One of the questions that rings through my head towards the end of a current 2 year, 2 month process is "Have I waited well?" There is much talk about "waiting" in the adoption world because, unfortunately, much of the process of adopting is just that...waiting. In a nut shell, you work like a crazy person to complete every piece of paperwork you have to and then the rest is waiting for those papers to get passed through governmental office after governmental office until they give you the green light to bring your child home. You hurry to wait then hurry to wait and then hurry to wait again, but the majority of the time, you are waiting. Waiting for a referral, waiting for signatures, waiting for the mail, waiting for approval, waiting for a birth, waiting for a plane, waiting for news, waiting for weekends like this one to be over so offices will reopen and movement is a possibility again, waiting for anything and what seems like everything. It's tiring, to be honest, which is weird because when you are "waiting" it's like you are in a holding pattern instead of actively doing something. Why is waiting so tiring? Hmm...maybe that should be my next question to contemplate, but for today I will continue to address the subject of waiting and gleaning.
Have I waited well? The answer...no. Well, yes. Maybe. Umm...does it really even matter? What is "well" anyway? Who determines what "well" is? My "well" could be someone else's "terrible" and yet another person's "amazing". It's a silly question in the end because it really can't be answered factually. It's all based on opinions. I've come to see, for myself at least, that there is a better question than if I've been waiting well through our adoption process. My better question is "Have I gleaned all God had for me during the wait?" That one can be personally answered...at least as well as our limited human mind can answer it.
So, have I gleaned all God had for me during the wait? Yes. With all of my knowledge, I can confidently answer that question with a big ole' "YES!" Now don't get me wrong, there have been what I call my "human days" where I have simply gone numb to what all God was doing around me and focused only on the tears that dropped out of the pain and deep sadness I was feeling. BUT, even on those days--those human days--I know deep down inside that God was using them. Using the raw emotions of a tired Mama to draw me closer to Him. Nothing is wasted with God. Nothing is wasted. Not one day was journeyed in vain in the past 2+ years of this adoption.
Jesus had hard days too when His feet graced the earth. His best friend died. His church building was being corrupted. His closest family and friends denied knowing Him. He wept too. However, the Bible doesn't dismiss mentioning the hard times. God uses the hard times just as much as the highlight reel. There is something to be gleaned from the most difficult moments. That has remained True for me in this journey. God's Presence has been felt intimately on those human days through whispers of reassurance..."It's okay to cry, Angie. It's okay to weep. It's okay to zone out, check out, be frustrated, be tired, be "so done with this", be angry...because you are still doing all those things IN MY PRESENCE. My Spirit, remember, takes all those inward and outward groans that you can't even fully make sense of yourself and turns them into something miraculously beautiful. He turns them into what My Father hears as the sweet music of a child who is committed to following His Call to completion no matter how hard, how long, how grueling the journey becomes." In those deeply difficult days, I still had a Father who loved me right where I was at and ushered me into the beautiful right in the middle of the pain. I gleaned, and because I chose to glean, I experienced His love, grace, joy, and hope in the midst of the battle...in the midst of the wait. And, just for the record, this same amazing love, grace, joy, and hope from the Lord was also experienced in the moments of HUGE celebration along the road too. Both the painful and the joyful have something to glean from, and unfortunately, you can miss out on God's glory in both if you are not mindful/heartful towards the gift God is offering. God's Presence is always there for you to soak in and glean from.
So, yes, I believe I have sucked the holy of each and every moment along this journey as best I could and it has brought me joy unspeakable and a peace that passes my own understanding! As long and hard as the wait has been, I know without a shadow of doubt that this has been an amazing journey that I was MEANT to be on. By gleaning all God has for me on each step, I have transformed from who I was into a bit more of the "Angie" God originally made me to be. By walking each step with Him, I have been able to say I have enjoyed the journey, can end it thankful for what I have experienced (the good, the bad, and the ugly of it), and can encourage others to take the leap of faith and answer the call of adoption themselves. I can also go into the hands-on part of parenting Nora knowing I have gleaned all that God wanted for me along the waiting journey and will be a much better parent to her because of it. (Now, to just get this girl home to do that very thing!) By the world's standards, I could have complained less, been more active, stayed more prayerful, perhaps not have used as many tissues, etc, etc, etc, but between God and me, I have heard deep down in my heart the blessed words "Well done my good and faithful servant. In you I am well pleased." I know I am far from perfect, but by sticking this out with the grace of Christ, it has been a remarkable, beautiful, messy, perfectly life-altering experience that I am forever grateful He called me--invited me--to wait through and glean from.