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God Brings Beauty From Ashes

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
September 29, 2020 2:00 am

God Brings Beauty From Ashes

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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September 29, 2020 2:00 am

Heather DeJesus Yates, author of the book "A Mother of Thousands," talks openly about the steps she and her husband took to start a family of their own. After years of struggling with infertility, they adopted a beautiful baby girl. Yates encourages believers to keep their hands open to what God may have for them, and to remember through the trials that He is sovereign and can bring you sweet gifts that you could never imagine.

Show Notes and Resources

The Bear Brothers are Heather's husband Jon and a friend named Jonathan who restore trucks. https://www.bearbrotherstn.com/

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When Heather DeJesus Yates and her husband learned that they would likely not be able to have children, Heather turned to Jesus, looking for comfort and peace. What she got from him was a whole lot more. I did believe that God was giving me a vision for something bigger than the story I was wanting him to sit in with me. That I was wanting him to just give me a baby and he was wanting to give me more than that.

He was wanting to rescue me from a small story and help me see this bigger family and this bigger dream that he had for his kingdom and for me in it, if I would be willing to trust him. This is Family Life Today. Our hosts are Dave and Anne Wilson.

I'm Bob Lapine. You can find us online at familylifetoday.com. Heather DeJesus Yates takes us with her on a journey today.

We get to see the front row seat God had for her for something pretty incredible in her life. Stay with us. And welcome to Family Life Today.

Thanks for joining us. We have at Family Life for many years been advocates of adoption. I remember Dennis Rainey many times would ask the question to people. He'd be in a ballroom. He'd say, how many of you in the room are adopted? Raise your hand.

And people would raise their hand and then he'd say. You all are, right? Let me ask you again, how many of you are adopted? And the metaphor of adoption is a biblical metaphor. Each of us who is a follower of Christ, we're adopted into the family of God. So it's a powerful metaphor. We're talking this week about the pain of infertility and the choice of adoption.

That's not a foredrawn conclusion that experiencing infertility means that God is calling you to adopt. Those are two separate issues. And we've got Heather DeJesus Yates who's joining us to talk about this. Welcome back.

Thank you so much for having me. Heather is a, and I don't think you alluded to this earlier when we were talking about this. Heather's an attorney. Yeah, let's give her credentials. We should.

Goodness, no, please don't. Heather is a graduate of the University of Florida School of Law, practiced as an attorney for a number of years, was involved in adoption law and public policy, was involved with Alliance Defending Freedom for a period of time. Heather and her husband live in the corner of Virginia, where Virginia and Tennessee meet in that area of Bristol, Tennessee, which as we talked about earlier is the home of country music. That's right. Did you know that? No.

Everybody thinks Nashville is the home of country music, but in Bristol, Tennessee is where the Carter family first recorded and where Jimmy Rogers first recorded, and that's where country music was born. Oh, really? Yeah. Only Bob P. would know this, although you knew it too, Heather. Oh, yeah.

Thank you for keeping our history alive. Exactly. But the best thing about Heather is that she drives a sweet pickup. Yes, I do. I mean.... 1953 Chevy vintage ride with an LSX 376 engine, Wild Pearl. Wild Pearl. Yeah.

Heather, what's the name mean? Well, when we first decided to find a truck for me, we went down to the rat rod show in Gatlinburg, because that's what you do. The rat rod show. Yes. There are those who are listening that know what I'm talking about, and if you know, you know.

You have hot rods and you have rat rods. No, you know. Okay.

All right. So we went down to Gatlinburg to find whatever disheveled body would be the thing that we would restore. And when we finally found my beautiful wreck on the back of a flatbed in the Cracker Barrel parking lot, because that's how these stories go.

That's pretty much how all of these... I have not lived. I'm telling you.

You haven't. This is a makeover story of the highest quality. And so we found her, and she was just rusty and rough, and I fell in love.

I knew. I was like, that's my truck. That's my truck. And as I walked around and I had her for sale sign in the front and the number to call, and I thought, she is shabby. She has fallen apart. She has got all these dings and scratches, and yet I know what she can become.

