Today I am more than a little overwhelmed. We got our travel plans for Russia yesterday. We leave July 2nd. That, in and of itself is awesome news. The overwhelming part is the weeks leading up to that moment. Since I worked my Scentsy booty off to help offset the cost of the adoption and since Brock worked his Shelter booty off because that's just what he does, we are the proud recipients of two trips! I won a trip to Disney and Brock won a trip to New York. We leave on the 11th for Disney and will get back to Missouri on Monday, the 20th. I have a Scentsy party that night and then on Tuesday, we will leave to go to New York until July 1st. From NYC, we are going to try to fly out to Saint Petersburg on the 2nd and get to Russia on the fourth. (I wonder how they celebrate the Fourth of July? lol! We will celebrate, happily by having finished an 18 hour plane ride) On the 5th, we have a doctor's appointment with a Russian doctor so he/she can deem us adequately healthy. For $1600 a person. I wonder if ObamaCare could do as good a job. Then we will fly to Murmansk...we had thought train it, but the powers that be are only giving us a few hours to get from St. Petersburg to Murmansk. We then have to go before the Minister of Education to interview and then the orphanage directors and then we finally get to meet our son. We don't know yet if we will get to stay in Apaptity where our son currently lives or if we have to travel the two and a half hours for the few hours a days that we will have visitation priviledges. I do know in the next 9 days, we have to get our Visas, find $8000, mail out our prayer cards, register and remember to breathe. I also have 5 Scentsy parties (this is a good thing becasue the "due date" (pardon the pun) is quickly approaching)
So that leaves me feeling a little overwhelmed....and nervous....and jittery...and, to some extent, flat.out.scared. Little things like all the cash that we will have to carry to NYC so we can have it for Russia. Heck, just carrying that much cash period. I've heard stories of how many muggings take place in Russia. "Don't carry a backpack or expensive jewelry (no worries-I'll just make some more!)" Then there are the other things like the fact that I am linguistically challenged. I really am. I grew up in a house where my father spoke fluent, beautiful Spainish. I learned "Hola". Well that and a few other phrases...where is the bathroom? Where is the hospital? Thank you. Have a good day. Great things to know. But not very helpful unless the person I am asking can give directions in ENGLISH! I digress. How do I begin to pack for a three week trip that includes all the glitz and glamor of a Shelter conference(?!?) and a trip halfway around the world? Do I really have to bring orphange bribes (ie diapers, clothing toys) to the conference? How am I going to check out enough books from the library to keep me going for 3 weeks? YARN! I can crochet little hats for the little ones and leave those at the orphange! Breathe Ashley Breathe.
Okay, so I take a deep breath and play the "Here's What I Know" Game.
Jeremiah 29.11 "'For I know the plans I have for you'" declares the LORD. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.'" Ashley, the LORD already knew exactly what the dates were going to be before you even started the adoption process. You and Brock have pursued this with the utmost confidence that this adoption has been part of His perfect plan for your life. God is God of details. He's not going to drop you in the details. Rest assured that God knows exactly what His plans are in all of this and the only thing you have to do be obedient with what's before you. You concentrate on the activity of being obeident and you leave the outcome of blessing to Him who is able.
Phillipians 4.6 "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and petition make your request known to God and the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus" Ok, LORD. You have instructed me not to worry. And my "human nature" is absolutely no excuse for being disobedient. So, more than my worry, I trust You. I can't add a single ounce of anything valuable to my life by worrying, but, through this, as I learn to lean on You more, you will build my character. There are so many aspects of this that are daunting. And those are just the logistics of getting Roman here. Those aren't even counting the feelings of being entrusted to love and care for one of your children. But, I do know this, I can take all these concerns and leave them at Your feet. I can ask you to keep us safe. And trust that even if You allow something to happen, it will be for Your glory. I can ask that you will give me wisdom and trust that You will give it abundantly. I can ask that give me your peace and trust that my surrendered heart has nothing to fear. You provide a peace that makes absolutely no sense-a peace that passes my understanding. And that peace will set a guard over my heart and my mind.
