How will I know?

Our family is in New York this week on vacation. We flew into NYC last Thursday night and rented a car Friday to drive to Lake Placid for the marathon JJ ran yesterday. We have never been to this area and it’s beautiful!!!

Today we’re relaxing and enjoying time together in the mountains while JJ’s legs recuperate. We had breakfast at little cafe down the road called Chair 6. We plan to go walking on a nature trail around Lake Placid this afternoon, and then rent some kayaks to row around Mirror Lake. I LOVE being with my three guys. We have laughed so much!!

Today is also the day we should hear back from the Dr. in Ethiopia about come information we wanted as we prayerfully decide about the adoption referral we got last week. I have to be honest, I am nervous (and sometimes downright overwhelmed) by the thought of being a mommy of an infant again. I want to be Godly and selfless but I’m not always in that place. This is such a huge change from a 4-6 yr old. But GOD!!!

I know this could be the very plan God has to bring our family that much closer together. This baby girl could be the very one we’ve been praying and waiting for. But I’d be lying if I wasn’t real with you about my fears.

Please pray for me. I need it. This is so different than the direction of adopting an older child we thought God was leading us for so long. One day I’m good. The next day I’m not so good when I insert a baby into the scenery of what we’re doing at that moment. I’ll see a baby crying and an exhausted mommy looking at her husband like she wants to run away and it just scares me.

The next minute I think of so many good things about a baby, and how much easier it may be for her to adjust emotionally and mentally. I remember the coos and the smiles and the joy a baby brings. I think about how our boys have never had a baby in their lives and how precious it could be.

Five minutes later I think about me being at home with a baby all day. I was kinda lonely when my boys were babies and my life revolved around nap times. I wonder what life will look like when I’ve had little sleep. And what about my job at P31? And the speaking ministry God called me to?

We have not sensed God telling us to cut back each time we prayed about upcoming events in 2009 and 2010. JJ’s says he wants to keep doing what we’re doing. Then I also remember how God has confirm again and again that it was time for me to write a book. I just completed the proposal. I wouldn’t have done that if I knew a baby was coming.

But GOD!!!

So what do you do when you can’t understand God’s plans or you’re not sure if they are His?

I cry. I talk to my husband. I call a friend. I journal my heart and my thoughts. I read my Bible and tell God I need help and hope. Yesterday a verse jumped out at me that reminds me of God being my help and my refuge.

I also remember the ways God came through last week when life turned upside down with the news of a baby girl possibly coming into our lives. I”ll share more about that tomorrow. Today, I just need to know that I know that I know if this is the daughter God has planned all along for our family. Because if it is, then every thing is going to be okay.

How will I know… if my hesitancy God’s way of leading us to say no…or it’s selfish yet normal fear…or if it’s the enemy trying to get me to miss God’s best? I’ll let you know when I find out.

In the meantime, I sure would treasure your thoughts on how you know, and your prayers as I muddle and pray through my own finding out.

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Oh Renee! It's so evident that you desire to do the Father's will. I have a verse to share with you:

    "And let the peace, soul harmony, which comes from the Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts–deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds–(in that peaceful state) to which (as members of Christ's) one body you were also called to live…" Colossians 3:15 (Amplified Bible)

    Isn't that powerful?

    When I catch myself feeling frustrated, overwhelmed or uncertain, it's frequently because I've lost my peace about a situation and just need to sit back until the Lord clarifies things. Until that UMPIRE tells me "Safe!"

    Praying for you!

  2. Renee, I am praying for you! May God give his guidance, peace and direction. I can relate to the overwhelming thoughts a baby on the way brings, but with our ultrasound fresh in my memory I know the joy as well. If it's what God wants, He will work out the details! Blessings and Prayers, Jill

  3. Renee you are His daughter and because of that amazing and beautiful relationship He will speak very specific to your heart! You will hear Him at just the right time and moment, and you will walk out in His plan with His grace and it will look so amazing because He has planned every detail. Sit tight in His lap…and follow His lead! Love to you my friend!

  4. Praying for you and knowing He will lead your family perfectly! Excited to watch and see what His plans are!

  5. "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to propsper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11

    I know all about the uncertainity of the future and it's SO hard to not do but wait. In a Bible Study we are doing, the author reminds us that we need to be specific in our requests to the Lord. The answers we receive do us no good if we are asking the wrong questions. So I encourage you to cling to this verse as I am currently doing, be specific in your questions to your God and if the answers you receive are backed up by His word then you know they are true.
    With love—
    Jessica

  6. Renee,

    Sweet sister what I hear from you is an honest, open willingness from a women who simply wants to serve the Lord. He will whisper in your ear what you need to hear.

    "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." * Psalms 46:10 NIV

    When I am trying to figure out what HIS will is I stand still and let Him move me. Somehow I know just when it is right. I will hold you and your family up in prayer as you as making this life changing decision.
    Sweet Blessings,
    Diane

  7. Hi Renee,

    I’m so sorry if this ends up being a super long comment. Your blog post moved me, and I’ve been thinking about so many things after reading it.

