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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Waiting Well

Let me update you on the progress of Ella’s visa…(deep sigh)...well…there is no real update to give. She has an appointment at the Embassy tomorrow, August 29th, and we hope to know something after that appointment. However, we have learned that this Embassy is completely uncommunicative and only gives us conflicting and confusing bits of information via e-mail. So answers and timelines are extremely hard to come by.
We have been in a period of waiting. Who likes waiting? Not me! This is not the way I wanted this thing to go down. But God is truly sanctifying us during this time of waiting for Ella to come home. I pray we look more like Christ because of it.
A friend and elder at our church wrote an article several months back about waiting well. They were waiting for their baby to come home, in the painful waiting period of their adoption process. I was so glad my friend Lindsay sent me that article to read this week. Her husband Kyle wrote, quite articulately, about what it meant to wait well.
This was a good jumping off place for me this week in my time with the Lord and journaling. I decided to share my own thoughts of what God has shown me concerning waiting well, and how I’ve failed to do so at times.
Here are my five points, inspired by my friends, in what it means for us to wait well right now:

1. Waiting with truth. We need to be meditating on scripture, on God’s goodness, His nearness, and His love for us during this time. I also have put on scripture that reminds me that God can be trusted, and that our hope is in Him, not in man. The passage I’ve clung to the most is from Psalm 33.
“We wait in hope for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice,
For we trust in His holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us,
O Lord, even as we put our hope in You!”

2. As I wait, I need to be making the most of the waiting days I'm given. This means being productive, present with my husband and children and the people around me, not just living for the future. I need to take advantage of the days of preparation this allows me. I found this very difficult at first. Moving on with our life as normal without our daughter felt wrong and painful. Our life is not normal. We did not just go on vacation to Ghana and come back the same. God did the amazing thing He does with adoption, where He takes our hearts and knits them together with a child that does not look like us, does not share our DNA, does not share much at all in common, come to think of it! But in two weeks time (and this is a bonding process that can vary in time for every family, every adoption, but the end result is the same), we gained a daughter that we love like we love our other children. Something drastic happened to our family. And it was invisible to everyone who saw us because we did not bring her home with us. God had to force me to get up and move and be present in my life during this waiting period and grief I felt in leaving her behind. I think this is true for many people who are grieving, period. We have had a summer filled with grief. Just to recap this summer, we lost Rusty's Mom, and 10 days later, lost my grandfather. A few days after the funeral, we left for Ghana and started the emotional roller coaster of our adoption. It's been intense! And everywhere we turn, we feel grief. But people who have grieved much more tragic losses than ours can tell you, we have to move on. I need to take each day of this waiting period as the gift it is, and live the precious life He's given me.

3. Waiting in prayer. I'm going to be honest. Sometimes it's easier to seek distraction rather than focus on prayer. Don't get me wrong, I think distraction has it's place in seasons like this, but my focus need to remain. Prayer. It's all we have. Pleading to the God of the universe that holds all things in His hands. He is good and hears our prayers.

4. Waiting in community. Even when clinging to the truths about God and being in prayer, pain exists. Real pain. It's tempting when you are feeling pain to want to crawl inside a shell and hide from people and community. I have had to force myself at times to be with people and to be real with people. I have found myself gravitating toward the people I feel freedom to be the most real with. Being in community in these times can be challenging, but the alternative is withdrawal from community, and isolation. I believe isolation is exactly where the Enemy wants every one of us. That is where he does his best work. The truth is, I need people in my life I can hurt with, be honest with, cry with, and live this life with. This is the Body of Christ. This is what I need desperately.

5. Waiting with perspective. Grief, pain, loss, and waiting can be consuming. It tends to be the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning, and the last thing when you go to sleep. It can fill your thoughts every minute in between if you let it and your dreams at night. But I need my thoughts to be outward, remembering others who are hurting, some in far more severe situations, and some in far less. I need to force myself to draw my thoughts and attention to others and always to Christ. Thinking about myself and my emotions 24/7 is not the answer. Isn't honesty lovely?

I know these are just my thoughts as we wait, but maybe someone else is in a waiting season. I mean, who isn't waiting for something? And maybe some of you are grieving something as well. This has been a strange time in our life. We have so much to learn about waiting well, and honoring God in all we think and do! But that is truly our desire.

I hope to give a good news update very soon on Ella's visa. Will you continue to pray with us?


Jon and Shelly said...

Hey Jenn,
I woke up with this song in my head this morning after a rough day yesterday:
"Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer....are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer."
Not that we won't have pain and stress, but, a good reminder to me, that I worry too much on my own about things I should be bringing to Him!

Continuing to pray for you all this week and for Ella's Visa - and you all in the waiting.

Ashley W said...

Jenn - thank you so much for this timely post! I have loved every single one of your adoption stories! I've had a summer full of sorrow as well, and have been in a hard period of waiting for several months. This really encouraged me to "wait well" and to focus on God and others more! Praying for y'all!
Ashley (from your first Countdown group :) )

The Arguellos said...

Jenn, Thanks for updating us and sharing your heart! We will definitely continue to keep you guys in our prayers!