Thank you to so many of you who have been faithfully praying for us and for our family. So much happens in each day it is hard to keep up with on the blog. We are plodding away day by day doing our very best to walk with Him.
I, Michelle, have begun counseling for me individually as well as setting up some for the bio kids and continuing it for the boys as they progress in their English. I have allowed some resentment to build up to a point that I have had to reach out for help. I most likely am suffering with post adoption depression, which is quite similar in many aspects to postpartum depression. Henri Nouwen, in his amazing little book entitled, Return of the Prodigal Son, states “Joy and resentment cannot coexist.” He is referring to the elder son’s anger at the party being thrown for his younger brother upon his return from a wayward life. “This experience of not being able to enter into joy is the experience of a resentful heart. The elder son couldn’t enter into the house and share in his father’s joy. His inner complaint paralyzed him and let the darkness engulf him.” Until we identify what our resentment is we cannot move past it. The overload on me and our bio children in every way: emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally due to bringing these four sons into our lives was causing resentment in me. My counselor said this was inevitable at some point at the pace we were going. Something has to give. I have to acknowledge the pain and hurt of the changes in what our family was and is now becoming in order to move forward. There isn’t a way to go around it or ignore it. I must and we must as a family go through it. Only then can we then begin to truly embrace the daily joys that come from our new family. It is a mourning of sorts that must take place. Often just being able to verbalize these feelings and have those emotions acknowledged and even validated is very healing. When you realize you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings and that this is a common journey for adoptive families it is like a balm to your soul which has felt so much guilt. But, what I quickly found out is I cannot by will change my feelings or my emotions in these situations. For an entire weekend I cried out to God for help to change my feelings of resentment to love and to not feel anger. I could not. It was impossible. I felt so desperate asking for prayer….from many.
The following quote from Nouwen says it so much better than I can:
“Here, I am faced with own true poverty. I am totally unable to root out my resentments. They are so deeply anchored in the soil of my inner self that pulling them out seems like self-destruction. How to weed out these resentments without uprooting the virtues as well? Can the elder son in me come home? can I be found as the younger son was found? How can I return when I am lost in resentment, when I am caught in jealousy, when I am imprisoned in obedience and duty lived out as slavery? It is clear that alone, by myself, I cannot find myself. More daunting than healing myself as the younger son is healing myself as the elder son. Confronted here with the impossibility of self-redemption, I now understand Jesus’words to Nicodemus: “Do not be surprised when I say, you must be born from above.” Indeed, something has to happen that I myself cannot cause to happen. I cannot be reborn from below, that is with my own strength, with my own mind, with my own psychological insights. There is no doubt in my mind about this because I have tried so hard in the past to heal myself from my complaints and failed….and failed….and failed, until I came to the edge of complete emotional collapse and even physical exhaustion I can only be healed from above, from where God reaches down. What is impossible for me is possible for God. With God, everything is possible. ”
I was at an impasse and just like in the quote above, I did not know how to get through.
He did it. He came. He showed up. He did a work in my heart.
By Monday night of that weekend, even before my counseling sessions began…..I sought each new son’s forgiveness, which they so readily gave. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt He took my resentment and He worked in my heart only what He could have done. Not that the work is done, there is much work to be done in each of our hearts, but we surely know it will not come from ourselves. This is God’s work.
I have been instructed to ask and reach out for help. This is not an easy thing to do. Many say, You asked for it. You chose this. So I am trying to think of ways others can help. I have thought of a few for those that have asked. Thank you to you, you know who you are. Part of it is reducing largely our expectations in daily living. It is also grabbing great big handfuls of grace for ourselves each day.
If you are in a place of seeming impossibility today, count yourself blessed, it is there He shows up, when and how you least expect……when you have nothing to offer Him. He brings it all…….amazing love….how can it be…that you my Lord, died for me, a wretch, a sinner, you loved me just as I am….
In His Great Grace,
Psalm 34:17-19The Message (MSG)
17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.
18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.
19 Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.