Stuck on Saturday

Last week was a hard one for me! I came up against something I wasn’t prepared for, a sudden grief that caught me by surprise and affected me in ways I wasn’t really prepared for.

As I sat in Good Friday service feeling the pain of my own grief, my heart began to understand in new and deeper ways the good in Good Friday, I began to learn a lesson about hope.

What sadness the disciples must have felt, what overwhelming grief Mary had to have experienced as she watched her son upon that cross. But we call it good, because that is what came of it, the goodest good…there ever was…but that Friday…I am confident…it did not feel good.

How awful that Saturday must have been. How painful. How confusing. To think of Mary, who KNEW Jesus was the Messiah. More than anyone else she knew He was the one. Not because of His miracles, not because of His teachings, but because she had been told by an ANGEL.

She had carried him in her womb…yet had done nothing to conceive Him. She raised several children, so she knew how sinful they are…but she watched Him grow up sinless. She knew He was the promised one, she had received a promise, lived it out, seen in so many ways how He was so different…but He had died, she had buried Him.

WHAT? That wasn’t supposed to happen! This wasn’t the way it was suppose to go! This was not what she was promised!

Had God finally given up on them? Had His patience run out? Had His love for His people dried up?

Maybe that’s not what Mary was thinking, but I’m pretty sure it’s what I would have thought.

Honestly, those are the kind of thoughts trying to overwhelm my mind right now. The thoughts that creep in when pain runs deep, when promises seem to be broken, and when what’s happened just doesn’t make sense…when you’re stuck on Saturday. 

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That’s where I am right now…stuck on Saturday. I’m in this place of grief, of pain…of sadness…and my mind is fighting the battle to keep from getting lost in the whys and my heart simply feels too weak to hope.

But…oh how I love when there’s a but…on Sunday the world changed! That glorious Sunday death was conquered, the table was turned on the fate of the souls of men, and hope burst forth victorious.

Saturday was a day that felt so hopeless…but that was not the truth. In fact, the world was pregnant with hope that Saturday. And it wasn’t because the disciples or Mary or anyone else had this great abundance of hope…it says they all left and just went back to life…but in spite of their lack of hope, hope broke through!

I received two beautiful reminders this week before and then after pain came for a visit…

All I need is a tiny bit of courage and He will strengthen my heart!

Hope is not something I need to feel or conjure up. It lives in my heart and remains even when I don’t have the strength to grab hold of it.

I may be stuck on Saturday right now…living in the place between sorrow and joy…but I know true Hope, Hope that does not disappoint, Hope that is more faithful than the morning and in Him my heart takes comfort and finds peace.

Mary didn’t get stuck on Saturday…and neither will I.

 

This Christmas

It’s December! The cold has arrived…kind of…snow has fallen…a little…Christmas lights are going up all over the neighborhood, the shopping has begun, the Christmas worship rehearsals have begun…goodbye lazy Sunday afternoons as a family…and the plans for Christmas Day have begun.

So far, this holiday season has been the hardest on my boy. I don’t know if it’s because it will be just the three of us this Christmas…no big trips to London or grandparents visiting…or if it’s because he’s getting older and emotionally processing the losses he’s experienced differently…or if it’s simply because with time he’s finally allowing himself to remember and to miss those he’s lost.

All I know is that my boy misses mom #2.

She LOVED Christmas! She loved decorating, went all out with décor and throw pillows and lights all over the house.

I am just not that person.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, I’m just not a major decorator. I have some simple decorations I put around the house…and then forget about and leave out the whole year…sometimes we put some lights around outside…but I don’t have throw pillows and garlands don’t hang gracefully from my ceiling.

Andrew misses that. He misses the decorations and the garlands and Christmas throw blankets…because they remind him of his mom and his Grandma…and they are who he really misses. He wishes he could have just one more Christmas with them. One more Christmas full of tradition and routine…because his Christmases now are anything but routine and we have weird traditions…

As mom #3 I find myself in this awkward place of being fully mom…but also not…sometimes I find myself wondering what mom #2 would have done…if she would have been better at handling a situation…and this Christmas I have found myself wondering if I should be better at decorating to fill that spot in his hurting heart.

I want to help his hurts, to fix his pains…but these are hurts that can not be fixed, they can heal but they will forever leave scars, they will forever be tender spots in his heart…even if our house turns into Santa’s workshop it will still hurt…it may even make it hurt worse, because it would be me pretending to be her

So instead I bought him a tree for his bedroom…I set it up for him so that when he came home from school it was there and ready to be decorated…because I wanted him to know I love him and I wanted his heart to find comfort, and I thought that instead of me pretending if it was him finding joy in decorating his space it might be healing…he loved it!

But then…

I get all ugly on him because he wants lights to hang all over his room, and he wants to use lights I had planned for decorating the porch…yeah right like that will happen…and he asks if he can get some of those $3 wired lights from the dollar spot at Target and I suddenly transform from loving mom to selfish beast…I grinched outwhy would I buy more lights when we have a box downstairs that work perfectly fine you just don’t like the color and you’ll just have to use what’s there…he leaves to go back upstairs and “make do” with what we have.

He doesn’t give me attitude or get yucky back at me, he just says ok and walks away…but I can see the disappointment on his face.

And that’s when the quite, peaceful, and loving voice inside me starts to talk to me…why did you do that? Isn’t it the most important thing that he knows you care, that you see his pain and that you are a place of comfort? Are your things and plans really more important to you than bringing his heart joy? Just spend the $9 to make his heart glad!

So, we went and got him lights and now it looks like Christmas exploded inside of his room!

