Monday, September 9, 2013

A Little About Faith & A Poppy Seed



Can you believe that September is already here and that fall is just around the corner??? I had hoped to have more adoption news to share by now but, at least for today, all I can say is that our dossier is in Bulgaria, currently being translated and authenticated. In the next step, our documents will be submitted to the Minister of Justice, and then we will continue waiting until we hear news about the next meeting when verbal and written referrals will be given out. All of these things could happen fairly quickly, and we could have travel dates as early as October. However, it's also very possible that we could experience more delays and our travel could be pushed back until later in the fall. At this point, it's completely out of our hands, and that's ok. I can trust the One who holds all things {including her} in the palm of His hands, and that's enough for me!

Over the past month, I've had the opportunity to connect with other moms who have either adopted or are in the process of adopting from Faith's orphanage in Stara Zagora. This has been a huge blessing and a great source of encouragement. One mom in particular recently brought home a little girl who also has spina bifida, and she was able to share lots of information with me about this condition and what to expect and prepare for. I know we will have much to learn about the special needs of our newest little girl, and, quite honestly, at times it feels a little bit overwhelming. The further down this path we venture, the more and more I see why the Lord led us to name her Faith. It is indeed a journey of faith, and I would be untruthful if I told you that I haven't wrestled on numerous occasions with many fears. There is so much that is unknown, but, more than ever before in my life, I'm thankful that I know the One who knows all things! He knows what she will need, and I can trust Him to equip us to meet those needs and also to provide the help and resources to continue meeting each of the needs of every member in our family, mine included!

And He has done just that up until now. Why would I hesitate even for a minute to think that He would not continue to faithfully provide? 

Even this very minute, I'm breathing in His perfect provision. Right now, I'm feeling the warmth of His mercy while I soak up the morning sun on my back patio. I have four kids in school, one taking her morning nap, and one helping his Daddy in the yard. They're collecting worms and watering some new flowers that they planted to help welcome in this new season {and also to help make this Momma's heart happy}! It's been a long time since our mornings have felt quite like this, and I am so, so grateful for this little window of time to rest and recharge. I'm still smiling as I reflect on how our Father really is taking care of us so perfectly. His mercy abounds as our needs are being met and our hearts are being nurtured! Yes, there have been many "Lord, I Believe. Help Thou My Unbelief" moments, and many prayers have been offered up over the past few months as I've asked the Lord to grow my faith. But there's also evidence everywhere of how He IS answering those prayers! My faith, though small and often wavering, is taking root. He's strengthening it and faithfully filling me with a deep and abiding confidence in His goodness and His sovereignty. And for that reason, and many more, this season is a good one!




He continues to provide for our adoption finances as well. Up until now, we've only done a little bit of fundraising, but yet we've been able to make every single payment. Will had an incredibly busy summer at work, and while this made for some long days at home for me and the kids, it helped to cover every adoption-related expense that we incurred during the summer. Every bill has been paid, and there's even a teeny bit left over in our adoption account to begin covering the next round of payments that will be coming due soon. 


However, it is only a very small amount that remains in our account! The next payment is one of the larger ones and will also include travel expenses and airfare. So with that said, if you'd like to be a part of Faith's adoption story, it's not too late to participate. We still have lots of t-shirts for sale and a whole new batch of fishing lures that the boys just finished making. Check out XO Mission for more details, and hopefully there will be some new fundraising ideas coming soon!


Have I shared with you yet how we arrived at Faith's name? I'm not going to disclose her actual Bulgarian name here, but what's really, really amazing is that it comes from the Latin word which means fidelity, which of course means faithfulness. The other neat thing is that her new name, Faith Ana, actually has the same beginning and ending sounds as her given name, so although we are giving her a new name with a very special new meaning, it also has the same familiar sound that she's accustomed to hearing in her native language. Her medicals indicate that she both knows and responds to her name, and that's why we felt it would be helpful for her to have this familiarity! The boys still sometimes call her by her Bulgarian name, and it's so sweet to hear them remember to pray for their new sister! Oftentimes, the Lord uses one of them to jog my memory and remind me to pray for her. And you know the most comforting thing of all? Even when I forget or am too distracted to remember to pray, even when I am not faithful, He is! He knows her by name. He has sustained her until now, and I can rest in the complete assurance that my little girl is indeed safe. In spite of the poor conditions and the lack of care she is receiving now, in spite of every negative factor (and I know there are many), He is faithfully watching over her and when the time is right for her to come home, it will happen. Not one day too soon and not one day too late. I learned so much about this very thing, learning what it means to truly trust God's timing as we watched Him orchestrate the details and timeline of Sophi's adoption and my pregnancy with Evie. Why would I doubt Him again on this very same issue?



Faith's Baby Picture :)

Here's a little more about Faith and a few other fun facts from her otherwise brief and sketchy medical report and file:

  • Her birthday is sometime in December (we don't know the actual date), and she will turn 6. She will be just a few months younger than Hank who just celebrated his 6th birthday! I'm glad it's not the other way around since we often joke that Hank was destined to have been an only child or at least a firstborn. Speaking of the meaning of names, Hank's actual name is Henry, which means head of the household! We chose it for him because it's a family name, but it definitely matches up well with his personality! Hank is a fantastic big brother, and he's {almost} always such a great helper with the little ones. {Happy 6th Birthday Hank!}


  • Faith Ana likes the water. So does every other Blackmon!


