Friday, September 21, 2012

Of Attachment and a Big God

I'm back in the adoption book reading frenzy again. :)  I'm just devouring books, blogs, articles about adoption.  The topic I am looking into most is how to help an adopted child form healthy attachments.  In a nutshell, when a baby (even a very young baby) learn to mistrust the adults that should be loving him/her that baby puts up a wall and it can be very difficult for that baby to learn to attach to adoptive parents.  With every week a child is trained to not trust his/her caregivers, the attachment problems can grow.  Every child is different, but it is clear that abuse and neglect, learning to love and then being abandoned affects the development of a child.

I told my Husband this week that every time I start digging deeper into adoption, preparing and praying, my heart breaks a little bit more.  The thought that our Someday Babies might even be out there already, and their little hearts will be hurt breaks my heart.  I love these children, and I feel desperate to find our babies and bring them home.  I don't want them to have one more moment of the pain of not belonging and not being loved by people who will be in their lives forever.  I am sure I will feel this way until we bring them home - and then the real work will begin, teaching real lasting love to a child who very possibly will not know what that means. 

This would be impossibly hard, if I didn't trust that God is bigger.  He is big enough to heal and we are praying already that God would protect and heal the broken hearts of our babies.  That God would prepare us to be exactly the parents these children need.  That God will lead us to them quickly.  That He will provide so that they don't have to wait longer once we find them.  Many times I wonder how anyone could live without God - and this is one of those times.  This is such a difficult part of opening our hearts to adoption.  I don't want to think about the pain our babies are or will face before we get to them - but I believe that God is the redeemer, and He can do far more than we ask or imagine.  We would appreciate you joining us in praying for our Someday Babies and God's miraculous protection over their precious little hearts.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Honestly confronting suffering through the eyes of C.S Lewis

This year - and in particular the last few months my heart has been grieved over and over again by the suffering of this world.  The brother of my sister in law - a healthy 21 year old who had battled cancer at age 15 and won - had an accident in June and is struggling to regain speech - and the whole family is aching and longing for him to become well again - his situation is a roller coaster as one day he will show signs of improvement and the next day he will be fighting for his life.  I want to take this away for my sweet sister in law - but I can't.  Another friend is facing divorce - two wonderful children suffering, and the whole family wanting to take away the pain.  More than one of my friends are facing custody battles and dealing with issues of abuse and it feels so helpless.  I want to take the children and protect them from what they are going through - but I can't.  There are friends fighting cancer, unemployment, loss of a child, loss of a parent ... and so much more and this is just in people who are close to me! 

Well, about now you are thinking what a downer I am and wishing you never came across my blog.  But, we all know that this is true!  Life hurts, there are days when it takes everything to keep going - to keep believing that there is something better that comes later, that will be make it out to the other side, that there will be joy that comes in the morning. 

C.S. Lewis wrote a little book (A Grief Observed)- it's more like a journal actually, when his wife Helen died of cancer.  It is shocking in it's honesty.  It's painful to read - but at the same time it's healing.  He is brutally honest about the agony he is going through and for some reason that is a relief.  If you look at the Psalms you will see that David went through times when he just wanted to give up, where He questioned God, where He felt utterly helpless.  So, why do we tend to think it's not ok to be honest when life hurts so bad we can't breath?   Lewis ended the book much as it started - in pain longing for the one he loved and lost.  It isn't a great resolution to the question of suffering, it's a true recount of one man's suffering and struggle to hold onto God.  It's hard to read his pain because it is a mirror of thoughts probably every one of us has but are too afraid to say out loud.  It's a comfort to read because he held on to faith through his agony. Here are some quotes from the book:

"I have gradually been coming to feel that the door is no longer shut and bolted.  Was it my own frantic need that slammed it in my face?  The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can't give it:  you are like the drowning man who can't be helped because he clutches and grabs.  Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.  On the other hand, "Knock and it shall be opened."  But does knocking mean hammering and kicking the door like a maniac?  And there's also "To him that hath shall be given."  After all, you must have a capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can't give.  Perhaps your own passion temporarily destroys the capacity."  (p 53-54)

"You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.  It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box.  But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice.  Wouldn't you then discover how much you really trusted it?" (p 25)

I'm not here to try and solve the problem of suffering - but I think we all can use reminders that it's ok to be honest, and that there are others who have gone before us through dark, wicked suffering yet who came out on the other side and still had/have faith.

If you are reading this in the middle of your own suffering - hold on.  And when you don't have the strength in yourself to hold on, let Him hold you. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

gratefulness as a weapon

Last week our Pastor preached on the commandment: "thou shalt not covet" (Exodus 20:17). ( link to sermon) I already knew that this was an area that I had to be careful of in my life (see two posts back: "Life isn't Fair").   I fight against being jealous and coveting what others have that I don't have.  I know it's wrong - but it's so easy!

One of the points Pastor Jonathan made was that we can fight the sin of coveting by being grateful.   I have known for a long time that gratefulness was a good weapon and that being content was a continual discipline, but his sermon was a very good reminder to keep it up and to find more ways to cultivate a grateful heart in my day to day life.

So, here is one of my tools for practicing a grateful heart:  I write lists on our bathroom mirror.  We have always had dry erase markets in our bathroom and we often write notes to each other on the mirror - or to do lists, things to remember etc.  So lately I have been playing the " Glad Game" (from the old Pollyanna movie with Halley Mills)  I try and think of something new every time I look at the mirror that I am glad and grateful for.  Sometimes, when the day feels like it is impossibly hard it is amazing how taking the time and discipline to write down what I am grateful for will change my mood and outlook on life. 

Here are some of my current glads:

I'm Glad:

* above ALL the love of the Creator of the Universe ... if this was the only thing on my list I would still never have a reason to be anything but grateful.
* My husband is almost done (238 days!) with school!
* I am going to FINALLY get my degree!!  (Bachelor of Arts in Ministry/Biblical Studies) ... this was a long time in coming!
* we have a cozy place to live
* the understanding of friends and family during this time when we are not as available as we would choose for social things.
* the days I have with less pain
* the days when I have worse pain - because it reminds me to be humble and depend on God
* what a beautiful Summer it's been (still is!)
* all the veggies we have gotten from our garden (and even our tomatoes are starting to ripen! - a huge challenge in our area!)
* two cars that run (and that I am finally learning how to drive on the mainland - such an island driver!)
* all of our fun and cute nieces and nephews
* dairy free ice cream!
* naps
* flowers
* good books (currently reading: Born in Our Hearts: stories of adoption by Filie Casey and Marisa Catalina Casey - and Love and Respect - by someone but I'm too lazy to go find the book)
.... the list could go on and on - because when I think about it I have SO much to be grateful for and so much that makes me glad.

What are you grateful for today?  Be intentional about being grateful and maybe buy some dry erase markers and start a glad game on your mirror. :)  It's a very useful and powerful weapon against being discontent!