Eight Years Ago...

The following verse sprung forth out of the inner recesses my heart and collided with this gracious truth regarding the providential mercies of our Creator:

"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

My heart was in pursuit of entering motherhood with one, maybe two children.  But God...(one of my favorite transitions throughout scripture)... revealed:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

On April 8, 2009, we sat in a Ukrainian government office petitioning to adopt one to two children between the ages of 0 to 4.  Forty-five minutes into our one hour meeting they laid these pictures before us and posed the question,

"Would you consider four?"

Two days later we sat in the orphanage director's office in Zaporizhia, Ukraine and these four walked in while holding hands.  It is a moment I will treasure all the days of my life.  After forty days in Ukraine, having packed for one or two children under age 4, we flew home with our four children ages 4, 6, 7 and 9. 

Fast forward through the difficulties, challenges, moments of great joy and great heartache to that day when this little guy officially became a Merida...

"Would you consider one more?  There is one more seat in the minivan you know." :)

On June 24, 2010 the Ethiopian courts ruled in favor of our petition to adopt Eyasu.   Two months later we were finally able to travel to bring our youngest child (age 5) home.  

Zero to four overnight while adding a fifth just fifteen months later.  Those were not the plans of my heart.  Nope.  But I am incredibly humbled and grateful for God entrusting me with this stewardship.   It is incredibly difficult at times.  It is also so much fun!  It is simply far bigger than me and beyond my control or ability.  In fact,  the reality is that it was never about me and that's encouraging news.  For I am weak, sinful, prideful, broken, selfish, incompetent, bent towards rebellion, prone to wander...

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved ... by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-10

Today, I am reflecting on the gracious gift of God that began to unfold those eight years or so ago.  I am reflecting on that Easter we spent in Ukraine walking through our adoption process... I am reflecting on that first Easter we spent together in 2011 sharing American, Ukrainian, and Ethiopian traditions... But more importantly, I am reflecting on another Easter Day, on another adoption process,  on a glorious day:

"when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba!  Father!"  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." 
Galatians 4:4-7

Kristos Voskres!  Voistinu voskres!

Kristos tenestwal!  Bergit tenestwal!

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!


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