January 23-- After a long night of no sleep and Charlie kicking me in the ribcage, I remember waking up being so excited to go to church.. I was excited because I knew that AFTER church, I would be meeting up with Jamie and Ben.
I was going to New Life With my Sister that morning... just checking it out. I had been to a few churches and it was getting mentally exhausting. I knew I loved Jesus, but I didn't fit in. I was 8months pregnant, out of wedlock, and single with an "unforgivable" past. Every time I would raise my hands to praise the one who gave me life, I was stared at--I was a misfit, But my spirit was hopeful.
They were so great at New Life, I didn't get any weird stares and I remember sitting in the back of the Church, eating a huge double chocolate chip muffin and feeling as if I had just drank 17 cups of coffee. I was just so jumpy inside. What was I so antsy about? Why couldn't I even pay attention to the message?! I just kept looking at the clock, watching as time passed... waiting very impatiently for Church to be out.
As soon as it was over, we bolted. Kayla and I walked briskly to my car.... just to find that one of my tail lights had been busted. I wondered who would bust out someone's tail light at a church, but then I thought I was over reacting and that my tail light was busted out the whole time and I didn't notice it. We decided to ignore it and I asked my sister to drive...(I hate driving--and I hate it even more when I am huge and uncomfortable)...
As soon as she began to drive, something didn't feel right. Their seemed to be more bumps and a weird sound coming from the back drivers side. I looked at her and let out a little chuckle. What just happened? Why was my car moving like a turtle? She rolled down her window and looked back. Sure enough, My tire was completely flat... I'm talking, pancake flat.
I didn't want to be late to panera, but there was no way we could drive there with a tire THIS bad. So we drove 15mph to the closest Gas station.... and then called my mom.
My Mom was already at Panera Bread. I wasn't sure if she had already seen Jamie or Ben at this point. She said she would come and get us. I almost didn't want her to leave because I didn't want Jamie and Ben to think we weren't coming. I got worried that this first impression wouldn't be ideal. I was thinking that if we were late, they wouldn't like us.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,"declares the LORD. "As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
My mom pulled up and we jumped into her car. We started driving and I started silently panicking. What were they going to be like? Would they like me? Would they think I was a bad person and not want me to be around Charlie? Would they love him if he wasn't healthy? Would they try to make it look like they "rescued" this baby from awful people? Why did I want to be loved by them when they were just going to adopt my baby? Why did I feel the need for them to love me as if I were family?
I looked out the passenger window.... "I know God, my expectations are too high. I should trust you."
We pulled up to Panera. This was The moment of truth-- The heart turning, churning, aching, burning, moment of truth! It seemed like the door was a million miles away through the parking lot. I wondered if they were looking out... if they saw me. Would I look okay to them? Would they see me and want to get up and leave? Why did I have doubts!!!?
We walked in and saw them and made quick introductions, my sister and I headed straight to the counter to order our food. I was starving but at the same time, I was just anxious and not hungry. I ordered something just because I knew baby Charlie needed to be fed... and because I didn't want to be awkward.
I kept looking around the restaurant. I watched Jamie. Her and Ben were directly behind a wall that was behind us. Jamie had reddish brown hair and a distinct apprehensive smile on her face. I could tell she was just as nervous as I was. Oddly, this calmed me down a bit.
Then I saw Ben. He looked so gentle and unmoved. He looked as if he could just perceive everything with a clear mind. I felt that he would be harder to win over... because he would want it to be just right.
It's amazing how first impressions can be so misleading.
My Mother, My sister and I sat down. I sat across from Jamie, and Ben was at the end of the Table. I asked Jamie what I thought was a dumb question--the first thing that came out of my mouth... "is that all your eating?" She smiled at me anyway--not looking at me like I lacked intelligence--answering with "Yeah, I'm not that hungry."
After that we proceeded into talking about more dense things. My sister seemed to be asking a lot of questions. I was trying to keep it light hearted because I knew I would have to tell them about what I did in the beginning of my pregnancy.
