IN THE WAITING

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths."

Proverbs 3:5-6

A place to find encouragement when you're trying to trust God in the unknown. "In The Waiting" is the official blog of MyBabysFamily.com; a ministry that supports hopeful families seeking to grow through adoption.

 
 
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This is the final post in a five-part series, outlining this author’s personal adoption journey while adopting his son and attempting to adopt his daughter. The events took place over an 18 month period from June 2016 to January 2018.

In the end, it was no contest. Literally an uncontested adoption. I still marvel at that. In spite of the need for re-disclosure, God had already gone before us, and the battle was already won. All I had to do was trust His plan, and wait.


On January 5th, 2018 my legal status changed from stepfather to father. As part of the general judgment of adoption, I immediately became my son’s legal father. And then, later on, I received a birth certificate listing me as his father! I’ve stared at this document countless times and praised God for a miraculous outcome.


There are some moments that you will always remember. I remember when my daughter told me she was no longer afraid to die, and that Jesus told her not to be afraid. I can distinctly remember the moment my first-born son arrived in the world, and it felt like the whole axis of the world shifted and gravity suddenly had substance (and I nearly passed out). I remember when I promised my kids that their parents would never get a divorce. I remember the pain of that promise breaking and the helplessness I felt. And later when I remarried, I remember my wife walking down the aisle and I remember looking at her through blurry tear-filled eyes in near disbelief that God would have such an amazingly good redemption plan for my life.


At some point along the journey, I also realized something; no amount of worrying could change the process. It couldn’t change the timeline or the outcome. The only thing worry could change was me. It could change my role in how I parented, my stress level, and the sleep I didn’t get. It could invade my marriage as stress. It could invade my work life the same way. But I also realized that it could only do so through my own choice.


In the bible God tells us of the destructive power of anxiety and worry:


Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Luke 12:25 (NLT)

The reality is that worry can add nothing to your life, it can only steal precious moments. The only thing it can add is anxiety and stress.


In looking back over the 18-month journey I was floored by how God’s plan unfolded. I couldn't believe His timing, and the things He taught me during this time in my life. I learned to grieve with hope, to patiently lay my concerns and my troubles before God. I learned how to balance a blended family with weekly ins and outs. I learned the difference between my Heavenly father and the role I play as an earthly father. I learned what God means when He says that we are all adopted into His Kingdom.


And in this process, I re-learned the goodness of God. Some might look at my story and say, well of course you think God is good; you adopted your son. And that’s true, but that’s not why God is good. I grew closer and more dependent on Him. And alongside deep loss, I learned more about his eternal plan, more about the depths of His grace, and a greater understanding of my own identity and His plan for me.


There is a waiting place we all have access to if we choose to go there. And in that waiting place, we find hope and rest. We find a safe rock, unshakeable, and solid. We can rest here free from worry because we are inside protection so great that nothing can touch it. On this rock, we are protected from the troubles of this life and are given access to life eternal. On this rock sits victory, refuge, and honor. On this rock, we are untouchable from any enemy, seen or unseen. This rock is Jesus.


Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. Psalm 62:5-7 (NLT)

There are so many things I have learned along the way. And honestly, I’m not done learning. Because the reality is, my adoption journey didn’t stop when my legal status changed. It is just getting started.


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Happy Val-St-Fourth-Labor-Thanks Day! I mean, it’s 2020, so who knows what day it actually is. However, the crisp breeze, the changing leaves, and the onslaught of pumpkin spice everything tells me Thanksgiving is near. We are thinking about traditions past, and what we want to do in the future. Sometimes, the simple drawing on our memory can make our hearts jump for joy and equally burn with pain. We all have hopes and dreams both fulfilled and unfulfilled, and the holidays have a way of bringing sharp emotion to them all.


As we think about thankfulness, I’m not going to tell you to look around at all the things you have and make a list of the things you are thankful for - because let’s be honest, been there, done that. In as much as it can be a great gut check from time to time, it can also feel small and miss the mark. Instead, I’m going to ask you to make a list of the dreams and desires you have for the future. Why? Because Psalms 37:4 says:


“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Now to be clear, this verse is not saying that just because you want a boat, God is going to give you a boat. No, he is not a magic genie, and frankly, he owes us nothing. However, he is a super, fantastically amazingly good father and will always bring to completion what he starts. So, as we seek him out, and desire after him, our desires become what he wants for us, and therefore he gives us what we want. Follow me?


