Thursday, December 06, 2007

Brutal Honesty

400 years of silence.

Can you imagine?

Between the old and new testaments, God's people waited...

for 400 years

never hearing a Word from God.

He had made lots of promises.

Their past was filled with miracles.

Incredible miracles.

Obvious workings of the Lord in their lives.

And yet...

They went 400 years without hearing anything!

I don't know how they did it.

Three weeks ago, we got a call from New Life asking us to pray about taking twin girls. That same day, I had a dream that we were chosen by a birthmom.

Since then, every single day, I have read in my Bible verses like...

Joel 2:12-13

Therefore also now, says the Lord, turn and keep on coming to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning [until every hindrance is removed and the broken fellowship is restored].
Rend your hearts and not your garments and return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness; and He revokes His sentence of evil [when His conditions are met].
Habakkuk 1:2-5

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and You will not hear? Or cry out to You of violence and You will not save?
Why do You show me iniquity and wrong, and Yourself look upon or cause me to see perverseness and trouble? For destruction and violence are before me; and there is strife, and contention arises.
Therefore the law is slackened and justice and a righteous sentence never go forth, for the [hostility of the] wicked surrounds the [uncompromisingly] righteous; therefore justice goes forth perverted.
Yes, I thought as I read this...I feel these things right now towards you, God. But then God answers Habakkuk...
Look around [you, Habakkuk, replied the Lord] among the nations and see! And be astonished! Astounded! For I am putting into effect a work in your days [such] that you would not believe it if it were told you.(A)
I could list a bajillion scriptures right here that I read this week, specific verses that I did NOT look up...that were just a part of my normal study time that all said the same exact thing...but I'll stop.

All that to say, it seems like every single day this week, God has placed scripture in my life that has shown me He is big, He is powerful, He can be trusted. I am to wait. I am to keep coming to Him and asking.

At the same time, I've been reading the Christmas story to my boys in the morning from a book called, Mary's first Christmas. Don't go buy it. It's not that awesome. But, God has used it this week to challenge me, and again, teach me. I have seen so many of the same issues, I'm going through right now in this story.

God's people sat for 400 years not hearing anything from God.

I can't imagine what they did during that time.

I can't imagine the darkness of the doubt they surely had to be wallowing around in.

"Did God really make those promises? Are the prophecies real? Where is He? What is He doing? Did we ever really hear from Him?"

Did they have to go back to the last thing God did...did they have to re-read the prophecies over and over, seeing evidence that God did INDEED do miraculous things in their midst? Was that the only thing they could hold onto during the waiting...during the silence?

And what about Joseph?

Do you know the way the Lord told Joseph to get involved in the life of Mary and the child Joseph was about to adopt was because an angel of the Lord came to Him in a dream and told him to?

Crazy.

I was fine with waiting on Monday...and even on Tuesday...sort of on Wednesday...but by this morning, I sat down and cried out to the Lord...

"What are you doing? Are you doing anything?"

I confessed that my faith is weakening, and it was never very strong to begin with.

"Lord, why did you include us in the life of this woman, and nothing has happened?"

I believe, that when I had that dream...the one where Cindy Seay said to me, you are about to be picked by a birthmom...and we were rejoicing...and then, that same day, Cindy Seay called us and told us about the twins...I believe that was a crazy miracle.

I do.

Forever, I've thought, "Maybe people can miss the Lord" on something.

I don't know if I believe that anymore. Disobey Him...yes, miss Him? No. If there is scriptural evidence of that, someone please send it to me! I need you to!

God came to Mary, who was probably NOT praying, asking God if she was to be the mother of Christ. He came to her and told her what was about to go down. She couldn't miss that.

The angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream. He was about to wash his hands of Mary and her baby...but the angel told him to get involved. There was no missing God.

The angels came to shepherds, who were probably sitting in a field, lighting their own farts at the time and told them God's son had been born...go find Him. Do you think they could have missed that? No way. Were they even looking for Him? No.

By thinking I could "miss God" does that infer that I have anything to do with hearing Him?

Or is it by His grace, His ability in my life that I ever hear Him in the first place?

And so, I'm sitting here today, so downcast, so honest before you...and the Lord, confessing that I'm confused. I believe that God spoke to me in a dream. Scripture supports that He can do that, and does that...and even does that about babies. I just read about Joseph this week!

But now, I'm forced to do, what I'm sure God's people had to do during the silence...going back to the last thing God said...the last thing God did.

I'm forced to do, what I'm sure Mary had to do during the years and years she raised her son. Was it hard to wait, having heard the prophesies, having lived through something as crazy and obvious as the angel coming to her...God sending wise men to worship her son. Were there times when she would watch her 8 year old son and think, "Is he really supposed to be the king? Did I hear God? Was all that true? But it must be true. His birth was incredible. God did miraculous things." She would have to wait until Jesus was in his 30's to see God's plan unfold. I can't imagine that wait! I wonder if she had doubt. Did she confess at times that no matter what God had done in the past, her faith was weak?

