Over the weekend, the Hubs and I were talking about what it has done to us - how it has changed us - to follow God into this adventure of snot-filled craziness. I found my eyes misting over as I confessed to finally realizing why I was so angry with God back in October when we first arrived in Costa Rica and met the kids.
Even though I had spent months - years even - telling people that this adoption thing was all God's story that He was writing, when we were finally at the point of picking up the kids, I threw everything I had at God. I was so angry. Angry that He told us to do this. Angry that He destroyed my comfortable life. Angry that He thought two people who didn't like children should be saddled with five of them. Angry that He didn't come through at the last minute with some kind of sacrificial lamb, letting us off the hook and allowing us to do what we really wanted to do (move to Paris). I cried a lot. I pounded my fists on bed pillows and kicked floorboards in frustration, all while trying to fight for the opportunity to raise these kids that I didn't want.
Eventually, I read enough Scripture, poured forth enough anger, and cried enough tears that I was willing to listen when my wise husband looked at me one day and said, "ENOUGH. You and I may not want to do this, but that is totally beside the point. God called us to do this. You know that, and I know that. It's time to suck it up and DO IT." And so we did. We fought for our five kids. We stood strong against the pressure to bend our beliefs and change our convictions, and in the end, we stood still - and God fought for us.
It's been almost six months since the adoption was finalized, and five months since we flew home to the States. We've moved from survival mode to acceptance mode to "hey, is it just me, or is this getting easier?" mode. My standard answer when people ask how it's going is to say, "Every day is a little bit better." But here's what I've learned... it's not because of me.
The realization of why I was so angry in October didn't hit me until yesterday, as I sipped hot tea in the car with the Hubs (while other people were taking care of our kids in Sunday school - hello, free parent time!). I suddenly understood that I was angry at God last fall because even though I was paying lip service to His story and following Him and His calling for us (all true, by the way), what I was really thinking, deep down - so deep it took me almost 7 months after the fact to realize it - was, "God, don't You understand what I am doing for YOU? Don't you realize what I have given up? You should appreciate my sacrifice a bit more, and honor it by making life easy now." HELLO!! I'm grateful I wasn't struck by lightening in my ignorant arrogance.
How often, my friends, do we think along those lines? How often do we "serve" God, but really consider it a favor for Him (even if we don't necessarily think of it in those terms)? Who was I to think that obeying God's calling was anything more than just submitting my life to His plan? God didn't need to use me. He could have let me sit still in my passive, contented, spiritual desert, sipping coffees in foreign lands and occasionally praying to Him because it's something Christians do. But He didn't!
Instead of giving up on me when my thick head couldn't get the message of adoption, He hammered harder. Rather than making the journey easy on us, He taught us complete reliance on Him. When we started to take over, He reminded us that apart from Him, we can do nothing. When, in my anger and arrogance, I blamed Him and questioned His choice of life calling for us, He loved me still, and He held my hands when I put my eyes on the waves and wind. Instead of dunking me under the water, He allowed me to walk on it with Him.
And so yes, as I realized that my anger came from deep within me, I teared up as I looked back and saw how far He has brought me. I am not naturally mom material, but because of the love of Jesus to me, I am able to pass the napkin to snot-child and not be totally grossed out. Because of the faithfulness of Jesus to me, I can say 'yes' to umbrellas and muddy feet that mess up my neat home. Because of the grace of Jesus to me, I can fold laundry and explain to a child that Jesus died for them and what that can mean to them. Because of the forgiveness of Jesus to me, I can seek the forgiveness of the children He has entrusted to me, turning angry outbursts into important life lessons.
Every day is a little bit better... all because of Him.