Her cheeks were wet and her eyes red as she crawled into my lap. After too long a battle of wills, she’d received the consequences she’d earned and sobbed out her weariness. As she snuggled into my lap where she fits with perfect precision, the Lord whispered to my soul, “This is my heart.”Continue reading
Heart of a Mama
This morning, like most Sunday mornings, my husband left early to serve at our church. Often our oldest gets up, readies himself and is standing at our bedroom door waiting for his daddy to emerge. Today, however, there were two little faces anxiously awaiting their daddy’s exit. What’s a daddy to do when two little smiles break out at just the sight of him and beg to be with him? So, here I sit. After the rush of throwing cereal in baggies and water in cups, styling hair and brushing teeth, I sit in a quiet house. Hands empty.
I’m keenly aware of the divide between my child and I. This child I have yet to know. Someday, the two oldest will go off with daddy on a Sunday morning, leaving mama to care for the baby at home before rushing off to meet them. That day, however, is not today. Oh how I wish I had a crying infant to soothe or feed or cuddle. I wish I were tip toeing about this house hoping not to disturb a sleeping babe, but there isn’t one. Not today. Instead, there’s a chasm. There’s this undefined space and time we call waiting. So here I sit empty handed.
It’s as if I, anxious and ready, tentatively stand outside the door waiting for my turn to hold out my hands and gather to my chest a child who needs me as much as I need them. This waiting… It’s hard.
So here I sit with hands empty. I could stare at them. Imagine the bundle that will one day fill them. Instead, today, I choose to lift them up to the only one capable of filling them. Yes, I stand, awaiting the day these hands are full yet I do not stand at a closed door awaiting my Daddy’s entrance into this waiting. Rather, He lowers Himself to rest beside me. I crawl into His lap and allow the tears to race down my cheeks. His quiet weeping joins mine as our tears intermingle.
He knows the weight of these empty hands and the longing of this heart. He feels the divide. He is well aware of the deception weaving against my faith to cause me to doubt. Yet, all the while He longs for me to trust His plan to fill them when the time is right. So as I sit with hands emptied in this waiting, curled up in His lap awaiting the appropriate time, He is taking the emptiness and filling it with Himself. I feel Him gently squeeze my hand, “We can do this, just a little while longer.” His sweet love for this wicked heart is overwhelming. No amount of love a mother can give can ever compare to the grandness of the Father’s love. So, here I sit. Empty hands raised as this heart is transformed in the chasm to be what my child will one day need.
Oh how sweet is my Father’s heart.
He knows this heartache. He knows this longing. He is not withholding a gift, but adding to it as together we await the day. And when it comes, oh when it comes, it will be a glorious filling. Until then, this season of waiting forces a closeness between us. A time where I get to press into Him in the midst of this longing and experience the magnitude of being gathered to His chest and whispered the tender words this heart needs to hear.
Yes, some days these empty hands are all I feel. Yet as I stare at them, longing for what’s to come, I’m daily faced with the decision of where to turn. I could turn towards the seeping doubt that cries the day will never come. Or, I could turn towards the door, reach an empty, shaky hand up to be enclosed within my Father’s mighty grasp. Today, I choose to wait with the Sovereign God who cries with me even as the day the door will swing open wide approaches. I can already feel the smile beginning to spread across my face at God’s perfect design.
The creaky hinges are echoing.
Do you hear it?
Baby Blues and Forward Movement
A few weeks ago, I held a baby. This little one was only three months old. The last time I held an infant was probably when this very child was only a newborn. To see his eyes lock onto my face, his fingers move my direction and the sweet little grunts he made did something to my heart. I’ve been avoiding holding infants. My heart has been so longing for my own that I knew this would happen. But this time, I couldn’t help it.
It may not look like it in the picture, but the moment I drew his tiny frame to my chest, my heart split wide open. In a room filled with people – family who I adore – I drew a circle around myself and little Gabe and almost lost my composure to the threatening tears. See, I’ve been dreaming of holding my little one. Wondering what the weight of his or her tiny body will feel like settled in my arms. My heart has been yearning for them to own that place. And in that moment, sweet little Gabriel felt like an impostor.
I barely sealed off the tears as the ache grew in my heart. No, this child I’m anxiously awaiting will not grow in my womb, but God is certainly growing in my heart a space reserved just for them. And that is incredible.
And so, it is with great excitement I share our forward movement to date. We’re in the last stretch of this home study. Due to the fine details, my previous update, sharing we’d submitted everything and had simply to take our class, ended up needing reworked. So, here I sit, furiously typing away before driving up to my hometown for the day to finalize one of those last details. Our classes having already been completed, certified and submitted. Leaving only two other loose ends (fingers crossed that’s accurate this time!) before we are able to finalize this home study process.
I’ll also be working hard to finish up our profile book, so it too is ready to go asap! In all honesty, it could – should – have been done by now. We’ve had the time, simply not the forward momentum to spark the motivation.
