Overcoming

It’s been harder to keep up with this blog than we initially imagined. Part of that is because life is busy – AddictedtoSaving.com sees a ton of traffic this time of year, and it puts our deal-finding skills to the test.  Imagine Black Friday intensity for about three weeks straight, and we’re still in the thick of it now.

But part of it has been the unexpected struggle of groping our way through the darkness of unanticipated and previously unimaginable grief.  Grief at losing our Florida adoption, grief at losing our son Kiya – though we only knew him at a distance, he was ours – and grief from dealing with the reality of potentially never having a biological child.

We have tried to move forward, but until recently, our emotional quotient was lagging far behind our intellectual capacities.  We know in our minds that God wants us to adopt, both from Scripture and as He personally works on each of our hearts.  But the feelings of loss and grief in our can’t-put-a-finger-on-it souls has prevented us from stepping forward in any substantial way.

I have learned a lot about what it means to be a husband through all this, and admittedly, I have failed. I haven’t always responded the best to Liza, and we haven’t even always been on the same page. But I suppose that’s what marriage is.  Laying down your life for another isn’t exactly normal. We’re called to do it though, and it starts with me as the leader of my home. Dear God, give me the grace to daily put myself under your authority; it’s always better there anyway.

Despite the struggle, we’ve had some wonderful experiences in the last couple of months.  We were first able to attend a fundraiser for the Bay Area Pregnancy Center where we heard and got to meet Lauren Dungy, wife of Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy.  Afterwards we spoke with her and she became a shoulder to cry on for Liza, so much of this being fresh in our hearts and minds. Two weeks later we got to meet her husband Tony at our church [pictured above], which was holding a fundraiser for our Agape Fund, designed to help adoptive and foster families offset the cost of bringing a new child into the home.

We also had the great joy of seeing our friends Jason and Janna bring home their adopted son Will from Ethiopia. Jason had gone to Ethiopia with his brother to pick up Will while Janna stayed home and took care of their two week old (how’s that for timing!); this picture is Janna’s first time meeting Will, and absolutely broke hearts all around.

These little nuggets of goodness help us keep our eyes on the prize. Our pastor recently noted that the great men and women in history, those like Abraham Lincoln, the Apostle Paul, and Mother Theresa, don’t imbue our respect and admiration because they lived lives of extravagance and luxury.  We marvel at the stamp they left on human history precisely because they endured and overcame struggle, not because they avoided it.

Another friend of mine, Mitch, is on his way to Ethiopia literally as I type this blog entry – probably over the Mediterranean or the darkness of the Sahara, as he and his wife are picking up their son Z.  Although the details are different, he has his own unique story of heartache and adversity, and wondered for a long time whether or not he’d ever bring Z home. I got to meet his son while on our Man Up Missions Trip in Ethiopia last August, and it left an indelible imprint on my mind of what courageous perseverance actually looks like in real life.

Recently as I was praying to God about our circumstances, He brought to mind the following Scripture in Revelation 3:21:

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

That’s where we’re at right now – Overcoming. And because Christ lives in us, we have at our disposal the immeasurable power of God; what a thought, right? The One who Overcame death and conquered the grave with majestic power also enables us to Overcome.

Certainly there are days when we choose to carry this burden alone, days when the grief is far greater than the hope. But sand won’t turn into a pearl without pressure, wine won’t flow unless a grape is squeezed, and Jesus had to die that we might live. Anything worth having is worth waiting for. So we wait – and pray for the very strength of God to Overcome as we do.

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