. . . this post is part 2 of Jolene’s #livebrave story. catch part one here.
. . . Very soon the Lord began to open my eyes to the world of the orphan and I was broken.
All I could do was cry and plead with my husband about their plight and how I felt we should be adopting before trying to have biological children. Now, mind you, we had been married for less than a year and here I was weeping about adoption and the orphan.
Clearly God was at work or I was going crazy.
Two years into our marriage we tried for biological children as my husband felt strongly that since we had never been parents this was the logical and safe way to go.
Who really adopts first?
Isn’t adoption plan B?
Only for the infertile couples?
After only a few short months of not conceiving, Jon heard from the Lord and became just as burdened as I was that the cry of the orphan and God’s command to take care of them was no longer ignorable.
Even though the medical world told us that we hadn’t “tried” long enough and we should pursue today’s great interventions- we knew they were wrong.
Adoption was clearly God’s plan for our family and there was no denying it any longer.
With Jon’s leadership and call to obey James 1:27, we were united to move forward with bringing children into our family through adoption.
If God ever wanted to open my womb he would, but for now we had heard correctly:
Since you need to be 25 years old to adopt from Ethiopia we waited for my birthday to pass on December 20th and January 1st, 2009 we began the application to America World for our adoption. Nine months later we brought our son Talo home and his story is nothing short of a miracle. Having been nicknamed Lazarus by the nannies at the orphanage because he was so close to death and returned to life gives you just a glimpse into his story.
Lauren’s daughter with Jolene’s oldest son, Talo
Then August 2010 we started the process to adopt again and August 2011 we brought our second son home from Ethiopia. Ephrem is also a miracle of the Lord’s hand. As we were welcomed into the airport by family my Dad remembered thinking, “How long is this child going to live?” Today he is not just alive but thriving!
Now today, January 13th, 2013, I stand on the other side of the rivers realizing that God never left us or let us down.
I was the one that forgot his promises, I did not dwell on His presence going with us and instead looked at our circumstances.
I was not focusing on the unchanging God of the Bible, I was focusing on myself. Sure I would seek Him and, journal away my cries to him and pour over His word but I was lost in myself.
I wondered why was my husband was let go from his job one week before bringing our second son home? Why upon returning home with Ephrem did I become so sick that they thought I had malaria? All I wanted to be doing was bonding with our new son who was so sick and needed me.
Then why a few months later on my birthday was I diagnosed with Mono? This also happened to be 5 days before Ephrem’s first Christmas and two weeks after Jon had just started a new job. I wallowed in why we still struggled to pay our bills and mortgage and wondered if we’d loose our home.
Why after just getting over mono I suffered from months of another inflammatory disease that affected my joints and caused painful bumps all over my lower legs.
At the end of these hardships we experienced a huge surprise. I was pregnant, but after 11 weeks that too would end leaving me crying out to the Lord. I wept over these things. I dwelt on these things and I was far from brave.Yet today I have found victory being honest with my heavenly Father.
As I prayed and poured tears of sorrow for the words I was confessing, God kept bringing to my heart the song “Healer” by Hillsong and led me to Isaiah 43:1-3.
He has led me to the place where I can say I don’t know how rapid the next river will rush or how hot the next fire will be but I do know this: adopting again or moving to Ethiopia to do missions work are not things to fear. These are desires that burn in our hearts and the promise of His presence enables me to be brave and obey his directions with these passions. Because His presence will go with me.
His presence is with us.
Jesus, you’re all I need and after this year and a half I say that will my whole heart.
He is all I WANT to NEED!
by Jolene Heidebrink
Jolene and I have been friends since 2003. Our entire friendship has been long-distance but it runs so deep. When mercy ink’s focus became more intentional on sharing brave stories of faith, I knew I wanted Jolene to share how God led her, an ordinary woman, to obediently follow. It has so blessed Adrian and me to join in their journey, witness their faith, & share in God’s miracles and mercies in their lives.