I mean, I can see it in my eye. I know what she can become. And I just felt, even in that moment, you know, not to spiritualize a truck, but there was this moment where I felt like God's like, that's how I look at you.

I see what you can become, and I'm so proud of you, and I'm so excited for what I'm going to do with these parts of your story that you feel like don't fit. And so I bought her for 500 bucks, and we towed her off. And as she was being pulled off in front of me, we were driving in the back, and I just wept. I just wept, picturing him. He bought me, he towed me into his kingdom, and he's been rebuilding me and putting all these brand new things into me along the way, and he's clear coated me.

And so now all of my scars and my stains, they just shine through. This is a book. It couldn't even be a children's book. It was my first book title, All the Wild Pearls. And by the way, your husband does this, right?

He did. It was really, it was so sweet. This is a great marriage story. We had been through infertility, adoption, fostering.

We had saved money for different things along the way for our family needs that my husband just hadn't gotten to play very much. And he's just always loved trucks, old trucks, and he just would sit there. He'd say, do you mind if I look at trucks at night? That's our thing. I'd watch Hallmark, and he'd look at trucks on his phone.

No, baby, go ahead. It's some truck time. Daddy needs some truck time. So one season, it was a Christmas season, and he had found this truck in New Jersey, and it was this rusted, awful-looking truck. And he said, oh, baby, he just came down on this price. What do you think?

And we had just, like I said, we'd been through a lot, and we'd used our money for all these things. I said, baby, you know what? Go for it.

Go for it. He was tickled to death. He was like a man with 10 fingers just securing that truck for himself. And a week went by, and he'd offered full price and everything. And this guy just fell off the face of the earth, and he never got his truck.

And I could tell he was trying to be okay about it, but I knew it bothered him. And I thought, Lord, I am not praying about a truck. And I felt like the Lord said, love your man's heart. And I said, okay, I'll pray about a truck. And so I started to pray for him to find a truck that he could work on and rebuild. And then that prayer grew. And as I prayed for that, I felt like the Lord kind of opened up something bigger. And I started to pray not just for a truck but for a friendship, for a brotherly friendship, that this would grow into something where they wouldn't just rebuild trucks.

They would actually build relationships, and they would be a part of restoring things that felt broken and without any future hope. And so I started praying for that. And about a month later, my husband called, and we have some offices kind of all over the region. He was in one of our offices in another city. And he said, babe, you won't believe this. And he's like, I stopped by, there was this unmarked building. And the door was open, and I could see some trucks inside. So I pulled over, and I went inside to find out, you know, what are y'all doing in here? What are these old trucks doing in here? And I was like, baby, you get shot for that.

You can't do that. But anyway, so this is his personality. And he goes in there, and he meets this guy.

And lo and behold, on the side, this guy was just rebuilding old trucks. And his name was James. And so Jonathan and James, they became friends. And they had so much in common, they had adoption in common. They had other things in common.

They were both believers. And so Jonathan partnered with James. And I actually, Jonathan designed a truck for himself first. And so he did the architecture and the design and picked out everything and made his truck with James first.

And then when it was my turn, I said, I want one too. I designed it all myself. I knew, I was like, you don't need to do this for me.

I actually can do this myself, thank you. And so I designed Wild Pearl. And James brought Wild Pearl home. And when he brought Wild Pearl home, he got a call that he had brain cancer. And it wasn't going to be long. And so this journey was just a really quick experience to be a part of this man's life. And to come alongside him and love him and love his wife and his kids well and be there with him through the end. And so he got to see Wild Pearl finished. And that was kind of a thing to keep him going, was to just finish this truck with my husband and finish it for us. And then he passed away. And so when he passed away, the guys in the shop were like, man, Jonathan, will you take it over?

Will you do it? Because you get it and you love it. But it was a different city.

It was just wasn't a time for us to kind of split off from our main business. And so he just kept praying and I kept praying. And we actually came back from a weekend to remember weekend.

And on our way home, I asked my husband, I said, if Jesus would answer one prayer for you right now, what would you ask him? It's a good question. It is a good question. I probably got it from weekend to remember.

So you should go. And we had a lot going on with businesses and family. And so I thought it'd be something, you know, related to those things. And he took a few minutes to answer it. And then he said, you know, he said, I'd like a friend. And I could not even believe the words that came out of his mouth because he is so connected socially.

He is with men all the time, meeting with lunches and breakfasts and dinners and conversations. And he's like, but they're all either peers or they're working with me or they're older than me or they're looking for counsel. And he said, there's no like guy that we can just kind of live life and grow together as husbands, as fathers, as Christian business owners. He's like, I just, you know, want a friend. Well, that's all he needed to say because I got my big prayers.

So I started praying big again for him and that desire for a friend. And a couple of weeks later, a lady from church after mom's meeting, she said, can I ask you something really strange? I said, go for it. And she said, can I get Jonathan's number for my husband? She said, he just likes his trucks and he likes them. And I think I think they get along and he'd like to have lunch with him.

I said, are we getting our men on a play date? And she laughed. And so we did. And they're both named John. And so they met for breakfast.

This was almost three years ago. And every Tuesday morning at 6 a.m., these guys have been meeting, praying together, enjoying being together. They've become like brothers.

And so they share a love for trucks and restoration. And that has come full circle now for them, this conversation of, you know, what do we do with this passion and how do we bring it to a community so that men can come and be a part of something that they need that points them to hope. And so they form Bear Brothers. And that's what we have now is one of our side businesses is Bear Brothers.

And my co-wife partner, she prays to you, and it's a delight for her to see her husband doing something that she has a passion for, fits their personalities, fits their gifting. They're not men who want to sit in a conference room all day long and talk about their feelings. They want to get dirty, be in a shop, get outside, build something, break something, tear something. Why Bear Brothers? The verse in John 1.6 says, there once was a man named John sent from God.

He was not the light, but he came to bear witness to the light. And both of these guys are named John, and both of them feel like God sent them to each other to be friends, to be more than friends that would bear burdens with one another and bear one another's sins, confess it to one another, and ultimately bear the light of Jesus to a dark world. You know, when we came in here today, we didn't think we were going to be talking about truck restoration, mail friendships.

That wasn't the plan, was it? But I will say this before we jump in. I know, every single time I go into a room, I know I'm going to talk about trucks.

Don't you worry. Yeah, but I mean, I did think, and we need to talk about your book, but I thought your husband's answer to your question, I think would be almost every guy I know, I want a friend. And many of us adult men don't have friends like we did as kids or on teams, and we're 30, 40, 50, 60 years old, a lot of business partners, not a true friend. And not only did you and your friend pray, but at some point you had to say yes to a breakfast, and that's where it started. So, I'd say to guys, say yes.

There's a friend for you and you need him, but you got to go get it. That's right. And what I'm thinking about is the power of a woman's prayer and the influence she has in her home. And I think for me, a lot of times I will try to manipulate situations or coerce Dave into doing something. No, she's never done that.

Not one time. And yet the power that we have in prayer, and then when we take a friend into prayer with us, we are powerful women of influence as we go to God first and not try to manipulate things in our own way. Because I used to try to put a book beside the bed table for Dave to read or say, maybe you should get a friend, but man, God's the one that we go to. So, I have to believe somebody needed to hear that. Yeah, me, I need a truck and now I know where to go.

I'm thinking the truck too. But we came to talk about a journey that God has had you on for many years. When you and your husband got married, you were in your early 30s, you decided to hold off a couple of years and then start your family, except the family did not start. You were dealing with infertility.

You were seeing specialists. You were going back and forth between what do we do in terms of fertility treatment and what about adoption, trying to come to a conclusion on that. Let me just ask you about the whole infertility path you were on. There are ethical choices that people have to make as they're thinking about fertility treatment. How did you guys process those ethical issues and what was going to be okay and what wouldn't be okay?

