Friday, February 15, 2013

A day in the life of surrender

Have you ever wondered what it looks like to completely give your life to Christ and say yes to the crazy and insane thing that He calls you to? Have you ever wondered what goes in between the prayer and the answer to that prayer? 

I can tell you...

When you say YES to God... like really... yes, Lord whatever you say we will do... your life becomes a huge....... hmmmm.......


Yep, it becomes one big target for the enemy to shoot at.

And let me tell you, he is relentless. He just doesn't give up. 

I don't think it helps that I have a husband who is a rock when it comes to his faith. Seriously, nothing seems to phase Ryan so I think he ticks Satan off to the point where he takes out his big guns and is like.... really... you didn't care about that, well what if I make your wife sick... what if I take out your reliable vehicle... what if I make you do the same set of documents three times because of something as stupid as the librarian not placing her stamp in exactly the right place, or spelling February wrong... yep, that's sure to get him....

Ryan's response... It'll be okay, God will work it out. Don't worry. Well, we'll just try again...

In the past two weeks it has been ridiculous, even comical how much bad stuff has happened to our family. First I got really sick and finally went in to the dentist to find out that I have an abscessed tooth and will need a root canal. This put me over the edge because I was already so stressed about the adoption and school. I had been putting off going to the dentist because I knew we didn't have the money to fix my broken tooth... well I guess I waited too long because it got really infected... great.

Then I tried to start our jeep after work... nothing. 

Ryan came, but couldn't fix it and decided that it needed a new battery. The next day we got a battery, but it still wouldn't work. By some miracle, the day after, we were able to get it started and it ran long enough for us to get it home. It's been sitting in our parking lot for days, we're waiting to buy a new alternator, but for the mean time we've been sharing one vehicle, which is not ideal now that we are both working.

Last night we were driving home from Olive Garden when our radio started flickering and our battery light came on. 

Seriously! Now this vehicle is dying!

Ryan said it was fine and he would buy a battery the next day and fix it. He told me not to worry about it and just focus on having a great Valentines Day. Our car got us home and we did enjoy our night.

This morning we got up early so Ryan could get a battery and fix the car before he had to be at work. He was just praying that it would start.... and it did. We started driving but it wasn't long before all of our gauges turned off. We were both praying with every breath that it would make it to Walmart and for the traffic lights to turn green. We made it through our third light, when it completely died... in the middle of one of the busiest intersections. Ryan was able coast to the side, but it didn't take long for panic to set in on my end. Landon was in the backseat and I didn't have his bag with his bottle and blankets. I was instantly worried about him because it was so cold and we weren't very close to any building that I could take him into. Ryan started calling around to find someone who could tow us (who we wouldn't have to pay), but he wasn't able to get a hold of anyone.

Then a cop pulls up... She told Ryan that he had to get our car off the road and asked if we wanted her to call us a tow truck. Ryan said yes, and then we took Landon and got in the back of the police car (So there's your explanation, for all of you who saw us climbing into a cop car this morning, sorry it's not more exciting;) to stay warm. 

My response to all of this...

God why... seriously why God... I was just telling you this morning that I need you to speak to me and encourage me because I don't know how I can do this and now this.... this is NOT the answer I was looking for. Are we not supposed to go through with this adoption? How will we be able to take care of these boys? There must be better parents out there that would be better fit to care for them. Our life is so crazy and unstable. It feels like everyday is a battle. I get why people don't want this. I get why people focus on comfort and money. Right now Lord, right now, sitting in the back of this cop car, I wish we had comfort and I wish we had money.

What I imagine satan's response to be: HAHA success!!!

Ryan's response to all of this...

Come here babe so I can get a picture of all 3 of us. He was bummed I wouldn't let him post it to facebook without an explanation as to why we were actually in the back of a police car.

satan's response: You've got to be kidding me!!

Even in the most crazy times, Ryan can always make me laugh and ease my worries with the peace that seems to consume him. Ryan possesses a peace that follows him everywhere he goes like the dust bowl that resides around Pig Pen in Charlie Brown.

I was able to get a hold of my friend and she came and got Landon. She is such a life saver! I don't know what I would do without her.

Eventually the tow truck came and we drove with him to Walmart. On our way he told us that it wasn't the battery, it was the alternator that we needed to replace. Ryan asked him if Walmart would do that and he said, and I quote, "oh yeah, they will do that." So we get to Walmart, pay the tow trucker, and go inside to the auto center. Ryan tells the lady that we think our car needs a new alternator. She said, and I quote, "We don't touch those."


