Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Tape Playing In My Head

It's July. July 3rd will mark one year since we received the call about our first referral. We are doing well ... very well, actually. The other day, I found myself looking back at pictures from last year's trip, not with sadness or grief, but with a smile and thankfulness. That's huge y'all, and it indicates huge healing. But in the midst of that we are anxiously expectantly hoping to receive another referral soon.

Still, even with all the healing that has happened and grief that has been processed, there is a tape that wants to play in my head. Tape?!? Yikes, that makes me old. Anyway, it goes something like this:

"You shouldn't be here. You shouldn't be waiting. You should be changing diapers and losing sleep and chasing a two year old. You should be in the throes of exhaustion. You should be tripping over toys and going to the doctor and worrying about developmental milestones. You shouldn't be here."

It's not so much a sad tape as a whiny, pouting, "this isn't fair and this isn't what I signed up for" tape, and I'm positive I'm not the only one playing it. Maybe it's a failed marriage. Maybe it's a lost loved one. Maybe it's unmet expectations. Maybe it's a job you lost or a promotion you didn't receive.  

So a couple mornings ago, I was playing this tape for God, and I heard clearly in my heart, "Stop it!" Stop playing the tape of what should've been. Stop focusing on what wasn't. Start focusing on what is and have hope in what will be. 

I can't change the past. I can't undo what's been done. But I can have hope for the future. I can have hope in the One who holds that future. So it's time to change my tape (or c.d. or the song on my playlist ... guess it all depends on when you were born). 

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you." (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11-12‬ NKJV)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A "Children of Israel Moment"

I am human. Painfully so at times. I am not perfect. I mess up. I doubt. I don't trust. I have moments ... "Children of Israel Moments".

The Children of Israel ...

If you've read anything about them in the Old Testament of the Bible, then you've quickly caught on to how fickle they could be. One day they were praising God. The next doubting Him. He delivered them out of Egypt. He parted the Red Sea, and they walked across on dry land. He turned bitter waters sweet. Yet, they complained and grumbled. He sent manna from Heaven, but they wanted meat. So God sent quail as well as bread. God provided and continued to provide, and how did the Children of Israel respond? When Moses was delayed coming down from the Mountain of God, they made a golden calf and worshipped it.

Throughout the Old Testament you see the back and forth, the ebb and flow of the Children of Israel. They trust and find God faithful, and they celebrate His goodness. Yet it seems that they just as easily forget and doubt. Despite their selfish and shortsighted behavior, God suffers long with them. Time and again, He shows mercy on the Children of Israel.

As a Christian, I've often read through these passages of scripture and wondered how The Children of Israel could have been so faithless in spite of all God had done for them. There were times when they flat out rebelled. There were times when they acted as if God no longer existed and panicked. Even after all He had done for them, they doubted that God was for them.

Yes, I have wondered, but the thing is, I do the same thing. God has shown Himself faithful in my life time and again, yet, I doubt. I let fear wash over me. I think "it" will never happen. I may not be melting down all my jewlery to make a golden calf, but I turn my fear, worry, and doubt into an idol.

I was driving home from work this afternoon, and I was whining praying. It was the same book, chapter 452 ... it's a long book ... you know the typical, "When and Why?" storyline. That's when I realized I was having a "Children of Israel Moment". I've seen God's faithfulness. I know His goodness, but I was doubting. And rest assured this isn't the first time. Like I said before "Chapter 452".

But here's the thing, it can all be turned around in a second. With just a simple prayer of trust and repentance, I am right back in a place of believing God. He doesn't condemn me. He doesn't rake me over the coals. He doesn't remind me of all my doubts and fears. He just welcomes me back where I belong with open arms. I'm not saying I'll never have another "moment", but I know this, the love of my Jesus far outweighs all of my past, present, and future "moments" combined.

"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" Psalm 27:13-14


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

To all the fathers in my life I wish you a Happy Father's Day.

To my brothers-in-law Chad and Hector, you are the greatest dads to your kids and watching your patience and love towards your children is a blessing.

To my father-in-law Allen and my own Dad, thank you for your unconditional love and wisdom, I love you both!

To my Papa in heaven, I miss you so much, and know you're celebrating with your Heavenly Father today. To my Pops here on earth, thanks for being an amazing grandfather.

And last, but never least, to my husband , Patrick, you are an example of everything a father should be. You are kind, caring, patient, loving, and an absolutely amazing father. We love you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Where Feet May Fail

July 2nd of last year, as I drove home alone late at night, I sang . . .

