Pregnant with a Promise

It's been a rough couple of days. (errr, years?) Between staring at pictures of Elsie, trying to remember what it felt like to hold her little body against mine, and crying and listening to sermons and music, I have found that Heidi Baker is one of the best rough day prescriptions any doctor could possibly order. She does a wonder for the heart and mind, especially on the topic of perseverance, a word I am sick of thinking about but thankful for nonetheless.

I listened to her speak about the promises of God and it's funny because I had heard this exact message by her before Elsie ever happened...and it made sense to me then but it made WAY more sense to me now.

There's this tension that comes with thinking about the promises of God as they relate to life here on earth. On the one hand, we know there are secure and undeniable promises that pertain to the life and death of Jesus and what that accomplished, but there's this whole other side to it that relates to what we experience and what we can expect as believers walking on this earth. I want to be able to expect healing, deliverance, wholeness, and all of the things of heaven while I am here, and we desperately prayed for all of those things over our daughters as Jesus taught us to do. But we know (oh, how we know) that things aren't perfect yet and we live in a broken world.

The tricky part about it all is that as believers, we are absolutely complete and satisfied in the person of Jesus. We are renewed and restored and wearing brand new hearts. But once we become these new creations, we have (or should have) the dreams and desires of our maker breathed into our lungs, hearts, and minds. People usually refer to these dreams and desires as their calling. It's the thing they feel they were made for..the thing that brings them these great feelings of progress and achievement and joy. It doesn't necessarily mean that they would not be able to function if these things didn't come to pass, because our identity is no longer tied to a status, a career, a geographical location, but I would offer that to deny this calling would always feel wrong. Heidi's husband, Rolland, says, "Don't go into the mission field if you can afford not to." I love that. He doesn't mean it in a legalistic way in any sense, but instead points to the truth that the ministry God places on your heart cannot and should not be ignored. Or rather--it should feel so uncomfortable being ignored that it would be impossible to disregard it.

Can you imagine Heidi and her husband anywhere but in Mozambique, taking in children by the thousands? I genuinely believe that call was God-breathed and orchestrated as the fruit and the impact they are having is undeniable. IF it all got taken away, would they fail to live? Certainly not. Because their identities are complete in the person and work of Jesus. But I would imagine it would feel really wrong.

We aren't promised every blessing. We are promised hardship. But we can expect good gifts from God because he's good and not because we deserve them and not because this life is supposed to be perfect and complete.

But that brings me to the promise we've been waiting for. This isn't a promise we have demanded. It is a promise that has been spoken over us more times than we can count. It's the promise that we will raise and care for children while we are here in the land of the living. This is my call. I could have my mom on here, writing about my obsession with marriage and having babies that started at an earlier age than it probably should have. I remember distinctly being in class with people my age, hearing them talk of the careers they wanted, yet still young enough to think all the boys had cooties.....and there I was, knowing confidently and unashamedly that I wanted to be a mom. I also had a mild (mildly serious) obsession with adoption at a very young age that never went away. After meeting Chris and finding out that he, too, wanted multiple children and wanted to adopt...I was absolutely convinced that this dream was not a selfish one. It was God-breathed. It is God-breathed.

I never had a back up plan. I never had another career that I desperately wanted to have. My studies in college pointed me to my job in child protective services which is so closely tied to orphan care and........protecting children. And even still, that job didn't fulfill the desire God placed in me to be a mother. It couldn't come close.

I listened to Heidi Baker's words and my heart fully agreed when she talked about how these dreams and desires and callings can take a while to be birthed. We can be "pregnant with a promise" for a long long time...and it can get quite uncomfortable...even painful.

I have carried two babies to term and been robbed of taking them home with me. To be closer than close two times with this promise of raising children and have it destroyed...oh, the ache is unreal. But it doesn't mean that it will not come to pass. It means that I am uncomfortably pregnant (still) with the very promise I've waited for for many years.

My eyes are never fixed on the promise--but rather on the promiser. But that doesn't take away the discomfort of God-breathed dreams and desires unfulfilled.

