I'm still at a loss for words. I'm trying to find them, though - because I want to remember this week. I want to remember this time of provision in those moments where it seems we've been forgotten.
On Tuesday, Russ & I had our phone orientation with Gladney. There wasn't anything that surprised me about the Ethiopian adoption program except two things:
the wait for our child could be up to two years
effective midnight the program fee would increase...unless we put in the 300 dollars for the application fee. We would then officially be on track for approval with Gladney - and unofficially part of the program.
I knew before there would most likely be some parts of the conversation that overwhelmed me. But two years? Waiting five months...after we've been matched with a child...to even hold him/her in our arms? My heart struggled with this - but - essentially, I know God's timing is perfect. I know the wait is part of the process - both in refinement and in Him leading us to the child He set aside for us before we were even a whisper of creation.
And the money...well. It just wasn't going to happen. I remember hearing the about the increase and stopping to process what this could mean in the future, but I knew God would provide. He led us this far. He could provide for that increase.
I think I thought for .2 seconds that He could possibly provide the money that night.
I mean, there were playful conversations between Russ & I where he mentioned me campaigning on twitter or writing a blog post about our need. But that would equate to officially announcing our adoption before we even mentioned it to family. Not gonna happen.
Then there were those brief thoughts of bargaining - where I haphazardly threw up the last minute prayers of "if we get this money tonight & sell our table...I'll give that money to something big. Something necessary."
And then Russ actually posted on twitter. Saying something vague about needing 300 bucks before midnight in order to save money later. No mention of our adoption. We both giggled. Who would answer that question?!
So we got ready and left for missional community. And this is where I stop and give you a side-story.
Russ & I don't do well with small groups. We've had hurtful experiences in them and have attempted to start our own about three times. All failed. Even though we absolutely love the church we're at now, and the friends we've made create this incredible community we've never had, my heart still tucks itself in a little corner and hides every time we approach small groups. Even talking about them makes me get nervous.
So. Going to this missional community in the midst of an emotional time for us as a couple was, to me, a nightmare waiting to happen. I just knew I'd start crying in front of these people [who we knew, by the way] and then I'd be looked at as weak and well...not enough.
Hello, approval idol. How ya' doin.
We got to their house and ate dinner. Everything was going fine. We split into men/women groups and started talking accountability. Knowing we probably should be as authentic as possible [even though I was totally a coward in doing so] I texted Russ & asked if he wanted to share about our adoption.
We decided to go ahead and share.
And so in a completely skeletal version - minus as much emotion as I could quench, I highlighted our past month. The provisions, the spiritual attacks, the faith required, the disappointments...
the call we had with Gladney just minutes before coming over.
I told them about the 300 dollars needed before midnight. About how Russ & I both knew it wasn't going to happen and we didn't see it as defeat, because we knew somehow God would provide the extra funds later. I even admitted I bargained with God less than an hour before and mentioned how I knew this was totally unhealthy and how convicted I felt after praying that prayer... And then I closed out my story [without tears!] by saying:
"But, really...we know God will provide. It's happened before, it'll happen again. We know this. We know His timing is perfect."
As those words came out of my mouth, Russ texted me saying that someone on twitter said she'd give us 150 dollars if we could find the other half.
I stared at my screen. I paused. I told the girls.
And then everything happened at breakneck speed.
One of the girls got up off the couch and walked outside. I was too busy texting Russ and getting details to pay attention to what was going on in the room. Coming back inside, she asked the other girl if she had cash.
"No. Not on me."
I looked up then, because I could feel their eyes on me.
"Elora, David & I want to give you guys the remaining 150 dollars."
I couldn't speak. For a brief second I felt tears inching their way to the front of my eyes, but I blinked them away. I think I managed an "are you serious?!" because I remember her laughing and saying, "yes. Absolutely."
And then I gave her a hug.
And then I ran next door to get Russ.
And then we came home to pay the fee.
And then I received a call from the missional community where they gave me their credit card number so Russ & I wouldn't have to worry about more debt.
"Just pay us the 150 dollars when you get the check from the other girl," they said.
We were able to pay the fee three hours before the deadline - officially making it known to Gladney we're serious about joining the program and taking the next [big] step towards our child.
I went to bed that night completely humbled.
Russ & I experienced the generosity of others before. Last spring we were completely overwhelmed by the generosity of some friends we knew from twitter when they joined together and raised funds that directly matched what we needed to finish paying bills that month.
But this...this was just God showing off His thunder. I've heard stories before of how God's heart for the orphan is unmatched. How He will move heaven & earth [quite literally] to bring these kids home. I experienced our first taste of what this means Tuesday night.
And I am left breathless.