Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.
The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil
I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm_my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.
Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed." Joel 2:21-27
A few weeks ago, I was at a women's Bible study and the leader was talking about the above verse in Joel and how God can restore the years that the locust have eaten. All of a sudden, it hit me-this is like our adopted children. This is what I had been stressing over for several weeks.
Especially for Haile, being 13 already. I kept asking myself, others and God-HOW will we teach him ALL he needs to know in just a FEW short years that he is living in our house?! How will we make right all of the wrong of his first very formative years on this earth? How is that possible, when he doesn't know things that are so "common sense" to us Americans?!
Here is an example: Haile has asked me over the past couple weeks what the words "KIND" and "UPSET" mean. This blew me away-these are BASIC words and he doesn't know what they mean when we say them?! How can I teach him these millions of words, concepts, ideas, and logical, as well as safe thinking!?
This had me quite worried for a time, and I had been seeking Godly counsel as to this pressure that was looming over my head, as to how we could get him to "function in America, like an American" and not be a social outcast, not miss social cues, not do something that wasn't safe as he grows up, etc, etc.! WHEW! The Pressure Was Mounting!!
According to National Geographic, a plague of locusts is a devastating natural disaster. It occurs when environmental conditions produce many green plants and promote breeding, locusts can congregate into thick, mobile, ravenous swarms. Locust swarms devastate crops and cause major agricultural damage and attendant human misery—famine and starvation. They occur in many parts of the world, but today locusts are most destructive in sustenance farming regions of Africa. These insects have been documented as contributing to the severity of a number of Ethiopian :-) famines.
As I sat back and read the book of Joel, I was astounded to be reading this book as if the years that Haile and Beti spent in Ethiopia were the years that the locust had consumed. I love Ethiopia, part of my heart is totally still there and I want to go back with a huge longing in my heart, and soon. But the years that they spent in Ethiopia, the conditions that they lived in, the fact that their parents died and that they lived in total poverty with hungry bellies most days, gives me the picture of locust.
So, when the Bible study leader said that God can restore all of the years that the locust had eaten, it hit me. HE CAN RESTORE THEM. HE CAN MAKE THEM NEW. This isn't up to me, this is up to HIM the ONE the made them, the one that from before the beginning of time, knew they would be our children, in our home. The one that PICKED US to be their parents, knowing full well that they would be orphans and would need a dad and a mom. WOW-that is profound I thought.
Once again the words that my pastor's wife said to me a few weeks prior to this came into my mind. "THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU, THIS IS NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO. THIS IS GOD. HE IS WRITING THEIR STORY AND HE IS GOING TO FINISH IT". SO SO true friends. And we are just along to see how this story enfolds and how it ends. What a privilege. What a total God thing. What a miracle in the making as he RESTORES them. And yes, there are no guarantees, but what we are guaranteed is that God loves them, he loves us, he died for all of us and he is the Restorer. He did it time and time again in the Bible and He can do it now.
They may not turn out like we want, they may "go off the deep end" (as so many people warned us about adopting older kids), but so could our biological kids. There are simply no guarantees as to how they will turn out. But what is our job? Our job was to follow what God told us to do, to be obedient to Him, to do what He asked of us. To go get these kids and give them a family and a home, one where they will hear about Him and learn about Jesus. Then dear friends, it is up to HIM, not us.
We only have to do the very best that we can do (and that is hard at times), it is exhausting, we mess up, we yell, we make mistakes, we have bad and sinful feelings and we rebel, but ....but HE is redemptive and we start anew and ask forgiveness and we move on. A new day, a new start. That is what God is guaranteeing. He will love us, He will be with us, it may not be easy, we may never (this side of heaven), see what our obedience resulted in. We may never understand. OR, we may see His plan unfold, we may see them restored and we may see WHY he asked us to bring them home.
THIS, THIS is the promise that I have to go back to and cling to on the hard days (and there are a lot of hard moments still going on). I don't have to sit and worry about their future, what they will turn out like, how our biological kids will be affected, how the entire picture will look. I just have to worry about being obedient to HIM and doing the best job I can. Yes, I am going to make mistakes, have bad days, and mess up. Believe me, I have had a lot so far. But God is gracious and forgiving and He loves us, so no matter what the future holds, it is true that HE holds it, and He holds them in his hands, and He already knows what the purpose of their lives will be. Praise God, what a mighty God we serve!
So even in the totally hard, hard moments, I have to take a step back and remind myself to just keep walking, just keep trying, just keep doing your best and wait and watch to see what the Lord will do.
And then I read this verse-I saw it on the side of our blog-I had found it toward the end of Seble's adoption and at the time, it carried me the rest of the way, as well as through Haile and Beti's adoption. But as I read it this time, Post-Adoption, it was like a light all of a sudden went on. This verse is also for our lives right now, even more so. It is for after the adoption, when we are home and in the trenches. It is about restoration and God's plan.
"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:3
When it is hard, and I want so badly to see how they will all turn out, He is there, when it is lonely, and I don't want to do this anymore, He is there. When I feel like this is the hardest thing that I could have been asked to do, and when I feel like no one understands, He is there. And when we have those moments that feel like, these are MY children and they have been gifted to me, by the creator of the universe and I am beginning to love them, He is also there.
Adoption isn't easy, but no one said it would be. Following Jesus isn't easy either and He even said to expect this, but this is where we are at and it is all part of the learning and the growing. He is stretching us (sometimes I feel to max capacity), but we are clinging to Him and you know what, He is walking with us, molding us and allowing us the privilege to watch this story of redemption unfold.
So when you feel like all is lost, and all has been consumed, know that He can restore it. It can take time and be a process, but His promises are everlasting. I hold onto them each day, and when Satan tries to tell me differently, and my emotions try and take over. I will repeat these verses and know that no matter what my feelings say, my foundation is in Him, the Rock-and to just keep walking one step at a time.
Please continue to pray for our family-for the sibling relationships especially right now and that the Lord would keep working on my heart to grow a true and strong mother's love for these two newest members. We know that it will come more and more in time. Thank you-we so covet your prayers and love you guys! May the God that created all things, restore what the locust have eaten!