It was Labor Day weekend 2017. Our family was supposed to go camping, but things came up, and we decided to stay home instead. Little did we know, God had a bigger purpose with postponing our camping trip. As my husband and I were sitting in church, we heard teaching on Luke 5:1-11. This is the story where the disciples had been out fishing all night but didn’t catch anything. Then Jesus steps in and tells Simon "Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish." "Master," Simon replied, "we worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing. But if you say so, I'll let the nets down again." And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
While hearing this message, the pastor posed the question, “What is it that you cannot trust to our almighty God?” What is it that you cannot trust to the Creator of the Universe? The One who created the miraculous water and the amazing fish swimming beneath. The One who can tell you where in the water to let down the nets to catch so many fish that it would cause nets to break. What is it God is asking you to Say Yes to?
As we got in the car to drive home, my husband looked at me and said, "I don't want to get to the end of my life and regret not doing something God has asked me to do." I agreed with his statement but wondered what it was he was sensing God asking him to do. I nervously asked, “what specifically do you feel God is asking you to do”. He responded, "pursue adoption!" Whoa, where did that come from? Nothing in that message we just heard was about adoption. But, I also know how God works and know adoption was something we had discussed previously.
I told him we needed to seriously pray about this. So we began praying! Adoption was something placed on my heart when I was a child and had always been very interested in learning more. I always felt like I would have more than two kids, but after having our two boys, my husband felt our family was complete. I, on the other hand, never felt at peace that we were finished having children. I had always told people that if God wanted to give us another child, I would take it, however, that might be. Although that was many years before this moment, back when I felt I was in my prime for mothering and it fit in my time schedule and my plan. But, most often we find that our plans do not always line up with His plans. Isaiah 55:8-9 says “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.”
We began faithfully praying God would make it very clear if adoption was something He was calling us to do. We prayed He would give us direct confirmations if we were to move forward or show us clearly if this was not His plan for us. God beautifully answered our prayers in such specific ways. In October that year, we were able to go to Disney World for the very first time and decided we should be intentional about praying while we were away. Our family of 4 was able to ride almost all the rides together. There was one ride that one son wanted to do that the other was not tall enough to ride so I took the oldest and my husband took the youngest to do something else. I got on this ride with my son and was joined by a mom and her adopted son that were there celebrating this child being home 6 years from China! I got off the ride and ran to my husband in tears. I knew this was definitely a sign from the Lord! But, as if that wasn’t enough we continued to pray and asked Him to make it clear.
In November, I ordered a Family Advent Calendar. When I opened the box there was a postcard sitting on the top of the calendar that stated, “WAIT NO MORE”. It was a postcard for International Adoption Month. Wow, Lord could you be any clearer. But I am a little stubborn and still claimed we were praying for clarity.
That same month, my husband opened a company email, one of those emails he got monthly but had never really paid any attention to before. Due to it being adoption awareness month, it was an email sharing about his company's support for adoption. An employee was telling their adoption story. My husband learned that his company was very supportive of adoption and offered great financial assistance and time off. Of course one of our doubts was how in the world would we be able to have the money to afford an adoption?
At Thanksgiving, we decided we had received ample confirmations from the Lord and knew we would be disobeying God if we did not move forward with adoption. We began the adoption process by filing an application with an adoption agency. And because God wanted to show us one more sweet God wink, since November was adoption awareness month, we received a major discount on our application fee. Isn’t that just like God!
Let's get back to Luke 5. In this scripture we find Simon Peter who was an expert fisherman. He had just fished all night without catching anything. Jesus tells Simon, "Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish." Based on his experience and knowledge of fishing, why would he put his nets back out into the water? He had just finished fishing all night without catching anything. Fish typically move to the bottom of the lake during the day due to the heat, and you usually cannot catch them that deep with the type of nets they use for fishing. Simon Peter had also just finished cleaning the nets. Throwing the nets back out into the water was illogical! But Simon Peter answered, "Master, we worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing. But if you say so, I'll let the nets down again." Simon Peter could have responded Jesus, you are a preacher and a carpenter, not an expert fisherman. Or, after the boat began sinking from the large catch of fish, Simon Peter could have just blamed Jesus' success on beginner's luck. But he doesn't, he takes a step of faith and trusts his Master. Even though he is probably skeptical, he takes a step of obedience and chooses to Say Yes to God. Master! But if you say so! Not because he believes Jesus is the expert fisherman but because He knows He is Master. The disciples said yes to God and were awestruck and amazed by the number of fish they had caught. The nets were so full that they began to break and the boats were so full of fish they were on the verge of sinking. Not only did they catch fish they also became committed to following Jesus after they saw this miracle by their Master. Verse 11 says, “And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.”
My husband and I specifically prayed and clearly heard the Master call us to pursue adoption. We said Yes to God! We took a step of faith and began the adoption journey. But, very soon after we said yes, we began to feel the attacks from Satan and the seeds of doubt started forming. Thoughts such as these flooded our mind:
This is such a huge responsibility to bring in another child to your family.
The child may have major psychological issues or trauma from their childhood. It is going to mess up your entire family.
How in the world are you ever going to pay $40,000 for this? Why would you spend that amount of money on something like this?
You have 2 independent boys. Why would you go back to having a toddler and lose all that independence you currently have?
How are you going to maintain the lifestyle you have now with being the mom you have been called to be, the spouse you have been called to be and continue the career of ministry you enjoy doing? You are CRAZY! This does not make sense!
Usually a calling from the Lord does not make sense. His ways are higher than ours. And isn't that exactly what Satan would want. To destroy a calling from the Lord. To not allow a Godly family to bring an orphan into a home where they could grow up with the love of a family and learning about Jesus.
BUT GOD! He kept quietly whispering, it is not about you, it is about me and things I call you to do are normally not of this world and seem a little crazy. God whispered, “What I call you to, I will make a way for you to walk through”. And He did just that, every step of the way.
It was not easy, the pathway to adoption is not an easy one and is not for the faint of heart. It is full of uncertainty and is completely out of your hands of control. Instead it makes you depend completely on God’s guidance, which is exactly where He wants us to be in each step of life we take.
On December 7, 2018 we saw our daughter's precious face for the very first time! We learned she was born on September 15, 2017. We began praying about adopting on September 3, 2017. We had been praying for our daughter since she was born. Only God can demonstrate His faithfulness and the power of prayer in such a mighty way!
Because we said Yes to God, we got to travel all the way across the world to China to meet our precious little girl on March 5, 2018. Saying Yes to God allowed Him to complete our family in a way we never saw imaginable. Ephesians 3:20 says - Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
Our obedience in saying Yes to God, in answering this call of adoption has brought our family so many blessings. Has it all been easy and without trials? Of course not, in fact it has rocked our family in many ways, but all those trials have drawn us closer to Him! Our family has experienced a new joy that's difficult to explain. Our little girl has the most amazing personality that lights up each room she enters. Our faith in God has grown as we watched God specifically answer so many prayer requests. Our dependence on God increased during this challenging journey of adoption. We saw God demonstrate His faithfulness in such a beautiful way. Our family has learned to love in a new way as God brought a new child into our family. We have been reminded of how God first adopted us into His family when we accepted his Son Jesus as our Savior. Ephesians 1:5 NLT says “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
What is it that our Master is asking you to Say Yes to?
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