Oh, this week. A 3-day weekend (our last holiday where we can do whatever we jolly well want to without tiny people wanting to eat morning, noon, and night) could not have come at a better time. From stomach bugs to turning into a mama bear twice in a 7 day period, the week was capped off by the largest Humble Pie I have had to face in a very long time. God continues to remind me that I am far (FAR, people, FAR) from perfection, and that grace is not something to be doled out when it is earned, but when it is needed.
We've been in this whole adoption process for a long time (officially since December 2013 when we sent our first payment into the adoption agency, unofficially since God first called us in November 2012). For the last 2 years I've loudly and, at times, publicly shared my frustration that a previously involved party had lost our original marriage license and my birth certificate. Incompetence, idiocy, and the real clincher, disorganized. How could they?
With less than 30 days to go before we board an airplane bound for Costa Rica, we have created lists of things that we need to take care of before we go. One of the items on my personal "to do" list included taking old, no longer referenced folders from our upstairs filing cabinet and moving them to the storage filing cabinet in the basement. While I was working through the upstairs files this week, I came across a folder marked "Bank Safe Deposit Box." I flipped it open, recalling that we had closed our box almost 2 years ago when our bank closed, and wondered if it could be regulated to the basement.
Do I even need to say it? Inside the folder - which didn't contain paperwork indicating that we had a box, but the actual paperwork from the box itself - I found our "missing" documents. Our marriage certificate and my (somewhat original) birth certificate. There they were, in the filing cabinet that I had torn apart looking for these items over a year ago. All the time that I was blaming the individual for losing our paperwork, I was sitting less than 2 feet away from the items, tucked neatly into a poorly labeled folder. I'm the idiot. "Yes, I believe I will have some cream with my pie."
Here's my question for you: how often do you (and I) foist the blame for a mistake, a situation, an argument, a misunderstanding on someone else before we look at our ownership? How many tiffs with your spouse could be stopped mid-argument if you were to consider your role in it rather than pointing out the faults of your husband or wife? How many times in your frustration with your children have you failed to see the situation from their point of view? Are you a loving parent - teaching, instructing, guiding, correcting and yes, even giving grace on occasion - or are you the task master, benevolent dictator, and tyrant?
I know when it comes to marriage I have been culpable of seeing Peter's guilt before acknowledging my own role in the fight. I have stood in judgement of his decisions, I have been self-righteous, declaring my perfection over his missteps. Thankfully, after 16 years of marriage, almost 20 years of friendship, and 32 and 37 years of following Jesus, God has helped us see our own faults, and recognize when we are wrong. Our marriage has gotten sweeter as we have learned the importance of dying to self, willing to admit when we are wrong, mistaken, or just plain unsure.
I also know that I will - guaranteed - screw up with our kids. I will be quick to throw blame, make assumptions, and fail to give a measure of grace when I should. And while I am all about boundaries (yes, in this house it will be a dictatorship not a democracy - Dad and Mom do get the final say), I also know what it feels like to have judgement handed down without feeling like my side has been heard, and I want to remember that as we learn how to parent these 5, unique individuals.
Perhaps it's because God knows that my patience will be tested in days to come, or because He knows my heart and my own high view of myself, that He allowed me to find a whole humble pie in my filing cabinet, not just a slice. Whatever the case... another lesson in the books this week, and another moment to sigh and say, "Thank you, Lord. Please don't let me forget."
P.S. In other news - we received $2,675 in donations this week!! That leaves us with $3,325 to hit our goal. God has more than one way in which to humble us. #iamthankful
P.P.S. We could still use some items off of our Amazon registry, if you are so inclined, particularly the turtleneck shirts for the kids. GO TO THE LIST.
P.P.P.S. If anyone knows someone with a 7 passenger vehicle (SUV or van) in the San Jose area that they'd be willing to let us use for, oh, say, 6-8 weeks this fall, please let us know!