Processing… and waiting

Leo and I are about to celebrate 3 years of marriage!  It’s crazy how fast these few years have gone, and how many obstacles we’ve had to overcome in such a short time!  The few months leading up to our wedding, and even a year and a half into our marriage, it felt like it was us against the world!  Or, at least, us against the US Immigration laws and other issues that had to do with Leo not being able to get to the States.  Now, things have kinda switched around a bit.  Leo even took his first trip by himself to the States in March… a kind-of expensive requirement that comes with having a resident Visa… he can’t be out of the States for longer than 6 months.

We are at a bit of a stand-still now, however.  Leo would really like for us to have a year-long furlough in the States sometime soon, and I agree that we need a break!  Back in October, we were thinking that we could do it this coming January… but things haven’t worked out how we hoped.  We were thinking I could get pregnant, have the baby here in Colombia (I don’t have insurance in the States), and then live the last year of Leo’s residency requirement, before he gets US citizenship, in the States being close to family in a kind-of utopian, rest-filled existence.  Well, obviously, I’m not pregnant yet, and from what we’ve seen and heard from doctors, even visiting the States isn’t a good option for me because of my hormone issues and how connected my body is to seasons.  The two 2-month trips we took during opposite seasons knocked my body off again, and that’s the reason I’m still having a hard time getting pregnant.  And, if we went to the States and were able to get insurance, we wouldn’t be able to get pregnant until we’ve paid into the system for 9 months.  So, everything is on hold, and it’s not very fun.

All that to say…I’m not doing well… in many ways.

I’ve read 2 books lately that have really helped put words to my emotions.  One is “God on Mute” by Peter Greig.  He skillfully writes about the many reasons why God doesn’t answer our prayers.  Ultimately, it’s because our life is meant to glorify Him, and He will do what He wants with us.  We can’t manipulate Him, have enough faith, or do enough good things to change His mind.  He knows what is best for us in the long-run, and He will have His way.

The second book I devoured this week is “A Million MIles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller.  I know it’s been out for a long time, but I finally had time to read it this week… I was sick at home for 2 days.   He writes about the importance of having a story, but yet knowing that our personal story ties in with the big Story that is weaved through generations of lives.   The greatest stories are those that have an obstacle too big for the main character to overcome without great sacrifice.

We don’t have many helpful answers to my health issues, but I can’t help think that somehow malaria has something to do with it.  My liver was pretty damaged during the whole ordeal, and your liver is what processes your hormones. Almost 7 years ago, I had to understand that if facing death was the price, it was worth knowing Jesus through the pain.  I knew the presence of the Lord through my pain… a kind of knowing that gets into your bones and holds everything together.   However, the last few years, I haven’t wanted to know Him in my pain and suffering.  I have wanted to know Him in the blessing… in the easy things… and nothing has been easy.  It’s been rather crazy actually.  But, in the area of my health, I’ve had to face another, very real thought:  if malaria is the price of not having natural children, is it still worth it? Is this my obstacle that comes with great personal sacrifice?

I don’t know why being in pain as a wife is so much harder than it was being single.  Maybe it’s because as a single person, serving Jesus, I knew that He was all I had… it was just me and Him, and as much as I was hurting, He was the only one who could hold me and bring healing… and I was willing to trust Him.  Now, as a wife, I serve my husband and Jesus, and my focus gets all off when I forget that my husband, while he can hold me, can’t bring healing or light to the dark, almost hopeless areas of my soul.  And while the tangible is seemingly more available than the eternal, I’m mad at both.   It was easier to believe in God’s sovereignty and timing when I thought it more closely lined up with mine.  More closely being “o.k. maybe not this month… but definitely this year, right?”.  2 years, and more un-answered questions later, I’m not doing well.

We have a beautiful tangerine tree in our apartment.  Our first Christmas together, we couldn’t agree on what kind of tree to have because Leo couldn’t understand the tradition of cutting down a beautiful, living thing just to decorate and watch die; and I couldn’t handle the feel of fake trees. So, we compromised and bought a small tree to decorate.  Bogota isn’t the best place for any kind of fruit trees because it’s so cold; but when we got the tree, it had 7 little tangerines growing.  The tree is supposed to bloom every 4 months, and then from those blooms, produce fruit.  I can count on one hand the amount of times it’s bloomed since it has stayed in the little corner of our living room that gets sunlight, and we’ve only had 1 tangerine grow since we plucked the first 7.

