Archive | May 2012

But I Don’t Understand…

What do we do when we are waiting patiently on the Lord; when all doors have been opened and we feel that we are on the right path according to His will; when we have bathed a matter fervently in prayer and are trusting Him to work in His time and His way—and yet one difficulty after another rears its ugly head to confound and confuse us?  Our hearts say, “We trust You, Lord, and know You are in control,” but our heads say, “But I don’t understand!”

This is where our family stands today.   Anastasia’s adoption has been completed.  The ten-day waiting period will be over tomorrow and she should be released to be with David and Julie by Tuesday or Wednesday.  All that will remain is for her American paperwork to be completed—birth certificate, passport, American citizenship, etc.

The problem lies with Oleg’s adoption.  Everything has been put on hold for a while due to new protocols in his region.  His court date for the adoption now is not until May 30th.   In the meantime Julie and David have been cooling their heels in Kiev, longing to go home with their new children and be with the three they left behind in the States.  What should have taken about five weeks will now stretch out to almost two and a half months and add about $5000 to the costs of the adoptions.  The emotional cost to them and the children have taken their toll, as well.

Julie is coming home tomorrow for a week to spend time with Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah and to finish preparing the house for Oleg’s and Anastasia’s arrivals.  She will return to the Ukraine in time for the court date, and then, after that, David will fly home while she remains to work on more paperwork and bureaucracy.  David’s leave will expire if he does not go back to work for a while, so he will not go back to the Ukraine until Julie and Anastasia are finally free to go home to the United States.  Then he will finally return once more to Kiev to finish up Oleg’s waiting period and paperwork and at last—sometime around mid to late June—he and Oleg will join the rest of the family in Alabama!

Sounds complicated, I know—and very disappointing.  David and Julie and others have been praying all along that God will close the doors on these adoptions if they are not His will, and instead the doors have remained wide open.  They feel perfect peace that they are walking in His will, and yet it has been far from easy.  This week while we have acknowledged that God is still in control, we have wondered why He has not moved things along so that they can have it all behind them go home—especially for Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah’s sakes for whom the separation from their parents has become increasingly difficult.  We are trusting—but we don’t understand.

That’s okay.  We don’t have to understand.  Isaiah 56:8, 9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  God sees the whole path from beginning to end.  He sees how each twist and turn touches the lives of  all concerned.  He sees how each obstacle and trial refines, strengthens and matures us.  He alone can see how this whole process will, in the end, bring honor and glory to Him.

I’ve been telling myself all week, Don’t fret!  Relax and wait on the Lord.  Watch and see what great and mighty things He does.  Or as He Himself puts it, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalm 46:10, 11)

After all, this is what walking by faith is all about—trusting God when we don’t understand.  Hebrews 11:1 puts it this way, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  II Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”  If we understood all the “hows” and “whys” and “whens” of God’s actions in our lives, we would not need faith, now would we?  We would not have the dependency of little children on our Heavenly Father, or marvel at how He works all things out for our best in the end.  We would not grow or become strong in Him—or have the testimony and praise to share with others of how great is our God!

God’s way is most often not the easy way, but even when we don’t understand, it is the best way.  “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6)

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A Mother’s Day to Remember

I returned home last night from Alabama where I just spent three weeks with my three beautiful Sanchez grandchildren—Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah.  What a joy it was to get to spend so much time with them and be a surrogate “mom” to them while their parents are in the Ukraine.  They are wonderful, beautiful children and such a delight to be around.  I was so sad to leave them, and I know they felt the same way.

There is a bright spot on the very near horizon, though!  In just two days I will have my two youngest grandchildren here with me for three weeks!  Laurie and Fernando are coming from Ecuador on business with five-year-old Matthew and one-year-old Mandy.  Whoo-hoo!  What fun!  The two of them together are such a hoot!  The only cloud on that horizon is that their four older sisters—Sara, Gabi, Melissa and Katie won’t be coming with them.  I will miss them, but I am sure we will Skype with them every day while their parents are here.

