“The best disposition for praying , is that of being desolate, forsaken, stripped of everything. Augustine
One of the best gifts we can have is a recognition of our sinfulness, both the awareness of it and our capability to sin. Our understanding of our need of Christ is dependent on this. Coming to Christ at age 7, and knowing Christ most of my life, I think I have sometimes missed a sense of my sinfulness. I have missed truly understanding what His penalty on the cross has paid for. Instead, pride can easily rear its ugly head and going undetected can really hurt our testimony and our ability to see others and all situations in the light of His grace and mercy. CS Lewis states in his book, Mere Christianity,
“There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. […] There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves.[…]The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
When pride dominates our lives, we lack the ability to have compassion. We see others through our lenses of judgment instead of love. We see not the man lying on the side of the road having been beat by robbers as our neighbor, but rather as an inconvenience. We do not have empathy for others’ struggles, even though we have our own. We have some image of ourselves that is inaccurate and want this image portrayed to others as well.
Facing our sinfulness is difficult. It is humbling and even painful. But, in some ironic way, seeing our sinfulness is a gift. We are taken off the cruise ship of a false life and placed on the dry ground of reality. When we see ourselves first, truly as sinners….how much more precious becomes the blood of Christ. Brokenness is a gift, to be in need is a gift from His hands.
I had read every adoption book I could get my hands on. I was prepared for so much. But, I wasn’t prepared for the spiritual upheaval in my own heart. I wasn’t prepared to see myself in the way that God has revealed Himself to me. I have become the orphan. I have become the one unable to see and find my Father…..in the midst of the storm. But He has never left. He is there each moment…desiring me to bring Him my utter dependence. I need Him every breathe, and how contrary to what the world tells us in its’ self-sufficient ways.
Psalm 86: end to 17 the Message:
But you, O God, are both tender and kind,
not easily angered, immense in love,
and you never, never quit.
So look me in the eye and show kindness,
give your servant the strength to go on,
save your dear, dear child!
Make a show of how much you love me
so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed,
As you, God, gently and powerfully
put me back on my feet.
In a amazing little book given to me by a friend, Searching for and Maintaining Peace, it says
“God would spare us, if He could, all these trials, but they are necessary in order that we should be convinced of our complete powerlessness to do good by ourselves. According to the testimony of all the saints, it is indispensable for us to acquire this knowledge. It is, in effect, a necessary prelude to all the great things that God will do in us by the power of His grace. This is why St Therese of Lisieux, the Little flower, would say that the best thing that God could have done in her soul was “to have shown her her smallness, her powerlessness” p 3
So this is what God has done in these 3 months since our sons homecoming. He has shown me my smallness, my powerlessness. He has completely wiped any sense of my ability to do good on my own, in my own strength. He knows and I know each day it is by His power. And in and through this humbling experience, I am finding threads of hope. Hope from Him. I can start to see the good and amazing gifts these sons bring to our lives. Their sweet thank you after EVERY meal. Their great appreciation for small things. Their love for one another. Their loving hearts. Their adorable laughter at movies. And even in their stubbornness and willfulness that actually quite mirrors my attitude with God on some days.
Each day we make progress as a family, being graceful and giving ourselves the gift of time and His mercy. As we try to find a new normal, each day becomes more so. Loving strangers is not something that comes naturally. It is only by His power and His spirit for each member of this family that we can love one another. Each day has more to be done than can get done, each day a new virus finds its way through our doors, there is a new problem, a new mess, something else broken, and yet we give thanks. We give thanks for the joy only He can give in the journey.
We so appreciate your prayers, words cannot say how much they mean to us. They are holding us up and directing our faces to Him when we naturally would look to ourselves.
We are finding time and ways to carve out time for Ron and me, for time to process and talk through things that the bio kids are struggling with. The boys are progressing in their English and doing well in school. I will try to get some pictures over spring break to post soon. I must put in a word of thanks to Karen Tice, Kim Staelgraeve, Valerie Wilson, Tamara Guest, Mike Krauss, Jackie Murray, John Schuler, Danielle Ford and Katie Frederick. These are the boys’ teachers and they have done a wonderful job in helping them acclimate to school and just feel safe and loved. These boys love going to school every day. Thank you so much to each of you. Words are not enough.
Each day is filled with comedy and conflict. Prayerfully, the conflict continues to lessen and the joy increases. The gift of spring always offers its own sense of hope, to which I am thankful for. The boys enjoy the warmer days and are excited to play soccer this spring! As are the bio children with many of them on teams!
Continue to pray for:
Good health, healthy boundaries, peace, strength and hope in Him, daily wisdom.
In this season of change, we are ever so thankful for the One who never changes, the one who always remains the same yesterday, today and forever. I thank you Jesus for being the Rock to which we can always go. Thank you for embracing us in our sinfulness and not leaving us there. Thank you for the pain you endured to make us your sons and daughters. Now I see better……you have made me no longer an orphan, you have loved me first, while yet a sinner…..Amazing Grace.
Love In Him,