Thursday, January 5, 2012

manna and quail

I have been told by other adoptive families that sometimes the life changing part of adoption is not necessarily the addition of a child to the family, but the process of getting to that point.  We are about two months away from our travel date, and I am gaining clarity that the process is life changing for me.

I have touched on the financial aspect of this adoption being a major source of stress and strain (very common for adoptive families).  The timing was terrible from a personal planning standpoint, and I had very little trust from the beginning that God would PROVIDE.  I went into this thinking we would have to be creative and work hard to pull together the finances ourselves.

Ten months into our adoption journey, I have finally come to the realization that God has been gracious to give us just enough.  He has met every invoice with just enough money in our adoption savings account to pay it.

It started about two months into the process.  I was telling someone close to me about the stress of paying the home study fee of $1,400.  We were really only dipping our toe into the adoptive waters where fees were concerned, but it felt like a ton of money and I really didn't know where the rest was going to come from.  A week later, a check for $500 arrived in the mail with an encouraging note telling me how much this couple wanted to be invested in our adoption because of their great excitement for our future daughter.

We were blown away.  I felt so loved, but I didn't realize that this was just a glimpse of the waterfall of financial gifts that were to come:

  • A sweet friend showed up on our doorstep and said their family wanted to be involved, handed us an envelope, hugged us, and left.  We opened the envelope to find it contained $1,000 cash.
  • Our friends chose us to be the recipients of their adoption jar and surprised us with $283.77.
  • A friend who doesn't even know me that well, offered me ALL of her airline miles for our trip to China.
  • Out of the blue, a close friend of my husband's sent us a card with a message explaining how our decision to adopt had touched his family.  Inside the card was a check for $500.
  • My sister and my step-mom held a fundraiser for us in the Midwest.  Last I had heard, they had raised somewhere around $500, which was unexpected and amazing.  When Amy visited in December, she presented me with the final check - $1,365.
  • The very first people who sent the $500 check came back and offered us an interest-free loan for any amount if the need should arise.
  • Someone else very close to us contacted us and offered to pay for a significant portion of our travel expenses.
  • In addition to babysitting for us free of charge countless times, my neighbor collected spare change and coffee money into a vase on her countertop throughout the summer and fall.  Over Christmas break, she brought us over $87 to contribute to bringing Joya home.
  • I opened a Christmas card and a check for $1,000 fell out of it.  There was even a heartfelt offer to contribute more if we need it.
  • I opened another Christmas card and a check for $200 fell out of it.  They included a note expressing the excitement this family shared with us across many miles.

Shortly before Christmas, I wrote a check toward our adoption costs for $10,860.  I moved the money from our savings account where all these contributions were deposited and waiting with the money we saved each month.

And there was just enough.

We don't have any idea where the rest of the money for our trip will come from.  To be honest, we've spent time drowning in the stress of it all and succumbed to some major marital arguments about it.  I'm sure Satan had a party that day, because after all that I had seen, I still doubted.  I still wanted control and security.

Today I was pondering the lesson that God has clearly been teaching me.  The gap in my faith at the beginning of this journey is glaring to me now.

I opened my Bible to Exodus chapter 16.  "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread from heaven for you.  The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.  In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.' "  It goes on to tell how God provided quail (in the desert, go figure) each evening and Manna each morning - but only just enough for their immediate need so that they would continue to depend on Him.

Some of the Israelites collected more Manna than they needed, therefore disobeying God's instructions to depend on Him to provide food each day (trying to take over control).  "However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell."

I am now confident that if we began our adoption with the funds ready to write checks for all the costs, I would have relied on our own abilities and resources and NOT God's provision.  My heart would be inwardly focused, crawling with maggots, and foul with smell.

I would not have been transformed into a more generous person either.  I'll be honest and say to you that I doubt I would ever show up on a friend's doorstep and hand over $1,000.  That example of sacrificial generosity showed me the person I want to be going forward.

But apparently I needed to be the recipient of such generosity in order to learn the importance of being the giver.

My responsibility is to do my best with what I have been given, with both possessions and talents.  But, first and foremost, He wants me to depend on Him for each day, for each invoice, for each unknown, and for each fear.

I'm thankful that He has withheld abundance in this part of our adoption.  My life is so abundant in many ways, but He has given us the GIFT of a picture of being in the desert, doing what He wants us to do, totally dependant on Him for what is next.

He has given us just enough.


Jessalyn said...

Good stuff! :D

Mama Shoe said...

Thank you for a beautiful account of God's provisions. Just beautiful! I'm learning about the "just enough" principle in my life as well in the area of strength/health.

He is doing amazing work in your journey to Joya!

Keepin' Up with the Joneses said...

i need to read this often to remember how generous God is with his gifts! Cool to see how He has provided.

Kathy said...

So beautiful. "Just enough." A read to just sit in.

We praying for you all. Excited to see how it unfolds. Rejoicing in your daughter.

Aslan is truly on the move.


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