Monday, May 21, 2012

Things I am Learning

The Lord, in His infinite wisdom, is using this whole season to teach me things that I, in my stubbornness, would probably miss in the midst of any other set of circumstances. Here are some things that our gracious God is teaching me.

1. I do not know everything. Shocking, right? I want so badly to believe that I have all of the answers and that I know exactly how everything will turn out. But the truth of the matter is that that is just not case. It is a hard lesson to learn, because I really do like to be the one with the answers. I see this in my life through my job. I am a teacher. I am the one with the plan, the one who is supposed to have all of the answers. But, if I am going to fully trust God with my whole life, with every little and big aspect of my life, then I have to step back, let go and trust that He, the One who actually does know everything, is working everything together for my good, and for the good of our child.

2. I have control issues. So much of this process is outside of our hands, and that makes me oh so nervous. We are doing everything that we can be doing right now, but I know the day will come when we have finished all of the work and the only thing left to do will be to wait. That is a scary thought! When I feel the panic rising over this, I have to remind myself that all of this, the whole thing, is under God's control. So while I might feel like we are at the mercy of a manmade system, the truth is that we are all at the mercy of the One who made man, and that is such a comforting truth.

3. I need to worry less and pray more. It is so easy to be consumed by worry as we walk through this journey. If for no other reason than the fact that it seems like there are a gazilion things that could go wrong. But on top of that is the worry about what our baby's life will be like in the months prior to us being able to bring him/her home, the concern over financing this adoption and then, once all of that is over, the fact that we are going to be parents and have no idea how to do that. AHHH! When I start to think like this, I have to stop myself and be reminded that each of these worries is an opportunity to pray. Worrying does not solve any of these problems; it only makes me feel worse. So instead, I need to work on spending that time and that energy focusing on God and asking Him to guide us through this.

4. God's timing in perfect. This one is hard. It is hard because I want so much to be a mom, and I want that now, not later. In the moments when I am really struggling with this, God gently asks me, "Baylor, can you point to a time when I have let you down?" My answer, of course, is, "No." When I look back at my life, even in just the five years that Adam and I have been married, I can see so many instances of God working in His perfect time so that our lives would be more beautiful. I'll give you an example. Adam was applying to PT school during our engagement, and he did not get accepted to any programs that first year. We were devastated. Questions rose to the surface. "Is this not what we were supposed to do? Did we misunderstand God's calling for Adam's career? How are we going to make this work?" Adam applied again the next year and got in to UAB (a school we did not apply to that first year). If he had been accepted elsewhere that first year, we would not be attending our current church, we would not have our wonderful and godly friends, we would not have our home ministry and we might not even be in the adoption process. So, you see, God's timing was perfect. It was not what we thought we wanted, and it was certainly not easy, but it was perfect. God knows the end from the beginning, and He knew exactly what He was doing when he delayed Adam's school by one year. So, I know I can trust God with this part of our life, too. I just need to work on making that my first inclination all the time.

So, as you can see, God has been quite busy working both in our lives and in my heart. I am hoping that He will use this process to sanctify me and transform me into the woman, wife and (someday soon) mother that He has created me to be. I am praying that He will continue to break me free from the things of this world, things that fill me with worry and doubt, things that take the focus off of Him and His glory. I know that I have such a long way to go, and I know that getting to where I need to be will be a battle, because I am a sinful person. But God is revealing to me that I can trust Him with this and with every part of my life.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2


Thursday, May 17, 2012

God Always Has More In Store

A lot has been going on these last few days. Life seems a bit crazier than usual anyway, as the end of another school year get closer and closer. I have been so busy at work, and Adam is coming into what will be his busiest season of the year, as well. So with all of that going on, add adoption madness to the mix, and you end up with two very busy Knotts!

I will start with the thing that feels like a big accomplishment. We have ALL of our interview dates set for our home study. Thank you, Lord! There is more to the home study than just the interviews, but I feel such a strong sense of relief at having everything on the calendar; it can be so hard to orchestrate schedules, so I feel like this is a huge step forward. We are still working on our homework, and we will be going to get our fingerprints done soon. 

