Sunday, May 25, 2014

Deep Waters

It's a strange feeling. When a new day has already started but the previous day still feels like it never ended.

The sun came up this morning in Alabama. I watched it as I fed my littlest boy his morning bottle. He woke up earlier than normal, and I was so glad. His happy face was the best way to start this day. One by one, the others piled up on the couch next to me. First Hank. Then Evie. Next came Palmer and Web. I finally had to wake Barrett up. I got S up right before I left (she's been sick all week). Seven sleepy boys and girls - my heart was so overwhelmed! The little ones were unaware that this morning was any different than any other, but my big boys knew what this day meant. We've been talking about it for days, praying and preparing, but I cannot even begin to describe how hard it was to tell them each goodbye. I had to work hard to hold back the tears throughout the day. By far, the hardest moments were climbing into the car, watching Will holding Haddon as he picked up his little hand and waved it for him. Haddon was grinning the whole time, completely clueless what was unfolding before him. The other hard moment was giving Hank one last hug at the airport. He tagged along with my dad to Atlanta, and we had a great time hanging out together. He was happy and cheerful the whole morning until those last few minutes. I could tell he was trying to fight it, but I saw those big green eyes filing with tears and mine did the same. They are doing in again, now, just thinking about it.

Nine {sleepless} hours later, the sun came up in Amsterdam during my layover. I felt it's warmth coming through the airport window, and I was reminded {yet again} that even an ocean away, the Lord's mercies are new every morning. All the way from Alabama to Bulgaria and every step in between, they are constant. Over an ocean and in the middle of deep waters, His mercies kept coming, rolling in one after the other, just like the waves in the ocean I just crossed. And as I sat there alone in a strange and unfamiliar place, I knew that I had to make a deliberate choice to count them. I needed to name then one by one, and I knew that having a thankful heart would be critical to making it through these next few weeks {and months and years} that lie ahead. He taught me this in Shumen when we went to bring Sophi home, and over the past year and a half, that's what I have done. I've counted my blessings, day in and day out, stinky diaper after stinky diaper! I've chosen to see His mercies, mercies that come every morning, constant like my little brown-eyed girl that calls for Momma when the sun comes up {and sometimes before}. I've focused on His faithfulness, a faithfulness that's never-ending like our piles of laundry and ever-running washing machine. Had I not done this, I'm sure I would have drowned in the deep waters that we have been swimming in since bringing Sophi home to be part of our family. Choosing thankfulness has been a lifeline, turning my eyes off of myself, off of what's hard, and allowing me to cling to Him. But it's so easy to forget to be grateful, at least, it is for me. I'm so incredibly prone to distraction (if you need proof, I accidentally washed three diapers in the washing machine this week alone and, no, we do not use cloth diapers). My sinful human nature is so conditioned to focus on the negatives and complain about what's hard. Without even realizing it, I find myself making a mental list of all the things that are going wrong. And, yes, today I could make that type of list. 
Crowded airplanes, stinky European bathrooms, a headache that won't let up, medicine that accidentally I packed in my checked bags instead of in my carry-on...Do you get the picture?

You see, I'm a list-maker. I have made dozens of lists over the past few weeks to prepare for this trip. And it's a good thing to do. It helped me stay organized, helped me to be prepared. It's helped my scatter-brained mind stay on track and helped me to accomplish all that needed to be accomplished before leaving the country {and six kids, one baby, and a husband} behind for two weeks! But that other kind of list - the list of unpleasant things - it's not good. In fact, it becomes all-consuming and blinds us to His mercies. Mercies that come consistently, just like the sun in the morning. 

Today is such a unique day. In one 24 hour day, I actually saw two sunrises, experienced two mornings, and can I tell you what this means? It means I was showered with more mercies than I can count. There are too many to list here, but I want you to know. I want this story, our family's journey to adopt our little Faith, I want more than anything for it to proclaim His faithfulness and to reveal His glory. Because He is so very, very faithful. I know firsthand. My faithful God has carried me every step of the way. He has comforted my heart when it was hard, and I know He's doing the same thing for those back home, providing perfect comfort for each of my precious little ones and for my soon-to-be-in-my-arms newest daughter. In small ways and in big ways, He's revealed Himself to me throughout this adventure. From a smooth and relatively relaxing flight to an amazing story of financial provision that literally takes my breath away. From the support and encouragement our family has received to the countless prayers that are being offered up on our behalf, there are many, many mercies that I am counting today.

