Friday, August 15, 2014

pregnant with a promise

(this the is last day to enter my Noonday giveaway below! Go get some free jewelry) 

This is both the promise the Lord gave us and the reason I will NEVER hear Katy Perry's song the same again in my life. seriously. 
Here is an email I wrote to my family in November right after the Lord spoke to us about adopting. I didn't actually send it until April after we told our immediate family in person. But it shares our story of how the Lord spoke to us that it was time to adopt. I included the email instead of typing it all out again because it shares the entire story and a larger chunk of our journey.
Its the promise He gave us that we're holding on to now. Our church has a sort of declaration in the front of our sanctuary. On it, it says "pregnant with a promise" and that is something Ive held on to in this season. Though, I am not pregnant, I am at the same time. Inside me is this promise that I'm holding on to and clinging to. Praise the Lord.
Friends & Family,
I wrote this email in November and then felt like I was supposed to wait to send it. Freeland & I are so excited and ready to share the news, so here it is. I'm thankful the Lord had me write this out back then and not now because it would've been written so different now. Meaning, the emotion of some of this is clearly different now.. but our hearts are still in the same exact place and we are walking in more obedience, wisdom, etc etc etc now instead of just the whirlwind of it all! We are going to share the news on our blog as well, but here is some of the details behind it all: 
on 11/26/13 I wrote:

Well, I'm sure some of you may have known or wondered if/when the day was coming. Maybe you have been waiting for some sort of an announcement! ha.
Chapel is 12 months old. Per usual.. if we were following our trend I would be having our 4th baby in just 3 months. Obviously, that is not happening. And to be honest, I'm torn and sad about it. I would go as far as to say at times I felt like I was almost mourning the idea of it. I know that sounds dramatic. But at times it felt that way for some reason. (Although I am okay with the fact that we aren't pregnant too. I just never would have thought I would feel like I was missing something since I already have 3 children.)

But to be honest, its how it feels. It feels like something is missing. Clearly, I do love being pregnant.. and I LOVE having babies. So I acknowledge that and know it is a good thing and something I'm incredibly grateful for.
Soooo.. there is that.
Now, on to the point of my email. Freeland & I have had a ton of conversations around "will we have another child.. will we adopt.. will we foster.. how will the Lord use us to work with orphans.. will we advocate for children.. will we bring them into our home.. will we move overseas.. will we help run an orphanage.. will we not do anything?!?!!"

We know that the Lord has stirred our hearts for children especially children who have no family.
We've gone back & forth and wavered so much. I actually got pretty weary of it. ("it" being the back and forth and not just landing on a decision) I couldn't tell what the Lords desires or my desires were anymore. My emotions and thoughts and feelings changed daily.. sometimes hourly!

I told Freeland I just had to hear from the Lord because I was tired of wavering. I just wanted the Lord to give me a peace to do either or to just stop and enjoy where we were at and stop trying to come to a decision.

And so we committed to pray about it. I really felt like the Lord impressed it upon my heart to ask what HIS desire for our family was. I believed that the reason we were going back and forth and the reason we were experiencing all the emotions and the reason all the desires in our hearts were growing was because He was leading us into a place to pray and ask Him. 
I believe He was the one stirring up such intense and deep desires for us.
Ackley18
(these pictures were our family pictures last november. I remember taking them wishing they could be announcement pictures and thinking the next time we took family pictures there could be another child in them)

And what do you know - the next day after we committed to pray about it. He spoke.

And ummm He spoke really really loud.


Here is what the Lord spoke to me:
During worship at a women's conference at our church, the Lord spoke to me. I went to the conference with a little expectation of Him giving me clarity around this since we had just committed to pray about it. (which is why I wrote out the back story to this for yall if youre wondering why I just told you all that!) I wasn't sure if He would. And I wasn't even sitting and asking Him at the moment. (I was actually sitting down because I was distracted and annoyed.. so basically the opposite of trying to sit before the Lord) Anyway.. in the midst of a bad attitude He broke through and all the sudden spoke to me. 
Our pastor had just got up and shared a word that he had .. saying he felt like the Lord gave him the word "roar" for the weekend. Then our pastors wife got up and shared that on her way to the conference the Lord put on her heart the verses where He says 'God is our refuge and strength.. our help in trouble.. therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way.. though the sea will ROAR and the mountains will tremble .. (Psalm 46) She said this without knowing her husband, our pastor, felt like His word for the weekend was roar too. 
So clearly, yes, the Lord was speaking the word roar.  
I heard what they said and was still sitting down with my bad attitude. Repenting and trying to get back to a heart of worship. 
When all the sudden the Lord showed up.
He gave me a picture of Himself as a Lion. Literally, he showed me his face as a lion (think Aslan, from the Chronicles of Narnia if you want a reference) and He spoke:

"If you want to hear My roar .. go and fight for My children"
The End. 

