It has been one year since we found ourselves at number 31 on the Uganda adoption waiting list and all most 2 years since we started our journey. If someone would have told me 2 years ago all the things that I would be working on inside my heart, I would have said FORGET THIS! I will be just fine living in my 3000 square foot house, with my two girls, and in a marriage that I felt was average. Just living what I thought was a comfortable average life in an average marriage would seem ok compared to walking down this road full of self-reflection.
Well, here we are 2 years into this and I have not a clue what lies ahead. I don’t know when we will see our child for the first time and I don’t know when we will sign and mail off the last of our paper trail. What I do know is that I am so so thankful that adoption takes this long. I felt like I had a choice to live in a fantasy world that consisted of adopting a brown-skinned baby or I could ask the Lord to show me what ever it is that I could do to get us prepared for this child to come into our lives. And I did just that. YIKES! I’m not talking about decorating rooms, reading adoption books, or getting to all those adoption conferences. Slowly the Lord started showing me the different areas in my heart that had to do with my own personal convictions that would make this adoption really difficult and probably impossible and it started with my role in our marriage
To make a long story short, God started working on areas in my life like selfishness, disrespect, bitterness and anger. All things that are really no fun to address. But, I asked God to prepare me for this adoption in what ever way was needed, and well, he answered. With God’s conviction, truly humbled myself and kept my eye on the type of woman Christ called me to be. Someone who is kind, patient, compassionate, loving, not easily offended (that was a big one I struggled with), soft, quiet (a quality that I recently just realized I lacked), humbled, completely devoted to the Lord and totally in love with my husband. I knew all these things pleased the Lord, but I was WAY far off from possessing those qualities! But, the wonderful thing I finally realized about God after being told for years is he says to come as you are and He will do the rest. I had done just that and then it was time to allow Him to work.
So, slowly he started working on these qualities. The first one I worked on was how easily I could get offended over the most stupid things. This is a very hard thing to overcome. I know because I tried it! Still working on it to this day but I can tell you that I enjoy life way more and I’m not as grumpy as I used to be!
The next issue I want to explain is being totally in love with my husband. Ok, here is where I get a little vulnerable. Kenton knows all this so its ok to talk about it now. When we got married, it was kind of a fairy tale to me that pretty much lasted…hmm…the wedding day and a couple of days after. Fast forward a couple of years into our marriage and you would see a man and a woman just kind of going through the motions. We just had our first child so a void was filled for a little bit but deep down inside we were both unhappy. One day and I do mean literally one day, it was shown to me, I knew this was not how God called marriage to be and I remember sobbing to the Lord because I knew He was going to bring lots of laughter, love, and passion to our marriage. Its not like we hated each other but neither of us could say that we were in love, and the Lord began to show me why.
If you knew me at all in high school and into my 20’s, you would know that, even after I knew I had a savior, I lived a life full of self destruction and heartache. During that time I shoved any conviction I felt and stuffed deep down all the pain inflicted on me because of the choices I made. I’m not talking about just drinking under age or going to parties. I don’t want to dig up too much of my past on this blog, but there were so many more things going on that would eventually cause some problems and would prevent me from being able to accept true love from a man and even God. On a side note, I really don’t know how I came out of that phase half way normal and not an alcoholic or pregnant. When I finally decided to leave that way of living I met my husband. When we got married I thought I had thrown out all of that baggage at the airport, but quickly I learned that there were still some carry ons.
There I was ready to work on mysef when God showed me that I first must know His true and perfect love that He had for me. It’s kind of interesting that I had been in a relationship with my savior but still didn’t grasp His love for me…kind of like my relationship with my husband. Why is that so hard? I mean the Bible says He loves us so we must automatically believe that, right? Yeah, it’s not that easy for most people- especially for this girl. To understand His love, you have to understand why He created us and how He created this world for us to delight in it and how he created me and delights in me (Psalm 18:19-He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me). Woah! The maker of all delights in me? This will always be a hard concept to grasp, but when I caught even a glimpse of His delight in me I was brought to my knees.
I learned, and am still learning, God’s love for me. Then he tought me how to be totally in love with the one He chose for me. Holy moly! Talk about being transformed from the inside out! Let me just tell you for those of you who have never seen Kenton and I together just what kind of wife I was. First of all, I was very critical. I would criticize my husband for the way he would brush his teeth, the socks he wore, how he combed his hair, the parking spots he chose and pretty much anything he did I had something to say about it. Yuck! I wouldn’t be in love with me either! There is more! I was the kind of wife that was angry when he would come home just because. No kiss at the door. An occassional “hi” took place when he walked in. What a fun marriage to be in! Not so much. I was disrespectful and would talk over him throughout many of our conversations not letting him get a word in and then I would criticize him for how he argued. The worst part is that I knew that my husband was one of the most kind compassionate men out there. So why was I so angry? Then it was revealed. I realized that I did not want him to lead in anything because I was so angry at men in general and could not allow myself to trust him because I didn’t want to be failed. Huge revelation for me! When I spoke to Kenton about this, huge walls started to come down immediately. I started seeing him in a different light and I can honestly say that I am so in love with the man who God placed in my life and I am forever grateful that he stuck by me when most would not.
What does this have to do with adoption? A whole lot! There is no way our marriage would survive this long unknown road if Kenton and I are not one unit. We have to be completely there for each other and understand our roles in our relationship. There have been couples who have divorced because the adoption process was just too much on their relationship. I’m not saying that we wont fail; we will fail too many times to count because we are human, but a marriage is about grace and forgiveness even when it seems too difficult. I know I said that I needed to trust Kenton but my ultimate trust needs to be in the Lord because of our natural failures. If I told Kenton I trusted him but had no trust in God that would be too much pressure on him, and would not allow him to lead with a humble heart.
I hope my story can inspire anyone married or not that God can change the unthinkable if you humble yourself and simply ask. It wasn’t easy and I hope I didn’t make it sound like it was. It has taken me over 8 years to come to this point but I can finally say that it’s worth all the work, tears, and prayers.