    After two years of trying to adopt from Liberia and two lost referrals, God made it clear to us that it was time to stop the adoption process. It was so hard for me to let go. I was the one that initiated our adoption process, so I went through a season of doubt after it was all over. I kept wondering if I had ever really heard God’s voice at all, or if I had made it all up.

    Then I read a devotion (written by you, I think) on the P31 website about how Jesus’ sheep know His voice. It gave me so much comfort!

    So, I’m just telling you what you already know, but I am completely convinced you can rest while you are seeking Him in this because you are one of His sheep. You will know His voice. Even if you aren’t certain at this moment what you should do, you won’t make a mistake. You are seeking Him, and desire to be in the center of His will.

    This was my favorite verse when we were going through our adoption process:

    I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. -Psalm 32:8

    I had some other thoughts, too, I hope you don’t mind. You will definitely be able to see my bias in these. : )

    -I think it is awesome that you got your referral right before your vacation. I think God got you away to an awesome spot to be able to seek Him and pray.

    -I have a baby right now. I was so scared to go back there after 6 years of not being in the baby stage, but it is such a sweet place to be. I love how much my girls (6 and 7) love their baby brother and are such a help to me. Being older this time around, I’m a different mom than I was. I’m more relaxed and at peace.

    -Nap time is my writing time. I’ve finished a non-fiction book and am working on a novel right now. Naps might be a hidden blessing for you as you are working on your book.

    -Being in the adoption process, I connected with a lot of adoptive families. The older child adoptions require a LOT of emotional support and energy and often therapy. I’m not saying that an infant doesn’t have their own losses to deal with, but it just seemed like the families who adopted older children were often overwhelmed. Is it possible that maybe God has given you what might be the better situation so you can continue your ministry?

    OK…please forgive me again for how long this is. Whatever you decide, it will be so wonderful to follow along on your journey and such a privilege to pray for you and your sweet family.

    I’m praying right now!

    Love,
    Becky A. : )

    P.S. This is a devotion I wrote about our adoption process and hearing Jesus’ voice:

    http://blog.ccboisewomen.org/?p=142

  8. What honesty. Know that you are being lifted up in prayer right now. You and your family are in my thoughts often and just hearing what you are thinking helps so much as I pray.

    Enjoy your time away with your boys…sounds to me like it's perfect timing!

    Oh…way to go, JJ!!

  9. First of all, I have you on my prayer list, Renee.

    I think you're doing the right things. Be still before the Lord and wait for peace. He will give you your answer because you are faithfully going to
    Him for the answer. He has good plans for you and your family. 🙂

  10. I am praying for you.

    I know that God knows exactly what He is doing!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Renee,
    Sweet friend, only one thing to say….Praying.

    Love & Hugs,
    Margaret

  12. Anonymous says:

    Renee,
    I am praying that God's light and wisdom will shine on your heart to know what direction to take. May you follow His will. Blessings.

    JD

  13. Thank you for sharing this story, Renee, and for sharing your doubts and fears. It touches me deeply and I am praying as I write that you will feel His peace and be guided. Your openness to His will is a beautiful thing. Not easy, I can see, but beautiful. I pray that this time together as a family will strengthen and restore you, preparing you for a beautiful beginning.
    Blessings,
    Ann

  14. Just a little encouragement, I hope. My husband and I kept foster children for 7 years. One of the latter children that came to our home is now our son, Stephen. We realized early on that Stephen would not be returning to his birth parents and also knew that we would keep him. What we didn't know was that mom would become pregnant again and that her second child would be tagged on to the termination of parental rights. However, we knew right away that we would keep that child as well when it was born. We felt it "just the right thing to do." And we did. I had always wanted to adopt a child. I am adopted. However, I had always told God that I didn't think I could handle a child that would need care for his entire life. (some sort of disability) Well, God had other plans. As I said before, there was no question, even before Nathan's birth that we would keep him. We knew we would. Nothing would change that. He was Stephen's brother. Long story a little shorter – Nathan is autistic and will probably need our constant care for his entire life. God is great, all the time. Raising Nathan is such a challenge. Raising Nathan is such a BLESSING. God's grace is sufficient. It comes when we need it, not in advance. I'm praying with you about your decision. I hope this has been some encouragement in your time filled with the "what ifs."

    Blessings,
    Martha

  15. Anonymous says:

    Renee, I am so excited that you are in upstate NY. I actually live a little closer to Albany, and grew up in a town called Saratoga Springs which is about 1.5 hrs south of Lake Placid. (you should visit my favorite coffee shop of all time- Uncommon Grounds in Saratoga on your way back through to NYC) SO GREAT!

    Also, just wanted to let you know that I am praying. I am so excited for the desire that God has given your family to adopt. What a precious desire. Praying for peace for you and your family!

