The pastor talks about SAT’s and filling in those little bubbles. It’s been nearly 16 years, but I still remember. See the classroom. Hear the teacher call time. And I check my work to make sure all the bubbles are filled in. Neatly. Perfectly.
The pastor has lost me in his sermon. My mind drifts off…
I’ve been filling in bubbles ever since. Life is my bubble. I try to do it neatly. Perfectly. There’s just no room or time for error. Pencil. Bubble. Repeat.
And it gets condemning. Overwhelming. Trying to live up to what you expect others expect. Trying to justify when the cross has declared justification. How easily I forget.
My obsessive bubble filling is pointless. I am not perfect. My life is not neat. But Christ came to fix all that. He lived perfectly. He died innocently. And I can put the #2 pencil down. Time. “It is finished.”
God, you know this is a struggle. May the cross and Your declaration over me be enough.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
I feel it coming. Breathe deeper to hold it in. Feel my chest tightening and the lump in my throat grow bigger. No. I won’t ugly cry. To do so is to acknowledge she’s really gone. And I can’t. Won’t. Not just yet. Because sometimes it’s just too hard to accept reality. And death. And sorrow.
He draws me back to the Garden in my fighting. Back to where it all began. And I’m Eve. Not wanting to leave Paradise. Not wanting to face pain. Not wanting to accept death. But I’ve sinned. We have. And this is my curse, right? Yes. But is it also grace? Is God giving me grace when He whisks me from this world into His arms? Is that what He offered my Aunt Brenda? No more suffering. But peace with Him. Forever.
It doesn’t feel like grace. The warm tears feel like thorns. The emptiness like a weight I can’t bear. But I weep for myself. For my Mom. For my cousins. And God whispers, “But she wouldn’t come back. She’s seeing true grace.”
Yes! I will choose to believe it because He’s always been faithful. And I will pray for strength. To accept all as grace. Even this…
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
(So many memories-vacations as a kid, going out to eat, watching VHS tapes, sacrificing in 2007, Esther’s baby shower…Wow! Trusting God will be faithful.)
Before Esther’s arrival we had the Gospel-connection with adoption all confused. We talk about how people who embrace God’s spiritual adoption are often moved to adopt themselves. True statement. But we’ve missed an even bigger picture of the Gospel in adoption…birthmoms.
I love Esther’s birthmom too much to share certain information with you. I will protect her at all costs. But I will say that I have seen the Gospel in her self-sacrifice more than I’ve seen it in our choice to adopt.
There were tears. And hugs. And wondering. But mostly there was love. A love that chose what she thought was best for Esther over what felt best for her. She mothered Esther in a way that only she could. And in choosing to place her with us, she exemplified the Gospel in ways I can never put words to.
We are truly the one’s holding grace here. Because of a Mom’s sacrifice. And that love-it’s the same one that took Christ to the cross. That’s Gospel love.
Thank you….! We are so blessed by you!
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
The words naturally come to mind. Managing. Mothering. And I tend to manage more than mother. I have to. Lord knows what this place would look like if no one did laundry or dishes or reminded little boys to pick up Legos.
But what is this house really like? Is it so managed that it’s not mothered? Is the air thick with more hurrying than hugs? More rules than relationships? More lists than love? Am I fooling myself? It’s a balance that’s hard to find.
3 busy boys. A newborn. Give me grace, Father. There’s always time for the musts. Not enough for the cans. And the little moments can slip in well-intentioned planning. In the things that have to be done. But mothering must be done too. Chosen. As important as meals and laundry and God-forbid wasted moments online.
I can choose to manage and mother today. Both. In harmony. But only in His strength. Father, help me.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” -Ephesians 3:20
I checked Facebook while giving Esther her first morning bottle. Stupid. Immediate self-condemnation by well-meaning friends. I should be more mature than this by now. But the pictures and trips and dinners make me insecure. Jealous. Wondering when I’ll get my act together.
Maybe I won’t. 4 kids effects my act. So does homeschool. And there are things that may just never make my Facebook wall.
But I’m justified. “Liked.” Not because of my reasoning. Because of His love. And Calvary grace. Not measuring up-that makes me His. And honestly, that should be enough.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)