On Tuesday night we had the wonderful opportunity to go back to our community group at Jim and Betty's house to talk about God's calling for adoption on our lives and share about some of the things we will have going on over the next several weeks regarding the adoption. I will be very honest here...we truly thought we were just going to visit and give a general synopsis of what God is doing in our lives through adoption and share how people could help. 

But the Lord (as usual) had bigger plans for us that night. We started off by sharing how God called us to adoption (read the whole story here) and then talked about our fundraising efforts for this summer with the yard sale and the t-shirts. After that, we asked if anyone had questions. This is where God really began to move. Through answering people's questions we were able to share so much about how the Lord has been working in our lives and changing our hearts. Talking about the journey we have been on over the last few years really opened my eyes to my true need to fully rely on God and His sovereignty. But the Lord did not stop there. 

Isaiah 55:10-11 tells us that, "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,  so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

We saw this evidenced on Tuesday night. As we were talking, I noticed a dear sister in Christ paying particular attention. Now, we are not gifted speakers, so I knew right away that the Lord was up to something. It was then that she asked us to talk about the time we spent waiting between our call to adopt and the actual beginning of the process. In doing this, she blessed (and challenged) me with the opportunity to share with the group, very honestly, about the trials and difficulties of waiting on the Lord's timing to start a family. You see, I thought I had a perfect plan for our future, but I was wrong. God is the one with the perfect plan; not me. That was a hard reality for me to face. And so, I was able to share this with our community group and explain that while waiting was SO hard, we are now beyond grateful that we are aligned with God's timing. We were able to stay a little while afterwards, and God blessed Adam and me with the chance to talk in greater detail with this dear sister and her husband, who are now in the position that we were in when we first received the call to adopt. They are in a season of waiting. It is a tough place to be, but it is easier when we know that we are not alone. We stayed and talked for a while, and I am looking forward to continuing our conversation soon. So how does this relate to Isaiah 55? While we were talking with the whole group, we were sharing scriptures that the Lord has brought before us throughout the various stages of this process (His Word went out), and as a result, He touched the lives of this sweet couple by encouraging them to continue walking the path He has laid out before them (not returning empty). Oh, how sweet it is to be a part of God's plan!  

We are coming up on a busy few months with interviews in June and the first week of July, the yard sale on June 23 and t-shirt sales ending June 9, plus seminars, homework, fingerprints and so on. We know it will be busy, but we are so excited about everything that is coming our way. Please pray that we will stay focused on whatever it is that God places in front of us. We appreciate your prayers and support so much! You are God's blessing to us during this crazy season! 

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans." Proverbs 16:3


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Reflections

I am always sad when Mother's Day rolls around and I am far away from my own precious mom. I miss her every day, but this day is always tough. And yet, while I miss her so much today, I am also so humbly grateful to God for the fact that I could call my mom today and wish her a happy Mother's Day. As most of you know, we had a scare earlier this year with my mom's health, and we thought we were going to lose her. But God, in His gracious sovereignty, healed her and brought her back to us. This is the single greatest miracle I have ever witnessed, and I every time I think about it, I am still absolutely blown away by God's incredible power.

So, Mom, this one is for you. 

Thank you for being the woman God created you to be. Thank you for being honest, for being compassionate, for being driven, for loving Christ, for spending your life for the sake of His kingdom. Thank you, Mom, for living according to the standards you taught me, for being an example, for showing me what it means to be a Godly woman and wife. Thank you for reminding me that God is enough, and that when the whole world seems to be falling down around me that I am still not alone, because the Lord is right there with me. Thank you for teaching me that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for every single aspect of my life, and that His plan might not look normal to the rest of the world and that that is a good thing. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and for showing me how to love and serve others in Jesus' name. Thank you for the guidance you have given me and for the guidance you will give me in the months and years ahead. Thank you for the things you will teach me about being a Godly mother when we finally bring our little one home. Thank you for being the most incredible woman I know.  

I love you, Mom. I love you more than I can possibly explain, and I am so grateful to God for saving you, for healing you. I think He knew that I still needed you here. There is still so much you have to teach me, and I cannot wait to learn. You truly are one of the greatest blessings that the Lord has ever given me. 