See, as we’ve circled this holding pattern, I’ve been tempted to gripe over what feels like a delay. I struggle with believing these “innocent” details are keeping me from my child. Thus, I left our profile book unfinished and in a room filled with the beauty of celebration, I struggled to contain the tears threatened by the heartache of longing. Yet, the Lord has gently reminded me, time and time again, He is in control. And what feels like a setback, is, in actuality, a time of preparation, the aligning of details and ultimately just the space needed to get us to our child.
So though my heart still aches and the tears of yearning still come, I choose to be occupied with joy. Joy that does not come from my circumstances, my husband, children or even will come with the awaited gift of our child. But joy that comes only from walking this journey hand-in-hand with my Savior. Desperate for His joy in the midst of strife I will remain wherever this journey takes us.
The Birthday Season
Fun fact about these Reads: All of our birthdays fall within a span of two and half weeks. And today marks the halfway point through this year’s Read household birthday season. However, rather than exude an extra dose of happy, this mama has been rather irritable. Emotional and grumpy. All words I hate to describe myself with and yet I couldn’t seem to escape their entanglement. Along with sickness, I’ve had doubt and fear spiraling through my thought life like cotton candy being wound on a stick. Thoughts like:
Why on earth do I think I can balance another child? I can’t handle the two we have.
I must be crazy to even consider adding to our family – especially through adoption.
What am I thinking?!
I can’t do this.
I’m not patient enough.
I am not strong enough.
I am not enough…
See, when my baby girl was born a week early, making her birthday perfectly fall one week to the day after mine with her brother’s already exactly a week after Rob’s, I was amazed at God’s timing. Yet, I’ve held this tiny little fear quietly tucked away:
Will the child we adopt feel less a part of our family if their birthday is not neatly aligned along with the rest of ours?
And so, being the problem-solver I am, I had more or less inadvertently held this belief: That God would hold up our perfectly designed birthday plan and give us a child whose birthday fell in step with ours. And this was the year it was all supposed to happen. Not just this year, but now. Right now. As in, this month or even last. Amid this year’s birthday season – which would make our kids all perfectly planned at three years apart.
Instead I got puke. That’s right, puke. As in my children discovered they have a talent for dislodging the food they deem doesn’t please their palate from their mouths onto my kitchen floor. Yeah… Only, the ironic thing is that I too was spewing, thankfully not food remnants, but with certainty, my prayers.
Even as the timing continued to look more and more impossible from a legality standpoint, I still unknowingly held onto the belief that my God would do the impossible to set my plan in motion. And in truth, He could. He is the God of miracles. He could change time and space and circumstances to align with MY ideal.
And when He didn’t, I got grumpy. Real grumpy. And I spewed out my frustration without taking the time to listen.
See, the problem isn’t that He can’t put my plan into action; it’s that it wouldn’t be HIS best to do so. And not only is it for that I’ve asked, it’s also what He promises when we align our heart with His.
I’ve learned: When you pray dangerous prayers, God tends to answer them. Often, those answers come in a gentle push outside of the box of comfort we’ve designed to stay within. Because outside the realm of the seeming ease we think we desire, is the abundance of life of which we’ve actually been longing. It’s all a part of surrendering me to receive Jesus. It’s giving up my ideal to get His; His ideal which sees beyond time, space and circumstances and works ALL things for my good.
The truth of the matter is, I’d determined taking this step of adoption was faith enough. Now, He should bend to my will. But this journey isn’t about compromise. It’s about abundance. Abundance that doesn’t come from dipping my toe in the water; but rather by jumping into the current. I won’t find the life Jesus longs to fill me with on the shore. This journey of adoption is just one more way He’s working overtime to get to me – and to get to my child.
So, instead of erupting with complaints I deem appropriate because His plan didn’t jive with my time table, I’m going to wade deeper. I’m gonna trust bigger. I’m going to continue to allow His answers to my dangerous prayers lead me to a life of abundant dwelling in streams of Living Water. Knowing Jamie is not enough for this journey.
Only He is.
The most foolish part of this whole scenario is so simple it’s laughable: I didn’t plan our birthdays. This birthday season we all happened to have landed within was not my doing. I didn’t choose when any of us would be born. God did. And He alone knows our child. As hard as it is to let go of what I thought was best, leaving it all behind in pursuit of the design fashioned by the same hands that crafted the world is a pretty okay place to rest.
And so fight to rest I will.
For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.
Oh Little One, mama’s heart is under construction for you. These doubts and fears are the enemy’s way of trying to keep me from you. But we won’t let him win, will we? Not now; not ever. God is moving mountains to bring us together. You are already so loved. My heart and arms ache for your arrival. The story God is writing here is going to be one of sincere beauty. And we’ll walk it together, you and I, in streams of abundance.