So to all of you who have donated to and are praying for this journey that we are on--thank you. Every time I get a fundraiser update I can't help but feel that the promise is that much closer. Each penny, each all marks progress towards a dream that the Lord undeniably placed on our hearts.

So much love,

{If you missed it, our adoption funding page can be found and shared here.}


 As a family who wants to adopt multiple babies, this post by my sister who lives in Nigeria continues to make me tear up every time I read it..I am absolutely envious and anxiously awaiting the day that every orphaned child has a home. Keep up with the rest of her adventures at Letters from Liz Tate


Orphan Sunday

After visiting the motherless home last week, my roommates and I have been making plans I continue to see the babies. We would love to be able to go on a regular basis and, Lord willing,  be able to build a relationship with the home. The best time for all of us seems to be from 8:00-10:00 on Sunday morning, before church. 

Things went so much better for us this week. The strict matron we met last week was away(at church ironically) and there were very few workers around. Because of last week, we were timid to hold the babies at first.  As the babies would get fussy, we'd pick them up and hold them. By the time we left, every baby had been held for some amount of time. 

Although things seemed so much better than before, the orphanage is still run on an un-altering schedule. Today we arrived around 8:30 and all of the potty trained toddlers were sitting on the plastic buckets they use for potties. After being there for about 15 minutes, I tried to ask the woman working there if we could get them off and how long the kids usually stayed on the potties. She didn't speak much English, but she told me they could not get off the potties until 9:30. The poor babies have to sit for an hour on the potties!

I sat beside a few of the kids, because they just looked so bored! While I was sitting, one the the girls scooted her potty over so she could be right next to me. It looked so funny, but at the same time it was slightly heart wrenching to watch. After the hour, they were allowed to get up, and some of the kids had empty pots. They didn't even need to use them!

This was the little potty scooter. 

Having a blast as you can see. 

While I was sitting with them, one of my roommates came over with an infant and asked if she could change the diaper. "No, it's not 11:30 yet," was the reply. It was 8:45, and that baby was going to have to have a dirty diaper until the changing time. We tried to ask if we could change it, but was just told that it wasn't time. 
 When they were done with the potty, the little ones were clambering all over me. They didn't want to play, they just wanted to be held. 
I tried to play games like "ride a little pony" but it's a little difficult to do with 4 on your lap. 
The most amazing thing was seeing babies that had shied away from me last week, climbing onto my lap just so that they could be held. 
Also, some of the kids actually started smiling and laughing with us this week. 

At one point, when I had all of the kids on my lap, they were so squashed together that I thought they'd be crushed, but when I tried to move any of them, they'd start crying and climb back to my lap. They're just begging to to held!
I got so hot and sweaty, but I wouldn't have traded those hugs and snuggles for anything!

Ahh bless my soul... His little laugh cracks me up every time it look at this picture!

When it was time for us to go, it was so hard. The babies were crying and clinging to us. It was hard to go, knowing that the babies might not be held and cuddled until we return. I can see why they don't want us coming, because all the babies cry when we leave, but it was SO worth the crying to know that they'd been held and loved by someone. 

As I was leaving a thought passed through my mind of, 'man, I really love these babies.' About that same time, one of my roommates reminded us about November being adoption awareness month. For many churches, today is "Adoption Sunday."

As people around the globe focus on adoption, I was also reminded of God's adoption and unfailing love for us. If I could love this tiny baby, who might smell and be dirty, who has done nothing to "earn" my love, and who is a helpless baby... How much more does the Heavenly Father love us?! 

"I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says The Lord Almighty."
-2 Corintheans 6:18

How great and awesome is our God, who we also get to call "Abba," our father... daddy. Ps. 68:5 says he's the father to the fatherless. 

Not only that, but we are called his heirs. We, his adopted children, will enherit his eternal kingdom. 

That's too incredible for me to even wrap my mind around!!

"How great the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that He would give his only Son, to make a wretch his treasure..."

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God te Father is this: to visit orphans... in their affliction. "
-James 1:27