From “When” to “If”

After waking up my son Knox for school this morning, we lingered a while in his bed discussing possible ways to make his bedroom more toddler-friendly before bringing home a new little brother/roommate. Involuntarily, I found myself saying “if,” instead of “when.” “We should go through all of the tiny pieces that go with your Star Wars figures if we bring Ezra home…”

Fortunately, Knox didn’t catch my slip-up. He happily jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen like always. I, on the other hand, have felt burdened by this alteration in my vocabulary. My hope has waxed and waned throughout our adoption process but I have recently felt myself spending more time at the “Depressed Pessimist” side of the spectrum as opposed to the “Expectant Optimist” side. With document expiration dates looming in the very near future, we’ve begun the updating process for our files. Nearly all of the paperwork we filled out so many months ago must now be filled out again. The first time was exciting. This time is just depressing.

Kind friends encourage me with: “Just keep praying!” They say, “Trust God’s perfect timing!” I hear their words but it doesn’t ring true. I can’t imagine that God is pleased with orphans having to wait for a family. How can He approve of the under-staffed Embassy that makes investigating these cases take so long? Is He busy elsewhere when children die of malnutrition and diarrhea when they simply need something to eat and clean water to drink? From my inferior, earthly point of view, God’s timing really stinks.

So there’s the chasm I must jump to have a faith that can move mountains. Trusting God when everything’s going great is a breeze. Trusting God when He’s not going in the direction nor at the speed I’d prefer feels foolish and a waste of time.  So I ask myself, who was I reallytrusting when there was smooth sailing and calm water for as far as the eye could see? God doesn’t change but I have more moods swings than a Miss America pageant has costume changes.

My consolation during this Faith Battle Royale that’s being waged in my heart and mind is my faith in Him doesn’t change His faithfulness toward me. He is the same God no matter how poorly I try to define Him. His power isn’t diminished just because I can’t see the evidence of it. He is gravity, tethering me to this Earth with invisible bands. I can spend the rest of my days denying the existence of gravity–something I can’t see or hold–but I can’t escape its reality.

I’m grateful for the friends who continue to pray for our son and the millions of other children who need families. I have days when my prayers seem to bounce back to me like a hollow echo–empty and mocking. It’s a great encouragement to know that when I can’t (or won’t) pray, there are others who step in to fill that chasm.

3 replies
  1. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    Oh how I needed to read this today. How my heart aches with you..the battle most days seems to over take me. I, like you, trust that God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow but His timing is hard to understand. I am settled with the knowledge that my obedience to Him has nothing to do with my understanding. I am praying along with you sister! I am PRAYING

  2. Nancy Center
    Nancy Center says:


    It certainly makes no sense from this perspective, and i just ache for you and Ezra and your family…you have given your heart, and thoughts, and resources to a child in need, only to be met with mountains of delays, paperwork, and red tape. But our God can move mountains. He responds to our faith and you DO have a big one. You are the woman who loves a boy you’ve never met because you know he is meant to be your son. Don’t listen to Satan when he says you doubt. If you didn’t believe Ezra is to be yours, there’d be no reason to prepare Knox to share his room. You’d never tell your children Ezra’s coming if he’s not.

    You’re tired and discouraged, and understandably so!! But God knows you do still have faith, so ask Him to move that mountain. Believe it will be done for you and don’t doubt. He loves you and He loves Ezra, and you are doing it all for His glory. It will be done. (Mark 11:22-24)

    “I will do whatever you ask i my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)

    “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:7-8)

    “All things are possible with God.”

    Praying for you and all of yours.


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