That’s me and Esther the night she was born. What smiles!
But it wasn’t like that on the journey. It wasn’t like that as we waited for nearly two years. It wasn’t like that as we wondered if “M” would change her mind. It wasn’t like that as I swam from hope to hopelessness day after day after day.
No. It was hard. Waiting is hard. Uncertainty can choke. And when we’re doing something we feel like God has called us to, the lack of answers can paralyze.
That’s where I was when most of Hope in the Middle was written. Not smiling holding our sweet baby girl. But fighting in the trenches. Asking myself if God was worthy of my trust.
And I fought and fought hopelessness. And He kept loving me and loving me and loving me.
Because the cross promises we’re never alone. It promises we are always loved. And it reminds us that hope is only found in Him…no matter what uncertainty we find ourselves in the middle of.
“Maybe hope is more than something we do. Maybe it’s primarily about a gift–a promise. Hope is the guarantee I cling to when I lack the faith to act or even believe. It’s a good gift from a good God.”
(PS-I’ve ordered about 15 extra books. If you still want to pre-order, let me know. 8 days till release day!!)
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.” (Psalm 62:5-7)
These are the words from my journal 3 years ago today…
In the waiting room. A hospital we’ve never been before. Me not in pain. Not pushing through contractions.
But facing fear that’s fighting faith. And battling something like labor but different enough to deserve another name.
Thankful. Excited. Humbled. The right word won’t come to mind.
Like the ignorant way I feel when thinking about Christ’s love. There will never be words.
This is all unexplainable. All grace. He is so faithful.
“In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4b-6)
And now…on her 3rd birthday…it all still seems like grace.
Thanks M…You are still the bravest person I know. We love you!
Happy birthday Esther Grace!
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)
We are tired tonight. Maybe my bones ache. It’s a good feeling somehow.
This morning we did a kids’ program in a neighborhood. 85ish people came. Our supplies dwindled. We tweaked as best we could. God is faithful.
Could I please bring 1 or 10 of these sweet, brown faces home with us?
This afternoon we worked at the church. We scrubbed paint off the floor. And my thoughts were…I.Am.On.My.Hands.And.Knees.Scrubbing.
How is this worship?
Then Stephen’s quiet voice interrupts…”Can I bring y’all some ice water?”
Yes. Scrubbing floors can be worship. And bringing ice water. And holding little hands. And Jesus, aren’t You the one Who washed feet? Am I better than that?
Love gives and gives and says I’ll do whatever is needed. Because that’s what He did.
“And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)
We’re here! Got up at 3:00 weary by now but here. And safe!
Our flights were great. The boys loved the mini-TV’s on the first flight. I sat beside a Will Smith look a like in the airport. We ate a cold cinnamon bun at 5:00…delicious!
We got to tour the amazing work that God is doing here in the Dominican…baseball ministry, church, school, etc. It’s clear His hand is here, and He is leading Gary and Allison and their team.
Humbled. That’s how I feel.
My eyes are heavy, but my heart so full. Full of joy at seeing how God is working. Full of a little conviction at how dog gone selfish I am.
Ann Voskamp’s new book, “The Broken Way” is my trip read. Couldn’t be more ordained. It’s okay to be broken. Broken to be poured out. Filled with Him.
God, help me to live like that. Hands always open. Help Stephen and Caleb to see this. To see how You came to love. How you’ve called us to love. Could there be anything greater than being emptied for Him?
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6)
Esther and I were reading a book before bed. Then this thought…I love you enough to have had you. To have gotten big. And uncomfortable. And to have went through all the pain of bringing a baby into this world.
Then another thought…But I don’t love you enough to do what your birthmom did.
I’m not sure that makes sense.
To the end of my days…as I watch Esther grow…no matter how our special open adoption plays out…I will always believe that Esther’s birthmom has a love for her that I will never understand.
It’s a love different that mine. Braver maybe. Willing to give up more maybe. A love I am struggling to describe.
And she handed her to us. Trusted us. Believed we would love her. Cuddle her. Read to her.
And we do…more than my heart can handle.
In the story of Esther’s already amazing life, I can’t forget her birthmom’s role. Won’t forget. What she did. How she carried her. Chose life. Then loved her enough to let me be her Mom.
It was God’s plan. And she was brave enough to follow love down the hard path.
If I thought adoption meant we were doing something speical…boy was I wrong.
If I thought the Gospel was about me doing something special…wrong again.
It’s all because of Him. All because of the cross. All because of His love.
And sometimes love does hard things. And sometimes love reads books.
For M’s privacy I cropped this but see those hands holding tightly? Love…