14 May 2012

naive enough

So, most of you know how we got to this place of adopting.  Lots of praying, conversation, waiting, praying, rinse & repeat.  And we decided to jump in and move forward with a domestic adoption through foster care.

And you know what? I was naive enough to think that God was going to place a child in our home in just a handful of months.  And after nearly a year of waiting, I thought, well, maybe I just need to fire up some prayer warriors.  And I was naive enough to think that after I sent that first email to my praying-friends that God was going to place a child in our home.  And after 8 months of emailing out updates, we got a call that we had been matched.  And I was naive enough to think that our babies would be legally-our-babies within a month of two.  That was four months ago. 

I don't know how long this process will take until we all have matching last names.  I am ok with that.  I can see that God leads me with enough naivety to take the next step.  He doesn't fill me in on all the details because there is a good chance that I would just say "NO WAY! THAT IS LIKE WAY WAY TOO HARD."  And so He just leads me step by step.  With constant reminders that He is the same, yesterday, today and always.  And He has surrounded me with lovely people that pray for our family.  And I am certain that they also pray that I am not kept awake at night with worry about this process (because I am not kept awake at night with worry about this process).

It occurred to me today, about those weeks between that "you've been matched" phone call and our first meeting with the caseworkers & foster mom.  Weeks.  It felt like forever.  But God was already growing love in our hearts for these two babies.  And I realized today, that those weeks gave root.  Because at that first meeting we found out some things that might've caused us to say, "NO WAY!" if we had found out on that initial phone call.  We needed those roots to hold the news that this was going to be a different path than we had expected. And by the time we found that out,  there was no longer a place in our hearts that could imagine a "NO."

"The very steps we take come from God, otherwise how would we know where we are going?"
Proverbs 20:24

Wherever you are, whatever you are facing.  God has a plan.  And He is working it out.  And it might seem like its taking a sweet-forever, but His timing is always just-right.  And the things that are growing roots in this waiting place, are things you need in your life... and there is a good chance that those roots will one day hold it altogether.  So take your next step with confidence that He has got this.  And if you look back and think you might have been a little naive with your expectations, its likely His way of protecting you from throwing your arms up and saying, "NO WAY, THAT IS LIKE WAY WAY TOO HARD!"

11 May 2012

on celebrating mother's day

Mother's Day has never been a one-woman celebration for my sister and I.  I think probably even on the Mother's Days that I don't remember we celebrated Grandma's too. 

Its tricky being from a broken home.  Every circumstance I've encountered has helped shape me into who I am and the life I now live.  And while I would never advocate that divorce is the best-case-scenario, I will stake my life on the belief that God can take broken dreams, broken hearts, and broken homes and create beauty.  I know it, because He has done it for my sister and I.  The road here has not been easy.  God used many women to touch my sister and I in a maternal way.  We have taken for granted too many times how much love our grandmothers' poured into us - each in their own special and unique way. 

God used other women to mold us too... And I am guessing that back in the early 80's each of those women had some strong opinions about this situation we were in. Those ladies could've filled our little girl hearts with their side of the story.  And I am sure each one had a side.  Likely we would've felt we had to choose a side, or would've felt bad for not choosing a side.  We might have felt caught in the middle.  But instead, because they stayed quiet, we just felt loved.  By many.  And I treasure each of these women that have made me the woman I am today.  Dearly. 

Today, though, I celebrate the one that is my mom.  She didn't do it all.  She never claimed to.  She did the best she could.  Always.  And she allowed others to love us when she wasn't able to.  She never tried to diminish their love for us, she never tried to take away from what they had given.  And so amid her own heart break and hard choices, she made room for my sister and I to grow up strong and well loved. 

In Joel 2, there is a verse about God redeeming the years the locusts have eaten.  I believe He is faithful to His word...

The threshing floors will be full of grain,
And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil.
 “Then I will make up to you for the years
That the swarming locust has eaten,
The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
 “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
Then My people will never be put to shame.
Joel 2:24-26

And what started out rough, is turning out beautifully.  When God reconciles a relationship, He allows us to remember the joys, and helps to cover the pains.  So I look back on what the world calls broken and see laughter.  I see trips to the beach, the cabin, the Ocean.  I see dancing in the car.  I see Shel Silverstein poems being read often. I see hugs and laughing and teasing with sisters.  I recall the loudest mouth from the bleachers, even as I was up to bat - to strike out again. 

My mom taught me to do my best.  To try new things.  To believe the best in others.  To love adventure.  To love your {extended} family, even if you disagree wholeheartedly; because they will be there for you and for your kids.   To never give up.

I love my momma, not because she was perfect while I was growing up.  I love her because of who she is.  And by God's grace, my momma and I are experiencing a great relationship now.  What could've been trampled and forgotten so many years ago, continues to flourish now.  Those ladies that invested in my sister and I, might not realize that they have helped my grown-up-relationship with my mom.  But I can see it now.  And I am so grateful that they were able to keep their opinions to themselves, so God could nurture this seed buried deep. 

She is a superb "Yaya" to my boys.  I am almost positive that there is a laugh-until-we-cry-moment every time we are together these days.  And sometimes it happens over the phone too.  And when I am just having a down right bad day, she answers my call and breathes encouragement.  It gets better and better.  And while neither of us could yet claim perfection, we both adore one another. 

The greatest gift she gave me is this beautiful relationship we have now.  It reminds me to do the best I can each day with my boys and trust that God will create something beautiful in the end, even when I fail, even when I crumble.  God does not, will not, and can not.  I can trust that my mothering will be enough because God is faithful.  He has shown me His faithfulness in my precious relationship with my own momma.  In a place that maybe back in the 80's nobody had much hope for.  But God knew. 

09 May 2012

book review

I finally finished the 2nd book I bought after Christmas.  I tend to read books slowly, take in bits and pieces and think them over before moving on.  Add to it the adopting-twin-one-year-olds, and my book reading process really, really slowed down!

Grace for the Good Girl - letting go of the try-hard life is an excellent book; even if you wouldn't necessarily classify yourself as a "good girl."  It actually took me a bit to commit to reading it because of that "good girl" phrase.  But I adore the author's blog, and so often her posts are written exactly for me on exactly the right day.  And a few women (girls?) that I highly respect and appreciate had great praise for this book.  So I decided to go for it.  And wouldn't you know right in the middle of this adoption process is actually the perfect time for me to read this book?

Because I need grace.  A lot of it.  
But sometimes, I believe the lie that I should be able to handle this myself.
I believe that if I just to do the right things, the right way, it will work out right.
And when I make a mess, I get mad at myself for making a mess... because I should know better.

Instead of trying harder and shoulding myself, I need grace.

I need to let go of tightly clenched fists and let grace grow in open hands.

This book gave me a new mantra for these days that are newly filled with double-toddler-hood.  
Chapter 11 - receive - on truth and trusting : begins with this verse {and by the way, I adore books that have quotes at the beginning of a chapter, its like a little sneak preview all wrapped up in perfectly chosen words}

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful."  Colossians 3:15

Emily goes on to talk about "the letting" in chapter 11.  I feel I might do a great disservice by just choosing a few of her words, but this letting bit covered me like the most comfy blanket...surrounding me and assuring me that this letting is where I will find my Savior's grace.

"We have the letting power.  If I cling to my if-only-I-coulds and my if-they-would-justs, I miss out on the freedom to be found in letting peace rule.  The truth is true whether I let it be or not.  Colossians says let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...
... I have to receive this peace.  It is not an easy thing to do, to quiet the voices of the accusing party and to allow peace to have the authority.  If I will let it, the peace of Christ will stand between me and the lies of the enemy, the lies that accuse and attack and shame.  Letting this peace rule is a profound mystery, and for many years, it seemed impossible."

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  

Many mornings, before I even put my feet in the floor, I start with that verse.  Many times throughout the day when things get messy and frustration starts creeping, I repeat that verse.  Sometimes, as I repeat it, I put emphasis on "LET" and other times on "PEACE" and still other times "RULE," and of course, "and BE THANKFUL."

So good.  So so good.  You should read it.  And just today, Emily posted this on her blog... so maybe you should read it this summer.

Emily is in the process of editing Graceful, which is written for young women that are starting out as good girls. It will be available in  the fall.