My Beautiful Mess.
When people ask me how things are going, my first thought is always the same. My life is a beautiful mess. My husband and I have five precious children under the age of ten. Three daughters. Two sons. The first four came to us the old fashioned way, and our youngest son came to us through a difficult and complex journey of international adoption.
The roller coaster of adoption has been more messy, more difficult, and more beautiful than I ever thought possible. It’s been filled with grief, brokenness, and heartache. It’s brought out the messiest and ugliest parts of my soul. And yet here in the mess, it has grown my faith, shown me redemption, and proved time and time again just how powerful and faithful God is.
When we came home with our beautiful baby boy, God used the messy and the broken to teach me so much about hope, healing, and restoration. Before we brought our son home from China, another adoptive mom said to me, “Adoption is born out of great loss.” At the time, I couldn’t really understand what she meant. But I do now. No matter how many books I read, how many classes I attended, nothing could have prepared me for the amount of grief involved in our son’s adoption. My son grieves the loss of his birth parents. He grieves the loss of his caregivers. He grieves the loss of everything that he had grown accustomed to. Every sound. Every taste. Every smell that was familiar and comforting. Gone. His grief comes out in tantrums, in sobbing, in hitting, kicking, and scratching.
Grief shows up at all hours of the night when he wakes up laughing to himself and rocking back and forth just to cope. At other times, he completely shuts down. Like a zombie. Staring off into space unable to engage with people. Unable to process. Unable to deal. Then there is the grief that I struggle with. It was unexpected at first and completely overwhelming. I grieve for his birth mother, for her loss. I grieve because we took our son away from everything he had ever known. I grieve because I am so deeply in love with this beautiful boy who struggles so desperately to love me back. Who at times seems incapable of loving me back. I grieve for the years I lost. All the nights I didn’t get to hold him and rock him to sleep, the birthday that I missed, the weeks he spent in the hospital without me. So much sadness, so much sorrow and so much pain.
Yet this place of pain is exactly the place where God shows up and proves Himself loving and faithful. It’s exactly the place where He pours out His mercy and grace. He gives me so much hope in my heartache. I see hope when my baby boy radiates with joy and a smile so big it could melt the coldest heart. I see hope when he rests in my arms allowing himself to be truly held and loved and protected. I see hope when he slowly begins to let down his walls and allow me into his hurt. Hope when he responds to my affection. Hope when he is able to show love.
I know that God’s story never ends during the grieving or during the sadness. As Elizabeth Elliot said, “God’s story never ends in ashes.” He doesn’t waste a single tear, and no cry is left unheard. He has such a glorious purpose for my pain. Being in a place of desperation for the Lord is a beautiful place to be. It’s where grace lives. It’s where faith grows. It’s where God rescues. It’s during these moments of not knowing what the future holds and feeling completely out of control that God sustains me. He carries me. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” His word promises He will never leave nor forsake. Even in the darkness. Even in sorrow. Joel 2:21 says, “Fear not; be glad and rejoice for surely the Lord has done great things.”
Great things in the desperate moments. Miracles in my mess. Hope in the heartache.
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