Ryan runs back out to tell the tow trucker that we need a ride to another place, but we could see him driving away in the distance. Ryan took my hand and we walked back inside. As we were walking around looking for gloves, Ryan got a call from his friend, who said that he would come help us. So we spent the next 30 min. walking around Walmart, buying gloves and hats for $1. As we were walking around we talked. I told Ryan how I was feeling and I asked him if he ever thinks that maybe we wont be able to take care of the boys. He said, "I don't ever let myself think that. Satan is obviously trying to discourage us and we're not going to let him right?" Me: groan. Then he said, "it's going to be okay baby, let's just try to enjoy our time together." 

and we did...

I was still feeling discouraged, but I couldn't deny that there was this amazing peace too. It was like there was a battle waging in my heart, but I knew that God had already won. 

Our friend got there, bought a tow rope, and off we went to another auto place. While we were waiting inside, I felt everything changing. I knew that Ryan was being encouraged by his friend in ways that he really needed and I was feeling so incredibly blessed to be on this journey with such an amazing man. 

Our life is not all romance. There's really nothing glamorous about it. We don't own anything fancy and we don't reside in a beautiful home, but I wouldn't trade our life for anything because it is real. I know years down the road I will remember this day and how we sat in the back of a cop car and laughed about it or how we walked around an empty Walmart hand in hand laughing about things that only we would find funny.

That is what marriage is. It's nothing that you'll see in Hollywood, but isn't it what everyone truly wants? To be known and loved and share in an incredible adventure together.

I know that a car breaking down doesn't really seem like an adventure, but Ryan and I know that it's so much bigger than our cars or our bills or our work schedules. We have an enemy who wants to destroy our marriage. We may not have much that we can give our boys when it comes to material things, but satan sees the love that we have in our family and that is what he wants to destroy. That is what he does not want Ivan and Levi to get a taste of. Satan has seen what this kind of love can do...

It can heal.

We ended up having to get our alternator and our battery replaced today. We forked over a pretty penny. We sat in a dirty waiting room and drank nasty coffee, but somewhere in the midst of all of that, I found the peace that I had prayed for this morning. 

God didn't speak to me audibly, but I believe that He placed an idea in my head, an idea that turned into a belief, that turned into confirmation. 

I really believe that we are going to get Ivan and Levi. 

I have days when I wonder if it's possible and the fear of our adoption failing is all consuming at times, but today I have no doubt that we will get them. Why else would satan be doing everything in his power to get us to stop fighting for them? Today, as we were sitting in the back of the cop car, I seriously considered that maybe I should try to find another family that would be willing to adopt them, someone who has more money and a bigger house, who can care for them better then we can. 

God has changed my perspective now though. 

I don't believe all of these bad things are happening to us because God is trying to tell us that we shouldn't adopt, I think all of these things are happening to us because we are supposed to. 

Because satan knows that these boys are going to flourish with us. 

Because he knows that the love and the bond Ryan and I have is unshakable. 

Because he knows that these boys are about to have a papa who will protect them and cover them in his faith and peace.

Because he knows that if Ivan and Levi get introduced to Jesus then the plans that God has for them are going to come to fulfillment and that is going to mean a lot of glory for God and a lot of trouble for him.

We finally were able to go pick up Landon this afternoon and go home. I got the mail on our way up to our apartment and screamed with joy when I saw a check for $617. 

God will always provide.

Granted there was also a home study bill for over a thousand dollars, but...

God will always provide.

Our family just takes it one day at a time. That is how we learned to live after Landon's heart and that is how we will continue to live everyday forward.

I have not been sharing some of the hard times we have encountered because I fear that you will think that we are not in the position to bring two more children into our family, but today God took away that fear. Ryan and I were talking on our way home and he said that the fact that we make it through so many hard things together does not mean that we will be able to make it through this adoption and through raising our boys, it just shows us how completely and utterly reliant on God we are.

He is absolutely right. We believe God has given us these boys and we have complete faith and trust that He is going to meet every one of their needs. 

We just may be the vessels He uses to do it :)


  1. Natalie, I don't think you should be afraid to turn away supporters by sharing the hard times too. I'm glad you realize that God is bigger than that! Ryan is right - they way you two handle these tough times proves even more so that God has prepared you for this!

  2. I just came across your blog and loved this honest post-thank you!