As mom #3 I recognize how easy it would have been for this child to take the stance that he already has a mom…two in fact…and to lock me out of his heart.

I am so grateful for my boy who has a heart open to all three of his moms. He calls us all mom…he says things like my mom before this, or my birth mom, or this mom so casually it both blesses and breaks my heart…he loves us all for different reasons and in different ways, but he loves us all as his moms…and the weight of this is not lost on me…even when I have grinchy moments!

“A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy & depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”
-Joy Landers

the Story of Us

Today I want to tell you the story of how Ian and I went from two to three. For those of you who have been around for awhile, who know us personally, or who have followed my previous blog you’ve heard the story before…but hopefully reading it again won’t be boring…because it’s really quite an amazing story…I thought about just copying and pasting from my old blog…but I wrote that when Andrew had been with us for 6 months…now it’s been almost 3 years…so it’s time for a rewrite!

Andrew is our first child…and currently only, but hopefully not for long…and he came to us when he was 12 years old. It’s an incredible story! It’s incredibly sad and incredibly painful and at the same time so incredibly full of hope. He came to us through great loss, and at 15 my boy has been marked by grief unlike most adults I know. But God orchestrated our story in a way that demonstrated to all three of us His goodness, His ability to reach through pain and grief and death…through all the horrors of this sinful and fallen world actually…and provide comfort and bring new life and just absolutely transform something awful into something great.

This story begins with grief, with life in an orphanage, and then with great joy as an incredible single woman chose him, loved him, and gave him her name. For 12 years she raised him, even retiring early to spend all her time with him…she truly adored the child she had chosen. And then she got sick and in the moments after being hit with the news of the severity of her illness she picked up and made a phone call to find this child she loved a family.

My story…at least this part of the story…also beings in an orphanage and with a moment holding a little girl that changed my life. I was a teenager and I suddenly realized that having two parents…and ones that loved me and cared for me and sacrificed for me…was an incredible gift that not every child on earth has. Something happened in my heart in that moment and suddenly I wanted to be a mom…specifically a mom to children who need a mom. Because having loving parents shouldn’t be a privilege…it’s just what’s right!

Years…decades…later I met a man who felt the same way, and so when we became us adoption wasn’t a question of if but when.

Two years in we felt the Lord stirring our hearts that the time had come. We began praying with a group of friends, taking parenting classes, and preparing our home and finances for a child. Our heart was to adopt an older child. We started praying at 6, and then the number kept getting higher and then for some reason we both started praying about adopting a 12 year old…I thought I was crazy, who adopts a 12 year old as their first child…but we just prayed and trusted God. Then one by one everyone in our prayer group began praying for our boy…I’m still not sure how it happened, but slowly the vague child in all our hearts and prayers became a 12 year old boy.

Nine months later, that’s exactly what we got…seriously though, not even kidding, nine months later a 12 year old moved into our home.

Those nine months were some of the most discouraging I have ever faced, but they grew in me a trust in the Lord like I had never had before. Proverbs 13:12 would just repeat through my mind…Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life…my heart was sick and it literally hurt to wait for him. When I turned to Ian with my discouragement he would tell me “It’ll happen when it’s time, we don’t need to try to make this happen.”

AHHHHHHH….does he not understand how adoption works?!?!?! It doesn’t just happen, children don’t just fall into your lap, you have to make it happen. 

Yet, it seems that sometimes that’s exactly how it works.

One Wednesday morning I received the heartbreaking news that the mother of one of my students was dying, and that she had called the school principal to ask for help in finding him a new family, a family that would raise him to know Jesus, a family with a godly father…oh yeah, and he was 12.

As I listened it to the story it seemed that time stopped and a million things ran through my mind at once. It was like all these different pieces of my life, the challenges we had been experiencing in finishing our paperwork, the things we had been praying about, holding that little girl when I was 16…they all made sense in an instant.

And I knew.

I walked away overwhelmed, a 12 year old boy in need of a family had just come into our lives…actually he didn’t just come into our lives, he was already in our lives. When Ian walked into the room…he had heard the news separately…I’m honestly not even sure if we talked. If we did, we didn’t say much. We both knew that this was what God had been preparing us for. We were supposed to open our home to Andrew. It would either be for a season while his mother was healed and restored, or it would be forever, but either way it was what we were supposed to do.

That day, the way we responded, it was such a bizarre experience. I don’t know if I can even really explain it. It was more of an instinct or reaction than a decision. The Lord had been preparing us and leading us, so when it happened we just moved.

The next several days were surreal.

When we met with Andrew’s mom, her trust in the Lord’s plan for her son, and her trust in us were so incredibly humbling. She was the first person to call us mom and dad…she chose us. I am so overwhelmed by the selflessness and faith of this woman, she wanted him to start staying with us immediately.

She passed into heaven just a few short months later. A few months after that, he became a Dizon as the adoption was finalized.
Now he’s 15. And this summer has been a big season of change, and loss, and grief again. I started thinking about his story, and how incredible it is that God made His hand so obvious in it. We remind Andrew of this from time to time…because we believe that there will come times/seasons/moments in his life that he will need to know very clearly that God brought us together as a family, that God provided home for him not once but twice.

But in writing this something else has struck me…I need to know.

Because, I don’t feel capable of this…of mothering a teenager, of loving him, of encouraging and disciplining him. It’s been a hard summer, and I feel like a failure! But God brought us together, He chose us to be a family, He chose me to be Andrew’s mom.

That’s a reminder I needed today.

 

***Quick Frippery House update***

I have a launch date! Hashing some last details out