Laurie Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope found in Jesus. She is the author of Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God. Her story was featured in Billy Graham’s film, Heaven, as well as on many other national and regional radio and television programs. She is a contributor to Zondervan’s NIV Bible for Women and writes at LaurieCoombs.org. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their three daughters.
All it took was one word! How amazing is that?!?
I have to admit. The last few weeks have been a bit crazy here in the Coombs' household. Good crazy, but crazy nonetheless. I've been buried in piles of paperwork, all to bring our little ones home.
Now, I know it sounds super cliche, but God truly has done the impossible once again. "Shell-shocked... Speechless... Dumbfounded... Ecstatic... Terrified... These are but a few of the emotions that I have been experiencing these past 48 hours...." my husband Travis wrote after receiving the news. But in order to understand the significance of those words, I must tell more of our story.
We began our adoption journey four and a half years ago, full of hope and conviction for what we believed God was calling us to. Travis and I had been blessed with two healthy, absolutely amazing biological children already, but quite honestly, our family just didn't feel complete. Don't get me wrong, we were content with our family, but we wanted more little blessings.
Adoption has always been on our hearts. Both Travis and I have a heart for all children, but children who are mistreated, abandoned, or abused are hard for us to ignore. The plight of the "least of these" weighs heavy in our home. This is true even for our daughters.
I've mentioned before that our Ethiopian adoption was only supposed to take one to two years, but all along––beginning six months in––we've been met with one roadblock after another. Each time, I'd pray, "Lord, is this Your will? Are we on the right path?" And I'd be met with the words, "Do not give up!" We stayed the course despite the unpredictable, unstable adoption climate in Ethiopia, fully convinced that God would pull through. But then about one year ago, when confronted with yet another obstacle (and the possibility of seeing adoption close in Ethiopia altogether), something in my faith shifted, and for the first time, I began to wonder whether or not our adoption was going to happen. I heard God tell me, "Do not give up," once again, and so we stayed the course, but in my heart, I began to question what I heard.
At one point, desperately trying to cling to my hope and faith, I took out a little book with the word GRACE written on the cover. It's where I had written all evidences of God in my life, not just in our adoption, but in all things. I sat alone in bed, reading one "proof" after another, praying, "Is it going to happen? Have I simply fooled myself into believing this is your promise? Did I hear wrong?"
They were honest questions. My heart laid bare before my God. I felt like Hannah, pleading before God at the temple. "Please, Lord, if it is Your will, bring our children home that I may say 'for this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me my petition,' as Hannah said." I sat in prayer for a few minutes longer before I took that little book and threw it across the room. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit I did that, but I did.
I was confused. I wanted our children, and God was telling me they were coming, but it sure didn't seem like it at the time. I wondered if I was deceiving myself. And if I was deceived with our adoption, then who's to say I wasn't deceived across the board? Not seeing God's fruit in this one area of my life made me question the authenticity of my faith in the rest.
My struggles and the temptations to doubt came in waves. For the most part, I had faith. I believed God would do what I believed He said He would do. But I did have my moments. And then, Travis and I began fasting a couple months ago. I felt the Lord nudge me to fast on behalf of our children in Ethiopia, so I did. My faith was growing. Scripture after scripture was brought before me, and I believed that God was telling me to strengthen my faith. To not only believe in Him, but to believe Him. I felt He wanted me to activate my faith, to live like I knew it was going to happen, and so the girls and I went to our local library to do more research on Ethiopia. I came home telling Travis, "We need to get the girls their passports," and he looked at me a little sideways because you see, nothing had changed. There was absolutely no reason to believe it was going to happen. And in fact, everything pointed to it not happening. There are entire adoption agencies pulling out of Ethiopia right now. Almost all the families with our agency have transferred to different adoption programs. According to what we saw, it was impossible. But, Scripture says, what is impossible with man is possible with God!
I wrote about the adoption that same week, on February 13th, for the first time in one year. That day happened to be our little Ethiopia guy's third birthday. In that article, I wrote about how we need to be fully convinced of the promises God gives us. I wrote, "All it takes is one word." And three days later, that word was spoken.
That word was spoken.
Let that sink in.
What word do you need the Lord to speak today?
What promise do you believe God has spoken over your life?
How might you be able to activate your faith?
It may take many years for you to see God speak that word, and that's okay because God's timing is perfect, but can you hold onto the faith? Not perfectly, I certainly had my moments. But can you hold onto faith despite what you see before you?
All it takes is one word. Yes, we need to be certain that what we're waiting for is the will of God. Yes, we must hold things loosely and be willing to release whatever God calls us to release. But if, today, you still hear, "Don't give up," then DON'T GIVE UP. Far too many people give up before they see the promises of God. It just so happens that my stubbornness would not allow me to do that. I was willing to let my promise go the moment God told me to, but that's not the word He had given me. So if you, like me, are facing roadblock after roadblock, take heart, for it is not you who will hurdle that obstacle, but God. We serve a God who does the impossible. Nothing is to difficult for our God.
It is His job to work all things according to His perfect will, and it is ours to believe.