Trying Times

“So have you heard anything new about Evangelle?”

It seems I now answer this question multiple times a day. I’m glad people care; I really am. And I certainly prefer for people to express their concern instead of ignoring what we’re going through, but still, I’m beginning to cringe inwardly each time someone asks about our progress.

Of course it’s not the question I dislike; it’s the answer I’m currently required to give that’s the problem. Unfortunately, we really don’t know anything new aside from the fact that the month of March is almost gone and Evangelle is still on the other side of the world.

These are the times that try a woman’s soul. 

I wish I could tell you that I’m taking it like a champ, but the truth is I’m not. Each morning when I wake up and realize we didn’t receive an email from the Embassy during the night, I feel like a dark cloud has enveloped my soul. While working on Evangelle’s lifebook this week I realized that I’m not just struggling with the wait, I’m also grieving the time with her that we’ve lost. She was 4 months old when we first saw her face. She’ll be 10 months old at the end of this month.

The realization that the first year of her life is nearly gone has been weighing heavily on my heart, and it’s a fight to keep my eyes fixed on the Lord and not become overwhelmed with grief. Right now, I’m thankful for God’s promise to be near those who are broken-hearted and crushed in spirit. I desperately need to be near to Him.

Yesterday, God provided me with much-needed encouragement through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s teaching on the fearlessness of the Proverbs 31 woman. If you’re also fighting for joy, I know this will be a help to you too…  

I know that time is short, and eternity is long. How foolish it is to waste the little bit of time I have here on this earth pining and moaning and resenting and resisting the very things God wants to bring into my life to help me be like Jesus, to help fit me for eternity!

…One of the mandates of the gospel is to be people of joy. It’s not an option. It’s a mandate. First Thessalonians 5, verse 16, “Rejoice always.” Psalm 5, verse 11, “Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.” “Serve the LORD with gladness!” Psalm 100 tells us (v. 2).

…Now, we’re not talking about shallow, hollow, cheap joy that is dependent on what’s going on around us, but we’re talking about that deep, abiding joy that is rooted in the gospel. It’s rooted in God. It’s rooted in the truth of who He is, and that comes to mind as we look at these two verses in Proverbs 31 that we’ve been examining.

Proverbs 31, verse 21, “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.” And then verse 25, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” The New American Standard there says, “She smiles at the future,” and another translation says, “She shall rejoice in time to come.”

That word laugh, “she laughs at the time to come,” as it is in my English Standard Version, that word means “to laugh in pleasure, to make merry, to play.” It has the thought of being carefree. Now, it’s not because the woman has no problems. It’s because she knows to cast her burdens on the Lord, so she doesn’t let those burdens stay on her.

She’s not frivolous. She’s not silly, but she walks with dignity through the trials and challenges of life. She laughs in pleasure as she thinks about the future. She is free from fear of the future. She looks to the future with confidence, with hope, and with joy regardless of its challenges.

Here are a few phrases that commentators have used in talking about this woman laughing at the time to come. One says, “She has a calm anticipation of the future.” Another said, “She happily looks forward to the future.”

…This woman has a calm anticipation of the future. I think that could relate to the immediate future, the circumstances that lie right in front of her. They’re staring at her, the bills, a son or daughter who’s getting ready to marry someone who is not in the faith. It’s an immediate challenge in the immediate future, the days immediately ahead.

Then there’s the longer-term future. There is that which is known about it—we think we know—and there’s that which is unknown about it. Both can cause us to be anxious and joyless.

The woman we’re reading about in Proverbs 31, the woman of strength and dignity, has a calm anticipation of the future because she trusts the wise and loving providence of a Heavenly Father who cares, who is able to control the future, who does control the future, the life to come, not to be feared for the woman of faith, the woman of strength and dignity who fears the Lord and who knows Jesus Christ.

Listen to or read more of Nancy’s teaching on this topic in her current series
Facing the Future with Joy.

