Friday, March 6, 2015

For when I am weak...

No title to this post at the moment.

I will just put my fingers to the keys, pour out my heart and see what it becomes.

This is one of those posts that I don't even know if I will be brave enough to click that daunting little button that reads "publish".

There has been so much piling on my heart lately and I know I can hide within the walls of our little home with the outside world looking in with their rose colored glasses or I can bridge the gap from "special" to "just like you".

I don't know, maybe I'm supposed to let everyone think that we have it all together. Maybe that makes people more willing to support us. Maybe people want to think that we are superhuman and therefore a worthy cause to invest in.... I don't know. But what I do know is that I HATE being up on a pedestal. It's not only a lonely place to be, but a scary place for me because I hate feeling like we're deceiving people and I never want that to become okay.

So this is my attempt to bridge the gap.

If you want to continue thinking that we are something really special you should probably stop reading now and go find a different blog to follow.

I have always been transparent with all of you and I'm not about to stop now that our story is becoming more known.

This adoption has been much different than our adoption with Ivan. I guess our story is more powerful this time because we aren't going in blind. People see us and think wow, so they chose that once, they must realize how difficult and crazy their life is because of it, why would they choose it again?

Last month we were asked to do a news interview.  Ryan and I are both pretty introverted, we are homebodies, we like to keep our world small so this request was extremely challenging and stressful for us.

I battled because everything in me didn't want to put our family out there for the world to see. Ryan and I work hard to instill in our children that although they may face challenges they are capable of anything and although we parent them differently because of their special needs we refuse to give them "special treatment". We don't want the world to give them special treatment and we certainly don't want special treatment because of our children. Support is different than special treatment in my book. We will accept all the support and encouragement we can get, but we don't want to be looked at or treated differently.

We ended up doing the news report and it was fine, God used it in some great ways, but ever since that it has just been one struggle after another.

With a larger platform comes more chance for God's glory which I'm assuming satan sees as a threat.

In the past couple weeks Ryan and I have both been sick and are still not back to 100%. We're tired and weary and the battle just never stops. Unexpected bills have discouraged us, time and energy to get necessary things done has been nonexistent.

This has been a real season of weakness for me.

The hardest part is that the weakness I feel just doesn't match up to the strength that everyone sees when they look at us.

So the purpose I'm writing this post is to remind each of you where that strength comes from, whether you're a believer in Jesus Christ of not, I just want you to know that the things that inspire you about us are the things that are "not us".

"Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.

FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG. (I guess I found that title) 2 Corinthians 12:6-10

You see adoption is amazing and it does take a special strength to raise children with special needs, but it takes a weak kind of strength. A strength that will get up everyday and choose to believe that God's strength will be enough because you just have no strength of your own.

Before bringing Ivan home I really believed that on the hard days, God would give me the strength that I needed to get through and he absolutely HAS, but what I didn't know then was that the strength I NEED is much different than the strength I WANT.

I want God's strength to help me never lose it with my kids.

I want His strength to help me always have the dishes and the laundry done.

I want His strength to help me make a wonderful healthy meal for my family every night.

I want His strength to meet me as soon as my alarm goes off so I can wake up at 5am to have my quiet time and exercise before the kids wake up.

I want His strength to help me reassure Ivan that it is okay when he has an accident and I want that strength to miraculously make cleaning up my seven year old's pee a delight to my heart.

But what I have found is that the strength I NEED often looks like humbling myself to my two year old and admitting that mama was wrong when she yelled at him, asking for His forgiveness, and praying with him so that he grows up knowing where true strength comes from.

The strength I NEED often looks like taking a nap with the kids and letting the dishes and laundry pile up another day.

Lately the strength I have NEEDED has been Ryan bringing home fast food for an effortless dinner.

The strength I NEED often looks like only getting half my Bible study complete each day because I snoozed my alarm and now the kids are awake and our schedule is full.

The strength I NEED often looks like realizing I have some real ugly selfishness dwelling inside of me because I can get so easily angered over the accidents of my children.

Is it okay to admit those things? Is it okay to believe that God would call imperfect people to parent His amazing children?

Like I said, this past month has been HARD. I have struggled with feeling like we were just faking it. We aren't the perfect parents everyone thinks we are so maybe we're fooling ourselves. Maybe we heard God wrong. If we're messing things up with the two kids we have, how will we handle two more?

Then last week a stranger brought us a meal one night and told us that God wanted us to know that He loves what we're doing and He's so proud of us. Then she gave us a check for $500.

The money was an incredible blessing, but her words meant even more.

She had no idea how much I needed to hear them, but God did.

The God who sees when I lose it with Landon or struggle with Ivan. The God who sees me break down on an almost daily basis, the God who sees the ugly selfishness in my heart, is still pleased with us.

The God who doesn't just read my blog or watch our little news report, but whose Spirit lives within our home, is proud of us.

How can this be? Doesn't He see us blowing it... why us?

Maybe because we realize our weakness.

Maybe because He knows I hate life on His rightful pedestal.

Maybe because He knows our hearts and how deep our humanly imperfect love is and He can work with it.

Ya know, I don't know why He has chosen us for this life, but I want you to know that He's chosen you for a crazy life too. It just takes letting go...

letting go of what you think happiness looks like...

embracing your mistakes and realizing that God loves you right where you are.

We make a huge mistake when we continue to wait for the strength we feel is necessary to do what God is calling us to do.

Maybe that is why so few of those who call themselves Christians are living lives that resemble Christ. We keep waiting for the strength we want when God just wants us at our weakest.

I haven't said all of this so that you never encourage us again, but I just want to give glory where glory is due.

Because you see, I'm just like you fellow mama :)

I may not live within your walls, but I know that you probably feel like you're blowing it a lot as well.

I believe that God wanted me to humble myself and write this post so that I could pass on the encouragement.

He knows where you stumble

He knows how your children can drive you to do things you regret.

He knows how weak and insignificant you feel...

and He wants you to know that He loves what you're doing and He is so very proud of you.

Let's let that truth free us to embrace our weakness for only then is his power made perfect in us.