Ok, remember in my last blog post I said I had a GOD STORY to share? Oh it's a doozy! Y'all, I am serious, only my precious Father could have orchestrated this! Ok, here goes.....
Little bit of background... I come from a pretty big family, and growing up we were all close. My mom's brother has two sons - Shane and Jonathan. When we were little, we were pretty close. As we grew up, we maintained that relationship. Even in our late teens, early twenties we hung out a lot.
Unfortunately, I lost touch with them when I moved away in 2000. I kept up with them and what they were up to through my mom, but I didn't have much contact with them myself. Ok, change directions and fast forward a bit...
You guys know that I was really struggling this fall. I remember the week before Halloween being particularly bad. Brad and I had many "heated" discussions those days about our adoption journey. My heart was broken and he knew that, but he felt confident that we were suppose to step back and reassess things.
I never shared this, but it such a huge part of this story. On Wednesday, October 26th, Brad said he needed to talk to me. I knew that meant something big. Let me first say, Brad is truly, one of the most Godly men I know. If he says God spoke to him, you better believe He spoke. So he tells me that the night before, he was having trouble sleeping. He said he was really struggling with losing our referral and trying to make sense of the whole mess of our adoption. He decided to get up and pray. He really sought God that night, and pleaded with Him to open his eyes to what we were suppose to do. He felt let to a certain passage in the bible. He read it, and he said he really felt God speaking to his heart - what he had to say was not easy for me to hear. At first, I didn't want to accept it. As the days went by, then the weeks, and now months, I can see it so clearly myself. That alone can only be Divine as well.
Anyway, Brad said that he truly believed that God impressed this on his heart: Our journey was something we had to go through. Otherwise, we would have never learned to trust Him in such big ways. We had to see that He would be faithful. We had to see that He would be our Provider. We had to see that He makes the impossible, possible. Only Him. Only His power. We had to go through that as preparation. For what? We don't know exactly yet. Brad just said it is bigger than anything we have ever done. This "big thing" is going to require blind faith and trust like never before. And then he said, "Michele, I believe His will has been accomplished. I believe we have done what He asked of us, and now He has a new direction for us. Something bigger. What if we aren't suppose to help just one? What if we are suppose to help many?"
As I sat there listening to him, tears streaming down myself, I felt like my heart had literally broken into a million pieces. I wept like I have never wept before. Gosh, tears sting my eyes now just remembering the anguish that day... pain that still grips my heart. The next few days were awful. How could it be done? How could the journey be over? How could I ever give up on this little girl that has lived in my heart for so long? The truth is, I never could do those things. Only His grace has gotten me through each day.
I am not giving up on her, just so you know. But, I am going to be faithful to my Lord, and for now, He has set my feet on a new path.
So are you wondering how my cousins play into this story? Ok, this is the good part!
On November 2nd, I got a friend request on Facebook. I don't get them often, so I was surprised to see that little "1" up at the top of my page. I click on it, and it is a request from Shane! I was so excited! So I immediately accept it and post a message on his wall. Within minutes, he sent me a message privately.
We chatted for a bit and we said how we would love to see each other. It had been years! I knew that he was doing ministry work, and a lot of times it was out of the country. He sent me to his website to check out his calendar see if I was going to be anywhere near where he would be in the coming months. I went to his website, Shane Willard Ministries to check it out. It took me like a second to see that he was going to be in China for a week in April. I sent him a message telling him that I was so jealous that he was going to be in China! I told him how much I love it, and how I feel I left my heart there.
Meanwhile, before Shane messaged me back, I went to talk to Brad. I told him that I had just reconnected with Shane and how excited I was! I then told him that Shane was going to China in April and I was going with him, even though he didn't know yet. Brad just looked at me and said, "Ok." HAHA! I think he knew better than to even try to fight me, after his last few days with Psycho Michele.
So just a few minutes after that, I get a message back from Shane that said "Come with me! I would love for you to join me!" ACK! He typically travels alone, and seemed really excited to have company! Now at this point, I am thinking this is just a cool little "fluke" and it would be neat to really go with him. In my mind, I am thinking, while he works, I could sightsee! Fun, right? Well, then he tells me, "I will be there speaking at a staff retreat for International China Concern. They are a non profit foundation that has given their lives to care for special needs orphans (italics mine)."
Y'all. I was floored. My mind started racing! So I did a little bit of research and International China Concern is this awesome foundation that does wonderful work in China. They send teams into the orphanages to volunteer.
Do you guys see where this is going? I ended up meeting Shane in Charleston over New Years. We had a great time catching up. I shared my heart with him about China and orphans. He said, "Michele, the president of ICC will be at this retreat. He would be someone to talk to if you want to get involved."
I honestly feel like my heart may burst with excitement. I am going to CHINA!!!!!!!
I don't know what will happen there. I don't know what Jesus wants to accomplish through this. I can tell you though, I am suppose to be there. I am suppose to go with an open heart and an open mind. He is working!
Isn't that the coolest story? Seriously, all of that took place in a matter of a few days. Since then, I feel my hope building. I feel the darkness breaking to light. It's like I have a purpose again. I will still get to be in China, loving on people, being His hands and feet.
Isn't that what it's all about?
Maybe one day, I will bring home a little girl. I am certainly not burning any bridges. But for now? For now, I am content going where He tells me to go. Yay for me, it just happens to be CHINA!