You're absolutely right and there is a big conversation being had about some of the more advanced technologies that are out there and I think it's an important conversation to have. I do think those things matter, maybe more than we're comfortable with. But for us, just in our story, you know, every story is different. I have 12 other women stories in the book as well where they kind of dialed in and some of them went further in the treatment and did IVF and did other things. I have friends that I know that went through surrogacy and even before you hit moral questions, there's going to be questions even of sensitivity or comfort. So you're going to have dynamics that maybe the wife is more comfortable with than the husband. You know, surrogacy can be an uncomfortable thing if you're dealing with a woman's biology as a part of your child coming into the world. So there is this important place of complexity with both infertility journey and adoption that if you are not comfortable having these really delicate conversations with your husband, then it might not be the place to go. You know, you might not be ready to go down that path because you don't want to go down that path and then come back later and find out, oh, he was not comfortable with that or I wasn't comfortable with that. And then we both have this uncomfortable dynamic that's permanent. So having those conversations, I would meet with a pastor, meet with a Christian therapist counselor to kind of work through some of those bioethical issues.

If you're not familiar with it, there are some wonderful resources out there to kind of go through each of those paths and give some specific information about exactly when the egg is fertilized, when this in biblical terms is considered a life. And so handling those things carefully, we didn't go that far down the journey to really wrestle with some of the bioethical concerns. The concerns that we had, you know, my husband, he weighs in on the book as well, so he likes to tell people he wrote a book, which he did. We are one and he actually has his words in the book as well because it was a very different experience for him than it was for me. And that's most of the time the case in just about every area of our life, right?

We kind of weigh in on it differently. And for him, it was a challenge because a lot of the things were physically happening to my body and not to his body. And is it okay to alter something in my physical body that is not natural to my physical body?

You know, putting the medications in and doing something that naturally has not happened. You know, those are things that you're going to have to wrestle through with the way that you see the lens of freedom for some of the decisions that you have with the path that you take. And I think that that's a personal conviction for each couple, how far down the road they want to go.

But like you alluded to, there are some questions when you go further down the road. And I think you're so smart to say get wise counsel, get godly counsel, really wrestle with these issues well. Read the pros and the cons, read the people who say no and the people who say yes and take this before the Lord. And I would just say don't allow your desire to be biological parents to be so strong that it overrules something that your conscience may be saying, I'm not comfortable here. Because I think there can be that moment where it's such a strong desire to want to conceive, to want to give birth to your biological son or daughter that you might say, well, maybe we'll let this slide.

And you could regret that decision later on. Just be tender in your conscience as you go through all of this. You came to a point with your husband where you guys had a clear sense that God was saying we need to pursue adoption and that's the path he put you on. We did.

April of 2013, we had taken a two-week hiatus, that two-week break from not talking about that question. And so at the end of that two weeks when we came back together and were able to affirm without a shadow of a doubt, this is what we did know. And so we came back with, okay, what do we know then? We know we're called to marriage. We know we're called to parent, but we don't know if we're called to be our children. And so taking the things that we did know, we knew that God was leading us down the path of adoption. We knew that he called us to marriage, that we never wanted the kids to divide us even before they were born. So we wanted to be unified in this journey with adoption.

We wanted to have these gut checks regularly along the way. Has anything changed for you? Has anything become too scary or overwhelming?

Do we need to slow it down? So communication was just such a huge deal. And had we not been single for so long and really kind of read all the marriage books to try and be prepared for marriage, that was such a healthy foundation for us to just choose each other, keep choosing each other, keep the main thing being our marriage as we went along the journey.

Because I do see adoption and infertility and fostering unravel that unity between a husband and wife so often because a lot of times that desire for a child, usually a wife, desires that child so greatly that she's wanting it maybe more than he's comfortable, but neither of them feel like they can really put the fullness of their desires out there. Did your marriage ever get to the brink where, wow, this is really pushing it? You know, we never had a, I want this and you want that kind of a fight. It wasn't that. It was more of a, I feel so much of something and I don't know how to communicate it. And he was, I don't know what to do with that. You know, and he didn't know what to do with me. And I didn't know what to do with me and my emotion and his lack of emotion felt like a disinterest. And so I felt alone in my grief. I felt alone in my desire. And so he would say he wanted it, but then he would go on to work and he wouldn't even bring it up.

