : )