This past year was a year of miracles, if ever there was a year in my entire life.
Two years ago this month, we began our adoption journey after we almost didn't.
It's a miracle that, indeed, today on the first day of 2016, my husband and our daughters are heading off to Latvia for a week, and when our girls return they will finally be American citizens!
Their return to the States at the end of this week will mark the end of our adoption process with the girls, which is so exciting. Especially considering that when we very first began praying about embarking on this journey, my heart was completely captivated by fear and that was almost enough to stop us dead in our tracks.
I can't imagine what life would be like had we crumbled under the weight of my fears.
I can't imagine how my faith would have been stunted. How our girls' lives would be. How we wouldn't have had front-row seats to the many miracles that have played out before our eyes.
After we sent half of our family off on this final leg of our adoption journey, our oldest son and I were talking about this, and we were marveling over how wonderful it has been to be on this journey and how wonderful it will be to have everything in the process with our girls all wrapped up.
And then followed up with, "And for our next adoption, I think we should adopt an older brother. That would be awesome."
"For our next adoption?" I laughed and raised my eyebrows. "You want to us to adopt a teenage boy now?"
He looked at me quite seriously, "Yes," he said. "I do."
"But you won't be the oldest boy anymore if we do that," I said recalling his request at the beginning of our adoption remain the oldest male child in our home.
"It's ok," he said. "I'd still be the first baby that every came from your stomach. I'd still be the oldest biological child."
"It's true," I said. "And nothing can change that."
"And I'd still be the second baby from your tummy, mommy," my youngest son chimed it.
"And nothing could change that either," I said. "But you know, if we did that, everything would change. Again."
"But that's ok," my oldest said. "Sometimes God changes things for good."
I should have known better than to question this child, this kid who likely could be an effective attorney by his next, his ninth birthday.
This child who at eight years old told one of our friends that he'll have to be very careful who he marries when he grows older because she'll have to be someone who wants really wants to be a mom to many foster children. Because that's what he's doing when he's a grown man; he's fostering kids who don't have homes.
It's funny to think about how my biggest fears when it came to following God's leading into adoption revolved around our boys. How would it affect them? How would life be for them? Would we screw them up forever by switching the birth order?
As I had prayed fervently about this, God spoke to me clearly when He said, "Do you think I can only call you to walk this road? No! I can and I have called your WHOLE family."
That's when I realized on a greater level that this was much bigger than just me; God is much bigger than just my own life, my own calling, my own passions in all of my adultness.
He's the kind of God who stirs in the hearts of all. He's the kind of God who gently leads adults out into the great unknown despite their fears, and He's the kind of God who plants dreams and missions in the hearts of children.
He was doing just that in our oldest son. And He still is.
My oldest son, the boy who reminds me during our youngest's epic temper tantrums to just hang on. Just be a little more patient "because she hasn't had a mom and dad taking care of her all of her life."
My oldest son, the boy who consented to being moved from his rightful position as oldest child to do what was right "because every kid should have a family."
My oldest son, the boy who I was most worried about affecting, has been deeply affected, and something inside my heart whispers, "yes, and for the better."
As we embark on a new year today, I am reflecting on this journey and pondering how fear almost robbed us of a year of miracles.
It almost took us hostage and held us captive from seeing the mighty hand of God work greatly in front of our very eyes.
It still threatens to do the same to me today.
He shows up, and I remember how He's shown up. I remember the many many miracles, and my faith grows a little big than my roaring fears.
And I think that might be the greatest miracle of them all.
May I, may you, may we all walk forward in faith with the reassurance that God, Immanuel, goes with us.
May we remember the miracles of the past as we anticipate the future.
May we walk into the new year in faith.