Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Same Lesson Over and Over and Over

I'm not sure why I have to keep re-learning this one lesson - I guess I'm not the smartest cookie out there.  Ever since I was a teenager I realized that starting my day out with God - singing songs, reading the Bible, giving my day to Him in prayer ... helped my attitude and focus be better throughout the day.  My life has become very busy again over the past few days, and I guess I got cocky and was so excited about life and how well things were going (not to mention that I hardly had time to think I was so busy!) that I neglected my time with God - maybe a quick prayer here and there but no time first thing to just be still and put my day into His hands.  Then IT happened.  I found myself in a place of selfishness and found that when things got hard I shrunk back from doing what was right.  I just didn't have the strength in myself to handle the situation well.  And although I got through it, I was ashamed that I wasn't stronger and that I let my feelings get hurt and let my tone become snarky rather than patient when things didn't go the way I was expecting them to go.

I immediately knew that this was because I hadn't been covering the situation and my responsibilities with prayer and I wasn't walking in deep fellowship with God.  And I knew so deeply that I can't do it alone. 

I think so much of life is like this - dealing with health issues, raising children, work situations, relationships ... if we loose sight of the fact that we NEED God every moment we will mess things up.  We're human, and we all make mistakes and have times when we are not beautiful - and when we try and do things in our own strength it will eventually run dry.  We/I NEED to be in continual contact with the One who is stronger and who can help me through the most tricky moments in life.  Life is not easy - it's hard and messy and painful at times.  This world isn't heaven.  If I don't focus my attention on God I can't make it through with a smile on my face.

So I guess this is just a reminder to all of us - but to myself in particular, to stay close to God.  It's not worth it to try and do things in our own strength. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Eye of the Storm

In so many ways the last few weeks have felt like a hurricane - a lot has been going on around us, none of which we have any control over.  There have been countless unknowns in our life and in the lives of those around us lately - and in many ways we have felt like we are living in limbo - just not sure what would happen next, and sad and worried about people we love very much.   A lot of the routine of our lives has been turned upside down over the past month which has made it hard to think about the future or even the next day. 

I know that many newly married people find themselves in similar situations: low on cash, one or both going through school, unsteady jobs ... I know that this is somewhat normal.  But it can be hard to not just wish you were out of this season of life at times.  And for us wanting children and a home of our own when we feel light years behind our peers makes it seem extra trying at times.

But in the middle of all this topsy turvy world, there have been moments that have felt like we were in the eye of the storm.  Moments that were so peaceful and wonderful that we almost forgot everything else.  Moments we will remember forever.  Here are some of my favorite peaceful moments over the past month:

1. Hiking to the foothills just me and my Farmer Boy (I hiked 6 miles which I have never done in my life - maybe more about that in a different post)  We walked for 4 hours, holding hands, singing songs, coming up with baby names (we now have 6 that we just love so not sure what we'll do about that!) ... it was heavenly ... well most of it (except the bit where I fell through the ice onto some rocks ... but even that was kinda funny).

2.  Sitting outside in the sunny morning eating breakfast on a patio table He built for us and watching him reading in his hammock.

3.  Dinner with friends on the same patio table - with candles hung and wonderful conversation.

4.  Cuddling my one year old nephew to sleep.

5. Watching my Husband play with two squealing adorable children

6. Visiting my wonderful college friend and her family - watching her girls play outside.

7.  An overnight vacation in Canada just the two of us - 24 hour trip that was so much fun! 

8. Walking through a fragrant azalea and lilac pathway at a beautiful Botanical Garden

9. Babysitting 4 kids ages 1,2,3 and 4 outside on a sunny day in a yard I used to love to play in when I was their ages.

10.  Singing hymns with my sweet Grammie.

God is good - and even in the unsure times in life if we open our eyes we can see and enjoy the moments He gives us.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

baby birds and a temper tantrum

A few weeks ago I was an adoption paperwork doer, adoption researcher - I seriously was reading books, blogs, adoption websites etc til my eyes felt like they would fall out of my head.  I would find myself sitting awake at 2 am just unable to absorb enough information .. I felt like I was getting closer to our Someday Babies with every word I read and every document I scanned.   It felt so good to be DOING something that would help us prepare for applying to adopt.  I was unstoppable - or so I thought. (by the way, I'm about to get super honest about some of the heart-breaking parts of adoption so if you don't want to read it - don't)

Now I feel paralyzed.  