What truly makes this Mother’s Day memorable, however, is that just two days ago I became a grandmother once again to Anastasia Hope Sanchez, and sometime in this next week James Oleg Sanchez will become our eleventh grandchild!  I can hardly wait to meet them when they get to the United States and become one family with David and Julie, and Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah!

Eleven grandchildren!  So amazing and such a blessing from God!  I feel rich, indeed!  I don’t need any gifts for Mother’s Day—I already have it all!  Two beautiful daughters and godly sons-in-law; one special, cherished son; and eleven precious grandchildren—not to mention my wonderful husband with whom this whole family began!  Thank You, Lord!  It is our responsibility, privilege and joy to lead the way in loving and serving the Lord.  One generation shall praise Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts.”  (Psalm 145:4)

And today I will get to spend time with my dear mother and siblings, celebrating her and all she means to us.  She led the way for us.  It’s going to be a good day!

In fact, it will be a Mother’s Day to remember!

Disappointments, Delays–and Delight!

There is no sweeter joy, I think, than to see our children and grandchildren growing in the Lord and loving His Word.  That is what I feel I have been privileged to see this week.  Joshua has grown six inches in one week in the Lord!  Benjamin is as steady as a rock as he rests in God’s Word.  And little Hannah—well, it has been a hard week for her, but I see her little by little coming to accept God’s plan rather than her ideas of how things ought to be.

This last week saw very little progress in the Ukraine as far as the adoptions Julie and David are trying to complete.  They sat there, racking up expenses and losing precious time in being away from their children, while the country had three days of holiday, plus the weekends, which meant very little business was accomplished.  On top of that, their lawyer/facilitator was trying to work with a judge who was uncooperative and just downright nasty-mean.  She did not want to be bothered with an adoption and could care less about hearing them anytime soon.  In the end, their lawyer was forced to re-file the papers in order to get a different judge—which most definitely turned out to be a good thing.  The one bright spot in the whole thing was that David and Julie were allowed to have Oleg with them for four whole days.

On Thursday David and Julie told the kids the bad news—Mommy would not be coming home as early as they had hoped.  The news was met with tears by Hannah, who had been struggling all along to accept Mama’s absence for the last three weeks.  Joshua didn’t cry, but I could see he was upset on the inside.  Benjamin took it in stride.  Disappointed, yes, but he is fourteen and a mature fourteen-year-old, at that.  My heart sank.  How was I going to keep the younger kids holding it together, let alone happy, until their mother got home?

We talked every day about how God is in control and He makes no mistakes.  I told them that there are no delays as far as God’s plans are concerned.  Everything in His timing is perfect because He sees the whole picture and has planned it all from beginning to end for our best.  We talked about the importance of patiently trusting in Him and to waiting on Him to work it all out.  And we talked about how when we whine and complain about His plans, then that is like saying to Jesus, “I don’t really trust your love for me.”

The first day I noticed Joshua was reading his Bible a lot, and drawing comfort from it.  He asked to do the devotions that night and share with the rest of us the Scriptures that had particularly helped and comforted him. Through the rest of the week he eagerly sought out verses that strengthened his faith and brought him peace.  I witnessed an eleven year old boy maturing in his spiritual life this week.

The second night Benjamin asked if he could lead our devotions.  He had remembered the story of the unjust judge and the persistent widow in Luke 18.  He read the first eight verses which say, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”  Benjamin then contrasted the unjust judge (whom he likened to the nasty judge in the Ukraine) to the Lord, who is our righteous judge and avenges His people speedily.  He also talked about the widow who was unrelenting in seeking justice and reminded us that we need to be persistent in our prayers as well.

How precious it is to me to see my young grandsons turning to the Word of God for strength and comfort and instruction!  I am reminded of Psalm 1:1-3 which says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”  I see Benjamin and Joshua both growing up to be godly young men who delight in the Word of God.  It will be interesting to see how they grow, like trees planted by rivers of water, bearing fruit and prospering in whatever calling the Lord has for them.  They are my delight!