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This month, however, I saw little buds forming.  It was interesting to see them coming up from all different parts of the tree.  The buds have since turned into leaves or little white balls that will burst open into the most delicate, sweet smelling flowers.  This past week, I’ve been waiting for the first flowers to bloom, and just this morning, we had 3.  I remember thinking as I was tending to the tree this week that I don’t know how much bigger those little white buds can get before they break open.  They have such tension before they burst!

We are living an overwhelming amount of tension right now, and it’s easy to get mad at the tangible elements: our non-existent savings account, our tiny apartment that wouldn’t even fit a baby if we wanted it to, our lack of material things that would supposedly make things so much easier (… if I could just have a fancy mixer with all those fancy attachments so we could eat even healthier than we do now,  or a juicer so we could do one of those “cleanse” diets…), Leo’s citizenship process that is still so expensive (and will continue to be for another year and a half) that he needs to finish before we can adopt, etc.  It is overwhelming!

In the midst of this waiting for whatever is supposed to come next, however it’s supposed to come, I’m trying to choose to believe that this tension we are feeling is going to break forth into something beautiful and sweet-smelling soon.  It just has to.  We are desperate.

Pray for me… pray for Leo… pray for our hearts to be willing to line-up with God’s timing for many different things.  Pray for balance between being faithful with what we can control, and having faith for what we can’t.

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Author: colombiatotheworld

Our desire as a family is to be an extension of the Kingdom of God to all around us, living and speaking the truth of Jesus Christ; and as Leo and I are continuing to grow in our ministry as a couple, one thing is for certain: we are called to help develop youth in a lifestyle of worship, using their gifts to impact our world. As our hearts are truly for the “least of these”, it is funny how God put us right in the middle of upper-class Bogota. But, as we model what it is to love those who have less opportunities in life, our students are developing hearts for the same, and we are seeing that our passions are being multiplied exponentially through our students! This is a very exiting time for us as we disciple and encourage our students to continue stepping out for God, believing that He can do amazing things!

5 thoughts on “Processing… and waiting”

  1. Lilia,
    Thanks for the raw post. I love the way you share so honestly and genuinely. Know that you are certainly in my prayer as you are about to burst forth into something beautiful 🙂 I pray that you will!!

    I love you much.

    I have been listening to your CD recently a lot and it just makes me miss you. I want to run up and squeeze you and then pray with you and then talk about Jesus with you and get goosebumps and then have worship with you and then of course, go love children with you.

    But for now, because of distance… I’ll just pray for you 😉

    Love you!

  2. Hi Lilia! I’m praying for you, lady. I really resonate with the feeling that God has been on mute…am finally coming out of a 5 year mute period–and I can affirm that God’s timing is God’s timing and he knew way better what was good for me (including when I got pregnant…I struggled for over two years to conceive Adessa–and would get depressed/angry/sad every time someone I knew got pregnant…facebook is no good for that sort of thing.) (and I desperately wanted to move close to our (in hindsight, completely unhealthy) last church…not knowing that Colin would lose his job after 3 years…and if we had moved…disaster) than I knew for myself. But the mute period SUCKS because you can’t foreknow the future and see what God is protecting you from or what blessing is coming down the pike. I feel your pain and frustration and am praying God will reveal soon and sustain you in the meantime.

  3. Linda and I love you guys and will be upholding you in prayer. God is not mute and He has everything under control, even when we don’t. Hang in there baby! Love you!

  4. What to do? What to say? I wish you guys could come back to the states and get connected with some amazing fertility doctors we know in Chicago.
    But these are my desires for you. I think the books you’ve read are great. But let us not forget that God is and has always been good to you. Yes we must trust him. But in that trust is hope that says “I know you’re not out to rob me”
    We can’t explain this. But I’m confident that getting pregnant or adoption or both is nowhere near over. Stay patient. He has perfect timing. I know we can’t see it now. But his timing is exact. We love you Lilia. We are here for you.

    Jake, Bridget, and the boys.

  5. Awe Lilia!
    Praying for you. I had no idea you were struggling with all the hassels and stuff of Bog. and all. Just the other day I was talking with Jon about how you and Leo have such a calling and ministry together, such commitment to Christ. Know He is using you!!!

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