I would first like to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported Speed the Light this year! I was overwhelmed by people's hearts and generous giving! My initial goal was to raise $1000.....but God was far bigger than my goal and with all of you, we brought in $1495. Did I mention that $1495 was matched dollar for dollar from another very generous outside source? By joining together Mother's Day weekend, we paid for 15% of one well in Africa....one well that will give thousands of people clean water and SAVE lives!
Now, to the title of my post....as so many of you know, I started this business 5 years ago with a mission in mind and a desire in my heart! My family and I began a journey of adoption nearly 5 years ago and this small business was going to help fund that journey. We took a huge leap of faith and applied through Bethany Christian Services in the Ethiopia program with dreams of bringing a baby girl home. We anticipated this to be a two year process. Two years came and went...then three and four. I never expected this to be an easy process, but I also was not prepared to experience such a roller coaster of emotions. God had placed this insurmountable love in our hearts for a child on the other side of the world....we were doing the paperwork, paying the fees, waiting, waiting and waiting.
As odd as it may sound, although we had heavy hearts and were beyond being discouraged...we were so emotionally and financially invested in Ethiopia, that we were too scared to change. There were so many days where I felt God forgot about us, so many days I felt alone on this path.....but I would always peel myself off the floor and stand firm in His promise that He would NEVER leave me or forsake me! He is faithful...He has plans to prosper and not to harm, plans of hope and a future.
After years of waiting, Shawn and I spent many weeks in prayer asking God what to do. We were bold in asking Him to open our eyes, our hearts and new doors on this long journey. (Even as I type this, my eyes well up with tears) Though so many of the next details are personal, I can share with you that in February of 2015 God told us to move.....and scared to death, we were obedient and we moved. We officially withdrew from the Ethiopia program and started on a new path in the China special needs program. I was excited to see where God would take us but at the same time I was grieving. Part of my heart will forever be in Ethiopia! For 4 1/2 years, we prayed for the children of Ethiopia and it will always be part of our story!
I will never forget the Sunday before Mother's Day....Sunday May 3 2015. Like a normal Sunday we got up...got ready and headed out the door for church. A lot of things had been happening....things were stirring up in my heart....parts of my life seemed to be crumbling down around me....I left for church that morning feeling complete defeat and brokenness. Shawn held my hand that morning and led me up front for prayer.....I was exhausted, sobbing, and the only words I could get out were "I am so tired!" I had finally come to a place of complete surrender and knew I could not do this anymore. Our pastor prayed words of encouragement....words of renewal in my life. The days that followed were so hard. I was emotionally and physically drained, yet I pleaded with God each and every morning to energize me....and like every prayer over the last 4 1/2 years, to bless this family with the child we longed for.
I refocused all my energy on Mother's Day and Speed the Light. It's amazing what will happen to your spirit when you take the focus off yourself and put everything you have into something far bigger than you! It was an exhausting week....but a good exhausting! The phone continued to ring...emails were coming in and 40 Mother's day arrangements later, I was overcome with complete peace!
I finished the last arrangement at 3pm on Friday May 8....as I drug myself into the house, selfishly hoping to take a little nap before the kids came home from school...the phone was ringing and I really did not want to answer it....but I did. I was completely blindsided by this phone call.....was I dreaming? It was Bethany Christian Services telling me they had a little girl for us to look at in China. I was in shock!!! Shawn was coaching tennis...I knew he had his phone on him, but it was one of those moments when I literally called and texted him a gazillion times and he would not answer....Ugh!!!! My heart was racing as I opened up my email to see this little girl. As the pictures uploaded onto my screen, the floodgates also opened up! She was perfect in every way! I fell in love at that moment! The same exact love I felt when I delivered each of our four amazing kids! Finally, my husband called me back....I told him everything as I was basically hyperventilating! We just couldn't process everything....we had a commitment that evening for church...I drove so he could look over the files. It was the most quiet car ride ever! Still nothing was said. We came home late that evening and just sat on the couch staring off into space. Staring quickly turned into smiles....which turned into giggling and tears of joy! God is faithful! We are so excited to announce we accepted the referral that week and have been working hard to complete mounds of paperwork! Mounds and mounds of paperwork...but it's worth it! We have a beautiful one year old daughter waiting for us in China! Travel dates are unknown although we are hoping and praying it will happen in 2015.....and if it doesn't, I can finally say and BELIEVE what I'm saying....God's timing is perfect!
We are asking for prayer!!! Please hold us up in prayer as nothing is official until that sweet baby girl is in our arms! Please pray the paperwork goes through quickly and without error. Please pray for patience....please pray for our daughter in China! The Aker family is filled with joy!
Over 5 years ago, God put this love in our hearts. He gave me this verse..."Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" Our hearts are full!
When God tells you to MOVE...MOVE! The amazing thing.....when you move....GOD MOVES TOO!