And I think, how can you not bring it up? So it wasn't ever that, you know, we just collided in our conflicting interest. It was just that we were experiencing grief differently and we were experiencing longing differently. And we were having to learn a language together for this journey.

And we didn't have anybody around us at that time who could help model language and help us figure out how to walk through that together. I've heard you say that adoption is something that you need to go into with your eyes really wide open and not be caught up in a romanticized ideal of adoption because there's some hard realities that come with it. Yes. And, you know, my sensitivity comes from an infertility journey. So I came into adoption with a background as a professional. So I had practiced adoption law. I had placed babies with families.

I had also removed babies from families after we had placed them because of biological mothers or fathers changing their mind. And so I knew this is not an easy road. This is a very complex road with a lot of moving pieces in it that you don't get to control. And so this is not going to be something that you want. Someone coming in with their soul is like a mushy banana.

You know, they're so vulnerable, everything sticks to them. And so for me coming into adoption with infertility background, I felt like I had done the work. I felt like we had had the conversations and I had laid the groundwork emotionally, spiritually to be prepared for what adoption would bring.

But I had no idea. Nothing can prepare you for what it feels like to come from an infertility journey and then be in a room with an ultrasound looking at what your child is doing inside of a belly that's not your belly. And so those spaces, they stick to you and you don't know how to prepare for that until you're in it. And so to think about women or even just as couples coming in with infertility background, to go into an adoption story, you are dealing with another woman. You've got a woman who can give birth and is giving birth to this child and has the control and has the choices and has all the power over this child that may or may not be yours. And so keeping your hands open to trusting God with your family, and that would be the big caution. Our story is a bit of a cautionary tale, even though we would live it a thousand times over for our little girl.

We would give everything to just continue to have her as our daughter. But if you go in white-knuckling, demanding outcomes, and putting your hope in a child to fill your desires and to make your dreams come true, this will be a brutal journey. But keeping your hands open and trusting that God sees you, He is sovereign, He is in control. He can bring gifts out of nothing.

He can resurrect the dead. So He can bring you children if this is what's best for you. And that's how we even pray as a family. You know, Father, we ask for this, and we thank you that you know what's best for us, and we give it back to you. And so if you can walk into adoption or fostering or wherever you're going, knowing that this child could come into your life and go out of your life and come into your life and go out of your life. If you're willing to keep that soft hand before God and let Him, like, elastic kind of stretch you and bend you back again, then you have a front row seat to a really exciting adventure with God. But it really needs to be a conversation with your spouse and an experience that you have support and community. And I think, I mean, your image of the clenched fist, open hand is not just for adoption.

It's for any situation. I'm thinking of someone right now, right now, holding on to their plan, a job situation, a family, their marriage, you name it. I mean, we all do it. It's like, I got to have this God. This has got to go this way. And the only way to find any peace in life is you got to open your hands and say, okay, I got to trust a God I know, but I don't know what He's going to do. You had to do it. And you're sitting here, there's a sense of peace we can feel coming from your soul that wasn't easy, but it's real.

But it's real, you know. And to follow up, Anne, you asked earlier, you know, where was God in all of this? He scripted the whole thing. This was His plan A. I didn't get His leftovers.

This wasn't a manufactured defect. And I had to, you know, I had to go back and start all over because, oh, Heather can't have kids. Now we have to like figure out plan B. You know, He saw me before He created the heavens and the earth, and He knew what our family dynamic would be. He knew everything that was going to happen and not happen for us. And so, we trust ultimately that if God wants our genetic DNA in order to build His kingdom, wild horses couldn't keep it from happening.