Mothers are such a sweet gift from God, and I cannot wait to be a part of this noble group of women who work so hard to shape the lives of children. 


Friday, May 11, 2012

Rolling Along

So things are rolling along! Yay! Today we received an email from the social worker who is doing our home study. Wahoo! We have our first interview scheduled and a list of things that need to be accomplished before we can set up our next round of interviews. We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we begin this phase of the journey. Our first interview will be on June 8 at our casa. That means that I will be in crazy cleaning mode for all of June 7-8. Lucky Adam!

After our initial interview, we will each be interviewed individually. Before our individual interviews, we must each complete our autobiographies. I have already checked that one off my list (because I am a total psycho), and Adam is diligently working on his. Following those will be two more joint interviews. For these, we must complete our education. This includes ten hours of online training for each of us (check, check!), an international adoption clinic seminar (no check), reading The Connected Child (one check) and the completion of a transracial exercise (no check). So, as you can see, we have quite a lot to do.

We are trying our very best to have all of our interviews done by the end of June. This means that we will have to have all of our education finished by mid-June, so please, please, please pray that God would grant us super-human energy and endurance to get all of this done. We will also be sending off our fingerprints to the FBI over the next couple of weeks. This makes me a bit nervous, because my foster care fingerprints were not readable, and we ended up having to do my background check a different way. I am really hoping that does not happen again.

So as of this afternoon, we have a more clearly defined list of to dos and a much clearer timetable, and that makes us very, very happy!

Today was a good lesson in trust and patience. As you may recall from our last post, I was feeling quite overwhelmed by this whole process. But, as He always does, God has taken care of me, and He has given me a small, and very manageable, set of tasks to do over the next several weeks. I am pretty sure He knew I needed something to focus my mind on. With the whole big picture out in front of me, it was almost like I did not know where to start. But now, I know what I need to be working on, and that will be HUGE in terms of maintaining my sanity and not driving my sweet husband completely crazy in the meantime.

It is so exciting to see things beginning to take shape, and with these interviews on the calendar, I feel like this is all really happening. As each day passes, we are getting closer and closer to meeting our sweet little angel. Please pray that we continue to rely on the Lord as we walk through this journey and that we will hear His voice as He guides our footsteps as we work to bring home our sweet, sweet baby.

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" Isaiah 30:21


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Crying Over Corn

So yesterday was one of those days where I started getting overwhelmed by everything that we are going to be doing over the next several months. I was thinking about fingerprints, dossiers, interviews, medical checks, criminal background checks, immigration clearances, home studies, autobiographies, yard sales, t-shirts, coffee, plane tickets, immunizations, required readings, online seminars, transracial exercises. Getting the picture? It was the kind of day that ended with me crying in the kitchen while cooking corn.

I want so badly to be a mom, and when I look at the list of "to dos" in front of me, I sometimes feel like that day will never get here. Thankfully, blessedly, the Lord saw fit to match me with the most wonderful man in the entire world for a husband. For all of my freaking-out-ness, he is full of calmness, and that is a blessing beyond measure. After a verrrrrry long hug next to the refrigerator, Adam reminded me that we are on the path that God has had laid out for us since the beginning of time, and that while it might seem, to us, that the paper work will never end and that our baby will forever be on the other side of the world, God already knows the exact date when we will bring our little angel home. He reassured me that we are doing everything we possibly can to get our little one home to us as soon as possible. And for now, that needs to be enough for me.

However, it is hard sometimes for that to be enough. I am a sinful person, and so I doubt and lose patience and question. I have to be reminded (on an embarrassingly regular basis) that God is enough, and His promise is enough. What is His promise? I am so glad you asked!

"That He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion in the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6.

You see, God is the One who began this good work in our lives. Adam and I are not adopting because we are amazing people-we are not. We are adopting because God placed this incredible calling on our lives. God created us and brought us together so that we could adopt this precious child. Our journey toward bringing our little angel home began long before we even met. God originated this "good work" in our lives, and for that reason, we can rest in the confidence that He will be the One who carries it through to completion. If I am completely honest, that promise lifts the weight of the world off of me. The final outcome of this adoption process does not rest on our shoulders; it rests on God's. And He already has it handled! (Insert sigh of relief and enormous smile.)

