Yesterday was my parents’ 38th wedding anniversary, meaning they’ve been together, roughly, 40 years. Pretty amazing considering that my mom hasn’t yet reached her mid 50s. =D
Yet, she has some wisdom. Do you know what it was that she said to me last night as I reminisced about the chaos of our families this year? “This Is Life.”
This year has really been spectacular. Most families go through this, I realize, it just feels like EVERY year is like this. New struggles, new challenges to face. Yet, in the midst of ALL of them, we are graced with amazing gifts – often though, we don’t see them that way – or don’t celebrate them as such. This year we have had a LOT of celebrations, big ones, to pull us through the kind of heavy, hard times.
I initially thought I’d write a post with a list of all the crazy, horrible (yes, horrible) things that have happened to our family this year. Concussions, near drownings, houses burned to the ground (and that is just the beginning), but really, what truly stands out:
Our children are OURS. June 29th, 2011 Sabrina, Sean and Savannah became McAllisters. We only have 2 more months until the finalization paperwork can be filed. A LONG wait for this (remember, we started working on the adoption 2 weeks after we found out we were pregnant with Claire – in 2008). We HAVE settled on middle names (finally, I think) and Sabrina has chosen GRACE as her first middle name (still wondering about a second). Savannah’s is HOPE. And, Sean, well, for two years when we asked him what he wanted to change his middle name to (his old middle name was pronounced “scaredy” as in scaredy cat) he answered Alex Burrows – so choosing Alexander PROTECTOR OF MANKIND (also a Greek name) was easy, for not only is he innately attuned to JUSTICE and FAIRNESS, he is a vigilant jedi knight with wicked sword/saber skills.
Then, less than a month after this JOYOUS addition to our family, we discovered we were adding ANOTHER child to the mix! Shocked, sick to my stomach, already not able to button my pants, worried about the size of our minivan, and yet JOYFUL that God had chosen us to bestow another miracle life. (Um, so much for infertility!) Due date – April Fools 2012. And yes, we already have a name picked, but we are waiting until we are “more” absolutely certain of the gender before announcing on the world wide web.
Then there are the people who have come into our lives this year to bless our family (and these are the NEW people in our lives) Goldean – our amazing Key Worker who just sat for two hours with me writing for a grant for OT and therapeutic supplies for our children; Wendy, Dianne, Rosemary & Teresa – the teachers and SEAs at the children’s school who are IN LOVE with the kids and are supportive of our family and our “extra needs.” They are working SO HARD to make the children successful in the classroom, but even more, to help them be successful at home by adding extra “heavy” activity to their daily schedules; Twitter – all the MYM and blogging mommas who help keep me inspired and focused on family and Jesus day in and out; Doctors, Therapists, Specialists that “get” what parenting children with ADHD and FASD is like, and how taxing it can be on a parent, let alone a parent with health issues.
We are grateful to our families, our parents and siblings (and in-laws and cousins-in-law) who have come to our rescue on a zillion occasions. To the support workers, counselors, social workers who have become more than their professional titles in our lives and become friends (even on facebook and Scrabble). I’m SO grateful for our church body, Uptown, and their generous love and support in giving to us, when right now we don’t have much time or money to offer back in service. For my Double Doubles and their amazing support through the last (gasp) 9 years of internet-friendship, and being an “ear” to vent to, and for the support you send in your words, and notes, prayers and well, maternity belts. For so much more, but it’s amazing as you start to count your blessings, the overwhelming troubles aren’t so overwhelming.
I am so excited that the Hide His Word in Our Hearts team has chosen Romans 8 for the memorization for next month. Because, like mom says, “Life is hard, this is Life” and we DO have an amazing intercessor on our side…
22 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs.23 These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.24 That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us.25 But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
27 He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.28 That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
38 I’m absolutely convinced that nothing-nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow,39 high or low, thinkable or unthinkable-absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
I am ever so grateful that even in my pregnant state (and yes, I struggled with infertility for 6+ years) and on bed rest (possibly for 5 more months) that I have the PROMISE of God’s Spirit Groaning with me – and the Saints groaning with me. I don’t know why the groaning is so appropriate in this circumstance, but for me it is. And this IS LIFE. I would love an “easy” year with no moves or injuries, houses burning down or deaths, but this IS LIFE – and how I choose to respond in these circumstances tells a story about my character, and this time, I’m TRYING to choose THANKSGIVING instead of the alternative “woe is me.”
Back to Philippians 4 (again from The Message)
6 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.7 Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
So Mom, thank you for not letting me think that the Christian Life would be “easier.” And for always reminding me that God would not give us more than we can bear (even if it does make me think I’m stronger than I’d like to be). And that I know where my strength comes from (man, I could quote 18 verses off the top of my head for these 3 sentences). Thank you for raising me in faith Mom & Dad. May I learn to be such a parent as you.