Romans 8.28 "All things work together for good for those who love the LORD and who are called according to His purpose" I had no idea whatsoever that I could/would win a trip to Disney. We had absolutely no idea that our Russia travel dates would come hot on the heels of the NYC trip. We had no clue that we would get this far in the process and still need so much. But You did. None of this surprises You. And we know that there is a beautiful and divine order in this seeming chaos. All the dates we have, all the time and money we don't have. All the baby items we still need. All of that...every last little detail of that is being intricately woven together for good. And LORD, there have been so many ways that we have fallen short in this process, but we have begged your forgiveness, we have trusted Your grace and we have pressed on.
Isaiah 58.8-9“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." In my mind, there are a lot of things that I would have done differently. But, when you boil it down to the simplest terms, who am I going to trust more? My own pea-pickin' little brain that only can see a sliver of what is happening? Or the God of the universe who knows all, sees all and has laid out the richest and most most fulfilling path through this season? Ummm....it's a no brainer. 'Nuff said.
Phillipians 4.19 "And my God shall supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus" Ashley, He knows more than you do what you need. And as One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and as One who is sovereign over time..He. Will. Provide.
I Thessalonians 5.18 "In all things give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" This one is humbling, LORD. How can I be anxious and nervous when all I have to do is look back to the countless times You have shown yourself to us? Thank you, LORD that, in spite of the mountain we have to climb, there is a little boy we will get to bring home. Thank you, LORD for the friends and family with whom You have surrounded us who have been a tremendous source of encouragement and inspiration. Thank you for allowing them to be Your hands and feet. Thank you, LORD for providing every step of the way exactly what we needed, exactly when we needed it. Thank you, LORD that you are the same yesterday, today and forever. I'm so thankful that we know You and I can't imagine what it would be like to walk this without you.
One more thing I know. In Exodus, God called Moses to lead His people of out Egyptian slavery. Pharaoh said no and it took an infestation of flies, frogs, lice and locusts not to mention water turned to blood, boils, hail, dieased livestock, darkness and death before Pharaoh finally "allowed" that which God had already ordained. God then leads his people to camp out between Pi-Hahiroth, Migdol and the sea and then God hardens Pharaoh's heart. Read that again. Exodus 14.4 "I will harden Pharaoh's heart and he will pursue them" God did that. It sort of sounds like God booby-trapped His own people. I'm not a whiz, but I do know this. If you are surrounded on three sides by impenetrable objects and your worst enemy is coming at you from the fourth side, you are pretty well stuck. I can just imagine the scene. The Israelites are getting ready to make camp when the ground starts to quiver. As Pharaoh's horses and army get closer, I can imagine dead silence for a moment. "Is this really happening?" And then uproar. "Why did you bring us out here to die?! Why couldn't we have just stayed in Egypt??" And, I can imagine Moses is pretty scared, too, but he tells the people, as a good leader would, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today...the LORD will fight for you. You need only be still (Ex. 14.13a-14) And then God tells Moses, "Why are you crying out to me" (?!?!?) And then He instructs him to raise his staff in the air. Are you kidding? LORD, you put us in this position, Pharaoh's army is chasing us and you want me point a stick to the sky?" (that's my vivid imagination of what Moses might have been saying in his own head) But thankfully, Moses was obedient and the Israelites got to participate in one of the most well-known miracles in the Bible, the parting of the Red Sea. Did you know that every miracle in the Bible is preceded by a small act of obedience? There was nothing magical about Moses staff. The miracle came as a result of an obeident heart.
I have heard so many mothers talk about the minute their newborn is laid in their arms, they forget all the pain of their labor. I guess no child comes without a little pain, a little discomfort and a lot of growing.
Praise the LORD that in spite of all the what-ifs and how-comes and what abouts and I haven't yets and I need tos, He still has a plan. I don't have to worry about all the things happening right now, I just have to be obedient with what's before me today leave the rest in His capable hands. And at the end of this season, when we finally have Roman home, it won't matter that our schedule was insane for a season and it won't matter if he has matching bedding and valances. It won't matter if everything is exactly how we wanted it to be when we brought our first child home. It will just matter, when he crawls up in our arms that our miracle will have come home. God will protect us. He will keep us. He will cause His face to shine upon us and give us peace. (Numbers 6.24-26) He is a God who longs to be gracious to us. He rises to show us His compassion. (Isaiah 30.18)
And that's what I know.