Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Though You slay
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song
To One 
Who is all I need.

Life is hard.

If you follow Jen Hatmaker, she just wrote this and it was beautiful. And all very true and relevant for me the last several days.

This year, in particular, has been very very hard for me. Bringing two kids home who didn't speak English. Wading through the mess of trauma and loss with them. Learning how to be a momma to children that were years beyond my expertise. Eric being away from home for months. Attempting to understand and survive an entire world of specialists, surgeons, pharmacies, medications, hearing devices, special education programs and services, educational plans for ELL and hearing impairment, just to name a few. And then moving.

Moving across the country, to a place where we knew virtually no one. Starting over. Completely over and feeling so alone.

And then last week, we found out we lost our baby.

I was 10 weeks pregnant, and at our very first appointment, when she told us she couldn't see a heartbeat.

I know this happens often. I know I'm not unique. I know many women who have suffered the heavy loss of children they never met.

But, oh my goodness, the grief is so intense.

You just don't know until you experience it.

You don't know what its like, to know that LIFE is in you... only to be told that it is death, that resides in your womb.

There a million other things I could share in how I've had to process the grief of losing an unborn child. But thats really not the point.

You see, its these moments in life, that show with such clarity how you view your Savior. That show a true reflection of your heart.

And the moment of collapsing in the hallway, sobs wrenching from my chest, I just thought, "What have I done to deserve this??? I just don't understand."

And, oh sweet ones, how wrong I was. I still don't understand why God does a lot of things, but I have seen and chosen to cling to the Goodness He says He is, the Love He says I'm wrapped in, and the Grace that carries me.

I still don't understand why some things happen. I don't know why He chose for us to walk through this with no family or community nearby. But I am seeing, and slowly learning to Trust Him, even when life doesn't make any sense at all.

One of my best friend sent me this song, and if today you are asking the questions I have had to ask this last week, watch this. It ministered to my soul in the deepest way. This Truth, altered the state of my heart, for it gave me such hope. To know it is not worthless. That there is MEANING in my pain, even though I don't understand it.

"Not only is your affliction momentary, and not only is your affliction light, in comparison to eternity, but all of it is TOTALLY meaningful.  Every millisecond of your pain of your misery, in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that. It is not meaningless. It is DOING SOMETHING... Do not look to what is seen... Its is working for you an eternal weight of glory. Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths, and day by day, focus on them. Preach them to yourselves every morning. Get alone with God and preach His word into your mind. Until your heart sings with CONFIDENCE that you are new and cared for."


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

One year.


One year ago this happened and my life and my blood pressure changed for forever. Well, just my life, but it took a long time for my blood pressure to come down. I remember that day so clearly. I remember where I was sitting, what I was doing, and what my heart felt like when I picked up LuLu's phone call, that even though our paperwork hadn't even made it to Ethiopia yet and we had only been DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) for 5 days, I just knew. I knew why she was calling.
These faces. These were the faces, toes and fingers, little warm bodies, and BIG personalities that He had chosen to be in our family. Their stories are still being discovered by us, but oh what a gift that I am the mother of them and I get the privilege of discovering them. I missed 4 and 8 years, which at times feels like decades, but Jesus willing, I will have the rest of their lives.
I remembering studying each picture for any detail that might tell me something. Anything. I was dying to hear their voices and watch them play. I said their names over and over, wanting them to be ingrained on my tongue as if I had named them myself.
I remember weeping, knowing they had endured so much pain and heartache already, feeling the weight that their pain meant they needed to come into my life. That the reason for receiving pictures of their sweet faces that day meant they were without parents to care and love them in the way they should be.
 I wanted to know them so badly. I couldn't wait. And here I am, 365 days later and I have still so much to learn. So so much. But I can tell you that Fiyori has the most beautiful hair ever. She is the first to share with Britt and Kobe, the first to offer to help me, and the first to bring up memories of Ethiopia. She would eat all day long if I let her. She is a perfectionist. She is curious about evvvvverrrythinnnnng. She loves to hoard save every scrape of everything that might have some significance to her or anyone else. She hates fish and loves pasta with marinara sauce. She is smart, really funny, and has moves on the dance floor that scare me to death. She is my shadow, and my first born. She is a JOY. Her heart is so sensitive to Jesus and I pray every day He has destined her heart for His kingdom.
 Kobe. Kobe is hilarious. He is 4 1/2 in age and yet has the mannerisms of a 16 year old. He cracks me up every day. His eyelashes are the longest I've ever seen on a boy and his little swagger makes me smile. He runs out of his room in the mornings, no shirt on, comes to a stance and flexes his muscles, asking me to tell him how big his muscles are. He asks a million questions every day. He is Britt's best friend and the one who broke her of her massive personal bubble. He thinks he's awesome and he's right. He is tender hearted. He is the first to tell me that the "Miller family is AWE-SUM Mom!!" We are son, we are.
 Oh, what a year this has been. As I was running today at the gym, I reflected that there are still memories that I recall with fear and trembling, remembering the intense sadness, anger, fear and anxiety that we have gone through. Adoption is not a pretty thing. And neither was the Cross. It's the most horrid example of pain and suffering, placed on a perfect Man who deserved none of it. But as I continued to run, He brought to mind the moments of redemption, the moments where His presence was undeniable and how He continues to provide, knit our hearts and souls together as a family and draw us closer to Him because of our brokenness. He is KIND. He is ABLE. And He is WORTHY. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What do you do when your home, your place of rest, feels like a battlefield?

