Stop rushing the crushing.

We’re at a year since we received the phone call asking if we would come and adopt a baby at birth from a young woman who believed she could not care for the baby herself, for a plethora of very serious and real reasons that I won’t disclose on my blog.

One. Year.

I don’t know how that much time has passed since we began that journey.

I remember everything about that day. I rushed home from the store, that I no longer own, to my family who was working on a truck that we no longer have, and told them about a baby that never did come home with us.

Nothing was as it seemed. Nothing is the same.

We stopped right there and prayed as a family in our garage. We heard an overwhelming yes resound in each of our five hearts.

For the next 6 weeks all we did was prepare for baby and worked and prayed to have the large amount of money we suddenly needed to do this. IMG_7951 (1)

Many of you, our friends, donated Aeroplan miles that you worked years to accumulate in order to help us get our flights. I have cried so many tears over the trips you wouldn’t get to go on after I came home empty armed.

I have heard some harsh comments like “Well, you should never get attached until it’s final”, to the most compassionate words, like from the stranger in the Toronto airport who grieved with me in a Starbucks line up.

And oh, how I hoped the Lord would rescue my broken heart. We tried to start the foster care journey soon after, but we were encouraged by the person who did our interview to wait until some more healing from the loss had occurred. Even they could see our gaping wounds.

We received more calls from moms wanting us to come and adopt their baby at birth for their own plethora of serious reasons, and promise through tears that they wouldn’t back out if we came, and we had to say no because we had nothing left from the first try.

And my heart broke deeper. The paradox of so many babies needing to be adopted and we just happened to invest in the one who didn’t need us was overwhelming.

It was one of the most devastating seasons of my life, and yet God remained true to his words in Psalm 34:18:

“The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain.”

In the closeness, deeper healing came. At home, in the dead of winter, on a particularly hard day, the Lord asked if I saw our story as a failure or a success. IMG_1008

I said failure.

He said success.

It caught me off guard. Why was it a success, Lord?

He said,

Because of your yes, five things happened:

  1. A  beautiful, perfect baby girl was saved from being aborted.
  2. Another girl decided not to abort her baby and began seeking out a family.
  3. Your choice to love this baby that was not your own gave the mom the strength and courage she thought she didn’t have.
  4. You realized you are called to be a mom and fully able to bond with a baby that is not you did not birth.
  5. In the midst of their serious and real difficulties, they have a godly couple who prays for them regularly.

I was stunned and wrote it all down as quickly as I could. We succeeded.

That’s the amazing part about God, he doesn’t fail. Even when it looks like the plan has fallen apart, he can take the situation and produce a person who has been transformed by difficulty and is stronger against the enemy than ever before!

For he alone is my safe place. His wrap-around presence always protects me as my champion defender. There’s no risk of failure with God! So why would I let worry paralyze me, even when troubles multiply around me?

Psalm 62:6

Because I was crushed by pain, a few more things happened.

  1. I recommitted to being the best mom I could be for the three God entrusted to me and I got serious about my job “raising arrows”. I began praying strategically for them and actually seeking God for the anointing to mother the way he was asking me to.
  2. I dug my roots into Jesus. And he didn’t leave me hanging. He overwhelmed me with his love and exploded His revelation over my life.
  3. I have been able to walk through other painful situations with confidence that when it doesn’t make sense, I know he’s writing a beautiful story.
  4. I am currently smashing boxes that I have put God in and removing the limitations that I have placed on certain areas because for the first time I really do believe that HIS plan, is the best plan. ,
  5. I have laid down all my timelines. Every. Single. One. You know what? I was proud that I was going to have had three kids and adopted one before I turned 30. God needed to remove that pride out of my life. This life is not a race. It is a long journey with a daily choice to say yes to God, or no. And there is no age when I stop saying yes. So timelines, you can go! God has my yes everyday until I die! IMG_8420

The other morning Andrew and I sat talking with hushed voices in the living room trying not to wake the kids. We were discussing housing in our next season. We admitted that we don’t know what it’s going to look like financially for us moving from a lower cost market and trying to get into a higher cost one.

My husband looked at me with absolute confidence and said:

I believe God has something good for us, but even if it’s really hard and we can’t afford much right away, I know, because of everything we walked through with the adoption, that he will be shaping something deep within us that can never be stolen.

