a little and a lot

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Same Woman, Different Mother

Last Wednesday marked 7 months since we were ready to be put on our agency's wait list...
6 months since we were told it would be 1-5 more months...
10 months since our dossier was accepted...
13 months since we began our home study...
23 months since we started intentionally saving for our adoption...
31 months since we made the decision to adopt our first child...

A year ago, I was excited about preparing to be a mother.
Six months ago, I was starting to feel more and more like an expectant mother.
Three months ago, I expected to be home with our child.

Five months ago, my husband gave me the most wonderful Mother's Day gift possible. At first, I was a tiny bit bummed. I was expecting a beautiful piece of jewelry or some perfume. (I had been enamored with an Etsy shop that sold necklaces in the shapes of Africa & Ethiopia. I had also been seeking "my perfect scent" that my future child would know "smelled like me.") But no jewelry. No perfume. No breakfast in bed. (Although, I did get some Beauty Shop brunch, which in my opinion is better!)

Instead, I got this...
The Bible I received at my high school graduation was so "loved" that it had duct tape around the spine and "Jesse Maddox" imprinted on the cover. Nick had it rebound to restore it to perfect condition, and he had my new name printed on the front. I thought it was sweet.

Sweet...but for Mother's Day? However, this gift became "The Perfect Mother's Day Gift" (TPMDG) in the months that followed...in the months that this mother-to-be waited. I thought I was as ready as I could be. I had read the books. Gone to the conferences. Subscribed to the email lists. We bought the crib. Assembled the crib. Planned the bedding. Made the bedding. Sewed the curtains. Painted the nursery. Replaced the baseboards. Bought the glider. Assembled the glider. Recovered the glider. Arranged the furniture. We did all of this with painstaking distance between each event, so as not to rush the process. So as not to become impatient. So as not to become "those people" who are all ready and sitting around twiddling their thumbs...and worse, whining about it.

And yet, the waiting.

My morning coffee with the Lord became not just "nice." It became imperative. "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." "Give us this day our daily bread." Plain-speak: I relied upon God's Word to sustain me each day. Correction: I RELY upon God's Word to sustain me each day.

Have you ever waited for something?

Maybe you've never adopted. But...maybe you waited to grow up. Or maybe you waited to fall in love. Or to find the right job. Or to quit the wrong job. Or to get pregnant. Or to deliver your baby whenever he/she was ready to arrive. Or for your child to grow out of a particularly trying era of life.

(Um, what part of a child's life is NOT particularly trying? I'm just sayin'...)

Life = waiting.

I've been given this unexpected blessing. 9 months. That's the normal allotment a mother-to-be is given to wait. (Don't ask me about weeks--those confuse me!) I have many friends that have gone right up to their due date...and past. And they are miserable. And wondering. And trying anything possible to speed up their unknown short-term wait.

(I am NOT judging that. It looks miserable to be 9 full months pregnant--my heart waits anxiously along with these friends!)

But what if you got pregnant. And your due date came. And went. And you were still pregnant 1, 2, 3, 4 months later...with no certainty of when that baby would be delivered? Yeah, you're going crazy in your mind, right?

It doesn't sound like a blessing. But it is.

I didn't realize that training for a marathon two years ago would prepare me for this wait. I often joke (in full seriousness) that training for a marathon is all about teaching your body how to suffer. I like to run, but do you think anyone LIKES running 26.2 miles? No! It sucks! I basically trained my body how to suffer...how to painfully WAIT for 26.2 miles until I got to the finish. But it is amazing. And the feeling of finishing that type of challenge, of "summiting that mountain" per say, is unmatched.

Waiting can feel like suffering.

The Best Mother's Day Gift Ever allowed me to become a different mother. Yes, I was prepared and excited and ready for the challenge of parenthood (as much as I could be!)...months ago. But in these extra "overdue" months, I have learned a lesson that has transformed the way I will approach parenting (and LIFE).

Life = waiting. And waiting is suffering. Which requires a deep peace and supernatural patience. And I don't have what it takes to provide that for myself.

I don't. I really don't.

Jesus said,
"I am the way,
the truth,
and the life..."
(John 14:6)

I have found in these overdue months (with the help of my BMDGE) that the Lord is the only Way to anything...the only Truth about anything...and He. IS. LIFE.

He is the only way to live life.

And so on days like today...Friday...the "Monday" of the adoption world (last day for referral possibilities until the work week begins again on Monday...ugh, FRIDAYS)...I feel blue. I feel hopeless. I feel whiny. I feel jealous. I feel bitter. I feel regretful. I feel tired.

And I sit before the Lord with my morning coffee and my BMDGE...and I wait.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the EVERLASTING God...
He WILL NOT grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives STRENGTH to the weary
and increases the POWER of the weak...
Those who hope in the Lord will
(Isaiah 40:28-31)

Only God can renew my strength.
Only God can give me peace for today that overcomes my stress.
Only God can give me patience for today that overcomes a 31-month-and-counting journey to becoming a parent.
Only God can give me hope that overcomes repeated disappointment and false expectations.
Only God.

And that is why I am a different mother before ever stepping foot into the world of diapers, sleepless nights, colic, spit-up, and "mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy..."

Because I know I am not cut out for that.
But the Spirit of God inside me is.

"May the God of HOPE
so that you may OVERFLOW WITH HOPE
(Romans 15:13...My "Daily Bread" verse.)


McKinney Madness said...

I love you girl, and can't imagine how pain-staking it is to wait for so long for something you want so badly. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have no doubt you will make one amazing mother.

The Strahan Family said...

Jesse - In this very moment you have truly convicted me, challenged me and comforted me. Thank you for sharing what you are learning with the rest of us. I pray that your days of waiting end soon!

L said...

i got chills reading this. good message, my friend, thanks for sharing.

praise that our God is a God who fills us just when we need it! i pray He continues to be your source during this waiting period...and that you can keep seeing the ways that He is working things out. may His timing be perfect.

love you!

Jennifer said...

I understand. I hated 5 p.m. each weekday and Fridays were the worst. However, one of these days it will all be behind you. This past Friday, around 2:30, I gave up hope and went to the grocery store.. sick of being glued to the phone.. and then the call came. It will come. Everyone says when it comes, you forget about the wait. I agree. I can't imagine a more perfect referral. Now, I am glad for a social worker that wanted l0 weeks to write a few pages, and for a local CIS that seemed clueless.....

WendyLou said...

I spy with my little eye the Faris family over here ... http://brookeray.blogspot.com/2009/11/good-food-and-hard-questions.html

Good post, too! I'd love to hear more about the waiting part of this journey, as we are just about to start our wait :)

Jennifer said...

I keep checking your blog to see if you have your referral. Hoping you hear soon!

Kristy said...

Jesse, this is a beautiful post. I printed it and put it in my letter book. It is beautiful and you are beautiful, and your CHILD will be completely beautiful. Praying for your bulging spirit. Love you.

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