By Jennifer Gailey
•Isaiah 12:2 “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation."
All of my life, I have been passionate about adoption and KNEW that raising a child not my flesh and blood would most certainly be a part of my journey. It was a calling on my life that I could not deny even from a young age. As with most things, I had this PERFECT picture in my head of how it would all come about and how simple and easy it would be. Well, not to burst the proverbial bubble here, BUT if you haven’t figured it out yet, life this side of heaven has a way of not working out quite like we planned AT ALL; but honestly, that is one of the most beautiful things about it. My husband and I got married the summer we graduated college, and, although we had always planned on adopting, we never got around to it before starting our family.
Suddenly we found ourselves with a 3 year old and a 15 month old while facing the possibility of adopting a baby boy through a relationship with a young unwed mother I was counseling.
Within less than a week, we were filling out paperwork and grappling with the massive cost of an “identified adoption” - meaning we were willing to adopt a child we already were connected with and yet the state still wanted over $10,000 that we didn’t have! We may not have had the money to bring him home, but we knew, whomever he was, at least we had a name for him. Through both of our pregnancies, The ONLY name we both had agreed on for a boy was Landon Joseph only to find out we were having girls both times. I may have been confused about a lot of things at this point regarding the adoption, but I felt confident that our son had a name...or so I thought.
There I sat with my Bible open on my lap and my mind spinning in a million different directions. I was barely visible amid the boxes and furniture in our partially renovated home after a cross country move that had been physically, emotionally, and financially exhausting. I wrestled with God in those moments - I cried out for clarity because this was NOT what I had planned. Although I was willing to do whatever God was calling our family to, surely this couldn’t be God’s plan for us! We were just getting on our feet from the move, and I was still adjusting to life with two small children and preparations to launch a new church plant with my husband as the head pastor.
Things felt wildly out of control and for a Type A planner, I needed some answers and I needed them NOW! I have always believed that if we pray specifically, God answers specifically and never have I seen this more true in my life than through our adoption journey. That night, amid the mess and chaos of a life in pieces, I cried out to God the only way I knew how: as a desperate child in need of answers from my Abba Father. I specifically prayed, "Is all this for our Landon Joseph?” I will never forget as long as I am breathing how clearly the still small voice of my powerful heavenly Father answered me in that very moment in the same way I had asked—specifically. I felt Him so clearly impress upon my heart, “No this is for ISAIAH JOSEPH.”
Now wait - HOLD ON!
I know that means nothing to you but to me it spoke volumes. My husband had always loved the name Isaiah, but I had a strong aversion to it because of people I had known with the same name, so I had vetoed it each time it had come up in conversation. I was so taken back because I knew God clearly was speaking to me! This signified not only that He would bring this adoption to fruition, BUT also that I was going to need to submit MY need for power, control, and planning completely to Him. I felt compelled to look up what the name Isaiah meant, so I found my way to the half-buried computer and googled it. What came up on that screen made me catch my breath and gives me chills to this day.
The first thing to pop up was a biblical site that gave the hebrew breakdown of the name: the first part meaning “to be saved or delivered” and the last part meaning “Yahweh." Isaiah, this name I had opposed for so long, literally meant "to be saved or delivered by God”! I decided to look up Joseph since we had chosen it purely based on the fact that it was my father’s name. Again I was captivated at the detail of my all-knowing Lord as the meaning of Joseph stared at me from the screen: “Jehovah will add.”
I felt so loved and so at peace that the God of the universe would love a flawed sinner like me enough to share such an intimate detail as my son’s name in such an amazing way. Isaiah Joseph - “to be saved/delivered by God and added to our family!” I wish I could tell you that from that moment on it was smooth sailing and that we brought home that first little baby, and it was simple; but that is not my story. That night was in April 2015 and my sweet Isaiah Joseph was not born until December 2016. Our journey was long and it was hard, but God used that original situation to open our hearts back to adoption and to help us prepare all of the necessary paperwork to pursue a domestic adoption. We spent a long time waiting for God to bring us our little Isaiah, but during those months when I wanted to quit, I clung to what God had impressed on me that chilly April night. I KNEW one day I would hold my son, and I knew no matter how long it took that my little ISAIAH JOSEPH would be saved and delivered by God and added to our family at just the right time, and he was SO worth the wait.
Although God does not answer audibly, He does impress powerful things on our hearts with His still, small voice.
It is our job to cultivate a relationship with Him and walk out our faith in such a way that when He does answer, we know it is Him. If our prayer lives or our relationships with God aren’t where they need to be, He tells us to simply "draw near to him and He will draw near to us." (James 4:8) Waiting on God for answers and allowing Him to do things in HIS perfect timing are hard, BUT when we hand Him the pen to write the chapters of our lives, we find that some of the most difficult and beautiful things are the chapters we may have left out.
•Jennifer has been blessed to be married to her college sweetheart, Justin for almost 14 years. They have always been involved in full time youth ministry, but within the last few years have answered God’s call to plant Living Stones Community Church in New England! Jennifer is also a busy homeschooling momma of 3 and entrepreneur that runs her own business educating people (especially worn out mommas!) on the God-given benefits of essential oils. Her passion is driven by her love for empowering families to take control of their own health decisions! Check out her website
www.essentiallyempoweredwellness.com for more info or feel free to connect via Facebook.