I woke up this morning in humble praise for families who have burdened, led and excited to be a part of our adoption. Today–I particularly could not stop thinking about 3 friends that every time I think of them from now on until I’m 90, I will be filled with a sense of gratitude and awe of how God worked through them in our lives just a few weeks ago.
As soon as we began the adoption process, it didn’t take long for me to put myself in “escalated work mode” in hopes my photography business would be able to bring in the added costs for our adoption. I prayed for extra business and generous orders, and I received a lot of encouragement that my hard efforts would be well worth it in the long run. I truly believed God would use my business to provide for our adoption…and *that* He just did–but in many ways I was trusting my business to provide rather than Him. Yes, He has provided through my business (praise the Lord!)—but the real praise and thanksgiving has been how He chose to provide in abundance through 3 precious friends–3 of whom I will always remember every time I rock my baby, think back to our adoption journey and remember the Lord’s hand on our adoption.
In the beginning our journey, I watched the Lord quickly provide. We felt conviction that we wanted to have our adoption paid for up front, and we didn’t want to ask help from others but work harder ourselves to pay the costs–this was probably more pride than anything else! I have never had the gift of receiving! And it *IS* a gift I now see to welcome others and make them a part of the miracle. The first several costs were quickly covered and $10,000 later we felt at ease having seen the Lord provide in abundance and quickly. The rest should be a piece of cake, right?! We knew the next $5,000 would not be due until our dossier was completed (and the next two installments after that not until referral and then travel), and those costs broken up and spread out should be easy peasy after watching the Lord provide thus far. Then I discovered our USCIS form did not need to be completed for our dossier—it could wait—meaning our dossier was practically already complete! Bittersweet to realize we could quickly be on the coveted waitlist and be closer to our child before we thought possible! YET, just after two weeks of the last payment, we all of the sudden needed $5,000 for our dossier submission. Every client in my order gallery called that week to ask me to extend their order time–meaning no orders would be coming in and the Lord was calling me to a greater trust in Him. He showed me I was relying on my own efforts and not on HIM. “TRUST IN ME NOT YOURSELF–TRUST IN MY PROVISION,” my heart could feel Him saying. I had never voiced my fear or our need to others until that point–and every friend I talked to, I just HAD to ask them to PRAY for the Lord’s provision! What I should have been doing in the beginning! All of the sudden, I was desperate. And that is exactly where God wanted me. Desperate to see Him work. And desperate to trust *HIM* for provision.
It was very fitting for me to wake up this morning thinking of my 3 friends…God’s timing I guess…and then to go to church today with the message being about giving. As I drank my coffee I was reminded of their sacrifice and call to be a part of our journey. During those days of desperation—I cried out to the Lord often on my knees and when I told others…I couldn’t help but literally cry telling them our need and reminding them and MYSELF while I shared that “I know this is God’s will…I know He will provide.” I struggled during this time with fear of what the world was thinking–“maybe this is just not God’s timing, maybe God is just trying to slow you guys down or maybe you just need to work harder Andrea”. And then the Lord showed me His sovereign grace, helping hand and holy vessels through 3 precious friends who have ministered to my heart and taught me so much about being a holy vessel for the Lord’s will.
Just after our realization of our need, I shared during Bible study our timeline and what I felt the Lord calling us to do–TRUST in Him and to continue at the same pace we had been. I cried. I shared my fear and my desperation. I told them I *FELT* the Lord nudging me to NOT STOP…that He too was in this and He did NOT want to slow us down but to trust in Him. I told them I felt like there was a baby in Ethiopia that NEEDED us—and I would do ANYTHING to get to him/her…only I was about $5000 short to enter the next step. My Bible study began to pray…and 3 friends out of my study each came to me seperately later—just as desperate. The Lord had pierced their hearts making them a part of our adoption story, wanting to use them and they actually felt as desperate as me…I could just hear it in their voices!!! “When do WE need this by? How much do WE need? We can do this!” WOW! God was doing this!!! None of them really know about each others acts of service yet each felt as desperate as me and came on board sharing the same heart and misson–determined to be used by God and willing to do anything to help us follow through with what we felt the Lord had called us to. These 3 have been the hands and feet of Jesus…making me realize what a GIFT it is to give and follow through when the Lord puts someone on our hearts to serve. They are probably the most beautiful part of our story to me so far–and each of these will forever hold a special place in my heart for their obedience and trust in Him.
I wish I could tell you each of these 3 women’s stories because they are SO BEAUTIFUL. After sharing with my study the Lord answered our prayers, and orders began trickling in. Each of these sweet friends had each come to me privately and told me they felt the Lord speak to them while I shared asking them to be a part of our adoption. Yet, orders were trickling in, and once again I saw God providing for our adoption through my business. I told each of them that I saw God providing and MAYBE we wouldn’t need help…but I knew in my heart that the Lord wanted others to be a part of it! The Lord wanted to provide through these holy vessels and my role was to LET THE LORD PROVIDE IN HIS WAY and to TRUST IN HIM FOR PROVISION. The most amazing and touching part to me is that EVEN when I told them I really thought God was going to provide this amount through my business…they STILL wanted to help! It was more important for them to be obedient! They wanted to be obedient to the Lord’s calling regardless. Their gifts came in BEFORE we reached our required amount–and for that, I was so thankful. After hearing their stories and calling to be a part, I desperately now wanted these families to be a part of our son’s story. And now they are!!! Their faces will forever be written on my heart. And if you have ever adopted–you know what a treasure this is!!! If you haven’t, can you IMAGINE how you would feel toward those that God used as holy vessels to bring you YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER?! They are holy vessels, and forever I am thankful for the Lord’s provision, their obedience and calling them to join with us to bring about the Lord’s will!
Leading me to today’s message, I was overwhelmed with Dr.Loritt’s message. “Am I going to be a bucket or a pipeline?” Am I going to store up things here on Earth for myself or am I going to be a pipeline to help others furfill God’s calling on their lives…and get the opportunity of being a part of their calling! Oh what my 3 friends have taught me in their obedience! Dr.Loritt’s said today, “There have been very few times in my life when God has provided the resources in advance for what He has called me to do. God has called us to walk by faith and trust in His provision.” Just as much as I want to be used as a resource for others need, I also never want money to hinder me from stepping forward in faith to what I feel the Lord calling me to do!!! Help me to trust in you Lord!
Giving is about changing lives. It’s about being a part of something bigger than yourself. It’s about being a holy vessel for the Lord to work through! Money is placed in our hands that through us God can accomplish His purposes! OH LORD, help us to have open hearts and hands…to be sensitive to the needs of others and to be quick to give and be a part of Your work! Help us to trust in YOUR provision and not our own efforts! Help us to store up treasures in heaven rather than on Earth…and help me Lord to not look at what I want or feel that I need, but rather to think about what you want and what others need.
Open our hands and open our hearts…