And, yes, it was a hard day. But He was here with me {and there with them}, and that makes it good. It reminds me of a book I read many years ago by Sheldon Vanauken called A Severe Mercy. It sounds like a contradiction doesn't it? A hard thing that is also a good thing. But, yes, that's exactly what this day had been about for me. He was with me when the good-byes were hard. With me when the flight was long. With me when I was overwhelmed. With me when I felt alone. With me when my heart was hurting. He is strengthening me, and He's stretching me in ways I never could have imagined. It's an unbelievable experience, one I never would have picked for myself, but one I am eternally grateful to be a part of and honored to be able to share with you.

More than I want to sleep in my own bed. More than I want to eat food from my own kitchen. More than I want to be around people who speak a language that I understand. More than the comforts of home. More than the safety and security of what is known and familiar. And, yes, even more than being with my favorite little {and big} people in the whole world, I want to go where He calls. I want my trust to be without borders. Even if it involves passports, jet-lag, transatlantic flights, and diet cokes that don't taste quite like they do at home. Even if I'm scared. Even if I'm uncomfortable. Even if I'm alone. Even if it's costly. Even if it feels like the hardest thing I've ever done. Even if the water is deep and I think my my feet will fail...

He will not. Faithful is His name. And on this journey to get a little girl named Faith, He's making my faith stronger. He's making me strong, and He's equipping me to do what I could never do on my own strength. Her frail and tiny feet are unable to support her weight. She can't stand. She can't walk. She can't even take a step. And in His perfect sovereignty, He has chosen me, me with my trembling feet and shaky knees, to be her momma, to be the one who carries her down those orphanage stairs one final time. And, quite honestly, I feel completely helpless to help this little girl. Physically, I don't know if I can do it. Emotionally, I don't know if I can do it. In fact, I'm sure I can't. At least, not on my own strength. My feet may fail. This water is deep, and this ocean scary and overwhelming.

And, today, He reminded me that's exactly where He want me. It's where He wants each of us. Out of our comfort zone. Out of out self-sufficiency. With open hearts and open hands and open wallets. In deep waters. In big oceans. In places where our eyes must look to Him.

This is my prayer for my own heart, for each of my little ones back at home, for my family, and for you: That you will be brave. That you will venture out into the great unknown. That you will be filled with a bravery and courage that could only come from Him. That you will keep your eyes on Him when the water is deep and the oceans are rising. That you will be willing to go to those deep waters and scary oceans. That even when fear surrounds you, your soul will rest in Him. That your trust will be without borders, without caring how much it costs, how much it hurts, how far you have to go, or who you have to leave behind. That your faith will be made stronger. That you will know deep in your heart that He is faithful and won't ever fail you. That you won't be afraid to go where your feet may fail and that you won't be afraid to help one whose feet have failed.

I love these words. My littlest guy is named after the man who wrote them.

Weak may be our feet, but Almighty is God's right hand. Rough may be the road, but Omnipotence is our upholding. We may boldly go forward. We shall not fall. Let us lean continually where all things lean. God will not withdraw His strength, for His righteousness is there as well. He will be faithful to His promise, and faithful to His Son, and therefore faithful to us. How happy we ought to be!
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

I listened to this song countless times as I crossed the Atlantic, and it did my heart so much good! I hope it encourages and challenges you, too. I can't seem to figure out how to upload the song here, but here are the lyrics:

"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Blessings from Bulgaria!


P.S. I wrote this post on Friday and Saturday, but in typical fashion, it's taken me an extra day to get it posted. Here in Bulgaria, it's Sunday evening. I am settled into a wonderful hotel, a different one than where I've stayed at before. I like this location much better than where I was before, and I've taken this free day to get my bearings straight. There's a grocery store, drug store, macdonalds, museums, and a host of shops and restaurants nearby and in walking distance. I've gone for long walks, soaked up some sunshine in a nearby park, and read a book! 

I'm grateful for this day of rest and renewal, a much-needed and welcome mercy for this weary traveler! Tomorrow is the big day! I will meet my driver tomorrow morning at 8 am and drive to Stara Zagora to get Faith. We will then drive back to Sofia, and she will be with me here the remainder of our trip. Will you pray for her precious heart tonight and tomorrow? I can't wait to share my Faith with you!!! :)


  1. Praying!!!!!!!! Today is the biggest day of Faith's life, though she may not know it yet! Thank you for sharing with us and challenging us so openly! May the God of all peace fill you with HIS strength as you wait on Him.

  2. Praying, friend!!