Reflections on our life and lessons in uganda
Lessons in the waiting.
Alright everyone. This is a blog I wrote back in February as we were waiting and begging for a court date. We did finally get the court order for JJ’s adoption, but as a result of corona, we are back to waiting. However, in a time when many, if not all of us, are stuck in waiting and fear I felt this was the right time to finally put these words and feelings out there. It's been over a year since I blogged, and I have nothing much I can say about that except what's written below.
It’s been impossible for me to blog until now. This last year has been probably the most stressful of my life. It’s not that we’ve really suffered or struggled, but every time I sat down to write I found that I had no words.
In part, I think it was too hard to put down on paper what was in my heart. Fear reigned in my life for the last year. I trusted that God would do what was good, but still fear trickled in. I think I was afraid that if I put my fears into words, I would somehow cause them to become more real.
Unless you are an adoptive/foster parent, I don’t think I can explain the sort of fear that haunts your every move knowing that at any moment someone could come and take your child away. JJ is our son as sure as anything I know, but with one word a judge could rule that we would never see him again. I pray that anyone who has never known that fear would never have to. It colored every memory with JJ. I’d be laughing and cuddling with my sweet boy on the couch, when suddenly I was cold with fear that today would be the day they came knocking. I dreamed of having him ripped from my arms in a court room as I screamed, kicked, and fought. Every cancelled court date was another drop further into the land of fear. As someone who tends to be high anxiety anyway, this was a feeling of drowning in fear.
I wrestled often with how to trust the Lord in the midst of fear that was never far away. Could I say I trusted God if fear still had its claws sunk into my heart? In the end I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that I tried. I prayed often ‘Lord, I believe, help my unbelief’. I worshipped through tears of terror each time the judge was not present. I pushed through on days where just feeding JJ breakfast felt like too monumental a task.
The fear of JJ being taken away was compounded by the fact that I knew it could happen and I would have no power to stop it. In the USA, I knew that if someone tried to take away JJ I would be able to go to court, plead my case, and hopefully get justice. But when the justice system around is full of corruption and bribery, you become unable to trust that justice will be done (by man). These months and months of waiting forced me to acknowledge that the only true justice comes from God. He is the judge with whom I can plead my case.
I struggled with prayer in these times. After the first court date fell through, and the next 5 soon after, I didn’t know how to make my requests known to God. I didn’t doubt that God was faithful and good, but I began to doubt that I was praying well. I have combed and dug through the Psalms trying to understand what it is to pray well, as David did. In the end I realized it was almost never about asking God to do things, but rather telling Him what was happening and how I felt about it. David rarely asks God for things in the Psalms, and when he does it is after he has poured out his heart to God. My prayers shifted from ‘Let the judge say yes’ and ‘let him just show up’ to raging at the Lord about the injustice surrounding us. I found that I wasn’t only angry and distressed for us, but for every person stuck waiting in this endless cycle of corruption and delays. We weren’t the only ones being denied justice by those with power. I found my heart being softened to those around me.
I had lived almost 2 years in a position of vulnerability and lack of power. Many of my friends have lived every day of their life in that position. I began to understand (at least in some measure) why the heart of God rages against injustice and taking advantage of the vulnerable. More than ever I have come to understand why it is an imperative of Scripture to care for the poor, the weak, the underprivileged, the abused, and the vulnerable. As our court dates were pushed and delayed and ignored, I began to feel a heart cry to God to save us and bring justice to be done. How much more so do those whose families have been murdered or attacked? Those who have lost everything to thieves? Those who have been forced from their homes due to greed? Some of those people waited beside us in the court every time, also praying for justice to come to pass. I’m so thankful that in this, the end result is that JJ will be with us. I can’t imagine being one of the ones who is forever waiting for justice that is not done on this earth.
If anything, this time of waiting has given me a clearer picture of my duty as a believer in Jesus. As someone who has power and privilege, education and influence, as someone who has been taught that I can do anything I set my mind to, it is my solemn responsibility to stand up for those who cannot. Two years of powerlessness in one area of my life was enough to drive me into a life filled with fear; I cannot begin to imagine how those whose whole lives have been stripped of dignity and safety must feel every day.
If we as believers in Jesus cannot share His heart to care for the downtrodden, those taken advantage of, those society rejects, can we even say we understand His mission? God’s heart cares for the orphan, the widow, the sojourner, the refugee, the abuse victim, the fearful, the slave… If waiting has taught me anything, it is that I have only begun to understand the depths of sorrow brought on by injustice and fear. It showed me that we have a God who walks with us in those times when it seems dark. We have a God who stands with us in the waiting. We have a God who sits with the brokenhearted and weeps with them. If we as followers of Jesus aren’t also doing those things, I think we have missed an essential part of the calling of God in Christ.