Thankful in ALL Circumstances

It hadn’t occured to me that Thanksgiving would be a hard day this year.  Brad, the girls and I slept in a little that morning, leisurely drank coffee and ate just enough to tide us over until the big meal. I popped a few pans of Pioneer Woman’s sweet potatoes in the oven (Oh. My. Wow. If you haven’t had them yet, do yourself a favor and make them NOW. Click HERE for a link to the recipe. Thank me later.), I made some cornbread stuffing and a Snickers-Apple salad and left for my Uncle’s and Aunt’s house.

We’d barely been gone 3 minutes when I decided to take one last journey to Facebook land to check on all my peeps. And that’s when I saw it. A post from someone on my Congo adoption support group that said something like this, “Leaving Sunday for the Congo to bring our daughter home!”. Is it possible to be overjoyed for someone and insanely, irrationally jealous at the same time? It is and I was.

This beautiful, precious, amazing, little girl met her mommy for the first time yesterday. Psalm 68:6 says that “God places the lonely in families…” and, yesterday, He did.

As I read the post out loud to Brad, I began to weep. If I’d had more time, I probably would have allowed myself a really long and cleansing cry. Too bad we only had about a 15 minute drive to join our family. I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunites to squeeze in a good cry or two between now and gotcha day, right?

I made it through Thanksgiving dinner, but I must admit that I was more than ready to head home with my love and our daughters, change into my fat pants and fall asleep by the fire while we watched Elf together.

I’ve had a few days to decide where the tears came from. Here’s what I know for sure: the source of my tears is pure joy…and ugly, selfish envy. Isn’t that terrible? Ugh…

The only good in this gal is Jesus. That, my friends, is truth.

Here’s some more truth: This process is crazy hard. We’re in the homestretch, folks and it’s only getting harder. I dream about our boy nearly every night now. I pray constantly that his foster mama loves him, that he loves her too. I often feel like I’m fighting a losing battle against the doubts and fears that plague my thoughts every day. I wonder how we’ll ever come up with the thousands of dollars needed to complete this adoption. As if any of it is within my power to control.

The nearly two years we’ve spent pursuing adoption have been rich in lessons on patience and surrender. I’m learning to take my tears, my fears, even my gripes to Jesus. More importantly, I’m learning that the Bible commands us to be thankful in all circumstances, even when I’d rather feel sorry for myself.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this
is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:16-18

It is truly an act of faith to be grateful in a nearly unbearable time of separation from our son. Babies, by the perfect design of their Creator, are 100 percent incapable of fending for themselves. How, then can I be grateful that he’s not already here with us, depending on Brad and I and the girls to meet his every need? The truth is that I don’t entirely know. I’m not even sure I sort-of know.

What I do know is that, if He commands us to do something, He also gives us everything we need to submit to and obey.

I want to share with you just some of the things that I have to be grateful for in the midst of the hardness that is international adoption:

  • The incredible blessing of marriage and what it means to have a partner in this life who loves the Lord, who loves me, who loves our children.
  • My daughters. Until we had to work so hard for our 4th child, I didn’t realize how much I’d taken for granted. Giving birth a few times was practically painless in comparison to the adoption roller coaster!
  • My parents. I really wasn’t sure how my folks would take the news that we were adopting. They’ve been our biggest support throughout… Thanks, guys. You love us well.
  • Our Pastor and extended church family. We are certainly not a church full of wealthy people but we are generous with what we do have. Just wow…
  • Really incredible friends, old and not so old.
  • I’m thankful for the time we’ve had to enjoy being a family of five, the time to look forward to becoming parents again, the time to gather funds and necessities to raise another child.

And, finally, I am thankful for…

  • Chemo…. Yes, chemo. Have you ever been in a chemo-therapy infusion room? I’m pretty sure it’s the saddest room I’ve ever been in. Chemo is sucky, sucky poison. It has robbed my friend, Kara of her hair, her strength, her energy, her time, her peace. But, it has also shrunk her tumors and destroyed lots of ugly cancer within her body. It has given her the opportunity to share her story, her life, her family, her Jesus with many, many, many people who know and love her and by countless others who only know of her because they read her blog. She’s somewhat of a breast cancer celebrity, my Kara is. Have you read her blog yet? Click on Kara‘s name and take the time to read a few entries. And, then set aside a day or two to read them all. You won’t be sorry. Pray for her this week, especially Wednesday as she receives her very last chemo treatment. Thanks, friends.



5 thoughts on “Thankful in ALL Circumstances

  1. Beautiful words and thoughts. I had never looked at adoption from a burdened mama point of view. I will pray he is being cared for tenderly and immaculately. Hugs sister-in-Christ…

  2. Just wait ’til you get that little guy in your arms. These days will feel so far away. God is good all the time. Imagine going through this without Him? I’ll be praying for you….

  3. Wow, Shellie, what an emotionally-laden post! The love of God shines brightly through your words – and you’re right: if He wants this adoption to go forward, it will. “Wait upon the Lord” comes to mind, yet doing so can only be done in His strength. We’re totally unable to by ourselves, and I mention this in spite of the fact that I know you know it. It just seems to fit right now.

    Love to all of you,


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