I mean, we could have every roadblock and every obstacle natural to us, keep us from having children, but we have confidence that He can overcome all those obstacles if it's best for us. And He knows the story He's writing, and it's so much better than any story I could have written. And I'm an author. So, tell us about the day you became parents. April 2013 was when we decided adoption was the journey we were going on. And I jumped in the shower, was just wailing in the shower, was so excited, and He said, why are you crying? And I said, because I feel like I just found out we're expecting.

And so, it was just a sweet month for us, April 2013. And we made the phone call to the agency and started down the road. And we had really expected it to take years. We were doing a simultaneous journey. We were going to be doing an international to China as well as domestic. But we had heard that the waitlist for domestic was over two years.

So, we had really no expectations of this being quick at all. And so, we went through the paperwork, we submitted everything, and we turned it in later that fall. And the day after we turned it in, we set off for the Bahamas for our five-year anniversary. And we were there, and it was a little bittersweet because I was expecting there at five years to be celebrating a baby bump. It was going to be our baby moon. And we were going to be able to get excited about coming back and having our first child.

And so, we were there at the beach. And instead, we were celebrating being done with our adoption process, at least for the first half, and turning in stuff enough to get activated into the system. And so, we came back from that, and we got a call. And I thought, oh, our home study is done, and we can move on to the next phase for the international adoption process. And they said, yeah, your home study is done. And we would like to show your profile to a birth mother this week. Are you open to it? And my jaw just hit the floor and said, what are you talking about?

I thought there was this big, long two-and-a-half-year wait list. And they said, well, this profile fits you all really well, and it doesn't fit other families. And if you would be open to it, you know, we said, yes, yes, we're open to it. And long story short, a week and a half later, we were meeting the woman carrying our daughter. And so, nine months from the month, nine months from the month that we believe God told us we were expecting a daughter. Our daughter was born. So, April 2013, she was conceived in our hearts, but she was also conceived in flesh. And so, just the grace of God.

And His ways are higher than our ways. And we could have never in a million years have planned a little girl as beautiful and as lovely who fits us so well. I couldn't have birthed anything any more beautiful than this little girl. And so, we got to see her a couple days after she was born, and that was its own long story.

But we got to bring her home, and it's going to forever be one of our highest privileges to be able to be her parents. As I'm sitting over here teary-eyed, thank you, you know, not knowing I was going to cry today, I thought of Psalm 34 18. That you just sort of expressed, the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

And you just said He had this whole thing the whole time, and you were brokenhearted. So many of us, there's people right now listening that are just so crushed in spirit and thinking God's far away, and He's right there. He's right there.

We don't know what His plan is, but we know He's here, and He's got you, so trust Him. Right now, get on your knees, surrender again. Open your hands. And say, I'm yours, and I will trust whatever you've got for me, whatever that is, I'm yours. And if what that is for you right now is issues related to infertility or challenges with adoption on either side of the process, let me encourage you. We want to send you a copy of Heather's book, A Mother of Thousands, to help you get a bigger vision for the story God has for you. We're making this book available this week to any of you who can support the Ministry of Family Life today with a donation. Your donations are the lifeblood of this ministry. You make it possible for hundreds of thousands of people every day to connect with family life and to receive practical, biblical help and hope for their marriage and their family. Every time you make a donation. So if you can go to familylifetoday.com and donate online, or call us at 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate, we're happy to send you, when you request it, a copy of Heather DeJesus Yates' book, A Mother of Thousands, From Baron to Revolutionary. And this may not be your story, but you may know someone who is in the midst of a journey like this.

Get a copy of this book and give it as a gift to them. Again, donate online at familylifetoday.com or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate, and we look forward to hearing from you. And we hope you can join us again tomorrow when we're going to hear more about what is required in terms of ongoing dependence upon God through every step of the journey when it comes to infertility and adoption. Heather DeJesus Yates will be with us again.

I hope you can be as well. I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life of Little Rock, Arkansas. A crew ministry. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-25 23:12:24 / 2024-02-25 23:25:49 / 13

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