When I was a little girl, I had an imagination that was out of this world. It mostly just made me a strange little child who told stories about the characters in the clouds or swimming in a sea of chocolate, but sometimes my imagination would betray me and cause me to be scared and have horrible nightmares. In my childhood room, there was a window that had a pretty big tree just outside it. The branches used to scrape the glass like fingernails on a chalkboard. More than once, I jumped out of my bed and ran into my parents’ room saying there was a man staring at me outside my window. How horrible for them?! Then, sometimes, I would be so scared and my heart would beat so fast that I would be frozen in bed. I knew that even the smallest twitch would cause the witch that lived under my bed (and plucked the mattress fibers one by one to reach me) would grab my leg. Goodness…it even raises my blood pressure now. My parents finally had enough, and to combat my fears (and decrease the number of times I ran into their bedroom), they told me Jesus was ALWAYS with me. I knew about God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but as a child, Jesus seemed the most tangible of them all. He had walked on earth, I had heard about the miracles he had performed, and I could use my vivid imagination to picture his face. So, I learned that when I got scared, I heard things/felt things/imagined things that could hurt me, I would stick my hand out from my bed and reach for Jesus’ hand. I felt his grasp. It wasn’t a symbolic gesture, it was real, tangible. As I got older, I began to be able to control my fears. I no longer “needed” this physical gesture with Jesus. A quick prayer before bed became my routine.
I hadn’t thought about the holding hands with Jesus business for quite some time. My spiritual walk became routine. I still believed and prayed to God, but He had become somewhat distant to me. He was the Almighty being, one to whom I would pray, but I felt as though our communication was a one-way street. I could only half-heartedly ask Him for my heart’s desires. I had lost the comfort of being able to hold His hand; the peace of knowing his heart was with me just as my heart was with him. And I had forgotten that He wanted to be as real to me as much as I needed to hold His hand.
Life started to be a struggle. My well thought out plans weren’t coming together. It wasn’t until Bo and I started our adoption process that I began to notice that missing piece of my faith. Adoption is SO hard. I tried to handle the stress and challenges and planning all on my own…and just put a smile on and not complain. But my best friends saw my struggles. My faith was tested to the CORE. I was in the darkest moments of my life, trying so hard to make those “nightmares” and challenges go away by my own power and planning, thinking of every possibility and how to handle it (on my own.) As my heart was becoming so angry and turning to stone, by His grace (and my wonderful friends’ prayers and love), I stumbled upon a passage in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.
“Rest in Me, My child. Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. Pray continually, asking My Spirit to take charge of the details of this day. Remember that you are on a journey with Me. When you try to peer into the future and plan for every possibility, you ignore your constant Companion who sustains you moment by moment. As you gaze anxiously into the distance, you don’t even feel the strong grip of My hand holding yours. How foolish you are, My child!
Remembrance of Me is a daily discipline. Never lose sight of My Presence with you. This will keep you resting in Me all day, every day.”
I physically needed Him. I needed to seek His presence and feel His touch. I needed my Jesus back, my constant companion that would hold my hand and lead me through His divine plan.
So today, half way around the world in Ethiopia, I took my Jesus’ hand as He lead me past all my fears, worries and doubts and into a tiny, green room. He stood there with me, knowing I needed his constant presence. As the rain began to pour outside, He revealed His beautiful, perfect, flawless plan, and my precious baby was placed into my arms. I no longer knew the distant God that I became satisfied with. I stood cradling our beautiful daughter, with my husband holding me, and my Jesus’ arms around us all. Forever changed.