Sunday, May 10, 2015

On Mothers and Mother's Day

The longer I am on this journey of motherhood, the harder it becomes. Just sayin.

I became a mom nearly 4 years ago. I had been married for 6 months at the tender age of 24. It was an unexpected beginning. There were not 9 months, stretch marks, or those awful leg cramps in the middle of the night to prepare myself for my firstborn. There was just a text message from my husband (while I was teaching my 2nd year nursing students about the labor process) about a baby abandoned in our little mission hospital. I remember being confused and a bit cautious.

I remember not wanting to meet this baby, because I had met so many before that I thought needed my (long term) mothering, and it was not so. There were those 14 girls in a home in North India that I cared for as my own. My heart ached for them all the day long, no matter how much time passed. I missed putting them to sleep at night with the same lullabies my mom had sung to me as a girl. I missed hearing them rehearse each of the songs and sing each other to sleep on that rooftop in that dry, dusty town.

            I have been hesitant to share in years past how much I longed for those 14. I would day dream of the mother-daughter bond we would have and it reeked of glory in my imagination.  But my mothering of them, it was temporary, because those girls, though growing up in a system and apart from their parents, either thru death, addiction, or poverty, were not to be mine. I could fight it, and I did for a time, but in the end Abba God softened my heart.  He allowed me to see that He gave me a mother's heart for them, and that I was called to love them fully in those moments, but that they were not to be mine. Ultimately, they are His, as are all our children. But even in a non eternal sense, they were not my daughters and they never would be. Adoption was not an option and it was not what He had in store for me and them. He called me to foster love in those days. And He calls me to foster love in these days. He calls us to foster love all of our days, no matter what tomorrow holds or what our role in a person's life is.

Then there were the 3 street girls whom my friend and I went and searched for. We sensed His leading and we risked it all to find them, convinced His leading meant they were ours.  His leading didn't mean a rescue and adoption by us, but it did mean hundreds praying on behalf of these 3 little ones, unknown and unseen by the millions surrounding them every day.  It meant that their faces and names would not be forgotten by countless ones around the globe.

There have been more. There were people that took refuge in our home for periods of time that I thought I could call my child and there were children I heard of who needed a home whom I longed to bring into mine.

Yet none were to be mine. My heart started to harden and I could not bear the thought of meeting this baby in need of shelter. Because, surely I was not the one called to be his mother.

But I went down and met Adam.  And Jesus came down and met me there. He showed me a glimpse of how all those other children whom He had called me to foster love into, were woven together to prepare me for this one. This little boy who was disfigured beyond anything my nursing textbooks were teaching me and my students. This little boy who had needs beyond what I thought I was capable of caring for. This little boy who was very different than what I intended to invite into my family.

I thought I was brave. But Adam, he taught me how to be brave. Adopting him has been the most challenging and most painful journey I could have imagined. It has led me into waiting rooms and forced fundraisers and it has brought me to my knees.  I have felt death so very near and I have felt the sting of confused glances and hurtful comments. I have questioned how much pain one could go through and I have ached for Heaven and healing in ways I never knew earlier.

But I have found that whatever it is that makes us ache for Heaven, it is good.

And I was reminded it took a painful cramping and dilating and tearing of flesh in order to birth our Messiah...and it then took (His) tearing and piercing and cruel death to birth our redemption.

For there is a chasm in this life. There is this dividing wall of hostility from our infinite sin. And for those divisions to be reconciled, in order for us, far off, to be brought near, the labor of pain is required. The tearing of flesh to birth a Servant King and the tearing of flesh to kill Him to bring us back.

Pain is unavoidable in order to see Life.

I read of single mommas longing for a companion, yet trudging thru the trenches of raising children, fostering more, adopting others in. I read of mommas having to part ways with their earthly family far to soon, yet boasting in His goodness all the way Home. I know mommas losing their littles and having to bury their own and my heart nearly falls apart. I read of ladies, with momma hearts, who long for a child but keep on journeying as a childless mother and my soul longs for them. I know of mommas who give their child up to another to raise, and suddenly their milk comes in and the longing of their bodies cannot be satisfied though they know what they did was good.

I thought motherhood was scrapbooks, themed birthday parties, mini-me's running around the house, and family camping trips. But those are but the fringes.

Motherhood is all of us, the hemorrhaging woman, desperate and full of wanting, reaching out to touch Him. Being a mother is all of us, bleeding and trembling, reaching out in our labor and our our fostering and our adopting and asking Him who did the greatest labor on two splintered slabs of wood, on our behalf, to heal us and help us.

