Friday, September 11, 2009

to stand beside an ocean

we spent this past labor day weekend at the beach. there is  nothing quite like standing next to the ocean. it has always given me immediate and unequivocal perspective on my size. i remember so well the awe i felt as a child when first discovering it. i quickly became nothing more than a speck. one of the trillions of sand grains underneath my feet.  

as an adult, everything in my world seems to have shrunk dramatically. but not the ocean. it still seems as majestic to me today as it did when i was six. i find great beauty in that constancy. i find it to even provide great comfort. there is reassurance in the knowledge that something is so big, so grand, so awesome it could in no way be diminished by my pseudo-sense of maturity and age.  the line, "i hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean," from the song I Hope You Dance, is well written. how can i not? no one can escape their smallness when confronted with its grandness.  and this is not only important, but it is great blessing.

perspective was exactly what i was in need of this weekend. as we battle through the tremendous check list of our adoption, we have, again, come face to face with our speck-hood. but even this frustrating fact has, in a strange way, brought a sense of comfort. again, we have encountered something so much larger than ourselves. 

i have learned in life that most things seem to have some kind of hidden crack - a minute opening waiting to be unearthed. if i keep prying, keep pushing, keep asking i can, willfully (sometimes), make advancements. i can chisel my way in. i can claw my way through. oh, not so in the daunting world of adoption. as the entire process has unfolded more and more clearly, it only makes the tiny-ness of my will and my size that much more obvious. there is no amount of prodding that will move this great beast along.  it is a great wall. it is a mountain. it is even an ocean. my parents, and especially my husband, would tell you that i have never responded particularly well to the word, "no." there is nothing like it to make me want something that much more desperately. i am certain this is not one of my better character traits....but, nonetheless, i must confess it sort of comes with my territory. i don't really remember the great battles of will my parents had with me as a child, but i have heard stories. they are not pretty stories. i cannot say that this gift of battle, is necessarily from God, but because He uses all things and wastes nothing, i do know He has used even this ugly nature for His good. it is part of what makes me want to push through this challenging mess.  

 rick and i have often felt hopeless, helpless and powerless in this pursuit of our little china girl. our size, even together, is stuck definitively in the realm of microscopic. again, it is just another way in which we are reminded that we can do nothing apart from Him. "...for apart from me you can do nothing." ~ john 15:5. this lesson doesn't come easily to my stubborn nature. i am forty years old and still want to stamp my foot and demand my way. i want to beat my fists on the table and plead my case. i want to assert my rights and present my wishes.  but then i walk down to the water's edge and i stand beside the ocean. as a believer in Christ i cannot even begin to look at His righteousness His glory. even a glimpse of it exposes me in my diminished state. even the mere hint of God's awesomeness reveals my utter wretchedness. i can tell you i don't like it - not one little bit. but i trust God is using even this formidable (at times) adoption to reveal my rebelliousness as i attempt things without Him. 

i can go ahead and jump in the ocean and swim with all my might. i can store up all my energy. i can plan and prepare all i want. i can even use floaties and goggles, but i will be completely and utterly lost at sea if i think that i can in any way attempt this on my own. sure, i find that sometimes discouraging. but, i am learning to find it encouraging. i am learning to see myself as small and my God as big.  sometimes we just need to stand beside an ocean.

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