When God’s Timing Turns Me Into a Five Year Old, Because Patience Isn’t My Thing

I was not sure if more than five people would read that last post. For someone who hasn’t read what I have put out over the past, I am aware that it doesn’t make sense.  That it may not seem like a big deal or need to be said. For me, it did.
Also, I felt strange and awkward all day like someone who passes gas in a room full of people and then has the audacity to raise their hand and claim it.
Yeah. I did that.
Then they stand there bashfully waiting to see who will gawk and head out the door and who will give the high-fives.

So, if you are reading.  ((high-five)).

I meant to write that blog post months ago. In fact, we had a plan for me to stop taking births last December and prepare for adding foster children to our home.  In the plan was freedom and time to write again. I stopped taking births, for the most part, but then life happened and after all these years of waiting and preparing….

Children didn’t happen last winter.

It wasn’t God’s timing, even if we had planned it with Him in mind, which we did. It wasn’t going to happen on our timeline.

What stinks is everyone and their sister’s best friend and cousin asking how things are going. No, it doesn’t bother me that they ask. It’s being told one more time,

It’s ok, honey… All in God’s timing…
1926658_10151991917923263_1729479179_nIt feels so dismissive, doesn’t it? There is nothing left to say once someone has played the “God’s Timing Card”. As if nothing else matters and nothing else can change this.

That’s because nothing else does and… we can’t change this. We really can’t.

These are not the words I’ve wanted to hear.  In the past I must admit that I have felt good about my ability to adapt to this “God’s Timing” business.  I have practice. Patience may not come naturally to me but I’ve had serious learning sessions.

I tried to marry a guy at nineteen. We had our future planned. I didn’t marry him until we had two years apart, not even knowing if we would speak again. We were married at twenty-three. He still is everything I needed. No way did I understand what I thought I did when we were younger.  The timing was better than mine.

I tried to have a natural birth once, twice, even an third and fourth time.  That first baby was breech with her feet down and would not budge. The second time all was well and only VBAC was discussed, until a car accident that injured my back. Permanently. That next time I was pregnant for almost forty-three weeks.  My last, I labored for forty-three hours, fourteen of that on pit.  Still, all 4 of those kids were c-sections.
ME….c-sections!!
I was the one who wanted homebirths. I was up for having 8-10 children.  Surrender makes us whole and changes who we are. I would never be who I am if I hadn’t handed the timing of my other children, and all expectation over to Him.  He knew better and His timing prepared me to serve and encourage other mothers.  I could share my story of surrender and how amazing and powerful letting go can be. His plan was what I needed.

We bought a house that was practically unlivable. The plan was to fix it up  and flip it to make a profit… to move to a farm with many babies. Then Dave Ramsey happened to us. He hit our budget like a wrecking ball and we have never been the same. We are ten and a half years out and still building this house bit by bit.  With cash.
We’re so close.  I’m going to share about that soon.  I can’t imagine having done this any other way, now that we are this far in. I am blown away by the tiny provisions that have kept us present and open with this house project.  We truly are Making Room For More.

We attended a church for eight years. In fact, we moved into the city and bought this little hovel to be a part of the building team to start it.  We were invested. The last four years  of that, I knew we didn’t  belong there. We love the people. We still visit and hold them dear.  But I knew to my core that we were not where God wanted us. I tried to leave. I begged my husband to leave. I had to wait for him to feel it, too.  It took four long years. Four.
The thing is that we never would have ended up where we are, if we had left when I asked to.  I felt anger and frustration, and that is what made me want to leave.  I didn’t understand that was God asking me to look for more and that it wasn’t about the situations as much as His plan to make me uncomfortable so I would give up on looking at people and search for the bottom line of finding Him. We joked about trying any and all kinds of denominations, in hopes of finding what He really wanted. If I went back all those years and told myself that it would be Catholic… I would have side-eyed myself and ran away.  For realz.  That took time. I am thankful for those years. We are where we are called to be.

