September 10th was our first Women’s Day Away and let me tell you… it was GREAT! We had a small group but we still had a fun day to relax, unwind, and enjoy the company of some other women.
Our first study went over Matthew 11:28-30:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When our lives seem to be so full of a bunch of chaos with all the little things that are on our plate how are you to fit the big, more important things in? When you start out with putting all of those little things into your cup first you simply can’t make room for the big things. If you start with the big things like spending time with God, your family, etc. somehow all the little things can fall in around. We made these cups as a daily reminder to put the big things in first and things don’t seem to be as chaotic.
This discussion led into our next study for the day.
The title of the message was called ‘You are Intentional’. Regardless of the circumstances or how chaotic life may seem, God put you in the exact spot you are for a purpose and to give you the best chance that you would just reach out and grope for Him.
When I was little I imagined I would be married and have children and we would sail off into the sunset where none of life’s difficulties would be able to touch my family. I never imagined that I would have to deal with disappointment, loss, or struggle. I imagined my dad walking me down the aisle at my wedding. I imagined starting to have kids the typical year after being married. I imagined staying home with my kids and always being able to answer my husband and children with the sweetest of tones. Never having a hard day and always being a ray of sunshine in this perfect world. But as you all know that is not the world we live in. Things don’t turn out just the way we want and our lives don’t always go the exact path we think they will. However, the key thing we need to remember regardless is that God has known since before you were born what would happen, where you would be, and the choices you would make. He knew the things to set in front of you to give you hope and a future.
‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
Sometimes it certainly does not feel like the plan that God has is going quite as He planned. There have been multiple things that haven’t turned out quite like I had hoped they would however, I want to focus on one to hopefully show you that in this very moment you may not understand why you are going through what you are but a week, a year, or maybe even 8 years from now it will all make sense.
I think many of you know, I am not a born and bred southern belle. My husband and I both grew up in Indiana and moved to North Carolina about 4 years ago. It was a very unexpected thing for us to move however, when you hear God tell you to move… you move. We had been married for about 7 years at that time and we had been trying to have children for about that same amount of time. At first it started with excitement. I was working in a daycare and taught a Sunday School class of 4-5 year olds and I loved it. What could have been better than to have one of our own. One that was a mesh of us both.
Well the months passed and no baby. Each month I would pray so hard for this to be it. “Lord please let this be it” I would plead with God. While everybody around me was popping out child after child, I was left with nothing. It was so hard to listen to people tell their stories about how all their husbands had to do was lay their pants on the bed and boom they were pregnant. I watched young girls who were hardly adults themselves get pregnant on accident. I started to ask question like: Was I doing something wrong? Was God mad at me? What was the point to this? I started to feel like there was something wrong with me. Like I was defective.
During those times I would remember Psalm 139:1-16:
1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
There isn’t a place you can go that God doesn’t see you and know what is going on. During the darkest part of your life God is there and He knew where you would be at that very moment ready to shine the light to brighten your path.
Over the years we tried to adopt. The first was through a small agency that was all we could afford. We paid our money, went through the process of a home study and within 6 months the agency shut down and we were left with no hope. A couple of years later we were asked if we would consider adopting a sibling group that a friend of our knew. After we started the process, met the children and got our hopes up, they were squished. The foster mother decided that she would take all three of the kids so she could keep the baby. Once again questions of why this was happening kept creeping in. I would get angry and ask Why? Through tear filled eyes. More thoughts of what is the point of all of this pain would come up.
Through it all friends would offer what advice they could. Most of it just made it hurt even more. There is one thing that was unintentionally shown to me.
Acts 17:26-27 tells us:
He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
It doesn’t seem like a very comforting verse however, look closer.
This word ‘appointed’ in the Greek is PROSTASSO. It means ‘to place or arrange’. It is an emphasis on the intention of the assignment. So it shows the intention God has at the places and times He placed you in. It wasn’t just ‘well, this looks pretty good’ but it was a heavy intention for you to be where you are at the time you are. We have been placed in the place, time, and body to give us the best chances to reach and grope for Him during all our circumstances. He was intentional in my creation. He knew the choices I would make in life before I even made them and He has a plan to use each and every one.
Another key part of this verse is ‘perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us’. Through all of our struggles remembering that He has put everything where it is just so that you, His unique and personally created prize might look to Him for salvation, for purpose, for worth.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
We are God’s masterpiece… let that sink in. You are not an accident and what you are going through He has a plan to use it to give you hope and a future.
So, after about year we got a call from God… a call to leave everybody we knew, everything we knew to move to a place where we knew nobody. We weren’t sure at first if this was God or if it was just our deep desire to escape. However, after we decided to pursue our move, things started to fall into place. Ryan got his transfer and I was offered to continue working for the company I was with from home. We found somebody to move into our house, sold a lot of our belongings and made the move. I tell you that was not an easy task to tell your entire family and the people you have worked side by side with for 15 years that you are leaving. But we did it and with tearful eyes we said our good-byes and made the move to good ole North Carolina. We were excited of the possibilities we saw before us. A new place, a new start where nobody knew the struggle we were going through. We could start to heal from the disappointment we had faced.
It was about a year after we had moved that we get a message from somebody back home. ‘Hey, somebody we know has a daughter that got pregnant. You should contact them as I told them about you.’ Was this really happening again? A false hope that would only end in more heartbreak?
Well we let it set for a while as we had heard this kind of thing before. ‘Hey, I know this person that is pregnant and isn’t sure they want it. Maybe you should ask if you can have it.’ I don’t know about you but that sounds like stuff people go to jail for. ‘Hey, can I buy your baby?’ yeah, not really my level of crazy to ask somebody for their baby. So we let it go until we got a message from the person themselves. Their daughter wanted us to her adopt her baby. We prayed that it wasn’t another false hope situation and if this was the child God created for us, to make it happen. At this point something deep within me knew that she was mine. The child that He purposefully created for me. Her time and place was with me.
We met with her during a Thanksgiving visit back to Indiana to see family. It was awkward seeing them again under these different circumstances. This time we were being judged. We were being measured to see if we would be fit parents for the baby she carried. We put on our best knowing full well that if it was what God had purposed it would happen.
Soon after we left their house we got a message… She wants you two. How soon can you get your paperwork ready because she is due in March?! Among many other messages we found out that the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. She wanted somebody she could trust but lived far away. It was perfect! So we started the invasive procedure of a home study. We got our lawyers to get the paperwork ready. We still had questions of if this was going to end in heartbreak yet again however, when things would happen or those thoughts would creep in I would hear Him speak Psalm 46:10 ‘Be still and know that I am God’ to my heart. He was in full of controls of what was going on and I just needed to let Him show how truly amazing He is.
I think most people know the end to this story, we were blessed with our amazing daughter. We couldn’t be more thankful for the woman who gave her to us or more amazed at how He worked things together to give us our hope and future with our Bug in it.
It was hard to see the light through dark but looking back at this I can see how in control God really was. The verses are true! We are put in the time and place for a purpose. If we hadn’t stayed in Indiana for the amount of time we had we would have never gotten to know that family. If we hadn’t moved away at the time that we had we would have never been considered to adopt this precious gift. If I hadn’t had the struggle I did just to get to become a mommy, would I have the same appreciation for it as I do today?
No matter what you are going through, know that He is God. Know that you are put exactly where you are for the purpose to give you hope and a future. You are His masterpiece, created in His image and you are made with intention. He knows the choices you are going to make and can use each and everyone of them for good.