Every morning when the stupid alarm goes off at 6:15am, and all I can do is whisper prayers of desperate pleas for help. Help for patience. Help for peace. Help for love when there feels like there is none.

Is your home ever like that? Because I often feel completely alone, completely and utterly alone in that. My house is not a Pinterest-filled, cookie making, dance party house. Sometimes it is, and yes, we do tend to have quite a bit of dancing in our home, but sometimes it feels like it that has more to do with how much Usher and Beyonce we listen to rather than true healed happiness that has overflowed into a freedom to let go.

I know I'm feeling the way I am because Eric is gone and the kids are still sad and adjusting. I know I feel this way because being a mom is a thankless job 95% of the time and when you don't have your spouse by your side to constantly cheer you on or tell the kids to say thank you, or give you a hug, you end up going all day, begging for hugs and kisses and trying so hard to enjoy the sweet moments you can find in the hardness, just surviving the day with no real time spent with them.

I'm tired of the complaining. I'm so so tired of the fighting. I wish Britt would stop snatching toys, books, crayons out of her siblings hands. I wish Fiyori would stop whining about something at every mealtime, or use some small scrape or bump on her face or arm as an avenue to get attention by whining for hours about it. I am tired of being told "no" when I ask the Kobe to do something. I'm tired of asking for hugs instead of getting them willingly. I am so so very tired. And we are only on week one.

I spent 20 minutes listening Fiyori scream at me because she didn't want to do our regular quiet time. She threw herself on the floor, kicked and thrashed. And as I watched, I begged for mercy. I spoke outloud and prayed for patience by faith. For love by faith. Because I had none. We had already had a verrrry long morning, full of whining, complaining, begging for things at the mall, unkindness towards siblings. And I was tired. I was so worn through.

But there is redemption. I know a Hope that is greater.

When she finally came to me on her own accord and told me she was so sorry. That she was sorry for screaming and that she is sorry she made me sad. She wrapped her long skinny arms around my neck and told me Jesus loved me. And that was when I burst into tears.

I know He is here in our chaos. Which is my calm. My rock. But in reality, its not pretty people. Its more ugly than pretty right now.

I know you see our family on Facebook or Instagram and we look like a happy family that has done the unusual. We have been called heros, celebrities, rescuers. I have shown you highlights, the awesome fun moments, but in reality, redemption is so full of ugly, so full of sweat and tear-filled days. We are broken and in need of so much grace. Our children are socially awkward a lot, they don't know personal space or physical boundaries. Britt is selfish, needy and angry a lot. I lose my patience over and over. I often drag my feet or pout my way through serving them. We aren't a pretty picture.

And I constantly battle with how to tell you that we need grace because even though there is so much beauty happening, there is so much messiness. And we are not heros, or awesome people who have rescued children. But in reality, we have been rescued from the pit and filth of our sin and only long to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel. And as hard as the past 5 months have been, and wonder at times what the heck were we thinking, I know I would do it all over again in a second. Because being obedient to Him and walking in His will for your life is the most liberating, the most perfect, the most glorious thing. For He is worth it all.

A sweet (and wise) fellow adoptive mom wrote this to me and it spoke my heart exactly:

"I think nothing makes you SO aware of your sin as having children. Add to it they are hurt kiddos and we are starting now in the middle of parenting them, really apart from Christ it all spells disaster. I always say why can't I just respond in grace why am I one gigantic ball of sin but it's a process and he is sanctifying us. Because of that even the worst days are deemed worth it. I want to stand before him and know that I choose serving him over an easy comfortable life. 

Please pray for us. Please pray for healing for the kids. For grace, patience and wisdom for me. We are broken vessels longing for the healing and redemption of heaven. He is present, and enough, and our joy and peace even when it feels like a battlefield.