Saturday, October 31, 2015

Boy or Girl??

The reality of being pregnant and carrying another life into this world is finally starting to settle in and around me. It's funny. When we first found out that we were going to have another baby, and a biological one at that, the overwhelming emotion I felt was fear. We had just brought Bradley home from Ethiopia (like days before), and things were not going super smoothly. I felt like we were barely treading water as we figured out what parenting meant and how to best meet the needs of our son, for whom every single detail of life was new and, likely, scary. So when we found out that another little one would be joining us in just eight short months, I was terrified. I didn't think I could do it. (Ahem, I still have my doubts, but God is BIG.)

But as the weeks have passed and I have had more time to really wrap my head around what God is doing in our lives, I have become so incredibly thankful for this beautiful gift and have begun (ever so slightly) to feel like with God's strong arm for help, I can do this. 

And this past week, we got to experience the most incredible thing. I have thought and whole-heartedly believed for years that I would get phone calls to tell me that I was having another baby. And there is nothing quite like that in the entire world. Having your phone ring and being told that you are a mom and that there is this precious and beautiful child waiting for YOU. I still cry when I look at our referral day photos from last year. This week, though, we got to do something that I did not think we would ever do. We got to sit in a doctor's office and watch our baby wiggle on an ultrasound screen. We got to see our child before birth. I just didn't think that was in the cards for us. 

It was a humbling and breathtaking thing. To see this life the Lord has given us, this life I get to carry and help grow. I just didn't think...I just didn't believe we would get to do that. 

But we saw a strong heart and healthy bones. A cute little nose and long, long legs. 

And the big news is... 

We have a daughter. 

Crazy, insane words to type. I am so wholly and completely overwhelmed by God's work in our life. He has given us the family I have dreamed of. A beautiful boy from Ethiopia who made me a mom and fills my heart. And a sweet little girl who is the most wonderful of surprises. 

Before the technician began the ultrasound, she asked us what we thought we were having. Adam has always said girl, and I have always said human. We were both right. :) She started out scanning different organs to check development and then finally got to determining gender. I was not doing a whole lot of breathing. And then she said, "It looks like dad is right. You're having a girl." 

And I started sobbing. A daughter. I have a daughter. Oh, my heart. 

The Lord's faithfulness is abundant and in such stark contrast to my wavering and shifting. Again and again He demonstrates His love and mercy; both run deep. And I am so humbled to serve One so gracious, One who stoops to pursue me and my heart, One who tests me and then reminds me of His own goodness. 

With deep love, 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I Need Jesus

I cannot believe that we have been home with Bradley for three months. Being flung headlong into parenthood with a toddler has been more of a learning experience than I ever dreamed possible. My expectations have been tossed out the window, and I am learning more and more each day just how much I HAVE TO hang on to Jesus in order to be a mom.

Bradley has grown and changed so much in these few months with us. This has been such a testimony to the power of God's design for the family unit. Bradley has THRIVED under the love of a mom and a dad. He is learning to trust us as his providers and to come to us for love and comfort. He is gaining independence, too. He crawls and cruises all over the house to play. This is such a miracle to me because when he first came home, he would cry as soon as I put him down. Now, he is able to go from being held to playing and back again. He is eating like a boss, loves bath time and is even starting to interact more with sweet Daisy girl.

Simply put: He is not the same child I brought home from Ethiopia three months ago. The Lord has grafted this boy into our family and rooted him way down deep in our hearts. And each day we see him reciprocate that a little more.

Those are the awesome things.

But there have been some tough things, too.

The Lord is using motherhood to reveal this whole new stockpile of sin that I never knew I had. How fun! He is using this sweet boy to sanctify me and remind me that I NEED Jesus every second of every day.

So often I feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted and lose my patience. It is HARD to be a parent, and it is REALLY HARD to parent a child who has not known you from birth, a child who has lost everything he ever knew, a child who is (rightfully) scared. And the Lord is showing me that I really thought I could do it on my own. I could not have been more wrong. Being a mom has required more grace, patience and love than I ever imagined. But I am so thankful that God is using this beautiful boy to show me these things, that through being Bradley's mom I am learning to lean more on God.

I think that I believed that because it took us SO LONG to become parents that everything would go a certain way (and by that I mean MY way) once we got home. But things just didn't. Bradley struggled. We struggled. He cried. I cried. It was so hard. Impossibly hard. And I learned, yet again, that I had imposed my will on God and then gotten upset when everything didn't go the way I thought it should.

I mean, you would think I could learn a lesson by now, right?

I hunkered down into some very appealing self-righteousness, reminding God that we had already done the hard stuff and that now there should only be joy and happiness and rainbows.

But in these recent days and weeks, through seeing so much progress in my son, God has shown me that ANYTHING worth having is worth working your tail off for. And anything worth fighting that hard for will require an ENORMOUS amount of faith in God Almighty. The Lord has shown me that He will most assuredly give me all kinds of things that I just CANNOT HANDLE. Because those things force me to turn away from my own power and back to Him.

And that's the point of it all, right?

For us to lean so heavily on God that when the seemingly impossible happens in our lives all the glory and credit go immediately and inarguably back to Him.

So maybe you just brought home the baby you have prayed over for years and it's not going the way you thought it would. Maybe you are begging God to give you a spouse. Maybe your teenager is going off the rails. Maybe you are fighting for your marriage. Whatever it is, you cannot handle it. You and me? We are weak. But we serve a mighty and powerful God who is sovereign over every tiny detail that has ever existed in the history of time. And He knows you, sees your circumstance and has power over it. And best of all, He loves you. Not the you you are trying to become, but the you you are right now. And He is FOR you. Please cry out to Him. Ask for His strength and mercy. Ask for His guidance and grace. He will answer. It might not look the way you want it to, and you might have to learn some TOUGH things about yourself on the way, but I PROMISE the risk is worth the reward. I promise.

With love,

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