I know I need to write, but I'm just trying to keep my head above water right now. You get it. I'm sure you do. I just became a mom of five.
Still wrapping my mind around that.
In the interest of being protective until our adoption is final, I am also struggling with what I can say about having five kids. Not only that, but what should I say? What do I want to remember? What would help others? How can God get glory here? These are hard questions.
The first thing that comes to mind is that the whole notion of living in today, one day at a time, not worrying about tomorrow...has had a profound impact on my response to life right now. I see how all of those moments and seasons in the past ten years where I beat my fists against the air--because I am a planner and I surely hate living in the moment because I need to figure out what to do tomorrow and next week and next month--those moments have born the fruit of now. Grace. Patience. Joy. Perspective.
I can't explain life right now other than that. There have been many hard, challenging, difficult moments and days in the past month, but I have endured (and not drowned!) because they are just that...moments. And there is always joy in a moment. And God is always present in a moment. And I can always be an overcomer in a moment. I can worship in a moment. I can pray. I can sing. I can be thankful. And those things are what will get me through to the next moment in tact.
And just for a dose nonspiritual reality, can I just say that I love naptime? And bedtime?! Glorious bedtime. *happy sigh* Holla if you here me.
But back to the other...
We have been through days of phases that would ordinarily scare the beejeebers out of me. Phases I've read about (and now am thankful I did) with children who are transitioning. And in my mind as I prepared for our sons to come home, I considered the worst case scenarios. I considered the far reaches of detrimental side effects that I have read about. I did go there. But I never feared because I know God is bigger than all of that. I have seen miracles. In my life. In friend's lives. God is bigger than the worst case scenario. So we've had doses of intense and puzzling behaviors: lying, hitting, intense need for attention, bed wetting, nightmares...Moments. And in each of them God has been near. God has allowed time to slow down for us so that we can listen and respond. Grace. Strength. Courage. He is all we need. He truly is. He has the answers for every question or problem or worry.
Second dose of reality: I am not perfect. Can I get an amen? (Daddywayne says it enthusiastically. Ha!) I have totally had yelling moments. I will admit that my volume reached a level that I have never in the past known it could go. I will totally admit to becoming so undone that my children know I worship Jesus because in the middle of a dinnertime battle for my sanity I stopped everything I was doing and just started singing, "Jesus!" over and over and over again. While a certain little boy continued to tap my hip impatiently and say, "Mama!" might I add. I am not perfect. But I know the One who is, and thankfully He rescues me (and my children!) from all my junk.
The other part I am intricately working my way through is the notion of us becoming a family. This is such a complex and profound issue, one with which I am confident I will continue to be overjoyed, perplexed, and intrigued by in the years to come. I read this blog today and it just says some of the things I'm contemplating and rejoicing over so well.
Jesus adopted us and when He did He held nothing back from us that was His to give (which is everything). He said we have become "equal heirs with Christ." Heh. Do you feel the gravity of that? Adopted as sons and not left to stand outside the house during the holidays, but welcomed into the very near Presence of the King as, not just friends, certainly not acquaintances, but His children. Holy toledo. And I'm living this thing. I mean these are my kids. When I look at them I don't see the color of their skin or the fact that they don't have blue eyes like me or laugh like Daddywayne...I probe deeper when I watch them and I'm looking for this truth buried deep that they are mine. Oh and it's been confirmed. But I know that as we grow in relationship I will witness it more. You know what I mean right? The whole push a baby out and gaze into their eyes and go, "Whoa. You're mine!" Recognition.
But sometimes we choose to love. Choosing to love is a narrow and hard road. It's not comfy and sweet and glazed with Krispy Kreme deliciousness. Choosing to love is hard and painful and you feel like your heart is being ripped out, and you lay down the notion that you deserve or require anything in return. And are okay with that. Because God is enough. My boys are easy to love in the sense that they need me. I have allowed my mind to go to uncharted territory when caring for them because they have been through so much. They need me to baby them. They need structure. They need my expectations to be realistic. They need my love. They need these things from me because they haven't had these things consistently or at all in their short lives. They need these things from me, even despite the fact that they feel like they don't. (Not sure many 4 year olds like bedtime, period.) So even if they act like they are pushing me away, I'm going to stand strong because I know as a mama, as a listener for Jesus, as their mama...what they need.
This isn't the same as pushing a child out of your womb and immediately having this: "Whoa! I am overwhelmingly, ridiculously, melted and in love with this miracle of life that's been growing inside of me." This is a "I love you because He first loved me. Because He has graciously given you to me. Because you are precious in my sight and His. Because you can't help and didn't deserve all you have been through. Because you are a gift and a joy and an answered prayer, and even though I didn't give birth to you and you look nothing like me...you are mine. You are His. And I want to be His hands and feet and words to bring healing and life to all the places the enemy wanted dead in your life. And I want you to bear my name and be my child."
This is a choosing. A holy choosing. It reminds me much of marriage. Sometimes in marriage (usually the very beginning) the love is easy, but there is no depth to it. You're just all googly eyed and your heart beats fast and you're dreaming of that wedding dress...but then the wedding dress comes and goes and you're left with bills and kids and miscommunication...and what? This is where people break, or they choose. They choose the other person over themselves. They decide that marriage wasn't about them anyway and that in sacrificially loving their spouse, there is joy.
I believe what is happening now with us is a covenant between a family and God. We are saying to God that we know He has called us here, and even when times are hard, we commit to keeping Him at the center. To trusting Him. To believing that His plan for all of us is greater than anything we could ever plan for ourselves, and that because of that there will be great, joyous, astounding, holy, fruit born out of this unconventional family. In all of our hearts. Hopefully in other hearts outside this home. For His Glory. We are choosing love. We'll have to work at it. It won't be perfect. But it will be worth it.
I don't want anyone to be mistaken that this is easy. This is a calling. But I know while I sit tucking in my boys and they look intently in my eyes and I in theirs, while I try to pick their brain and I pray for healing of any soul holes, while I give them structure and teach them right and wrong, while I hold them tight and they smile at me and whisper, "I love you." Yes. This is worth it. This has more depth than the dreamy fairytale of weddings and genetically born infants (and I am in no way diminishing those things) because we have deliberately missed the icing on the cake and have gone straight to the center here. There are no facades to work around. We've gone straight to the heart and all that lies there. The crux of it all. The choosing. The loving. The joy in that place.
At some point we all have to choose because it isn't going to be cupcakes and caterpillars all day every day. So what choice will you make today that matters? How can you see Jesus in your moments? Go see Ann and see if she doesn't give you some perspective on the moments. She certainly does me!