“…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…”—Phil. 3:10 “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus…who for the joy was set before him endured the cross…”—Hebrews 12:2
Today, we officially began the second leg of our adoption journey. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the adoption process in China, I’ll try to give you a brief snapshot.
There are about 15 other couples from the same adoption agency who are on this same journey with us and starting today, we are all going to split up and go to the different provinces to receive our new children. After a few days, we will all reunite in Guangzhou for medical checkups and final immigration paperwork. As I write, I’m sitting on the plane after lunch—a bit of calm before the excitement hits!
Up till now, things just haven’t seemed real. Unlike a pregnancy where you are constantly reminded of the baby growing within you, it can sometimes be easy to get wrapped up in the ordinary details of life. This is especially so since my husband has done the majority of the paperwork. (We joke and call this his “paper pregnancy.”) Not to mention that the past six months have been so busy with the house remodel and moving back in. I really haven’t had a whole lot of time to really process!
But this morning, the thought finally struck me: today is the last day that there will be five of us in this family. Life as we know it will never be the same after tomorrow. I must confess that with the excitement, there was a little bit of fear. What have I signed up for? What was I thinking? Am I going to be able to handle being a mother of a special needs daughter? Will she like me? What if she doesn’t? Will I be able to love her as I do my other three kids?
Before checking out this morning, my husband shared a few thoughts from Philippians 3:10 and Hebrews 12:2 . In the midst of my fears, the Lord impressed two thoughts into my mind:
- Hard times are opportunities to not only my chance to understand what Jesus has done for me, but to fellowship with Him on a deeper level. Life is not going to be easy from here on out. We are going to have hard days. Some days, I may even question our decision to do this. (However, if I am honest, I can say that I have thought that with my biological children! Haven’t you?)
But it is precisely going to be in these moments of difficulty and “suffering” that I can begin to know him in a more intimate and personal way. So often, we try to get out of suffering. But Paul actually seems to embrace it, looking at it as an opportunity to grow deeper in his understanding of what Jesus did for him. Somehow difficulty can take my faith to a whole ‘nother level…if I let it.
- Focus on the joy to come, not on the suffering or difficulty itself. I know that when I am in a hard place, it’s often all I can see. But Jesus sets an example for me—and his cross is so much more difficult and painful than mine ever will be. Instead of looking at the pain He will need to endure, He looked at the joy on the other side, which is far greater than what I can ever imagine.
It may be easy to wax eloquent now, but the Lord knew what I needed to hear this morning. Writing this out is one way to help me to start preparing myself for this huge change. And if it encourages you too, then even better.
The next time I write, we will finally have met Anah. And I can’t wait to introduce you to her! Until next time…