How many times have you felt called to say or do something but resisted out of fear? Too many to count for me. Looking back, I have no doubt that I’ve missed out on His plan and purpose because I was afraid to move or speak. I don’t want to live that way. I want to step in faith and be obedient to His calling.
Back in March of 2014, I took a leap of obedience and shared my heart and fears when I shared this post about my girl. I remember the day like it was yesterday, as I published my very raw and emotional feelings. It was truly the first time I shared those emotions with anyone. The first time I was honest about my fears – fear for myself and the future of my girl. Vulnerable was how I felt, but inside was a voice saying, “For I know the plans I have for you.”
Time and again over the next couple of years, the Lord was faithful. He used Joy Belle’s story and my testament to encourage other parents, specifically those of children with clubfeet. Several parents reached out to me telling me how thankful they were I chose to share my heart and how much it had encouraged them.
I prayed from the beginning, “Lord, use me. Use her story. Use our struggles. Use our journey to bring You glory.” Each and every time, I was reminded of this answered prayer. Each and every time, I praised Him for choosing to use me – choosing to use Joy Belle.
Then on October 20, 2016, I received a phone call from a friend. She goes to church with a girl (Taylor) from my childhood that was currently in the process of adopting. On that day, the Mauldin family received word that they were matched with a boy from India and that he had clubfeet. (Cue my tears!) As my friend’s words came through the phone, my heart rejoiced as I knew God had been at work.
So let me share this God story with you.
Months prior to this day, Taylor and her husband TJ were filling out adoption paperwork. There was a list of special needs and they had to choose, yes or no. Not familiar with the term, TJ hesitated to choosing yes to clubfeet. Taylor immediately questioned, why?
A couple of years prior, Taylor had read my post about Joy Belle and followed along with her progress. “I don’t know why I was so drawn to it and I kept up with it every time you posted. (Looking back, it was the Lord).”
Within a few minutes, she’d pulled up my blog and took TJ back through our journey. She showed him photos of Joy Belle’s feet and of the progress she’d made over time. That day, they said yes to clubfeet. (And other special needs too.)
The rest of the story is from Taylor,
Our child could have had any special need, but the Lord saw fit to give us a child with bilateral clubfeet. It is so encouraging to know that there is someone so close that has already walked the journey ahead of us.
Meet the Mauldin family: TJ, Taylor, & Cameron.
In November of 2015, I shared a post about darkness and how our God is a God who keeps promises. See an excerpt from my post below,
This past Sunday, we studied Genesis 15, when the Lord promised descendants to Abraham, and our teacher pointed out a detail I’ve missed so many times before. In verse 5, God said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them. So shall your descendants be.” Backup to Genesis 13:16 and God said to Abraham, “I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered.”
I’ve read both passages of scripture a dozen times, but I’d never thought much about why He first compared Abraham’s descendants to the dust of the earth (or sand) and then the stars. But often, when we’re discouraged and doubting and our faith is the weakest, we’re looking down – down where the dust of the earth and the sand is, beneath our feet. But when our faith is strong and our eyes are on Him, we’re looking up to the Heavens – a sky filled with too many stars to count. So whether you’re looking down or looking up – His promises are there! It was just one of those days, when the scripture reminded me that my God is a God who keeps promises. He is faithful and I’m so thankful to know that, even if I need reminding on my darkest days.
That post was written only 11 days before Cameron was born. Days. Days before he was born, Joy Belle took her first steps. Days before that little boy was born into this world with bilateral clubfeet, my God reminded me that He is faithful and keeps His promises.
God used Joy Belle’s story and journey to bring Cameron home from India. He’s the God of the hills and valleys. He could have used any means to bring Cameron home to his family. He chose Joy Belle. He chose me. He chose to use our story and journey to speak to Taylor and TJ.
There is not a doubt in my soul that God’s story for Joy Belle and Cameron is not over. He is going to continue to move mountains with both of them! And I’m personally so thankful to have a front row seat to His show.