Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
I have been wanting to write this post for weeks now, but I just didn't have the words to express my heart's emotions in all of this. So, I have been praying Psalm 139 faithfully; that the Lord, who knows my heart and my every thought, would rescue me in my struggle to trust Him in this area; asking Him to lead me in His ways, and not my own. So, I have to confess that what I share with y'all today has been my greatest struggle through this cancer journey. Although losing my breasts and hair, being sick, tired, scared, weak, and insecure have all definitely been challenging, on most days it has been easy to trust God and see His abundant goodness amidst them. Oh, how He has been so good to us through every day of this journey. But yet, when I let my heart wrestle with the fact that we may not be able to have any more biological kids, instead of running desperately into Christ's arms, I start running away. Every day I look at our beautiful McKinley and I just cry out that the Lord would let me be a mama again. And instead of trusting that God knows exactly what is best for our family, I begin to doubt that He knows the deepest desires of my heart. As I write this, it just sounds so silly that I would doubt that my Heavenly Dad who created every fiber of my being and every ounce of my soul would keep any good thing from me. And yet, knowing the truth, "You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." Psalm 145:16-18 I believe the enemy's lies that God is not for me and that my ways are better than His. I just hate when I let those lies into my heart! But God is so faithful to show me time and time again how much He loves me and how wonderful His plans are for my life.
About 3 months ago, Matt and I decided to take an adoption class at our church. As I have told y'all before, Matt and I have always had a heart for adoption. (Praise the Lord for that!) But in my perfect Randi world, we would have adopted a little black boy years from now after we had all our biological kids. I never thought that we would be considering adoption because we were unable to have our own. Needless to say, the class was a general overview on the process of adoption, and some of of our sweet friends were also taking it, so we were really excited to start the learning process. We knew that we wanted to adopt, but we really didn't know anything about the adoptive process. The class was great! I absolutely loved learning about God's heart for adoption and His call for us to love His children. What a sweet reminder of how we were all adopted; How God came to earth to rescue us and adopt us as His sons and daughters. "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--" Ephesians 1:4-5 Oh, I love that truth! However, the more we learned about adoption, the more excited I got, and the harder it became to be content where God has us right now. From the first day we met with my oncologist and she explained that we needed to shut down my ovaries (hopefully temporarily) because my cancer feasts on estrogen and progesterone, therefore perhaps taking away our ability to conceive future children, I started praying that the Lord would meet me right there in the middle of that 'loss' and help me to be content in this. As the apostle Paul so perfectly wrote, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13 And the Lord truly answered my prayer. The more I prayed it and trusted in Christ for my strength, the more content I felt... until we started the adoption class. Because instead of praying for God's will for my life and our family, I started praying that He would give me another baby. Not that praying for more babies is wrong at all, because I know the Lord loves to hear our heart's desires. But I took my prayers off of the Lord and put the focus on me. My plans, My way. Not His plans, His way. It was like I was saying, "Lord, if you won't give me a biological baby right now, then Matt and I will just go and get one ourselves!" Oh, how selfish and vain that sounds now! But then over the course of the class, it was explained to us that any public adoption agency, whether domestic or international, requires you to disclose all medical history. Therefore, disqualifying us from starting the adoption process until I am in full remission (5 years after completing treatment). Oh, how my heart broke! "5 years before we even get to start the process Lord? That means McKinley and her siblings would be at least 7 years apart! God, that was not my plan for our family!" And God gently whispered, "Randi, wait on me. Wait on my timing. Trust me." And I was reminded of Isaiah 30:18: "Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!" Okay, Lord we will wait on you. Truthfully, I've never really had to wait on the Lord before. Waiting is hard. I see so many of our friends waiting: for jobs, to get married, to have a baby, to get healthy, to get out of debt etc... We want everything right now, and then God says wait. So, I know He has a purpose in us waiting. When we wait, we have the choice: run to God to fill that void or try to fill it ourselves. As mush as I hate waiting, I know that the Lord wants to teach me something so beautiful, so I am trusting in God's promise that "Blessed are those who wait for Him."