Cue all the tears from this proud wife. 

I think we are starting to experience, just a tiny bit, what James is talking about when he writes:

My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.

James 1:2-3

If you are in a place of crushing, don’t rush through it. Don’t opt for the quick fix. This is one time you want to take the long way. Allow God to work deep in your heart and you will come out the other side and not even recognize who you are.

Almost every single desire in my heart is different than it was a year ago today. My priorities are different. My faith is stronger. My marriage is better. My kids are more compassionate. We couldn’t see those things forming in the moment, but suddenly we can see it. And it’s because of heart ache. Because of sorrow. Because of a deep crushing in my life. Because of incredible difficulties, some I’ve shared, some I haven’t.

If giving your yes to God ends up in something that looks like a failed mess, don’t file it away as such. Ask God how he sees it. You just might be surprised at what a radical success it was in his eyes.IMG_2185

If you are facing a season of great difficulty, I hope and pray that the tide changes and your circumstances improve quickly. But more than anything, I pray that God would finish the deep work he’s started in you. That you would wake up one day and suddenly see how the pressure and challenge has transformed you into a warrior with the power to endure!

I pray you would see a great harvest of joy and salvation from every tear you’ve cried and every step you’ve continued making because you didn’t give up. (Galatians 6:9, Psalm 126:5)

Trust me, you can trust him. He is that good.

Love,

Monica

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Because you can’t write a book about saying a brave yes, and then not have to say one!

I think sometimes God tests the words I say, just to really make sure I believe them. It was almost no surprise to me that we were led into making one of the biggest decisions of our lives on the day the first five hundred copies of my book, A Brave Yes, arrived at our door.

Yesterday we told our church that we are resigning and moving to Aylmer, Ontario this fall to continue on in the next phase of what God has for us in our ministry.IMG_5037

This has been so difficult. We absolutely have loved our time in Kipling. We brought our youngest home from the hospital here and it’s the only place we’ve known as a family of five. Andrew and I received our ordination in this church, we stepped out and tried so many new things, our family has been close by, we’ve made dear friends that we do life with and have felt the Holy Spirit moving more than ever. It’s been so good.

And at the same time, this has been so simple because when God calls, you answer. That’s what a brave yes is. It’s a predetermined commitment to say yes to God, every single day, no matter what he asks. 

Hard, but simple.

I remember as a teenager wrestling with what the call of God was on my life. I knew he had big things and I wondered if I was called to missions overseas. Over and over he clearly confirmed a call to the nation of Canada. Last summer while we were in Nunavut, I felt that call expand across imaginary borders I had placed around what that could look like. Canada is on the heart of God, and he will move his people were he needs to in order to get his message of love, hope and grace out from sea to sea.

And at the same time this little church on the prairies has my heart, and I know that God is not done, he is simply just beginning with them. And though we won’t be here with them, we know greater things are yet to come. Every word spoken over that group of believers will come to pass. The Lord will finish what HE started.

I feel the Holy Spirit reminding me of the words that Caleb and Joshua spoke when the twelve spies came back from scoping out the land that God had promised them. The others only saw the giants and the impossibilities but Caleb and Joshua said with great faith:

 “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.  (Numbers 14:7 – 8, NLT)

I believe this next season is going to be wonderful, and as the NIV says, it will be “exceedingly good”. Not just for our family, but for the church we leave behind, for the church we get to embrace and for whatever YES you are saying right now.

I have so much more to share about this journey, how my kids are processing it, the wonderful people we will get to work alongside and what we are believing for, and I will in the future, but I think that’s all for now.

Just know this: I’m right here on this brave yes journey with you. My heart feels raw today and we’re holding on to all the biblical promises I wrote about in my book that when we say yes, God does the rest. He is writing a beautiful story. We can trust God.

Love,

Monica

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A Brave Yes is AVAILABLE!

I have neglected my poor website and fell into just posting on my social media pages! In case you missed it, my book is OUT! You can buy your own copy of A BRAVE YES for $12, or $16.10 in total if you want it shipped anywhere in Canada! You can email abraveyes@gmail.com to order yours!

A Brave Yes photoI have been so encouraged by the notes and messages I’ve received so far about how the book is impacting lives. Keep sharing your thoughts and feedback! It means SO much to me!

 

Love,

Monica