I’ve done surrender in so many ways, with a heaping serving of Extreme Patience Makeover. I have felt like a veteran of this “all in God’s timing” business.  I thought I had it down.  Heck, I even thought I had reached a point of enjoying the unpredictability of it all.  I was all for it.

319139_184083555005072_119245061488922_387806_758231187_n

I was wrong.  I’m still learning it. Still growing. Because in this case, I don’t like it.

At. All.

We had expected to be ready and approved over the last winter for adopting through DFCS. At least we had hoped to be. The reality is that we have gone about this in such a different way than most foster families would. Our big plans and preparation are what have dictated this longer timeline.

It’s the house. Again.

You see, we started with a 2 bedroom/1 bath bungalow of 1150 square feet.  We have added 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, an office, a laundry room, a reading nook and a storage room.  It’s substantial. It totals 1350 square feet in addition to the original house.

Why does this matter? That’s not about the adoption…

But it is.

The addition is new construct. For us to be approved to home foster children or adoptive children, we have to have a Certificate of Occupancy  from the city.  See, that would not have been a big of a deal if we had simply been renovating a home. Oops.

That is why you may know people who have done this and did it quickly. That is why our process may look confusing, long and drawn out from the outside looking in. Even dramatically so.

Yes. I am aware that I can be dramatic. Especially about this.

Once we have that approval, we are likely to have children within weeks, even days. It’s just getting that little piece of paper, and that requires passing every inspection, even the big final one. It even excavating/landscaping the back yard.  Really.

I have friends who have listened to me rage about this. I do’t know how they put up with me. I try not to, but I feel the pout and whine come on like an expectant mama who just wants that wait over and to feel the baby in her arms. I haven’t been doing the patience as well as I should.

afterlight
Friends get stuck seeing my grouchy-mama face. Often.

Thankfully, I have good friends. They are so gracious.

Ultimately, we really are not that far off track. I should be thrilled. And I am. Really I am. God’s timing seems to be about a year after what we pictured.  That doesn’t sound that bad, right? Yet it has been an up and down year of releasing our plans and trusting him, only to pick up the timeline again and forge forward with everything we have. And I mean everything.

I am Verruca Salt. I want it NOW!!

It’s not that I just want my way, and I see these children and something for ME. It’s not a selfish need for another baby. It’s that, just like a woman who is growing a baby… I am expecting.

In August of 2012 I had a earth shaking realization, a moment that hit my like a Crossfiter’s biggest kettlebell and settled with a vice grip on my heart that still remains.
I was sitting with Lil Bit playing and dreaming of her as a big sister and what that would look like. That is when it happened.

I did the math.

As I held my three year old, I realized that if we were looking at welcoming a newborn and 2-3 year old in 2 years… Now mattered.
Suddenly reality ran through my veins like an earthquake. Thunder and lighting, racing pulse. Eyes wide open.

My. Child. Could. Already. Be. Born.

My heart almost exploded and the room spun around me.  It was all at once as thrilling and as terrifying as seeing two lines after peeing on a stick. It was real.  Once I knew it, I could not undo it. A fierceness came over me that moves me forward. The whole family  feels the empty space of where those children will be.

My prayers changed. I pray for our children differently. Feverishly.  I hold my breath on holidays wondering if they have been born, if someone said “I love you” today. And if they are somewhere, who is holding them?   Is anyone? It’s cold out, are they warm?  Are they hungry?

And the one that really gets to my mama heart,

Is someone hurting them?

This is hard.

It is one thing to be waiting on a baby who is safe and sound in my uterus.  Now, I have no idea.  In all reality, considering the statistical odds… our children are not likely to be safe and sound.  We can’t do anything for them, but get this house done.

We have chosen not to go through lists of children available for adoption. There will be no adoption books to look at, and our family won’t make a cute display of ourselves to show. It is a completely different process. We don’t get to choose.

We will prepare our home to treat children like gold.  Like the royalty they are, as precious little souls with potential for greatness.

We will get a call and have only hours to pray, decide and prepare. We will take who we are given. We will fill the need.

