advice?

October 16th, 2009

a sweet friend, who is  also walking the painful road of infertility and heading toward adoption, recently shared some of why and how her heart is breaking at this time.  how do we handle the time we missed in the lives of our children before they came to us?  she wondered if i had any advice for her.  i am sharing my response on here because i think it’s important for those of us on this journey to know that there are others of us who do understand.  each of us has our own unique journey to take, but we do share some similar experiences and heartache.

“advice?  oh, i wish i could just take this away from you because i know how painful it can be. it has been all encompassing for me.  i feel a loss for the child i never had and i feel a loss for what i missed out on with the children that i do have.

i, just about an hour ago was sharing with a dear friend that i have spent time over the past 6 years grieving a baby that will never be.  it seems so absurd in some ways, to say goodbye to something i never had.

and, there are many days, and sometimes multiple times a day, that my heart breaks for what i missed with my kids.  sometimes i look at their sweet faces and get so sad because i didn’t know them as babies.  in a lot of ways i can’t even imagine amelia and wilbur as babies because there are no pictures of them before amelia was 3 1/2 and wilbur was 1 1/2.  with orville we have pictures from when he was 2 months so i know what he looked like, but i never held him or bathed him or smelled him.

i know that while i missed so much, i get to be a part of more than anyone else.  who my children become will be because of how josh and i work with the Lord to raise them.  and from the moment they came home, until the moment they return to the Lord(or the moment i do)i am the one they will call mom, the one they’ll cling to when they need something, the one they’ll rejoice with when something wonderful happens, etc. sometimes thinking about all of this helps me, and sometimes it doesn’t.  but, for all i did miss, there is so much i get to see.

this adoption/infertility thing really is crazy.  it is.  it just flat out is.  there are moments it makes total sense and then there are moments where i can’t figure out anything at all.  and somehow, in the midst of all of the craziness, is our God.  the God of the universe.  the God who made me, made josh, made amelia, made wilbur, made orville, made you, made your  husband, made your little one.  He is there.  and He knows exactly what He’s doing.

and while most of me gets that, there’s a big part of me that doesn’t.   and then i remind myself that it really has nothing to do with me.  it’s all about Him.  and in His infinite wisdom, He has a plan that is good for me and josh and amelia and wilbur and orville and you and your husband and your little one.

and most importantly, i know He loves me and i know He loves YOU.  and i know when my heart is breaking and when your heart is breaking, His breaks too.  and He watches us and listens to us and sends people to hold us because that’s what He’d want to do.

if He were physically here i have no doubt that He’d scoop you up into His arms and say, “child, I love you.  I am so sorry this is so hard for you.  I know your heart is breaking.  I know sometimes you struggle to take one more step.  but, trust Me.  lean on Me.   I have a plan for you.  I know it doesn’t all make sense now, but someday it will.  I promise.”  and He’d wipe away your tears.

remember when you shared these jeremy camp lyrics with me?  “there will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears.  there will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face.”

what a journey!

interpretations

September 28th, 2009

i am in a new Bible study this fall.  we started up two weeks ago.  as sort of an icebreaker,  we read a short article and discussed it.  i had little to say, mostly because i was in awe of the different interpretations of the content of the article.  some people took it one way, some took it another way.  some people read into things, others took it literally.  some people’s thoughts matched mine, others varied a great deal.

as we studied the Word last thursday night, i was again noticing all of the interpretations.  for some of the questions, i had no answers.  for some of the questions, i changed my answers as i listened to others explain their answers.  for some questions, i totally disagreed with the answers of others.

on my way home from my study, i was thanking the Lord for the opportunity to be a part of a group where different interpretations can be shared and learning and growing can take place.  and then it struck me that what He has done in my life is so clear that there is no room for interpretation.  at least not in my eyes.  and i was overwhelmed with gratitude.  and i thanked Him for making His course for my life so obvious.  i thanked Him for doing something so obvious in my life.  i really can’t blindly pass by unexplained infertility, the calling to adopt, or the three little ones who live in my home. i know He can do subtle things to get our attention, to direct us.  i thanked Him for doing something clear for me.

i don’t understand.  why infertility?  why abuse?  why neglect?  why a broken home?  why a broken family?  why?  oh, why?

i don’t need to understand.

