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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Waiting for the wait...grace and more grace in the time between

Yes, it has been 2.5 months since I've posted last. This is not however for lack of God moving, teaching and growing us. So many times I've wanted to write, but my thoughts have been incomplete so I simply wrote a piece and saved it for later. Ok, so sometimes it was just incomplete, but sometimes it was just too raw, and my pride wouldn't let me post it and I told myself it wasn't polished enough. Seriously...prides covers itself in all sorts of ways! My thoughts still are incomplete today as I sit here, but trust that it's ok, they don't need to be. This is, after all, is what God has continually and consistently asking me to do with this blog; 'be honest, be real, be unashamed, this is not just about you Jackie'. So, I think it's important that I lay my pride aside, be obedient and share the unpublished mini posts I had started in the last couple months. So here they are, pride aside. Deep breath...the second one is hard.

3/15
It's funny how I see in myself at times when I've seen God change me I end up thinking I had a ton to do with it. That where I'm at now had hugely to do with me..I love that God has shown me different. As I sit doing my bible study, I'm struck by these words: "..the closer Christ's presence comes to us, the more humble a discerning person becomes." - Beth Moore. This, I find is one of the many things my Father has been teaching me over the last couple years: HE is the builder, not me. His work in me is His doing, not mine!

"As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 2:4-5

3/22/15
Sometimes I have no idea, right now I have no idea. Why am I here, what is next, how should I feel? Does what I feel change anything? Does it mean anything? How do I move forward, what does it look like, and where is forward? Is it behind me, in front, or to the side of me?  And how will I know?
Oppression, is that what this is? I hate it, much more than the pain searing and threatening to numb me, I hate the confusion. I feel lost in what is, what will be and what I even long for, or if it's right?
I feel pressure, weight and burden. Deep and throughout. Frustration and anger. Longing and un-surety of what I long for...do I even know anymore? I don't know. Confusion and weariness, emptiness.
This is not where God will leave me, but when oh Lord, when will you come? I know you are here. You offer sweet reassurance, yet no rescue, no not yet. I wait. I yearn, I hunger, I feel hindrance. My cup is dry and cracking. Others are full and vibrant, I glare with hot tears, waiting.
I feel Huge pregnant, my emotions huge and messy, my back, my body ever tired and aching. I long for this baby to come, for this weight to leave my body. I dream of the lightness, the freedom, is it just a dream? No, not so. Maybe though.
The momma's who are beginning: glowing, expectant, excited, seamingly beautifully unhindered by the weight that will come, the heart that will grow and bleed as it tears to grow larger, size change unknown. Leaning back here, 24 months along and counting...I wonder when the delivery will be. Will it happen, or will baby be surgically extracted again as others glowingly come home children in tow to add to their many.
Patience, gone. When and how will more come? My journey is not the same. These women are not mothers-to-be. They Are mothers; everyday, real, actual, factual mothers. Do not tell me that I am already, do not say I am to many. Come to the stillness of my home at evening, throughout the day and in the wee hours of the morning, and tell me I am a mother then. You can't, and I hope you won't try. So do not lump me together with already-mothers adopting more children, unless of course your aim is pain and refusal to see the difference. I am here, my knees ache, my head throbs, my heart breaking, fear rising, torment in progress.
This is now, not what will be. Do not force me up, do not load more weight of expectation of attitude on me now. I am already buckling, help me or leave me to my Father. His rescue will come, whether miscarriage or delivery room, his rescue will come as surely as He lives and reigns. He will come find me, right where I am and as I am.

