I coupon. I love to coupon. I am not obsessive about it like those weirdos on TLC Extreme Couponing, but I love to save my little family money. Three years ago last week we started out on a journey, one that we thought wouldn't take very long, but surprisingly here we still are....waiting. Maybe I should explain.....
Three years ago in February Donnie and I felt God was laying it on our hearts to adopt. We did our research, mounds and mounds of paperwork, fingerprints, and criminal background checks. We paid our money and we waited....and waited....and waited. So the next year rolled around we did all our updated paperwork (maybe just one mound this time), fingerprints, criminal background checks, and paid our money. Again, we waited....and waited...and waited. So here we are at year number three. Getting ready to start the paperwork process all over again, not really expecting anything, but always praying for the best. So you are probably asking, how do coupons play into this?....Read on.
When we were first approved for adoption we decided that I would stay home with the baby (a must, by the standards of our adoption agency, for at least 6 months.) I knew staying home would mean one less salary, but really we could do it. Besides, what was the point in me working if it was just going to be to cover the cost of daycare?? We wouldn't be able to travel or shop like we did then, but we knew it would all be okay because we would finally have the one thing we really wanted in this life....a baby. So, with a new resolve, I set out to learn about coupons. The one thing I learned early on is, if you do it just right, you can save a lot of money. I asked questions, I looked at adds, I scoured the Internet for any kind of deal I could find. Again, not trying to store things up, but instead saving money on our bi-monthly grocery trip. During this process, and having been told by the agency that we would definitely be chosen sooner rather than later, I started asking questions about diapers. All my friends told me if I had really good coupons on diapers, then I should by them now. "Coupons expire, diapers don't" was a phrase that was echoed over and over to me by my friends. So I decided since we were going to be picked quickly (according to our social worker) that I would start buying, and putting away diapers. I bought in all sizes, friends told me what sizes to get the most of, and I put them away, knowing that we would be chosen soon. After a year of waiting, and not hearing anything, I quit buying as many diapers. As year two, then three rolled past, I didn't buy any. My hope, faith, and trust that we would be getting a baby started to fall away, and those diapers were a constant reminder of the "failure" I felt that I was, but I just couldn't let them go.
Most of you know about the tornadoes in Alabama this spring. One of the students in the program where I work was from a very hard hit town right outside of Tuscaloosa. She sent out an email describing the devastation, the lack of food, clothes, and water, and then told a story of how there were a lot of young families that didn't have diapers, food, or clothing for their babies. The story hit hard with me, I knew what I should do. I had all these diapers, unused, sitting in the top of my closet. The bible verse from Matthew 6 kept replaying in my head. If you don't know it, here it is:
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I came home from work that day, with a heavy, heavy heart, and went to the back bedroom where I started pulling all the diapers, and wipes out of the closet. I cried. Cried like I haven't in a long time. Cried for the people in Alabama who were hurting. Cried because I felt like I was "giving up" on the dream of ever becoming a mother. Cried because I had no words to express how sad my heart actually was at that time.
The next day I took most of the diapers and wipes that I had stored, to work, and gave them to the student that was headed home to Alabama that afternoon. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. I'm sure most of you are thinking that is insane, and that it was just diapers, but when you've wanted to be a Mommy for as long as you can remember, have done everything imaginable to your body, mind, and spirit to make it happen, when it never did... it indeed felt as if I was tearing away my hope for a future. Then God reminded me of this simple verse from Jeremiah 29:
11For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
While I still had some diapers left, it wasn't near the amount that I had originally put away for a sweet baby. The thought of being able to give them to multiple babies, babies that had lost everything, overflowed my heart with joy. Fast forward to this weekend when my friend Julianne sent out a need for a family she had met. When she said they had a 9 month old, I knew just how I could help meet part of their need. I took diapers, and wipes out of the closet, this time with no tears, but with a faith and confidence that I know that come from this verse out of Romans 8:
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
When I bought those diapers, I never knew I would use them for a different purpose than what I had intended. While I don't understand it all, I do understand that God is still working on me. Showing me daily about His love, and letting me know little by little that the things He has in store for me.....I am just not suppose to understand.