Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wishing I Didn't Know Now What I Didn't Know Then

The days run away like wild horses over the hills.  The title of a book of poems by Charles Bukowski and also the first line of the first letter (the old school kind) my husband wrote to me during our first months together.  Ironic because at the time, before marriage and kids, I wonder what could have been taking up our days to make it feel like time was passing so quickly.  I know we were both 'busy' with our careers; the stress of the pace of life in our nation's capitol can feel overwhelming, but that is all we had going on at the time.  Work and play.  But isn't that how life goes?  We never realize how much time and/or freedom we had in a previous chapter until that chapter is closed and we enter a new, perhaps more difficult and challenging chapter, where time feels so limited and scare that we wonder how we will accomplish all that needs to get done.

Currently, with Big Sister's court hearing just around the corner, I am finding myself once again grieving.  Grieving for her loss, her birth family's loss and pain, and also grieving for the loss of our family as we currently know it.  I find myself wishing that I didn't know now, what I didn't know then.  Why?  Because now I know.  I know how hard it is for a child to leave the only home they have ever known.  I know the depths of grief and loss.  I know that my children have a God-sized hole in their hearts that I will never be able to fill.  I know that cultural differences do matter.  I know that love is an action word and requires a selflessness that does not come easy.  I know that nurture needs to trump nature until the two become so intertwined that one cannot tell the difference.  I know how hard the transition is on children currently in the home.  I know the pain and displacement our birth children face when we choose to love like God loves.  I know the stress, fatigue, sleepless nights, battles of the will, the power struggles, the feeling of being one more incident away from complete implosion.  I know what it feels like to rely on the source of all life and strength because my self source is completely depleted.  I wish I knew none of this, that I was entering this adoption as green as last time, armed with all of my book knowledge, countless training courses, and endless optimism.  

Don't get me wrong, I trust that God is walking each and every step with us, that he has gone before and will be here to scoop us up.  That, in fact, is my very lifeline.  However, what I know now is how hard being obedient to God's will actually is in day-to-day living.  Is it rewarding in the depths of one's soul?  Absolutely.  However, learning to appreciate and be grateful for the trek through the valley while keeping the mountain top in view, is a skill I am trying to develop.  There are some great nuggets to truth in the valley, but most of the time we are just trying to sidestep them to reach the mountain.  

With this knowledge, I have been preparing as best as I know how.  For months now, I have been envisioning our house with Big Sister in it.  Even before we saw her face, I pictured a face.  At breakfast, I imagine what she may or may not like to eat, where she will sit, how she will interact with everyone.  I imagine packing one extra lunch, seeing her off to school, and watching her play soccer.  After school, I imagine helping one more child with homework, teaching her the English language and how to read.  I think about her playing outside with the neighborhood kids.  I imagine speaking comforting and healing words to her, letting her know it is OK to be scared.  At dinner, same thing.  At bedtime, I imagine one more child in the wind down routine.  One more child to read and pray with.  I try to think of times when I felt scared and alone.  I take myself back to those places and replay the emotions.  I tell myself to remember what that felt like because Big Sister is at the very least going to feel scared and alone.  

My prayer since beginning of our first adoption was that God would unite us in spirit.  All of us.  Big Sister, Sporty, Sassy, birth families and extended families on earth and in heaven, our children, myself, and my husband.  I pray that God would give our children wisdom beyond their years and the comfort and peace that surpasses all understanding.  To watch God at work in our children is amazing.  Sometimes when doubt creeps in, I look to my children.  They have not yet learned the self-serving ways of the world.  They do not worry about test scores or college tuition and instead know how to be present in the moment.  Joyfully present in whatever they happen to be caught up in at the time.  Because I cannot unlearn or forget anything the past year has taught us, I need to trust.  When I asked God to break my heart for what breaks his and to give me his eyes to see, I need to trust that as he does this, he will provide all that is necessary to meet the day's challenges.  I also secretly know that each and every hardship of the past year will be used to heal in the days and years ahead.  We become God's wounded healers and that is such a gift!  God never promised life would be easy, but did promise we would never be alone.  I believe this in faith and in experience.  I believe that if we are not reaching beyond our own capabilities, we are not reaching far enough.  

Do you trust that God will provide all that you need to meet the challenges of what he has called you to do?   What experiences in your past could be used to help others?  What challenging and unique situations have you been through?  Believe me, he has and is calling you to something greater than yourself.  What would you be doing with your life right now if you completely trusted God to meet your needs?  Go ahead, take the leap!  
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