One of Tim’s and my favorite books is The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung and Don Clark. It’s a children’s book which tells, both with word and beautiful illustration, God’s unfolding plan for mankind. Last month, a board book version of the book came out titled The Biggest Story ABC. As I read it the other night, the middle pages—the ones tucked away between what would be our Old and New Testaments—resonated with me. It was in that moment right before Jesus came to earth that humans were at one of our lowest points.
Until, finally, God seemed to be Quiet for hundreds of years.
But God hadn’t left; he was just getting things Ready.
The silence of God is a difficult feeling to wrestle against. It’s impossible to describe how the absence of something can bring with it such great weight. It raises so many questions. So many doubts. So many insecurities.
It’s no secret Tim and I have desired to start a family for several years. And in those years, there have been plenty of ups and downs. There have been moments when we saw God all around us, orchestrating our story. But there have been seasons permeated with silence. There were times we just stopped praying because we were emptied of words we thought would make any difference.
In early 2016, we entered into the adoption process. Just like with infertility, the months went by in a rhythmic up and down of hope and despair. We’d do the necessary paperwork . . . and we’d wait. We’d respond to emails . . . and we’d wait. We’d meet with our caseworker . . . and we’d wait. We’d wait and wait and wait.
Then on September 12, we were woken by our cell phones ringing. The previous night, we’d slept in the downstairs of our house on an air mattress, nervous that the winds from Hurricane Irma might topple the trees that stand next to our bedroom ceiling. Tim groggily answered the phone and I heard him say, “Okay . . . Okay . . . Okay . . . Yes, she’s right here . . . Okay . . . Yes, I’ll call you right back.” With one eye open, I asked, “Who was that?” He quietly responded, “We’ve been matched. It’s a boy. He’s already here.”
Without a word, I crawled off the air mattress into Tim’s arms and wept. Wept with celebration. Wept with joy. Wept with relief. Wept with an emotion washing away the soul-stirred wrenching of the past seven years. Even as we prayed through the night for our physical home, we had no idea that we should have been praying for the metaphysical home our little boy, already born, would be raised in.
We wanted to go to the hospital immediately, but there were legal steps that needed to happen before we could. So we spent the rest of the day securing a lawyer to finalize the adoption paperwork and rushing from store to store to get what some of our mom and dad friends deemed the necessities for a newborn’s first week of life.
Then on Wednesday, September 13, our lawyer called to say he was meeting with our baby’s birth mom at noon. He said that once the paperwork was signed, we’d be able to go into the hospital and meet our son. At noon, we got in the car and drove to a Starbucks across the street from the hospital. We sat in the parking lot and waited for the call.
And finally, at 2:30 p.m., we met our son. As we looked down at him in the hospital bassinet which seemed much too large and manufactured for such a tiny, perfect little human, the nurse asked if he had a name. Until that moment, he’d been in the hospital’s records as “Baby.” With tears in his eyes, Tim uttered, “Landon Douglas.”
In that moment, a passage from the Bible flashed through my mind:
Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called you by name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you . . .
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you (Isaiah 43:1–4).
I’ve called you by name. You’re mine. My son needed an earthly name, but His heavenly Father had already given him one. During all those years when the silence was at times exhausting, God wasn’t silent. He was just getting things ready.
Tim and I are filled to the brim with gratitude to our family, friends, adoption specialists, Landon’s birth parents and family, the hospital staff, and everyone who has supported us during this entire process. To learn a little more about Landon’s story (and download an extra-special Spotify playlist made in his honor), you can check out landonwhitacre.com.12