Finding my delight in the journey of adoption.

Posts tagged “faith

Explanations

I’m struggling with suffering these days.  Not my own, but others.  I have family members who are suffering, and I don’t like it.

I am a seriously left-brained person.  There’s not an ounce of creativity in me.  I am all logic, all the time.  I don’t feel things.  I think them.  And then I overthink them some more.  I want to know why.  Why does this loving God who I place my trust in allow such suffering to go on?  Suffering that seems so arbitrary, so unrelated to anything and clearly not the result of anyone’s bad choices.

I know all the theological answers, but they don’t really answer the question.  Most of the time, I am ok with that.  I know my place in relation to a holy God.  I’m not meant to understand everything.  I can only see one small piece of the puzzle.  It’s like my dog wanting to understand why she can’t eat at the dining room table with us.  I just can’t explain it to her, and if I tried, she wouldn’t get it.  She’s a dog.  [I’m not saying humans are dogs, just trying to draw some sort of analogy to wrap my brain around the issue.]

But it’s frustrating!  I want it to end.  I don’t want the people I love to hurt.  I don’t want them to doubt that God loves them in the midst of their trials.  And I know that my God can stop it.

That is faith.  Trusting in something you can’t explain.  Going back to the Word, to what I know is true.  God loves us.  Jesus wept for his people.  We are in the midst of a redemption story, but all has not yet been restored and redeemed. 

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The Elusive Nap

First, a gratuitous Fred picture.

Image

I’m in a blogging slump, as the four of you who are still reading have seen. I struggle with perfectionism, so unless I can come up with a really witty and thoughtful post, I usually don’t post. I still have so many thoughts about adoption – there have been a few thought-provoking articles lately about Christians and adoption. I also have thoughts on motherhood. But does anyone want to read them? I am drowning in self-doubt.

That’s really my biggest issue these days – self-doubt. I have spent most of my life running from anything that I wasn’t good at and only doing things at which I could succeed. I don’t play games that I don’t win, I don’t try new things. I really hate failing. {side note – who doesn’t hate failing? This sounds a little pompous – oh you other people must love failing, but I just can’t handle it. blah blah.}

I’m pretty much convinced that I am failing as a mother. Fred doesn’t sleep the required amount of time to ensure that his brain actually develops. His poop is green all the time, which either means I’m starving him or he’s dying of a terrible disease. He still sleeps in our bed, which means (a) he will die or (b) he will still need to share our bed when he’s 16. And on and on and on.

I spend 60% of every day trying to get him to sleep, 20% feeding him, and the other 20% worrying about what he’s not doing right. This motherhood thing is basically pure torture that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Sure, there’s joy. There’s nothing better than his smile and laugh. His smooth, soft squishy skin against mine. His beautiful blue eyes and sweet personality. Of course, I wouldn’t trade that for a few full nights sleep. Seriously, I wouldn’t.

But man, how did I go from a reasonably competent lawyer with multiple degrees, fairly confident in my abilities to being completely brought down to a sniveling puddle of mush by a 16 pound human-parasite? At this point, I barely trust my ability to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich correctly.

I just want to watch a YouTube video that tells me exactly what to do. Or is there some sort of consultant who can come over for the day and tell me how to care for my child? I’m really good at following directions.

It gives me a new appreciation for mothers. I don’t think I ever quite realized the barrage of worries and concerns that comes with this little bundle of joy. I’m not, by nature, a worrier. I don’t care enough about anything to really worry about it. But now! Ugh.

It reminds me of something my sister-in-law said when she was a new mom. The only way you can really sleep at night is to decide that you will survive if your child dies. It’s a morbid thought, I know. But it is true, the child cannot be an idol. Even the child has to be held with an open hand. I can’t stop the hurt that’s coming his way. I can try and minimize it, but I do want him in the battle of life. I want him to become a fierce warrior, able to change the world. But first, he needs to be able to nap.


Leora

The last of the painting projects for 2012 is completed.  The lime green dresser plus the bright orange walls in the baby’s room will most certainly instill in the child a love of all things neon and all things 80s.

Am I the only person who’s over the moon with excitement about Les Mis the movie? I’ve been listening to the soundtrack all day today and trying not to cry.  I’m sure the neighbors have been enjoying my singing as well (windows are open due to painting).  That’s one of the benefits about living in a neighborhood full of crime, homelessness and people with mental illnesses.  You are never the weirdest person on the block.  We’ve pushed this theory pretty far and have yet to be proven wrong.

There’s so much swirling in my brain today, but I want to tell you about Leora.   Two months ago, I let the dog out before we went to bed, and she was sitting on our porch.  Hard to tell, but she appears to be about 55 years old, very sick, clearly homeless.  We spoke for a while.  I gave her a blanket, dinner and some juice and said goodnight.  I couldn’t sleep all night.  It felt so ugly and so wrong.  I have three empty beds in my apartment, and yet she was sleeping outside.  Why couldn’t I get the courage to invite her in?

