Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ever Wonder What goes On...on the INSIDE??

Do you read blogs and wonder, "Really? Is it all really just like...THAT?"

Are you considering adoption of a child or children and wonder if it's really all sunshine and puppies?

Are you forever waiting on your referral and wish there was SOMETHING you could read that would help you? Something that would help prepare your heart for what is coming? Something to inspire a new list of heartfelt things to pray for in yourself and in your future family member(s)?

Have you already adopted and found your emotions are a bit different from everything you've ever read on blogs and people's Facebook?

Are you currently REALLY STRUGGLING and want to know if there are other people who might understand?

Are you just  GOING CRAZY and wonder if you are all alone?

Well if so, listen up!!

A few of my fellow adoptive friends have begun a new blog called Sharing Adoption Truth. The purpose is to give a window to the real-life inside for those who need to hear it. As it says on the site, we tend to hide the hard and broadcast the beautiful. But now, defying the fairy tale stories, real adoptive moms will share their stories on this collective blog so that YOU can hear it. I will make contributions as the Lord opens my time frame and gives me His words.

You can go there now and just link up so you are ready! There are two stories up already! :)

Adoption is such a phenomenal thing! We mimic our Lord Jesus who adopted us...ugly, sinful and crusty and made us HIS! Reading real adoption stories may not be easy, but you will see the hope of Christ and how He triumphs in each and every one of our stories.

Cheers to Christ-empowered truth sharing!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Raw and Real

With a post title like that, you know it's gonna be ugly.

I cannot bring myself to blog often. Let me be raw and real with you: parenting two toddlers who are stagger stepped in age by 7 months is nothing short of HARD, THANKLESS WORK.

We have come to realize that adoption is not all it's cracked up to be. Well, we have given a very needy child a home, more importantly a family...and we've given ourselves more and more WORK.

Better look at that with some "Christian-ese" right? We've given ourselves "more opportunity to trust God."

I think that is what most people would say. That sure sounds better than, "Man this is WAAAAY harder than I ever dreamed!!"

I have discovered that I truly love the IDEA of adoption but the actual work of adoption, not so much. I love the idea of rallying people to help, but the actual helping part, well...that's what I've rallied people together for, right?

Please do not misread me: I love adoption! And I adore Zareb!!! (The children waiting for families break my heart daily!)

But I am NOT liking the discomfort adoption causes in my life. It's clipped my wings in every sense of the word. 

One of the most challenging seasons I have faced, this first 5 months home has been full of so much. And the bulk of it I cannot share. Just know that if you've felt a burden to pray for our family, we have and still do indeed need it.

Something I have come face to face with about myself is that I am a visionary. That's great and awesome when a group needs a leader. When people need motivated. It's great when direction needs to be found. But it's not so great when life is so repetitive, exhausting and well, daily. (You've heard this before from me lately haven't you?)

I have been given hope by those who listen as I bare my soul that God is working on me. At first this thought shocked me. I truly thought NOTHING GOOD was happening. We are not progressing in potty training, I am not progressing in my patience level, I am not doing anything different than I did 4 weeks ago. (I really need to see PROGRESS in order to keep going!) But here it was from two different sources:

"God is working in you. Doing a great thing. He's getting you READY."


My soul perks up at this. Hope. I feel the lightness of the wind of hope blowing gently into my sails.

God might truly be changing me through...this???

I have now observed myself able to clean up giardia-filled diarrhea that spills out of diapers without losing my head. I stayed up till 2 am last night rocking a feverish Zebby filled with nothing but love and adoration for him. (Previously, I am QUITE SURE I would have been far more worried about how I'd survive the next day because of my "sacrifice!" Blech!) I've knelt down and tried to patiently decipher his stammering sentences. And we've made it out the door for the bus this week with everyone in happy moods and we haven't even missed the bus once this week.

Could it be true?

God is working on me in this...daily nothingness?

YES. It comes to me resoundingly.

Also that I am not surrounded by mundane. This is not "nothingness." I am given a front row seat to the metamorphic changes in a former orphan and a selfish woman. These are the building block moments for his life. These are the slow one-step-forward-two-steps-back days of healing. And for our little Darrah Kate as well. These are the moments that provide them a good strong, solid start in life that they need. The solid base of love they need to know is always here. Their God-infused years of toddlerhood that launch them into life.

This gives me the hope and encouragement to carry on. To see this thing through. To love without measure. To trust my exhaustion and personal needs into the hands of my Savior. He's promised to not only never leave me, but meet all my needs according to His riches (not in accordance to my lack!).

And there I rest.

Time to dole out a snack and change the laundry over. And stop these two from fighting over the Barbie laptop.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Chisel He Chooses

Oh friends. It has been awhile.

I have wanted to write...but then I realize there is no time yet again. And then I wonder, "about what would I even write?" Certainly you don't have any more time than I. I surely don't want to waste your time on empty words.

Ever have seasons of your life that you just wonder if anything is really HAPPENING?

It's awfully fun to start a new job, have a new baby, get engaged, be called to a new place of ministry and watch God open doors left and right. The high is truly unlike anything else!

And get there. You assimilate as best you can. Your learning is on a high curve and you begin to "feel it." You are doing it! Your new thing He's given is yours and it feels amazing!

And then, things just sort of settle. You adjust. You forge out a new normal.


Can't say I like the word, really.

Life is really quite daily. Not many biographies say this. And why would they? Biographies are written about the INCREDIBLE things that have taken place in a person's life. Things worth remembering.

The daily stuff, well, it isn't book worthy. But it is what life is really full of.

The missionary that goes off to his most heart's desired land...

The aching infertile woman delivers her most treasured baby...

The advocate sees her bill pass into law...

The student crosses the stage and is now called graduate...


Life. The daily stuff.

So, I think you get me. That's where I sit. My life consists of parenting a most incredible set of Shaw children. Five of them. (One of me. One of my husband. Oh my yes, we are very outnumbered!) Our lives are drained completely by the end of each day.

I have so many, many moments when I wonder why such things are happening. How did I get here? Is this really what I wanted? Why are things so difficult? Is there anyone in this house looking out for ME...or is it only the other way around?

Self. It's always there. Pushing to get more "air time."

I almost think with so many toddlers in the house (there are at least seven I am convinced!) that the selfish part of me rises up STRONGER. They think so little of my needs that I think of them MORE intensely than normally.

I don't like this. I pray each morning for God to fill me. For there to be less of ME and more of Him. Not even a "less and more" equation, but a total replacement of me with Him.

Oh yes, this is what I crave.

Yet, the puzzles are poured out all over the floor (again), the drink got spilled all over the homework (again), the potty mistake causes more clean up involving more time than we have causing us to be late (again), the plant is torn apart by little hands (again), the book pages ripped out (again), the game pieces are now lost in a moment of sheer toddler delight as they threw them around while I was upstairs folding laundry (again).

This is my new normal. This is where I have settled.

I find myself not wanting this normal. I want to reject it. I want them to hurry up through toddlerhood. Start being responsible. Start contributing to the family rather than causing diasters in their wake.

But this is not my choice. This is what He is using in my life to bring about what He has for me to learn. Not to mention the purpose of directing their little lives toward the God of Creation.

These disasters, these fits they throw...I am not proud to say that I do not respond as I want to. I am with Paul the writer of this passage from Romans 7: 19:
"For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing."

I realized yesterday that God will not come busting in and deliver His Spirit of gentleness to me as I blaze in anger at the situation. No. He is not a God who forces Himself on His people. He waits for us to turn to Him.

In those very overwhelming moments I must stop and ask Him for His presence to overtake me. He is more than able to handle my trying situations, why then do I carry on as if I have no help from on high?

I was delighting in the presence of my fellow sisters in Christ today. As we considered the Word and God's ways, a friend said something about "pondering the work He is doing in us as He uses the chisel He has chosen."

The chisel He has chosen.

I love that.

Who of us comes to our Lord and asks for pain and suffering? Who of us chooses our chisel?

Do we approach God in prayer and request that He grant us a child with a life threatening disease so we could learn what lessons He might have for us?

Do we ask for people to lie about us and falsely accuse us so we can better understand the suffering of our Savior?

Might we pray for God to allow us to be fired from our job so we can know that we depend upon Him alone to provide?

Would we ask for a fire to come and blaze through all our possessions so we could learn the lesson of dependence upon Him?

No, no, no and no. We do not choose our chisels. Thank God!!

I have long ago given my life to Jesus. I have written out on a sticky note in the front of my Bible, "God has the freedom to do in my life as He chooses." And then over the years I have added the things that He's brought into my life that I never saw coming. So many good things. Many that have been hard. But none have I chosen.

And so I come back to my little house full of children and their squabbles, messes and whiny attitudes. I turn my eyes back to the mound of unfolded laundry that waits for my attention. I smell that rancid smell of yet another diarrhea filled diaper. I catch the child's eyes that toy with me to see if I'll be a faithful mother to him, unlike the one who left before. I see that the dog hair has once again collected along the baseboards, waiting for my broom. The homework left on the table that didn't make it into the school bag. The bag of groceries waiting for me to turn it into dinner.

This is my current chisel.

And really, it's not bad. Not bad at all!
(Are we not so very well aware of the billions of chisels that we do not want?) 

God is carefully teaching us through the circumstances He permits in our lives. He has lovingly crafted a curriculum for each one of us. No one has the same schedule, classes or lessons. It is tailored exactly for us. What a beautiful thing!

And I pray in this moment for me to learn what He has for me through this chisel He has chosen.

"Teach me, Lord. Help me to not waste these moments on my selfish thoughts. Carve me into the shape you desire using this present chisel."

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