Rest

Ask and you shall receive.  I’m not going to lie.  For three months, it’s been sort of nice just focusing on the day to day, dreaming about just having one little baby to take care of next year, paying off our debt, and otherwise enjoying drama-free life.

You have to remember that I spent four months of this year believing that I would be having four kids at the same time.  I started off 2012 adopting two kids, then we added a third in March, and by May, we were pregnant.  As my friend put it, we were collecting kids like some people collect bobbleheads.  It was nutty, people!  At the same time, it was exciting.  It’s fun to be pushed beyond your limit by a God who can provide all you need.  I liked really being able to test his promises and had been looking forward to doing it more so once we got the kids home.

Alas, life has been a little boring over here.  We are ready to spice things up.  No, there are no more kids to add in 2012 (as far as I know).  But, God is back at work – stirring up the pot and giving me way more than I can handle. I don’t have any details or news.  I can just sense that God is working to throw another wrench in my life.  My sabbatical will likely be coming to a close soon.

Yesterday, our pastor spoke on the fruit of the spirit.  Galatians 5:17 says: “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”  My flesh wants predictability, ease, comfort, plans.  The Spirit is contrary to that.  The Spirit is fighting a war, bringing about big change in the world.  The pruning is painful and involves suffering. Rebirth is bloody and messy.

I don’t know for sure what God has in store for us (He never tells me his plans).  I’ve been “dating” a lot of different ministries for the past year.  I’ve got irons in the fire all over the place – waiting for my cue to jump in with both feet. My heart is on fire for about 10 different issues.  Last week alone I went to events on women in the sex industry, the church and the gay community and sex trafficking in America.  I’m ready for God to push me on one direction, and I think He will very soon.

I knew it wouldn’t last.  Rest on earth is always only temporary.  There’s work to be done, and I can’t sit on the sidelines (nor do I want to).  God has big plans, and I asked for them.

Then* comes a baby in a baby carriage.

*Not guaranteed, not easy, not always in the way you would expect.

Yep, that’s right my bloggy friends.  There’s a fourth child who has yet to be identified on this blog.   We’ve been keeping his identity protected for the safety of the mother and child (all those screams are hard on my hearing).  The medical community is expecting Baby Bean in January.  The parents are still in denial.

I found out I was pregnant in May. I had some suspicions but couldn’t bring myself to spend another $10 on a pregnancy test after losing a small fortune on them over the last six years.  Luckily, I discovered an old one in a drawer on a Monday morning in May.  When it was positive, I expressed my shock using some choice profanity, and BB said “is there any way you can put this out of your mind and just go to work?  We can talk about it in a few weeks.”  [We still haven’t talked about it.]

What the heck, God?  Can I be more confused? Don’t ask me to explain it.  I don’t get it.  Please also don’t try to explain it to me.  You don’t get it either.  The only thing I can say is that you can’t put God in a box.  I have learned that no matter how much I think I understand about God and his ways, it’s all a joke.  His ways are so much bigger than my little baby brain can handle.  I am now convinced more than ever that comparing me to God is like comparing an ant to a human.  It can’t be done.  No matter how much the ant tries, he will never understand the human.

We have felt every emotion possible over the past six months.  We have settled into cautious joy and denial.  I spent a significant time in anger and another significant period in fear.

Anger came at first because this was not my plan.  I didn’t want to be pregnant.  I wanted to adopt, and I was mad that God was throwing this on my plate.  At the time, I thought we were going to have four kids at once, and I didn’t think I could handle that.  I had spent so many years praying for a positive pregnancy test and a baby, and I thought it was cruel to give it to me after I was over it and moved on to a new plan.  I felt as if God was trying to break me.  I am still angry that I am another one of those stories of the person who tried to adopt and then got pregnant.  I hate those stories!

I feared losing the baby.  We had two previous early miscarriages.  We did IVF and had 12 embryos, all of which have died.  I didn’t want a thirteenth.  I still battle fear that this baby will not come to be.  God has not promised me a baby will be born so there is no such promise to rest on.  I feared that people would think that we pulled out of the adoption because we were pregnant or that we didn’t care so much about the kids because we had our “own” baby.

Despite these strong feelings, God has given us so much mercy and grace.  I have wrestled with God, and He remains faithful.  [I may have a slight limp, though.]  We have been overjoyed to hear the baby’s heartbeat and see him on the ultrasound.  What an amazing miracle!  We are striving to live in the moment and be grateful for what we have.  We are so grateful to have this child right now, even though we don’t know what tomorrow holds.

A few of the details that you may be wondering.  We don’t know Baby Bean’s sex, but you will see me refer to him as a him.  Don’t be confused.  Baby Bean is due in January 2013, which makes me about 6 months (27 weeks).  I have been feeling good, and Baby Bean appears healthy and happy.  No crazy morning sickness, just a little nausea at first.  Starting to get uncomfortable, and I have been assured that would continue.  Baby Bean moves like crazy.

The most difficult thing for me right now is that I still don’t fit in.  I’m not an adoptive mom.  I’m not a prospective adoptive mom.  I’m no longer officially infertile.  I am also not your typical expectant mother – I lack the excitement, and I have too many battle scars.  I can’t handle any more anticipatory conversations and celebrations.  I am once again floating somewhere in the middle of everything.  I think that will always be the case, and maybe everyone feels that way to some degree.

What I don’t want is to spend anymore time wishing away the present and trying to get to the future.  I want to live in the here and now because it’s all I have.  Today, I am a mom to a growing baby, and it is a gloriously wonderful thing.  I don’t want to worry about tomorrow because there’s enough evil to deal with today.

 

 

Rejoicing in Trials

There’s no easy way to say it.  This adoption process has come to an end.  I will post the details soon because they are important, but for now, just the emotions.

If you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve had some ups and downs over the past 4-5 months so it wasn’t altogether surprising when we learned that we could not complete the adoption.  Not surprising, but heartbreaking.  While the sobbing has ceased, the pain remains.  The dull achy reminder that those faces are not ours to hold.  We will never kiss those beautiful feet that we stared at for months.  We will never hear those sweet voices calling for “Mommy” and “Daddy.”

Ah, but we have been so mightily blessed.  What a privilege to love!  What a joy to know that your heart can love someone you’ve never met.  Our hearts have been broken for what breaks the Father’s heart, which has been a daily prayer of mine for so long.  The Father loves the little children, and we got to taste his sweet love for us and them.  We were able to feel the Father’s passion to fight against injustice and for truth.  We prayed for a mission, for a calling, for a life-changing experience, and we got one.  It wasn’t the one we thought we were getting, but it was the one He had prepared for us.

What does James mean when he says to count it all joy when we face trials?  I thought it meant that we were to buck up and be happy because even when life is hard, God still loves us.  No, it now means that we sing through the weeping, and we smile through the tears.  It’s not about ignoring the pain or looking at the bright side.  It’s seeing the beauty in the ashes.  It’s seeing Him on a bloody tree.  It’s ugly and heart-wrenching, but it’s so beautiful and full of hope and joy.  

Transitions

I’ve so enjoyed my first week off!  I’m calling it the honeymoon phase because we haven’t yet felt the financial hit.  So far, just fun.

What did I do all week?  Read, began Season 1 of Downton Abbey, long walks, yoga, some cooking and cleaning, and lots of painting.  I started on Tuesday by saying that I *might* want to re-paint the apartment.  DH has been begging to repaint for years, but I always say no because it’s so much work and costs money.  As soon as the words came out of my mouth, he was hauling paint cans, rollers and brushes up from the basement “just in case.” My fate was sealed.  So far, all I’ve accomplished is painting the hallway and half of the dining room.  Hoping to finish the dining room today.  I am actually really enjoying the physicality of it after 4 years of sitting behind a computer.  My shoulders are sore, and it’s nice to actually accomplish a project. Plus, it feels cleaner without actually cleaning!

We finished the 7 fast.  As I think I said before, we did not finish strong.  But, God was very faithful in answering our prayers in their weakness.  All of the families we did the fast with had some crazy life transitions happen at the end (some good, some bad, some both), and I don’t think that it’s a coincidence at all.  I really believe God has been preparing this group for something amazing, and we are already seeing some of that fruit.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say that our faith has been tested and challenged and come out stronger on the other side.

At the beginning, I wondered whether there would be any lasting impact of some of the reductions we made.  I can say that there certainly have been.  We are spending less, giving more (time, talent and treasure), using what we have, and most importantly, praying and seeking God more regularly.  Space has been created.  There’s no way I would have had the courage to quit my job without the fast.  It’s really been the culmination of the fast for me.  I had been praying all year that God would break the idols that ruled my heart – security, comfort, approval, money, and that He would show me where He wanted me to go with my life.  He has done a mighty work.  Don’t get me wrong – the idols are still there, but He has shaken them and shown me how weak they are compared to Him.

Right now, I feel like He’s shown me where He doesn’t want me to go.  I can’t say that I have clarity on the path ahead, but I’m not sure God ever really provides that.  He wants me to get out of the boat even though it looks like I might drown if I do.