Today was supposed to be a big day. A monumental day. A day to spark momentum after a long stint of stagnation.
But it isn’t.
Today our case worker in the USA was supposed to visit our home in Uganda. This long-awaited and finally-scheduled visit was supposed to launch us forward in our adoption journey. Today’s meeting was supposed to kickstart other steps in the process that have been on hold.
But we are enduring a global pandemic, grounding all international flights. Postponing our home visit indefinitely. Postponing our adoption indefinitely. Postponing any and all post-adoption hopes and dreams indefinitely.
If I think about it for too long I get sucked into a cycle of thinking through the domino effect this is having, and will continue to have, on our family and personal situation. And it can easily fill me with sadness, grief, frustration, impatience, hopelessness….That last one is the worst. It’s something I’ve been fighting throughout this seemingly endless journey. Being a natural pessimist, hope can be a real internal battle.
I have my mantras and little nuggets of truth that I remind myself of often, but sometimes they just don’t seem quite strong enough to hold the weight of the emotions and current day’s reality.
Recently, a book that I’m reading (Wait and See by Wendy Pope) pointed me to Psalm 16. These are familiar words. In fact, a few years ago a good friend was really deeply impacted by these verses and passionately poured out her thoughts to me multiple times. But honestly, I never fully grasped what had gripped her heart. However, when I read the psalm this time, it was with new eyes.
Verses 5 & 6 say:
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Right now, many of us have some new boundary lines in places. For some, it is literal tape on the ground outside of a grocery store as you wait to enter. Maybe doors within a hospital are keeping you from being with your loved ones while medical staff attend to them. Perhaps you are stuck in your house. Still others of us are bound to our host country with borders closed and flights cancelled (though I wouldn’t be leaving if I could, with these boys in my care). And some people are unable to cross those same lines in order to visit people in other countries who so desperately need them to come.
No matter what kind of boundary lines have currently fallen around you, they were not simply placed there by government officials or essential workers. God placed them there.
Often boundaries are in place for our protection. Sometimes God gives us limitations in order to more fully follow the perfect path for our lives. Of course, the struggle is we normally can’t totally see or understand His intentions. Much like a child fighting his parents’ guidelines–the ones set for his best interest, but just feel uncomfortable and restricting. They don’t always feel pleasant, but ultimately they really are.
When I was reading Psalm 16, I had a new understanding. These boundaries that have fallen around us, may shift. They don’t always stay in the same places. Borders can expand or be removed altogether. Sometimes they are temporary.
Temporary?!? Oh my, the thought was so relieving.
I can have the freedom to relax. To acknowledge the portion God has given me. Trust He has put these boundary lines around me, and specifically our adoption journey, for His good purpose. It doesn’t fit the storyline I have in my head. It doesn’t match up with the plans I have been dreaming up. But when has my plan ever really been the same as God’s? BUT these lines may move, according to His divine timeline.
I imagine myself taking off the burden of my own agenda and setting it down on the ground. Finally I can allow myself to enjoy where He has placed me, trusting that my lot is secure. If He wants me to stay forever within the limits I’m currently residing, He must have good reason. If God moves my boundaries at a different time than I am expecting, then He must have a better plan. Pushing against these walls isn’t going to make them move; it will only make me weary. Instead, I should enjoy the pleasures and blessings of where I am now, trusting Him for my delightful inheritance.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it isn’t easy.
I know the effects of this global pandemic are much bigger than the impact it is having on the three individuals who live within my home. Your challenges may seem much bigger, or maybe they seem smaller. But the truth is, whatever struggles you are facing, whatever disappointments COVID19 has brought into your reality, they are real. They are painful and even heartbreaking. They are heavy. Let’s not ignore them or belittle them. Let’s not feel like we are not allowed to grieve over the losses this is causing. But let’s try not to sit in our grief too long either.
Psalm 16:7 & 8 say:
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me,
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me.
because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Let’s recognize that these boundary lines have fallen around us in the midst of God’s sovereignty, though we don’t fully understand it. Let’s remove those burdens we are carrying, and set them down in the lot that He has given us. Let us find ways that the places we find ourselves could indeed be pleasant and for our best. Let’s seek God’s counsel and instruction. Let us always place Him before us, and remember that He is holding our right hand. Let us not be shaken. May we remain hopeful and confident. Let us delight in the inheritance He has for us.