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail

And I knew, somewhere in the deepest part of myself, that I was being called out upon the waters. I knew that I was being called out of my boat, but I didn't have the slightest idea what that meant.

Mid morning July 3rd my phone rang, and I saw our adoption caseworker's name and number. My heart pounded as I answered that call . . . the call that would forever change our lives. And I thought, "This must be it."

And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep 
My faith will stand

August of 2014, we boarded a plane and flew to Bulgaria. There we met the most beautiful little girl who stole our hearts in every way. In five days time she had us wrapped around her finger. As we left her to come back to the States and await a court date, my eyes filled with tears, and it took all my willpower to hold myself together. And I thought, "This must be it."

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

As the weeks crept by I longed to hold my little girl. To pick her up. To rock her once again. Then on that devastating morning in September my phone rang again. Once again, my heart pounded as I listened. Only this time it wasn't with excitement, but instead with grief like I've never experienced in my life, and the chaos and loss that ensued threatened to overtake me.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

We grieved. Yet, we had to continue to move forward. There were many days that I wanted to pull the covers over my head and hide from the world. I didn't hide, but I did allow myself to grieve and feel, and a million times a day I turned it over to God.

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

One morning I woke up, and instead of intense sadness, I once again felt hope. Hope that I thought I may have lost, but instead, I found it was just buried beneath the enormous weight of grief. As the grief began to heal, the hope began to grow again.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me 
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior*

The hope and desire to meet our daughter are so strong now that they are almost tangible. This has grown into so much more than an adoption story. It has grown into a story of faith, and trust, and surrender, and healing. Sometimes, I have a moment when I think I'd like to get back in the boat . . . the waiting, the anticipation, the wondering when it will happen again can be exhausting. But then I look around and realize the boat isn't even in sight anymore. I've moved so far out of the safety and security of my comfort zone that I'm not even sure what that feels like anymore. I've stopped thinking, "This must be it." I've come to understand that there is no "moment" where our faith grows into something solid, and deep, and immovable. It is in a series of moments throughout our lifetime, as we turn our eyes continually back to Him, that our faith is solidified. So if anyone needs me I'll be out here, walking with my Savior on the water, and if, at times, I start to sink, I'll trust Him to keep my eyes above the waves.

*Words from "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong United




Friday, June 12, 2015

Why One Isn't Enough

This post is something that has been rolling around in my head for quite some time. I have been trying to think about how to write it without offending anyone, and so I want to say up front that it is no way the point of this post.

I've had people tell me that I'm very blessed to have Andrew . . . that I should be thankful. After all, there are many women out there struggling just to get pregnant with their first one . . . And y'all that is the total and absolute truth. I am no stranger to the struggle to get pregnant. We tried for a long time before we saw that positive sign on the pregnancy test. Without going into all the nitty gritty details, getting pregnant was boiled down to science in our house. When I finally got pregnant, I did everything by the book. I didn't so much as take a tylenol. I exercised every day. I ate all the right things. I didn't touch lunch meat for my entire pregnancy. And at 35 weeks, I had an emergency that threatened both my life and Andrew's. His pediatrician called him the "miracle baby", and it is truly by the grace of God that he is sitting in my living room right now. Very soon after Andrew's birth, we learned that a subsequent pregnancy would be extremely high risk for both me and the baby. So, yes, I totally understand how blessed I am to have Andrew. I totally get that others would give their right arm for just one child. I completely and totally get it.

But here's the thing. Even with how much I love and adore my son, I've always wanted more kids. I've always wanted Andrew to be a big brother. Pregnancy was hard on me, and adoption has been on the radar since before we were married so that was an easy tranisiton. But I have wrestled with the whole idea of being satisfied with just one child. I have dear friends and family that have one kiddo, and they are thrilled with just having one. Do not misunderstand me, if you only have one child (or no children), and you have no desire for more, then I am more than happy for you. But I've never seen myself as the parent of just one. To be honest, I've always seen myself as the mom of three or four (my mom and my husband both just had small heart attacks). I'm not sure if that will happen, but I do know that I was meant to be the mother of more than one.

Does being a mother complete me? No . . . God does.

Is my family incomplete without my daughter? No because our completeness isn't found in one another. It's found in Him.

But after struggling for a long time with comparing myself to those who have only one child, and wondering if I should just be "happy with what I have", I've come to the realization that my desire and passion to not only have more children, but to adopt comes from God. And that is why I'm not okay with just having one.