I've been struggling with how to write about what happened at our church on Sunday. It was incredible... and a little surprising!
Here's what happened: Rob preached a sermon he'd been planning on for a long time, since before all the adoption upheaval stuff. So he preached a pretty weighty sermon about how John the Baptist was faithful and yet still ended his life imprisoned and then beheaded. And he wasn't sure he was going to even mention our adoption but towards the end, he decided to. So, kind of ambiguously, he mentioned that we were in a time of difficulty right now. We know we've been following God's will, we know we've been faithful, and yet we are not at all certain that our adoption from Ethiopia will ever happen. He was honest about our struggles and our reaction in faith.
The service finished up and just as Rob was going to dismiss us in prayer, a friend of ours made his way to the front of the church! He said "I'm so sorry to interrupt, but Rob shared his soul with us today, and we need to pray for his family." He had me come forward and as I held Rob's hand, our church family came around us and put their hands on our shoulders as another friend of ours prayed. I could barely see through my tears but I could feel so many of our church friends around us, supporting us, praying for us.
Talk about a burden lifted. Or maybe not lifted but shared. It was as if our struggles stretched out across the shoulders of our church family and suddenly didn't feel quite so heavy. It was so humbling to have our church family pray for us and love on us like that. I almost ruined it for myself by worrying all afternoon that someone might think that the whole sermon had been about us or that the prayer had been pre-planned. But our friend (the one who started the prayer) said to us later "Sorry about that, but God was telling me to go up there and I just had this vision of me standing in front of Him one day and God saying to me "remember that time I told you to pray for the Cassells and you didn't do it... and I didn't want to have to answer for that!"
And I don't think this is a coincidence: We got encouraging news about our adoption yesterday! The very first piece of positive news since we learned about the delay on December 28th!
My take-away lesson from all this? First of all, prayer is powerful. But even if our adoption doesn't happen, Jesus is enough for me. He is caring for us through our amazing church family who is there for us and loves us. No wonder God wants us to live in community. I always think about living in community with regard to what I can do, or what I can give. But God put me smack in a community that is caring for me and my family right now. All I can do is praise God for how wonderful they are.
My other take-away lesson? The one I don't want to admit?
I can't handle this by myself.
I am so terribly independent (if you know me, you probably already know this and are nodding your head in agreement). I want to handle everything, do everything, without any help. I'm the girl who tries to bring ALL the groceries in from the car in one trip. While carrying a child. And a cup of coffee. I'm perfectly happy living in community as long as I'm the one reaching out to others, as long as I am the one helping. But being on the receiving end? Much harder for me. I'm thankful that God's stripping me of my pride in this way... but it hurts a little. I'm relying on Him in ways I've never had to before.
If this keeps up, I'll be one humble girl by the time my third child falls into my arms! I think I could handle that :)