This morning, she was back.  She looked slightly better but still struggling.  We spoke again for a while.  She was very excited about the pregnancy and offered lots of advice about how to stay healthy.  This time, I invited her in for breakfast.  She declined, and I was admittedly relieved.  We spoke some more.  She told be about her daughters.  She has MRSA, which has rendered her left arm immobile and makes it virtually impossible for her to be admitted into any shelter.   Then she asked if she could come in and use the bathroom.

My earlier courage had dwindled, but I couldn’t say no now!  I led her inside.  The Spirit was so loud in my mind, but the battle was raging.  Scripture poured into my mind – love others as you love yourself, whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me, and of course, Isaiah 58:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

At the same time, my mind was going over all the reasons why this was a terrible idea.  Contagious, flesh-eating bacteria aside, I immediately panicked wondering if she might try to kill me once we got inside.  [I know, I’m insane.]  Considering she couldn’t use her left arm and could barely walk, I decided that even 8 months pregnant, I could take her.

Obviously, there were no incidents.  Everyone survived the trip to the bathroom.  [She did offer to clean my apartment.  She was concerned the dust might harm the baby.  Ok, ok!  I’ll clean.  Jeez.]

Ugh.  I am so broken by this.  Why is loving another human being so hard?  I literally had to repeat to myself over and over – this is a child of God, a human being, someone’s daughter, someone’s mother.  It’s quite disgusting the thoughts I was having and the concerns that kept popping into my head.

I always like to think that if we were missionaries living in Africa, we would have needy people parading through our home.  Ha!  That’s quite an elaborate fantasy.  Will I be getting a brian transplant before we leave?  Am I going to be a different person in that scenario?

I don’t have any answers.  I do know that God is sending Leora to me to challenge me.  I actually laughed with joy when I saw her this morning.  So happy to have another opportunity to try again.  I was honored that she felt safe enough to come back and remembered our last visit.  Not for my own glory but because she must have felt loved in some small way.  And she is!  God loves her so much.

I feel a little like the Grinch when his small shriveled heart grew three sizes in one day.  God blessed my small, insignificant, pathetic attempt at being a decent human being.  God is molding me.  It hurts, but it’s working.

Ok, Jean Valjean is singing “Who Am I,” and I’m seriously going to start weeping.  Too much love in my heart!


The Struggle

Here in Chicago we have been having the most fabulously beautiful weather.  It’s been sunny and warm and now sunny and cold.  There have been a few rainy days, but most days are clear and bright.  The leaves have changed and are now crunching under our feet.  Fall is my favorite time of year in many ways, but the changes always feel harsh.

I’m having a rough week.  The initial novelty of being job-free has worn off, and I’m now settled into a new normal.  I don’t have any big projects that I am working on, and the days start to feel like they are running together.  There’s always a to do list – groceries, cleaning, laundry, cooking, writing bad reviews about One World Adoption Services, Inc. – but nothing is really inspiring me or motivating me.

I realized that I am here again with my old familiar friend.  The Wait.  We are about three months from Baby Bean’s arrival, Lord willing.  Close, but not that close.  The closer it gets, the more anxious I feel.  It’s not that I am scouring the Internet for possible things that could go wrong.  It’s more that it feels too good to be true.  Probably every mother feels this way to some extent.  Add six years of infertility and adoption failures to the mix, and you have a person waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The flip side is that I’m embarrassed to be excited and happy.  I still think about the little excited-ness and happiness I allowed  myself to be about the kids and feel embarrassed.  I so desperately want to daydream and talk about names and set up a crib, but it seems so stupid.  How can I do that knowing that there’s not going to be a happy ending?

I feel like a crazy person. Maybe I’m being a martyr.  I’m having a pity party for myself.  I know better than this, but I can’t make myself feel it.

Where does this come from?  Probably hormones.  But, other than that, where?  Is this a lack of trust?  A lack of faith?  A failure of understanding who God is?  Why am I so unable to rejoice in all things at all times when I know it’s what I am supposed to do?  Why doesn’t knowledge always translate into feeling?

Sometimes I wonder how Job felt after he was restored by God.  Was he waiting for everything to be taken away again or had he been so profoundly changed that he trusted that even if he lost everything again, he would count it all joy?  Probably the latter, but he was human so he must have struggled with faith and trust.

It comes down to the problem of being human.  God created in us these good fleshly desires for relationships, comfort, babies, food and then tells us that we should only need HIm and worship Him.  Ugh!  Make up your mind, God!  Doesn’t he know that I’m only human and I can’t possibly keep these desires in balance?  I am an addict.  Sometimes I think it would be better to have no one and nothing and live as a monk in a cave.  THEN, I could get it done.

Alas, apparently God wants us to be in the world but not of the world.  He wants us surrounded by temptation and strife.  We are in a war.  He doesn’t want me to be comfortable here because it’s not my home.  My only conclusion is that he gets glory from the struggle and not the mastery. When I am weak, he is strong.  He must be very strong right now.