I am here to tell you that His rescue is sweet, it is miraculous and complete. I'll be honest, as my Father has asked me to be. John and I were at a standstill in our adoption it seemed, documents that were supposed to have taken a couple weeks still weren't there at a couple months. My dreams of us traveling this spring/summer were crushed, we would be lucky to have our Dossier sent by then and the average wait time after that we learned is currently 9 months (putting travel to be expected more like January). Fear started to creep in, my self-protection mode came with it, and best yet I didn't want to talk about it. Around that time, we heard the news of many friends in our church who were all beginning the adoption process. I was struck with fear where excitement, trust, and joy should have been. Satan knows me all too well, all the chinks in my armor...let me mention that my Father does also and more so, but for the moment I want to explain how Satan worked. Satan knew that I was pregnant with many women, that I was the only one who lost their child, and the additional heartbreak and sting that brought. Satan has watched as God made beauty from the ashes of that and I know it angered him so. He has seen how because of the awesome and tender work my Father has done, I can now whole-heartedly embrace and praise God for new life beginning when I hear of a pregnancy, unplanned or planned. My trust is securely in Him for that new life, and my heart is for that child. God has given me a heart to help, a heart to be joyous with them, and a deep excitement and respect for that new precious life! If it's a pregnancy for an unequipped mother, my heart is now better able to go out for the two of them, and my prayers do too, unhindered. That is His works in me, His patience with me is crazy deep and persistent, let me tell you!! But back to that first week or so of adoption news: I was struggling, badly. I looked to my Father saying, 'please don't make me learn how to be joyful about adoption through loss as I did with pregnancy', 'please, I do Not want to learn anymore right now, my heart hurts too bad', and 'If you want me to be a resource or put on a happy face for them I am going to snap, I am not able to right now, don't you see?!', my heels were fully dug in. What a human response. I think back on it now and I'm disappointed in myself for having those thoughts, those emotions, for letting Satan have even an inch of ground. But at the very same time, if I didn't struggle there, I wouldn't have learned this type of emotional rescue and this testimony wouldn't be as sweet. I couldn't tell you how I not only couldn't believe God could walk me across that bridge to trust him, and how I straight up didn't want to go and was angry He was asking me to. Well, He took his crossed armed, stern faced kiddo and carried her across anyways, and I'm so glad he did!! I know I can trust him, with my deepest hurts, and my deepest longings, even when they are one and them same. I know I can freely rejoice, and live with joy, no matter what comes. He cares enough to teach us how to trust him, what great papa we have. I know more how much I need my Father, crazy I know that he loves me and my deep thinking-emotional self just as I am. I don't have to come to him refined or healed, He is the refiner and healer. He can see me before I was born, as I am now, and who I will be in glory with him...all at the same time, and He speaks to me patiently my identity in Him again and again. He teaches me that I can trust him, not with my breath held anticipating pain and knowing it will be worth it if I endure, but taking sure breathes, awaiting as a child would the good gifts their Father has for them. He is teaching me more why He created me the way he did, and how I'm made to bring Him glory in spite of and because of it at different times. How many more ways do I have to praise him now? More and more and more all the time. How awesome is our God? How faithful, even when we doubt him time and time again. My paster often says.."There is nothing I can do to make him love me anymore and nothing I can do to make him love me any less." What deep truth and freedom there is in that.
 A few things God did for me besides working on my heart? 
He gave me a free 14 pound puppy to love on and nurture...for free. Buddy, as John has now named him, is a 7 month old Boston terrier/rat terrier mix. Him and Sadie are BFF's and this pup loves to snuggle and be by his human momma. Our two dogs, Sadie & Buddy are such awesome blessings! I am a dog person through and through, but for real...these pups are the best. They bring so much joy and fun to our lives everyday, they remind me to relax and have fun, and they allow me to love on and nurture them. 
He has also so increased John and I's desire to learn as much as we can about child development, and how to best love and nurture adoptive children. I'm becoming a nerd, but that's fine with me! I love it, it has continually opened my eyes to children around me, and allowed me to form such special relationships with them, I can honestly say I love kids in general more than I ever thought possible. I have a deeper understanding of my childhood, the consequences of different things and how they have affected me into my adult life. I understand now how important it is for me to understand and heal from my past so I can model to our children how to face, process, and forgive their deep hurts and learn to trust again. This spurs my compassion on toward not just children, but also adults and what they may have missed out on as young people. After all, don't we all have moments we feel like little kids again? How much more compassion do I have for even my husband when I imagine him as a little boy inside, hurt by my disrespect or impatience? Much more. If you have never heard of Empowered to Connect, google it. It's such an amazing resource no matter how old you are or if you have adopted kiddos or not! John and I went to a local simulcast conference last weekend and the very next day registered for the Conference in Minneapolis!! 
Anyways, I will end this post now because, man, no matter how hard I try I'm long winded!!! I will end with my favorite psalm as of late, one that has filled me with joy and hope for what is to come!

PSALM 34: Taste and See That the Lord Is Good
Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
"I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes it's boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned."