After a good, long week in Colorado and a 10 hour drive ahead of us, Payton and I had a chance to let our thoughts settle and take shape. A lot had happened in a week as we had the chance to see old friends and faces through Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. On our way from Wichita to Colorado, God answered our prayers from the previous day’s “Hold the Ropes” at the MTC when we’d expressed a desire to leave the US in the right spiritual state of mind. So, He decided to remind us of our frailty! That might not sound like the most fitting answer to our prayer, but it definitely worked out that way, as you’ll see.
As I was saying, we were just leaving Wichita and checked our email. Our inbox contained the first of several emails expressing concern about our choice to give birth overseas. Nobody was trying to change our minds, but somehow it just got lost in translation that I have O- blood, which presents quite a few challenges overseas. No one wanted us to board a plane only to be overwhelmed upon arrival by a risk we’d never considered! So, just over 2 weeks from our departure, we had to put our hearts back on the table to see what we were trusting in.
Basically, they don’t have my blood type in Asia Pacific, unless it comes from another westerner. If for any reason I might need blood during labor, it would not be available. Now granted, the chance of hemorrhage during labor leading to a significant loss of blood is slim, yet still a possibility. God reminded us that in the event of any accident where I might lose blood, I would be in the same predicament. I could die. And we would be away from family during one of the hardest transitions of our lives. That thought seemed way scarier in the middle of the wide open sky of Kansas where I felt very small.
What kind of risk is acceptable? What is foolishness vs. boldness? What is our responsibility to the safety of our spouse or our baby? Had we been rashly naive this whole time?
God didn’t answer us right away. We had to wait on Him. We had to wrestle with our fears. Later that night, I still didn’t feel much peace, but knew that God was present and would not leave us without direction. When I woke up, this was in my head:
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” – Jesus, in Matthew 19
And then we realized it came down to whether or not we believed that God had led us this far and whether or not we were willing to trust Him the rest of the way. This is what the gospel is about. He was calling us to leave the comforts of the familiar because it’s for something far bigger than ourselves. Once God had put this truth in our hearts and we believed Him, peace began to reign. And brick by brick he confirmed this direction by our dear brothers and sisters at ABEFC. God made this especially clear through the people we were staying with, who have lived lives of suffering and hardship, living by faith each day through the ups and downs of foster care, physical afflictions, trips to Haiti, and just the path of their daily lives as they parent a large handful of kids. Going forth rooted in God’s truth, anchored in His presence, and surrounded by the loving prayers of the saints is the best route for any believer, albeit not always “safe.” As the missions conference speaker put it, “Safety and security are not Christian virtues.” Those were more words we needed to hear.
And then came the visa kerfuffle. Our student visas were still not through, so we’d have to get other visas–commence the frantic scrambling to assemble paperwork and fill out forms while still waiting for others to arrive via email. We arrived at the post office with all of our staples and paperclips done up right, hoping for the best. If you’re a seasoned traveller, you’re probably, like, “Yep, that’s what usually happens,” but this was our first go-round.
Okay, this is where we pick up the 10 hour car ride I mentioned earlier and some of Payton’s thoughts.
– We used to be a lot more opinionated, even just a few years ago. This meant we put a lot of strange pressures on ourselves and others. We cared about things like whether our pictures were printed matte or glossy– because you know, the glossy puts off that shiny glare and makes people look funny. 🙂 But sometimes opinions just don’t matter. Really!
– God’s taken a long time to teach us which things actually matter, whether it’s been through daily life, training, or the adoption process. And God wants us to do the things that matter well, not just half-heartedly. He wants us to go beyond just survival overseas. We’re meant to have victory and courage in the midst of it.
Then…at the end of our 10 hour ride we found out that our Next Day Air didn’t make it to the Embassy, which meant it probably wouldn’t even make it until Monday! *Insert snarky guffaw here* A new chance to respond with trust, eh?! Is there a way to have victory even with visas?
Wrong questions: Will we ever make it to AP? Who can I get my pound of flesh from?! Why us? Who can I blame for this shenanigans?! Who can I nag into getting this done faster?
Better questions: Does God know what He’s doing? Yes Does He have the right to do things in His own way? Yup. Can He make things get there faster or cause papers to get stuck under piles of nonsense if He wants? Yep. If we let man’s actions frustrate us, does it really reflect trust in God’s over-arching sovereignty? No!
So, pray with us as we learn walk this path with courage and faith!