One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I know I got that backward, but I think that's more descriptive of what life has been like the past two weeks. It's not that Anah isn't progressing. We have continued to see improvements in her. For instance, she is now able to tell us verbally "all done" when she is finished on the toilet. That's a huge step. She is learning how to use a napkin. She can clean up when we sing the clean up song. She has made some progress in riding a tricycle.

We have also taken her in for her first appointment at the Regional Center as well as get her started on her medical work. Her initial lab work showed that she her thyroid condition requires some investigation and medication, something that we had no indication of in her past records. She has also had x-rays done to evaluate her neck and hips. After our initial insurance snafus, we now have her lined up to see a cardiologist for her heart, opthamologist for her eyes, as well as an endocrinologist for her thyroid. All in all, it has been a busy month.

As I wrote in my last post, I on the other hand, have really been struggling. The honeymoon is over and reality is sinking in. I waffle between moments of gladness that she is here and feelings of resentfulness as we have had to make a lot of adjustments to our life and routine. To be honest, I think there are more of the hard days than the happy moments. There have been days that I have been scared of myself and all the anger and frustration I feel. It takes a lot to keep it from showing and sometimes I fail miserably in hiding it.

This has been hard for the kids too. With all that needs to be done with Anah, I have felt like there hasn't been enough to give to my other children. My youngest one seems to feel it the most. Not only do I feel bitter at times, I feel guilty on top of that.

I know I'm not alone. It is easy for adoptive parents not to share these things because, after all, you're not supposed to have these feelings. (Can you hear the sarcasm dripping from my words?) Everyone tells us we're doing such a great thing. We're in God's will. But that doesn't mean God's will isn't difficult at times. Often times we have the mistaken notion that doing God's work is going to be easy. But it isn't. We can be smack-dab in the middle of God's will and, dare I say it?--suffer. (Gasp!)

Of course, my suffering is nothing compared to what Christ has done for me. But on some days, I feel like a heavy burden and weight has been strapped on my back, and I know that I cannot get out from under it. That's a depressing thought.

I share these things not to gain your sympathy or pity. In fact, please don't contribute to my downfall by being sorry for me. It only makes me wallow more. However, I do share it for the sake of being honest and real. The last thing I want to add to my resume is to be a fake.

Even though things have been difficult, I do believe God has taken me one step forward. Two things seem to stand out as blessings in the midst of this tough season:

  • I have been taken to the depths of my own depravity. Others can be fooled, but I cannot fool myself into thinking that I'm a good person. I know I am not. This month, I have had to deal with this glaring truth in a way that has brought me to tears. And that's a good thing because then...
  • I have had to throw myself into the grace of God in a way that I never had before. Only when I see the deeps of my sin will the grace of God sound like the good news it really is. When I have to crawl on hands and knees before the throne of God to confess once again how I have failed, only then can I realize how great it is that there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1) I am at peace with Him, even if I war in my own soul. (Rom. 5:1)

I used to laugh when people came up to us and told us how great we were for adopting. If only they knew the half of what I'm really like. Now I find it absolutely hilarious. I've gone from LOL to ROTFL. I think: Me? Qualified? And yet, God does do the strangest things. He takes the least likely candidates and uses them for His kingdom purposes. Like the apostle Paul, I stand amazed at His grace that He would let me participate in this work. Now I think: Me? Chosen?

I'm probably going to go backwards a few more steps before things get better. I know it. There is nothing in my own flesh that can do otherwise. But by the saving grace of Jesus, who is all sufficient for me, I know that despite going backwards, He is ultimately helping me step forward, using those failures to transform me into the likeness of His Son.

And if that is the one thing I learn through this whole process, then maybe He's starting to get through to me after all.

"But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'"--1 Corinthians 1:27-31 (ESV)