I'm trapped in a cycle of wanting to write, then getting overwhelmed by the idea of it, and then thinking of 8 million things I want to write, and then realizing it's impossible to say all those things. Dilemma much?
Home life, the daily grind has finally slowed to some perceivable predictability since our move. Summer has been a blessing. We have not been the family that went to 500 different VBSs. We didn't play sports or take classes. We have been so unplugged and it has been So. Good. Time has felt slower. Moments more restful. And goodness we have needed that.
We were blessed to take a little trip (take a little trip, take a little trip with meeee. Sorry I had to.) as a family to Hot Springs in early July. A precious friend let us use her lake house and it was just amazing.
We rested. We swam. We went to the museum. We went to a nearby swimming beach. We ate good food. I feel even now like that was such a turning point in all of our drama because we escaped out of it to get some perspective and rest. I think Dwayne and I both determined in our minds that on return we were refusing to go back in the pit and live. This adoption roller coaster has absolutely taken the wind out of our sails and we have felt beaten and bleeding emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally.
But I do think it wise and prudent and beautiful to talk about where God is in the midst of this. I see Him now. God has so very intentionally been putting scripture, and sermons, and songs in my path that have been leading me to truth. Fleshing out the spiritual reality in the midst of this physical reality.
It started with me surrendering. I gave up Facebook. And He has been speaking like crazy. It's like I'm truly plugged in again. He's been speaking the truths my heart has been longing for for months. And gosh don't we do this? Don't we say with our mouths that He is Lord but not bend our hearts? I am such a control freak. "God, You can have this much of me, but no more. But You don't really want that, do You God? Surely not." Blessed friends, He wants it all. All. All. Don't believe the lie that says otherwise. And don't believe the lie that says if you give it to Him, it won't be worth it. Because it's beautiful. And joyful. And the real life-giving air that your lungs have been panting for. Facebook is not worth our suffocation. Goodness it's not. I honestly haven't missed it. I miss talking to some people, but I don't miss all the noise that Facebook was for me.
So what is He saying? He has shown me that instead of asking why He is allowing certain things, the better question is to ask "God where are You in this and who are You in this?" He answers those questions. (Listen to this sermon!)
He has challenged me deeply to press in to prayer. I am still trying to grapple with the gravity of this sermon. Especially because my heart beats intensely for intercession. Prayer is beautiful ya'll. It isn't boring. It isn't supposed to be something to check off your list of things "good Christians" do. Gracious. No this is the love language of Abba. To listen for Him and pray what He tells you to pray and watch Him move. Absolutely miraculous. This is the meat of who He is and who He wants us to be. Test and see. Taste and see.
Gosh it's so hard to write about. I don't know why. I wrote about cancer. Maybe it's because that was happening mostly to me. And this is happening to all of us and it's legal and it's unfinished. I guess? Or maybe it's because I don't think there has been any event that has happened in our lives that has caused this much turmoil.
I do realize what I just said.
I keep trying to compare this to breast cancer and maybe I'm lying to myself but I'm pretty sure that this has been harder. I think it's because it affects all of us. Life hanging in the balance and such. Small lives. Sheesh.
(Just so you know before you read the following, it took me an hour of writing before I could articulate this. I feel this only skims the surface of it all, but hopefully it is enough so that you understand.)
A little over two years ago the phone rang. A newborn baby girl born needs a foster home. Born with illegal drugs in her small body. She comes to me. Small and frail and I love her immediately. This precious gift. An answered prayer. We fight for her. Not to keep her, but for her safety, for her future. The system that should do the fighting seems to overlook so many things. And the longer she is with me, the more I bond to her and her to me. To us. And the more fear creeps in. Fear of losing her. Fear of her being harmed while she is with her bio parents, who test positive for drugs and are still allowed to visit with their children. Fear that the system will fail her and her siblings. And it almost does. But the judge finally sees through the lies and knows that the parental rights need to be terminated. And heartbreakingly, the bio parents never fought for her. They were given so many options for help. And as much as I love her, I desperately wanted them to fight for these babies.
And so all that was dark was brought to light. And it seemed that the years since my forced hysterectomy and the longing of my heart for another baby, would reconcile. She would become ours? But then, no. No she would go to another family with her brothers. No one asked if we wanted them. They were just going to move on to some other family. And I died. I laid her on the altar like Abraham did Isaac and for two days I grieved the loss. She's not mine Lord. She's Yours. You have a perfect plan. I'm choosing to trust and my heart is being ripped smooth out of my chest. But I'm choosing to trust.