  • She likes new clothes. The good news is that although most of her clothes won't be exactly new, Sophi is not near as rough on her clothes as the boys are. I hate to tell Barrett that he probably won't have many clothes that don't have at least a few holes in them and lots of patches (at least as long as they are hand-me-downs from his brothers). I guess that's all part of being in a big family! :)


  • She takes great delight in watching the caretakers take care of little babies. Her file says that she rejoices and smiles when one of the babies laughs, and if a baby is in reach, she tries to caress the little one's head. 

I've thought about this so much, especially lately, how the Lord would choose so perfectly to place her in a family...


 ...where there is no short supply of little people. 

In fact, there will be another new little one, making his or her grand appearance sometime in early February!!!

Did you catch that little bit of news? Are you as surprised as we are? It's taken me a little bit of time to wrap my mind around this blessing, but there is no doubt in my mind that this little life is indeed just that - a blessing, a gift, and a mercy that has already brought me to my knees in desperate dependence on the One who is writing this wild and crazy story! I never dreamed it would include this chapter, and sometimes I still can't even believe that it is including another adoption chapter. But I am not the author. He is, and He knows just what He's doing.


And I know that even the things that appear to be twists and turns on the road ahead, the things that might not make a lot of sense to us, they don't come as a surprise to Him. They are always, always for our good and for His glory, and more than ever before, I want my life and our family to reflect that glory and to shine brightly for Him!



In many ways, this summer was a season of wrestling and wondering and doubting. It wasn't so much me asking the question WHY as much as my heart and mind asking HOW. We've been down this path before, and I feel like I'm just coming out of the hardest year of my life. I know how hard it has been. I know how I have been stretched in ways I never could have imagined. I know, at least a little, of what to expect the coming months to look like, and I fully expect them to be full of many challenges. And, honestly, I have had many moments when I can't imagine doing it all over again. But I also remember how many joyful moments we've had, how many "firsts" we've gotten to experience, how many times He's shown us just what to do when we've been so utterly clueless, how He's given us times of respite when we've been completely exhausted, how He has filled us with love when ours has run dry, how He has carried us, how He has provided for us, and how He has sustained us. And sometimes I'm not sure how we made it through that first year, but we did {only by His grace, I know!} and now we've rounded a corner and a new adventure is just unfolding. Maybe, just maybe, it will be a little bit easier this time around or maybe before was only preparation for more intense days yet to come. Regardless, I know HOW faithful He was then and HOW faithful He will continue to be! And He is faithfully answering my "how" questions by reminding me to take it one day at a time and simply keep my eyes on Him. 


We live right next to a "CURVY ROAD AHEAD" sign! Somedays, I think I'm seeing double! ;)

Right now, the road ahead seems a little uncertain, and at times my vision feels a little on the blurry side. There are nights that I lay in bed and can't sleep (my pregnancy insomnia kicked in almost immediately after I found out I was pregnant), and all I can think about is the number EIGHT. (Remember, just a little over a year ago we only had FOUR!) I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be the momma to 8 little people. And, yes, I am overwhelmed! BUT it's a different kind of overwhelmed all over again! I'm overwhelmed that the Lord would choose to entrust us with another precious life and that He would bless us again with another tiny treasure.

When I began to suspect that I was pregnant, it took me a little bit of time to get the courage up to take a pregnancy test. I still smile when I think about that particular night when I finally decided it was time to find out for sure. Will was putting the boys to bed, and after I got the girls to sleep, I opened my Bible and knew I needed a little encouragement before I took the test. I landed on these words, and I knew the Lord must have been laughing because I sure was by the time the night was over...



At the bottom of the mountain, they were met by a crowd of waiting people. As they approached, a man came out of the crowd and fell to his knees begging, “Master, have mercy on my son. He goes out of his mind and suffers terribly, falling into seizures. Frequently he is pitched into the fire, other times into the river. I brought him to your disciples, but they could do nothing for him.”

Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.” He ordered the afflicting demon out—and it was out, gone. From that moment on the boy was well.

When the disciples had Jesus off to themselves, they asked, “Why couldn’t we throw it out?”

“Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. 

“The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.”

Matthew 17:14-20, The Message

A few minutes later, I saw that little plus sign pop up, and I'll be completely honest. At that moment, my faith felt smaller than a poppy seed. I did a little math in my head to figure out when my due date would be and then clicked on a popular pregnancy website to find out a little more. Here's what I read:

Your baby is due on or around February 9, 2014. It is now the size of a poppy seed.

Today the newest, little Blackmon is no longer the size of a poppy seed. We're within a few weeks of the halfway point of this pregnancy, and we are all growing, including my faith! And the growing is good and the stretching is good, and, yes, even the questioning is good because all of it {even the sleepless night} lead me deeper and deeper into His heart and that, my friends, is the very best place to be. His heart for me and each of my little ones, including the one yet to be born and the one yet to come home, is GOOD! And because I believe that truth, there is no other place I'd rather be! 
It is so very perfectly fitting that on our journey to bring home a little girl named Faith, her Momma would have the unbelievable privilege of learning more than ever before what that word really means...