The beauty of that verse in Philippians is that it applies to all of the good works that God has started in our life and in your life. God has known the end from the beginning, so we can rest most assured that our lives are not outside of His control. Our impossible circumstances are a walk in the park for Him.

So what has been troubling you? What seems insurmountable to you? What has He called you to do that you feel ill-equipped for? Dear sweet friend, I encourage you to give it to the Lord. Let Him be the One who fights for you. I know it is easy to say these things, and that living them out is much more challenging. But the thing is, and I am relearning this truth every single day, we CAN do this. We can let Him do in our lives what brings the glory to Him. We just have to trust Him.

And so we are trying each and every day to lean on the Lord and give Him reign over our lives. We are trying to do what we can to work toward this beautiful calling God placed on our lives. And most of all, we are trying to let Him do the rest. It is not easy, and I am certain that tomorrow I will need to be reminded again, but I know beyond the shadow of any doubt that the Lord, the Almighty Creator of the universe, has us where He wants us and is in total control.

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14


Friday, May 4, 2012

Coffee Lover??

Are you a coffee lover?

Just Love Coffee is a coffee roasting company that was founded by a family who was trying to adopt and realized how incredibly expensive it can be. The company sells different varieties of coffee roasts, mugs and apparel, and then donates a portion of the proceeds to adopting families. Adoptive parents (like us!) can register their adoption on the Just Love Coffee website and create a storefront with the company. You can read more about the founding and purpose of the company here. What this family is doing is truly amazing. Not only are they supporting adoptive families here in the U.S.; they are also a Fair Trade company, so every single worker is paid fair wages for his/her hard work.

If you are a coffee drinker, please click on the Just Love Coffee box to the right of this post or just click here. You will be taken immediately to our storefront. From there, you can shop around and order different kinds of coffee from all over the place. Whenever you make a purchase from our storefront, we will receive roughly 30% of the sale to put toward our adoption. Thank you so much for supporting our efforts to bring our little one home forever.


P.S. We recommend the Ethiopian Harrar and the Ethiopian Sidamo...for very transparent reasons...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A God-Given Love

For the past few days I have had an overwhelming sense of love for our sweet little one. God has been filling my heart to overflowing with precious thoughts and feelings for our little angel. I have been praying for him/her and thinking almost constantly about the moment we will first see the sweet baby that God created for us to love. It is a crazy thing, because when I am having these thoughts or living out these future moments in my mind, I realize that our baby is probably not even born yet. We are in love with someone who does not yet exist. It is  bizarre feeling, but I am so, so grateful that God has given and is giving me these thoughts.

I was expressing this to a very dear friend of ours, Jim, the other day, and he said something that really hit home with me. He said, "Isn't that just how God loves us? We didn't do anything to earn it." And the more I think about it, the more I realize that he is 100% correct. God does not love me because I am a stellar person; He loves me because I am His child, His daughter. It is a beautiful thing, the love of God. And it doesn't make any sense.

Think about it. He created you and me, knowing that we would sin and fall short of His holiness. He went into Creation knowing that we would mess it up, but He created us anyway. And this is where it gets really good. God created us to redeem us. Jesus was not plan B; He was always plan A. God knew we would sin, and He planned from before "Let there be light" to provide His Son as a living sacrifice, that we might be reunited with Him and adopted as His own sons and daughters. What an amazing love!

And it is because of that great and unfathomable love that we are able to enter into the presence of God, that we are able to pray and speak to Him anytime we need to and that we will be able to spend all of eternity with Him. All we have to do is believe what He did for us and ask Christ to enter our hearts and we will be saved from our sin and allowed to come into the presence of our Holy God. This is the greatest gift in the history of Creation, and I pray wholeheartedly that everyone who reads these words will receive it.

So when I look at God's love for us, freely given and completely unearned, I become so aware of the fact that God is the one who has given me this love for our future child. I know it is completely from Him, and I pray that He keeps the love coming, because it is filling me up and giving me the energy and sustenance I know I will need in the days, weeks and months ahead.

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

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