Wednesday, October 23, 2013

BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN

I have been sharing bits and pieces of my story recently because I desperately want you to see the messiness that is my life.  I want you to see the imperfections, which is something the me before Miles would have never, ever said.  But today, that is my heart.

When God placed Miles in our family, He completely shattered my view of Him, my view of marriage, my view of parenting and my view of myself.

He gave me a gift I didn't know to ask for.
A gift I didn't even realize I desperately needed.
He broke me and shattered my pride into so many pieces it left me completely vulnerable.

What will people think if they see my weaknesses?
What will people think when they find out that I have know idea how to be Miles' mom?

I immediately started making desperate attempts to try and put myself back together.  To try and cover up all the cracks.  But nothing worked.

I found myself at a place where I had to choose.
I could stay a broken mess and force everyone around me to enter my mess anytime they tried to get close, or I could trust God with every part of my life and have faith that He could make something good and beautiful out of the rubble.


"We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything
to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him
and accept His invitation to live according to His plan."
{Romans 8:28}

I want my story to be one of Redemption, so I had to allow God to put me back together, no matter how painful or uncomfortable.  I want, more than anything, to parent my boys from a place of healing, not from a place of hurting.

When I stopped pretending I didn't have cracks, when I stopped being afraid of what you would think when you saw how broken I really was, something amazing happened.  God helped me see why it's so important to not try and fix myself.  He helped me see that the pieces I so desperately kept trying to hold together were the very pieces that were keeping Jesus from being able to shine through.

The cracks, the missing pieces, they have a purpose.



"We now have this light shinning in our hearts,
but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.
This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves."
{2 Corinthians 4:7}

I am a broken vessel.
A fragile clay jar that has been shattered.
And it has been God's most amazing gift to me.

Instead of spending all my time trying to cover and protect myself, I have spent my time reading my Bible and asking God to reveal to me His character.  Who He really is, not who I have made Him out to be.  Every time I came across a description of Him, I wrote it down.  It didn't take long to see that what I believed about God wasn't always true.

The more I learned about God's true character,
the more I learned how absolutely crazy He is about me.
The more I learned how much He loves me,
the easier it was for me to trust Him with the mess that is my life.

I went from begging God to put my life back together to begging God to please leave me broken.  There is so much beauty to be found in the brokenness.  So much freedom to be found there.

I never, ever want to be the me before Miles!

Do you mind if I ask, where are you in your journey?
Are you in the hurting, in the healing, or somewhere in between?
Are you tired of pretending you have it all together?
Are you tired of your marriage just surviving and not thriving?
Are you tired of feeling like your life doesn't even come close to everyone else's, professionally photographed, pinterest perfect, paleo eating, half-marathon running family?

"The only way... to find rest for our souls is to sit at Christ's feet and hear His Word."  -Matthew Henry

You are the only thing holding you back from living in the fullness of Christ.

"Going through the motions doesn't please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you.  I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered.  Heart-shattered lives ready for love doesn't for a moment escape God's notice."
{Psalm 51:17}

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

LEARNING TO TRUST

When Miles came into our family, he didn't know us or trust us.
He had no idea how many hours we stared at his picture and memorized his face.
He had no idea how much we loved him and how long we prayed for him.

To us, he was our son.
To him, we were strangers.

When we brought Miles home, we started doing all the things we learned in our adoption training.  We went to him every time he cried (to give him back his voice), we didn't let anyone meet a basic need but us (to help him learn that we were different than every other adult), we held him, we rocked him, we played with him, and we loved on him.

As we continued to work on building a healthy bond with Miles, we noticed that he was still self-soothing.  Miles would lay on his back and shake his head violently back and forth to calm or comfort himself.  We had never seen anything like it.

As he got a little older, he stopped shaking his head and started seeking out hard surfaces to bang his head against.  He would crawl to the tile floor and head bang when he was mad, frustrated, hurt, told no, or sometimes for no reason at all.

Every time he would start banging his head, I would go comfort him.
I sat on the floor beside him, picked him up and patted him on the back.
And every time he would immediately bite me on the shoulder.
Miles and I did this little dance everyday.
And everyday, about 10-15 times a day, I got bit.

Comforting Miles was painful and I was struggling.

There were times during the day that I would see him crawl from the rug to the tile to bang his head and everything in me was screaming, 'I DON'T THINK I CAN DO THIS ANYMORE.'  I knew what was going to happen.  I was going to get bit.  There were other days when I would hesitate and just look at him and say to myself, 'I don't know that I love you enough to do this today.'

But how in the world will Miles ever know that his Heavenly Father is the source of all comfort if he can't trust me to comfort him?  There is going to come a day in his life that Jesus, only Jesus, will be able to comfort him.  And it was that very thought that kept me going back for more.

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month,
Miles would self-soothe, I would comfort, I would get bit.
This went on for a little over 8 months.

Then one day, it happened.

It had been a rough morning and Miles was mad.  I saw him stand up and my heart sank because I just didn't think I had it in me.  The thought of getting bit made me want to burst into tears.  But to my surprise, he didn't walk to the cold, hard tile.  He walked over to me, and gently laid his little head on my lap and started patting my leg.

And he has been running to me ever since.

Every day. Every bite.
It was all worth it.

Even now, when I think back to how incredibly hard it was to live that day in and day out, I would do it over again and again.  My job was to be Jesus with skin on to a broken little boy who didn't trust anyone enough to allow them to comfort him.  I thought I was helping Miles learn to trust me and learn to look to me for comfort, but actually God was using Miles to teach me the exact same lessons.

It is impossible to trust God, impossible to believe with everything in you that He loves you, and impossible to know that God alone is all you need, if you don't know Him.  He wants a personal, intimate relationship with you.  Knowing about God is very, very different than knowing God.  Knowing the character of God.

When I 'bang my head on the floor' and insist that I know what's best for me,
God patiently sits with me, waiting with arms wide open, to comfort me, to guide me, and to love me.  He even knows when I am going to end up 'bitting' Him, and yet He pursues me anyway.

"Our God is not patiently standing by and waiting for us to offer us love; He is actively and vigorously pursuing us... He is the father running down the trail to embrace the prodigal son even before the boy can speak his act of contrition.  He is the mad farmer showering a full day's wage on men who hadn't even worked.  He is Jesus forgiving the sinful woman even before she spoke her sorrow.  He is the king lavishing a banquet on beggars.  These are all symbols of a God whose love for us is so active, so strong, that by human standards He would be, at least, said to be mad."  {Andrew Greeley}

My pursuit of Miles' heart is nothing compared to God's active pursuit of my heart.
And God's active pursuit of yours.

What part of your heart are you refusing to give God?
Is there someone you need to forgive?
Is there a habit you need to give up?
Is there an area of your life you need to let go of and trust God?

Get up off the cold, hard floor and climb into your Heavenly Father's lap.
He deeply loves you.
He desires a relationship with you.
He is faithful and you can trust Him.

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