If you are pressing into his presence, reading his Word, and listening to his voice, and your heart has a burning desire to parent a child that has yet to be in your arms - sweet friend, that desire was put there by God and I can promise it will be fulfilled. The tricky part is we never know when or how it will be fulfilled. The worst thing we can do is put stipulations on God and hand him a timeline. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve done that in the past, it’s never worked out how I wanted it to. This has everything to do with God’s character and how well he knows me. He knows my heart - he created it. He knows my desires - he gave them to me. And he knows what’s best for me - even if I don’t understand it at the moment.


Listen to these examples - some more trivial than others:

  • Most recently, I had plans to take my family on a holiday trip, but due to pandemic and blended family drama, we had to put off my plans. I can be disappointed, or trust God has something different in mind this season.

  • Speaking of blended families, I would so love to be called by a family name by my step kids. I’ve raised our youngest since he was three, we have them 50% of their lives and, I daily do the same things their biological mom does for them. However, she has told them if they call me any family nickname, it is disrespectful to her. So for over 5 years now, my kids call me the same thing our mail lady calls me. It hurts me to be pushed aside and not included, especially when their mom’s boyfriend gets to be called dad. But God has a plan that is bigger than my title - bigger than my life for that matter. When I trust him, I find peace.

  • Peace. I learned how to have peace in the worst of times when my child died. It’s still hard to talk about it. She was sick and I prayed for her healing for years. And one summer day, just days before my birthday, God healed her by taking her home to Heaven. He answered my prayer, but not how I wanted him to. I was so confused and lost. I had dreams of her growing old and of being at her wedding… even now, I still cry to think of these dreams. Yet when I think of her life, I’m so thankful for all of the experiences she had. From going to prom (at the hospital) to a first kiss (from a sweet boy in her 1st grade class), to a graduation ceremony (from kindergarten). I’m so grateful God fit so much into our lives those 7 years we got to have her here with us.

  • I remember my high school graduation. I applied to UCLA and didn’t get in. I was rather angry as it was my dream to leave the state I lived in and start fresh all on my own. Not to mention I fit all the qualifications, had great references, and tons of extracurricular activities. So instead of getting away from the small-town life I had and heading back to a state I loved, I was going to college just a couple of hours from where I went to high school with many of my classmates. God had promised me I’d go to college and I’d love it so I continued to be angry because I did not love this college or my experiences there. However, as I waited on God’s timing and focused on God’s promises for my future, I learned of another college I had never heard of where I could major in a new interest of mine. I transferred and LOVED every minute I was there. I learned God has lots to do in my life, and checking off boxes of things I want when I want them, isn’t one of the things God focuses on.


These examples are specific and unique to me. But many of the lessons are for all of us.


  • Trust God has something good in mind for this season of your life.

  • Seek out His fulfillment

  • Trust God has a plan that is bigger than your life.

  • Discover His peace

  • Trust God is giving you experiences you didn’t know you needed today.

  • Experience His joy

  • Trust God’s timing is perfect, regardless of what you are waiting for.

  • Find His rest.


Keeping these lessons in mind, go back to your dreams and look at the list. Or if you haven’t made the list yet, do so now. Trust that as you seek after God he will either give you these desires in his own way and his own time because he is the one who gave them to you or he will shift them to line up with his best for you and give you peace and joy as he does this. Philippians 1:6 says:


“I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (‭TPT‬‬)

Sweet friends, be bold in your dreams today, and be confident in your God who will bring perfect completion of the amazing plan he has for your life. This is definitely something to be thankful for! So join me this year, as we all look forward to the promises God has given us, and give thanks for his blessings yet to come.


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  • Jimmy Bogroff


I recently had an opportunity to preach on the topic of disagreement. You may have found yourself in a disagreement recently, or maybe you’ve watched one on social media. And surprisingly you may have found yourself in a political disagreement with another Christian, or have watched a disagreement between two Christians (who you were pretty sure should be in agreement). While our common faith often drives us toward an agreement, unfortunately, we will not always agree with our Christian brothers and sisters. This is most evident in matters of the world like politics. Sometimes our disagreements can be so sharp that we find ourselves unable to remain friends.


Where Disagreements Are Born


There are so many issues that can cause us to disagree, are you pro-life/pro-choice, republican/democrat, gay/straight, and that's just a few. . there are so many more. None of these issues define our individual relationship with Jesus, but each has the potential to divide us and to become a source of conflict. And if our passion gets really big, we can make our political stance or our opinion an idol (something that we make more important than God).


