In the not too distant past, I had an incredible "Gorby" experience that I haven't been able to shake. I'm writing it down so that I will have it for those "one foot in front of the other" days and I need a reminder that God's fingerprints have been all over our adoptoin. His provision is amazing! Maybe it will serve as an encouragement for you!
The players in this story are, myself, of course and three very different women. One I know very well, one I know somewhat and one I know not at all. I still don't know the third one's name, but I think about her everyday and pray for her consistently. Many of you know that Brock and I are in "fundraising mode" for our adoption. It has gone amazingly well and we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of our friends, loved ones and even complete strangers. The way we see it, God is allowing an entire community an opportunity to get to play a part in changing the life-no, not just the life, but the entire legacy-of one of His precious children. After three and a half years of trying to expand our family, we "resigned" (I say that tongue in cheek!) ourselves that we were going to have to either go through massive medical means to bear a litter, adopt or go enroll back into high school as those girls don't seem to have too much trouble getting pregnant. We couldn't be anymore confident now that adoption was never God's Plan B for us and it is our greatest honor that we were chosen to play a part in a miracle!
A Russian adoption costs, we are told, anywhere from $40, 000 to $60,000 dollars. There are two things I know: Number One: That's a lot of zeroes!! and, more importantly, Number Two: It's all pocket change to Jesus! The Bible tells me that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so all He would have to do is take a couple of those hills to market and cut us a check. It's not surprising Jesus how much it costs! He doesn't stay up at night worrying about it-He's not asking the Holy Spirit if He can co-sign for a loan for us. I believe, from the core of my being, the reason we don't have all the funds right this minute is becasue He is allowing other people to take part in our miracle. Not everyone can adopt, but we are seeing so so so many people who are getting to have a hand in changing a legacy! And so begins my Three Lady Life Lesson.
Not too long ago, I had the privilege of doing some fundraising at an event. I was selling Scentsy (www.ashleywilliams.scentsy.us) and jewelry (I make jewelry and never had the nerve to sell it until there was a little life counting on us to come quickly!) Among many other women, there were three that really stood out to me in that 24 hour period. One bought a necklace and added an extra 5...to the front of the amount. I'm talking a $500 tip! Another woman came up to me and said that she really liked the jewelry, but she didn't want to buy anything because she wanted every cent to go straight to the adoption and gave me a $50 check. Another woman, who I had never met before, approached me and started with an apology. "I wish I had more, but this is all I have. " She handed me three crumpled $5 bills. I know we aren't supposed to judge by appearances, but, I admit, I was guilty in this situation. Her hair was unwashed and her clothes were well-worn and faded. Her eyes looked like she had seen hard times in her life. She struck me as a woman for whom $15 was an incredible sacrifice. Our $50 check came from a woman I don't know very well, but I do know that this was an extremely generous gift from her. And my $500 tip was from someone we know well and who has always been exceedingly generous. Now before you try to play detective and figure out who gave what, know this: Brock and I have been abundantly blessed to receive these exact same amounts from many different people. I would never tell you who they were and I would ask that you not try to "figure it out" because I wouldn't want to rob them of the blessing of getting rewarded by God instead of by man's praise. These three women stuck out to me because of the repetition of fives, the fact that they were all within a 24 hour period and because each gift was a sacrifice of love and obedience. I am praying that you ladies are abundantly blessed for being a blessing.
Here's what I feel like God showed me through these women:
My $500 Lesson
God is able to provide and is contantly amazing me by His ability to do so! After our $5000 homestudy, we will eligible to apply for grants. In the blink of an eye, God used you to provide 1/10 of that cost. Snap, just like that. It was an incredible reminder that He has provided abundantly and will continue to do so. I never dreamed when I woke that that morning that we would be that much closer to our miracle. Thank you for being so generous!
My $50 Lesson
I can do everything I know how to do and be as obedient as I know how to be, but ultimately, the success of this adventure rests in His capable hands. Having the opportunity to sell things has been a blessing because I don't think I was called to sit on my bum and just wait for the checks to start rolling in. You were a reminder of the big picture, though. You didn't care about the beads or the Scentsy. You cared about our little one. Thank you for being so generous!
My $15 Lesson
This lesson touched me the most. Ma'am, you didn't know who I was before you heard my story. These other ladies gave from their abundance, for which I extremely grateful. You gave all you had to give that day. Your $15 probably cost you the most. Thank you for being so generous!
Now before you think that I am comparing the first two to the rich men in the widow's mite parable, you cannot and must not! These women were not showy or arrogant which is what I understand were the attitudes of the rich men in that parable. They were very private about it and very clear that they were humbly grateful they were getting to play a part in something bigger than themselves. But I also have no reason to believe their gift caused them to do without as I suspect the third lady's did.
