I debated whether or not whether to write this post mainly because there hasn't been a whole lot of big happenings with Anah this month. She has pretty much completed all her medical work and life has settled down to a predictable routine. She's learning how to set up her own toilet seat. We've introduced flossing. She's getting really good at dribbling her big rubber ball. Drinking her milk is not taking as long. The big success this month is getting her to wear her glasses all day. We finally found a solution that works for her and for us, and she is not always trying to grab them and pull them off. She has now been wearing them consistently for the past week. Ordinary stuff, but signs that we are moving forward.
Perhaps the bigger things to write about this month are not about Anah, but about me. This past month, I think I've hit the lowest I've ever been. It got so bad that I had to have my husband take her to work with him because I just couldn't do another day with her anymore. Never mind that she had a fever, was coughing and was not feeling well. I. Just. Couldn't. Do. It. There just wasn't anything left to give.
Throughout that time, I seriously thought that God was punishing me. I felt like everything that I had enjoyed in the past was taken away from me. Not that they weren't available. It's just that I didn't have any time or energy after the day was done. And the future? All I could see was one long unending day of meals that would take forever and constantly waiting for her to finish using the toilet. Bitterness and hopelessness become a toxic cocktail. Where was God in all this?
Finally, my husband and I sat down with a good friend, and I had a chance to be brutally honest with someone else instead of keeping it inside where my anger and resentment were poisoning my soul. There was no sense in pretending everything was all right. It wasn't.
As I sit here and reflect on the past month then, I think God is impressing two things on me. The first thing is something that our pastor shared with us last week. The gist of it is that in God's economy, in order for something new to be done, something old has to die. When we first embarked on our adoption journey, I really believed that God had something new for not only me and my husband, but also for our children and even our church family.
In order to do that new thing, He was going to require that something dies. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12:24). That was certainly true for Him. How can I think it will be different for me?
The second thing I am learning is that even though something must die, I need to look past the death into what is life. I think that was what my problem was. I was focusing on all that I was losing. And while I need to be honest with that and grieve as I need to, I need not see it as the end either. As Jesus kept His eyes on "the joy that was set before him" (Heb 12:2), I too need to keep my eyes on the new things that God is doing. Like Abraham, who obeyed even when he didn't know where he was going (Heb 11:8), I need to also follow. Even if I never see the new things that God is doing, I need to live in faith as I sojourn on this earth. As I am memorizing in Philippians 3, I need to "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (v. 14)
One thing we like to do as a family is to read good literature together. Right now, we're working through The Lord of the Rings. As I am reading, I am realizing that Frodo doesn't know the end of the story. All he knows is that he's got a long journey ahead of him and already he has encountered more danger and pain than he has ever known in his life. But we, as the readers, know that there is a good ending, and that by his suffering, there will be good done. He knows that if he doesn't take this journey, he may be spared, but that it might actually be worse in the long run.
Sometimes I wonder if that is what God sees sometimes. He knows that the road He leads us on is going to be difficult. He knows there will be pain and suffering and that at times, it's just not going to make sense. But He also knows that we can spare ourselves from momentary trouble by not trusting His leading. However, in doing so, He also knows that we will miss out on some bigger things that He wants to do in us.
And so, I have to keep telling myself that "there's a story in here somewhere." I don't know how the story ends. Right now, it feels like it's a lot about death. But if He is telling the story, then I can trust it will end up right, for only in Him can life come out of death and new things come out of the old.
And until then, I'll press on.