Right now, if I'm terrifyingly honest, here's what I think...

I think God told us three weeks ago that these girls would be ours.

I do.

I believe if it were not for that dream...if it were not for the fact that on the same day of that dream, Cindy contacted us, I would be FINE right now washing my hands of all of this. I would be FINE with saying, "We were supposed to pray for the twins. That's how God wanted us involved." But, because of the dream...I can't say that. In the dream, we were CHOSEN to parent those kids. In the dream, it was settled. Then the phone call, that day from New life...

"But what about the dream...about the phone call God?" I say.

"But what about the prophesies...about your promises God?" I'm sure God's people said during the silence.

"But what about your plan for his life, Lord?" I'm sure Mary had to have said to God as she raised her son and saw no miracles, saw how human Jesus was.

If I had not had that dream, gotten the phone call the same day and then read scripture after scripture over the past three weeks, where God has made it very clear to me that He is God, He can be trusted, He still does big things, we are to wait on Him, keep asking Him, keep expecting Him to do something...I could easily let go.

I want to let go!

Everything in me wants to let go!

But, I'm so afraid to let go. It's the strangest thing.

Right now, as far as we know, the babies are still in the hospital.

Right now, as far as we know, the babies have no family.

It's getting harder for me to trust the Lord.

I sat and cried to Aaron this morning, not because the babies aren't here, but because I'm terrified that I don't know how to hear the voice of the Lord. "Do I even recognize His voice? Does He speak to me?" There's nothing more scary to ask...to think through.

"If God wasn't moving in this situation, through that dream, through that phone call, through prayer and fasting...then do I even know how to recognize when He is at work?"

"Does He really speak to me? Does His Word really speak to me?"

I confessed to Aaron that I am afraid.

I'm afraid, that if God doesn't do something...something I feel He has led me to believe He is going to do...then I'm afraid of what that will make me think...will I be able to EVER think God is speaking to me, or involving me in what He's busy doing? I'm more afraid right now and troubled by the fact that I don't know how to listen to God than I am that He hasn't added children to our home.

Maybe God does want me to step out in faith, having heard Him speak to me through a dream, confirmed by a phone call and His Word...and say..."I believe those girls are supposed to end up in our home. In the dream, we were chosen. And then, we got a phone call that day. Sure, we can all pray that "God's will be done." That's nice and safe. No one goes home a loser. But, if I am honest...I think He told us we were chosen to bring babies home."

God keeps telling me, through His Word to wait on Him...He's about to do something.

I got up from crying, in prayer with my boys this morning and this email was sitting in my inbox...an email from someone who has never emailed me about what is going on with the twins...

Hey & good morning!

I just wanted you to know that I have been praying for you guys. Let me know if there is anything that I can pray for YOU specifically.

Psalm 33:4 “For the word of the LORD holds true, and we can trust everything he does.”

It was all I could do to keep from pressing, delete. "I don't know how much more I can take of this, Lord. What do you want from me?"

So...wow...that's where I stand right now.

I'm trying to be genuine in how I feel. I don't want to hide my feelings from people. So many have asked how I'm doing.

I want to believe that God spoke to me...that this is not over...that those girls are coming here.

I even think that's what God wants me to believe.

I just wish I could! I have confessed to Him through many tears today that it seems impossible to have that much faith.

And yet, after boo-hooing to Aaron today about this...when I was done...

He was just sitting there...smiling at me.

That's not what I expected.

I was sitting there telling Aaron..."It's not that if God doesn't come through, I'm going to question His existence...if He doesn't come through though...I'm terrified I will at least doubt His ability to speak to me about anything in my life."

That's a big deal! I was shaking and crying even admitting it to Aaron...

And yet...Aaron said...

"Heather just hearing everything you just said makes me know God is in this! I am sitting here, so encouraged."

I couldn't believe him. "Encouraged? I'm sitting here crying, telling you I'm afraid I'm going to have huge issues with God after this is over and you're encouraged?"

"Yes. We can't give up. This is not over yet. I don't want you working through the aftermath of God not showing up, when this isn't even over yet. The problem here is more about impatience than any of those other things. This is NOT over yet!"

I wish I could leave this post by saying..."I am convinced God is going to bring those girls to our house...but I can't.

I can say...He has sure set this up where it looks like that's what He wants to do...and even what He wants me to believe...

So some of you can pray I will.

The rest of you can think I'm crazy.

11 comments:

Katie O said...

Hi Heather,
I don't know you...I'm one of those dreaded lurkers! Yikes, I know. But I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog and I love you! I wish I could just hang out with you for awhile.

