So, one day I was driving down the road past the big, new, fancy Metro Fitness. I said out loud to myself and to God, “When Elijah starts kindergarten, I’m getting a gym membership. Yesseree…I’m going to go right there and work out every day, ALONE.”
Mind you, Elijah was still a year and two months away from starting kindergarten. But after nine years of having little ones at my feet and on my hip, I was seeing the light at the end of the Baby Tunnel. Sure, I love having babies at home. I really do. But as the time approached for my 5-year-old to begin full-day school, I was getting downright giddy at the prospect of entering this next season of parenting and ministry.
I knew that God had called me to be a writer. So in addition to my new gym membership, my future plans included getting serious about my writing.
(And also being able to clean my entire house in two hours, without a little person un-cleaning behind me. And perhaps going out to lunch with my friends for an hour of uninterrupted conversation. And just maybe taking a shower without someone knocking on the shower door asking for a snack.)
But back to the writing. I knew God wanted me to write. He had spoken it to me repeatedly throughout my whole life. By then, I had already completed a manuscript for my first book, as well as written a few articles for magazine publication. All I really lacked was the time to pursue the open doors God had clearly set before me.
As I drove that day, I began to talk to God about all the wonderful things I was going to do with the 35 hours a week I’d soon have when both kiddos were in school. And then I heard it. Oh no, could it be? No…not the
“I should be hearing the bells, not the crickets, right God? I mean, YOU are the one who gifted me to write, and YOU are the one who put a passion for it in my heart. All I want to do is fulfill the calling YOU have on my life…”
Crickets is how I describe God’s silence. It’s the sense I get deep down in my gut that God does not want me to move forward, but instead, seek Him further. (I describe Buzzers, Bells and Crickets here)
Uh oh, this could mean no gym membership….Sometimes the crickets lead me to really uncomfortable places.
So I sincerely asked God, “OK, what am I missing?”
And, I heard in my heart, as clearly as you read these words: “Have you considered adoption?”
And I said (audibly), “As a matter of fact, I have. And his name is Elijah. Remember?”
I knew God wasn’t talking about my adopted 5-year-old. And He probably didn’t appreciate the sarcasm. I should have known not to try to slip that one by Him. As if I’d ever be able to slip anything by Him.
God responded with that all-too-familiar silence.
I suppose I deserved that. At this point in my journey with God, I knew to take the crickets seriously.
And so should you.
No more fantasizing, my prayers over the next few days intensified as I gently pursued various adoption avenues. First, I thought it might be a good idea to run this adoption thing past the man who would be the baby’s father and sole financial provider. I thought dinner at a great restaurant would be a perfect opportunity for this discussion.
Apparently, God had not yet spoken to Jon about said adoption, because I recall it going exactly like this:
Me: I’ve been thinking, maybe, about us adopting another baby, maybe.
Me: No, seriously.
Me: Don’t you even want to a little bit?
Jon: Maybe about 1% of me wants that. Excuse me, Miss, could I have a refill on tea?
Next, I called the adoption coordinator we used with my son’s adoption. If this is God’s will, she will probably already have a baby ready for me.
No return call.
More praying. More seeking.
Then, a few days later while I was on the elliptical machine in our basement (as opposed to the one AT THE GYM!) flipping through the channels, I decided to go past my normal show (30-Minute Meals) and stop instead on a show I had never watched (TLC’s Adoption Stories). Long story short, the featured family had adopted from Guatemala and I stumbled off the elliptical to sit cross-legged, eyes glued to the TV in a snotty, crying mess.
That was it. Guatemala.
A quick internet search of Guatemalan adoptions revealed that we would not be able to fund the adoption without seriously hindering our three-year plan to pay off our house. Though Jon was now open to my investigating this further (the tears and snot moved him), I knew he would never agree when he found out how much it cost.
So, I called my good friend Julie who committed to pray with me for the next 21 days for either Jon to hear from God independent of me, or for God to close this door.
Wouldn’t you know that about ten days later, I found my husband at our desk with our financial stuff spralled all over the place? When I asked him what he was up to, he simply said, “I think we can do it.” And smiled at me.
And so it began.
But God’s direction didn’t end there. God also caused me to meet three different people over the next few days (one on a walk through the neighborhood, one at the zoo and one at a meeting at school) who all directed me to the same small, out-of-state adoption agency. He led me to our baby’s picture on this agency’s website of waiting children. He gave me our baby’s name in a song. He confirmed to me repeatedly through dozens of people, scriptures, commercials and my i-pod (yes, He will use everything) to let me know that He was guiding us and we were right on track. There was no getting away from it at this point.
And I wouldn’t have wanted to. My plans are really pathetic compared to God’s.
You may be asking, is it always easy chucking my plan to follow God’s? Not by a long shot.
How’s the writing coming? Well, you’re reading it, pretty much.
Is my house clean? Hardly.
Did I get the gym membership? Not yet.
But I can’t imagine being anywhere else but in the center of His will for me. You see, a long time ago, I laid out on my floor and told God I would do whatever He asked me to do. And I meant it. I know I don’t need to worry how the writing, the “calling” or the gym membership are all going to fit into His plan. Or if they will ever fit into His plan. Doesn’t matter. All I need to do is listen, trust and obey.
When we pay close attention to that divine silence, it changes everything. In my case, a child’s destiny is altered. She’s given a shot at life with a family and the opportunity to know her Savior personally.
Her name is Elliana. Isn’t she gorgeous?