Doug and I are in a kind of holding pattern. We are believing something that seems impossible because God laid it on our hearts to believe it and to pray after it. It’s been an emotional few weeks. Joyful anticipation followed quickly by worry and stress when things didn’t happen as quickly as I wanted. And now I’m just warily waiting for the outcome.
The Together for Adoption Conference was this past weekend. Great stories were shared, people were moved as they worshiped God and interceded on behalf of the orphan. And the whole time I felt like I was pushing against a wall. I just couldn’t get into it. It was the same experience I’d had a few weeks before at church singing, “Savior, he can move the mountains. My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save. Forever, author of salvation, He rose and conquered the grave…” and I realized that I believe that God can move mountains–just that He won’t do it for me. I know God loves me, and I know He acts in this world in a very real way, and I’ve seen and heard Him do amazing things. But I just don’t think His love for me is that big. And I also know this is false. But I don’t know how to overcome it.
In the last session of the conference Matt Carter spoke said that more than anything else our view of our earthly father is the lens through which we view our heavenly one. And I understood. I know my dad loves me. My mom tells me frequently about the day I was born and the way he looked at me. Despite the divorce, and living in another state he did his absolute best to stay involved. He visited for birthdays. Every other holiday I was with him, and six whole weeks during the summer. But he didn’t move mountains. He wasn’t there when I lost my first job after four hours because I wasn’t “peppy” enough. He wasn’t there for my first kiss, or my first break up. And the last time I remember deeply connecting with him was at a father daughter camping trip when I was in the fifth grade. Now, I need to say, I love my dad and it has been a long road, but our relationship is healing. And like I said I know he loves me, and he has supported me even if he doesn’t always agree with me. But as a child, in my eyes, his love for me was not enough to keep him in proximity to me. He didn’t move mountains out of love for me–whatever he wanted, whatever he needed out of life was more important than his love for me.
And so that’s how I view my heavenly Father. He loves me, and I’m confident in that love. But it’s a love that doesn’t require big things. See, I’m careful in my prayers and in my belief because I don’t want to put Him in a position to disappoint me. So this thing that Doug and I are praying for and choosing to believe has got me all messed up and confused. Because I won’t be OK at the end. And while it will seriously grow and mature my faith, right now in the waiting, I’m freaked out. The two people in Scripture I relate to right now are Sarah, when God told Abraham this time next year she would have a baby and she laughed–bitterly(?)–(Genesis 18:9-15), and the man who declared, “Lord I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
Another tree branch fell off our Bradford pear. Luckily this time it landed on the sidewalk and not on our car, or house. We’d made the decision to chop it down, but just hadn’t acted on it yet. And Jesus promised abundant life.
I haven’t had a car in over a month. Sure, I could take Doug to work, and then pick him up, which means an hour there and back, twice. Not to mention he works late three nights a week, which doesn’t work with having kids in bed at a certain time. So I bum around the house trying to keep two kids entertained. And Jesus promised abundant life.
Two of my favorite families will be out of Austin by the end of this month. They’re not my favorite families. They are my community. My fresh air. They speak truth into my life. They get me. Doug and I are both reserved. We move slowly. We aren’t demonstrative. It has taken us years to get into a friendship with these people that is authentic, and just this past year we experienced and felt and lived the fruit of that. And now they are moving away. And Jesus promised abundant life.
We are in the process to adopt from Uganda. And that’s a frustrating waiting game. And Jesus promised abundant life.
I read these words yesterday:
O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your dwelling places.
Then I will go the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God.
So I’m trying to wrap my head around my Jesus who promises me abundant life, and the mundane frustrating, sometimes sad circumstances of my life. And I chose to believe in something bigger than me. I chose to believe in my sanctification. I chose to believe that His light and His truth are leading me. And when I press into Him, I feel that He is my exceeding joy. Not my circumstances. Not my possessions. Not even my friends. Joy resonates and fills my life. Not happiness based on something earthly, but rather something deep and true, something heavenly.
So I’m changing the name of our blog. God is our exceeding joy. Let all we say and all we do point to Him.
Forgive the over used cliche. This is how my day has felt. I’m patient, loving, calm. Then something happens and I snap. For breakfast this morning I gave the kids poppyseed muffins. Matthew proceeded to eat half of his and throw the rest on the floor. I calmly explained to him that this was not OK. When he finished with his breakfast, I asked him if he wanted grapes. I washed and cut some up for him to enjoy. He put them on his tongue and then let them fall out of his mouth onto the floor. When I told him this was not OK, he told me, “Megan’s (our dog) gonna eat them.” I told him she wouldn’t and in the process of telling him to get down and pick the grapes up off the floor, Kyler managed to grab the lip of my coffee mug and spill a full cup of hot coffee all over herself. At that point I lost it. I got her cleaned up and safe and then put both kids in Matthew’s room while I cleaned up from breakfast.
It’s not just today. This is my life. I reach a certain point and at the end, I just want them to listen, not make messes and do what I want. I treat Doug this way too. It’s become more apprent with two kids than ever before. I act like he is here to make my life easier, and when he doesn’t make it eaiser I get mad at him for not meeting my expectations. The crazy thing is, my expectations are wrong. Matthew is two about to turn three and Kyler is one. I am expecting them to behave like adults, or at least to listen. But the whole point is that I am supposed to teach them how to behave. They don’t know. And it will take constant reminding and redirecting before they even begin to resemble human beings. Neither the kids or Doug are here for me. I am here for them. And if I can remember that, it makes serving them a whole lot easier. When I’m less focused on what I want, then I am a better wife and a better mother. When I meet them where they are, they respond. When I yell and cajole and demand, no one grows.
So here’s to slaying Mr. Hyde.
This week has been one of the rougher ones. It started with a tree falling on our car and ended with some crazy infection around my eye that keeps spreading. Kyler has resistant staph on her skin that means any scrape, scratch or bug bite equals crazy swelling of that body part. My sister living across the world was in a motorcycle accident. Physically she’s fine, but it did take it’s toll. I haven’t had time to slow down and dwell in self-pity. And today it hit me that I am assured in Scripture that God will not test me beyond what I can bear. And my heart broke. I have seen tragedies this past year. We have friends who have been to hell and back, babies have died who never had a chance to live. I am immensely humbled by a God who knows me so intimately that He knows what will cause me to break. He bends and stretches me, He beckons me to follow Him down the path of suffering and to continue to praise His name. My friends lend me strength. Their stories, their trials, seeing what God has asked of them, it humbles me to know that my faith is small compared to theirs. But still good.
I don’t claim to have suffered yet. Especially not for the sake of the gospel. But seeing how this past week wore on me, how at the end when my health (and beauty) are being taken, I know how long the road I have to travel is before my faith is perfected. Lead me Lord Jesus. Lead me.