When I was in middle school, I read Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. Most of the details of the book are fuzzy in my mind, but somewhere in the folds of the pages is a story that has come back to me often since my days of tall socks and scrunchies. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently.
Corrie and her sister Betsie were prisoners in the barracks of Ravensbruck (a women’s extermination camp during the Nazi reign in Germany). They held prayer services in their barracks despite the fear that hung over the place like a dark blanket and the swarms of fleas that crawled all over them and nested in the their beds. While praying together, one of the sisters thanked God for the fleas and the other sister looked at her like she was crazy (no judgment here).
Later, they found out the guards never entered their barracks because they wanted to stay away from those tiny, annoying insects. The insects that most people would never consider a blessing offered a ring of protection around the barracks and allowed the women to continue with their prayers services where they found comfort, peace, and community amongst the most dire of circumstances.
He used fleas.
His ways are not our ways.
We’ve been overwhelmed the last few months with generous gifts of time and resources. We’ve been so grateful. We’ve also been discouraged by setbacks in our process. I haven’t been so grateful for those.
We’ve hit a lot of little hurdles … the official homestudy with our last name misspelled on every page that still hasn’t come back to us corrected, long waits with doctors to sign papers, reference letters lost in the mail. All of those things mean we are still not on the wait list and we probably won’t be until the end of summer.
But I hear Him:
Give thanks in ALL circumstances.
My ways are not your ways.
He’s been teaching me a bigger, more difficult lesson … that thankfulness isn’t just about being grateful for the good stuff. On a sleepless night about a week ago, I lay in bed asking the Perfector of my faith for forgiveness and begging for His help in that which is against my nature … offering thanks for the not so fun things.
A few hours later, Libby woke up at 5:50 a.m.
“I get it, Lord.”
I pulled her up out of bed, and as I headed downstairs with her away from my sleeping boys, I snuggled her little warm body close and thanked my Provider that she woke up so early.
It felt ridiculous.
I admitted that to Him too.
But it also felt strangely right.
“I’m changing your ways, daughter”
My dear friend Dianna writes a much-anticipated thankful list on her blog every Thursday (http://obsequiumfidei.blogspot.com). I’m not that faithful a blogger (shocking, I know), but I’m going to attempt to write a thankful list pertaining to our adoption journey once a month. I’m going to include those things that are not so easy to be thankful for, all the while praying He’ll change my perspective and my heart through the process.
Thankful List for June
-yard sale fundraisers here in Wichita Falls and in Georgia that raised about $1,300
-so many people donating to our yard sale… many of them we didn’t even know!
-kind friends who struggled through the heat Friday afternoon and evening to help us set up
-a threat of rain that made us (and kind friends) put everything back up from our yard sale at 8:30 Friday evening
-the rain that never showed up
-the guys who showed up at 5 a.m. Saturday morning to help us set up everything. Again.
-the cool air the morning of the yard sale
-friends who watched our kids during a yard sale
-friends who helped during and after the yard sale
-the crazy heat the last hours of the yard sale
-being able to donate all the leftovers to Faith Mission
-a perfectly timed gift card from Mimi and Pops (Ben’s parents) that allowed us to go out to eat for dinner after our yard sale
-Nana and Papa (my parents) hosting their own yard sale for us in Fitzgerald at the same time and all the kind neighbors who showed up to welcome them to the neighborhood
-multiple donation checks that humbled and shocked us amounting to over $2,300 received throughout the month
-successful and fun painting class
-reference letter that got lost in the mail
-reference letter that finally made it!
-a homestudy with our name misspelled, still waiting for it to come back to us
-4th of July shirts ordered and delivered
-non-4th of July T-shirt orders
-a great new doctor who was able to see me quickly
-a kind and thoughtful doctor who helped Ben get his letter done
and a few random things that have nothing to do with adoption:
-a new nephew, Micah!
-talking about Uncle Jacob with kids
-how much Tucker loved VBS (“Mom, PLEASE can I be the last one picked up?!")
-the way Libby sings “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”
-a husband who buys groceries, cooks meals, takes care of kids (and me) when I’m sick
-that you read ALL of this
-His ways are not our ways!
“Thank Me for the very things that are troubling you … Thanking Me for trials will feel awkward and contrived at first. But if you persist, your thankful words, prayed in faith, will eventually make a difference in your heart” (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, June 22).