Ten years ago today, the entire trajectory of my life changed.
On April 25, 2010 my American Hero hubby and I signed an adoption decree, and later that day put our names on a Serbian birth certificate that declared us the parents of Sofija Bea Brave. We were scared. There were moments along the path when both of us wanted to back out and run home. But we didn’t. We honored God and the journey He had placed us on, and that my readers, has made ALL the difference.
At this moment we are living through times that will be talked about in history books. There is a global pandemic that has literally forced the entire world to STOP. Every person I know, all around the globe, is in quarantine. Like you and every other human, I have come up with a hundred different theories, and contrived a hundred different explanations for WHY God is allowing COVID-19 to shut down literally everything. This is where I’ve arrived…
I entered this time of seclusion and quarantine believing that the pandemic was an act of discipline. That God had put the entire globe in timeout in order to strip away all of our idols and force us into a time of worship. While there may be some truth to that theory, I don’t think that tells the whole story of what we’re experiencing.
The very first verse I (and most Christians) learned was John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, so that whoever believed in Him would have eternal life.” After five, or six, or however many weeks it’s been, I now believe that God allowing the world to shut down is an act of love that I can’t even wrap my head around.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer that had spread into my neck bed. I had seven tumors. The largest was 4.2cm. I had two surgeries and high-dose radiation that required ten days of isolation. It’s comical now to think how special I felt that God chose ME to spend ten days in isolation with. But honestly, that’s exactly how I see it. God loved me SO MUCH that he allowed me to have cancer so that He could get me alone with Him to heal my broken pieces and prepare me for all that was to come with the obedience of adopting my baby girl.
Right now, God is showing the entire world just how much He loves every single human being. You can sit all day discussing politics and conspiracy theories and Constitutional violations… OR you can stop, enjoy this time with your Father, and ask Him what He wants to put back together in you and what He’s preparing you for as the world emerges from this lockdown.
For me, I got to hear that I was cancer-free on June 18, 2009. Ten months later I was in Serbia adopting the little girl that would change everything about every day from that point forward.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.
When our kids were younger we camped a lot. This scripture came alive to me while camping. Pushing out three babies meant that for many
decades years I couldn’t sleep through the night without a bathroom trip. On camping trips I often found myself in the dark of night, trying to navigate my way to an appropriate place to relieve my bladder with nothing but a flashlight to guide my path. No matter how strong of a flashlight I carried, I could never see the entire path ahead or everything that was making noises in the dark around me. That is exactly what Psalm 119:105 promises us. God’s Word will always show us the step that is right in front of us. He doesn’t promise to show us the entire path ahead or what is happening all around us. He only promises to show us our next step.
Adopting Sofija has led me down a path that I never could have dreamed of. I won’t bore you with details, but that one act of obedience, the one illuminated step on a dark and scary path, led to the next illuminated step, and the next, and the next. And here I am, on April 25, 2020, trying to wrap my head around the path God has taken our family down.
Two years ago I was asked to join the board of an NGO in Serbia that is providing transition homes for youth who age out of orphan care. Less than two years ago I started a government contracting and consulting company. Last fall I was invited to Thailand to participate in the global forum on orphan care. I met people along my path with similar callings and passions to intervene in the orphan crisis. I met with those people in December to discuss a way to pull together all of our skillsets and passions to create a community without orphans both here in Florida and in Eastern Europe. One of the women in that group connected me with a brilliant inventor, that connected me with the company that built one of his prototypes. A woman who owns a company in Texas found me through the government contracting website looking for something that the company who built the prototypes could get, we pulled the two sides of the supply chain together and worked countless hours this last week to pull a deal together. And today, ten years after saying, “Yes” when asked if I wanted to be Sofija Bea Brave’s Mama, a deal came together that will provide care and services for the youth in Serbia who age out, the youth in my area who age out, foster families, struggling families, and families who seek reunification.
In the last 48 hours, my fifteen year old, almost six feet tall bundle of sass, has said repeatedly, “Stop talking to me!”, “Get away from me.” and “I need a vacation from this house!” She’s cried countless times over the last six weeks as she declared, “I miss people!” As I suspect most fifteen year old girls would do, when I respond with, “Let’s ask God what He wants to heal right now and what He’s preparing us for, she goes back to… “Stop talking to me.” But I’m okay with that. She’s identifying that this time at home is challenging and affirming her boundaries better than many adults I know. She has said several times this week, “I want to go live with other people.” I usually reply empathetically with, “Me too, Baby. Me too.”
This week we learned that my husband’s contract job at USSOCOM would not be renewed. He was able to laugh because he could see immediately that God was doing something new. God IS doing something new. He’s doing something new with the entire human race. I’ll be honest. There have been moments during the quarantine when I’ve felt guilty about the fact that I’ve never been more at peace or filled with more anticipation about the next steps God is lighting up on my path. There have also been moments when I’ve laid on my bedroom floor until I had to find a tissue to clean my snot and tears. Do I “need a vacation from this house”? Yep. At moments I feel completely claustrophobic. Do I “miss people”? Ummm… I’m 98% E on the Myers Briggs test. I’m sooo grateful that God chose me to be the Mama of a girl who needs people as much as I do. She gets me.
This time is hard and has everyone on a rollercoaster of emotions. Whatever you’re feeling is okay. But from someone who has been through a forced isolation and came out of it with healing, freedom, and a
usually well-lit path, I highly encourage you to take some time during this period to ask God what He wants to heal in you right now and what He’s preparing you for. He never promised any of us the big picture or all the answers. He did promise us that He would always light up the next step on our path. And man, how grateful I am that ten years ago the step He lit in front of me looked like this…