This last bit has been hard to write! I’ve shared really honestly about the difficulties and surprises of several periods of our lives, and this last segment (2007-2009) has probably topped them all (in regard to difficulties and surprises).
I guess to start it all off I have to say that I still don’t know or understand what is going on! I have learned to let go and move on, trusting that the Lord is faithful if not altogether weird and completely nonlinear. He doesn’t put puzzle pieces together like the picture on my box says to! He has His own thing going on. I wish He could see that if He doesn’t give me a clue I can’t possibly help Him! (Hope you know that was totally tongue in cheek.)
There is some truth brewing in my heart about people from the Bible who tried to do things the way God was telling them to–like Moses when he went through all of that with Pharoah, instead of it being a quick and easy task to free the Israelites–like Paul, when he kept getting thrown in prison or shipwrecked when he was supposed to be preaching to the Gentiles–It’s like we search and search (when we’re young anyway) to find out what potential or calling we have toward a certain area of serving God, and once we know it and set out to do it, He makes it nearly impossible. We go out with God on our side, and what good does it seem to do us? There is something to this.
Through the youth ministry of the Bridge since 2004, we were spending time with young guys and girls all the time, and Jack’s God-sized dream of Diverse City miraculously came to life in the Summer of 2007. We opened in a store in the Towne Mall, and were a safe place for kids to play video games, eat, hang out, have music lessons and Bible Study, and honestly just come to find adults who wanted to listen and “sit a spell”. We knew this was reaching students who were not going to come to church, and it was built on relationships, not activities where kids remain unknown and unnamed. This may be another blog in itself, but I struggle with living in Kentucky (vs. overseas) because I see many local ministries (especially ones within one church, like not in cooperation with others) with so much money and support poured into them and they never take a look back to see that they aren’t meeting true needs. They are just able to say they have this ministry…But Diverse City was not like that.
Also, in the fall of 2007, we started our adoption as if our lives weren’t crazy enough with a bunch of kids at church and the Mall! It was so exciting to finally get started after all my research and longing and tears over the orphan crisis in Ethiopia. 12% of Ethiopia’s citizens are orphans under 13 years old! We mailed in our applications on Oct. 31, 2007 & officially began waiting in January, 2008. Selah was 2 and a half years old, we practically lived at Diverse City, and we would soon have a new baby girl in our family!
In Spring of 2008, some things changed that started a downward spiral for Diverse City. It was pretty hurtful and we hoped for a miracle…but it didn’t come. It was hard to see other ministries get started and everyone get excited about them, when this amazing opportunity was passing us by. We closed our doors around Christmas, and that space is still empty. That death was really hard for Jack, and it was a hard death for me, too. This wasn’t the first time we had done our best to live out “His strength is perfect in our weakness”, only to (dare I say it?) be disappointed at how our limits and inadequacies shone brighter than the noonday sun. On a very personal note, it makes it hard to get excited about “stuff for God”. The good news about this is that sometimes in ministry you can get TOO excited about stuff for God and forget God; what a tragedy it would be to fly high in ministry but be grounded in the ditch relationally with Him. It happens.
On into the Summer and Fall of 2008, we were also getting pretty antsy about waiting for a referral for our baby girl. We were told a wait of 2-5 months. We waited 11. But Dec. 2nd, we received the referral of Yemi Abigail! It was wonderful and we had so many people supporting us in so many ways! The journey was far from over and I don’t know if we got a single good night of sleep from February to April 21st, 2009…
But I actually better save that story for another blog! Thanks for reading this far!