Each Thursday we’ve been sharing our Just Trust stories, times when we’ve stepped out in faith and seen God come through for us.
Today it is a joy to introduce you to my blogging and writing friend, Milly. Milly lives in Italy and I’ve had the honor of getting to know her via her blog. She is a precious sister and I hope you’ll be blessed to read her Just Trust story today.
For Day Nine of The Trust Experience, scroll to the bottom of this post.
Addis Ababa, November 26 2008, 5 a.m.
An amplified male voice awakens me. Lying on my back, eyes closed, I hear the call to prayer from the minaret of a local mosque. The melodious sounds wash over me while my sleepy mind retraces the journey that brought me to this Ethiopian hotel room.
More than four years ago, at the age of forty-three, I hoped for a child. One year later, the onset of early menopause crushed my hope. My womb would remain forever empty.
Meanwhile, my husband Jan and I had moved to Italy. Apparently, a child didn’t fit into God’s plan for our lives in this new country. But why had He planted the love for a child inside of me? I struggled to understand.
Then one day, God touched my heart through a sermon.
Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
—Isaiah 54:1 ESV
Although the pastor was referring to birthing spiritual children through preaching the Gospel, I felt God promising us a real child. I meditated about the women in the Bible who became pregnant in their old age—Sarah, Elisabeth—and decided to give my desperate desire to God, simply trusting that His will be done.
Several months later, something shifted inside me, and a new longing came to life: to mother any child, no matter whether by birth or otherwise. I had pondered adoption previously, but fearing it would be too difficult, I set it aside. Now it was as if Someone had pressed a seed firmly into the soil of my heart, and this seed germinated. Patiently, I let the sprout grow until I was sure it was viable before I shared it with Jan. He agreed that we should begin the adoption procedure. We knew that if it were God’s will, we would overcome any problem.
As we moved forward in the adoption process, we felt God guiding us at every step. To our great joy, we were approved for adoption despite our age; Jan was fifty-six and I, forty-five. A prophetic word led us to the right adoption agency—one that was willing to consider our preference for a girl and licensed to work in Ethiopia, a country to which we felt strongly drawn.
When they told us of seven-year-old Aisha, we accepted without a moment’s hesitation. After another six months, the adoption process was complete.
Yesterday, we arrived in Addis Ababa and went to the orphanage to meet our daughter. Two and a half years after God’s promise, we wrapped our arms around our girl–the most beautiful gift of God.
A movement next to me calls me back to the present. I open my eyes to gaze at Aisha. Last night, after we invited her into the “big bed,” she happily fell asleep right away. Although murmuring and stirring, she’s still sleeping.
Hoping to nod off again, I roll over on my side.
Suddenly, I feel a child’s arm around my neck. I turn my head and meet two wide-awake eyes above a beaming smile.
Not wanting to awake Jan, we sneak out of bed; I beckon her into the bathroom. I whisper and gesticulate, trying to transcend the language barrier that still separates us. “Too early.” I point at an imaginary watch. “Sleep.” I fold my hands against my cheek.
Aisha follows my gaze to the bed, then shakes her head. She takes my hand and leads me to the window where she pulls back the curtain and triumphantly points outside. Lifting up my weary eyes to the pale sky, I concede. It’s dawn.
I look at my daughter’s face, which sparkles with anticipation of this new day, her new life.
My exhaustion gives way to love, and I kneel down to hold her tight. Then she says it–the one word we both know and have longed for. “Mama.”
Overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness, I realize it is indeed a brand new day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In 1998, Milly Born and her husband Jan gave up their business careers and moved to the South of France, where they built and ran a campsite. Five years later, they felt strongly drawn to Italy and, in 2004, their lives took yet another turn when they moved to Umbria. There, amidst forested hills and historic cities, Milly found not only her geographical destination, but after an intense struggle, also her spiritual destination. She describes her journey in her book, Destination Italy. Milly and Jan are the proud parents of a beautiful daughter and pastor a Christian community. To find out more about Milly and her family, visit her blog at http://destinationitaly.wordpress.com
The Bread: Read John 5:1-29
The Devo: Read Day Nine in Trust Without Borders: A 40-Day Devotional Journey to Deepen, Strengthen, and Stretch Your Faith in God
The Plunge: Today’s devotional talks about how Sarah did not believe God at first. Scripture tells us she laughed, schemed, took matters into her own hands, and became abusive. Yet she ended up making the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 because she overcame her unbelief. Friend, that should give us hope!
Today’s plunge is taken directly from Day nine of Trust Without Borders. Grab a cup of coffee and a quiet corner and take ten minutes to do today’s trust exercise.
“Consider” is an action verb and means “to count, to calculate, to press your mind down upon.” It’s an accounting term that means to crunch and come to a solution. This is the activity of faith, this considering. This is a vital engagement of the mind, to sit down and calculate.
Go ahead and do it now: on a sheet of paper, list all the deadness of yourself, your inabilities, your limitations, your inadequacies that face you today. Then move on to the next section.
He considered that “God is able”
Biblical “considering” focuses on the nature of God. Our faith is only as good as its object. Is your God too small? Is He impotent or powerful? Is He stingy or generous? Is He angry or quick to forgive? Is your understanding of God accurate? Time spent considering the attributes of God is time well spent.
On your paper, consider the ability and willingness of our God. Jot down promises you have received from God and other scriptures that speak of His character.
He considered that God is able “even to raise the dead”
This little phrase is important because it shows that Abraham actively applied the character of God to his specific and individual circumstances. It does us the most good when we, too, take the nature of God and apply it to our situation.
Let me provide a personal example. When I wake up in the morning and feel the stress, here’s how I can follow the steps of Abraham and choose faith:
Lord, I know that You are with me wherever I go. I also know that You are helping me. (And here I might recite Isaiah 40:10-13.) I come to You to quench my thirst and satisfy my hunger. I trust You to direct my paths. You are my righteousness because I am all out of my own goodness. You always lead me in triumph and my adequacy for this day comes from You. As I step out into today, I believe that You are here, nourishing, sustaining, giving me abundant grace, wisdom, and strength for every good deed.
Now it’s your turn. On your paper, write out a personal and specific application of the character of God. Consider what God has promised and how He will meet your inability. Make biblical “considering” a regular part of your daily time with God.