As I listened to them all chat about the future for My baby, I realized that this decision couldn't be made no matter how many questions they answered "right." I had to ask God.
"So, My dear Christian friends, companions in following this call to the heights, take a good hard look at Jesus. He's the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in everything God gave him to do. A builder is more valuable than a building anyday. Every house has a builder, but the Builder behind them all is GOD. Moses did a good job in God's house, but it was all SERVANT work, getting things ready for what was to come. Christ as Son is in Charge of The House." Hebrews 3:1 (MSG)
So I sat quietly, trying to listen to my spirit. Trying to hear that voice that talked to me a few times prior this encounter. Then, I felt a stirring to ask one question--the only question that truly mattered to me.
"Ben, how do you feel about having a Baby?"
I saw his eyes light up. I could tell that HE KNEW, or something inside of him KNEW that he wanted a baby--and he wanted my baby. The love again came and swept me off my feet. I was Hearing Jamie and Ben speak, but I was watching the spirit pour from them. It scared me, they were perfect.
"How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God! How vast in Number they are!" Psalms 139:17
At the end of the legalistic conversation and the talk about being able to see Charlie, I knew it was time to tell them the whole story. I felt my tongue get lodged in the back of my throat. My mouth was dry and my eyes wet. A tear rolled down my cheek as I began to tell of my heartache.
"What I did for the first months--I smoked meth. This baby could be effected by what I did. I can't forgive myself if he is not okay. I don't know why I did what I did, but I couldn't stop. I am sorry for what I did. I just want to know if you will love him if he is "Special." "
For some reason, I don't think I was just asking them to love my baby if he was special needs-- I think I was asking them for forgiveness. I was asking for comfort. I was asking for understanding.
Their love never failed, never budged.
They looked at each other, then at me. In all seriousness, they said they would love Charlie no matter what. I felt comfort and I knew they were the ones. I knew they would be able to comfort Charlie like this for all of his life and I couldn't ignore the fact that God used them to heal my heart and in doing so, He showed me that they would always be there to heal his.
May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and Peace through your faith in him. Then you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
How RADICAL God is--that He would consider us worthy of this journey. God does consider YOU worthy--When your adopted--you are given EVERYTHING you will NEED to overcome... and you WILL feel gratitude when you find yourself in the center of God's will.
"Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks.7Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable. Practice what you’ve learned and received from me, what you heard and saw me do. Then the God who gives this peace will be with you." Phillipians 4:6-9
"Underneath a Radical God" - Jamie's Take
January 23rd, a Sunday..
Ben and I were up early, we didn't sleep well. All night we talked about what we would say if asked certain questions..gathering our bearings and making sure we were on the same page and that we articulated as a team. We headed to the church even earlier than usual to pray before the rest of staff got there and then we set up for kids church.
Ben led kids worship and games both services so that I could be in worship. Love that man. I went to just drown all the emotions and have a moment to just give all that was about to happen to God. I felt His incredibly indescribable peace all around me. I couldn’t believe this was God's way, His idea of growing our family. I was honored and I was ready, so was Ben.
Because this was becoming more of a reality - Ben’s emotional investment was increasing, ten fold.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord." Isaiah 55:8
"Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest." Hebrews 3:1
I just remember that this day, Ben was different. I looked at him different from any other time before. He was hopeful. He was going to be a dad.
We got to Panera really early and sat in our car. Peering out the window at every car that pulled up and for the first time in a long time, talking about how we felt.
I asked Ben to pray. We prayed. We wanted to be so real - not presenting any false pretenses.
We saw her mom pull up..for some reason, I can't remember how we knew it was her. She explained that Lesa and her sister were having car problems and that she was going to get them. So we went inside and waited. Our hearts were beating so hard, so much I'm sure the people next to us could see our veins pump. We were silent..but eager. My face was flushed. I was so hungry but I didn't order anything but a tea.
Then, after what seemed like an eternity, I saw her.
