~ For today’s story, I would like you to meet Ashely. I ran across her blog and realized that we have so much in common! We both have two boys and a girl (the same ages) and we were both hoping to adopt a little girl from China. She is also the one who gracious shared her shirt design with me as well! Please take a moment to read her story! ~
Fear vs Faith
Hello! My name is Ashley Strong. I live in Cleveland, Tennessee with my husband, Cole, and our three children; Jeremiah (6), Lucas (4), and Olivia (2). My family is also in the process of adopting a little girl from China like Sarah and her family.
I was so humbled when Sarah asked me to write a guest post for her blog. I am not a writer, so this intimidates me a bit, but I also feel very blessed to have this opportunity to share about my God, who He is, and what He has done in my life.
“Fear verses faith” seemed to be the theme for our family in 2014. The year began with God completely surprising us and calling us to open up our hearts and home to an orphan. The year ended with us having to make the decision to adopt a specific little girl or not. Both decisions: to say yes to God and move forward with an adoption and to say yes to a particular child’s file, were extremely difficult to make. Each time we were completely gripped with fear…mainly fear of the unknown. Both times, it came down to us having to make a decision based on our fear OR our faith…in the One who created all things, knows all things, has the power to do all things.
My husband, Cole, and I started out 2014 feeling quite certain that our family was complete with our three children. In January, God started working on my heart and by mid February I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was asking us to provide a family for an orphan…one of His precious children in need of love, a home, and a family. I knew that to turn away or say “no” to this calling would be absolute disobedience. I would try to imagine going to heaven one day and meeting my Jesus face-to-face knowing that I did not do what He asked me to do. Nope. I couldn’t do that to my Savior…the One who gave His own life for me. I couldn’t say to Him…but what about my future, my marriage, my kids…what would an adoption do to us? No, we don’t have the money for that. $35,000 for an adoption…are you kidding me??? You know we are barely making it from paycheck to paycheck without dipping into savings. No God, we are comfortable where we are and that sounds too hard.
This is where the Holy Spirit rose up within us and gave us faith, strength and courage that we would never have had on our own. I knew that God was not just calling us to adopt an orphan. He was calling us to put our faith in Him….to give Him the opportunity to show us who He is and what He can do. While we had so many fears at that point, we also were full of excitement and expectation. WOW! If He is really asking us to do this, we know He will have to show up big time!!!
So we took a leap of faith and said yes. From there we began the adoption process. We felt the hand of Lord leading us, guiding us, encouraging us, and providing for us every step of the way. It was pretty much smooth sailing until…it was time to be matched with our daughter. The way that God brought her to us was very unexpected. It wasn’t how we imagined it happening. Then all of a sudden, we had this HUGE decision to make.
So many questions were running through our minds…
Will she need to have another open heart surgery?
Will she need a pacemaker?
Will she ever be able to run and play like other children?
Will I constantly be fearful and worrisome that something will happen to her. (I already struggle with worry A LOT as a mom.)
As we learned more about possible health conditions that she may face in the future, the questions got even harder…
Does she have a syndrome that could cause her to not grow and develop properly?
Would she have major learning disabilities due to this possible syndrome?
Would she have behavior issues due to this possible syndrome?
Would she not be able to be independent as an adult because this possible syndrome affected her ability to reason?
The possibility of this particular syndrome is what Satan used to place so much fear in my husband and me. This fear did the unthinkable, in my mind, and put me in the darkest place I have ever been. It is hard to even type the words but…I started to doubt my God. Doubt who He was and what He called use to do.
But then God reminded me of all of the miracles and how He had worked so far to bring this little girl into our family.
- He loved this little girl so much that He interrupted our comfortable life to provide a family for her.
- He had this adoption in the palm of His hands and had provided every dollar for us, before we even needed it.
- When it was time for us to look at her file, He provided 9 doctors / 3 specialist to take the time to review it for us and help us understand (as much as possible) her medical situation… truly amazing!
- When we had questions about her file, He worked behind the scenes to have her orphanage, on the other side of the world, answer our questions within 24 hours (a complete miracle!)
- He was working in the hearts of family members. He used this precious girl to soften their hearts and help them understand why He called us to adopt.
- He was using this adoption to give us opportunities to share our faith with nonbelievers.
Were we going to make this decision based on our fear of the unknown or our faith in the One who called us on this journey and had led us and provided for us so well? After some of the darkest moments of my life, filled with fear and doubt, Cole and I were able to say that this sweet little girl was our daughter and submit our Letter of Intent to adopt her. It wasn’t easy and we continue to struggle with fear. But God continues to be by our side; giving us the faith that we need to follow Him.
I have learned so much about our Heavenly Father throughout our adoption journey. But the two things that I think about most often are that…
#1 He is GOOD!
#2 I can TRUST Him!
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
And remember to like “Abiding in Grace Blog” on Facebook to keep up with our Adoption Journey as well!