Last summer my family took a vacation to Glen Arbor Michigan. We went with my parents and both my sisters’ families. Glen Arbor is a beautiful place. We stay in a house that is a short walk from the beach. There is a nice town with shops. There are walking trails, sand dunes, shops, beaches, etc… all there. Yet I was unable to really enjoy it. In fact, frankly, I was glad when vacation was over.
Summer vacations have become a time when my Dad decides to update family pictures. He pays for a photographer and we spend a morning taking pictures of all our families. It is this especially that gives me a painful feeling. Despite all the joy most people experience during vacation, despite being surrounded by a great deal of natural beauty, despite being surrounded by people I love, I have something missing- and I feel pain.
Every click accompanied by a fake smile is a constant reminder to me that my family is incomplete. There is a vacancy in our family and I am completely powerless to fix it. Every picture taken is a reminder that my son Chiza is still not here. I am unable to hold him, unable to kiss him, unable to comfort him. Unable to tell him his daddy is here and will protect and love him.
With the Christmas season here these feelings increase again- another holiday coming and going without my son. An endless amount of family memories lost in waiting. I think emotional pain is one of the hardest feelings. I would take the physical pain of a dozen broken bones any day over the emotional pain of feeling helpless in the hope of uniting our family together. It is like a knife jammed into my stomach and being twirled around and around with no hope of it being removed.
I want to be clear in this blog. Yes, I feel pain over not having my son. Yes, sometimes I feel great anxiety, stress, and exhaustion over it. Yes, I feel helpless and powerless many times. The reality is I am helpless and powerless. BUT, although I feel these things many days- the truths I know carry me through all of it. The truth that I know a God who is with me at all times. I know a God that not only loves me so deeply, but loves Chiza deeply too. I know a God that is all powerful, all knowing, and always with me. I know a God that despite my ugliness, brokenness, and mess of a life, searched for me and transformed my heart. These are the truths I cling to. These are the truths that provide me comfort in a man driven, sinful world.
Ashley said something last week that stuck with me:
“I just read through the story of when Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and told him Elizabeth would have a son. Then I read through my devotion. It said ‘it’s the audacity to believe that His promises apply to us. The living God has given you a story and a voice to speak of Him may your lips and your lives tell the story for the rest of your days.’
It took me back to the day I was cleaning the shower and I felt God telling me it was time to let go and sell the house…and what is He doing? He brought a buyer…and I have doubted that day since I felt God telling me to let go. Like did God really speak that way to my heart? Why do I doubt?
And then again when I worked at Panera Bread…over and over again I saw signs for Benchmark adoption and foster services. I remember texting you asking if we should do something like that…then years later God laid adoption on my heart again…and here we are with a precious little boy in Congo.
I have doubted the last year that Chiza would ever make it into our arms here in the US…and last week we got his passport…and soon we will get a visa. I doubt and I doubt…but yet He still loves me and He still works through this broken beaten up 28 year old girl who has nothing together and fears she has every disease known to man.
I am just overwhelmed that even in my doubt and my fears He still chooses to love me and show me glimpses of his beauty.”
Our God is sovereign. The truth of this is some of the most assuring and satisfactory truth ever. No matter the pain, heartache, suffering, of life- God is in control. Looking back at so many things in my life, even the ugly, painful experiences, I can see God’s work- and it is a thing of absolute awe and beauty. I wasn’t sure my intent for this blog, I just starting writing…but at the closure of it I am confident of one thing I most want. More than success, more than comfort, even more than desiring for a united family- more than all these things- I long to be in the presence of His Glory. I long to see His face. I know one day I will. It doesn’t get more comforting than that.