A few days ago, Rob and I, on a rare occasion, found ourselves riding in the car alone. (If only the occasion hadn’t been spurred on by our very old washer leaking water into our basement, it may have been downright romantic. But I digress.) On our quick trip with trailer in tow to the hardware store we passed a bus for sale. Rob, in jest, asked, “How many kids did you want to have again?” My response was immediate, cynical and followed by spontaneous tears riddled with guilt over my unrelenting doubt.Continue reading
In the Waiting
Adoption Thoughts (From a Recovering Perfectionist)
Yet another late night had us sulking home far past bedtime. From the front seat I barraged myself in silent mantras that tend to scream loudest when darkness shrouds my view and stress and chaos abound. Mantras that call into question the measure of my motherhood. Interrupting my harsh thoughts, a sweet voice called for me from the back seat. “What baby girl?” I asked. She rambled on in her precious way before speaking the words that rooted their way into my heart with divine purpose:
“Tonight, I’m just going to believe God and go to sleep.”
“I’m just going to believe God…” Why can’t I do that? For weeks I have fretted over how I could add to the conversation surrounding National Adoption Month. My brain has started and deleted a hundred different articles to share here without even typing a word. Those I did type faced the same outcome:
See somehow this notion that my words will change someone’s heart was a message I received and accepted as reality. For so long I’ve unconsciously believed there is a perfect way to spill these words onto paper and a way that isn’t. Under the false pretense that if I can write compelling messages with just the right balance of humor and grit the world will benefit, I have written, deleted, grown frustrated and been unproductive. The light of truth buried somewhere deep beneath the mess of these lies is that I will never change someone’s heart, only God will. Oh I’m assured He can and will use these measly word offerings, but it will never be my words that change a person’s heart.
“… And go to sleep.” Isn’t that the antiphony of peace? Just resting. Not fretting over a to-do list or what someone said about me or what they might say about me. Sleep. Rest.
If I’m honest, I waste far too much time wrestling with perfection. Often I don’t even realize the anxiety creeping into my spirit to make it all come together just so. I manipulate words and sentences and craft whole new drafts in endless strife to reach a target that mists away when the arrow is released. There’s space for striving for excellence, but it should never be more important than the message. It should never impede on my belief in God’s power. This plague of perfectionism stretches far beyond just my storytelling in written form and into the stories I want to see written on the pages of life. Adoption in particular has pulled taut those strings until they’ve reached strand-snapping capacity. And beyond.
Today, the season is a reminder to my ever-striving-for-perfection heart that faith and peace are gifts available now. Thanksgiving is when we pause with intent to give voice to our thanks. And today, I’m thankful for the loss.
Every heartbreak and letdown, every rejection, every tear along this journey has pointed me deeper into connection with my Savior. And someday, it will point into deeper relationship with my child. Though please hear me: I will not compare these temporary losses with the daily reality my child will endure. Adoption starts with loss. Always. And I’m just so thankful the Lord has been gracious enough to provide us opportunity to experience a taste of what it is to live with a broken and confused heart.
As we move forward into the Christmas season, we wait in hopeful expectation the celebration of the Savior’s coming.
Down to the millisecond, God’s timing was, in fact, perfect. Every minute detail was planned and executed in perfect order. Regardless of the imperfections of the human heart, God remains sovereign.
So today, as the harsh realities of this continual wait stare me in the face, I’m going to foster a heart of gratitude. Today, I’m just going to believe God and let sleep the voices that long to steal my joy; the mantra of my own ruthless critic that threatens to erode away the beauty of this perfectly imperfect story with my own twisted ideals of perfection. Instead, I’ll listen for that still small voice to whisper sweet tendrils of His sovereign plan into the depths of my heart. With my face to the sky, the wind on my tear-streaked cheek and a spirit stirred up by thankfulness, hope and peace, I say, “What next Lord Jesus? What next?”
Quick Update: One mama still has our profile book. All others have chosen other families. We appreciate your prayers and love!
Today I almost died.
I realize how dramatic that sounds. As if that statement was only some lame stab at attention. Where once you gasp I whip back the curtain to reveal the opposite side of the story and how really death loomed no closer than any other typical day. But this isn’t one of those occasions. No smoke and mirrors. No magic. It’s what happened. Today, I almost died.
Time. It seemed to suspend while racing ahead all at once. There I was dipping and rising, bending and turning like I do nearly everyday on the roadways around my home. We live in beautiful hill country. It just comes with the territory.