“for My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord.
“as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
isaiah 55:8~9

if you trace any part of this story, it all points to Him.  if you take it back to the beginning, it begins with Him.  if you look at the big picture, you see Him.

during my conversation with Him, this song came to mind.

“oh the Glory of it all is
He came here
for the rescue of us all
that we may live
for the glory of it all

oh the Glory of it all is
He is here
for redemption from the fall
that we may live
for the glory of it all”
glory of it all ~ dcb

He came here.  He rescued us.  He provided redemption from the fall.  ALL so that WE MAY LIVE FOR THE GLORY OF IT ALL.

this story.  my story.  His story in me is all for His glory.

this seems to be a major theme in my life lately, realizing and understanding it’s not about me at all, but that it’s all for His glory.  though i have known this for a long time, it’s an entirely different thing to attempt to grasp it.  i pray i am somehow able to do that.  that i am somehow able to take myself out of the equation.  i pray that when people see our family, they see Him.  i pray that as our children grow and learn, they see Him too.

worth it all?

August 18th, 2009

“i don’t understand Your ways
oh but i will give You my song
give You all of my praise

You hold on to all my pain
with it You are pulling me closer
and pulling me into Your ways

now around every corner
and up every mountain
i’m not looking for crowns
or the water from fountains
i’m desperate in seeking, frantic believing
that the sight of Your face
is all that i need
i will say to You

it’s gonna be worth it
it’s gonna be worth it
it’s gonna be worth it all
i believe this
it’s gonna be worth it
it’s gonna be worth it
it’s gonna be worth it all
i believe this

i don’t understand Your ways
oh but i will give You my song
give You all of my praise

You hold on to all my pain
with it You are pulling me closer
and pulling me into Your ways

now around every corner
and up every mountain
i’m not looking for crowns
or the water from fountains
i’m desperate in seeking, frantic believing
that the sight of Your face
is all that i need
i will say to You

it’s gonna be worth it all
i believe this
it’s gonna be worth it
it’s gonna be worth it
it’s gonna be worth it all
i believe this

You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it all
i believe this
You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it all
i believe this”
~ rita springer

this song was pretty much a daily part of the beginning of my infertility journey. i didn’t understand what God was doing or why He was calling me to something so different from what i wanted. but, i trusted that it would be worth it in the end if i just trusted His plan for my life. over the past three years, this song has come to me every once in awhile, always taking me back to those early days of wondering and waiting.

just recently, it has come back again as i face a whole new journey of wondering and waiting. parenting my children who experienced abuse and neglect early in life is a challenge to say the least. and recently that challenge has been quite difficult. i find myself again telling the Lord that i don’t understand His ways. i don’t understand why He’d allow my children to go through such pain. i don’t understand why He’d choose me to parent them. i don’t understand any of it.

somehow, through my pain, i am getting closer to Him. i do believe that all of this is going to be worth it. but i don’t think i will understand until i do see Him face to face. face to face with my Maker, my Master, the Lover of my soul. the Maker and the Master of my children, the Lover of their souls. the One who will somehow take all of this pain and all of this mess and turn it into something beautiful. something beautiful that will bring Him glory.

“i don’t understand Your ways
oh but i will give You my song
give You all of my praise”

the one thing i know

May 6th, 2009

years ago, before adoption.  before we met our kids.  before we had heard about our kids.  before we knew we were going to adopt. before i had(at that time) come to terms with my infertility.  before most of this, the Lord reminded me of the only thing in my life that i know is certain.

i had season tickets, along with a group of girlfriends, to a broadway series of shows in a local theatre district.  we would meet, carpool to dinner, walk to the show, and have a great time.  one night i had to work a little later so i drove to the restaurant alone.  during dinner the conversation turned to motherhood.  “be strong,” i thought.  “it’s okay.  your heart can do this.  be the big girl.  smile.  giggle.  hide your tears.  hide your sadness.  besides, you’re the only one here without children.  you can’t expect them to not talk about their children.”  so i played along, like i was okay.  and they complained.

they complained about being pregnant.

they complained about giving birth.

they complained about late night feedings.

they complained about their children being sick.  disrespectful.  whiney.  needy.  clingy.  messy.  busy.  etc, etc, etc.

they complained about being mothers.

right in front of…….my face.

we went on to see the show.  you know, to this day, i don’t remember what it was.  because, although it was enjoyable, i was consumed with sadness.  i was surrounded by people who had what i wanted.  and they didn’t know i wanted it.  and they didn’t care that they had it.  and it nearly broke me into pieces.  i couldn’t wait for the show to end.  for us to walk to our cars.  and for me to be alone.  i needed to be alone.  i needed the Lord to speak to my heart.

my solitude finally came.  after a few minutes of being quiet and getting through the downtown area onto the highway, i turned on some music.  sara groves, the one thing i know.

