Friday, October 31, 2014

2014, A Reflection, And #Write31days



Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath. Psalm 116:2


Wowsers. Hi, October 31st! I haven't been as diligent or able to write for the full 31 days as I would have liked, but alas life happens, and I have still accomplished something that I have never done before!

I wrote consistently, almost daily, for 31 days.
I told my story from the beginning of me, till now.
I told my story bravely. It isn't complete, but it is sufficient.
I have told my story from memories only. Pictures sometimes helped trigger things, but all of this is from the old memory bank. I'm impressed with what resides up there. Thanks public school for all the "Say No to Drugs" campaigns. I did, and I have brain cells to prove it. Ha!

I have had so many compliments, words of encouragement and affirmation, people who can relate to my story, and just general happy moments over the last 31 days. Thank YOU for that! I have had old friends apologize to me. I never wanted that or felt like I needed it, but the fact that somehow being real with  my story and how I felt in the moment, brought light for others into moments they shared with me...and that's just freaking powerful. Even in the midst of the apologies, I said, "No. It's past and I never meant for you to apologize. That's not what I wanted or why I wrote." And that is the honest truth. I just wanted to tell my tale. But then, for me, on the other side of those "I'm sorry" moments, comes some healing that I didn't even know I needed. So if you were one of those who gave me that beautiful gift, thank you. I forgave you a long time ago, because forgiveness is not contingent on the apology, but on something already freely given me through Jesus. But I do thank you for being part of healing some memories for me. I'm blessed for that.

I'm thankful that Myquillen had the inspiration to start this. I have found some new bloggers through this and I'm so thankful for that! I'm thankful for the assignment she gave. I'm thankful God allowed me to stumble upon it.



2014. This year has been so very hard. We started off so joyful believing that God was moving us somewhere so intentional. And the move was stressful, but, worse than that, was the bottom dropping out from underneath us with our adoption, just as we were moving. And there is so much I could say about how broken the "system" is, how it needs reviving, prayer. How the church needs to step up so less children come into foster care because families are being cared for and discipled in a way that makes that unneeded.. How the government needs to have better oversight and how the workers are overworked and underpaid, and some have very specific, ugly, dark agendas that have nothing to do with families or children.





But that isn't what I feel led to elaborate on. I also don't feel the need to elaborate on all the feelings and the brokenness I have had this year. We have had this year. Because I already did that. If you click on all those links in those last two sentences, you will see the summation of my pain this year. Deep, long, weary, searing pain. Not wanting to get out of bed pain. Not being able to talk about it pain. Not understanding pain. Faith being tested pain. Hard core, spiritual warfare pain.


So where do I go from here? I don't have a plan, but let's try to go somewhere.

1) Jesus is real and God is still good. No matter what. I would have zero hope apart from that. All of it would be meaningless and purposeless and thus, what would be the point of living? If all there is in life is pain and darkness, and then comes death, then what's the point? I'm here to say, there is a point. I don't know what it is right now in these specific things, but I can most assuredly go back over all my Ebenezers and God showing up and answering my why questions and bringing joy and restoration, over, and over, and over again. So even though I don't know "why" right now, I know He is still good, because my faith and my past and the Holy Spirit living in me tells me so. The Word says so. My heart says so.









If you are living without Him friend, I don't know how. Maybe your life feels more pain free than mine, but if you walk in my shoes, precious one, taste my hurt and hardship...how would you endure in your current state? Do you think that hard things won't happen to you? Are you betting on that? Are you betting on eternity just being dark and quiet? Or coming back as something else? Me thinks that's a steep bet to make. Here and now I have hope because I know Jesus makes good out of evil. I also have hope after death that I have eternity with Him: no more sorrow, no more pain. What do you have apart from Him when there's pain? What about at death? My heart aches for you now in a place without real hope, and know that I'm praying even as I type this that you would feel Him calling you. He longs for you dear one. He doesn't promise sunshine and roses, but He promises He will be with you when life is thorns and deep cuts. And He is.

