Monthly Archives: August 2008

An uncommon way to glory

(Edited on August 14: We posted two blogs on the same day to break up the reading some and because they were sort of different in focus. One is more of an update on the new situation. The other is some thoughts Aaron had on it. This post was actually written second, so If you want to see all the latest in the right order read the post right before this one, then this one. Thanks.)

There is a theme running all the way through Hebrews of endurance. The writer keeps encouraging them to endure and not to give up. With all that would have been going on around them with opposition (past, present, and future) and struggles it would have been tempting to either just give up or to turn back to the old law. Hebrews encourages them to endure, even when it is hard and not getting any better. 

There are several passages that emerge with this theme, and it sort of climaxes in Chapter 12, but one passage that is a little more obscure, but is so powerful is chapter 10, verse 23. It says, “hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Those are incredibly encouraging, motivating, and challenging words for me.

It is so motivating to press on through difficulty, especially when the focus and purpose of the struggle is for something that is based on the gospel, which is how we see our adoption. But it’s also challenging. I don’t just endure because of prideful wanting to finish something or to preserve character. In fact, those things are lifeless and drain me about as much as anything because when I am motivated by them I get bitter, angry, frustrated, scared, and just not pleasant. They are all man-centered ways of thinking, and they don’t have anything to do with hope.

But this says to hold on to the confession of our hope. So the motivation is purely out of hope, which is what our confession is based in. But a lot of the time, my confession is not in hope. I am self-reliant, selfish, self-centered, and any other self-exalting word you can think of. My confession, spoken or not, is in myself and what I can and feel like doing. It has nothing to do with hope.

But God-centered, gospel-centered, gospel-glorifying endurance is always based in hope. Our confession is in hope that springs out of the grace that God has lavished on us in his kindness to us in Jesus. And he is faithful. He never changes. Our perspective changes, and our expectations from him change, but it is only us who change. He has never changed.

And so while endurance is really not much fun and wears me out, even brings out the very human side of me in anger, grief, distrust, self-righteousness and 100 other things, it is incredibly good for me and is in some ways a privilege. Because when I endure the right way, it screams of the gospel. It screams of grace and of Jesus. And that is really why we started in the first place.

Thank you for walking with us. We love you.

Aaron


The latest, like it or not

These pictures are from our recent trip to the beach and our victorious encounter with Eduard, the tropical storm. It was a good trip, although we did get some unsettling news that has had our heads spinning since.

We got an email from our agency saying that they will no longer be processing adoptions due to a series of things that have not worked out in their favor. It was shocking to us to hear, but it’s funny, we were really calm and not all that rattled through it. We really think that all the seasoning we have had from so many setbacks and hiccups along the way has prepared us for this, the biggest one of all so far. It is really a statement about God’s grace in things we don’t even understand.

Since then we have been trying to figure out what to do and where to go from here. They did tell us that they would work to move their families to other agencies or people who could process us, and we have gotten word from them of some things they are trying to make happen. They recently started using a lady in Washington to help push some things through, and she has still been working on our behalf.

The other good thing about our situation is that our dossier was already submitted to the embassy. We don’t know exactly how everything will come out, but if it was not already submitted we would have a delay right now while we are figuring out who we are going to move forward with. In our case, they are still working on it.

In addition to the things our agency says they are doing we have been talking with another agency. This is one that is very reputable and that we wanted to go with from the beginning. If things do work out for us to wind up with them, I think it will be a blessing to be back with them. Right now we are trying to figure out how all the money stuff will work out with a new agency and with our old one, how this affects our timing, and other such things.

We have also heard since all this broke that some of our documents are too old and that we may have to redo a few of them, so we are trying to figure all this out. That’s why our heads have been spinning. It seems like in the last month or few weeks it has just been one curveball after another and it’s hard to process it all and know where to go from here.

Through it all we have had some hard times and hard days, but we have never been more sure that God is doing something very real and very big. He is so much bigger than us. His ways are not our ways. People keep commenting on how we must have asked God to teach us to be patient. I can’t remember if we did or not, but if we needed it, he probably knew without us asking.

And this has all been a huge chance to learn to rest in the wonderful grace of Jesus. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t fun, but it just seems so “real life.” It isn’t superficial, easy stuff that really doesn’t matter for much. These days and this season has far-reaching implications for us, for some child out there, for the gospel in our lives and those whose lives we influence, in our church, and in our families. It’s huge.

And it’s hard. And it’s uncertain. And it’s scary at times. I feel taken advantage of at times. I feel offended sometimes. I feel bitter sometimes. I feel angry and frustrated sometimes. And I also feel extremely humbled sometimes. I feel broken and dependent. I feel life flowing through me. I feel grace. I treasure my wife, and she better treasure all this. These days are tough days, but they are very rich days. I sort of long for them to be over, but they are refining. 

So that’s the latest. Sorry things have been sporadic at best. All this makes it hard to just sit and type sometimes. But we want to keep everyone who cares to be updated updated. Thank you for walking with us.


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