I have attempted to write this story hundreds of times. It has taken a year to gather up courage to share it. What I am about to write is not the story I tried to write for myself, but the story God is writing for my precious little family. I keep hearing my dear friend, Shawn Marie, say, “Embrace His story, Libby.” That is what I am striving to do – embrace the story He has for me and my family. This story tells a love of a Savior whose plans are higher than our own.
This is our story.
When I started high school, I devoted my life to Christ. I began praying this prayer over all my decisions and plans,“God, I want Your plan for my life. I do not want my plan. Lead me in Your plan.”
His plan was filled with wonder and amazement. I began dating (my now husband) Isaac and God verified to me how good and perfect His will is. Our love story was written by God’s own hand.
Our marriage is a gift. We are not perfect, but I dare say we are perfect together. We have found great grace in loving each other and have seen each year God's faithfulness to the ones who fail time and time again. We have discovered God’s will is better than we could ever hope, dream, or think. (Ephesians 3:20)
Our story twisted into great sorrow when for three years we tried to have children but were unable to conceive. No one knew we were trying, but the pain we bore in secret was hard to handle. It was one of the most painful experiences we have ever been through.
We went to the doctor. I will never forget the diagnosis or the cold, sterile hospital room. It felt just like how I felt inside – lifeless.
“Mrs. Wendland," the specialist blurted out, “to put it frankly, it is going to be very hard for you and your husband to have biological children naturally.”
I was immediately flung into a state of silent depression. I did not speak to anyone about it, except Isaac.
Thank God for my Isaac. We held each other and wept. We mourned the loss of our plans, hopes, and timelines for our lives. We grieved. We loved. We hurt. We knew God could do a miracle, but something inside us knew this was all part of His grander plan.
Isaac and I were flying home during the busy holiday season. When we were flying, I was engulfed with grief and the pain became unbearable. Isaac turned to me and said,
“Libby, do what you always do- write. Write to God and tell Him, lay it all out… all your disappointments and sorrow.”
So, I wrote…
December 2nd, 2013
Can you hear me, God? Do You see my silent longing, my hurt? The shame I carry – barrenness. Sometimes I truly believe You do then I shout in my heart – He knows! He cares! He will bless when the time is right. But, today I don’t know. Why else have You ignored these prayers for all these years? I know there is a bigger picture, a bigger plan. I just can’t see it. I can’t even remotely find it. All I see is this situation, this diagnosis, this pain. I am in a plane and from above I see a new perspective. Everything looks so small here. I need Your eyes, Lord. Show me Your plan in this heartache. I know You have a plan, but I can’t understand it. Show me.
I was in silent agony as I sat in the Minneapolis Airport waiting for our next flight to Raleigh, North Carolina. It felt as if time was frozen. While I sat there a little girl ran over to where I was sitting.
“Hello!” She said fearlessly.
“Well, hello. What is your name?” I asked.
“Cinderella!" She said with a big grin.
“Oh, I think I have heard of you before, Cinderella.”
She laughed and laughed. Her mom, Beth, came over and introduced herself. Beth was a beautiful mother. She was so attentive to Cinderella (Abigail) and played along with all her imaginary games. We sat and talked for a while. We discovered we had so much in common. We were both youth pastors’ wives and teachers. It had felt like we had known each other forever.
We soon boarded the plane and found out that Abigail and Beth were seated right in front of Isaac and me.
This part of our story is when God did a miracle. He brought Beth into my life to save me from despair. I was dying inside. I was screaming and kicking wanting out of this pain and did not want to surrender my hopes and plans.
Beth and I talked and I asked her where Abigail got her big, brown eyes from. Beth smiled and began sharing her and her husband’s courageous journey of domestic adoption, their diagnosis of infertility, the shame it conceded, and the faithfulness of Jesus in their lives.
I sat in utter disbelief. I cried as I told Beth our story. I told her how a year ago, we were diagnosed with infertility and I have tried to fight it with everything in me. I poured out my heart and shared with her how it is so hard for me to see God’s good and faithful plan through this pain.
Beth said something to me that changed my perspective drastically.
Beth lived in such sweet surrender. She oozed God’s grace and peace. She will forever be remembered by me as a “my God-sent Friend." I knew God sent Beth to tell me, “Hey Libby, I have a good plan for you and your family.”
That day changed our lives. Isaac and I will never forget the day we met Beth and sweet Abigail. It changed our perspective. It made us see God's good plan for our lives.
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Yesterday, I found a box filled with my old writings from high school. I began reading them and found my first "expository paragraph" for school at the age of 15. It read:
"Opening the door to that unclean building brings chills to my spine. Walking up the orphanage stairs, I hear sounds of innocent babies crying. Finally, making it into the room, I look around... kids who God chose to come, but because of people's past mistakes, they are brought here to this lonely place. It was not their fault. People come and go from this lonely place seeing no hope, but God looks at them and sees hope for our future. As I stand there looking at these beautiful children, all I see is love."
-Libby Phillips, April 2004
Hot tears streamed down my cheek as I read those words. I had never been to an orphanage at the age of 15, but it was always in my heart. My children were always inside of me. They were always calling for me...for us.
We are very excited to announce that Isaac and I have been approved and in the process of adopting a child from the beautiful country of Thailand. We are thrilled to begin our journey. We have begun our home study and are preparing for our dossier to be sent to the Thai Embassy.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story and the journey we are embarking on. Please, pray for us in this process and for our child who is going to be coming home soon.
Thank you for your love and support.
We pray you will join us as we embark on many miles to our Eden.
Isaac and Libby