The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014

My Sweet, Sweet Leader

Exactly a month ago, I wrote a post about the things I felt that God was saying to me. If you recall, there was a time-zone given of one month. Well, here we are one month later, and I just want to tell you that God is good and faithful and true to His word! (This may be a good time to go back and review the post from a month ago: click here)

These past weeks have been full ones--not only enjoying ourselves with family, but also walking through some hardships and difficult decisions. I'm not going to go into it all, but I so desperately want to acquaint you with the sweetness of my Leader. A Gentle Shepherd. A Personal God. Oh, friends and e-stalkers, these words are better than those of my own making, but none suffice! Hear me when I say that I would be in a very dark and desolate place today without the goodness of the Lord. But, He is keeping me, leading me, wooing me on. Before the darkness had even touched me, He spoke to me (last month) and when it threatened to overwhelm me, He showed me His way. Let me explain what I mean.

Aaron and I were praying over some of this stuff (actually, Aaron was doing all the talking and I was just crying and agreeing) when the phrases "many waters" and "cannot overwhelm" came to mind and wouldn't leave. When A was done praying I asked if he knew where those verses could be found. He didn't, but looked up those words in his appendix-mini-concordance. But, no luck. Then, I felt I should read Isaiah 43. This is what I read (v.1-3a):

But now, this is what the LORD says--
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, you God,
the Holy One of Israel, you Savior..."

How's that for the right words at the right time?! I was so blessed by that that I kept reading it over and over, soaking it in. That He has bought me and I'm His--he's not going to let anything "ruin" His own bought possession. That He's calling my name, leading me through this, drawing me personally and then promising to be with me. Him and me. That He won't let me get in too deep. That He'll keep my head above water. And all because of who He is. The LORD. My God. The Holy One. My Savior. Oh, sweet, sweet words! (I just can't convey my heart to you well enough!)

And, after soaking that up for awhile, I was drawn further in (v. 3b-13, emphasis mine).

"I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the
I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'
and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.'
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth--
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made."

Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
who have ears but are deaf.
All the nations gather together
and the peoples assemble.
Which of them foretold this
and proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
so that others may hear and say, "It is true."
"You are my witnesses," declares the LORD,
"and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
I, even I, am the LORD,
and apart from me there is no savior.
I have revealed and saved and proclaimed--
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "that I am God.
Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?"

Isn't it good just to hear Him say again that He loves us?! And not with some toothless kind of love, but one that has real significance! One that makes us "precious and honored." Let me tell you, it's no small hill of beans to be precious and honored in the sight of the God who created the world!

And, then again, to see that He has purpose in what He's doing here. Yes, you may have to go through the waters, rivers, fire, and flames, but there's a reason: "that you may know and believe me." Oh, how I want to know Him! Oh, how I want to believe Him more! And, the miraculous thing is that I can already see it happening! I'm knowing and believing Him all the more because of what He's leading me through, and even more so because of HOW He's doing it!

The passage goes on to say (v. 16-21, emphasis mine)

This is what the LORD says--
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like wick:
"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the desert
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise."

Do you hear that?! It's almost too wonderful for me! Do you hear that? He's up to something! He's doing a new thing! We can forget all about the wonders of the past, because He's about to outdo Himself with a new thing! Now, I feel obligated to not that I realize that this was not the original intention of this passage and that I am taking it out of context. I know that this is predicting our great Savior's entrance in to the world (Yay! Merry Christmas!). However, it's so poignantly related to my very current situation. He hinted in early November that He was up to something new and now He's confirming it through the written Word and the Spirit. Could He be any sweeter of a Leader, my dears?! How can I but love Him and follow Him where He leads?!

And, then He goes on to talk about streams and springs in the desert! Does that sound at all familiar to you? I blogged a little while ago my thoughts on Ps. 84, centering around how I want to be the sort of gal whose heart is "set on pilgrimage" (embracing the process) because those folks are the ones who journey through the Valley of Weeping and transform it into a lush and verdant valley because of the goodness of the Lord. Isn't He sweet? Oh, I wish you could see me, I'd be jumping up and down flailing my arms around trying to communicate to you the depths of my heart! Is this the wooing of my God? How He has captivated me!

This hope of the new thing, of knowing Him and believing Him, of seeing the wasteland transformed before my eyes and through my partnership with Him into a place of rest and restoration where life-giving drink is made available to his people, his chosen--oh, let me tell you, that and only that, will keep my head above water as I walk through this river.

Friends, I feel like I have just caught a glimpse, am savoring the teeniest taste, of what the biblical writers were feeling when they admonished us to consider our trials as pure joy. I can embrace this bitterness, I can walk through this darkness, knowing Who it is that walks beside me and knowing that not only is He greater than he that is in this world, but also that He is doing something, something amazing on the other side.


Maralee said...

Thanks for those encouraging words, Rachel. Can't wait to hear more specifics about what God is leading you through.

My Man and Me

My Man and Me
married 7/7/2001


ours through biology, born 7/25/2004, home 8/1/2004


ours through adoption from Liberia, West Africa, born 7/15/2005, home 10/25/2007


ours through domestic adoption, born 1/15/2011, home 2/10/2011, final 8/3/2011

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Round Two Timeline

  • 9/24/08 Home study update home visit for Ghana adoption
  • 10/15/08 Dossier sent to AOHG
  • 10/15/08 I600A application sent to USCIS
  • 10/30/08 First heard about possible domestic private adoption
  • 11/18/08 Last spoke with contact about possible domestic adoption; expected to hear back about meeting with birthmother
  • 12/3/08 Withdrew application from AOHG
  • 1/6/09 Found out another family had been chosen for possible domestic adoption
  • 1/21/09 USCIS fingerprinting appointment
  • 1/8/09 Received USCIS fingerprinting appointment notice
  • 4/11/09 Sent Pre-Application to Covenant Care Adoptions for Domestic Infant Adoption program
  • 6/8/09 Social worker visit to update home study from International to Domestic
  • 7/24/09 Received completed home study update
  • 8/25/09 Went "on the list" for birthfamilies to choose from
  • 4/28/10 Found out a birth mom had chosen us
  • 5/8/10 Met the birth mom
  • 5/11/10 Got the call that birth mom changed her mind
  • 5/19/10 Birth mom's scheduled c-section
  • 11/30/10 Visit from DSS sw about foster parenting
  • 11/30/10 Got the call that another birth mom had chosen us
  • 12/21/10 Met with the birth mom
  • 1/15/11 @1:42 PM BB was born!
  • 1/19/11 ICPC (interstate) paperwork sent to GA for approval
  • 1/31/11 ICPC Clearance Approved
  • 2/10/11 Placement Ceremony and Pup comes home!!!!
  • 8/3/11 It's Official! Pup's Adoption Decree was issued