Sucked in yet? 😉
Thanks for sticking with me.
As promised, things are about to speed up.
Let us review: Why did we halt our adoption?
The simplest answer is because we cannot afford to pursue adoption and surrogacy at once.
*For more on why we before 3 weeks ago we never dreamed surrogacy would be an option, and how we were both finally at peace with moving forward with our adoption plans, please see Part 1.
*For more on the Facebook message I received 3 weeks ago from practically a perfect stranger that would rock anyone’s world, please see Part 2.
*For more on our surprisingly spirited 1st reaction to that message, please see Part 3.
Once the tears stopped (for a brief time) that Sunday, the questions began.
Is this from God, or is this just a distraction from the enemy?
Who is this woman?!
Is she being serious?
If so, does she realize what she’s saying, what she’d be getting herself into?!
What does her husband think?! Does he even know she wrote this message?
What does she even mean by surrogacy? If she means her egg, thanks but no thanks. I can’t even go there emotionally.
Why did you even let her write it, Lord? We didn’t ask for this! You know how important biological children are to John, how hard it was, and how long it’s taken, for him to lay that dream down. You know how much guilt I have struggled with for not being able to provide him for what he so desperately longs? Couldn’t you just have left us alone and let us move forward with adoption? It’s been hard enough for both of us dealing with all of the emotions which have come with that. Can we please just finally move forward in peace (just keeping it real here)?
The next day after work, I got my answer to question #1.
I asked the only person I knew who knew her well. Though I wasn’t really ready to talk about it with anyone but John, didn’t want to give away her identity to anyone, or betray her trust, I didn’t feel I had a choice. I had to learn more about her and fast. Let’s be real here. In this day of age, there are plenty of psychos with bad intentions out there, even those who claim to know Jesus; those are the worst kind. Being able to pick someone out from a crowd just isn’t good enough when they are asking you to pray about them possibly carrying your child. I had to protect my family, and at this point, finding more out about this mysterious woman was the only way I knew how.
As I dialed the phone, part of me hoped my close friend would just tell me she was crazy, literally.
That was the easiest way out of this emotional roller coaster which had been our last 24 hours. If she was emotionally unstable, no matter how enticing her offer, we could just go back to our plans for adopting and never look back. Life returning to normal sounded glorious at that point.
In fact, she gave her a ringing endorsement and even said she’d be comfortable with her carrying a child of hers. According to our mutual friend, the message sender was a true Christ-follower, a loving mother, and according to my friend, one who would never – ever – send me such an astonishing message if God hadn’t directed her to do so. It wasn’t like her at all to throw herself out there like that. My friend felt like this was definitely a God-thing, said she didn’t envy being in our shoes, would have done the same thing had she been me, and that she and her husband would be praying for us and wanted to be kept posted.
Uh-oh. There went my easy way out.
When John came home from work, I filled him in. More tears.
Was our, in particular John’s, dream of having a biological child really coming true? Only God knew the answer to that question, but it was becoming very apparent that, no matter if things with surrogacy worked out or not, life was never going to be the same, whether we liked it or not.
Days started to pass with more questions being answered as time went on. Yes, she was serious – very serious, in fact. Yes, she realized what she would be getting herself into but felt an extreme peace from the Lord about it. This certainly wasn’t her idea at all. God has spoken. She was just obeying. Yes, her husband was aware and supported her decision. She felt called to carry our child, as in mine and John’s, and had no desire for the child to be biologically hers.
God was moving, and there was no way around that fact.
His hand prints were all over what was transpiring.
Besides the fact that everything was “adding up” on her end, there was evidence on our end, as well.
We didn’t find it mere coincidence that she contacted us just days before we were going to go from only investing $150 into our adoption to investing a couple $1,000. Had she contacted us just a few days later, John’s frugal mindset would have completely been opposed to wasting the money we’d already paid out for a pending home study (one we wouldn’t need if we did surrogacy) and therefore nixed the whole idea from the get-go. On top of that, when we had our emotional, initial consultation with our attorney just a few weeks prior (that’s a whole story in and of itself), the topic of surrogacy was broached but with a price-tag way too steep for our pockets and would require us using a complete stranger (instead of just a semi-complete stranger 😉 ).
Though it was clear God was moving, our emotions were all over the board. To best honest, we traded emotional roles in our marriage; it was a very odd time for us.
After he got over his financial freak-out, usually rational John crumbled into a puddle of tears born out of extreme belief, joy and hope. I, on the other hand, took on a very, very unfamiliar role of skepticism and fear. My natural tendency to trust and never look back, to be full of optimism and steadfast trust was nowhere to be found. Needless to say, we both felt very out of character.
Day after day after work
John cried many tears of happiness and praise.
He slept soundly at night.
I cried many tears of fear and confusion.
I didn’t sleep for days and days on end.
