Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Hard on This Side of the Hard

One year ago yesterday, Valentine's Day, we had a home study done in the hopes that we'd be chosen to adopt one day, someday. I remember that day, how stressful it was, how we anticipated just the most awful experience of our very worst skeletons tumbling out of our closets. I remember wanting to make a pact with James promising to be honest, just not too honest, about who we are as parents, because man, we need grace. But in the end, I think that might have been our answer to "What kind of parents are you?" The kind that needs lots and lots of grace. Now, let me tell you about Jesus.

Four weeks later, we had a new baby. Six months later, we had another.

Over the holidays, we spent a weekend with my dearest friend, Marcie. We hosted a little get-together for her and her family in celebration of their new home. During the party, a friend of hers asked why we didn't consider adopting an older child. She knows our hearts are open to adopt again, and the gap in our family is glaring. (Our second child is a very mature nine-year-old, and our third child is as two as two can be.) For me, there is weight there, there was waiting there, there is no vacancy in that gap. It's full of babies. Full.of.babies. And it's full of the grace I needed to survive, and get off the couch, and breathe in and out, and care for the children I'd already been given, and take vacations, and have birthday parties, and try again and again and again for more babies. That gap led to a particular authority with which I can say, "Now, let me tell you about Jesus."

Yesterday, as the kids anxiously anticipated chocolates from their cupid Daddy, I just kept thinking of how our whole world has been turned upside down in the course of one year, how Love took the love that we had and multiplied it beyond our wildest dreams. When I took the kids to a homeschool Valentine's Day party and commented on how full my hands were, what a production it must be for me to leave my home, and how amazing it is that one person can carry that many diaper bags at once, I'd reply sweetly, but I just kept thinking, "I know! I know! Can you even believe it?! Now, let me tell you about Jesus."

This house, my arms, they are full of babies. Full.of.babies. Never-ending laundry piles cover my couch. Three sizes of diapers overflow the basket they're stored in. There are toys and books everywhere. Somebody pooped in my bed. I am exhausted, and hours after bedtime my ears continue ringing from the constant noise. Every day, I need that same grace to survive, and get off the couch, and breathe in and out, and care for the children I've been given, and take vacations, and have birthday parties.

But long division finally clicked. A symphony of armpit farts is one of the funniest things. Raspberries are a silly sign of discontent. Somebody else pooped in the potty -- finally. Maybe because of that weighty, grace-filled gap, I well know how blessed I am, even though it's hard on this side of the hard. And that grace -- it is constantly available. Thank you, Jesus.

"I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.
In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret
of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

-- Philippians 4:11-13 ESV


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