Chasing Boys, Losing Boys~ My Adoption Story

Flickr, Chasing Boys

Everything about loving him scared me senseless. He was a flight risk and I knew it. I asked God to reveal it to me, to show me and to guide me, and He did. Once again I felt that risky, head-over-heels love that wrecks you. The one that leaves you forever marked, memories swirl around me as I watch a little boy slurping down his chocolate milk with his mom at Starbucks. I stare at the boy three years older than the one I loved. I smile and hurt simultaneously at the same time. I never really understood the mother son relationship before. But, I do now. I only had four months to fall in love hard and walk away without my pint-size prince. I get it now.

They smell different. They love different. They destroy things and leave a trail letting you know exactly where they have been. And when the mess is gone, you miss it. I know it sounds strange, because I like things orderly and in place. But, I miss his mess. But I don’t miss the chaos that came with the strings attached, court dates, and multiple people wanting to infringe on our safe-haven. All I wanted was him. Throw out all the dreams I had and my career finally starting to go somewhere without interruptions, nothing else compares to my deep desire to mother my children. Nothing else matters.

I used to stand him on my legs, his hands in mine and sing, “One Day My Prince will Come.” At only eighteen months he said very little, but he knew the song and would smile and sway as we did our special waltz.

One day my prince will come and he did. And then he left.

We had found out about Taylor a couple weeks prior; his mom was at a crossroads so we met with her to discuss her options, adoption being one of them. His mother getting her life straight and becoming the mother he deserved was the best option but she wasn’t ready to do that. I was in shock when she called on a Sunday afternoon asking us to take him. By Tuesday we were starting the process of adoption. It was unheard of, but the family found us and felt like we were Taylor’s hope for having a different life. He was dropped on my doorstep with almost everything he owned fitting into two laundry baskets. With shaved head, only a shirt, and a diaper he was fourteen months old, beautiful, and broken.

Love fixed him and in the process it changed everything within my heart and my family. We echoed the heartbeat of Christ, fighting for the orphan and the widow. It was selfless, laying down our comforts to welcome a love with so many strings attached. We gave Taylor a voice and a safe harbor. We gave him our hearts, he became like our flesh and blood with no difference between him and the daughters I gave birth to.

My husband fell harder and faster, but I saw the writing on the walls. One of my strongest gifts is discernment and sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading. I ask and I seek and I knock. I listen, even when it’s not what I want to hear. It was only a matter of time until heartbreak would happen. But, four months changes everything and eventually I started believing he might actually end up with us forever. My first month was a hurricane and I can only compare what I felt to post partum depression.

I was never one to fall in love so easily, but sometimes love is like driving a car fast without any brakes. You brace yourself and hold your breath uncertain of the outcome. What once was invigorating and exciting hits the brick wall of change and you emerge different. The hope is that eventually the whiplash will fade to nothingness and your heart will be mended, even if it’s never the same.

Sometimes we chase boys who are worth it and sometimes we catch them and want to throw them back. And sometimes we never want to let go; we never want to stop feeling a love so tangible and real. We never want it to stop for fear of what happens when life fades back to normal.

Loving the way Jesus does is risky, but with all my heart I believe it’s worth it. Jesus walked this earth with every intention of laying down His life for us, even for the ones who rejected and mocked Him. Laying it all down and living a life of putting others first is risky, but I want to love like that. My heart is full of gratitude for a cross, an empty tomb, and a risky, unending love.

Fire and Fulfillment

Fire Flickr

Can I tell you something? Slow down. Don’t wish away the season that you are in; this is just another process of you becoming closer to the person God designed you to be.

Sometimes we pray for easy and uncomplicated. We pray for unfiltered joy and the happy tears that come with that. We are far too familiar with the tears that sting and battle scars. But, what if we missed out on hardships that build up the greatness of God in us? If we never find ourselves mid-center in the flames we might miss the finished product of refinement. I know my God is much more interested in our polished heart instead of our polished image. Yet, we spend so much time on the latter.

Winter is always a season of stillness for me, this writer runs out of words and things to say. So, I wait and I hold on knowing something will be learned. I will be better if I wait and stop wishing away this season where everything seems cracked and cold. If I press through in faith knowing that beauty is waiting to rise up from the ashes and barren places.

We feel the need to produce and check things off our list, as if busyness is the symbol of our success. We become good at going through the motions gaining very little ground. We’ve forgotten how to be still, how to embrace the quiet, and allow our souls be searched and refined by the God that formed us. When the flames come we feel forgotten and that somehow God has taken His eyes off of us. He is right there within the flames; His eyes fixed on you His beloved creation.