I was awake night after night crying (literally) out to the Lord. I just didn’t understand what He was asking of our family, of me, in particular. As I knew he would, during that time, the enemy attacked with a vengeance. All the insecurities I had about not being able to provide John with the biological children he longed for so much plagued me with more fierceness than ever before. What if this doesn’t work out? Will John ever recover? Will he ever see me the same again? Will our marriage be ruined? Will he leave me and go have a family with someone else? These were just some of the literally hundreds of thoughts the enemy tried to use to pull me away from the Lord and my husband, who was dedicated to me and hated seeing me in such a stressed state.
I just knew how much this opportunity meant to John, and as his wife, his desires mean more to me than my own. Besides the Lord, my husband come first in all things – his feelings, his needs, his wants, his dreams. I praise the Lord for, and accept my husband, for who he is – his weaknesses and his strengths, just as John accepts all of me. I take being his helpmate extremely seriously. Something about being faced with your own mortality completely changes how you approach life, especially your marriage, or at least it has in my case. I don’t take any moment with him for granted. I understand what James meant when he said our life is but a vapor and desperately long to leave a legacy of one who loved their Lord first and their spouse second. Even when we have children, John will come before them.
Even though I don’t necessarily understand his, at times, insatiable desire for a biological child, it still is there and something he has to lay down every day. I can’t pretend and act like it’s easy for him. It’s not, and therefore it isn’t for me, either. I’m sure the decision to adopt would be a lot easier for some in our situation, but that hasn’t been our reality. You can’t expect every person to react to the same set of life circumstances the same way; they won’t, trust me.
During those 2 weeks when the waves of emotions tried to overtake me, I knew I had to trust Him to work out the details. After all, this whole time we’d been praying, not our will but YOURS, Lord, be done. We meant it with every breath we had, every fiber of our beings. If God wasn’t in it, no matter how much we wanted it in the flesh, we wanted no part in it. He knew that, and we had to rest in that fact. Rest, though, was hard to come by – at least for me.
I felt constant guilt for not being “strong” enough to not let all of this bother me. I felt guilty I wasn’t elated about what was transpiring like John (you know, the usually “glass half empty” one). He, though, wasn’t the one speaking with the surrogate possibility every day, which was extremely exciting, yet emotionally taxing at the same time. I felt guilty that I couldn’t just shake off all this extreme emotion and just roll with life. I felt guilty that I, the Bible teacher, couldn’t just read the Word, believe the Word, and go on my merry way, no matter what happened. I felt utterly hopeless and out of character.
What was wrong with me?!
Why couldn’t I just snap out of it, already?
After two weeks of up and down emotions, as I prepared to meet with the surrogate that next Monday and had my baby sister’s wedding rehearsal and ceremony to go to (and be in) prior to that, I hit the bottom. I hadn’t had a full night’s sleep in almost two weeks. Worse yet, I hadn’t slept more than 4-5 hours in 3 days. I was tired. No, I was beyond that. I was utterly exhausted – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I remember getting out of bed at 2:00am that morning (while John peacefully slept) and beginning the ritual to which I’ve come accustomed during times like this in my life, times that the Lord was moving in ways I could never dream and wouldn’t know fully for probably years to come, if ever on this side of Heaven.
I wept – not for a few minutes, an hour, or even a few hours.
I wept, with hardly any breaks, for 12 hours straight.
For hours on end, I physically shook with the tears, tears which just kept coming and wouldn’t end no matter what I did. I prayed. I blared praise and worship music (the same song for 6 hours straight). Crying for half-a-day wasn’t something I wasn’t planning on doing. To be honest, I never want to do again. It was one of the most exhausting 12 hours of my life, and I spent 10 months of my life bed-ridden once.
I still don’t really understand where all that emotion came from, but it all just spilled out. It was raw, it was hard, it was messy, it certainly was not pretty. It was more than that, though. I am learning it was also beautiful and Godly, that it was needed and healing.
Though I felt wrecked emotionally, I felt the Lord’s presence in ways I hadn’t in several years. I was reminded of my life verses, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, the ones which got me through when I was close to death and could have easily died, the ones on which I founded my ministry.
In the passage, the Apostle Paul says:
9 And He [Jesus] has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
There was no doubt about it.
I was emotionally weak and in need of my Savior, the One who promises to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. I had never felt such a desperate need for Him, even when I was dying and awaiting my transplant. Though my crying fest didn’t answer any questions, and seemed pointless at the time, I know it was not in vain. I know my Lord does not shun me for being a human, namely a woman, who is extremely in touch with her emotions.
As one who has faced her own mortality, I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the ability to be alive, for the ability to feel and know my God when He was in human forms cried, too. As Easter season is upon us, the High Priestly Prayer of John 17, where Jesus is under so much stress before the crucifixion, He’s sweating drops of blood while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. God the Father didn’t shame Him for doing so, either. I find great solace and beauty in that fact.
Just like Jesus, when I was done crying, I remember simply saying,
“Not my will, Lord, but Yours be done. Amen.”
After getting through an extremely busy weekend with my sister’s wedding, I had to remind myself of that come Monday morning while driving to meet for the first time this God-sent woman, who may very well be called to carry our first child. I had never been more nervous to meet someone in my entire life and probably never will be again.
I told you it was going to get good! 🙂 Part 5 to come!