In April 2006, Ryan and I spoke at our church and shared our story of loss and waiting on the Lord. The sermon was titled, "When God says No."
During the course of that talk, Ryan communicated a decision that we had made about our marriage: "Our relationship was not to be defined by waiting to have kids, but defined by serving others."
We had discovered in our waiting period, that it would be so easy to just sit back and, well, wait. It was easy not to schedule vacations or trips for the future or make plans for upcoming months or seasons, because...what if? What if we were pregnant and I couldn't fly? What if we were pregnant and we were saving money for the baby? What if we had a newborn? What if I committed to something and then I couldn't fulfill my commitments?
We had many opportunities to volunteer and serve within our church - both locally and abroad. We had to decide what we would participate in and what we would pass up.
In January of 2007 Ryan signed up to go on a 10-day trip to the Dominican Republic in June. He felt like he had let the opportunity pass him by previous years and this year he wanted to go. So I signed up also wondering what would happen if I got pregnant and couldn't go on the trip in June.
June came and went and we had a life-changing time in the DR.
Then January 2008 rolled around. What should I do? Ryan wanted to go again. And I did too. But to be honest, if I went that would mean I still wasn't pregnant. And the thought of that was heart breaking.
I reluctantly signed up and hoped with everything in me that pregnancy would soon become a reality.
June rolled around and off we went. We had another amazing time in the Dominican. We got to love kids whose parents were too busy or too sick to love them. We got to share with children that there is a great big God who loves them. We got to play games, color, play sports, sing and do VBS. I didn't have my own child to love, but God gave me many little ones to love on for those 10 days.
Ryan and I committed to continue to serve on the leadership team at our church and volunteer with various activities and commitments.
We both knew we couldn't just sit around during our wait.
If you remember, our story of Samuel joining our family begins with us serving in NE Minneapolis.
It was a cool fall morning, October 4, 2008, and Ryan and I each had a garbage bag in hand and gloves on. Our teams were walking down Central when I got the call.
We were serving.
We weren't just waiting.
Depsite our loss, grief, heartache and longing, we chose to serve.
We had made the decision two years before not to let waiting define us. It was what we felt God was calling us to do - wait on Him - but not to just sit by and do nothing during our wait.
I believe God honored our committment to serve and although our birth mom could have gone into labor any time and delivered Samuel any time and we could have gotten the call any time, we got it during the two-hour window one Saturday morning while we were serving.
Isn't that just like our God?