I have a friend who I recently referred to your blog, who is in the process of adopting a second child from Gautamaula (sp?). I thought she could relate to you so well. Anyway, I have been telling her just to hang on because she is getting ready to be caught up in a whirlwind and things will start happening quickly...she won't know what has hit her. Do you know what? She is spinning now! They are further along in the process than they thought and it looks like a Christmas homecoming might be possible after all.

I just said all that to say....hang on tight baby! You're in for the ride of your life.

Obviously God is at work. Maybe it's time to sit back a bit and let Him do His thing. Not that you should quit praying. I'm not saying that, but I mean more of a letting go of the anxiety, the fear, the worry and DOUBT. Maybe....God is waiting for you to relax.

Something's going to happen girlfriend! It may or may not be what you expect or want...but God's got a GOOD plan for you. Trust in Him and may you be showered with PEACE!

God Bless and Merry Christmas,
Katie

Grandma said...

There have been too many times in my prayer life when I've been convinced that I know what God's doing. I know he's about to heal, about to change, about to deliver.

But sometimes (maybe most of the time) it doesn't turn out like I think it's going to.

And yes, it tries my faith. I don't doubt God, but I don't seem to speak the language.

And it IS frustrating. Why pray if I'm not capable of understanding the answer?

But

I'm on the crazy train with you right now.

I expect to hold those girls.

I can smell their hair and see their crooked little newborn legs.

Keep on walking. We don't know where the finish line is. You may almost be there.

The word verification thing says, IBLEALW. Which reads, in my phonetic brain, I BeLiEve ALWays.

Hi. My name is Alanna. said...

Odd how life goes. I came over to post a quick comment on your "ministry" post, found this, and out went that brief thought.

In complete honesty in response, I find myself wanting to do the same thing for you. Everything in me looks at the story as a whole and says, "It is so obvious that God wants y'all to be the parents of these girls. That you will be their home." Then this small part of me responds, "I don't want to cling to that insane hope - that seems clearly like a word from God right now (while I don't KNOW the end) - and end up later going - oh what a fool I was for getting their hopes up."

So, let me just give you this little tidbit from my story and while I can't promise what it will do for your hope, I pray you will let it bolster you in the fact that God DOES speak to you - for real - even in dreams. And He does NOT want you to give up hope - even when you don't know how to cling to that for which you hope.

Before I shared with you that I'm a birthmom. I also know my daughter's mom. I spoke to her before Madison, "my daughter," was born. Many times in fact. They were one of the families I most considered for adoption. But I couldn't do it. Could not give her up. They understood. Her husband said to me, "Alanna, what a baby needs most isn't money. What a baby needs most is a blanket and a lot of love." I clung to that for 5 months. But just shy of 5 months I didn't have much of either to hold on to anymore. Not alone. Not at 18 years old. Not in my life at the time.

I didn't know what their story was during those 5 months. I didn't know they'd been pursuing other adoptive avenues. I didn't know she'd packed her bags for China. I didn't know she was getting ready to go and God told her to stop. I didn't know she sat there wondering what God wanted her to do and why she was NOT supposed to go. I didn't know she asked Him why she was supposed to just sit there and wait without the assurance of any particular promise. I didn't know any of that when I called Harriet, my friend who was also her friend, nearly 5 months down the road, and said, "Harriet, do you think Barbara and Marty still want to adopt? I don't think I can do this anymore." I didn't know that she would be driving in her car, wondering at the time why she was NOT on her way to China to pick up a precious child, and receive that phone call. Like I didn't, she didn't know. She just knew God said no - He said to wait on Him. He said don't go. So, she didn't go. She waited and cried and waited. And one day when it seemed least likely, out of the blue, I called.

And now, nearly 11 years later, she has a daughter. The daughter God promised her even when she didn't know. She thought there was no hope - not for this child. God knew. With God, there's always hope.

For you too, God knows.

Hendrick Family said...

Alana...

Man, I can barely see to type, my eyes are filled with tears.

Thank you.

You have no idea how that just ministered to us...touched us...wow.

Thank you all for praying for us. I am learning again today that when I'm weak...He is strong...when I'm weak...the body is strong too.

Heather

Hi. My name is Alanna. said...

Can I just add one more thing? I know you're praying for these girls, for their lives, for their to-be parents, and all that this word from God to y'all holds. But there is more to it than that going on. More than just where God's placing those little girls, more than what God's doing in your family, church, and home.

There's also this other side - the one that I've been on - where God is doing something that matters in a way you don't know. One I can't tell you if you'll ever know - at least not in this lifetime. But one that is crucially important as well.

While Barbara, my daughter's mom, was waiting on God, holding on to a hope - having her faith (as it's described in in Heb. 11:1) tried, another thing that wouldn't matter for years to come was going on.