Well, in the middle of our waiting, God gave us such a sweet gift. About half way through the adoption class in late spring, I was sitting in bible study on a Wednesday morning and I received a text message from a sweet friend in Alabama, whose husband has been a pastor of a wonderful church there for nearly 30 years. My friend informed me that they had a beautiful 19 year old girl there, who was pregnant and wanting to give up her baby through a private adoption agency. She asked if we were interested. Oh golly, I read that text message and I wanted to dance through halls screaming, OF COURSE WE ARE INTERESTED! I called my precious Matt right away, and he said we definitely needed to get more information. So we then found out that the beautiful 19 year old girl had just come to know Jesus, and that she was having a boy due on August 19th. Since McKinley was born, I have been praying that we would have a son next and that our kids would be exactly 2 years apart. McKinley's 2nd birthday is August 17th. Y'all, it was as if God screamed down from heaven, "Randi, I know the deepest desires of your heart. I hear you. I'm listening. I love you." I just started crying. Even if the story stopped right there, it was as if God handed me the exact amount of hope I needed to hold on to during this time of waiting. We were then connected to the private adoption attorney that she was working with. He is an incredible guy, with such a heart for the Lord and finding Christ-centered homes for adopted children. However, right when we started talking with him, I told him all about my cancer, the treatment etc... I guess if it was going to close the door, I wanted it to happen right away. However, he told us that because it was a private adoption agency, we didn't need to disclose any medical records. Awesome! So we were actual candidates for adoption! He told us though that the girl was going to choose an adoptive family within the next 2.5 weeks, so we needed to get all the paperwork submitted as soon as possible. It was a lot of paperwork and recommendations! But God was so gracious with time and resources and our friends and family were spectacular in getting the recommendations written within 1 week. (We have been told that often it takes months to complete all the necessary steps). We submitted everything on a Monday morning, thanking God for the possibility of getting to adopt that precious little boy and then leaving it in His hands.
The very next day, on our way to chemotherapy, Matt and I received an email from the attorney, telling us how great our profile was etc..., but that the girl had already chosen a family for her baby boy during the week we were completing our paperwork. She never even saw our profile. Tears streamed down both of our faces. Sweet Matt, grabbed my hand and just started praying. He prayed for the girl, her baby boy, and the chosen family; then he prayed for my heart and our future children, that God would bless us with a baby in His perfect timing. Matt reminded me that God knows the exact baby for our family, and that he or she is so worth waiting for. A little bit of my heart was broken that day. Of course, being the dreamer that I am, I had already stayed up many nights dreaming of that little boy's nursery and how great of a big sister McKinley will be, and how much Trooper will love him and how great of a boy daddy Matt will be. And then God says wait. So, we are waiting. But every day I am learning that waiting is just an opportunity to trust God. He is so faithful to remind me over and over again how much He loves me and how good His plans are for my life. "Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." Psalm 103:2-5 So, as I am in this time of waiting, my prayer is that I will delight in the Lord every day, knowing full well that no baby will ever fulfill me, only Christ can. He captivated my heart 12 years ago, and He is yet to disappoint me. He's my everything. He knows every desire of my heart and He cares more than I can possibly imagine. But if McKinley is the only child we ever get to have, biological or adopted, that will never change how good, powerful and loving our Savior is.
Friends, is God asking you to wait right now? My prayer is that you will run right into the arms of the only One who can truly satisfy the deepest desires of your heart. Anything or anyone else will leave us always longing for more. We will always be waiting, if our hearts are not fully captivated by our King. May today be the day, we stop waiting and hoping for what tomorrow could bring and that we find full joy right where God has us today.
Y'all, thank you for walking through this journey with us. I cannot believe I only have 2 chemos left! And Praise God, Dr. O'Shaugnessy said that I could bump my last chemo until July 17th, and go to Young Life camp in Buena Vista, Colorado from July 7-15th! I am thrilled beyond words! Please join us in praying that so many kids would come to know Christ's perfect love while we are there. It is truly the 'best week of our lives' every year we get to go! I know that this year will be no exception. God is so good!
Joyfully in HIM~
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4