Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Boxed in.

There are experience boxes that we all check off and we tend to gravitate toward those that have the same boxes checked. I don't think we do this on purpose. I believe we do it by design. The women who have fought breast cancer or are in the fight stand up together to hold up the one who was just diagnosed. The couple married for 10 years hanging out and encouraging the newly weds. Parents who grieve the loss of their own child are the ones God sends to the parents who are awaiting that time themselves. The woman who once woke up daily with morning sickness promising the pregnant mom that it won't last forever. The military wife whose husband has served many tours is compelled to check on the mom with three kids whose husband is leaving for the first time. It's human nature. It's God's nature and design!

Picture with me this list. Neat lines of words carefully typed and spaced describing life events and emotions. Perfect square boxes stacked one on top of another.

Some empty (and you're glad.)

Some marked with such excitement and joy that the mark doesn't stay in its designated box.

Some darkly colored in by a shaky, tired, and weak hand.

Another "x"ed place is smeared by the tears that fell.

Most are just checked normally because they are things we expect. This is how I imagine most people's sheets. Then there is mine.

Words scribbled tiny under lines of words that almost describe it, but not quite. Less than perfect hand drawn squarish shapes marked off in multiple places. The paper stained by dripped chocolate ice cream and bloody knuckles with creases from balling the darned thing up.

In my own little world, I struggle to find someone who needs me to come beside them for certain check marks I've made or, as I felt this past weekend, to come beside me. My emotions roller coaster from sadness to anger to feeling silly for going to this place yet again. But this time...

This time it wasn't me that went there. There was nothing that was going on with me that triggered such a strong response. Was this... could this be... a push to let my story out. If these other women hadn't written a blog or a book or gotten the nerve to say it out loud, I would have continued to picture their lives as good and complete and neatly checked just the way it shows up on my Facebook feed. Here is one check of mine.

Originally, I was 26, barren, and devastated. Now, I'm 31 years old, still barren, and still struggle with the cause.

"Barren?" you say, "Don't I see a picture at the top of this blog that includes four kids that resemble you?"

You do. You are right. Remember. I have quite a few write-ins on the experience checklist. This is just one of many. I'm thinking God wants me to deal with this elephant in the room, or more accurately, emptiness in the womb and I, honestly, don't really want to.

I can't count the number of times I have avoided this conversation. I even posted about it vaguely on my blog a little over a year ago. What I didn't do was give a reason. I've talked to women who had uterine issues and then couldn't or shouldn't conceive again. And I have used a similar excuse that I gleaned from a simple comment from my midwife. It went something like... Your body doesn't stop bleeding on it's own. This is the third time you've required this shot after the birth. Having another could be dangerous. It hurt at the time, but these words would become my practiced response to why I couldn't have more babies. My crutch. My reply that no one questioned. It isn't a lie at all, but it isn't the whole truth. One day, I might share the whole truth.
 
In that previous post, I said that I know that God is good and that He loves me. After reading Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty, I realized that I was struggling to say that God is good to me. I'm content now with being barren after being fertile, but it wasn't easy to get to that place. This whole "God is good to me" though...I know it. I do. But I'm struggling to see it.

Make me barren. Fine. You blessed me with fertile years and You walked me in to a new season. I can be content to carry no more children in my womb. It doesn't make me happy. You gave. You took away. Blessed be Your Name Lord. I wasn't going for 19 kids anyway. But. Please. Make me infertile by another means. Please.

The list. The boxes. My mind's eye is now separating them in to columns. Singles and Seasons and Lifetimes. This is the list that allows us to really know who gets us.

Singles - First bike ride. Graduation. Wedding. Birth of a child. Death of a grandparent. First family vacation. Child's engagement. Passing of a friend.

Singles are those on day events or experiences that may never happen again. They make an impression on you and are unforgettable.

Seasons - Childhood. Teen years. Dating/Courtship. Newlyweds. Having a baby... then a toddler... then a baby and a toddler... then a baby and a toddler and a schoolage kid. Having a teenager. Kids moving out.

Seasons are those things that take time and energy to get through. A lot of it can be a blur, but when you reach the end of the season it is a mix of relief and grief that you'll never walk through that again. I'm learning to enjoy the season I'm in right now. I can look back with fondness.

Lifetimes - Your Lord and Savior. Disorders. Allergies. Spouses (hopefully!) Parents. Disabilities. Family. Scars.

Lifetimes can be so amazing. Lifetime things last. The bad thing about Lifetimes is they don't go away. The good thing is they don't go away.

My struggle is with the Lifetime things that are so hard. I know that this will be from now until I go home to be with my Savior. I can't suffer this for a season. I can't feel the anxiety and press on knowing relief is near. And that, my friends, is why I struggle with the God is good to me.

I know He is right. I know He is good. I know He is soveriegn. I know He can "fix" things that I think should be fixed... things that I would fix for my children if they were suffering.

I will continue to struggle and grow strong in Him. I won't give up.

I'll pray for Him to soften my heart. I'll pray for His ways to become my ways. I'll trust Him even as I question Him with tears in my eyes because His is good... even to me.

And I'll keep saying to me and looking for the to me and speaking about the to me until this lifetime becomes forever with Him.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Birthdays!