And then a whisper: "What if? What if more than you thought? What if bigger than you? What if outside your plan? What if all three?" And in Dwayne too. Through His Word. Through friends. Through the whispers of the Spirit. Yes, all three. And all parties agree.
And then our sweet K boy gets moved, senselessly, again. For the 5th time in his life. A new home. He could have come to ours, but someone decided, someone that shouldn't have decided, that he should move to another home before ours.
Finally, in October they move home. Our home. Their home. The crazy adventure of becoming a family of 7 begins. And in my mind, our minds, we imagine that this will be hard because we have a 4 year old child who has never lived anywhere for even 12 months at a time, that he has trust issues. That learning to love children who we haven't had from birth will be challenging. That learning to balance all the needs of five kids and being married too will be hard. We expect this. We don't know how hard it will be, but we expect it to be hard. We expect the budget to be hard. And the food. And the laundry.
We don't realize how hard. Hard. Hardington.
So as we get into the throws of parenting our children who have trust issues, one child specifically, we realize that this is so big and important and going to require a lot from us. Healing will take time and grace and energy and patience and perseverance.
And then this happens.
The head on collision. The plane falling out of the sky. The punch out of nowhere. The ripping of flesh.
An honest self-disclosure about a long past situation that leads to a severe overreaction from "the powers that be," which leads to an evaluation that rips my husband to shreds and tears into the fibers of our hearts and all we hold dear. Which tears into our family and leaves us tumbling and flipping and unable to get right-sided. And the report from the evaluation that does it all again and we leave thinking "Are we wrong about ourselves? This seems such a severe overreaction over something so minuscule." And all those powers that be, the powers that are controlling our lives and have for two years, decide we need marriage counseling because the one guy said we did since he didn't talk to me about what I know and assumes I know nothing. Nevertheless, this will appease. So of course we'll go. We love these kids. We are battling against the powers of hell for them.
And we wait. And we wait. And we wait. And I call trying to get it scheduled: "It's been referred; Oh well we have to wait till the new fiscal year; I'm not sure why they haven't called you." And months later find out that the people who have the referral have had the wrong phone number and yet have been calling it repeatedly and are angry that we haven't called them back. Since they weren't calling our number and everything. And then when we finally talk, they can't schedule us till September. We were supposed to finalize our adoption in April, and now we're staring down the barrel of the end of the year.
And then finally breakthrough this past week. If we're willing to pay out of pocket, we can go see the licensed counselor of our choice. This will fulfill the requirement. So we jump on it. Not that we have $100 to spend on counseling visits, but our hearts and our flesh are crying out "UNCLE!" and so we will do whatever we have to do to just move forward. And honestly we see the divine providence in having the choice about where to go instead of being told where to go. Thank You Abba. This is a true answer to prayer.
But we leave counseling discouraged. It is so hard to rehash all these last months and years of our lives. To give an account on Earth of something past redeemed and restored of God. It is gut-wrenching to have to keep retelling the story to someone who doesn't know us and we have no idea how they'll respond. We're fighting for our name, our character, our integrity. Who we are as Believers, as spouses, as parents. It's excruciating.
And all the way home I'm quiet and Dwayne doesn't know what to think since I am very rarely quiet. I'm wrestling. I'm angry. I'm sick to death of being told what to do by people who don't know us. I'm sick of "extras" being involved in the day-to-day of our family. Especially extras who don't know us and don't seem to know Him either. I'm literally angry over it. Why, God? Why? WHY?
And then I get up for a walk the next morning and find this message.
I begin to see. For the first time in all these months I see. My fear has to do with my control. In that I have none. And yet I am trying to. And I was never meant to. I can submit to authority because that is really laying my arms down and submitting to Him. He will not let them prevail over me, over us. He has already won this battle. But He is trying to teach us some important things in this process. HARD things. Ridiculously hard things. But things that matter for who we are in the Body.
So I'm beginning to see. I'm beginning to glean. I'm asking for more of that. I need it. We need it. That is definitely how you can pray for us. That we'll see where He is in this. Because He's all over it. We just need eyes to see.
I need to say for myself that all of this is changing me so much. Like as a person, as a Believer, as a writer, as a daughter, wife, mother, friend. I feel different. I don't fully recognize the me from a year ago. And it's good. But I'm trying to land on solid ground again and figure out how to project myself. I have struggled so much in my writing because my writing is always a direct result of my life, of my perceptions of what's going on around me. And I've had no perceptions. I've just been. So this is new. And exciting? I really know that I am on the precipice of something new as Shana. That something, I'm convinced, is increasing from glory to glory as His creation. Not who I once was and working toward who I'm supposed to be. This is good.