As we deal with a divisive election and as we approach the holiday season there are a number of potential disagreements that could be added as fuel to the fire of relational conflict. There are issues, and candidates, and economic principles all of which carry a passion and all of which have the potential to create conflict and division with friends, family, and neighbors. It may be that we just want to hide under a rock until the whole thing blows over. Or lock ourselves in a room until the discussion has passed. But at some point, we are going to find that this just isn’t possible. It's also probably not very healthy.


Remember, God has designed us to be in community with each other. And so as a result we know that there will be times where we can expect conflict within our community. We can unknowingly or unwittingly be faced with losing a friend over a bitter disagreement.


So What Happens When Christians Disagree?


Who is right? Who is wrong? What if both are wrong! Could two people have heard from God, and still be in disagreement? It may seem odd to think so but they can. In fact, there’s a great example of this in the Bible in Acts 15.


Before we get to the conflict it is important to note that there were some remarkable things going on in the Book of Acts. Early followers of Jesus (who called themselves followers of the Way) gathered together frequently, sold their possessions, and brought their resources together for the use and benefit of the group, to serve others, and spent their time full of the Holy Spirit preaching the gospel of Jesus.


They made assignments for who would control the finances, and who would preach the gospel, and who would distribute provisions to the needy. There’s little record in this early church of conflict between themselves (though plenty of conflict with those who opposed their teachings), and you might think that everything was harmonious between them. You’d be wrong to think that though.


By the time we get to Acts 15 we find a conflict so sharp, that the parties will ultimately have to separate. A bitter disagreement would drive two Christian brothers apart.


36After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” 37Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. 38But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. 39Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. 40Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. 41Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.

Sometimes It Can Be The Person Closest To Us


The disagreement was surprisingly between Paul and Barnabas who had just spent years together visiting community after community, preaching and sharing the message of Jesus’ resurrection, watching individual after individual changing their eternity and making God famous to Jews and Gentiles. They performed and witnessed miracles together. They were the closest of brothers. The events of their lives were truly remarkable. Together they were driven from town upon town, arrested and beaten, impoverished and hungry and faced adversity after adversity. But they also inspired, led, taught and loved everywhere they went.


Paul and Barnabas were in agreement in their calling (using their God-given gifts to glorify God) and had as strong of a relationship as you could imagine. And upon returning home to Jerusalem they were invited to report on the shared success of their partnership and the miraculous works of the Holy Spirit. Everyone in the community of believers celebrated their partnership and their success.


Parting In Disagreement And Still Being in Agreement With God


As the two brothers made plans for their next adventure they quickly came to a disagreement over their friend, John Mark (author of Mark). Paul was upset at John Mark and didn't want him to participate in their next trip, whereas Barnabas wanted to include him on the trip. Paul preferred taking Silas and leaving John Mark behind. Barnabas wanted to give John Mark another chance. Paul worried about his commitment to the cause.


Their disagreement was so bitter and so sharp that they decided to part ways.


This would sever their relationship permanently. And this had the potential to divide a community of believers who looked to both men as leaders.


And yet both would go on to achieve great things for God’s Kingdom. Paul completed his missions and wrote countless testimonials and God-breathed Scripture. Barnabas returned home with John Mark to Cyprus and shared the amazing works he witnessed, and some believe he may be the author of Hebrews.


Even a bitter disagreement between them wouldn’t prevent them from being in agreement with God.


But what about the people around them. . .How did they react?


Instead of getting involved in a bitter conflict, they entrusted them both to the gracious care of the Lord. Because sometimes we’ll disagree with somebody else and we’ll have to depart their company (or unfriend them or unfollow them). But that doesn’t mean that God is against us both.


Sometimes others around us will be impacted by this disagreement. When that’s us we have a default reaction of wanting to choose sides. But just because we see a disagreement, it doesn’t mean that we have to participate in conflict. We can take this example from Paul and Barnabas’s friends, we can give this to God and trust that His grace will cover the disagreement. And we can pray for them and hope. And who knows maybe from that bitter disagreement, just like in the case of Paul and Barnabas, God’s love will still spread.


As you watch division around you, and as you prepare for this holiday season, don't let conflict spread. Take hope in God's grace. But if an unfortunate and unavoidable conflict finds you? Give it over to the gracious care of the Lord and pray for that person to be within Christ's will and care. And know that you are too.

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