So... I'm a slacker. Not really. Actually, the reason I haven't posted about the birthday from September and the one from the beginning of October is the lack of slacking that I have been doing. We have decided to try to sell our house and buy a house (or houses) with my folks on some land. Getting a house ready for sale after an adoption, the sale of one of our business locations, an adoption finalization, and melting together as a family isn't as easy as I thought. Silly me.

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Trinity turned 13!!

I have a teenager. Which is impossible. I can't be that old. 


A reader. A dancer. A baker. A teacher. A daughter of the Most High.


Her Daddy would carry her anywhere... even if she is almost is tall as her Mama now!

  

 Trinity is a hard worker. Up early to fix breakfast. 
Always willing to help a sibling get their room cleaned up and organized.


 Her hands are consistently reaching out to help another... or reaching out for a dance partner. Have I mentioned the girl can dance?!?
 
"

 "I've been picking before. Let my brothers enjoy it this time." 
Real quote. It's just who she is. She's a little momma already and that is what she hopes to be!


 The smile on her face is a reflection of the joy she has in her heart thanks to her Heavenly Father.
Her name points to the Trinity as does her life.


 I am so proud of you sweet girl! You are a born leader with a kind heart.
God truly blessed me when He gave you to me.


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James turned 10!

That was quick! No. Seriously. 


 A goofball. A climber. A fighter. A "helicopter" pilot. A music man.


James is willing to pull his weight during times of hard work. 
He is also ready to cuddle a little one that needs an extra hug.
 

He loves funny movies and any excuse to laugh.
Just ask him about the Minions or the Croods!!


He has a very serious side and is a deep thinker. 
The conversations about the Bible and life I've had with him have blown me away.
 

Thankfully, the grown up side and the kid side of him live happily together making our lives with him in it so very enjoyable. James really does brighten up our day!
 

He has two names. His "baba" gave him the name Isaac which means laughter.
He lives up to that name for sure!!! The name he chose after coming home with us was James. It's his Daddy's name. James means supplanter or "one who takes the place of another." 
Jesus did that for him. His daddy did that for his "baba." He did that as he became the oldest son in our family.


 I am so blessed to have been chosen by God to be your second momma! Your compassion for all, your prayers, and your love for the Lord amaze me. 


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Many thoughts


It's well past midnight. The date is now October 5th. I sat in the chair for hours with an empty page opened on my laptop. Now, I type on my cell phone while laying in bed. Sleep eludes me.

My emotions have been all over the place lately. The adoption has been final for a week!! We are all Williams :) The kids are all doing well... Except on the days that they aren't. I've come to terms with the fact that my children, especially the ones who have had past trauma, will act years younger than their age or years older than their age and these two behaviors may only be moments apart. I'm not much different than them. Mine is more internalized.

I think about today and I am struggling with emotions on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. I want to have complete joy and I want to be focused on the celebration of James' Tenth Birthday and first birthday with us! I really am so thankful for the fun we've had fellowshipping, playing, and pumpkin picking with friends as we celebrate our sweet boy this weekend. The struggle comes as I think about the moment coming as I wake in the morning. In fact, it's why I'm struggling to fall asleep. When I wake, my Time hop App is going to tell me what was happening each year for the last five years on this date in my life. I don't need it to tell me one year ago. It was one of the hardest moments in my life.

A simple email requesting me to call the director of our adoption agency became a conversation about our three children going home to their village. My heart broke. My logical mind took over and said all the right things. My well trained spiritual brain began to fall back on verses and sermons and statements from people of faith who I've witnessed go through struggle. My eyes hurt from all the tears. My heart ached for my husband and my bios and me. This day in our family history. This day. It hurts. I can hear the words. I feel them flowing painfully out of my mouth as I share the news. It still feels fresh... Though I know it's not. In my heart, I'm a mom of nine. I pray for those sweet ones. For their future. For their safety. For them to feel His love.

I pray tonight as I fall asleep for joy in the morning. One year ago today was James' 9th birthday. He and John were in the orphanage. They had no idea it was his birthday. They had no clue that their photos were being opened by the family that would bring them home. Last year on this very day, Azriel stated boldly that the boys in that photo were her brothers... She was right. James says he got a family for his birthday last year. He's right. I hear that though and remember that first he had to lose everything to be my son. As I put him to bed, I prayed with him and over him and for him and thanked God for his momma and his whole family and I stood there in the doorway of his room wanting to go over and hold him and cry over his loss and tell him how much I love his momma and his baba and his brothers for the impact they made on his life. I want to sit with him in the pain of his loss, but at that moment even after praying out loud and thanking God for his family in Uganda and thanking God for his mom, he smiled up at me from his bed just seconds after my amen and said, "Goodnight, Mommy... I love you!" Such joy in our story! God's fingerprints all over this page in our family history.

I know God meant for these boys to be ours. I trust Him. I know His ways are better. Does it lessen the pain of the loss to know the facts. No. Not in the least for me. It does make it pain with a purpose... And for those that know me that is how I describe the pain of natural birth with each of my four bios. It hurts. Pain with a purpose though. This day last year was one of many painful contractions during my labor for James and John. I can close my eyes and remember this pain with the same peace as I remember the pain from my first four.

In the morning when I rise, I will be thankful for this day that my sweet Lord and savior has made. I will rejoice. I will ask for an extra dose of His presence for our family as we celebrate and as we give thanks for the sweet story He has written with bitter ink.

The full soul loathes an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. Proverbs 27:7