“and the clouds just parted on a corner of my life
and i can see for miles
and the things i was stuck on
things i thought would never change
they just broke open wide

this is the one thing i know
You said You won’t let me go
You said You won’t let me go
You’ve done a good work in me
and You won’t quit ’til i’m free

and the veil just lifted
i can finally understand
the way You work in me
but even if  didn’t
You are still a sovereign God
Who has a plan for me

this is the one thing i know
You said You won’t let me go
You said You won’t let me go
You’ve done a good work in me
and You won’t quit ’til i’m free

it’s good to know You work with hurt and broken souls
that you’ll take a soul like mine
in all the world nothing’s taken hold of me like Christ

this is the one thing
this is the only thing
You are the one thing
You are the only thing

this is the one thing i know
You said You won’t let me go
You said You won’t let me go
You’ve done a good work in me
and You won’t quit ’til i’m free”

the Lord was speaking to my heart.  piercing it actually, with His truth and His love for me.  “this is the ONE thing i know, YOU said YOU WON’T LET ME GO.  YOU said YOU WON’T LET ME GO.”

over and over again i said it.  through tears.  sometimes barely audible.  sometimes almost screaming.  i kept saying it.  and saying it.  and saying it.  “YOU said YOU WON’T LET ME GO.  YOU WON’T LET ME GO.  YOU WON’T LET ME GO.  YOU WON’T LET ME GO.  YOU WON’T LET ME GO.”  and He wasn’t.  and i could feel Him.  and that was such an important time in my journey.

this morning i had “Muffins for Mom”  at amelia’s school.  “Muffins for Mom”, and that mom is me.  and it’s hard. and i complain.  yes, i complain.  i have been given a huge gift and i do the very thing that broke my heart years ago.  the only difference is, i think  i am more aware of who i am complaining around.  though that doesn’t make it any better.

i am having  a hard time right now.  a really hard time.  i am searching through myself, trying to understand some things i have been thinking and feeling related to my infertility and adoption of my children.  it’s rough stuff.  feelings i am ashamed to be feeling.  things i am ashamed to be thinking.  but, i know it’s part of my journey and something i need to work through.

the boys and i had lunch with a good friend at chick-fil-a.  we had a great time.  all went well.  i dropped the boys off at school and turned on the faithful iPod.  i chose to listen to some sara groves, of course.  “the one thing i know.  what the heck, haven’t heard it in a while.”

tears.

one hand lifted in praise.  the other wanted to go up too, but one of them had to hold the steering wheel.

tears.

tears.

“really Lord.  wow.  and the veil just lifted.  i can finally understand the way You work in me.  but even if  didn’t, You are still a sovereign God Who has a plan for me.  this is the one thing i know, You said You won’t let me go.  You said You won’t let me go.
You’ve done a good work in me and You won’t quit ’til i’m free”

He took me back to that time years ago.  He showed me that even though it’s a different time now and i am in a totally different place, He’s still doing the same thing.  He’s holding me.  and He won’t let me go.

He won’t let me go.

HE WON’T LET ME GO.

HE WON’T LET ME GO.

HE WON’T LET ME GO.

HE WON’T LET ME GO.

happy easter!

