Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Rest of the Story

I didn't post yesterday.  Instead, I spent the day doing a lot of thinking, pondering, considering and whispering of prayers for Kirill, Baby J and Eva.  Like everyone else, I wanted to hear some news.  None came.  This morning I heard that the judge is still considering.  The three families have been put into a holding pattern. 

Is that good?  Is that bad?  To be honest, no one knows. It is an opportunity to continue to be vigilant.  To pray.

I want to share something.

Last July we flew across the ocean for Aaron.  We met Aaron and stated emphatically that we wanted him as our son.  Unfortunately, the judge in his village was unable to take our case because there was no approved jury pool (a result of a feud between the judge and the town council). After two weeks in country, we were forced to go home while our facilitators decided what to do.  They had two options: to throw up their hands in defeat (the easy thing) or to fight to get our case moved to a different venue.  By the Grace of God, and only by His Grace, they decided to fight for us, and they succeeded in moving our case to a different venue.  That's another long story.

When we heard from our facilitators, we thought that we were free and clear.  We had a judge willing to take our case, and all we needed was a court date so that we could book our flights back to rescue our sweet Aaron.  By this time we had a large group of people praying for us.  Aaron's smiling face had captured tons of hearts, and the twists our process was taking had a lot of people interested in the outcome.  As we waited here for the judge to grant us a court date, we began to ask people to pray for her. 

Here is where I break down.  

You see, our judge had a story.  To us, she was just a hurdle that we had to overcome on our way to the prize.  To God, she was much more.

We were home for four weeks in August.  Four very long weeks.  The more we heard from our facilitators, the more concerned we became about our judge and her inclinations.  We began to fear that the decision to place our adoption in her venue was a big mistake.  So we began begging for prayers for our judge. In our single-minded thinking, we believed that the only important prayer request at the time was for Aaron.  Nothing else mattered to us.  But our judge had a story of her own.

Our judge was desperately in need of prayer, and her need had NOTHING to do with our adoption.  She was a widow in need.  Here is where I catch my breath and marvel at the God I know and love.

During that month of August, while we were asking for prayers for our judge, her daughter died. We don't know how she died.  The details were not translated to us.  We do know that  it was devastating.  She had already lost her husband, and now she was burying her child.  She had four children: two biological, two adopted.  Sadly, her four children never got along.  There was fierce conflict in her home between the adult biological children and the new adopted children. There was a bitterness in the family that had never been healed.  The two adopted girls had not been easy to raise, and the judge was tired of their bad behavior.  Then her biological daughter died.  Our judge needed prayer.  She needed to be surrounded on all sides by Godly people.  Judging by our time in that country, walking its streets and looking in the eyes of its people, people like that are hard to find there (here too, for that matter). So, in the midst of her grief and pain, God raised up an army of people to pray for her.

Us.  The hundreds or thousands of people who were praying for Aaron were praying for her.  God met her need through our adoption journey.

While we cared for Aaron, God cared for her and Aaron. 

Our judge was an interesting person.  I would have loved an opportunity to sit down with her after it was all over to really get to know her. On the outside, she presented a fierce demeanor.  The first time she walked into court, I wanted to run.  She reminded us of World War II movies and concentration camp guards.  Seriously.  But underneath her grim exterior, there was a real live person.  We know she went to church.  We know that she prayed.  We know this because of the questions she asked us and because of the cross she wore around her neck.  We know that she cared about people.  Not only had she adopted two girls, but she had also recently invited into her home a family who had lost their home in a fire.  We know that she was a proud woman who loved her culture, her family and her church. 

We know God cared for her.  How do we know?  Because for 6 weeks, in a little village in a post-communist country, for one grieving wife and mother, God orchestrated a chorus of voices to be lifted up for her.  During a time in her life when her grief was great, we prayed.  Of course we didn't know all of her needs, but that is beside the point.  I don't know how many e-mails we received during those long, scary weeks from people across the globe letting us know that THEY WERE PRAYING FOR OUR JUDGE.

I write that with tears.  How Loving is our Lord.

Why do I share this?

Because as I have considered and pondered and waited and whispered prayers over the last number of days for three helpless babies in a region of Eastern Europe, I was called to remember.  We think that we know the whole story.  We think that we understand everything that is happening.  We don't.  We are finite, frail, weak, fragile human beings who are completely and utterly dependent upon God for every breath that we take.  We live in a fallen, sinful world.  Prayer reminds us of these facts.  We groan out our prayers for what we  believe is the most important issue and He hears.  Oh Yes, He Hears.  But He is not frail, weak and finite.  He is not bound by time or distance.  He has knowledge that far surpasses ours, and because He is Loving and Just, He takes our frail, weak, pitiful cries and translates them into beautiful answers that surprise and shock us when we discover the rest of the story.  Because we live in a fallen world, sometimes we have to wait for a beautiful outcome.  Sometimes our prayers are not answered as we would like.  Sometimes they are.   And sometimes in the journey, we get to hear the rest of the story-- the why. 