My Farmer Boy and I were talking about the next steps in our life and how we will go about getting into a position (out of school with real job and house) to adopt.  We were talking about types of adoption and I was kinda freaking out.  I was trying to explain to him how I feel and I said that I feel like I can't move or think about it right now.  I said that I feel like I'm standing in the middle of the road looking at two baby birds lying in the road and being asked to choose which one I will pick up and take home.  I feel like as this gets closer and we learn more specifics about various situations and orphans it is just so overwhelming.  EVERY situation that leads to a child being put up for adoption is a heart-breaking situation.   If it's a situation of birth parents dying, of them being too poor to raise another child, if it's a situation of abuse, or someone who is too young to be a mother .. each situation is tragic.  Even if it's the best case scenario of adoptions ... it's a sad situation where either someone has to make the choice to relinquish parental rights, or that choice is made for them in some form.   So - no matter what the individual story is behind the children we will adopt, it will bring heartache.  The most exciting and precious gift God will give us a a couple will come to us because of someone else's deep pain.  And right now that weighs very heavily on my heart.  I've been praying for the birth parents of our Someday Babies for over 7 years now - and I have to believe that God is the God of redemption and that He can reach out of the pain these people will face and bring something good.  But that doesn't mean it won't hurt.

And that's not the only thing that makes me feel stuck right now.  I hate that we have to make choices.  Choices that feel super unfair.  I want to wake up and find a baby in a basket on our doorstep - but life is not a bedtime story.  At some point we have to settle on what organization we go with, what country or local adoption we pursue, and we will have the choice in some situations of what birth mother or what child we choose.  And that's hard.  When someone gets pregnant they don't have to reject another baby to made that child come into their family.  And back to the baby birds in the road - if I can only pick up one - I have to leave one there in the road.  I have no guarantee that someone else will come along and pick up that other baby bird - and how in the universe could I choose which one I pick up?   If I believe that both are equally precious, both are equally in need of a loving home - how I can choose?  It is not fair.  It's NOT fair!  Not for us, not for the birth parents, and most definitely not for the children.  (ok go ahead and picture me lying on the floor kicking my legs and punching the floor screaming - because this is exactly what I feel like doing)

Now, before anyone stones me for not having enough faith in God, of feeling guilt over all of this - or anything else - please understand that I do know deep in my heart that God will help us, and I know that He is bigger, that He will use all kinds of ways to help us choose - or choose for us, I know that He can be trusted with the children that we cannot adopt .. I know all of this.  I know that life is not fair on so many levels, I also know that some of the biggest blessings come out of heartbreak - I know that beauty comes from ashes ... But honestly, all of that doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt.  It doesn't mean that suddenly I feel all better and this feeling of being paralyzed is gone.  I know that this won't be always the way it feels, I know that at some point I'll pick back up scanning, writing, researching - that I'll be excited again and unable to get enough information about getting our Babies home. 

But this is not that day.  And I'm not here to lie about it and say that it's all peaches and cream.  I will say that without God I would be in deep despair - it is because of Him that I do have hope that this will all work out somehow, and He will make us deeper more compassionate people because of going through this.   

So tonight I reach out to His hand and trust that even though this is no fun, He is still God.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Final, Final

I really thought we might not make it.  After all, we have a lot of heavy responsibility that has grown into more and more responsibility as this year has gone on - and we're still what I would consider newly weds (coming up to 3 years this July!), not to mention starting adoption paperwork this year ... so when we began this 2nd year of school I really had questions about if we would make it through.  We moved to this area with my sweet Farmer Boy having 3 years of university to get his teaching degree.  Year two was hard.  Around Christmas we were hit head on with some very difficult decisions.  Honestly our gut was to run away from everything in our lives that had become very hard.  But by the grace of God we stayed and began the second semester of the second year.  My Husband was taking classes like Micro biology and bio statistics.  Sometimes I would look over his shoulder as he studied and I would be shocked at the crazy foreign language he was studying!  He would sometimes try and explain to me what assignments he was doing and I felt like he was speaking in tongues!  Through it all he remained so disciplined.  Most nights he would study til at least midnight.  And his hard work paid off.  Several times he had teachers tell him he should be a scientist because he was grasping the information better than most students.  I felt like I would burst with pride and joy. 

It's been hard.  Unbelievably hard - and those of you who know us know some of the details of the situation we have found ourselves in.  We have had people tell us to just give up - being in school is hard enough without the work and responsibilities we have chosen.  But we held on to Jesus.  We have had to remind ourselves often through the past 8 months that this world is not about us - and in sacrificing what we want for what is best there are great rewards.  The relationships we have been given, the learning, the constantly working hard to put our selfishness to death have all been worth it.

So as I type this my sweet Farmer Boy is completing his final final exam of year 2!!!!!!  Granted he will be taking a few summer classes but in only 1 year we will be done with school!!!  We are gonna make it - we've past the middle year and we're on the other side.  Our dream of adopting is getting closer, and I couldn't be more excited.  The difficult times in life are not times we should run from.  Some of the most precious blessings come through times of giving up what our selfish nature wants and being open to what God wants for and through us.

We are so happy to be reaping the deep blessings of staying where we are even when all we wanted to do a few months ago was run.  I wouldn't give up what we have learned and the joy we have been given for anything.

And tonight. Tonight we party!!!