 I mean, you don't really need much more after all that when the Lord speaks so clearly. 

It was overwhelming to say the least. It was one of those "I think that was an audible voice" moments. I immediately wept. Then I immediately wrote it down. When the Lord speaks that powerfully I don't think you can really do anything but say yes. All my questions, all the practicals, all my desires to have another baby, all the what ifs, the doubts, fears, worries, etc. VANISHED. I literally just wanted what the Lord wants .... and trust me, I want to hear Him roar. 
A passion and desire was ignited in me to see Him fight for what is His. To see Him be victorious, see Him be powerful, watch Him go to war and do the work. I will fight for His children.. if that's where He is - I want to be there too.
I should also note: as I was still sitting there screaming yes in my heart and laying down all my own desires and fears our speaker, Beni Johnson, got up and in the middle of talking stopped and just started repeating "mama be brave. mama be brave" and then went on. I mean .. all I could do was laugh. That of course is now stuck in my heart too.
Also, I think its only fair to share Freeland's response to all this. Right when I got home I woke him up and told him I knew it was time for us to adopt. His response: "I know".  Before hearing the story.. he knew. He was probably ready the entire time just waiting for me to join him. 
.... I'm very aware the Lord didn't say "I have this perfect beautiful easy baby I am going to bring in to your life" .. instead He said go and "fight" which I have to imagine means it will be a fight. It will probably look messy and scary and hard except it wont at the same time because I'm just looking ahead .. and when the Lord shows up as a Lion it doesn't really feel that scary anymore to me. So amen.
If you made it to the end of this GIGANTIC novel... congratulations. I just wanted to share all the details I could. And share the whole process with all of you. We realize our family - is your family too.. and our heart is that the vision and promise the Lord gave us would be apart of our entire families vision and promise! Feel free to let me know if you have more questions or if anything I said was confusing or if I left anything out. The Lord has spoken very clearly to us through his word, friends, and in prayer. I'm happy to share any of that if you would like. Thank you for always cheering us on and jumping on the adventure the Lord has taken us on. I will be posting it on our blog (today or tomorrow) and I will be sharing the details and story as it unfolds there so feel free to check there if you want more information too! 

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newAckley01(1)

So all that was from November. As I knew He would, the Lord has taken care of all the details so far. In the midst of Freeland's busiest year of residency we completed our 36 hours of training even with most of the classes being on days he was taking call. So many random things came up that couldn't be explained during that time. (like their system showing I didn't complete one of the classes I was at and a handful of other things that almost delayed us a ton) and each and every time the Lord swooped in and took care of it. 
Our home study is now officially approved (as of Tuesday, August 12th) Our last and final step is this Saturday (the 16th) and once their system updates to show we completed a final course on Saturday .. we will be waiting for a phone call!!
The kids know and are excited. They want a brother AND a sister! (oh Lord) 

The Lord gave me another promise this week too! I will have to share that with you all. I have no idea why the Lord was so gracious to speak as clearly and as powerfully as He did. We could have easily just felt a desire to pray about it.. searched the scriptures .. (which we did all those too) and then decided to simply step out in faith knowing that in His word He calls us to care for the orphans. At one point I thought He spoke the way He did because 'obviously' my faith was so small.. I wouldn't have ever said yes without it. I don't believe that is true. I know its not. My faith isn't small at all. But whatever the reason was.. I'm incredibly grateful. It feels like the biggest gift and so compassionate and loving of the Lord to do. It fires me up and stirs my heart in a way that can not be explained .. as if the Lord literally came down from Heaven and touched my heart and ignited it. Praise the Lord. I know for everyone their journey to stepping out in faith or becoming parents, adopting, saying yes to new things etc looks different. Thanks for reading what ours has looked like and believing with us! 

4 comments:

  1. that is beautiful, thank you for sharing it with us! you will be so glad you have all that written down for ever and ever too!

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  2. So brave. So powerful! It is your story, but it has helped me so much. So incredibly happy for y'all.

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  3. Hi there! I am coming over from Lulu's blog. She introduced you, and I knew I'd enjoy getting to know you too. My husband and I were foster and adoptive parents, so I know your struggles to get the classes, inspection, fingerprints, blah, blah, blah done. Congratulations!
    You have such a lovely family, I know you will be a blessing to whoever is lucky enough to be called to your home!
    So nice to meet you :)
    Ceil

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  4. Lovely to visit you from Lulu's place today, Brooke. May you feel God's love shining down on your sweet family as you continue ahead ...

    ;-}

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