We have been home from the Dominican Republic for 17 months (if you can believe it). We have been on an emotional rollercoaster ride that has moved us through every possible stage of grief at least twice. About a month ago I had taken a nosedive into a very dark and stressful place that included reliving some of the most horrendous moments of our experience. I could not fall asleep at night without first hearing the screams of our Raquel in my mind. Somewhere in that time I received an invitation to a lunch meeting that normally I would not have attended but something in my spirit nudged me to go. I sat silently through 99% of the meeting just listening and observing. Amidst the words that were shared someone said, “Sometimes you have to turn your inward focus on your pain to the outside world.” That struck a chord so loudly that tears immediately began to pour over my eyelids and down my face.
Here we are weeks after that meeting and I have been working through the book of Matthew with some of my best friends in the world. I love how we have each walked through the same exact same words spoken by the exact same Jesus and walked away with multiple different messages created exactly for each one of us. The neon flashing sign that continued to pop up at me said FAITH.
In Matthew 8:26 we see Jesus sleeping on a boat during a crazy storm on a lake. His disciples are panicking and wake him up begging Jesus to save them before they drown. Think about it for a minute – this is probably not the first time on the lake in a storm for most of these guys. Half of them are fishermen by trade so chances are good that they have weathered this type of storm before. Even more so, they had witnessed Jesus heal and save and forgive and revive time and time again. Yet, they panicked. They were unsure and afraid. Rather than believing that this storm would pass and they would remain safe and secure, they “freak out” if you will, and wake Jesus.
I sat and thought about this for a few minutes. I had to wrap my mind around the fact that they were scared, woke Jesus, and Jesus questioned their faith. It was not completely clear at first why he rebuked them. They were scared, right? Didn’t Jesus care about their fear? Well of course he cared! He’s Jesus! BUT, these men had been alongside him for the revival of dead people, the healing of dying people and sick people, and the forgiveness of sins by the Messiah. Shouldn’t they have known that they were perfectly safe, even in the midst of the storm? It just hit me like it never has before. Yes, Jesus is the Master of the Sea and Wind and Waves. Yes, I know he is the authority over nature. And that is exactly what I have always picked up on from this passage. BUT, because I know that HE is in complete control of everything around me, shouldn’t I also know that I am never out of his care? I am never out of his sight. I am never out of his hands. Even when the storm (life) gets scary or sad or stressful or depressing or anxious or angry or fearful or… whatever happens I don’t need to panic and start shouting in fear because I know Jesus is already holding the future in his hands.
That was just ONE of the times FAITH was brought to my attention. My favorite and most challenging lesson came from Matthew 9. Again, I have always read this passage and in the first few verses I’ve focused on Jesus’s response to the religious leaders and the healing of the paralytic and the forgiveness of his sins. What I’ve never really seen (until now) is that Jesus sees the faith of the friends that brought the paralyzed man to Jesus. He saw that their faith was genuine and drove them to act on behalf of their friend who was in need of healing only Jesus can bring. What resounded with me was that their honest to goodness sincerest faith moved them and it did so to the point of deconstructing someone’s roof and hoisting their friend up to that roof and then lowering them through the hole they created. They were MOVED. It resonated so loudly within me that I printed 4 different posters that all said, “Real FAITH always results in ACTION” and I have them strategically placed so I can’t not see them throughout the day.
I love how God just pours his words into our lives in so many ways and if we will just shut up and listen we will find that we’ve been ignoring the message for a while. Since we have been home we have had the “Should we? Should we not?” conversation a hundred times. We’ve watched and prayed for people that have come home with their adopted children and heard stories of other families’ successful ventures. We even completed the required training for foster care and then abandoned the idea of a home study when we didn’t immediately feel a sense of peace. But God… I love those words because in the Bible they are always followed by something grander and more beautiful that truly reveals God’s perfect character. But God in his infinite wisdom and his infinite view of the future brought four guys out of a Bible story I’ve heard a million times in my life and showed me that Real FAITH always results in ACTION.
For too long I have had faith in my faith thinking I could truly just believe something would happen if I thought about it long enough and hard enough. I had let my faith become faith in myself and not in Jesus. I was turning into one of the disciples on the boat screaming for rescue rather than believing the mere presence of the Savior was sufficient for me.
Now here we are. We knew a long time ago God called us to adopt. We let our faith retreat rather than act when we came home empty handed. We have opened the lines of communication with a state social worker about starting a home study. We both feel that no matter what happens, we want God to be able to use our home as a safe haven for a child or children that have no family to call their own. We also know that God doesn’t need us to do anything but he wants us to be willing and ready. So, we have opened the lines of communication with a state social worker about starting a home study. Is it scary? Absolutely. Will it be emotional? No doubt. Will it be for the glory of God? You bet it will. We want our faith to be real and with Real FAITH there must be ACTION.
So, I bet you are wondering what comes next. We will let you know when we know. As for the present time, we have decided to ramp up the speed at which we are paying off the debt incurred while in the D.R. We had so many additional expenses that were never reimbursed in the form of doctor visits and cost of living that we have a credit card that needs to be paid off. We are not asking for money. We are offering a bake sale to expedite our process. We are asking you to pray for God’s supernatural provision. We would also ask you to pray for guidance and discernment as we take the next step.
As always, we are thankful for your continued participation in our family’s journey. We are excited about where it will lead.
Rob, Jen, & Hayes
Eat… Pray… Adopt.