The Night Before
I’ve always wondered what I would feel like the night before going to get my child. And while in some ways it feels like any other normal night – the girls are fed, bathed, and quietly sleeping in their beds – in many ways it feels like the night before Christmas. I am tired and weary from all the preparations, but behind the weariness is great excitement tinged with fear.
I am staring out the living room window of our hotel apartment (and yes, I said the words “living room” and “hotel apartment.” Unlike our hotel room in Hong Kong that was the size of a postage stamp, our living quarters here feel like the Taj Mahal! We are all so excited to have ROOM to breathe and adjust to being a family of 6 for the next 12 days! I will give you a tour of the place tomorrow.) Our view from our room in the Garden Hotel overlooks the city of Guangzhou, a city that our guide told us today is home to 19 million people, and houses 20-30 large orphanages. And for the very first time, I can look down at the city scape below me knowing that my child is out there, for the first time ever, close by.
I woke up this morning with two verses on my heart and mind. The first one is the verse from I Corinthians 13 – “Now we see through a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face.” That’s exactly how I feel about Mia Grace. I’ve seen pictures, 4 of them to be exact, taken when she was 10 months old. She is now almost 18 months old, and I have no idea, really, what she looks like. I don’t know if her hair is short or long, if she is crawling or walking or sitting, if she is short or tall, short and plump, or long and lean. All I’ve had up until this point are dim glimpses. But tomorrow…tomorrow I shall see face to face, and all of my questions shall be answered. And the thought nearly undoes me. I’ve waited a long time to see that little face, and I am ready for the real thing instead of my own vain imaginations.
Here’s the funny thing – with as many times and with as much anticipation as Jason, myself, the girls, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and dear friends have anticipated seeing what Mia Grace’s face looks like, not once has she ever anticipated ours. She is absolutely clueless as to what is about to happen to her tomorrow and all of the longing, work, cost, and tears that has gone into our future face to face meeting.
My longings to see Mia Grace are imperfect, and I don’t mean to imply in any way that our family perfectly mirrors or images Christ. But I will say that adoption has given me, and continues to give me, more identification with the story of adoption and redemption in the family of God woven throughout the pages of Scripture. That being said, I’ve read that verse in I Corinthians 13 all my life, picturing my own anticipation, imagining how I will feel the moment I am able to Christ face to face. Not once has it ever crossed my mind, until this morning, that He waits to see my face with far more eagerness and anticipation than I wait to see His. Why? It’s because He has more skin in the game. It has cost Him a great deal more than it will ever cost me so that He could see me up and close and personal and call me “His” as part of His forever family.
So I approach tomorrow with great excitement, knowing that a face to face encounter is coming and that it mirrors, if only slightly, the face to face meeting I will have one day with Christ and how He must feel in the interim, waiting for me.
But while I am excited, I am also afraid, and I feel the weight of my own inadequacy and all of the unknowns and hard work that awaits Jason, me, and the girls. So the second verse I woke up with on my heart was Psalm 46:10: “Cease striving, and know that I am God, and I will be exalted among the nations.”
It was so good of God to have the day before our “Gotcha Day” to be the Sabbath Day. For ingrained in the very fabric of the day was the reminder to cease striving. To stop working. To stop working, and pretending, and striving, and proving to yourself that you are the one who is powerful and can make things happen and…rest. Worship. Put God back upon the throne of your heart where He always deserves to be and remind yourself He has never come down from the throne of the world. There was great comfort in going to church this morning, to worshipping in an auditorium of faces that looked nothing like mine but were bent on the same common purpose: bending the knee to Christ, worshipping Him as the only wise God. There was great relief in remembering this morning that God is God in Hong Kong and Guangzhou in China as much as He is in Houston, and it is only when we let the hands drop and stop trying to accomplish things in our own strength that we are reminded His strength is sufficient and His purposes will be accomplished, no matter what may come. My job is to cease striving and to start trusting: God is God, and I am not.
What a relief.
So I go into tomorrow with those two thoughts and two verses on my mind: I cannot wait to see Mia Grace face to face, for in seeing her, I also see a bit of my future meeting with Christ, and when I am afraid, I remember that God is on the throne, His reign is secure, and His good purposes will be accomplished throughout all the earth. In China, in Houston, in Mia Grace, in friends and in family, and in me.
With that, good night. Worship well this morning in Houston, and tomorrow we will all get to meet…Mia Grace.