She was so...perfect. She waddled in and I couldn't take my eyes off her. Ben introduced us and I just starred at her. We sat in the middle of the restaurant, Ben and I moved tables together while her, her mom and sister ordered. The whole time praying under my breath. We sat waiting for them to sit down. Looked around at everyone as if in slow motion, taking in every detail, in their Sunday routine. To them this was a seemingly regular Sunday, to us a day in history, a defining moment. This day was going to be remembered and no one around us had a clue. Our heartbeats were in our ears.
They sat down.
As Lesa sat down it was with such relief. She was so little carrying so much more than her baby. I could feel her concern, I could feel her many thoughts and I could feel her pain. There was one more thing I could feel and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Her sister talked most of the time, dominating the conversation with what they were looking for in a mother and father and what they wanted as far as the adoption. Her mom would cut in to clarify with a more gentle approach to let us know they weren't expecting weekly visits or anything extreme.
Then Lesa spoke, starting with a chuckle, as if to make the conversation light, communicating what she wanted for her baby, with such tenderness..as if not to offend anyone or scare us away.
After a series of questions answered; such as how we felt about having the adoption open, and possible baby names. With my more dominant and controlling personality, I answered most of the question, while still looking at Ben as to confirm it was a mutual decision. Lesa would laugh lightly and I was just mesmerized by her strength.
The she did something unexpected. She had the floor, she looked over at Ben and asked, with much seriousness, how he felt about having a kid. Ben sat up and looking at me then turning to her, he told her his heart. How he always wanted kids, even before me, that he's totally committed and would love more than anything to have her baby. As I listened to Ben I fell more in love with him, as I peered across the table I found three other woman in admiration of such a honest and strong man. I couldn't believe it, the man of few words, had just captured the hearts of women desperate for a perfect solution. I couldn't of been more proud of Ben. I couldn't of said it better. This moment couldn’t have been better scripted. Without skipping a beat, this young man captivated the hearts of these women with his genuine words and his godly plan to raise the young boy to play ball (if he wanted to) and love Jesus.
From that moment on, I remained speechless. Ben revealing his heart like that, allowed even him to more realize his true desire to be a father. From that his confidence and passion for this hopeful, promising reality spurred him to take control of the answering.
After some more give in take, talking about paternity and waiving rights..more of the legal stuff. Lesa was quiet, she had one more thing to say, as if it was the worry..the thing I could feel from her the whole time.
She spoke softly, looking at her mother, then her belly, rubbing it tenderly as the words came out.."There is one more thing you guys should know...when I was first pregnant, I was on drugs. I was not living for God and I was using meth."
I was unshakable. I didn't blink..neither did Ben. In fact I was a bit concerned that I wasn’t phased. Then Ben sits up as if to position his words with authority, only to say...
”That's okay..that does not effect our desire for this child any less.”
Relieved and with some appreciative silence, we move to lighter more irrelevant topics.
We began to say our good byes shortly after. As I pushed out my chair the need for me to touch her, to be near her was irrefutable. I had to hug her before I could walk away. I even believe I told her I'd love to give her a hug if that was okay. She concurred. And I embraced her. I wanted to stay forever with her.
As we walked out of the restaurant we exchanged numbers and left.
When Ben and I entered the car we were speechless. That just happened. And it couldn't of been more perfect. God was there. I knew it, Ben knew, she had to of felt it. It was the first time ever, in my entire life, that I wished I would of said something more or different. God had gone before us in that meeting and He equipped us entirely.
"How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!" Psalm 139:17
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
Later that day I began to notice her "add request" on Facebook and her "likes" on our pictures, statuses and such. I just kept seeking God's presence. I just wanted to be near Him and His goodness, knowing in my heart of hearts that I was giving Him all the glory. In this season of anticipation I found so much joy. I felt like I was revived from a coma and couldn't believe the life God was giving me to travel.
Something was happening. Both Ben and I could sense it, which only heighten our anticipation. We were so excited to be apart of it, but more than anything we were honored and humbled. God was so radical, that He would consider us worthy of this journey. (Philippians 4:6-9)
God does consider you worthy - When you're adopted - you are given everything you will need to overcome. And you will feel gratitude when you find yourself in the center of God's will.