During our 5 weeks in Ukraine, I felt God's presence more than any other time in my life. He showed himself to us in so many different ways. I miss feeling that presence. I know the reason I felt His presence more during this time than any other time in my life is because I sought it out. I prayed almost non stop during our entire time there. Now I'm lucky if I can squeeze in a prayer here and there between the happily busy days life has brought to us. During our time in Ukraine, I invited God into every second of my day because I knew I could not get through even one day without Him. It was easier to be close to God during the time in Ukraine because all daily distractions, along with comforts, were stripped from us. We had lots of time to "detox" from our busy day-to-day routine of life in comfortable America. We had many times of quiet unease (at first), which turned into quiet peace and a chance to experience God's arms wrapped tightly around us, even during the times when things seemed to be falling apart.
One way we experienced God's love was through the presence of my Grandfather. My Grandfather passed away on March 14, 2008. My Grandfather and I had a very special relationship and his passing was very difficult for me. The night he passed away, before I got the news, I had just fallen asleep and had a dream that my Grandfather was rising up to heaven but stopped on his way up to tell me how much he loved me. I woke from the dream, to a phone call from my Dad telling me my Grandpa had just passed away. I wasn't surprised that my Grandpa stopped to say goodbye on his way to heaven. For the next year, I would feel my Grandpa's presence at the weirdest times. Sometimes I would dream about him, and wake up thinking I had really just talked to him and hugged him because it felt so real. Other times I would smell his distinct smell. One time I experienced this at a baseball game, out of the blue. He loved baseball. When we committed to adopt Zoya I was sad with the thought of realizing that my Grandpa would never meet her. He would love her (he DOES love her). Before we traveled to meet Zoya, I mentioned to my Grandma how I was sad that Grandpa would never meet Zoya. My Grandma said, "Oh Sarah, don't you know he probably set this whole thing up." And that was all I needed to hear to remember that he was going to be with us through the journey.
We met Zoya on March 17, 2010. My Grandpa was buried on March 17, 2008. In THIS POST FROM "METCHA DAY" I talk about how it was a very gloomy day, but when Zoya was handed to me, the sun came pouring through the windows. I know it was no coincidence that this was the day we met her, and I know my Grandpa was there in the sunshine that poured through that window.