I've had such trouble figuring out how to properly write this post. I want everyone who reads it to marvel at the message. I'm sure that I'm not going to portray it as well as I'd like, but here goes. Hope it inspires you anyway.
You may remember, fairly recently, that I tried using my engagement ring as incentive to raise funds for the adoption of gorgeous, precious, breathtaking little Danil. I had a lot of... interesting... feedback on the giveaway. There were comments of praise:
"Wow, I could never do that. You have such a big heart."
As well as comments that were, well, not so nice:
"I can't BELIEVE you'd do something like that. What ARE you thinking?"
And an overwhelming number of comments:
"Gee, I hope whoever wins it decides to let you keep it."
In fact, I was fed that last line so much, that I started to forget the whole idea behind the sacrifice. I started to question my intentions, question the value of what I was doing, ultimately even question my faith in God.
Before I go any further, I'd like you to consider the gravity of that last one.
A sacrificial act on my part, leading to others pulling me away from God.
(Please, just internalize that for a moment; do you realize how dangerous our words can be? For every doubt you place upon a heart, there are those that have already come before you, doing the same, and those that will come after you, doing the same. Those questions build like a wall, making it harder to hear God's call.)
I'm not trying to be dramatic. It's just the truth. As more people questioned, I started to have doubts. Maybe it wasn't God telling me to give up the ring. Maybe I was just being overly emotional, seeking acceptance through self-sacrifice. If it wasn't God, then maybe I didn't hear Him any other times, either. And in fact, I'm not getting any answers I want lately, so it doesn't even seem as if He's really listening to me. Do I really believe that He cares? That He understands? That He is really even here?
So there was little ol' me, acting of such little faith. Thinking selfishly about whether I was getting what I wanted from this ring, how much I should get to keep it, why I deserve to have my favorite possession of all time. Me. Me. Me.
And just like that, He spoke once more, and reminded me again of His grace, His worthiness, His divinity.
You see, before I started making it all about me, it was about Him. About a night that I couldn't sleep, about the photo of a boy that I couldn't get out of my mind. About an unrelenting voice telling me, "You have a ring, and it will bring him home."
A day after answering the call, I was given the message. Danil has a home.
A few days later, I sent an email to a very dear friend. In it, I wrote,
"In my wild fantasies, the person who ends up with the ring decides (s)he doesn't really need it either, and decides to do the same thing for another child. Then the next person does the same thing... and it goes on and on, and the silly diamond ring brings all sorts of families together, because everyone realizes life is so worth so much more than a silly diamond ring. A girl can dream, right?)
Before everyone else felt the need to tell me what they wanted, or what I should want, God spoke, and told me what He wanted. He could move mountains to bring families together. If a loaf of bread and five fishes can feed the masses, surely a ring could help bring children home, right?
Of course, I never mentioned this to Molly, the winner of the ring. In fact, she had written me (right about the time I was feeling terribly bitter about the whole thing) that she was so excited to have won, that she had been searching for a three stone ring for herself and couldn't be more thrilled about winning it.This was exactly what she had been searching for!
Bitter me only took it as salt in an open wound. When you can't say something nice, you shouldn't say anything at all. So I stayed quiet and let her revel in her excitement.
Soon after, the day came to send the ring off to its new home. I had gone through my stages of grief, and was finally at acceptance, or at least, as close as I thought I could be.
It struck me as a bit funny that the cashier at the post office had a ring on every finger. It was awkward when I explained the what and why of my mailing (I needed her help; it's not as if I send valuables on a frequent basis.) I was no longer angry, no longer bitter, but a bit sad as I wrote the check. And sadder still as I took the receipt to an object that was no longer mine. Sadness was in danger of consuming me.
So I prayed. I prayed that God give me peace. That He fill me with such a peace, and such an obvious sign that this was from Him, that I'd no longer be able to doubt His involvement. All I needed to know this was His call, and I wouldn't be sad anymore.
I came home, opened my laptop, and discovered a message.
It was from Molly.
The message was simple.
I was thinking of using the ring for a raffle at my Christmas Angel Tree party-what do you think?
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for reminding me that you know all, you see all, and that faith can move mountains. And thank you for knowing when I needed to receive that message.
The time the email was sent: 5:40pm
The time my receipt printed: 5:50pm
(Did I mention the cashier had to change the register tape and reprint my receipt? Those rings on her fingers made it take a bit long... somewhere around ten minutes.)
Have faith. Let Him move mountains through you.