April 12th, 2009

‘i remember how the sunlight turned to thunder
and the people ran for shelter from the rain
and the curtain tore and the saints awoke
and the whole earth seemed to tremble
from the fury of God’s anger
or was it the fury of His love?

there were shadows on the tomb there in the garden
and the mist was rising slowly through the trees
and when mary saw the Silhouette on early Easter morning
i remember how He smiled at her and said

He said, ‘Rise, rise and shine
the sun is coming in
and the morning light is shining in your eyes,                                                                                                                                                        rise and shine
the day is coming on
and you know the night is gone so rise’

rise and shine, andrew peterson

throw up

January 7th, 2009

all of our kids have thrown up now.  amelia for the first time when she was newly 5.  wilbur for the first time just last week.  at mcdonald’s.  yes, at mcdonald’s.  and orville for the first time just last night.

it was around 10:45pm.  josh and i were sitting in the living room talking about his job and various issues there.  we heard orville call out, “something is wrong with my tummy.”  josh went flying up the stairs to get him.  well, he didn’t actually fly, but he did run very, very fast.  he grabbed orville out of bed and took him into the bathroom.  his shirt was covered with the stuff.  the throw up that is.

i went in to check his bed.  it was everywhere.  josh cleaned up orville and put him in clean jammies.  i stripped the bed and got everything rinsed out and into the washing machine.  josh held orville on the couch for awhile.  it reminded us of when the kids first came home and orville had a hard time sleeping.  josh would take him to the couch and rest with him for awhile and then put him back in his bed.  josh tried to talk to orville about it, but orville didn’t understand.  josh said, “when you first came home, you were a little guy.  well, not really little.  you were like a big baby.  and daddy would hold you when you couldn’t sleep.”  orville said, “no, i not a big baby.”

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after josh held him awhile last night, orville wanted to come to me.  while i held him, i sang.  before i became a mom, that was always one of my dreams, to sing to my baby.  orville sang with me here and there, to twinkle twinkle little star, my God is so big,  Jesus loves me, go tell it on the mountain, you are my sunshine.  josh put clean bedding on orville’s bed, i put him back in it.

josh and i settled into the same places we were before orville called out to us.  i was so happy we were here to help him.  but i was also sad that when amelia was orville’s age, we didn’t get to help her.  and then i started to question if we have handled her the right way when she’s been sick.  when she was sick the first time, she was crying loudly and we kept having to tell her to quiet down so she wouldn’t wake her brothers.  she had a hard time following instructions as we’d try to change her into clean clothes, clean up her bed, clean up her floor, etc.  she seemed to always end up in the spot we were trying to clean.  i would get mad, easily, and feel so guilty.

josh reminded me that we can’t change any of that.  we did the best we could.  we are doing the best we can.  because we missed out on amelia’s early years, we can do better now.  he told me he makes it a point every night when he tucks her in to tell her how much he loves her, how special she is, and how proud he is of her.

and i struggle, almost daily, wondering if we are doing things right.  do i hug them enough?  do i kiss them enough? do i smile at them enough?  do i talk to them enough?  do i engage them enough?  am i teaching them the right things?  do i point them to God enough?  do i let them watch too much TV?  do i read to them enough?  the list can, and sometimes does, go on and on.

here is the word the Lord sent me this morning in my devotional:

“for I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  jeremiah 29:11

“do you ever feel like you’re not doing enough for your children?  the recording in your head begins playing, “you’re a bad mother.”  i hear that same recording.  sometimes it plays nonstop.  i worry that i am not providing my children with the opportunities that will bring success.  what if they don’t make the middle school soccer team because i didn’t sign them up for summer soccer camp?  what if they miss out on academic scholarships because i didn’t spend enough time reading with them when they were little?  what if?  what if?  what if?  you know, God doesn’t want us dwelling in the land of “what if?”.  He wants us to trust Him with our children.  He wants us to quit “what-if-ing!”  God has a plan for their lives-better than you could ever imagine.  so, relax. you’re not a bad mother because you missed soccer camp sign-ups.  if you’ve given your children to God, you’ve given them the best chance to succeed that you could ever give them!”

“Lord, i give my children to You.  thank You, God, for Your plans.  Amen.”

it’s been a pretty good day

January 3rd, 2009

amelia got a much needed haircut.

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wilbur showed us that his priorities are out of whack.

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we did a much needed run to sam’s club.  can you ever really go there enough?  we had outback takeout for dinner.  can you ever really do that enough?  and now, i am folding laundry.

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listening to sara groves via the apple tv.  i don’t think i can explain how awesome my husband is for putting all of her music on there.

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my husband is patching the wall in the bathroom where he and my father-in-law added an extra switch for our newly installed exhaust fan.

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and the kids are playing food and dogs in their rooms.

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it’s almost snack time.  then bed time.  then free time for me!