But in doing that, we will be opening our arms to children who are hurt. They almost HAVE to be hurt to end up in the broken system that we have chosen to go through. The system that will bring them to us.  They will be removed from their natural parents. They won’t have a choice. Those parents may not have a choice.
What keeps me up at night, scheming for ways to get this house done faster, is knowing that pain and hurt will happen, for them to actually make it to our home. Pain, rejection, confusion. Abuse.   We can’t save them from that. We just have to wait to catch them when they fall into our open arms.

And it rips at me heart, but only in a way that keeps me bringing it back to God and begging him to get with the plan and hurry up. But he won’t and I know that is best. He knows that it’s best. I need to get with HIS plan.

There is some incredible good in the last year of unexpected waiting. Now that I’ve put away my pouting, I’m aware that we needed this.

Two years ago we were completely focused on the adoption aspect of this.  Now our hearts have shifted to openness for fostering to be the main goal, always with the hope that adoption is welcome.  That is a huge shift.

We are prepared to lose these children.

Do you want to know why?

I realized that they could be alive. They were having a life that I was not a part of and I could not be there for them. Do you know what that means?

It’s not about me. It’s not my story. The story belongs to these children.
It. Is. Their. Story.

So what will it feel like if we have children who are returned to their biological families after six months… after a year… what will we do?
We will cry. We will ache.  We will thank God that we got to be a part of their story, because someone was going to be.
If their story was that they would go back, it’s not about us. That is out of our control. If they were going to have that six months or a year somewhere, anywhere… it could have been with a different family. And it could have been horrible.   Maybe they will be returned to an environment that is still tragic. Maybe their future will still hold abuse that we cannot protect them from.
They still had that time. All we have is that time.  We can’t control their story. We can only present ourselves as available for them and hold an openness to loving on all terms.

Short term or long term. We are wide open for that.

These are the things we have learned, that we have processed through in this extra time.  We’ve wrestled and prayed.  We’ve waited. We’ve built a home and we are almost there.

We can now predict to have children in three to six months.

And it is safe to assume that they are alive now. Someone is.

So please don’t wait. Pray with me. Pray for them now.
And pray for all the others. The ones who won’t fit into our home.

Pray that we get this together and ready for them.  Pray that we will be strong and open when the call comes for children to be at our door in a few hours.

Because, that’s all going to happen.

In God’s timing…

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OTHER POSTS TO READ:
Pregnant and In Love – The Pitfalls of Crushing on Your Care Provider

Losing Your *IT* vs. Saving Grace (5 Thinks I’ve Learned Through 7 Years of Poop)

