Psalm 68:5-6

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

I am Stepanie Nance. My family adopted two little boys with Down Syndrome from Ukraine in 2010. I hope to educate and to inspire you. I hope to make you laugh and to make you cry.

Come along for the ride. It's a wild one!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Feelin' preachy tonight!

If you were like me growing up you heard things like "God helps those who help themselves" and "God will never give you more than you can handle."

These phrases are burned into my memory. They affect the way I act. They affect the way I think. The problem is that they are wrong! How can we presume to put God in these little boxes? He has His ways; they are not our ways. He has His purposes; we can't wrap our minds around them.

If the first statement were true, we would have no need for God. If we could truly help ourselves at all why would we even call upon Him? As Americans we can't really help being rugged individualists. It's our culture. This is why we have trouble asking for help, trouble letting our needs be known. It's that little voice in the back of our mind that says, "if you can't afford to fund your whole adoption then you shouldn't be doing it."

So sure, we pray for God to supply our needs. But we also have to be honest with each other. We can't put on the "happy church-face" and pretend to have it all together. We cannot bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2) or form meaningful relationships if we are not sharing our needs. We will always be dancing around on the surface and have shallow non-relationships if we feel we must be self sufficient.

How about the second statement? Again with the whole self sufficiency thing! I reject the notion that God wants us to be self-sufficient. If anything, I would argue that God always gives you more than you can handle. Look at the Ten Commandments for example. Ten simple rules. We can't do it. And just in case you thought you were OK because you never murdered anyone, Jesus clarified your position in Matthew 5:21-22. Apparently you are guilty of murder if you have ever been angry with your brother! I like to remind my boys about this from time to time. heh.

God wants to draw you nearer to Him. He might give you more than you can handle if that will accomplish His purpose. He may allow you to go through times of trial and unbearable pain. He wants to embrace you and carry you through.

All that to say this: we could never complete this adoption journey on our own. As hard as we (and our friends, too) worked, all the credit goes to God. Ralph was born to us - God did it. I fell in love with children with Down Syndrome - God gave me that love. I was inspired to save a life - God did the inspiring. My husband caught my vision - again, God!

We still need to come up with $1570 according to our estimates. If we are able to find this money in the next three weeks we will have enough to buy the plane tickets for Alec and Zhenya to finally come home. Since our formal fundraising efforts are over and we leave for Eastern Europe on Sunday morning, if we find this money it will be totally a God thing. We are faithful in Him and give Him full credit in advance. You watch and see!

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