On Monday morning, April 2nd…I missed a phone call from our adoption agency. In most of the mornings prior to this week, I had my phone glued to my hip just waiting to hear something. Anything. But when I talked to our family coordinator the Thursday before Easter (March 29th) she said she really figured on not hearing anything for a couple of weeks yet because of our dossier being submitted right before the huge Chinese New Year celebrations/shut downs. But she also knew that we had enlisted several prayer warriors to pray specifically for our LOA to be issued by the end of March! So when I talked to her on Thursday and she said there were no updates to our file—I won’t lie, I felt a surge of disappointment run through my body.
But it was also in that disappointment I heard God say, trust me…my timing is perfect. I heard your bold prayer for an LOA by the end of March. But maybe my timing is better?! Do you still trust me? Did you hear that word, STILL? Because you see, we have to pray specifically and boldly. God actually wants us to! But when He answers—which He always does in some way—what does that do to our faith? Does it decrease it simply because it looks different than what we asked for or desired? Or is there possibility that it can catapult our faith because we know without a shadow of a doubt, He can be trusted and knows best?! That ultimately, His will IS best?
So, after that Thursday phone call…a great lunch date with a girlfriend reflecting on the goodness of Jesus…and celebrating our risen King for Easter—-I was 110% back in. Without a doubt, I STILL trust you, Lord! Stubborn faith, round 537 for our boy. There was no holding back. I took the time to think about everything God has done in my life, Justin’s life and through the course of time—and through grateful and humble tears said, Lord, you called us to this. Long ago. You also promise to never leave nor forsake us in anything we might face. I trust you and what you are doing. More than anything, I love you. Now…let’s bring our boy home already!
So, all that to say. Monday, April 2nd (THREE days later), I missed a call from our agency and literally gasped when I saw their number on our phone. I couldn’t dial it back quick enough and had to actually sit down as I listened to our family coordinator say, “I’m calling with really good news.” She was calling to tell us that just that morning she received electronic notice that our LOA was issued! Ecstatic. Relieved. Overjoyed. Amazed. Grateful. These are just a few of the words to describe my feelings in that moment. Complete awe.
Now, while a part of me wishes the LOA would have had the actual date of March 31st—I also just chuckle and am grateful for the date of April 2nd because that is SO God and will forever be a reminder to us of His faithfulness despite whether we see Him working. Someone clearly made the decision to say yes to us before the end of March! So in all actuality—He did answer our bold prayer for it to be a yes by the end of March—but I really think He wanted to increase our faith BEFORE we knew that it was answered! In fact, I had resolved that because we didn’t hear before the weekend, it was a no to that specific prayer request. And by Friday, March 30th, I was totally OK with that! But it was in that thinking that it actually catapulted our faith into remembering the truth of who God is and that He can be trusted!
So today as I reflect on the timing of all of this, I see God everywhere. All throughout history, God has this profound tendency to work mightily in the last minute. That eleventh hour. Abraham & Isaac. Moses standing before the Red Sea. Jesus rising from the dead. The list goes on and on. Maybe to us it seems like the eleventh hour and to God, really, it’s His first minute. Either way, it’s awesome. Because what a faith filled and radical trust He asks us to have! And in that faith and trust…He blesses us beyond our wildest imaginations.
Introducing….our son, Arie Chang Ritter.
Arie means Lion of God, and Chang means an unhindered spirit. Which in all honesty and bold assurance—we know are true of this little man. Why? Because God told us so. And the last time He told us something, He delivered.