During the process of refining silver, the silver is placed in the center of the flames, the hottest spot, so that the impurities can be melted away. As the heat from the fire melts away impurities, the silversmith waits. The silversmith knows that the silver is ready when he can see his reflection in the silver; his eyes are attentive to the precious substance in the hottest part of the flames.

“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness…” (Mal 3:3 NIV)

So many times I’ve handed God my offerings of busyness instead of righteousness. My sifting and fire moments come and instead of smelling like fire, I want to be a reflection of the image of God. Waiting for us on the other side of our furnace is rich fulfillment and a life with greater purpose knowing that every moment spent in the fire brings us closer to a polished heart that God is pleased with.

“Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard, Who keeps our soul among the living, And does not allow our feet to be moved. For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid afflictions on our back. You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water, But You brought us to rich fulfillment.” (Ps 66: 8-12)

Much love,

Jennifer

The Problem with the Promised Land

swing

Forty years the Israelites wandered through the desert, fully dependent on God to meet their every need. Daily He sent food from heaven, water from rocks, clothes that didn’t wear or tear. He guided their every step, cloud by day, pillar of fire by night. He was ever present. Ever providing.

Forty long years later they entered the land of Promise. On that day the cloud disappeared, and the manna ceased. Why? Because they simply didn’t need it anymore. They were no longer to wander through wilderness places; instead it was time to dwell in a land of safety. They no longer needed miraculous food to fall from the sky because they now dwelt in a land filled with food and provision.

Their season of daily dependence in God had come to an end and their season of rest had come.

I too have had my wilderness seasons. Seasons where the way was unknown to me. Seasons where every day was filled with manna from God or nothing. Seasons where if it hadn’t been for His strong arms carrying me, I simply wouldn’t have survived the day. 2012 was a wilderness wandering year for me.

Now that the crisis of the last year is behind me I find myself, much like the Israelites, in a new place. A land flowing with milk and honey and safe dwelling places.

The problem is… I miss the cloud. I miss the closeness that comes from desert wanderings alone with my Savior. I miss the dependence. I miss the intimacy. (I don’t miss the desert!)

So how do we return to a place of intimacy without returning to desert places? Can we cling close to Jesus in the joyful, abundant Promised Land? How do we depend on Jesus when we don’t need Him desperately? (yes, I know that we always need Jesus, but there are seasons where we are more self-sufficient than others simply because our circumstances aren’t as demanding)

This last weekend I snuck away for a few days to be alone with Him. Day after day, hour after hour I heard Him whisper to my heart “dwell” “delight”.

Trust in the Lord and do good;

Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the Lord,

 And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:3&4

Dwell makes sense. I understand my need to abide in Christ, to settle down in Him and be still. Delight, however, is a foreign concept to this girl whose natural bent leads towards melancholy and solemnness. I get dependence. I get desperation. I wrestle with delight.

I would imagine it would be hard after forty years of wilderness wandering to settle in and set up a dwelling place. When all you had ever known before was how to be a nomad. Change is hard on us creatures of habit, even when the change is good for us. If the Israelites taught us anything it’s that. After all, who would want to go back to slavery after being set free? But don’t we all? Don’t we all long for the familiar, even if the familiar hurts?

Taking delight in the Lord is tough stuff. It requires thought and intentionality. It demands our time and affection. It means intimacy, and attachment. It’s easy for me to cling to Jesus when the battle is raging and He’s the only place of safety in sight. But when the flaming arrows cease flying, and the desert places bloom, I find myself easily distracted by the things of this world.

And then I realize how much I miss Him. And I strangely find myself wishing for circumstances that would make me need Him just a bit more than I do right now.

Which would be fine, if the Promised Land wasn’t part of His plan too. But it is. He leads us through wilderness places and lands flowing with milk and honey. If both places are part of His plan then; wherever He leads me am I dwelling there and whatever surrounds me am I delighting in Him?

Dependence is based on need.

Dwell and delight have nothing to do with need. They have only to do with desire.

Just as wilderness places teach us to trust and depend on the Lord, Promised Lands teach us to dwell and delight in Christ. Both lessons are invaluable. Both lessons are hard. Both lessons lead to Christ.

I don’t know where you are on your journey, dessert or Promised Land, but wherever you are can I encourage you? Depend! Dwell! Delight! Christ is near!

~Keri