2) Life and relationships are hard. My story right now is that I don't have many people I can truly lean on. My parents divorced, my siblings are too busy with their own lives, and relationships in general have been difficult for me this year, even with old friends. I know people and people know me. Or they see me? Some pray for me. But I don't really know them and they don't really know me. I don't have girlfriends show up at my door and want to sit on the couch and talk. Often when I have tried to put myself out there and be vulnerable about my life and pain, I have been met with a dose of preaching truth, rather than a gracious friend who wants to sit in my pain with me and love. Not just one person has done this, but many. I have honestly been wounded more deeply than I have ever been in relationships with people this year. I've already been in so much pain from everything else and it's been this way with people. I have not been able to use my gifts and haven't really felt like I've had a voice and so I have felt trapped.

And my expectations of people are too high. People aren't meant to satisfy me. People aren't meant to meet my needs. People aren't meant to love me the way I need to be loved. But that doesn't change the fact that I long for that (Jesus made us relational!) and because I haven't had it, I have felt abandoned, lonely, isolated, unloved and I have felt crushed under the weight of that in addition to all the other hurts.

Have you ever felt that way?

See, what this is teaching me is that I need to be ever so aware of others' pain. God make me the one who sees others' pain and is willing to walk into it with them. Make me the one who will show up and sit on someone's couch with them and laugh and cry and breathe life and hope and joy into them. Make me the one who will pursue others. Help me see Lord!! Help me SEE. Help me speak life. Help me be the hand that reaches into the pit for my sister.

I also see that we cut our safety net out from underneath us because we left a place of "safety" and deep relationship and came to a new place with new relationships. We didn't know what was going to happen with our adoption. We had no idea. And some would say (have said) we are weak because this has affected us so deeply and rawly (yes I just made that adverb), but I would kindly put my hands on your shoulders and say, "You don't get it." We have been strong. Stronger than anyone could possibly know. But it has been HARD. Walk a mile with us before you judge.


"By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35


We are all broken people representing the Body. We are imperfect. We all have junk and we often can't see past our junk to be able to love people well. I get that. I am part of the problem too. How many times have I cast someone aside? Judged them? Tried to talk them out of their pain? I am part of the problem. But God would You allow me to also be part of the solution?  God would You graciously instruct me, give me words, embolden me to love on Your Body well and teach others to do the same?

3) In the midst of my darkest night, I can still press in. I can pant like a deer for streams of living water. I never really understood that until this year. I've been desperate. I have longed. I have been weary and broken. I have never done all of those things at the same time with the deep level of brokenness and attack that I have dealt with this year. This year makes all the other stuff I've been through look like a playground. This has been all out war. And yet. And yet.

I have hungered for Him, cried out for Him, begged for Him. I have dived in and drank deeply of His word. I have listened more closely to the Holy Spirit. I have been led to promises I'm standing on still, and reminded of ones past. I have worshipped harder and with more brokenness than ever before. I have panted.

I've panted.











4) There is a light at the end of this tunnel. We had a meeting yesterday about our adoption and we had to walk back into all the pain and accusation and character assassination of these last months, but God gave so much grace.


 

Thank you for praying, by the way. I know so many of you were. I prayed specifically after it was over that God would bless in a very genuine way all the precious ones who have prayed like it was them on the line. Thank you. 

At the end of the meeting, all the parties with a say so, said that they were ready to move forward. Based on what the judge told us in court a few weeks ago, if everyone was ready to move forward after the meeting, we could schedule an adoption date. So deductive reasoning would say that the judge will set a court date for our adoption to be finalized soon. I don't know when. But there is hope in my heart about it. My precious husband cried great sobs of relief. God love that man. I love that man. He has endured more than me and still stands. Thank You Abba for helping him stand.








I have so few pictures I can post from this year because we are a family of 7 and there are 7 people in most of my pictures, but it isn't legal for me to post those pictures yet. The pictures in this post are the pictures from my heart that I can show. Many of them are also on Instagram and if you want to follow me there my screename is: shanalw

And now, with two minutes to spare, I bid thee adieu #write31days. Thank you for challenging and changing me. Thanks for blessing me.


 

November's coming.


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