Thursday, June 10, 2010
I've wanted to write this post for a while, but there was a part of me that wanted to hide it because I felt some shame about it. I hope you'll get that as you read. Just know that I've spent hours in prayer about what I want to say here, and I hope that you'll hear my heart. More importantly, I hope you'll hear my Father's heart.
We brought Ellie home 10 months ago. We actually met her 10 months ago today. My life has not been the same since. Before meeting her face to face, God was already changing me from the inside out. But seeing her face to face, and holding her tiny body in my arms did something I can't explain. It was very much like what He did in me when I held Bryan for the first time.
Many people have asked me over the past 10 months if I can imagine life without Ellie here. For a long time, I felt ashamed to say "yes". But if I tell the truth, I CAN still imagine life without her here. I didn't say that I liked what I imagined, but perhaps not for the reasons you think. Most people ask that, thinking that my answers will be all about me not being with her, me not having her to hold, me not having the little girl I've always wanted.
I don't like to imagine life without Ellie here because I wonder if she would still be sitting in that orphanage too scared to talk, not playing, not singing, just existing. I wonder if she'd still be living, carrying the five parasites and perhaps even more by now in her already-too-thin body. I wonder if she'd feel the despair of loneliness or if she'd be able to recognize that is what she was feeling. I wonder if she'd still be battling the memories of her past alone, or if she would ever find someone there in Ethiopia that she trusted enough to tell her story to. I wonder if her eyes would still be deep and endless with uncertainty like we saw in so many pictures of her.
Yes, I do wonder what I would do without having to pick up hundreds of hair beads every day that the cat loves to play with. I do wonder what I ever did with all of my spare time before she was with us. I wonder what I did with all of this extra love that was inside of me. I wonder what it would be like to still ask for a table for 3. But all of those latter "wonderings" are just selfish- all about me and my desires. And well, I don't want to be a selfish person anymore. Period.
Some have been surprised by my answer of "yes, I can imagine not having her here". For a long time, I simply said "no, I can't" and left it at that. But that wasn't true. I have tried to explain it to people, but I have failed miserably, leaving them thinking that I haven't bonded with Ellie or that I don't love her.
To be honest, I have felt like I haven't bonded with her, and I've even shamed myself at times into thinking that there was something wrong with me because of how I've felt. I mean, what kind of mom says that they can imagine not having their child??? What in the heck is wrong with me, right??????
I promise this is going somewhere... stick with me.
I've been listening to a sermon series by David Platt called the Radical series. I highly recommend it. One of the scripture passages that I've been studying along with him is from Luke 14:25-35. In verse 26, Jesus says "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sister- yes, even his own life- he cannot be my disciple". Folks, that is RADICAL talk!! HATE our parents, our children, ourselves??
This seems contradictory to what the Bible says in other places, when it tells us to Love one another. And for the record, No... God does not want us to hate our family. But.... When that love for others in our lives is compared to our love for God, it should be so much less that it looks like hate.
And so, I get (finally) to my point.
When Bryan was 3, we learned that we could not have other children. In fact, we lost 4 to miscarriage. I was heartbroken, to say the least. But instead of leaning on God, I leaned on Bryan. It was wrong, and I have confessed that. I'm telling you that I worshipped that child, not God. I told myself that if I could only have Bryan as a child, then he was going to have everything from me, and he did. I didn't necessarily give in and buy everything for him, but he got the best of me and my time- over Jeff, over family, over work, and yes, over God. And it was wrong. Dead wrong.
God has revealed to me that I am learning, and I an changing. I am finally at a place where God is indeed GOD alone. Jeff is not in that place. Bryan is not. And Ellie is not either. My feelings for her are deep and beautiful and full of love that I never knew I could feel. Yet, I do not worship her. I've been feeling as if I were messed up because I wasn't feeling for her like I felt for Bryan at that age. But the truth is that I didn't need to feel for her what I felt for him then. That was wrong, and I'm trying so hard to be a follower of Jesus, not the world. I'm becoming radical. It started when we said "yes" to God's call to adopt, and yet it reaches far beyond Ellie into the very depths of who I am, who I was made to be in Christ.
I hope that when people think of me, they think "now there's a girl that loves her husband and her children". But mostly, I hope that they think, "Now there is a girl that loves her Lord, Radically".
How about you?? Are you radical too?