Sunday, March 17, 2013

An Irish Test of Faith

One year ago today, St. Patrick's Day 2012, prior to the corned beef and cabbage consumption...

    Ferrari, my brother & sister-in-law, and I huffed and puffed our way up Quartz Peak.  Our crazy 2500 foot climb was intense but SO worth it!  I am still not sure how they convinced me this hike was for beginners like me, because when I researched it later it was labeled... STRENUOUS.
I remember that day like it was yesterday, I even remember the clothes I was wearing.  I remember being able to talk to Ferrari about life and all that God had blessed us with.  We joked on the way up how with each twist and turn it looked like you were about to reach the top, but only to find you were another 10 minutes from the top.  We talked about how similar the hike seemed to our path leading to us becoming parents.  How when we would finally reach a good place- celebrating a positive pregnancy test or seeing our little one on an ultrasound, we would barely let out a sigh of relief... when we'd find ourselves benched on the sidelines, taking a water break and regrouping for the next quarter.
    So often, the end is in sight when God dramatically changes the path.  For us, that would be when God stopped our adoption process to give IVF a try, only to try it twice without a positive outcome.  Why on earth would He derail where we headed to give us more bad news?  The twists and turns in the path to parenthood seem to be never ending.  However, God was always there to supply a shady rock to sit on while we regrouped.
    See when we were on this hike a year ago, God had matched us with an amazing birth mother through our church; and we had just found out that we would be adopting her baby girl.  We felt on top of the world, exactly like when we finally reached Quartz Peak.  Atop this peak lies beautiful pure white stone, that sparkles under the warm Phoenix sun.  We sat atop the peak speechless and out of breath.  Taking in God's creation around us, and for the first time in a long time everything seemed PERFECT.  We were SO happy, and so excited to spend the next St. Patrick's Day with our beautiful daughter.
    I joked on our way down that this hike really would be the perfect representation of our battle towards parenthood and how it would make the perfect blog post.  Especially, how even on the way down there are twists and turns and times when you can see the finish but you have to go over every obstacle before you can finally say YOU DID IT!  At that point, Ferrari got very quiet, because he and I both knew he didn't want to be quoted in the blog... my hubby tends to be a man of few words when it comes to social media.
    Two days after our St. Patrick's Day hike, we would find out via ultrasound that the precious baby girl we were expecting in September had a pretty severe case of spina bifida.  Yet again, our world stopped.  Stunned doesn't quite explain what we felt, because in a way when you have been dealt the cards we have, you almost just expect SOMETHING to go wrong.  Just not this!
    We always knew adoption was risky.  We had been preparing our hearts just in case the birth parents decided to change their minds, or for if we miraculously conceived a biological child; but we hadn't really prepared for a diagnosis of this magnitude.  We spent two days praying and talking about what this would look like for our family, and ultimately decided this baby was not for us.  We were not the best family for her.
    I PROMISE you this is still THE hardest decision I have ever made in my life!  For once, a decision was in our hands, and we had to turn the opportunity to become her parents.  God had made it very clear to us that we were not equipped for this situation, yet another challenge He used to test our faith.

Have you ever wanted something so bad, that you ignore your gut feeling and make an impulse decision and later regret it?  I'm not talking about a hideous pair of shoes or ugly paint color in your bathroom.  I am talking about impulsively deciding which path to take in life, without prayerfully considering God's best for you.  If you are struggling with a decision, plead to God.  Cry out to Him, begging for guidance and for wisdom.  The Holy Spirit will reveal to you what you need to do.  Be open and willing to hear what He has to say; and no, His response probably won't be written in the newest US weekly magazine.  Open up the Bible and read His word.  This is most often THE hardest step for people, me included.
We are all on the mountain somewhere.  Some of us just beginning the hike up what might turn out to be a 2500 foot climb, others are exhausted taking a break half way to the top, a group are at the peak celebrating their hard work, while others have just made it to the bottom gearing up for the next hike.  Wherever you are, always remember the climb will make you stronger and more reliant on God.  Let Him guide you and the hike won't seem so lonely.