Motherhood will look different for us all. For me it started with adoption of a child who will know suffering to a depth many of us will not.  It then introduced me to a boy who burst into my world in a wild, rushed frenzy of a labor and has been keeping me in a frenzy ever since with his wild natured ways.

But in those moments when I cannot keep up, He teaches me to look UP to the One who KEEPS me.

Because, momma, none of us can keep up.
But we can all look up to the One who keeps us.

And then motherhood birthed me this little 10 month old who came late and long and heavy. Inductions and tears and pounds heavier than his brothers, this little tub teaches me to ascend in praise even when plans do not go my way.

Motherhood aches and makes me labor and sweat and toil with emotions I never knew before.  And stories surround me daily that only show me more of the toil. They show me that  the contractions and the pushing are only the beginning of the labor, sweat, and pain it takes to raise a child.

So, mamas, and not mamas. We are all in this together. I know what it is to long for a child, only to find out that they are not yours.  I know what it is to long to be part of a rescue, but to see your part be so much different than you wanted it to be. I know what it is to raise wild ones and fierce ones and sick ones. And I know it is hard.

But let us just stop trying to keep up and let us keep looking up.

Because He is the Author and is the Perfecter.

So if you are in a part of the story that seems unnecessary or futile, know that it is not. Each of these moments roll into minutes that stretch into hours that expand into days which yield weeks, months, and years and ultimately a lifetime. So whomever you find yourself with in this moment, love them deeply. Foster love in the truest sense and trust that even if the tomorrows are seeming different than you would like, true love casts out fear. Be steadfast and firm, for your labor, from Him, is never in vain. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I want to be writing: but...

After I finished nursing school I went on a dream of a Europe backpacking trip adventure. I went alongside two of my dear nursing school buddies. We bought a ticket into Paris, France and out of Athens, Greece. Our only mission: get from Paris to Athens in 5 weeks. 

 Friends, it was grand.

We arrived in Paris late due to detours and thus missed our bicycle tour in the city of love.  Instead we strapped on our massive packs, hopped on trains and snuck away to Versailles. Since we had just enough money to last the 5 weeks, we booked our hostel in the outskirts of Paris and did not have time to shower and shed our travel gear. So we toured that grand Castle of Versailles with our dusty  packs leaving a trail of grime behind us. 

packs at Versailles
they were GOOD

We did obligatory pictures at the Louvre and Eiffel Tour then scurried our way across the border and spent a glorious week in southern Germany. We spent 5 splendid days waking up early to see the city come to life, ate our weight in street meat and sipped on frothy pints at the English Garden.  We found a group of musicians that we followed religiously every evening. We would sit on the nearest bench with our feet swollen through our chaco straps and our cheeks kissed by the sun. We would sit and feast on fresh strawberries as we listened to stringed instruments carry us away.

The journey continued as we got lost in the Alps, fascinated with the snow peak glory speckled with herds of fluffy sheep.  We somberly ventured to the concentration camp of Dachau and I felt like I saw in black & white the entire visit as we ran our fingers along the walls that whispered stories of suffering. 


We arrived late at night to sleepy Austrian towns in search of something filling.  We hiked the cobblestone streets that wove thru sleepy towns  and hungrily sipped down strange concoctions of soups and ravenously ate the stale bread offered since all the shops were closed. I got a little crazy in Switzerland and decided to go sky diving and then got whimsical and wanted to sit in Italian cafes and chat all the day long as rain pummeled the city.  Then in Greece I was hungry all the time.  We found a 24 hours bakery that we deemed ours and went as often as possible, munched on the delicate tarts and chocolate drizzled pastries, and dream grand dreams. We tried our first and last ouzo, rode 4 wheelers along narrow roads just above the Aegean Sea, and watched magnificent sunsets and dreamed about the life our God had woven ahead of us.

It was a fantastic trip that was formative for me in many ways. Most of all, it nourished my journey woman heart and reminded me to dream after a few tough years throughout nursing school.

I write all of that in order to write about why I have NOT been writing on here lately. You see, when we backpacked Europe, we had a blog. But our blog posts consisted of lists. Those five weeks were so full and the days were so packed that each spare moment found us sleeping, laughing hysterically with each other, or hearing the stories of friends we made along the way. I complained to the other girls every time we made a blog post that I wanted long, poetic posts about the sights and the people. So they readily received my willingness to write. But then once the time came to open a computer and make an update, I laughed...said they were right...they rolled their eyes...and we resorted to the bullet points blog posts. It was basically a list to let our people know we were alive and were successfully making our trek across the continent. 

