When God Grabs Hold (Part 2)

Friday, April 14, 2017



Hello All! If you missed Part 1 of this story you can catch up here.

I like to read, I don't have time to read. But I do like it, and I love books. I especially like the way new books smell. Don't you love the way new books smell??  One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2017 was to read eight books. I realize to some people this is not much of a goal. But for me....it's proving to be difficult. I chose eight because I wanted to read four fiction novels and four non fiction books.

It's April. I've read half of ONE book. đŸ˜”Pathetic. I know.

I say all this because I have a habit of starting books and never finishing them. Can I get an Amen?! AH! Terrible, I know! One book I had started MONTHS before I attended the Women's Retreat in April of 2016 was 7 by Jen Hatmaker. Great book!! I loved the book. 80% of the book I have underlined and hoped to commit to memory. But for some darn reason I could not for the life of me finish the last two chapters of that book. I started strategically placing the book in various locations of the house so I'd pick it up and finish it. On the bedside table, in the living room...two chapters was all I lacked!

source

I even took the book with me to the Women's Retreat just in case I had "time." Ha! What's funny is that after that last day. After our last session together on prayer, and after I had felt God's presence so heavily, I finished the book two days later.

Perfect as always, is God's timing.

Towards the end of her book 7, Jen Hatmaker describes a  moment when she is feeling particularly sad for her future adoptive Ethiopian children. She didn't know why, but she couldn't quit crying. After sharing her pain, a friend offered some advice, "God is prompting you to pray for your children for some reason. You don't know them yet, but he knows they are yours. Intercede for them this week; then write these dates down. Once you receive your referral, check their paperwork, and you might discover divine timing."

So Jen and her husband blindly and fiercely prayed for their future children that week. Three weeks later, the much anticipated refferal call came followed by the information on the children. Jen searched the information on their new children and came across a date, keeping in mind the week she was so burdened with sadness...

It was the same week her new 5yr old daughter had been brought to the orphanage.

Writing this now, a lump forms in my throat. God's timing. I now can go back to so many moments that led up to this moment, and see the connection, and see the work God was doing so quietly behind the scenes.

About the time I finished reading this book one of my younger sisters and I had begun talking about adoption and foster care.

After finishing 7 and reading part of the book over the phone to my sister Amanda, I told her, "I'm not sure foster care is for my family, but I am starting to feel like God may be pointing us to adoption." In tears we both began to put pieces together, discovering how God had been revealing a passion in both of us for children in need.

I've already shared with you that up until this point Mike and I had been comfortable with the idea that we were done having children. This now made me so nervous to tell Mike what I had felt God had put in my heart.

One day, we were all together in the van, and had just pulled up to a park to attend soccer practice for both Bode and William. We were there a little early, and since Mike and I were catching each other up on our days we stayed in the van chatting. Mike knew about the women's retreat, and he knew about the unknown calling God had placed in my heart, he was even praying with me and for me as we patiently waited for God to reveal the next step. But I was so nervous to tell him that I felt like God was maybe placing a burden in my heart for adoption. What would he say? What would he think? Will he trust that this is God's plan and not mine? But I could feel that little voice telling me to be brave and honest. So I did.

His response was so low key and perfect. "Well, we'll just have to pray about it and see where this goes."

Ya'll may not fully understand how much I love this man, he truly is my perfect gift from God. My heart overflows for Mike. If I'm being truly honest, there are times I struggle to make God my number one over my husband, my devotion to him is as such.

As time went on I began to fill my free time with podcasts, articles, blogs and books on the subject of adoption and foster care. My sister Amanda and I spent hours upon hours on the phone talking about it until we were blue in the face. With out warning, my desire to foster began to grow into a full fledged passion. It was all I could talk about, think about, and talk about...and think about.

Soon Mike and I's conversations began to revolve around God's heart for the orphaned.  I knew that this was a huge change for our family, but I also had a peace about it. I knew there was no need to push my husband to be on board, nor would it be beneficial. But I also knew that God would not put a desire that fierce into my heart and not bring Mike's heart on board. I trusted God and his timing.

Until Mike was on board, I decided God was prompting me to use my passion to tell others about the plight of the orphaned, and how there are so many ways to help, not all of them being adoption or foster care. So with the help of my amazing friends and church family, we hosted a Garage Sale for Orphans. It was a great success and we were not only able to share God's heart with others but use all the proceeds to benefit an orphanage in Haiti. My heart was soaring!




Then I asked my church if we could join others in celebrating Orphan Sunday in November, where believers all over the world would together celebrate the fact that our truly amazing Heavenly Father loved us first, and that he has asked us to share that love with others, especially the widows and the orphans. 

James 1:27 tells us, "Religion that is pure and faultless according to God our Father is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world."



It was a beautiful service, and a beautiful way to celebrate God's love and share with his people that he is calling us into action! I don't believe that we are all called to do the same thing, but I do strongly believe that we are all called to do something.  We are all called to use our gifts and talents to show others God's love.

Helen Keller said,

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

It was sometime just before Orphan Sunday that I bashfully, delicately, and hopefully asked my husband, "So, there is a free informational meeting about foster care at the CYFD office, do you think you'd want to go and see what it's about? Ask some questions?"

"Sure!"

1 comment

  1. Beautifully written Stefani and love your passion for Christ and for those little ones in need!

    Love you
    Poppi

    ReplyDelete

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