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Monday, July 1, 2013

6 Months In: Valleys Fill First

Today an old Caedon's Call song comes to mind...."down in the valley, dying of thirst/down in the valley, it seems that I'm at my worst/My consolation is that when You baptize this earth/When I am down in the valley, valleys fill first."

Not so long ago, I was on the mountaintop.  We just found out we were getting the kids; there was an out flowing of support from friends and family, and the waiting was over.  Victory.

I want to tell you that since then I've been basking in the light at the top of our mountain.  That since the kids got in our home, I have had idealistic days full of giggles and hugs--that I got my "parenthood" card in the mail, and started getting gold stars on it each and every day.

Yes.  I really wish I could tell you that.

But I would be lying.

The last couple months have been filled with many, many, many rough days.  Really rough.  Our home has, on most days, felt more like a trama unit more than a home.  I have cried a LOT.  And some would even say I've SOBBED a lot.  I've been irritated and frustrated and down right unpleasant to be around.  I have been stressed out.  Overwhelmed.  All I want to do is sleep or be alone.  I feel guilty for feeling this way, losing my patience, or just not having the joy I thought I would have  That's the ugly, naked truth.  

For over a year and a half, parenthood, and the desire to have kids has loomed over me like an almost unattainable goal.  Then we started the adoption process and it has been full of emotional ups and downs, stress, patience, prayers, money, etc.  During those months of waiting, I could really relate to the Jewish nation, wondering around in the wilderness for 40 years....waiting for the promised land.

Then it happened.  We got the kids January 5, 2013.  They were ours, and they were in our home.  EVERYONE was thrilled, and supportive, and in tears at all the amazing things that have happened to us.  (And we had some amazing God-sized, WOW, moments.)  Yet, over these past few months, I couldn't understand why I wasn't still so elated and excited.  Why wasn't I thrilled that my dreams had come to fruition?

I was afraid to admit this to anyone too.  I mean, we just got three beautiful kids....God answered our prayers and met our needs.  We've even had people say to us, "You got what you wanted.  You're life must be perfect and complete now."  I have been wracked with guilt to have anything less than ecstatic feelings of joy at the presence of three little blondies. 

I have since come to realize that feelings of doubt, despair, and being overwhelm do not mean that I regret the adoption or think it was a wrong decision.  It doesn't mean I don't love the kids and am thankful for all the support we've gotten.  I do love that we have them.  I am thankful.

Recently our pastor spoke to the Mother's group I attend on Wednesday mornings.  He said something that was so utterly simple, yet profoundly healing to me.  In talking about Jesus' mother, Mary, he said that she had to learn how to be a good loser.

The very first thing she was asked to lose was her expectation of "how it was suppose to be."  She was engaged, probably excited for her upcoming wedding to Joseph and the prospect to built a life together and make a family.  Then God throws her a MAJOR curve ball.  You're a virgin--you've done it right--yet you're pregnant.  And this might have caused Mary to lose everything, and by submitting to God's plan, it cost her the dream of "how it was suppose to be."

How we've come to be parents is not "how it was suppose to be."  Adoption, by its very nature, is a broken road.  Someone else had to lose for us to gain.  In our case, the kids have come from hard places with special needs and traumas.....that is not how it was suppose to be for them either.  How I am feeling or learning how to be a mom also "isn't how it is suppose to be."  It is taking me a while to learn how to lose these dreams and expectations.  I am nowhere close to learning this lesson, but I can at least recognize the road.  And that's down in a valley right now.

Yes, we are ONLY 6 months into this journey.  We have a long road ahead.  Any day now, we will be thrown a curve in that road--our baby girl will be born.  We are excited and nervous to see how her life will impact our journey.  How we will come together as a family even more.  I'm expectant to see how more time in our home will help heal the broken places in the kids' hearts.  I can't wait to see how we will grow and mature as parents.  SO many turns in the road ahead.

God has used one other song to encourage me to face these next twists and turns.  Matt Redman's song, Never Once, has been a life line for me.  I am sure for the days ahead, it will continue to be a song in my heart to get me through those really rough days.

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we've come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You've done
Knowing every victory
Is Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we'll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful 

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