My road to Joy...it's not a road yet really...just a a small pathway that I know will turn into a road. Currently it is my road to Joy but am hoping that it soon will be OUR Journey to Joy. What's Joy, you ask? Not only an emotion but a name of a child...meaning being "joyful in the Lord" as an important duty. In modern times, it generally signifies the parents' joy in their new-born child, or with the intention of wishing her a happy life."
During the first week of August, adoption thoughts started flooding my head again (if you didn't know they were part of my thoughts, I recommend you reading this blog post first). I am not sure what triggered them but nonethelesss, they were there. It's not like I had forgotten about it or her...but I've been kind of sitting back and waiting to see how God works. During the last few months of just waiting on the Lord, I have been taking some time to take a good look at my life and the life of my family. God has been revealing some things that I need to change in my own life and in my household in order for us to move forward.
On Monday August 16th I woke up with a sore throat. I was feeling very overwhelmed...my house was a mess, my kids were a mess...everything was just a mess. I decided to check out my friend's blog since she put an update on facebook. Her post for that day was about how she feared the "a" word when she first felt God calling her to it. I did too...but it wasn't the adoption part, it was raising up another kid. Like her, I felt like surely He wasn't calling us to that...but the signs kept coming that this was His plan for her and that is how I feel about us. As I continued reading her post she said "adoption isn't easy but it's a joy-filled process" and she described a moment of rocking her adopted son for the first time. It dawned on me that I felt "joy-filled" back in November when I was rocking Brody and God revealed the name "Joy" to me at that time. I remember thinking J.O.Y...Jesus On You or Jesus Over You...Joy is like feeling Jesus over you...and if Joy is out there yet, I hope she feels that and knows that. (Joy is not the only name revealed so don't be surprise to hear me call her KJ).
While reading my friend's blog, she highly recommended another person's blog. So I clicked on it to check it out (http://www.buildingtheblocks.blogspot.com/). As if thinking about adopting one wasn't enough, this lady has adopted 5 plus has 4 biological children. Her post for the day: "Reluctant husband part 1". What do you think that was about?? It's focus was on what role I play in my husband's reluctancy to adopt. Fortunatley for me I already knew that I had a big part in this, so it wasn't that hard of a hit for me. I was excited to see what she wrote. Here is some of it:
So let me ask you-
What if you changed?
What if instead of blaming your husband- you began to show him by your actions where your heart truly is?
What if you quit complaining about the laundry, grumbling about cleaning the house and cooking the meals? What if you quit spending money on things that have no heavenly value and started being content with the material things you have?
Or better yet, what if you downsized?
What if you learned to live on less so that you could give more?
What if YOU changed- instead of expecting your husband to?
And what if- after doing all of that- your life started looking different? What if you started being different. What if taking some of that pressure off of your husbands shoulders made your marriage stronger? What if you started not just showing up at church because you were taught you were supposed to- but started praying together as a couple and started seeking the heart of God?
And what if, after doing all of this, your husband quit feeling so reluctant?
So go ahead, sit down with your husband, take his hand and tell him how thankful you are that he is a protector and a provider. Listen to his heart and listen to his fears. Pray together, seek God and search His word. Ask Him to show you- ask Him to make His will clear.
I was thanking God for protecting me and my heart...it wasn't as bad as I thought. I was arleady on the road to doing some of these things! Phew...but there is still work to do. Luckily for me, the money/contentment is not an issue...it's not what I ask of from my husband. Sure there are a ton of things I could and probably should give up...and I am totally willing to. Many of you have seen me bring our family "piggy bank" to McDonalds just so I wouldn't have to ask my husband for more money. I ran out of the Mary Kay that I have used for 12 years and settled for some free stuff I got while couponing...my face is a mess but I did without it so I wouldn't have to ask for money. I am dying to buy a pair of sunglasses so I will stop having headaches when I play in the sun with the kids...I coupon...didn't have a cell phone for 2 years...the list could go on with the things I am willing to do without. We all have our struggles in life and in our marriages - mine is not contenment/money but there are many other things I need to work on (p.s. I have been known to complain and I'm not very good at thanking him and praising him for who he is.)
I went to bible study that evening feeling more overwhelmed. I listented to prayer request after prayer request on adoption and foster care. One lady was adopting her first and going through the process, one is adopting her 4th, others potentially adopting again. One lady shared a vision she had about children needing homes and how they are starting the process of foster care. Okay, Lord, I get it...I am suppose to do something here, right? I'm all for it...you have to MOVE in my husband though. As I was just a few minutes from home I was listening to Patty Dudley on the radio (WCIC, WIBI, etc). She's the host of What Matters Most from 7pm to midnight on family friendly radio stations all over Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, etc from what I can tell). This is what she was saying as I was pulling in the driveway (she sent me a copy via email): "Writing for Christianity Today, Pastor John Coulombe Allen Klein, notes the power of laughter and exhorts Christians to not turn into the proverbial "cranky grouch" as we age, but rather be known for our joy. After all, being saved into Christ, we—more than anyone else—have cause for joy and that joy should be a testament to the world." (thinking of this makes me think of not the emotion, but the child...how she could be a testament to the world...and we all have a cause for all the "Joys" out there...and how she is "our joy")
I sat in my car with my mouth wide open and tears streaming down my face. I laid down for bed and I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. My throat had turned from burning to scratchy and I knew those were the nights I am not able to sleep. I got up and thought I didn't want to waste any time. I searched the scriptures on the word Joy. I found this verse: "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus" 1 The 5:16-18. Pray...that's what I'll do. So I prayed in the dark living room. Around 11:30, I heard Brody start to cry in his room. I figured if my throat was hurting then maybe he was starting not to feel well either. I scooped him up in his big monkey blanket and we rocked. I was so cozy wrapped up with him in the rocking chair and he was so still and peaceful. As I sat there rocking him, I remembered just 9 months before rocking him because he was sick (when the name Joy was revealed), I remember hearing....and seeing...and feeling JOY all around me. I thought of all the children out there that would love to have a blanket for comfort like Brody's...would love to have a mommy come in and rock them...would love to have someone to just care for them. I wondered what it would feel like to rock a child that wasn't biologically mine but was nonetheless given to me by God. I bet it would be just as joy-filled. I rocked...and rocked...and rocked.
I was dying to know exactly what Patty Dudley had said on the radio the night before. I couldn't stop thinking about it and how cool it would be to have it documented. On my way home from a meeting on Tuesday night, she was on the radio ago. She provided her toll free number which I called. I was prompted to leave a detailed message with phone and email address so I did. I didn't hear anything for one whole week - Tuesday August 24th. I received a call from Patty Dudley personally! She asked if she could hear my story (I had mentioned a short version on my message) and record it for use later on the air. To hear the edited version see the right hand side of my blog for the clip. There were a couple of parts left out but this is what would be played on the air.
I have had this post saved as a draft for nearly a week. I was waiting to post it until I could get the information from Patty. I just recieved the article/quote on "joy" that Patty was talking about that night and also our audio clip/interview that is on this blog post. Very excited to see what happens next!
1 The 5:16 Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus"