Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hands Wide Open

Apparently the hard drive of my computer is shot. The computer won't turn on and the stuff that wasn't backed up is lost. I'm terrible at all things computer related (which means a lot of things), and my guess is that my laptop wasn't backed up in over 6 months. I haven't yet allowed myself to think of all that is gone, except for all pictures. Of course this blog has a few, but it's the ones I couldn't post that I'll really miss. So this post typed out from the kids' school computer will also be without pictures!

The month of May is winding down rapidly. It's one of my favorite months of the year. Sadly, this year I didn't get to see and enjoy the month quite like I normally do. June. June will be my May. Just maybe.

Mother's Day is in May, though this is not the reason I love it so. Still, Mother's Day brought lots of opportunity for reflection this year. Although the day itself was quite lovely, this was a different sort of year. Honestly, in years past it always felt to me that there were two children missing. This year six hand-written names decorated the Mother's Day banner, and somehow it still felt odd.

Motherhood has been an unexpected journey for me. Entering my adult years, and especially entering marriage, I didn't relish the idea of having children. I was more interested in education and in "meaningful" work in a career. I pictured myself pursuing graduate work, then work in cardiopulmonary rehab. I loved helping patients and their families, combining exercise and nutrition in a clinical setting. I had enjoyed this work in my undergraduate internship.

Fast forward a couple years, and I found myself on a different coast with new surroundings and circumstances. Church was different, too, and for the first time I felt like I was being fed the 'meat' of the Word. Suddenly I was learning like I'd never learnt before and I was surrounded by godly young women raising their families. I saw biblical parenting for the first time and I was surprised by it, intrigued, and attracted. (Perhaps I had seen biblical parenting before, but I had never recognized it as such). I began to learn more about God's design in marriage and motherhood. I began to see it as a valuable work, a work that is meaningful and with eternal ramifications. In short, God completely changed my goals and desires in life.

Then the babies started coming. One after another, they came! I devoted myself to learning how to best do my work in a way that honors God: I read books, listened to messages, watched others closely, and asked a ton of questions. I rolled up my sleeves, so to speak, and gave myself to the task, and in it I found unexpected satisfaction.

It was at some point early on in those years that the idea of adoption began. That idea grew from an interest to a more consuming desire during those childbearing years. Eventually, after our four children were born, we pursued an adoptive placement through two different avenues. Both times, however, the doors clearly closed. With no options remaining, I began to pray that the Lord would remove this desire of mine. If adoption wasn't His plan for our family, I didn't want to be constantly thinking about it and hoping for it. I didn't want my desire to take up any room in my heart if it was not God's desire for us. I actively sought to be dissuaded.

But the desire persisted. After we moved from L.A. and settled here, Jon and I gave it one last attempt. We went through the lengthy (and down-right tedious and even ridiculous) process of certification. We did the hours, we prepared our home, and we set aside or gave up many other pursuits and opportunities. We prayed for wisdom and discernment, and for protection as we opened up out door to the state, exposing ourselves to their scrutiny.

Then we waited. And waited. The incompetency and inefficiency of the system kept astounding us. We were on the verge of deciding when to quit (because certifications do have expiration dates) when we were presented with a sibling set of two. And now here were are.

So back to Mother's Day. My take-away from this year's special day for moms was not what one might expect after all that has transpired. It was a somber reminder that none of this-- four natural born children + two more-- is about me. This life is not about me. My work and my people... They are not for me, and none of it defines who I am before the Lord.

It's a truth that must be understood completely: My worth is only in the Lord.

It is not in the accumulation of possessions or living in a beautiful house. It is not in health or in physical beauty. My worth is not found in a successful career, nor in a committed marriage, nor in motherhood. It is not meaningful ministry, not in plans or dreams, not in sacrifice and self-abandonment. It is not found in devotion to a passion. It is not associated with the people we love and serve. It is not in a legacy left behind.

Everything could be stripped away. Things could come crashing down. What matters is that I am God's, and my relationship with Him comes before everything else.

I am reminded once again that all of the things I hold dear really belong to the Lord, and they bear no significance on who I am to Him. My precious people and my meaningful work, my desires for the future-- those are certainly important to me, but I hold them humbly with hands wide open. What I hope for and what I thought God has prepared for me... they just may not be the way I had pictured.

Ultimately, I must trust God to do (to give and to take, or to withhold entirely) as He chooses. Hands wide open... never grasping, never demanding. Only trusting.

The take-away for me this month was quite certain: God's ways are not my ways, His plans differ from mine, and He will direct my path. I know I will often fail, especially with the unexpected, but I commit to seek Him and to walk in wisdom, and to hold everything in submission to His will. Hands wide open.



  1. Cole and I recently watched a documentary on adoption. We were blown away by how the rules fluctuated and the corruption behind some agencies/countries.
    Great post! Always encouraging:)

  2. I've been missing your writing. Sorry about the computer problems. I'm just like you....I know nothing, I might as well just write with paper and pen. :) I'm praying for you all.


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