There are thousands praying for these three babies.  They should not stop.  No way.  There is a story to be told when all is said and done.  We may not hear about it on this side of Heaven, but trust me: God is weaving His story in and through ours.  He hears our cries, and He hears the cries of those whom we cannot see and whose story we can't begin to fathom.  We pray to a living God.  I cannot stress that enough.  We pray to a God who came to earth to redeem us.  To adopt us.  To call us His own.  Our adoption of Aaron, and the adoptions of these three babies, are but a tiny portion of all that He has done and will do for us. 

We may not receive all that we ask when we pray.  Prayer isn't magic.  The judge may rule against the families.   Again, we live in a fallen world.  But because He is a God of love, because He delights in giving good things to His children, because He is the defender of the WIDOW and the ORPHAN, we know that He will make everything right in the end.  The whole story has yet to be told. It is beyond human comprehension, and it will delight us into eternity!

So pray for these families, for their judge and for everyone else involved.  And anticipate the joy when you find out the rest of the story.

18 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful post, Julia. Thanks for the hard work that went into writing it. I'm provoked to keep praying!

    (Like your new header too!)

    Love you all.

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  2. Thank you for the beautiful post!- Johannah Back

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  3. Julia, you are our very own Paul Harvey. :) Thank you for sharing your heart and for the rest of the story. I love how you look at things from so many different sides. I will continue to pray for these families and for the judge, and for Aaron's judge, who gave you such a beautiful gift even in her time of sorrow.

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  4. Thank you so much far sharing. How true it is that God has a master plan and we cannot possibly know it all. I will continue to pray for these families and these children.
    Have a blessed day!

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  5. I'm in tears. Thanks.

    SharonSharon

    (sorry for the anon category, I have a google acct but it's hard for me to sign on)

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  6. Your words are a blessing and a beautiful reminder of God's amazing plan being far to big for us to comprehend. Thank you! From a friend you haven't met yet! Julie

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  7. I am praying!

    Sarah

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  8. Julia, you have no idea how your words have been sort of an answer to my prayers lately. read the post I wrote this morning and you'll see how your words have touched me.

    I will be praying for the judge, I tend to forget that yes these are human beings with hearts and stories and emotions.

    I've been troubled about a situation and how to pray for it. Just before I read your post I asked Jesus if I should pray for a certain person who is sort of like the judge in this particular situation. I guess the answer is a definite YES!

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  9. What a beautiful, powerful post and a much-needed reminder for me that indeed I do not and cannot know God's marvellous master plan. I may pray for outcomes, and be disappointed if they do not materialize, but in fact those outcomes would not have resulted in the oft-unknown blessings that become part of God's marvellous tapestry. Thank you!

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  10. To quote my mother: "God always answers, but sometims the answer is no." With that in mind, I never feel abandoned.

    Sarah

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  11. Julia, thanks so much for this post. It was good to remind me that there is often more to a situation than meets the eye.

    Joy

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  12. I've just come across your blog from another that I read. Your words today speak directly to my heart. If you stop by my blog, you'll probably get a glimpse of "why". We just found out it will be a year before we can bring our Misha home, so says Ukrainian law. What says God? We'll see.

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  13. What a beautiful post. The more you share about your journey to Aaron, and all the "situations" involved in it, the more amazing it is. God is so good! Continuing to pray that these 3 families will be able to bring their son and daughters home soon.

    Blessings,
    Barbara

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  14. Julia- You are a beautiful writer. A beautiful person! I love reading your posts. You challenge me to think and pray for things that I never would have thought of otherwise. Thank you! Praying for you and Aaron today. Hope he enjoys his RED casts! :)

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  15. Thank you again for calling people to prayer for us, for the judge, for our precious Kirill. I cannot wait until this story is complete so we can share the reason for the wait. I know that even if Kirill never makes it into our family, he has already served to further God's kingdom and glorify God's name. I love you...even though we have never met I consider you a dear friend.

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  16. Praise be to God whose ways are far above us. Thanks for sharing your testimony that teaches me to pray for God's perfect will in whatever situation we're in.

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  17. Thank you so much for expressing your Faith in Christ so honestly \o/

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  18. Oh, how HE love His Children! Children all around the world. My heart aches for that Judge who lost her husband and daughter. You have been given a Gift, Julia. HE has given you the ability to tell His story and in a way that makes all who read, really think.
    Your boys are all so beautiful and Blessed to have you for their Mama!

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Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!

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