Wednesday, October 9, 2013

the opening chapter :: lucy's story

These words were written by the prophet Jeremiah to the Jewish exiles in babylon a looooong time ago.  If you've spent much time reading the Bible you know that the stories often have a funny way of applying directly to the time and place in which we live today.  This is why the Bible is my favorite storybook.

When they were sent to Babylon, the rebellious Jewish exiles may have felt devastated.  They collectively wept at the prospect of being slaves to this foreign nation.  They were essentially leaving the security of their homeland, where they originally had a strong connection with one another and with God, and being dumped in the midst of a people whose culture and values were drastically different from their own.  Not fun.
I'm sure there were times when these people wanted to shout - 'Hey!  There's been a mistake here!  Take me back to my other life!'  but...
that season was no wasn't bad luck.  
It was part of the plan...God's plan.  
One commentary says it this way...
When you find yourself in the midst of  suffering and hardship, don't think his plans for you have changed.  God uses all things for the ultimate good of those who love him.  You might not understand his purpose in all things, but he promises to be working for your good.  (Wiersbe)

Fast forward a couple thousand years...
a rebellious 15 year old girl finds herself 'on the run'.

away from her 'homeland'.

Eventually she finds her way home to the arms of loving parents but the heartache doesn't end there.  
In fact - it's just beginning.

Though young - this girl is brave.  She is a fighter.  She is surrounded by people who know Jesus and plead with him on her behalf as she walks through a valley.
The person of perhaps greatest importance to her during this time is her mother - a woman who selflessly jumps into her daughter's darkness with both feet.  It's an unfamiliar place but her faith is enough to carry her there.

As this mother finds herself in this foreign land of hurt and confusion she determines that she and her daughter both need something to stand on - 
some belief
some promise

This is what they heard God say to them through the words of Jeremiah (just like those bewildered jewish exiles who suffered before them)...
'For i know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'

They would return to these words countless times over the months that followed.  There would be moments when they literally clung tightly to that promise with both arms.  And they weren't the only ones...
Several hours away a young married couple wrestled with decisions around becoming parents.  Adoption was something they believed in, but not something they ever thought they would do before having children biologically.
Shouldn't they wait until later to embark on this journey?
All of the adoptive parents they knew had waited until their biological children were a little older.  That made more sense, right?
But something challenged their thinking.  After a year of trying to get pregnant, and no medical reason not to, the idea of adoption seemed to be surfacing early.  They committed to pray about this and doors began opening.  Within a matter of months they were on their way to meet a 15 year old girl who believed that they were the parents of her unborn child...
a baby girl.
a daughter.
their daughter?

Prior to this meeting, the young woman who was ready to be a mother thought a lot about that teenage girl who was not.  
She prayed for her.  
She imagined what she would look like.  
She wondered what she would say.  
Out shopping one day she ran across a plaque with these words...
'For i know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'
She bought it...almost on a a gift for that girl she would meet only a week later.
When she took the gift home she and her husband looked at, discussed it, repeated the words in their heads,
their hearts.
It became their prayer too - for that girl they had yet to meet and also for the child she carried.

One sunny day in the early spring of 2008 they met.  That brave 15 year old girl, her parents, and the couple who would ultimately walk the rest of this journey with her.  The meeting turned out to be one of those events that seems so clearly set apart...divinely orchestrated.  It was as if each party had simply followed orders and found themselves fitting in as the perfect pieces of a complicated, yet beautiful, puzzle.
Towards the end of the meeting the gift was given.  
The mother's eyes were the first to fill with tears...then the daughter' they looked in awe at one another.  As the father realized what was happening he too grew emotional.  They were all speechless which left the young couple seated across the table from them holding their breath.  It was the mother who spoke...
when we first found out about this pregnancy we determined that as a family we needed something to stand on.  this is the verse that God gave us.  it has been our prayer for over 6 months.

The young couple felt their tears begin to fall gently as they entered into the knowledge that the same promise had been planted on their hearts as well.

I treasure this piece of my story.  
It will forever remain in my memory as one of the clearest experiences of God's presence in my life.  It marked the circumstances surrounding our daughter's entry into this world and into our family.  It confirmed for me that God did have a plan.  The months following that moment would prove to be an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved.  In the middle of what seemed at times like chaos...there was order...there was purpose...there was a life that would be birthed and countless other lives would be changed as a result.
As we walked through our adoption of lucy, joey and i experienced one of the most spiritually profound chapters of our own stories...
and they were beautifully intertwined with the chapters that were also being written in the lives of lucy's birthmother, her birth grandparents, and the many other people whose lives intersected ours during that time.
Our stories all overlapped to form something truly stunning.
I know of no other author than THE author and perfecter himself who could weave together a tale like that.
{may 2008}
My daughter has one of the most gripping opening chapters of any life story I have ever heard.  I know the remaining chapters will continue to amaze us.  Within them there will be seasons of light and seasons of dark just like those of her families {both birth and adoptive}...
for this reason I continue to claim this promise for her own precious life...
'For i know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'