This morning we sang a song written by Elevation Worship called “Unstoppable God”. The words resonated with where my heart has been lately.
And the world was born
Life begins and ends
In the dust You formed
And the mountains moved
Fear is losing ground
To our hope in You
We began this adoption process with more questions that answers. How would we ever afford this? How would this whole process work as we walked out the journey of my Dad’s dementia? How do I adopt a baby and still live out my calling as a pastor and a therapist? Could we really do this – imperfect people, imperfect marriage, and all?
We had way more questions that answers. And yet, we said yes. We took one step of obedience, then the next, then the next. We didn’t know where exactly those steps led us. Oh, we knew we were saying yes to a sweet little girl in China, but other than that, we had mostly just questions.
Weeks after we had said yes to adoption, I attended the local IF conference. The theme, of course, was faith.
“It isn’t in the measure of our faith, it is in the measure of our immeasurable God.”
I wrote in my journal that weekend. “Kristin, you don’t have to understand it to do it.”
It would only be two months from this point that we would see God answer our first big question – He would provide all of our financial needs for this adoption almost effortlessly.
Let Your glory go on and on
Since November of 2013, we have watched my dad fight a horrible fight with dementia. I don’t write much publicly about that, because it is not just my battle and I have a deep desire to respect the privacy of the rest of my family. I will say this though, it has been the most heartbreaking loss of my life. Navigating a loss like this that keeps going and going is hard anyways. But beyond that, you don’t know and love and then watch a great man like my dad slip away day by day without feeling tortured.
Russ and I both struggled with why God would ask us to do this now. Why would He call us to adopt when our family is going through this? How would this be for my mom?
I could not have anticipated what God would do in this.
I began to see throughout the early moments of our adoption that my mom had an excitement that I had not seen in her for months and months. I began to feel like parts of my family that were lost for a while were back again.
Around April I was on the phone with my mom one day when she told me that she felt like this adoption was for her. That it had given life back to her. It will forever stand out as one of my favorite moments in the adoption process.
This doesn’t take away the sadness. Grief still has a strong presence in my family. There are hard days and excruciating things to navigate. But in the life of Elliott Hope, the Lord has shown us that He still has good things for our family. He has given us excitement about the future again. He has helped us to remember that in the midst of some of our saddest days, He still has plans for us, beyond what we can imagine.
In Your name they shall be done
Three years ago the Lord called me to start the Freedom Counseling Center. I’ve spent three years growing as a therapist and a pastor, learning how to mix my love for the Lord, my gifts, and my passion to see people experience the true freedom God desire for them in their lives and their relationships. I love what I do. I know I am called to this.
My kids were two and four when I started the counseling center. Babies. It was hard. Now, at five (almost!) and seven, it is so much more manageable. Why would God call me to go back to raising a baby? How would I even do that?
Throughout the last year or so, I have toyed with the idea of expanding the counseling center. I almost hired someone at one point. It has worked though, just being me. I have been able to grow and develop my style and find a niche in the community. But what happens when I have a new baby and can see less clients?
In June I was having lunch with a former coworker, whom I have kept up with through the years. Someone I respect and admire. I was beginning to toy with the idea of hiring someone. Keep in mind, I had no master plan. As we talked about her desires for her life professionally, it became clear to me that it was her. That all this time I was waiting for an answer to this big question of how to go about adopting and managing the counseling center and the Lord had delivered something even better – someone I already know loves Him and loves people to serve along with me and lighten my load.
In one month, we have gone from one counselor in one office to the construction of a complete counseling center with multiple counselors. Only God. Only God would give me the ability to keep doing what I love, to EXPAND that, and to bring home a new baby girl.
Nothing shall be impossible
Your kingdom reigns unstoppable
If you know Russ and I personally, you know that we don’t come by the marriage thing naturally. We have a tremendous marriage, I absolutely believe that. We have fought, cried, prayed, and gone to counseling to get there though. We both are very committed to working on ourselves. We know that our marriage depends on it.
I walked into the adoption process with fear. Would we move towards our defaults during the stressful parts of this? Would I become bossy and critical? Would Russ retreat and detach?
Eight and a half months into the process, I can say with sincerity that I am more in love with this man than I have ever been before. We have faced hard things in this process. We have asked questions of ourselves and had conversations that have challenged how we love God, how we love our kids, how we look at this world. We have experienced pain. We have been excited together. Together, we have seen God work miracles. Even in this adoption, He continues to work miracles in us. I am grateful that I get to be obedient. I am a million times more grateful that I get to be obedient with Russell King.
We’ll shout Your praise forevermore
Jesus our God unstoppable