By Sara Parker
Our sons were 2 and 3 years old when it started. I would look in the rearview mirror and wonder who would fill the next seat in our car. I’d set the table and imagine another little one in one of the empty chairs. At night I would lie awake, scheming about which room would be used for our next child, and what colors I would paint it if the new member of our family happened to be a girl.
My husband, however, was not on the same page. Yes, we were in the same book—both of us wanted more children—but he was several chapters behind, in my opinion. I would bring up the idea of another adoption casually, only to be met with raised eyebrows and blatantly panicked cold sweats. So I would drop the idea for a while, and wait for my next opportunity.
It was a time of enormous blessing in our lives, but strangely enough, my Bible was often nowhere to be found. The book that I had poured over several times a day during the past couple of years—well, once God brought everything together for me, the Bible often sat for weeks at a time in my nightstand drawer or shoved with all the other odds and ends, under the bed.
You know how that happens…you’ve never felt closer to God, He brings you through a struggle to the other side, and once you feel like you have everything under control, you don’t really *need* to meet with Him as much anymore. (All an illusion, of course, because whether we are in a time of struggle or not, we all need Him every moment of our lives.)
Nevertheless, I did not open that Bible for a while. Instead, I started the campaign for another child, and eventually, my husband caved and agreed that we could move forward with the next adoption. We had always planned to adopt from the Philippines because his sister had been adopted from that country, and my husband had lived there for a while. So, unlike our first adoption process, where we researched and made lists of pros and cons, and read the Bible together, and prayed over our decision…we just jumped feet first into the second adoption, closed our eyes, and hoped to find water when we landed.
I often wonder, had we spent a little more time seeking God’s direction, if we would have saved ourselves several thousand dollars and a long road of heartache.
God knew a lot of what we already knew: We were in a new state, I was homesick, the boys needed more time as a family before we increased our numbers, a new adoption would threaten the financial security we had finally attained, and my husband was not totally ready to move forward even though he had agreed.
But God also knew something we did not know: Illness was about to strike and threaten more than our financial security. It would threaten our relationship, our family, and our faith in God.
My husband’s illness came on a couple of weeks after we applied to adopt a sibling group from the Philippines. Doctors figured it was mono, and we assumed it would go away, so we moved forward with the adoption plan. I can’t remember how much money we lost when we finally realized we had to pull out of the adoption. Somewhere between two or three thousand dollars. But that was nothing compared to the pain of waiting for those children for so long and then realizing they would never fill those seats in the car or the chairs at the table.
To this story, there was a happy resolution. Three years later, we have filled the extra two seats at the table, and we now have a minivan, of which we have managed to fill two of the extra seats. And yes, I do find myself wondering who will fill that last seat. And yes, my husband still raises his eyebrows and breaks into a cold sweat when I casually mention child number five. But this time, there is peace. This time, my Bible is not collecting dust. And I know that our family is right where we’re supposed to be.
But I know there will come another time in my life when I think I’ve got it all under control. A time when my Bible finds itself sitting in the darkness of my nightstand drawer. So during my reading of Proverbs this week, I found a passage I would like to memorize, in the hopes that it will remind me never to make big decisions on my own. I’ve printed it below. I’m going to have the boys learn it with me too. They love to learn long passages of the Bible, and if you have kids at home who might like to do this too, it doesn’t take a lot of planning or time. Choose a passage, and read it two or three times together every night. Eventually, like a song, it will imprint itself on their hearts. You’ll be amazed at what they can remember.
(Oh, and if you haven’t started Proverbs yet, no worries—you can start any time! Even today. Just open your Bible or go to BibleGateway.com and read Proverbs 5 for July 5, then start at Proverbs 1 on the first of August.)
What I’m Memorizing this Month:
My son, if you accept my words, and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.