The Last Stocking

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An archive post from December 2010

It was the last Christmas stocking.

For years it was a symbol of a dream. It reminded me of a desire placed within me, as a child, the desire to adopt.

Every year as I placed all the decorations on display, this one decoration stayed in the Christmas box. After several years, seeing it lying there in the box unused, began to make my heart heavy. I began to lose sight of that dream or at least the belief that it would ever be my reality.

Twelve Christmases ago, before my youngest son was born, I came across the sweetest stockings I had ever seen. (They are still the sweetest stockings I’ve yet to see.) I had been looking for my boys’ “official” stocking, the one they would use their entire childhood, to hold the goodies Santa stuffed inside. I had finally found them.

As I picked up two, something inside said, “No. Get three.” “Three??“, I thought, “I haven’t even had my second baby yet, why would I need three?” Then I remembered a conversation my husband and I had in the wee hours of the morning on the Christmas Eve that he proposed to me. I told him that I had always wanted three children. So maybe getting three stockings made more sense than not.

As I stood in the department store Christmas section, I was great with child, our youngest son. He would be our second child and our second son. If we did end up having three children, then of ‘course I would love for all of their stockings to match. If for some reason, we did not end up having three little ones, I could always give this sweet stocking to someone special and find it a good home. I purchased three stockings that day, full of anticipation of the day when all three would hang on the mantel.

Years of Christmases came and went. About a decade of Christmases to be exact.

Year after year, I pulled that stocking out, looked at it empty with no name and sighed, my heart heavy with the burden of a child within my heart, but not presently in my life. Encountering this stocking was beginning to be a struggle rather than a sweet memory of a purchase made long ago with a heart full of anticipation.

In 2006, the year before I went to China for the first time, I came across that stocking again. I said, “Lord. I have desired to adopt a child as long as I can remember. It looks like it will never happen, but I know you have given me a heart for orphans. So, please, either take the desire to adopt away from me or give me another way to touch the life of an orphan. Because my heart can’t stand to unpack this stocking one more time.I could never have imagined what the next year of my life would hold.

In 2007, after I returned from mission work in China, I came home to a family who felt the call of God to move forward with the adoption that was in my heart since I was a child. It was no longer just Mom’s calling, we all knew God was sending us to the uttermost parts of the world to adopt, and that uttermost would be China. The dream of adoption was about to become a reality, after all these years.

That Christmas I was so excited to pull out the stocking, knowing it would now belong to our daughter. I was so happy I had bought it all those years ago and that I kept it. However, once again waiting would be a large part of the dream to adopt. When the weight of the wait settled in though, Christmas seemed to become a milestone marker of how many Christmases we were missing with her. I would look at the stocking and begin to wonder again, how long it would be before her stocking was hung, with her name monogrammed on the front, waiting to be stuffed with goodies and love. Each year was tougher than the one before, as the adoption timeline for China lengthened and our wait was reaching three years.

At the end of 2009 God began to move on our hearts and we began to feel called to special needs. After another 8 months of waiting, we went to China in September 2010 and Hope, our daughter, became a reality of epic proportions. I never dreamed in a million years that 2010 would be the year the stocking would finally fulfill its purpose.

I remember having Hope’s named monogrammed on the front of her stocking.

She and I hung it together.

As I put it in its place my spirit cried out, “God YOU ARE FAITHFUL!!!!”

Looking at her name, Hope, on that stocking, it was speaking to me of the beauty of hope, the beauty of the journey of God’s faithfulness. The road was long, bumpy and hard, but it was worth it and my God was faithful. Tears welled up in my eyes and spilled onto my face, as Hope looked on. She wasn’t sure what Momma was feeling, so I assured her they were tears of joy.

Utter, complete joy. Longing fulfilled. A heart satisfied.

Hanging her stocking, for me, was the culmination of the journey. As one journey ends, another begins. It was the last line in a long chapter of our lives. Of my life.

God did what He said He would do. He kept His promise. He never left my side. He never left Hope’s side either. He began a good work. He finished the job. He carried it to completion. And our lives will never be the same. Praise His Holy Name.

“And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” (Philippians 1:6) (AMP)

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