Recently, I sat outside at our church, on my cheap fold-up chair from Academy Sports, as my son spoke some of the greatest truth into my sad, aching heart. Ethan said something along the lines of, I can do hard things with God’s help.
He was chosen to “preach a sermon” alongside our pastor. (Shoutout to Pastor Alan!)
On his own, he chose a mask to represent being able to do hard things with God’s help. A truth he had learned at Vacation Bible School this past summer and tucked away in his heart.
Ethan and our pastor talked about how wearing a mask at school is hard. They talked about how adopting internationally during a global pandemic is hard.
Then, they talked about how God helps us through hard things.
My eyes swelled with tears, and I was thankful for the sunglasses that helped me hide my tender heart.
Our pastor went on to talk about 1 Kings 17:2-6 and how God had sent a raven to feed Elijah during the great drought. A raven likely wouldn’t have been Elijah’s first choice for receiving sustenance, but it’s how God provided for him during this hard season.
Ever since that evening on the lawn, I’ve been searching for ravens.
For too long, I’ve been busy mourning my expectations of “normal” things like sending my kids to in-person school or school without a mask. I’ve been too distracted by the constant media negativity and passionate political opinions. I’ve dwelled on the worst-case-scenarios surrounding our adoption as paperwork moves at a snail’s pace and quarantine looms. All of these things distract me from the raven.
I long to see the raven, and I need the God that provides the raven.
You probably do too, and I can assure you that the ravens are always there. Here’s how I know.
I had the opportunity to spend two weeks of quality time with my oldest daughter, Bailey. She had to do remote learning the first two weeks of school while her siblings got to go in person. We went to lunch. We went for a bike ride. We did things that we never would’ve been able to do together if life was “normal.”
The negative media and political opinions? I’ve learned that if you turn off the news and social media and love the people right in front of you, the issues tend to lose their grip on your mind. Our best opportunity to change the world is to love the actual, physical people that are right in front of us.
A new, healthy perspective.
Our adoption paperwork is crawling forward and the quarantine in South Korea is likely to be required for the foreseeable future. What was supposed to be two quick trips to finalize our adoption has turned into one two-month trip.
An opportunity for our family to trust God completely with the travel arrangements that best fit our family. An opportunity for my kids to have a front-row seat to the entire redemptive story of adoption.
A few ravens.
To be honest, I wouldn’t have chosen these circumstances. I often wonder if we would’ve adopted had we known the reality of travel. When we were deciding which country to adopt from, we always strayed away from any country that required more than a two-week trip.
We could never do that, or so we thought.
I eat my “I could never” words all the time.
I dislike COVID and all of these unprecedented times, but I love the life-changing impact it’s having on my family.
We have the opportunity to truly live out that we trust God with our entire future and life. A time when the world seems dark and lost, we get to look for the ravens. They are there.
So, as Ethan said, “We can do hard things because God helps us.”
Look for a raven this week, friend.
It may not be what you want or expect. It'll likely be so much MORE.