There have been so many others who have blessed us unexpectedly with presents, purchases, parties and most of all, prayers. Each of you have been a tremendous source of encouragement and we cannot thank you enough!! Just as the Great Wall of China was built one brick at a time, our miracle is being funded one dollar at a time. No amount is too small. No amount is insignificant. And just as the bricks wouldn't be held together without the mortar, we need the mortar of your prayers.
Continuing on the "brick" theme, I want to close with a story that my mom told me not too long ago . Two brick layers were working side by side and a man came by and asked what they were doing. One said, "I'm laying brick" and the other said, "I'm building a palace". One focused on the job he was doing, the other focused on the part he was playing. One saw the immediate. The other saw the vision. I would be delighted if everyone we knew played a part in the miracle that we have been called to live out. Would you consider buying Scentsy, ordering some handmade jewelry, hosting a party, giving a donation or, most importantly and most needed, committing to pray for us? And like the brick layers, know this: You wouldn't be buying a necklace, or smell-good stuff or getting a few friends together, you would be changing a legacy.
I believe Psalm 68.6, "God has set the solitary in families" Silly me, our "Plan B" (which was never God's Plan B) is playing out to be the greatest privilege we have ever had. God prepared our hearts so at the right time, the right season the right child would be ready for us. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!
Friday, October 15, 2010
Who is this "Gorby" I speak of anyway? Gorby is the nickname that Brock and I have given our child-to-be. It is short for Gorbachev. We are in the process of adopting our first from Russia. And before you feel too sorry for our little one, you must know two things. Number One: This will NOT be his or her name! Number Two: Vladamir Putin has been in charge since Gorbachev has. At least we didn't name this our Pooty Fund!
In December of 2009, we came to a painful crossroad in our family expansion process...dilemna...ordeal. We desperately wanted to be parents but month after month God kept saying no. We were at the point where we had to make a decision to move forward to the next level of horomones, sticks, calendars and thermometers, or bring a child already in the world into our home. Adoption was never our first choice. I am the oldest of five children and all of my sisters have children already. (All their husbands had to do was just look at them and *POOF!*) I figured when Brock and I decided we were ready, fertility would be running in my genes and I would be pregnant by sundown. After three and a half years and one early miscarriage, it was painfully clear that that was not going to be the case. But I am completely confident that this was never God's Plan B for our lives. We picked Russia because, independently, we had always thought of Russia even before we had talked about adoption. We never really talked about it before that heartwrenching day in Decemeber when Brock announced that he couldn't watch my heart break every month any longer. We thought we were "resigning" ourselves, but turns out, this has been the biggest source of joy in our lives. We couldn't be any more pleased to have been called to love and care for one of God's precious children! This was never God's Plan B for our life! He was just preparing us so that we would be ready at the right time for the right child.
In Russia, we are told, there are 3/4 of a million orphans, most of whom are social orphans. Their parents simply don't have the ability to provide for them. There are between 5 to 15 children per caregiver, so you can imagine that there are simply not enough hands to hold babies, not enough food to adequately nourish children, not enough...just not enough. The strangest piece of advice we have thus far received from the adoption agency was when we bring our little one home was that we are to circle our wagons. Lock the doors, turn off the phones. Carry the child everywhere we go in the house. Run to the child when they whimper. Don't let anyone else hold the baby. Institutionalized children are taught early on that their little voices don't matter. It would be physically impossible for one worker to cradle and comfort every single baby when they cry. My child will have learned from the time that he/she is months old, weeks old that his/her little voice isn't important enough to be heard. He/She will have learned that no adult can be counted on to be there. We have the enormous task of retraining their little brain to know they do count! That they are precious! That we will do everything in our power to protect that little one-to provide a safe, clean home where they will never have to want for food. We have to recreate a bonding experience that most children are privileged enough to experience when they are newborns.
When a Russian orphan turns 17, they are pushed out of the orphanage. No education. No skill sets. Just well wishes, if that. Statistically, 25% of them will take their own life within the first year. Half of the ones who make it past that will turn to either prostitution or crime just as a means of survival. We have been called to play a part in changing at least one orphan's life. Not just their life, but their entire legacy. Our child's children will be altered by decisions we are making today. Grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on until Jesus comes back.
This is our greatest source of joy. As I said before, it was never God's plan B for us. His ways are indeed not our ways. His ways and thoughts are so much higher than ours. Thank you, Father for entrusting us with one of most precious and valuable creations. Your word tells me that when you formed the world, the only creation for which you rolled up your sleeves and formed with your own hands was Adam and Eve. Everything else you spoke into exisitence. But humans...ah humans, these you created for relationship and out of love. We fall so short in so many ways, but time after time, you reveal a love story that wooes us back to you. There's nothing else that you created that you love more than people. And you have chosen us to love and care for one of those people. There's no greater calling. Make us worthy, LORD.
Posted by Ashley Williams at 5:44 AM