Seven years ago Luke and I were on the phone with our adoption agency. We had been in the adoption process for two years. Our dossier was filed and we were just waiting. For two years we had just been waiting and waiting and waiting. There were so many parts of our life that were just put on hold. We couldn’t try to have another baby or the adoption process would stop. We didn’t want to go on vacations. We didn’t want to commit to ministries. We were just in the waiting process. To say it lightly we were very frustrated at the time of the phone call and all we wanted was hope.
That did not come. The agency said that it looked like it could be another two years before we would be matched with a child. We were disappointed, it felt like all hope was gone. Truthfully, I just didn’t know if I could do this anymore. I took it to the Lord, was it okay to stop. We did what he asked we started the process, maybe that was enough. Maybe after we had our next baby then we could try to adopt again. But both of us deep in our hearts heard the voice say “Stay the course, continue to follow me”. We continued to cling to the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:24 “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it”
Less than two months later we had seen our Miriam’s face and held her. The little girl we already loved was going to be ours in about seven months. This year in May we celebrated seven years with our Miriam. Yes, there have been so many challenging days, and there still are challenging days. But I couldn’t imagine my life without her. I would miss the constant questions, the times she worries because I have a cold, and all the wonderful snuggles that I get on a daily basis. Oh, I am so glad I waited on the Lord and I am so grateful for every day I have had with her.
Two years ago while we were visiting the Chankhungu preschool, that we went to weekly, the Lord opened my eyes to all the women that came to bring their children. The Lord spoke to my heart that they needed a way to continue to learn more about Jesus. A Bible study was started in February of 2018, the first few weeks we had about 15 to 20 women coming. But then by April there were only about eight women coming. The Bible study continued even while we were in the states till mid-July but there still were only about eight women coming.
When we came back to Malawi in August. It felt like everything started to move very fast. The curriculum was being approved and we had so much work to do to get it ready to be passed out. A ministry that we were working with was starting a preschool and I was volunteering during the week. I was still homeschooling Miriam and was afraid of how not being at home very often would affect her. It took an entire morning with traveling plus prep time to do the Bible study. I just didn’t think there was anyway that I could do it. Yes, I knew 8 women were important but I just didn’t think I had the time.
A dear friend said, “Jamie, these women need you, no one else ministers to them, you need to go.” Again, I prayed and he gave me verse 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” I sat down with Florence who had been leading while I was gone and Christina our house help. We prayed about what to do and we were led to study the women of the Bible. It has been an amazing time learning more about all the women of the Bible. I just go once a month and Florence does the rest. As time has went on, we have on average 35 women coming and sometimes we have had over 60 women come. Around 40 women have received Bibles because they have come five times or more. Many of the women have started following Christ and they continue to strive to learn and grow in him daily.
Again, I look at how close I was to quitting. How close I came to not getting to know these women. These women that have spoken about how they feel so hopeless most days because of their circumstances. But once a week they can be encouraged about the Word of the Lord. They can feel a little less alone and they can be secure in knowing how much that God loves them. And they can see that someone cares. Someone cares enough to come every week to invest in their lives. And for me when I go, it is my favorite time of the week. This study has grown my relationship in the Lord and it helps me to know the Lord will always sustain me.
This November we were going through a little bit of a discouraging and tough time. Our businesses were both struggling a little bit. Some days it can feel that the amount of money needed to do everything that God has put in our hearts can feel unreachable. The amount of poverty here sometimes makes me feel that there is no way that things can ever be different.
This made me think of the Israelites when they were in Egypt. The Lord had brought them to Egypt. But then after all this time they became slaves. They felt oppressed and forgotten by God. Then Moses came to rescue them but even then, things got even harder for the Egyptians, even after they were rescued, life some days were hard and they didn’t have enough food or water.
In January, as I was praying, the Lord gave me the word ‘rise’. Truthfully, I wasn’t really sure what it meant. But I did know that I was bogged down with so much of my daily life. So many of the things I can not change and so many things that I wish were different. Isaiah 60:1-2 “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.”
Right now in Malawi, we just had an election. The election is over but tension, fear, and discouragement fill the air. I don’t know exactly what is in store for our beautiful country of Malawi. But what I do know is that the Lord is there with us. I know that the Lord loves his people. Sometimes it may not feel like that. Sometimes it may feel like he has abandoned us. I saw the verse this week from Hebrews 13:14 “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come”. The Lord continues to speak to me that he wants me to wait in him. He wants me to trust in him. Even when things don’t make sense. He will be the one that will make sense of all of it.
I have learned we need to Wait on the Lord and then he will rise.