Sunday, April 22, 2012

Treasures Among the "Rough"

Hello everyone!
     It's Marissa! So sorry that it has been so long since we have posted a blog! We hope to blog more frequently to keep everyone more updated.
     I first would like to start off by saying, God is good, and God is faithful. I know that we say that a lot, but it is SO TRUE, and we can't deny it.
     A lot has happened since we last blogged. God has been doing mighty works in our lives. I wanted to blog today to tell you a little bit about what God has been doing in my life lately. I am sorry it is so long, but I promise it will not be a waste of time!
     First, I changed the look of our blog this morning. I was in the mood for something fresh, and new, because I feel like God has brought (and is continuing to bring me) into a new way of life. I looked and looked for a new background for our blog, and couldn't find anything. Then, I stumbled across the background you now see. It looked a little busy and crazy, but it caught my eye. I thought, "this is perfect!", and I will tell you why. It's hard to see, but if you look beyond the beautiful jewels, you see what looks like a white, dried, cracked surface. This is what it looks like before I placed it on our blog:

     Isn't it beautiful? I wish it would show this whole image on our blog. What drew me to this image is that despite all the cracked, dried, peeling surface, there is something beautiful. This is EXACTLY the journey that has brought me to the place I am in right now.
     Let me tell you all about this journey. The last few months have been very difficult for me. A time of deep sadness and confusion. I was in a place where I wanted a child so bad, I could barely stand it anymore. I was sad almost all the time. I was/am constantly surrounded by people who have children, which made/makes my desire to be a mom that much more passionate. I couldn't understand why we had to go through so much work to adopt a child. Why we had to do all this training and paperwork, to just love a child that is in need, and to love a child that God has called us to love. I was wanting so bad to experience what it would be & feel like to be pregnant. I wanted to know and feel that God was creating LIFE inside of me. I was confused...I was at the point where I didn't care how a child came to us...I just wanted a child. I couldn't understand why God was withholding something from me that I wanted so bad. I asked him, "What am I doing wrong? Is there something I need to do before you make Josh and I parents? What are you waiting for? Is there a lesson you are trying to teach me that I'm not catching on to?" etc...the questions went on and on.
     I reached out to people, I was "seeking" God, but nothing seemed to satisfy me. I felt really stuck, and didn't know if I would ever come out. My life seemed like the white, cracked, dry, peeling surface that you see before you. There seemed to be NOTHING good or beautiful about the life I had. But then, things started to shift just a little bit. There was one time I met with a friend at Teaberry! She told me something that I believe was straight from the heart and mouth of God. She said, "Marissa, God is the BEST at giving gifts, and knows the PERFECT time to give them. It's worth the wait." That was the first "jewel" that appeared to be in my dry, peeling, cracked life. Something I could hold on to. The promise that God knows what he's doing :)

 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17 (NIV)

     After that moment, I had a roller coaster of a life. I would be happy in the life God had me, and then I would be sad, and felt stuck...but not as stuck as I was before, because of that one "treasure" of advice. God kept placing beautiful people in my life who encouraged me, and reassured me that everything was ok, and is in God's timing. People who truly were there for me, and truly empathized with me. What a blessing that was. The jewels continued to multiply. God continued to speak to me through his word. And then something so magnificent happened. You see, I was "seeking" God, but not in the way I should. I was seeking him, but was also frustrated with him, and mad at him (which is ok, because God can handle my emotions) BUT it was like I was telling God that I wasn't going to be happy until he granted me my wish; until he gave me what I wanted...because we all know that "I know what's best for me" (hint of sarcasm).
     I was crying to my husband one evening, because I had a rough day of struggling with these issues. I felt bad for him, because I felt like a broken record....I felt like someone who just couldn't move on. I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I wasn't seeking God the way I thought I should. My husband is so gracious, patient, loving and encouraging. He really told me what I and we needed to hear. I thought all this time that I was struggling with this issue by myself. I didn't think he struggled with it all. And then he told me that he also struggled with wanting to be a dad, and the wait that we have to endure. BUT here is the thing that has changed my life. I have heard it many times, but it really seemed to hit home this time. Josh told me that we needed to have joy. I at first was not very happy, because I didn't feel like being joyful. But, he was absolutely right. I read this quote once, "Joy is not the absence of troubles but the presence of Christ." That is SO TRUE. God did not promise us that our lives were going to be easy and without trials and suffering. But he did promise that He will never leave us, and that he knows what's best for our lives. HE is in control.

     I love my husband so much, and I thank him for telling me truths of God. What a blessing He is. Ever since that moment, even though I didn't feel like it, I told God that I was choosing to have joy, no matter what happens in life...I wanted to choose to have joy, that's all I could do. I decided that God's plan really is what is best for our lives. God is worth it...God is worth going through the suffering and trials. He endured the most painful thing anyone could ever endure. He suffered physical pain on the cross, but also suffered the heavy weight of all of our sins on the cross. And for that I am overwhelmed, and so thankful. Which makes me want to submit my life to him, and "Raise my white flag" as Chris Tomlin has sung in his newest song. I surrender to you Jesus...because that is the ONLY way to do this thing we call life. 

     I am so thankful that God is bringing us through this journey of adoption. I truly am HAPPY, and have JOY. I am happy with where we are in life right now, and am happy with waiting, because I know that it is worth the wait for whatever God has in store. I know we have a long way to go, and I am sure there is going to be many many more trials and suffering, but now I have so many more treasures of God to hold on to and to see. I can see the work he is doing in our lives, and I can read and see his promises in His word that are sweeter than honey, and are the most satisfying thing EVER. All the glory and honor goes to Him. I am nothing without Him, and I wouldn't be where I am in life today without Him. He is everything, and without Him I am nothing. Thank you to all of you who were there for me in those times I needed you the most, and for the encouragement that you shared. You were truly the hands and feet of Jesus in those times. I am sure I will be needing you again! lol 

     I am sure you are also wondering where we are at in the adoption process. We are still doing paperwork, but we see the end in sight! We have a little bit more of online training to do, half a book to read, and some joint paperwork and observations of our community/neighborhood to do, and then we will be done! (I hope) Our goal to have all of this paperwork done is the end of May! And then it will go through Immigration (which on average will take 3-4 months), and then we start waiting for a referral of a child! We still have about $16,000.00-$17,000.00 to raise. Please pray for God's will to be done in our lives. We know he will provide in His good time. God is good...all the time.