our big grey couch and its people + 1 dog
The kids, and especially Magnus, have been on a major Veggie Tales kick lately. It’s set to record on the DVR and at least one episode records every day. But out of the 20 episodes we have available, there’s one that’s requested above all the others: God is Bigger Than the Boogie Man aka God is Bigger, aka Frankencereal (or Frankencelery depending on the day), aka Boogie Man, aka The Scary Guy.
See, Magnus has begun showing a fear of some things. I first noticed it when, out of the blue, one night he showed concern about the shadows on display in his room from a dim nightlight. So ever since then we’ve been on a quest to teach the kids that Jesus is ever present to sit on the edge of their bed when they ask him to. That God is bigger than all the various Boogie Men and things we can choose to be scared of. And that the shadows are just a byproduct of the nightlight doing its job. Something as silly as a well-timed viewing of Magnus’ favorite episode can make such a big difference in my little man’s head- making a big, scary situation so much more manageable.
I have totally had my own Boogie Men in this adoption. It’s seriously felt like I’ve been living in the twilight zone for months. Is it as dramatic in reality as it is in my head?! There have been so many instances where it seems like the health of our adoption (and by default, Yuan Li) have hung in the balance. But just like the kids’ nightlight and the shadows, all the “drama” is just a byproduct of what God is doing. From the time I was in my early teens I’ve always wanted an adventurous life. I have to accept that adventure is every bit as much about the lows as it is the highs. And maybe sometimes more. The lows are what make the highs so amazing. So I’m working at not cringing at the lows. Especially when God’s encouraged my face off in every step of the adoption.
When we finally got our approval after 4 months, and it should’ve taken 2 days, we needed to sign our contract w/ the agency and pay them a big chunk of change. We only had half of it, but friends rallied around us and rallied their friends around us. And in 15 hours we had a wad of cash and checks in hand totaling over $3,000. Then there was the time that we tried to put an offer on a house so we could move before our home study visit happened. We didn’t get the loan to make it happen, but the way people prayed over us and sent encouraging words left me in tears multiple times. Or when I poured out my bleeding heart and all my fears of things falling apart to a friend, then she and her husband pull up into our driveway the next day and hand me a card telling us they believe God’s called us and to hang in there. Not to mention the $300 check that was in there, too. They believed in what God was doing even when I had hints of doubt. They invested when I couldn’t promise a return on it because they recognized it’s God’s timing and ways, not Sarah’s. In one morning I learned that 3 different friends, one that I’ve only known for a short time, are hosting Noonday trunk shows in Yuan Li’s honor. That was a mega cryfest morning.
And by far, my most treasured encouragement in this whole journey…
One morning while I was at my wits’ end and was desperately trying to choose joy when all I felt was stress and wanted to stew in it and say words that would make our post-prison friends blush, THIS happened: I read a seemingly random devotional that included the verse Isaiah 43:5…
“Fear not for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and I will gather you up from the west.”
Done. No matter what the outcome is, it is not outside God’s will. His word’s told me that he’s gathering Yuan Li up and I stake my life on his word being infallible. He’s got this.
When we went through Magnus’ adoption we had a close knit group of friends that were heaven sent during that season. I still have a note from my friend Ashley tucked away in my Bible that seems to fall out on just the right days to encourage me even still. And now in this season I have my Big Dream girls. I could write a long post just about them and their Big Dreams and our conversations about those big dreams. Besides Jon, they’re the ones I go to when I think God’s sparked something in my heart, but I feel fragile and silly about it. They encourage me and tend to my spark until it ignites. These girls have a Big Dream for our family and I’m sharing it w/ you even though I had a hard time even speaking the words of it to Jon this morning. They’re rallying around us and working to raise $37,000 in 37 days. And just like God does, he gave me an encouraging word this morning in a quick text conversation w/ my friend, Mindy. “Your adoption will be fully funded in no time…”. I can honestly say that money hasn’t been my biggest worry. I’ve seen God use insurance payments from hailstorms and freak rollover car wrecks to out-of-the-blue checks in the mail to provide for us right when we need it. I’ve even seen our own loaves and fishes story that I can’t explain play out in our bank account.
Wendy, Jenna, Wynne, and Alison– thank you. I honestly don’t know how to say that w/ enough fervor to make the depth of my appreciation come across. I love dreaming w/ you guys- it gives me sustenance. And to those of you that have been sharing and forwarding our stories and posts- thank you for being part of this. You encourage me daily.
And to do my part in trying to support this crazy train, I’m challenging you Midland/Odessa peeps to get in on the support action by letting me be your photographer. If I can book one 2 hour, $400 session a week for every week of March-June, that equals $6800 towards our adoption. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other ways people can help w/ expenses are by using our Amazon affiliate link to shop: Our Amazon Fundraiser. We get a small percentage kickback that really starts to add up. Share it w/ your family and friends and encourage them to use it. Bookmark it and it’s easy as Click. Shop. Pay out. Boom- you just supported us. And if you’re so inclined, we also have a Pure Charity account that enables you to make tax deductible donations: Stepan Family Adoption.
You guys rock. Seriously. No, really.
Of, through, and to Him…
I can’t wait to show you the uncensored, insanely cute grin he’s rockin’