So, alas, I am making a list for you.

Because I want to be writing, but my days and months have been full.  They have been full of...

-one little baby boy learning how to walk and making our bellies ache from laughing at his curious shenanigans at 10 months old.

-one big boy starting speech therapy and battling sickness and continuing to shed Light all around

-one middle boy seeming to grow into a man, talking long sentences, and making us laugh all the day long.

- filling my spare hours with this and that and this one too, which are all blowing me away

-returning to the hospital, this time as a medical/surgical nurse...NIGHT SHIFT style. 

-keeping the family alive when Raja went back to India for 3 weeks (it was a wonderful trip for him...perhaps I will share more on that later)

- trying to maximize time with my little sister before she graduates 

- doing this book study with 2 dear ladies

- TRYING to see more of my grandparents...all 3 of whom happen to be in Jax.

-learning to love my husband better than myself

- getting back into running

-joined this company of amazing people as a JOYNER trying to share their goods and stories with anyone who will listen;) 

- keeping in touch with Meena (Hadassah) who has a new job (at JOYN, mentioned above) and who has been going thru a lot of reconstructive surgery lately

- just trying to stay alive and keep my people alive in the US of A...having reverse culture shock more than I could have imagined.

Dear one, the days are full and I keep making bullet points of all the glory. But my mind is itching and I do love to write and I do want to declare what He is doing. So I will be revamping the blog a bit...adjusting the blog site and such. I do hope you will stay tuned.

with love so deep.




Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Adam health update

"As your prime minister, I urge you with caution"-William Pitt

" and as my friend?"-William Wilberforce

"To hell with caution..."-William Pitt
If you don't know the story of Wilberforce and Pitt...stop now and find out. Wilberforce was strategic in getting the British parliament to end British involvement in the slave trade. 

Pitt was a best friend of his who happened to be prime minister at one point in their friendship.

This is one of my favorite exchanges between Wilberforce and Pitt.

Raja and I had similar conversations before we adopted Adam. The stories of men like this stirred our hearts to respond and obey to what Abba was asking of us. Did we seek counsel? Were we led by the Spirit? Was Scripture our foundation and our Lamp and Light? 
Yes. Yes. Yes.
But was it still scary and did it seem to go against all caution? 
But the Spirit said go. 
When Jesus says go, to hell with caution. 
I wanted to take a few minutes to update you all on how Adam is doing, health wise. We have been back nearly 5 months now and are finally getting into a routine and figuring out healthcare here. Adam has been seen by multiple specialists here in Jacksonville, Florida (including ophthalmology, oral/maxillofacial specialists, general surgery, nutrition). We have found a great pediatrician who cares for him so well. It has been a full few months in many ways and we are thankful to be getting good care for Adam.

It is funny, I think we expected to get to the US and that his health would be perfect. But, we have actually all been sick a lot this winter. Adam has been sick at least once a month and the rest of us have been more sick than ever before. That has been discouraging in many ways, but the past few weeks have been great for Adam and he is growing more every day. He can get across a room as fast as Elliot, if he is determined, and has figured out how to hop on his two legs rather than only crawl on all fours. He is vocal and loves to laugh. He is responding more and more to Elliot (still learning to get along with Rohan).

He is sleeping better which is SO exciting. We have stopped letting him nap during the day which usually gets him to sleep closer to 7 at night and he then sleeps the whole night. That is a huge change, as he used to nap for hours in the afternoon and then would be up until 11 or 12 singing and squealing from bed. Oh is true. But since we have stopped naps he is doing much better with being on the same routine as his brothers.

Another major development is that he is eating more by mouth and ENJOYING it. It all started a few weeks ago when my sister was over for a movie. She made Raja and I root beer floats and Raja just thought to give Adam a taste. He ate FORTY EIGHT bites! That is quite remarkable for Adam as he used to only eat 4-5 bites at a time before getting beyond frustrated and hitting all the food away. He had two entire root beer floats and has been tasting more foods here and there since then. 

Thank you guys for your prayers for Adam. Our Abba God continues to work in unseen and unfathomable ways to sustain and even prosper this little life that once seemed fragile and without hope. But there is always hope, that is what I am learning day by day with these littles.