I was being a mom. To my daughter. At the one and only time I could - wow, I find this so hard to type, now tears are filling my eyes... I was doing what her mom now knows was so important. While God was working in her "permanent mom" a faith that needed great strength and endurance for the long haul of a raising a child yet to come home, He was also creating a future security for a child preparing to move home.

You see, since that time, her mom has come back and told me - just last year in fact - that it is so important that I had her for those 5 months. That I tried to raise her myself. That I did what I could to be her mom. She said that is going to be so necessary for Madison to know as she grows up and comes to understand more and more of the details of her story.

I didn't know that. How could I? How could any of us have known? We couldn't. But God knew. And He made provisions for that - not b/c He's God, but b/c He's a FATHER. Fathers do that for their children. Her Father knew what we didn't know. God knew our faith needed to grow, yes, and He knew Madison needed a home. But as her Father, He also knew she was going to need to know that she was loved - right from the get go. Somehow that was more important to her than any of us could have EVER understood at the time. But He knew b/c God knows hearts. And Fathers love their children - the Father God best of all.

I don't know what that is supposed to do in your life or how it affects your story, but I hope it reminds you there is a lot more going on than you'll probably, even in hindsight, ever know.

That's why it's not crazy to hope. Because you hope in a God who doesn't NOT provide. You hope in one who doesn't NOT work. You hope in one about whom it is said, "ALL His ways are loving and faithful."

So, hope. Let your faith be stretched. Look for the unseen b/c it's not just your story. It's not just these girls' story. It's not even just their birthmother's story. It's God's. And "Nothing is impossible with God." Nothing.

Hendrick Family said...

I'm praying today..."Work this all for your good, God...all for your good."

You're right...I have been reminded again that I don't even know exactly what to pray right now. I know what it looks like God wants to do...what He wants me to believe...but I can't seem to make any sense out of the details. Pray those babies home right now? Maybe they shouldn't be here yet. Pray the mom makes a decision soon? Maybe she has, but God will change her mind. I have no idea HOW God is going to do anything. So I guess I just pray that God would really teach me what it looks like to trust Him...to wait.

Heather

Landreneau Family said...

What a journey you guys are on!

You are teaching such powerful lessons to all of us who read your blog.

We are praying with you.

Aimee

Holly said...

Heather,
I don't have any wisdom of my own, so here is some of God's wisdom... two verses that came to mind as I was reading:

Isaiah 55:8-9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts,nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."

John 10:14-15,27-28
"I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep."
-
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand."

Heather, He knows you. You know Him. That is what is important. He has you.

Anonymous said...

Hendricks,

The Sovereign Lord who is Mighty to Save and who is Jealous for our Hearts has put you on my mind for the past several weeks.
He is jealous for your heart.
He wants to know you, Heather Hendrick, and he wants to be made absolutely famous.

I am also in the midst of waiting on the Lord. The joy and the blessed assurance are coming Heather.
He absolutely will do what he purposes to do.

But the blind faith is what is difficult. It is easy to hope for things we see, but much more difficult to hope for things we do not see.

I am personally thankful that you have allowed us to walk in this faith-journey with your family.

Praise Him in advance. He has finished it.

I think it was you who described so well that he has the DVD of our lives in his hands, and that he can flip to any season or chapter at will.
Well, he gave you a preview of a coming season.

I can't wait to see what amazing things he will do next in your lives.

Love you all dearly,
Bekah

BHG & Co. said...

Guys... (that's yankee-speak for y'all)

You may feel as if you are going through "400 years of silence", but reading your posts, that is not the case.

The Israelites experienced centuries of being cut-off from God's word because they didn't want to hear. They were rebellious and "stiff-necked". This is not the case with you.

He is faithful to draw near to all who seek him, and that is just what you are doing. Trust his ability to speak. His power to reveal is greater than our inability to see.

God is walking right with you, speaking to you words of encouragement and perseverance.

He is speaking to you through his word and through his children. Trust his voice. He is always faithful.

emily said...

Heather,
This doesn't relate exactly to what you just wrote, but I felt it on my heart so...
I know that you guys are wondering how these girls are doing, if they are still in the hospital, if there is anyone loving on them, what their schedules are, their cries are like... I know that you know that being twins and being 5-6 weeks (if the January EDC was right) early, that these girls probably had a longer stay for medical reasons... to grow and maintain their own body temperatures, as well as for the process that is going on surrounding the birth mom and the adoption process. Let me just say that being a nursery/nicu nurse I BELIEVE that these girls have been surrounded by love and the care of the nurses and doctors who have been around. That hands that have held them and fed them have had an impact in their small lives. I know that when we have situations similar at our hospital that I LOVE those babies like nothing else. I pray for them. I am praying today that the twins are surrounded by people praying and loving for them. Be encouraged!