Every night before bed I read to the boys. The variety of books changes. Library books on different subjects, according to what they are interested in at the moment. A chapter or two of a "bigger" book. (Right now it is "The Horse and His Boy", by C.S. Lewis) But always, no matter how late it is, and what time restrictions we have, I read them a piece of God's word.
We finished a children's version of "The Message" not long ago,
and are now re-reading "The Young Learner's Bible Storybook".
It is a little young for Canaan, but sometimes Zion deserves to have things on his level. I can't expect him to always be on a first grade level!
A few days ago we read the story of Rahab hiding the spies in Jericho. They, in turn, told her to display the "slippery red rope" she had used to help them escape, and she would be protected. The memory verse for the day was Psalm 37:39 "The Lord protects His people, and they can come to Him in times of trouble." The activity for the day focused on protection - what kind of things protect you every day? Seatbelts. Bicycle helmets. Sunscreen. We take protection for granted on a regular basis.
Just a few weeks earlier, when we were finishing our other Bible storybook we had read the story of angels breaking Peter out of prison. You can read the more detailed story in Acts 12, but my kids were content with the simplified version of God sent angels to protect him.
These stories combined reminded me of the old Amy Grant song that I grew up with, Angels Watching Over Me.
It is 1984 cheesy, but the truth is still the same. We sometimes take for granted the bad things that don't happen. A line in that song has stuck with me my whole life. "A reckless car ran out of gas before it ran my way". I have had enough "near misses" to appreciate the protection of God, even when I can't see it directly applied to my life. I guess I owe Amy Grant a "thank you" someday for making me appreciate the angels watching over me.
I have been struggling greatly with questions. Disappointments make questions so much harder to understand. I prefer to just shove the "why" under the rug and pretend I never heard it. But that doesn't make it go away. That just makes the rug look really ugly and lumpy.
So I am going to air out a few of my "whys". Beat the rug, in a way.
For instance, Why, oh why, did God ask us to start the adoption process if he was just going to take our daughter away. We were content to wait several more years. It was definitely a long term goal to adopt someday. We were saving money. We were scouting out countries, and agencies, and ideas. Then, out of nowhere I got an E-mail that set off a chain of events that fast-forwarded our nicely laid out plans. Of course, things have changed multiple times since that original E-mail anyway... but I never thought it would end with my heart breaking.
Here is another question. How many times is your heart able to be glued back together and still survive? How many times will the glue work? I want to keep moving forward. I want to find my "next" child. But at the same time, I can barely stand the thought of risking my heart again. How many have I lost now? Three siblings. A child from my own womb. My Gladdy, whom I know is still alive and well and for that I Praise God daily - but still, I lost her.
Can I do it again?
Now it is not a why, but a where, and a how. What comes next? I got an E-mail from Pierre today - our contact in Benin. Do we keep going forward there? I don't know that I can just walk away, but at the same time, I am terrified to give my heart, or my time to something that may not ever work.
Wow - we haven't even gotten into the pile of "why's" under the rug concerning Andy, and how I am supposed to help and support him. But I think that is enough for tonight.
Here is what I cling to, what I know is truth: "'I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord!" Jer. 29:11
That was the memory verse my children had tonight. In an activity bible, which was teaching counting and rhyming.
God speaks when we need Him. We just have to listen.
And as Amy Grant reminds us, it is the things we don't see, the things that don't happen that we need to truly be appreciative of. He does have a plan for us... whether we can see it or not.