James 5:12 And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don’t add words like “I swear to God” to your own words. Don’t show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say YES or NO. Just say what is true. That way, your language can’t be used against you. Ahem, Brian Williams
December 26th, 1993, Dear Hubby asked me to marry him (for the 5th or 6th time). This time I said, “Yes.”
February 18th, 1994, standing at an altar, a pastor asked us both if we were willing to fight with and for each other for as long as we both shall live. We both said, “Yes.”
Three kids, more than a dozen moves, war, deployments, cancer, family deaths… we just kept saying, “Yes.”
September 17th, 2009, we learned about a five-year-old orphan girl in Serbia that had autism. We asked God if she was ours. He said, “Yes.”
April 15th, 2010, sitting in the Serbian Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, we learned the truth about Sofija’s history. We were scared. When asked if we wanted to proceed with the adoption, we said, “Yes.”
October 2010, my BFF’s hubby asked me to fly to Dallas the following January for her 40th birthday. I said, “Yes.”
January 8th, 2011, while in Dallas for the BFF’s birthday I attended a town-hall meeting on human trafficking. At the town-hall meeting, in a room filled with hundreds of people, God locked my eyes on a lady named Nancy and said, “Go meet her.” I obeyed. Obedience led to her asking me to lead a team of people to Serbia three months later. I said, “Yes.”
May 1st, 2011, after a church service in a hotel in Belgrade, Serbia, I was asked if I’d like to meet a guy named Samuil. I said, “Yes.”
Several times between May of 2011 and February of 2015, Samuil visited Washington, DC. On each visit he asked if our family would like to see him. Each time we answered, “Yes.”
February 4th, 2015, Samuil invited me to join him at the events leading up to the National Prayer Breakfast. I said, “Yes.”
After the European delegacy dinner on the evening of February 4th, Samuil was busy introducing our friend Marija to every single guy in attendance (nobody stays single around Samuil). As he introduced her to one of the single guys he said, “Marija, meet Branko. He’s Serbian, single, AND he’s a doctor at John’s Hopkins.” I was busy checking email on my phone when the words “doctor at John’s Hopkins” caught my attention.
Last month (January 2015), we admitted our daughter to the psychiatric unit at Children’s National Medical Center. She stayed there for a very long week. The entire time she was there a team of people tried everything in our power to get her transferred to John’s Hopkins. I tried. My dear hubby tried. Three social workers/case managers tried. Every person we know that has connections at John’s Hopkins tried to call in a favor. All of our efforts were in vain. No person had the power to make a bed available or to even get her an outpatient appointment with one of the specialist that we’d like her to see. It was discouraging and disheartening, but it was also a part of a big lesson that God continues to teach me. I am not in control. He is. Anything I accomplish is through Him. It’s okay for me to be helpless and unqualified and at the end of myself. That’s where God gets to show off.
We brought our girl home from the hospital with deflated egos and comforted spirits. She was His before she was ours. It’s our job to love her and fight for her. But when our efforts our fruitless, it is ultimately our job to let go and let God do His thing. She’s His to heal.
Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
Proverbs 19:21 You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.
When the words “doctor at John’s Hopkins” caught my attention I looked up from my phone and laid eyes on tall, dark, and handsome hope. As Branko (pronounced Bronco) reached out to shake my hand I said, “You wouldn’t happen to be a pediatric psychiatrist?” To which he replied, “No. I’m a plastic surgeon. But… my good friend is a pediatric psychiatrist by trade. He now only works with children with autism. And he’s also Serbian.” I may have choked back a few tears as tall, dark and handsome hope took my phone and entered his friend’s contact information. Heck, to be honest, I’m choking back tears as I type this. All the efforts of a team of people could not produce a name or contact of someone who could help my daughter be seen at John’s Hopkins. But… one “yes” to a dinner invitation connected me with THE doctor we need to see. And… he just happens to be from Serbia. Before contacting the doctor I read up on him. People!! Guess when he started working with children with autism at John’s Hopkins? He started there in 2004… the year that Sofija was conceived.
Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…
Psalm 139:16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
God knew her first. She was His before she was mine.
God knew. He had a plan. His plan was being put in place while my daughter was being formed in the womb of a woman named Zorka in Belgrade, Serbia.
I contacted the heaven-sent doctor and he quickly replied with a, “Thanks for reaching out. I’d love to help…” A couple of emails later we have a plan and he’s now part of Sofija’s team.
I don’t know where this journey will lead or what God has planned for Sofija through this new connection. But I do know that the journey would’ve never happened, had it not been for a whole lot of “yeses”.
Here’s the thing. God’s plan is sovereign. But… the characters in that plan are not absolute. He gives us free will to step in or out of the plan as we choose. When we don’t say, “Yes.”, He moves on to plan B. Who knows? Maybe God had someone else in mind to adopt Sofija and bring her to the DC area and take her to see the doctor at John’s Hopkins and pray for her and love her and see her become all that she was created for. Maybe that person/family said, “No” or just ignored Him. Maybe I’m the plan B. Moses was the plan A for getting the Israelites into the Promised Land. I love Moses. He’s one of my top five favorite orphans and his story was mankind’s first introduction to adoption/foster care. But Moses missed out. He tried to do things in his own timing and on more than one occasion he ignored God instead of saying, “Yes.” As a result, God went with plan B. Joshua is the one who got to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. Moses died without ever seeing all that God had promised.
The possibilities that await with seeing the doctor at John’s Hopkins have me thinking as much about the past as the future. How much good have I missed out on in life by ignoring God when He was waiting for my, “Yes”? Saying, “Yes” is not always easy. In fact, most of my “yeses” have led me down difficult roads. I’ve been betrayed, robbed, lied to, hurt (emotionally and physically), lonely, afraid, and almost always certain that I am completely unqualified for the task at hand. But I’ll take the hard roads. I want to see all that God has promised. I want to be the Mama who gets to see Sofija being the very best Sofija she can be. The vision I have of who she is becoming cast shadows over every difficult moment we’ve endured on this journey. I have a front-row seat to a miracle in the making. All because of yes.