Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And God Remembered Elizabeth

I guess I should start out by saying that for any of you who aren't aware of Elli's story, you might want to start by reading her adoption blog. Elli has been in our family for over a year and a half, and the love we have for her is beyond description. It is this love that has prompted me to start this blog-- to document the answer to a prayer of mine. Let's see... where do I begin? Maybe I should start by sharing a section of a talk given by Spencer J. Condie, one of the leaders in our church:

s Jacob matured and became of appropriate age, his parents sent him to the household of Laban, where he would meet Laban’s two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Jacob told Laban, “I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. … And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her” (Genesis 29:18, 20).

You will recall how Laban beguiled young Jacob into first marrying Leah and then Rachel. “And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren” (Genesis 29:31). And Leah bore Reuben, then Simeon, then Levi, and Judah. Meanwhile, Rachel remained childless (see Genesis 29:32–35).

With ever-increasing envy and mounting desperation, one day Rachel explosively demanded of Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die” (Genesis 30:1). Leah subsequently bore two more sons and a daughter.

The Apostle Peter testified that “the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering” toward us (2 Peter 3:9). In this age of one-hour dry cleaning and one-minute fast-food franchises, it may at times seem to us as though a loving Heavenly Father has misplaced our precious promises or He has put them on hold or filed them under the wrong name. Such were the feelings of Rachel.

But with the passage of time, we encounter four of the most beautiful words in holy writ: “And God remembered Rachel” (Genesis 30:22). And she was blessed with the birth of Joseph and later the birth of Benjamin. There are millions on earth today who are descendants of Joseph who have embraced the Abrahamic promise that through their efforts “shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).

When heaven’s promises sometimes seem afar off, I pray that each of us will embrace these exceeding great and precious promises and never let go. And just as God remembered Rachel, God will remember you. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I remember well the feelings I had when I heard this talk. Immediately, I looked over at my sweet Elizabeth Mei, and my heart was full as the Spirit testified to me that those beautiful words, "And God remembered Rachel," were meant for her, every bit as much as they were meant for Rachel. The words came with such force that I knew I would never forget it.. They have played over and over in my mind over the last several months, "And God remembered... Elizabeth."

We have over the last year prayed most earnestly for miracles to happen in Elli's life. Because she spent the first two and a half years of her life in such difficult circumstances-- abandoned on a street at six months, moved from orphanage to orphanage to foster care, then moving to a new country, family, language, environment, etc.-- it is no wonder that she is extremely delayed. As of today, we are not sure if those delays are from those early life experiences, coupled with being completely blind, or if she has other medical/cognitive issues. An educator once told me, "Imagine that you, with all your life experience, were permanently blindfolded and taken to China. Just how long would it take you to learn basic life skills and master the language?" I thought it a very thought-provoking question. How in the world can we expect Elli to be ANYWHERE developmentally when she is BLIND and has had the life she's had. It's just incomprehensible to think about.

Anyway, just after Elli's fourth birthday, I was on my knees and felt the Lord whisper a challenge to me. Now, I didn't hear words, but I felt very strongly in my heart that I knew what He wanted me to do. I was to write down the specific miracles I wanted for Elli in the next year of her life, and then watch His hand at work. I felt that maybe He was saying to me, "You know, Christianne, I have already done miracles in your daughter's life, but you are not always seeing them. Maybe if you write them down, it will be easier for you to acknowledge them when they happen."

So, as we drove up to Oregon last month, Jeremy and I had a good talk about what we would consider "miracles" in Elli's life. I told Jeremy to "think big!" To really have faith in the Lord and write down even the things that seemed impossible right now. We came up with a short list, and we both agreed that if those things on the list ever came to pass, that we would have witnessed a miracle-- one as significant and meaningful to us as Rachel's was to her.

Our list:

* be able to answer "yes" or "no" to a simple question
* sing along with songs (right now she will sing on her own, but not with anyone else)
* spoon-feed herself
* simple communication-- like "Hi, Mommy!" or "I love you."
* become potty trained
* appropriately answer the question, "How are you?"
* put shoes on by herself
* stop rubbing her eyes constantly
* play more interactively with siblings

And so, I am beginning this blog tonight for our Elli-- mostly for her and for us-- but also for anyone else that would like to join us in witnessing a miracle. I feel like sharing our list is a testament of sorts-- I want my Heavenly Father to know that I am trying my hardest to exercise faith in His mighty hand. That I am willing to share the deepest desires of my heart in hopes that others will join their faith with mine and pray for miracles.

Miracles for Elli.