may 21st 2010. last year: words written in my blog:
God is allowing me these rose-colored pictures as encouragement. He knows i know enough to be more than intimidated in bringing home a child with a heart condition. but, He is not allowing me to set down too long in that overwhelming place. He is encouraging the sunlight. He is encouraging the sweetness. He is encouraging the beauty that will be ours regardless. i am so very thankful.
~ "nesting" ~ entry: may 21, 2010
what a difference a year makes. just one year ago we were nesting. readying our home and our children and our selves for the addition of a little china girl we planned to call bella. we couldn't even truly imagine what was ahead. we knew big changes were coming, but it was almost impossible to wrap our minds around what this meant. i poured myself into the physical readying as we anticipated the long-awaited child. i thought about paint color and bedding and tiny shoes and tea sets, but sometimes in the middle of all those lovely images i found myself making an abrupt stop and wondering. i stopped and wondered about what life might look like soon. we knew bella came with some serious medical needs and we didn't know exactly how she was doing or what quite to expect. we were getting next to nothing in way of updates. all of us, at times, felt overwhelmed by the unknown. by the unclear. we certainly felt ill-equipped. but we continued on, sometimes worried, but mostly, busy and nesting and choosing to trust all of it came from our heavenly Father. He had brought us into this world of international adoption. He was bringing us to bella soon. and He would very much continue to bring. to bring enough strength and enough grace and enough faith and enough hands and enough space and enough time as we added her to our family. looking back now, almost a year later, i can tell you, He Did. oh, how He Did. in fact, He brought all of it abundantly. He brought us blessing which we never imagined possible. He brought us a little girl impossible not to love. He brought us a sunny child with a repaired heart, beyond our hopes. He brought us closer together as a family. He brought us community unbelievable. He brought us joy unspeakable. He even brought us deeper in Him. and throughout these past 10 months He has continued to bring.
may 21st, one year later, i was brought to the hospital. i was brought to a place of Great Taking. a part of me was removed. amputated. after all this bringing why must God now suddenly change His course and Take. i won't tell you those thoughts haven't run through my sad heart. i am a woman and i hurt for what is gone. it is so much more than a physical wound. that is only the tiniest, most minute part. so, it is easy for me to sit here in my hurt and view these past weeks as a month of Great Taking. but i know my God. and i've seen how He works. and i know He is a God who loves to bless and provide abundantly....even in loss...especially in loss. He is a God not limited by words or definitions. He is a God who can even, miraculously, bring while He takes. He isn't defined by our simple, small minds. again, it might be hard to conceive, but sometimes God Chooses to Take Away in order that He might Bring Even More Abundantly.... in ways even better and bigger than imagined. (just fyi: i am so not talking about my physical reconstruction here, lest you get any ideas)...i mean, that sounds kind of crazy in a way, but isn't it possible? and if it is possible, isn't it wonderful? and if it is wonderful, isn't it worth it? and if it is worth it, then can't i Still Praise Him?
a year ago i wrote, "He is not allowing me to set down too long in that overwhelming place." i know better today what that means. i certainly have a new understanding of "that overwhelming place." He encouraged us all the way through the many hard steps to our bella. He is encouraging us all the way through the hard steps of my health. one year ago we couldn't even understand the blessing He would bring....in many ways, we are the same today. we can't begin to imagine. i know there are some obvious differences. but i assure you last year there was a great deal that was unknown, unclear and untried. we were choosing to forever change the face of our family. last year it was the blessing which came with addition. this year, the blessing will come with removal. there is no magic formula. God provides. He provides in both. His provision knows no limit. He provides when we unclench our controlling fists and surrender. when we let go. we learned this lesson a little last year. we are continuing to learn. always learning.
He gives and takes away.
He gives and takes away.
and still my heart will say...
blessed be the name of the Lord.i've sung those lyrics over and over. countless times. i may have even sung them thoughtlessly. maybe flippantly. i am not sure if i will be miraculously changed now. i'm not sure if i will always be able to deeply and truly and perfectly connect with what i sing. say. pray. promise. proclaim. i am still selfish and i am still sinful...and even after a cancer diagnosis, i am, at times, flippant. adoption didn't miraculously perfect me. and i am pretty sure breast cancer won't miraculously perfect me. but i know God is doing a perfect work in me. it may not be finished anytime soon...so don't hold your breath. but i know He is using all of this in a miraculous way. He uses The Giving and The Taking. The Addition and The Subtraction. The Lovely and The Unlovely. The Easy and The Hard. He uses all of it. and still i choose to say blessed be His name.
"the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; the name of the Lord be praised." ~ job 1:21