Sunday, September 28, 2008

To Remember September

I love September. This ninth month promises some our first few grab-a-sweater mornings. I also get to celebrate my birthday although I am about ready to start skipping those altogether. And thanks to my family of origin, I always look forward to college football—namely the Georgia Bulldogs. (My family had absolutely nothing to do with the Bulldogs- just the football part.) However, my greatest affection for this month goes much deeper than any temperature or football game. After 6 years of living through the roller coaster of infertility, it was in the month of September that God began allowing us to see how He would put our family together. It was September when we found out about a young girl who was making the selfless choice of placing the baby she was carrying with two hopeful parents and we began praying that would be us. It was September when I first met the precious young lady who would give birth to our son. Each year as I turn the calendar pages over to this particular month, I can’t help but remember God’s faithfulness to me as a twenty something year old who had a deep desire to be a Mom. In September, I was living in hopeful days.

By that first September (2001), we had already been matched with a birthmother who a few weeks later changed her mind. I was forced, again, to look hard at what the Lord had been teaching me over the past few years. It seemed during this time all my Bible studies and any speaker I got to hear seemed to be challenging me in what I believed about God- not if I believed IN HIM but if I believed HIM. Did I truly believe His Word and what it said to me? Did I believe that He really loved me- not just the world but ME and that He was good? I also had personalized a Psalm a few years back on one of my favorite things in the world—an index card. It was based on the psalm that every other line is “but His love endures forever” so I wrote this: “We may never have close friends, but His love endures forever. We may never be financially comfortable, but His love endures forever. We may never have a great church, but His love endures forever. We may never have children, but His love endures forever.” Granted, I didn’t like writing this or reading this on occasion but there was a comfort to me knowing that experiencing His enduring love for the rest of my days was the worst thing that could happen. If I could just rest in it, I would be completely satisfied- children or not. Not forgetting this and not stepping off of the foundation of “God is good” was monumental for me.

September brought exciting phone calls from the adoption agency, the first information about the girl that would place her most precious treasure with us, mine and Jeff’s conversations of wonder, dreams, and hope, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of protection for our potential child we had just found out about, and the anticipation of meeting the birthmother and her family. Of course, with that, came lots of questions, swarms of butterflies, a myriad of specific requests of the Lord, the discipline of handing our anxieties back over to Him—again and again and again, the disarming feeling of being out of control and the soothing, life giving balm of His Word. Things like Job 2:10, “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” 2 Chronicles 7:3, “He is GOOD and His love endures forever.” Psalm 31:19, “How great is your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in You.” And Psalm 31:1, “Lord, I trust in You alone. You are the God who always does what is right.” No nervousness we felt could stand up to that. We truly did not want to miss Him or anything He had for us in this journey. We continued to ask Him for whatever that was.

Our sweet Julia came four months later. Parenthood washed over us in a most refreshing way. We felt His favor, His hand. Years of waiting. Years of wondering. Years of seeking the Lord for ONE desire. And He chose to fulfill it.

Two Septembers later (2003): After a couple of long phone conversations, Jeff and I made a trip to Austin to meet the remarkable young lady who would become Brighton’s birthmother. I was giddy with excitement and nauseous with nervousness. Jeff had been praying for a son and so that September, God, again, began showing us how He would graft in the next little branch on our family tree. I enjoyed many visits with this strong and kind young lady who fast became a friend. She was refreshingly honest and completely interesting and I felt I could trust her decision regarding this huge matter of our hearts. (Hers and ours) But again, our faith had to be in the One who knits families together and the One we had found to be good and trustworthy all the years we had known Him. Thoughts and emotions played out much the same as two years before. We began asking the Lord for some of the same things regarding Brighton’s birth and adoption. Looking back, I truly did “ask for the moon”. I guess when you are desperate for Him to come through for you, you ask for anything. I was, so I did.

Only one month later, we welcomed Brighton into our family-- a good 3 weeks earlier than we expected. In His kindness, God took almost a whole month off of the excruciating wait. We had a son and our 21 month old, Julia, had a much anticipated “Baby Brother Brighton”.

I love September. I love remembering God’s goodness and His faithfulness to our family. I can say without any hesitation whatsoever that the Lord granted us our every request in regards to both births and both adoptions. He even threw in some pretty amazing extras. He didn’t have to and what if he didn’t? What if He didn’t say “yes” to any of our requests? Well, here is my prayer-- that whatever wonderful or horrific thing I come to experience in my life that it would be filtered through my limited knowledge of His vast love for me and His goodness—to remember two wonderful, hopeful, unparalleled Septembers. There is a quote I found that I had written down sometime during those six years of waiting and it says, “Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life WITHOUT DAMAGING OUR VIEW OF GOD’S CHARACTER, we do not yet know Him.” Years later, it still makes me say, “Whoa”. I want to know Him whether it is “September” or not. When life is “deep and dark” I don’t want my view of Him to be damaged. I truly feel if we don’t fully believe that our God is good, we don’t have much. Eventually, because life is life, our faith will be hit hard and the world won’t see that we as Christians are any different.

Let’s choose to believe what His Word says to us—that He loves us like no other and that everything He does is good.


Anonymous said...

I didn't know I liked Sept until I read that. We were truly blessed with the news about both of them. I love them so much and miss em terribly. squeeze em ...bsd

Alyssa said...

I love how you chronicle God's faithfulness in your life and the life of your family. J & B are beautiful grace gifts!

TJ Wilson said...

Making me cry... again.
What a legacy these stories are for J&B. I can almost hear you telling the story as I read it - great writing. Love that last quote you put in.

Sarah Wolfe said...

I just love the Sanders and how God put together your sweet family!