one of those days

Today was one of “those” days. I was so thrilled that last Tuesday we were able to walk in early for our fingerprint appointment and actually get our I-800A approved that same day – two weeks before our fingerprint appointment had even been scheduled! I knew that we should have our I-797 (the approval of our I-800A form) before the weekend and could have it notarized at church Sunday morning, and then I could take it to Jefferson City today to get it certified by the Secretary of State and have it overnighted to our Chicago courier this afternoon, so she could take it in to the Chinese consulate tomorrow. It was a perfect plan. My good friend Liz would accompany Miranda and me, and in between obtaining our state certification and returning to Columbia to send the document off to Chicago, we’d make our usual stop at Central Dairy for a fabulous scoop (or three) of ice cream. What could possibly go wrong?

Well…it turns out that the Secretary of State’s office erroneously certified the notarization as being by “Joseph” instead of “Joshua.” Oops. And I didn’t look at it closely enough to catch the mistake until we were already back in Columbia, and I was getting ready to mail it out to the Chicago courier. Another oops. Our agency confirmed that yes, this would be a problem, so I tucked Miranda in for her nap and left her with Matt, who was working at home today, and got back in the car. Thanks to our 2 wonderful notary friends, I was able to get a new copy of our I-797 form notarized within half an hour of making my first desperate phone call (because under no circumstances is it a good idea to remove a staple from your official dossier document and just attempt to staple everything back together without making it look like you did so), and I was on the road to Jefferson City. Again. But this time I was lacking excitement and company and trying to make up for it with agitation and loud music.

And yet God was gracious to me in the midst of that. As I was approaching Jefferson City, the song blasting through my speakers was Watermark’s More Than You’ll Ever Know. I once gave this CD to a friend with a note thanking her for being, for me, that person described in this song. And today I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the entire community of people God has placed around us who live out His love for us in various ways –

Something brought you to my mind today
I thought about the funny ways
you make me laugh
And yet I feel like it’s ok to cry with you
Something about just being with you
When I leave I feel like I’ve been with God
and that’s the way it ought to be, yeah

(friends who join me for dinners after impromptu invitations and hold back giggles during Miranda’s prayers, who share with me the stories of their lives, who talk about their struggles and their joys and the details of their every day lives, who pray with and for me, who share their funny stories)

Cause you’ve been more than a friend to me
you fight off my enemies
cause you have spoken the truth over my life
And you’ll never know what it means to me
just to know you’ve been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah, more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah

(friends who send me text messages or shoot me e-mails to ask how I’m doing or tell me they’re praying for me, who let me invite myself into their homes)

You had faith
when I had none
You prayed God would bring me a brand new song
When I didn’t think I could find the strength to sing
and all the while I’ve been hoping that I’ll
do the kind of praying for you that you’ve done for me
and that’s the way it ought to be, yeah

(the friends who have words of encouragement when I’m feeling down, who have walked with me through the valleys and reached down to help me out of any pit – big or small – I may fall into, who have purchased artwork to help us pay for the costs of our adoption process, who are praying us through)

Cause you’ve been more than a friend to me
you fight off my enemies
cause you have spoken the truth over my life
And you’ll never know what it means to me
just to know you’ve been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah, more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah

(friends who speak Truth to me and share with me what they’re learning from God and ask me about how I’m cultivating my relationship with Him and what I’m learning)

You have carried me
You have taken upon a burden
that wasn’t your own, yeah
may that blessing return to you
A hundredfold
oh oh yeah, a hundredfold

(friends who interrupt their days on 2 minutes’ notice to notarize a new copy of our immigration approval for me, who write reference letters for us, who help me mop my floors because I haven’t done it in longer than I’d like to publicly share and I have company coming in to stay for the weekend, who mail out documents for me when I’m out of town so we can complete this adoption process as quickly as possible)

Cause you’ve been more than a friend to me
you fight off my enemies
cause you have spoken the truth over my life
And you’ll never know what it means to me
just to know you’ve been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah, more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you’ll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you’ll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you’ll ever know.

(friends who seek God, who encourage us to follow Him, who “act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with [their] God” (Micah 6:8), who are willing to tackle the hard issues alongside us, who speak Truth and lean on the One who holds the power over it all and go to Him in prayer)

We are incredibly blessed. And in the midst of a discouraging day – when I didn’t get to work at all, and I spent hours just attempting to get one simple item checked off my to do list, and my document still isn’t in the mail to the Chicago courier yet, and we ate frozen pizza for dinner – it was encouraging to be reminded by God of all the blessings we really do have in our lives.

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