Faith...is nothing at all tangible. It is simply believing God; and, like sight, it is nothing apart from its object. You might as well shut your eyes and look inside, and see whether you have sight, as to look inside to discover whether you have faith. You see something, and thus you know that you have sight; you believe something, and thus know you have faith. For as sight is only seeing, so faith is only believing...



Say, "Lord, I will believe, I do believe," and continue to say it. Insist upon believing, in the face of every suggestion of doubt that intrudes itself. Out of your very unbelief, throw yourself unreservedly on the word and promises of God, and dare to abandon yourself to the keeping and saving power of The Lord Jesus. If you have ever trusted a precious interest in the hands of an earthly friend, I entreat you, trust yourself and all your spiritual interests now, in the hands of your Heavenly Friend, and never, never, NEVER, allow yourself to doubt again. Remember always that there are two things which are more utterly incompatible even than oil and water, and those two are trust and worry.


...if you have ever known anything of the trustworthiness of our Lord, may you henceforth set to your seal that He is true, by the generous recklessness of your trust in Him!


I remember, very early in my Christian life, having every tender and loyal impulse within me stirred to the depths of an appeal I met with in a volume of old sermons to all who loved the Lord Jesus, that they should show to others how worthy He was of being trusted by the steadfastness of their own faith in Him. As I read the inspiring words, there came to me a sudden glimpse of the privilege and the glory of being called to walk in paths so dark that only an utter recklessness of trust would be possible.


"Ye have not passed this way heretofore," it may be; but today it is your happy privilege to prove, as never before, your loyal confidence in Jesus by starting out with Him on a life and walk of faith, lived, moment by moment, in absolute and childlike trust in Him.


You have trusted Him in a few things, and He has not failed you. Trust Him now for everything, and see if He does not do for you exceedingly abundantly, above all that you could ever have asked or even thought, not according to your power or capacity, but according to His own mighty power, working in you all the good pleasure of His most blessed will.


It is not hard, you find, to trust the management of the universe, and of all outward creation, to The Lord. Can your case then be so much more complex and difficult than these, that you need to be anxious or troubled about His management of you? Away with such unworthy doubtings! Take your stand on the power and trustworthiness of your God, and see how quickly all difficulties will vanish before a steadfast determination to believe. Trust in the dark, trust in the light, trust at night and trust in the morning, and you will find that the faith that many begin perhaps by a mighty effort will end, sooner or later, by becoming the easy and natural habit of the soul. It is a law of the spiritual life that every act of trust makes the next act less difficult, until at length, if these acts are persisted in, trusting becomes, like breathing, the natural unconscious action of the redeemed soul.


Tell Him all about your utter weakness and your long-encouraged habits of doubt, and how helpless you are before it, and commit the whole battle to Him. Tell Him you will not doubt again, putting forth all your will power on His side, and against His enemy and yours; and then, henceforward, keep your face steadfastly "looking into Jesus," away from yourself and away from your doubts, holding fast the profession of your faith without wavering, because "He is faithful who hath promised." Rely on His faithfulness, not your own. You have committed the keeping of your soul to Him as into a "faithful Creator," and you must never again admit the possibility of His being unfaithful. Believe He is faithful, not because you feel it, or see it, but because He says He is. Believe it, whether you feel it or not. Believe it actively, and believe it persistently. Cultivate a continuous habit of believing, and never let your faith waver for any "seeming," however plausible it may be. The result is that sooner or later you will come to know that it is true, and all doubts will vanish in the blaze of the glory of the absolute faithfulness of God!

Hannah Whitall Smith

XOXO,
Melanie


P.S.   I think that I've almost caught you up to date on all of our big news! In the next post, I hope to share a little more about what we learned at Sophi's one year follow-up appointment at The International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham and also an update on how she is doing in school! :)


We appreciate your prayers and support more than you know! Thank you!

5 comments:

  1. Did you know that almost all kiddos with SB have winter birthdays? It is true, for some reason there is an increased chance for SB during the winter months. Glad we could connect too.

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  2. Melanie, I couldn't help but smile the entire time I read this. I'm so thankful we reconnected. You are doing a fantastic job, and I can't wait to watch your family grow by four more feet over the next few months! :)

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  3. Loved your post. You're an amazing mom! Congratulations on your new pregnancy and prayers for both of the new little ones you're expecting.

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  4. Amazing!! Congratulations, friend! All 10 (!!!) of you are in my prayers - and I'm right down the road if I can help in any way. :) SO happy for you!

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  5. What!!!! Wow. Wow! I am amazed! And a little bit put to shame that I am just barely able to wrap my head around 4 kids and we have (prayerfully) said NO WAY to future pregnancies, just so we can focus on adoption. Obviously it is possible to focus on both at the same time! I hope to meet you in person one day, wonder woman! You can indeed do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

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