    Enjoy NY 🙂

    Danielle

  16. Rennee:

    My prayer is that you are able to enjoy the sweet release of knowing you have given the situation to Him. When we surrender completely we can let His peace wash over us, knowing that it will indeed be His will, not ours, His plan, not ours. You won't need to wonder if your feelings are selfish, or a warning, for He will open the doors He wants open, and shut all the others.

    I pray as well for a psecial time of snuggling into His arms, drawing on His great love for you.

  17. Renee, just remember your shoe!!

    God is the same God leading you today! The glory will be His, no matter what!

    Praying and sending hugs your way!!

  18. Hey Renee, just wanted you to know that I'm praying for you too, that God will make Himself and His will known to your family in mighty and unmistakable ways. He will honor your seeking and listening at just the right time – I think we're all trusting in that for you.

    I'm hoping with confident expectation for what He has in store for you and your family!

    In Him,
    Sam

  19. Janie Graves says:

    I am so glad to have heard from you via twitter (of which I'm new to.) I was blessed by your transparency of hesitation on your Blog.

    And I love and receive Julie Gillies Word from Col. 3:15. (I've been thinking about getting a new Amplified Bible and know I MUST now. Thanks Julie!)

    I am in a place myself waiting for real confirmation of God's Plan for my life. In times of doubt I listen to a song that helps me focus on His Voice. It really blesses me and encourages me to have faith in His new plans for my life. ("Words of Truth" by Casting Crowns)

    Without faith we will miss out on the full blessing God has for us. But I have to admit that I wish God would just write His Plan on my bathroom mirror so when it steams up the decision is perfectly clear. I know I have to trust Him and know He has a better Plan than I could ever phathom (Jer. 29:11) regardless of my fears on the unknown that will change my life completely and those in my familiy.

    One scripture that is an anchor to me is Ps 138:8 "He perfects those things that concern us."

    The other thing to consider and rest in is the blessing you will be to that particular baby if God is speaking to your heart about this child…something you can't even imagine. God's Plan for this baby may be being raised by a strong Christian woman of God for His Glory, and He may be choosing you above all others.

    It is so awesome to hear your heart of Jesus. May He continue to bless you and speak to your Spirit.

    You will be in my prayers, and I also covet your prayers at this time in my life of uncertainty.

  20. Renee;

    I am so where you are. God has laid a women's ministry on my heart and for the past two years I have gone back and forth with, "Do I do this? Is is really God? What if I fail? What about the days when I am too tired to care?"

    Truly, God is the only One who can help us through these times of uncertainty. All I can say is that if the desire deep within for your dream does not go away, then it is of God. He didn't say life would be easy and He didn't say achieving and living our dreams would be easy either.

    So, for me, I have decided to take the plunge and just do it. I know God loves me enough to never give me more than I can bear and if I am making a mistake or headed in the wrong direction, He will put a check in my spirit and make a way for things not to happen.

    From someone who has always wanted to give birth to precious babies and is not able to, please go for this dream and love your baby girl with all you've got. What a gift you are about to receive!

    Praise God and be blessed.

    Monica

  21. Praying for you Renee. I know God will let you know what He wants you to do. And I'm pretty sure you won't miss it. You're tuned into His frequency and listening. You'll hear when He's ready to speak His plans. Meantime, just keep doing what He's already called you to do.

  22. Oh Renee – How evident it is to me that you want to please your Father above all but at the same time have the questions, struggles and concern that each of us bring to the altar. You are so real, so transparent. Thank you for trusting us with your heart!

    Father God, How we love you and want to serve you with our whole selves. We know you have a perfect plan for our sister servant. We acknowledge that you, who started such a good work in Renee will be faithful to complete it. You put the dreams in her heart, and we know Lord you are going to do a wonderful work. Show her your way Lord. Direct her paths as she places her trust in you. Encourage her spirit. In the name of Jesus, put a hedge of protection around her thoughts. We thank you for your work and for the incredible priviledge of serving You. In Jesus' Name!

  23. Hey Renee – So proud of you for following Him…regardless. Your decision has impacted me in many ways. Looking forward to watching how He will continue to do a good work in your life…
    love you-
    holly

  24. When I've been in similar situations the only thing I've found to do is to keep moving forward, one step at a time, praying that God will open or close the appropriate doors as necessary. There are times when I've had to be really specific and ask God to close a particular door if I wasn't meant to go through it because I wasn't sure I had it in me to choose NOT to do it on my own.

    I will be praying with you that God makes His will so clear that you won't have any doubts at all–whatever the outcome.

    Mary Hampton

  25. Janie Graves says:

    Correction!!… the song is "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns. (oops)

    It's awesome and hope it ministers to you.

    Renee, may He continue to bless you and confirm in your heart what blessings He has waiting for you.

  26. Renee, I wish I had read this sooner, but I know the Lord has already given you direction and I'm so excited for you. I will pray that the Lord will continue to confirm His will and way for you. May His peace be the assurance you need.

    Hugs,
    Joy

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