12 thoughts on “Trying Times

  1. Love you! Praying with and for you! I know the Lord is using this trial with purpose to bring Gliry to Himself through you and by this adventure. I pray you are blessed by being a chosen instrument for His namesake especially when you come out on the other end of this tunnel. I also believe Satan, as cunning as he is, is aiming for you. The “dark cloud” signaled that. Rejoice in the fact that your turning heavenward obviously is drawing fire from the enemy. Be encouraged to remember that our Gid is a might God that reigns with all wisdom and power and has already defeated the enemy!

    There is a marvelous work being done in this dark valley! I pray and praise the Lord for Is40:31 for you! Praise the Lord that He is not only the Victor but a compassionate and loving Father that will hold you tightly in the darkest of nights!

    Is 40:31
    But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

    Thank you, as always, for being transparent enough for us to see the work in a stronger suster’s heart. It encourages others, including me. (That is a small by-product of the glorifying work the Lord is doing even now.)

    • Thank you, Alison! Your words are a true encouragement to me. I do need to remember the spiritual warfare that is taking place so I can stand firm in the truth. Isaiah 40:31 has been the perfect passage during this time.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this!!! We have submitted to the embassy and are waiting to hear good news. This final wait is stretching me far beyond what I thought possible. But I really needed the reminder on rejoicing in EVERYTHING!
    We are a CWA family as well. We are adopting 2 boys from Ethiopia. I’ve been following your blog since Dec and it has been God’s hands and feet to me. Thank you!!!

      • We submitted last week (3/13/12). We had court Jan 10th, but was missing a document so didn’t officially pass til 2/3/12. Little M is 2&1/2 and Baby K turned 1 on Feb 27th.

  3. I also found it to be bitter sweet when people asked about the baby and adoption progress. One hard thing was that the details of our situation were often complicated to explain. That’s why I love knowing all of you who are going through the same thing. It feels so good to be able to relate.

    Reading about your heartache makes me think of the day when Evangelle will be reading your words. What a blessing it will be for her to know that her mother’s love was so great even before you were united as a family. It will amaze her.

    Also reading Marueen’s comments makes me think that God is using you in ways you don’t even realize. Your writing and blogging is a real gift. Your posts are just the right length, just what I need to hear, at just the right time. You are a blessing to the world.

    ~AnnMarie

    • Yes, AnnMarie, it has been such a blessing to be in this together with you and all of the others we met in Ethiopia! It really does help to know we’re not going it alone.

      It’s also great to be able to share in the joy together. I can’t wait to see photos of Tizita in your arms again! I will be praying for your safety and strength as you travel.

      Thank you so much for your kind words; they mean a lot to me!

  4. Praying for God’s perfect will in this situation! This quote from Joni Eareckson Tada’s blog was an encouragement to me recently regarding waiting and patience.

    “In the spiritual life God chooses to try our patience first of all by His slowness. He is slow: we are swift and precipitate. It is because we are but for a time, and He has been for eternity. Thus grace, for the most part, acts slowly. He works little by little. Sweetly and strongly He compasses His ends, but with a slowness which tires our faith because it is so great a mystery. We must fasten upon this attribute of God in our growth in holiness. There is something greatly overawing in the extreme slowness of God. Let it overshadow our souls, but let it not disquiet them. We must wait for God, long, meekly, in the wind and wet, in the thunder and the lightning, in the cold and the dark. Wait, and He will come. He never comes to those who do not wait. He does not go their road. When He comes, go with Him, but go slowly, fall a little behind; when he quickens His pace, be sure of it, before you quicken yours. But when He slackens, slacken at once: and do not be slow only, but silent, very silent, for He is God.” -Fredrick Faber

    http://www.joniandfriends.org/blog/slowness-god/

  5. @Maureen, wow, you’re certainly going to be busy once you bring your boys home! That’s wonderful. I hope you’ll keep me posted on your progress.

    @Laura, that is a beautiful quote full of deep and encouraging truths. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Thanks for your words of encouragement in this post – it’s so nice to be able to read this and know you and others we traveled with feel the exact same way. I completely relate when I check my email first thing and hear nothing. Praying it will be soon for you & all of us. I get really sad too thinking about the time lost , I try to remember it’s small in comparison to what we gain, but it’s still sad just the same. Hope you can have a good weekend regardless!

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