Now onto the task at hand.
How does a person possibly express the kind of humbling gratitude that drops you to your knees, fills your eyes to overflowing with tears, and makes your heart so full it hurts?
There is something different about Zoe. It is so stinking obvious to me that God is using her and doing crazy, wild, awesome things through her already. You reading this right now is big fat proof of that. He has drawn people to her and to our story. The story that He has already written but that we are just starting to live out.
God is not a genie in a bottle, here to grant our every wish, request and whimsy. But when we petition for things according to His word and His will, He loves to say "yes" and sometimes in dramatic, this-could-only-be-God fashion. Like how we asked Him to speed up the timeline, to bring us to her quickly. From the day we were matched with Zoe, we were supposed to travel to get her in 6-9 months and even that depended on both China and US governments getting things done on time. But we had her in our arms in 3 months.
We asked people to join us in praying in so many different ways during this crazy process because it is SO out of our control. Most things really are out of our control, we just have that lovely illusion that we have a grip on things, but there was truly nothing in this process that we could have personally changed or done anything about... besides praying. So we asked for prayer and boy did you all say YES!
I have never received so many emails, texts, and messages! You all PRAYED your gigantic hearts out! And God heard and listened to EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of you!
Of course, that didn't mean the path would be clear and smooth. It didn't mean everything would be so perfect and neat with not a hair out of place. It still meant a path filled with fear, night terrors, screaming, crying, fatigue, exhaustion, hunger, pain and brokenness. But all of these obstacles on the path bring us back to our knees in prayer, drawing us closer to God, deeper and more intimate in the relationship with Him, trusting Him, depending on Him.
God has called us to be like Himself (Matthew 5:48). Jesus was, after all, adopted. (I'll talk more about that in the next couple of days.) Jesus says He will not leave us as orphans (John 14:18). Jesus offers us adoption into His family, through His very own blood (Ephesians 1:5, 7). And He calls looking after orphans in their distress (James 1:27), religion that is pure and faultless.
When we come together to pray for and do the very things God Himself has done and calls pure and faultless, we are definitely walking and praying according to His will. So of course we will see Him do amazing things! My biggest prayer is that I don't get in His way by trying to take my own control of the situation, no matter how scary.
The gratitude I was talking about in the beginning is obviously towards God and His amazing graciousness in bringing our family together. But that gratitude is also for the amazing people who God used along our journey. I'm especially blown away by our homecoming. We only had a short time at our house last Saturday before we ended up at the clinic and hospital, so I really didn't fully digest what people did until the following days as I was coming out of my sleepless haze.
Our House Church stocked our pantry and fridge, loaded us up on diapers, made welcome home signs and left sweet gifts. Awesome friends started just dropping off food on our doorstep. But what truly makes me fall to my knees, is not what they left at our house. It's what they prayed for our hearts.
They didn't just pray for Zoe or our journey to get Zoe. What they focused on was Arella, my sweet 19-month-old that spent two weeks without Mommy and Daddy and was about to see them again but with another child in their arms. This doesn't just tell me that my friends love Arella; it tells me God heard my cries for her, and He did not forget her either. And He said "yes" again.
That sweet toddler didn't miss a beat. Arella is loving being a big sister, having a friend to play with and showing her how to do things. I'll be honest, I did not pose any of this, it's just their little hearts. They do steal toys and tease each other on occasion, but mostly I see this...
Yes, Arella is showing Zoe how a camel dives off a palm tree...
Leading the way...
And I couldn't leave out some of the fun surprises left at our house...