In another long absence (sorry Grandparents), I debated whether or not to go into much detail about the yard sale - especially since I didn't get any pictures. But through every step of the adoption process, God has done amazing things to provide for and confirm His calling for our family. I think it is important to share those things - no matter how small. So, I decided to share.
In the fall I participated in a local mom-to-mom sale. As I was setting the prices for the sale (most items were donated), I knew I wanted to set them pretty low. I could put myself in the place of those moms - looking for great deals on nice things for their children. Since almost everything I was selling had been donated for the cause (technically making everything a profit) - and since we have been so blessed by the generosity of family, friends, and even neighbors we had never met - I wanted to bless these mothers in return. As I prepared for this sale, I realized that I had the opportunity to give everyone that same feeling. Lucas loves garage sale-ing, and it is so much fun when he comes home excited because of a great deal he found, or a great barter. Ultimately, I feel confident that God will provide, and in the meantime I just wanted to make everyone who came to my sale feel uplifted, encouraged, and excited by the time that they left.
Now, this doesn't mean I dropped all the prices to rock bottom. I do my homework, I know what the items are worth, and the money is going to (I think) a wonderful cause. My prices were competitive, but I resolved to be open to offers and to try to make every encounter positive.
We started the 2-day sale with fewer big ticket items than last year (less furniture, etc.). There was a steady stream of people, but all of the purchases seemed to be small amounts. And I was accepting pretty much any offer (in fact, the only offer I didn't accept was $5 for a crib - which was definitely worth more!). I was convinced we wouldn't make near as much as last year. Quite often I would think, "I shouldn't have accepted that lower price. I know someone would have paid full amount." But then I would think about how excited they were when they left and I would remind myself, "As we are blessed we bless others in return." It was practically my mantra.
When the lady was demanding a lower price because of a microscopic crack (that was not a damaging - just the usual veining that you find in older pieces) in a platter that she was going to use as a dog dish, I whispered in my head, "Be a blessing." When the woman wanted just 1 of a set of plates because she prefers mismatched and refuses to collect sets, I reminded myself , "Be a blessing." When a man (who I think was stocking clothing for his second hand store) asked if he could have jeans at half price if he bought a lot, and I wanted to say, "Of course not. I want you to buy a lot AND pay full price," I focused on my real goal, "Be a blessing." Then there were people who made it easy - like the young couple picking up items for their baby girl that was due any day (I actually gave them a few things because they bought so much), or the woman who was buying baby items because she and her husband were just approved to be foster parents and were hoping for a call to place a baby in their home any day (I gave a few things to her too). And people left with smiles on their faces, and people told me my sale was the best they had been to, and 1 woman told me that I was the only nice person she had seen all day. Overall, I felt like I HAD really been the blessing that I sent out to be. But I was pretty sure I didn't make any money.
And then I started counting the money. I'm pretty confident my exact words were a very loud, "Holy cow! No way!" And then I counted again. And then I counted again. Every time it was the same. Last year we made about $325 at the actual sale (including donations), and brought in another $90 from craigslist sales the week after ($415 for those similarly math challenged as I). This year, the sale alone brought in a whopping $493. We received a total of $75 in addition in donations ($568 total). I was blown away.
Now, one way to look at it is to think about how much money I COULD have made had I not accepted any offers. But I prefer to be amazed by God's faithfulness. I trusted Him to provide and committed myself to blessing others the way many have blessed us - and He provided beyond my expectations. I frequently find myself confident that God's hands are tied. That He has nothing to work with (such as the lack of big ticket items at the sale). That, at best, He might meet my expectations, but I understand if He fails. And then He surpasses my expectations and reminds me that the Creator of All needs nothing to provide for all my needs.
And, quite frankly, I need to be reminded of that myself today. We received an e-mail from our social worker letting us know to expect a slow-down in Ugandan adoptions. Without going into many details, the country is making some changes that I truly believe are in the best interest of the children and the people of Uganda. I am so thankful that our agency is being pro-active and doing everything in their power to encourage and aid these changes. I am honored to be part of the adoption community that is aware of and praying for the important decisions that have and are being made around the world for the children in their care. At the same time, I long to be done - to have our whole family in the same place, on the same continent, just being a family together. I sometimes feel like I'm walking around with a part of me missing - out there, somewhere far away, in a place completely unknown to me - and in the already ambiguous time frame of waiting, the thought of adding more time breaks my heart.
So I sit here and remind myself that I may not know the time, but God knows. I may not know the children, but God knows. I may not know where they are, but God knows. And He is holding us all in His hands and working to bring us together. While now it feels impossible (or impossibly long), and I feel like His hands are surely tied, I rely on reminding myself of all the times He has provided - in His perfect timing - so incredibly beyond what I could have ever imagined.
And so I wait. Living the life He gave me. Trusting in His timing. Trying to be a blessing to everyone I meet.
Speaking of life...I couldn't leave the grandparents without any pictures :) The other day the twins spent the whole morning finding everything in our house that had wheels and lining them up in the living room (sometimes they said it was for a meeting...sometimes for a race...). These are the moments - when they play together perfectly for a long period of time doing something so simple that completely delights them - that warm my heart the most.