Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Count the cost

In March of 2011, I finally came to the conclusion that God truly was calling us to adopt.  I had been seeking the Lord diligently, reading the Word daily, and praying for wisdom.  My husband (who happens to be the most amazing, supportive, God loving, sweet, caring man I've ever met....just sayin') on the other hand...was fighting what God was doing.  How was he fighting it?  By ignoring it.  By not reading the Word, and not praying about it.  Adding another child to our home, possibly even an older child, is frightening.  I totally understood where he was coming from, and all I could do was pray.  He is the head of our home after all, it's not like I'm going to go adopt without him!  So on April 9th, 2011 I was flat on my face on our king size bed crying out to God.  "Lord, I give you my life, my marriage, my children, all my future plans, and I will do anything you ask of me.  Adoption is not what is easy or comfortable, but I am willing to do whatever you ask of me.  Please show us where to go from here.  Reveal and confirm your plan to Rich.  I can't do this on my own.  Please change his heart if this is your plan.  I feel so torn."  I then prayed the dangerous prayer! HA!  "Lord, I will do ANYTHING, I mean ANYTHING, just reveal it to Rich too please".  In that very moment, in my spirit, I heard the Lord say to me "What if that baby has Down Syndrome?"
*insert pin drop*
What?  Did I just make that up?  Down Syndrome?  Where did that come from?  Why not a baby from China, God?  Why not an orphan from that orphanage?  
I think there was a good 5 minutes before I realized He had asked me a question that required an answer.  While every bit of my flesh wanted to shout NO! spirit cried out "Yes, I said anything and I mean it".  If this is the plan, please confirm it over and over again.  And husband, you're gonna have to do Your thing".
Days went by.  I had the heaviest heart.  How do you tell your husband that God told you to adopt a baby with Down Syndrome?  I asked Rich to pray because I had something to talk to him about.  It pretty much just drove him nutso.  I knew God was going to have to do a miracle.  And to be honest, I doubted it was gonna happen.  So I fasted.  Like no food in exchange for God's help.  The 3rd morning of my fast, as I was praying by myself (the kids were in school at this point), I read this:  Proverbs 20:24 "The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?"  WOW!  Phew, ok good, I'll just do what He says and be a happy girl.  The next verse:  "Don't trap yourself by making a rash promise to God, and only later counting the cost." 
What is the cost?  In this case, what is the cost of obedience?  To be honest, I didn't know.  I had to pray hard.  What kept coming to mind was "freedom".  I'm going to give up my freedom.  Freedom to do my own thing.  Freedom to have my husband to myself in 13 years.  Freedom to do as I please.  Freedom to enjoy the "easy life".  Freedom to make decisions based on what we want instead of what we need.  But we sing about freedom and boast about the freedom we have in Christ.  These two freedoms must be different.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18  For the Lord is Spirit and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.  And the Lord, who is the Spirit, makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.
***Freedom to become like Him.  The life we are living, our earthly freedoms, and our selfishness are keeping us from the freedom to be like him.
I'm struggling to put these moments into words, as they were the most life changing moments I had experienced up until this point. 
Galations 4:5
God sent Jesus to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as his very own children. 
How humbling it is to think that it is so hard for me to give up my worldly freedom, when God gave up His very own Son so that I could be adopted MYSELF as His child and inherit the very freedom He is offering me.  Freedom and adoption go together.  Wow.  How amazing God is to teach me about my own adoption and freedom (true freedom) through the calling to adopt a child with special needs, therefore losing my own freedom (earthly freedom).  Most of what I'm writing is straight from my journal.  Here is the prayer I prayed that day.  Lord, thank you for helping me count the cost.  Adopting a baby with Down Syndrome will cost me and my family our freedom.  Adopting me cost you your freedom and your life.  It cost you everything, and I gained everything.  You got me in return.  All of me, all my freedom, all my preconceived notions about what my life should be like, all my hopes, my dreams, my reality.  Amen.
That night, with tear filled eyes and an anxious heart, I approached my husband.  Let's just say it didn't go well.  I was heartbroken.  He was overwhelmed.  I asked one thing of him, and he agreed.  "Let's get up and read our Bibles together again tomorrow.  Seek Him and see if He shows you these things."
At 5:30 am the next morning I was sitting on the couch hoping and praying that Rich would get up and read.  I knew it would take a long time, but as long as I knew he was seeking God, I could wait.  I can always trust him when he is seeking the Lord.  He is sensitive to the Spirit and his heart is open to Him when He speaks.  He came out of the room with Bible in hand and a grumpy look on his face.  He plopped down and began reading in the Old Testament where he had left off at the beginning of the year.  I thought, "why can't you read something in the New Testament!  You're being stubborn!"  Cause I know everything ya know.....and God needs my help.  :o)  Rich finished reading, kissed my forehead, told me he loved me tenderly and then walked out the door to work.  I was ready for the long wait.  This was a big thing, I was going to be understanding.  I was going to honor my husband and his authority.
About 4 hours later, Rich called and asked me to read Numbers chapter 13 and 14, where he had read this morning.  (also where he had left off 4 months earlier)  It is the story of Moses and Aaron, Joshua and Caleb and the land of milk and honey.  The Lord had promised the land to the Israelites after bringing them out of captivity in Egypt.  It was supposedly a great little parcel of property.  He told them to send 12 men to scout out the land, its food, trees, people, boundries, etc.  When they came back after 40 days, they told them of a beautiful land flowing with milk and honey.  It was awesome and everything God had promised.  But ten of the men were focused more on the giants that lived in the land and the fortified city walls than the promises of God.  They would not listen to Caleb when he said that they should go and take the land that the Lord had promised them.  They were afraid of losing their lives, their children, and their freedom.  The Lord was very angry with them.  He told them they would die before ever seeing the promise land and their children would inherit it instead, after wandering in the desert for 40 years. 
My humble husband said to me, "Natalie, last night you came to me and described the land of milk and honey that God has shown you for our family....and all I kept telling you was about the giants that I saw."

I'll cut this short for now, (HAHA) but I wanted to say that this post was so hard for me to write, because God has taught me and shown me SO much about myself, Himself, and Down Syndrome since then. I am not the same girl. I do not dread losing my freedom. I have freedom in Christ and absolutely cannot wait for God's promises to come to pass. I am not afraid of Down Syndrome. I love Down Syndrome.

Here are a couple pictures straight from the land of milk and honey. 

And no, I didn't steal pictures from the net of the cutest kids in the world with Down Syndrome...I took them myself!  They are perfect and precious in every way....all 47 chromosomes of them.  Their amazing mother (through adoption) was sent straight to me from the Lord.  When describing her, I always tell people that her heart pumps the blood of Jesus.  Oh, that mine would too.  Here is her blog.  They are preparing to bring another baby home.

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