I love that city. It might be my favorite city in the whole world this week.
(Charleston, do not worry, we know the truth.)
I knew when my phone would ring & it said the location - Eugene, Oregon - It would be the call that changed everything.
Do you ever wait for something for so long & wonder if it will really happen? I knew someday we would get Eden, but after all these months of waiting, sometimes it seemed to far to reach like it wasn't in my grasp.
Then the phone call came.
I was high on medicine to help with my strep throat & used two full boxes of Kleenexes before it rang.
I didn't make sense on the phone as I was half-asleep from the meds, but then I heard:
"Libby, I have really good news. IT'S HERE! IT'S HERE!"
"What?! When did it get approved?"
Have you ever had to live in hope for awhile?
The kind of hope that sees even when the world has gone completely dark.
A hope that keeps telling you to keep going even though disappointments keep fedexing themselves up to your door step and needing your own blood's signature.
It's not flashy, it's small. It whispers like a small child taking your hand saying, "This is not the end."
Most of the time hope is not loud but dim like a candlelit room covered in darkness. Many don't desire the dark, but if they only knew hope is seen most visible in the night.
Ike & I were sitting in our childhood church. Each Sunday night for as long as I remember, it is known as a night of testimonies. My father's church still believes that healing can take place in speaking broken moments to new and familiar faces. I wonder if the world will ever understand the power of story. The healing of prose & the spoken word. Forever I will tell my story because it was the art of story that healed me.
My dad asked if I would share something before the service. I was scared to speak because I'm a different person now. I wonder if I will ever be able to speak of all He has done without fear of crying. I wonder if I will ever get over the amount the vulnerability it takes to share our story because death and resurrection had both called my name this year. I've seen the power of His healing touch, but I also remember my own weakness & pain. I have been branded for life and I will always hold death and resurrection in both of my hands.
So, I did what any good daughter would do. I started talking.
"I'm thankful for hope", I said in my cracked voice.
"When disappointments come, it can be hard to keep hope alive. I am thankful my sister told me once, 'We do not know the 1,000 of things God is doing for us right now in our present moment. He is moving in ways we cannot know. Praise Him now. Get your hopes up now. He is doing more than you could ever dare to dream or believe."
I cried like a fool in front of the congregation. I cried because I knew the depth and strength it takes to hold on to that kind of hope. Sometimes hope is all we have. It flickers in complete darkness whispering, this is not the end.
I had a small flicker of hope when in October I heard we might have the possibility of being approved in the month of November to go and get Eden. It was stated over the phone & I didn't want to tell anyone. I wanted to hold onto it myself because what if it never came true? what if I had to explain to others that once again we were disappointed?
It is so hard to get your hopes up, when you have been fed bad news for a couple of years. Fear becomes the appetite and it craves isolation. I decided then I was going to remain quiet about the possible news of approval in November. I must admit, I have a hard time letting the church be the church. Pride makes me feel scared to let others hold me up from time to time.
I don't know what happened but one day hope found me & it made me hungry for something new. I decided to start an e-mail newsletter for Eden. I was going to ask people who loved Eden to pray about anything I felt God wanting me to pray for her. I was going to let the church be the church for me. They would be strong enough if disappointments came and strong enough to celebrate our good news.
We started it with 150 people that soon moved to 200 + people who received her cutesy pictures & random stories that her mama tells. The end of each e-mail were a list of prayer requests to pray for Eden girl. Hope let me share:
The e-mails I received back from people were from all over saying: we are praying for your girl, Libby.
Fear started moving out. Hope started shipping it's audacious boxes to my house and filled each room with new thoughts & dreams. It could really happen. We might have her by spring.
One e-mail would say. "I have a great feeling about this appointment coming up!" H O P E.
The next would say, "God is with you. Who can be against you?" H O P E.
I was sent songs - so many songs - that would flood our house with H O P E.
Hope - it is a brave act. It is a holy discipline. Fear can move it out, but the only way I know to invite hope back in is to trust this isn't the end.
He has something up His sleeve. He doesn't end His stories with ashes.
If it is bad now... this must be the climax of the story. Every author knows the resolution comes after the climax. It is what makes a good story. My story isn't finished.
Hope called my name that week & soon it called my number.
We got the call & it showed me how small I know the character of who He is.
We were told during the phone call that the adoption was approved on November 4th but found soon after there had been a mistake about the approval date.
What is the actual date then? November 18th. My 27th birthday.
And just like that He whispers again, "I have this, Mama."
I am reminded darkness is not sown for us, light is.
If it is dark outside right now, friend, start playing with matches.
Start a spark. It isn't over. This is not the end of your story.
Give hope a chance to change the story's ending.
I am here if you need me.
Lets get our hopes up together.
/// If you want to join the EDEN FANGIRL E-MAIL CLUB, please leave your e-mail in the comments section. E-mails are sent every two weeks on Sunday night or whenever Eden's mama sends it. Disclaimer:: She is extremely pretty & might make you gasp\AWWWE. ////