This particular portion of the main road, immediately after a wide span of houses, is flanked on each side with tall trees, overgrown brush and yet another hill. There, tucked behind nature’s expanse opposite the embankment sits a dirt road which intersects the main highway. All but hidden from view. A driver has but seconds to respond should a vehicle emerge but the road is scarcely traveled and even so, it’s rare indeed to see another motorist crossing the highway there.
Today, however, just before my black SUV crested the hill into his line of sight, a semi truck driver pulled up to that blind corner. He must have been lost. That’s all I can figure. He looked my direction, then the other, I’m sure. But while his head was still turned, he pulled his foot from the clutch and eased on the gas to engage the large engine into motion and cross my lane of traffic. He swung back his gaze just in time for our eyes to meet as my vehicle rounded the curve and began the short descent aimed directly at his.
Time. I’ve relived this moment now a hundred times over. It still pauses. Each time it moves forward in slow rhythm, frame by frame just as it did in those seconds.
I saw his tires lurch forward. I saw him spin the large steering wheel to point the outfit my direction before he looked up to see me coming. I heard my own voice shout “No” as if it were someone else’s. I saw papers and shopping bags and books in the front seat begin to fly towards the dash as my brakes tried to halt all forward momentum of my vehicle.
Almost like a dream I could see the details. Like an out-of-body experience even while I watched the scene play out from behind pedals. I saw the middle-aged man’s tousled brown hair in the driver’s seat. Sunlight as it beamed off the large stainless steel tank on the trailer behind the red cabbed truck.
Then, as if my mind were in a time zone all its own, the clock sped up. I saw my car plow headlong into the side of that steel tank and twist beneath the forces colliding. Metal bending metal. My life caught in a whisper between now and eternity. There, with my foot on the brake and my arm outstretched to keep things righted in the front seat the inevitable laid out in front of me. I knew it was coming. In rapid succession I saw what would happen. Sounds all but dissipated around me.
Yet, then, as if everything slammed back into the present, I watched the outcome transformed. Before my eyes I watched the entire rig jolt in a violent attempt to stop. Somehow it came to rest halfway into my lane even as it still shuddered from the sudden brake. The driver flopped helpless against the momentum nearly hitting his head on the steering wheel. When he gained control, bewilderment was etched into the expression he wore.
I was able to swerve into the opposite lane with no oncoming traffic and miss the rig altogether. And like that, it was as if nothing happened. My kids chattered in the backseat like always. They asked me questions about what the rest of the day held as I drove the last few miles back to the house.
I backed the car in the garage and killed the engine. The door closed and the kids skipped into the house. But I sat. Wide-eyed. Amazed. Because though I’ve had close calls before, I’ve never known with such clarity that God altered time to save my life.
Open eyes. That’s what I’ve been praying for: open eyes. And open eyes is exactly how God answered. He pulled back the curtain of time to show me so clearly this moment I could have, should have, left my family for the other side of eternity but God. Stepped. In.
Memory will allow this scene to fade, melting into the sea of countless other segments that make up my hours and days. I can feel the slow fade beginning already. But what I cannot let go of is this rush of elated peace and joy that gives me a new sense of awe over God’s story. How He saved my life. I cannot allow time to lull me back to sleep and miss the frames that one by one reveal the plot line and the heart of the Storyteller Himself. Today, I caught just a glimpse. Just five seconds of a heightened sixth sense; an awareness of the eternal hand of God active in my physical realm. Today, I saw God. Move.
Oh Lord, that that would stay with me always.
And oh friend, that you would know it too.
Afterward We Will
What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.John 13:7
It was a time of celebration. The temperatures would have dropped with nightfall that early spring evening. The men gathered in that upper room knew nothing of the commonalities coming to an end; oblivious to the road’s sudden turn ahead. Yet, with full knowledge of their misconceptions, the confusion they would soon feel and the weight He was about to shoulder, Jesus rose from the table and began to wash their feet. From a reclined, comfy seat with a full belly and heavy heart, Jesus went out of His way to teach one more lesson though He knew they wouldn’t comprehend it until later.Click here to read more…
Our Profile Book!
Today, as I’m thinking and praying for the mama who will view this book soon, I thought I’d share a few pages with you. I mean, I spent months constructing it, it should see the light of day more often. Or, at least the back light of your cell phone. 😉