GUEST BLOGGER: When Waiting

Brad and Jessica Inman are a wonderful couple that I have known for many years. Jessica and I shared a good bit of teenage angst together over smarties and hair dying sessions.  I love that we are now walking different paths toward adoption alongside each other.  Over the past year and a half I have seen them go through the steps to prepare for their child and have been inspired by their commitment to waiting for their child.
Right now they are raising funds for their adoption process HERE.  There are 3 days left to get in an order on one of their gorgeous tshirt designs and I personally can not pass up those beautiful bracelets!  They would make wonderful gifts, too.
Recently Jessica shared hear heart on her blog with powerful insight on what the process of waiting can be like.  The depth of surrender that she and Brad have reached in this process is so powerful that I can only imagine how blessed their child will be to have such amazing parents.
Here is her blog post, shared with permission. You can follow Jessica at her blog Songbird Stories.
Waiting
In many areas of life there is often a high level of excitement when something happens quickly.  Whirlwind romances, accelerated graduations, babies born within the first year of marriage, quick progression up the corporate ladder.  It somehow seems to indicate that these people have something special.  A love so strong, a work ethic so intense the normal parameters do not apply.  This happens in the adoption world as well.  Speeding up the process is a major goal for many people.  When home studies come through quickly, matches are made soon after, fundraisers boom and a baby is home with the new parents within months – it must be a miracle!  And I believe it is; I really do.  God has timing for each situation and for those, it was speedy.
But then there are the rest of us.  Those of us that have been in the process for years.  Those of us that feel like each step requires determination and some amount of struggle.  We watch as others we were journeying with move forward, sometimes even more than once, while we have the same answer to give each time we are asked if there is news: “we’re still waiting”.  If all those other people who get propelled quickly through careers, romances, adoptions, and the like are experiencing God’s favor and blessing…what does that mean about those of us left plodding along?
I don’t have a theologically deep answer.  Or even a feel-good one.  But I do know that the timing is just as deliberate, just as miraculous, and God’s favor is not absent when the wait is long.  He does not indicate that speed has anything to do with blessing; it is us humans who love a sped-up story.  It’s why we think getting rich in your twenties might be better than a steady, fifty-year long career in the same company.  I think God does love surprising us sometimes and knocking out some of the hard work for us.  But what if that work, the struggle, the waiting was so important?  What if in the waiting He changed us and healed us?  What if He even changes what we think we are waiting and longing for?We have experienced this in our lives and seen it in others’.  We experienced it with our struggle with infertility, and in the biggest way, our marriage.  I hope to share more of that story one day but our marriage was rebuilt, healed, and massively changed. And it took time, struggle, work, and waiting.
Having others wait with you is a support like very few others.  We have had people pray for and over us, hope for us, sing over us, believe for us.  Especially when could not pray, hope, or sing, and when we did not believe and were so weary.  Many of them are still doing these things.  We are forever grateful to them and love them fiercely. I have also had the opportunity to wait with several friends on big things, and it is deep privilege to be allowed to share in another’s grief, hopes, and joy.
We have been waiting in a new stage lately.  Two months ago we presented (had our profile shown) to an expectant mother for the first time.  After the initial agreement with her attorney, there was silence.  No contact.  No updates.  For two months.  We were told she probably wouldn’t decide for weeks (not  months) and to expect no replies until she did.  The wait affected us in ways we didn’t even immediately realize.  It was hard and stressful as the baby’s due date inched closer and closer and still no word came to us.  We made a very, very difficult decision to stop that wait and withdraw our presentation last week, and begin to present to other women.  I wish it had gone differently but that situation and wait showed us we were ready to be in this stage, united.    It had a purpose.

 

Still, it can be incredibly difficult to see those we were side by side with jump forward while we stay back.  This week a friend who is with the same adoption consultant as we are presented to the same expectant mother we did (this was our second time presenting and their first).  She and her husband were chosen.  We were not.  They have been in the process 4-5 months.  We have been officially in process for a little over 18 months. We also experienced this in the infertility world.  Some of the people we were in the same boat with have gone on to have one or more children in the past several years.  None of this diminishes our joy for our friends, but it does remind us of our wait.
Sometimes the wait seems unfair and far too long.  Several  months ago I saw a friend finally bring her baby home after nine years in the adoption process and six failed adoptions.  I think rejoicing is still going on around the world for their family!!  No one understood at the time why the wait was so long, but their precious daughter just wasn’t here yet.  In contrast to the miraculous speedy stories this could sound like a cautionary tale.  It is not.  Rather, stories like this are beautiful evidence of timing and the perseverance of love and commitment.
It is easy to feel forgotten, left behind, less desirable than those that are chosen (just like it can with relationships, jobs, and in our situation, being chosen to parent).

 

We sometimes feel hurt, jealousy and any number of unpleasant things when someone gets what we are waiting for, without the effort we have put forth and especially if it’s someone close to us.  Even though we may truly be rejoicing with them.

 

But I try to trust that the wait has value.  The result cannot be rushed and wouldn’t be the same if it was.  Whatever the reason for the wait, in various areas of my life, I am grateful for things I am learning in that place (though I have not mastered any of them and expect to be learning them for a long time!)  Things like contentment, living in the present, patience, and how to celebrate with others even when I am disappointed or weary.  I have learned to appreciate the family we already have, the one that is just Brad and me.  I have learned that we have an incredible support system, family and community.  I have learned that things hard-fought for and long-awaited are sometimes the sweetest.

So for now we wait.  With anticipation.

PLEASE VISIT THEIR STORE AND CONSIDER MAKING A PURCHASE TO SUPPORT THEM IN THE ADOPTION PROCESS!!