I was going to write about how Xander just dumped half of a chocolate cake off of my bed (yeah, don't ask why it was on my bed in the first place) and onto my floor/comforter/pillow and how Elli found reason to have 3 baths today and how as I went to open the spaghetti tonight found that it had already been opened on the other end and therefore spilled all over the kitchen floor.
But instead I think I'll write about what's really on my mind.
Earlier this year, as our Father in Heaven opened our hearts up to beautiful Cali, and soon after to sweet Conner, I found myself wrestling with so many questions. They all had the same general theme: “HOW IN THE WORLD ARE WE GOING TO DO THIS?” I’m actually getting teary just writing this, thinking of the struggle of that decision. The questions that flood my heart each time we add another child to our family are real and legitimate and good questions to ask. They should be weighed heavily, and discussed, and prayed about. They are important questions that I believe God wants us to ask. In case you are wondering what questions I am talking about, I mentioned many of them here.
It is such a big, heavy decision. But in the end, though asking these questions is of great importance and can help us in that decision, IN THE END, it comes down to what our Heavenly Father wants for us. Sometimes the answer is no, sometimes it is yes, and sometimes it is, “Up to you, darling! Have fun deciding!” (I personally don't always like that last one.)
In our case, each time we have pursued adoption, I have come to know that it is exactly what the Lord wants us to do. I am so extremely grateful for this knowledge. It has been so important as we go through the ups and downs and highs and lows that each new child brings to our family. Knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are to pursue adopting each child is of infinite worth to me. The weight that is so heavy as we prayerfully consider these children is immediately lifted when we receive that “yes” answer and accept it. (And by the way, in case you are wondering, we have received "no" answers concerning adoption as well.)
And so, as we moved forward with Cali’s and Conner’s adoptions, I let go of the things that I had worried about as we sought answers from our Heavenly Father as to whether or not to adopt.
One of those things was (no surprise here…) having a bigger home. I stopped worrying about how we would accommodate our new additions and how Cali would get along in a wheelchair here because I knew that it was right to adopt her. I felt so much peace as I realized that Cali was infinitely better off here, in a home that isn’t equipped for a wheelchair and where we are a tight fit, than in an orphanage without a family. That realization took a huge weight off my shoulders. Getting a new home was NOT paramount to adopting her. Happy dance!!!!!
Still (sheepish smile), I wanted a new home. (; And we decided that it was a good thing to pray for—one that we felt would be the best thing for our children and bless our family in very life-changing ways.
Let me tell you what I hoped would happen with those prayers. (: I hoped that God would basically just drop down a home out of the sky and have it land on our property. I’m not really kidding here. I wanted it to be that easy. I wanted Jeremy’s side business to take off in a way that we would make like, a million dollars this year and could build our dream home. Yes… that would be very ideal!
When we made our Dynamite video, we made it with the sole intention of having a fun way to share our news with family and friends. I was the one who wrote the line, “Need some room for two more chairs—wish that we knew some millionaires.” It was of course, meant to be funny, but I will admit that after I wrote it, I had the fun thought of, “Oh, and by the way, God, that would be an acceptable way to get a house too! Just give us a millionaire. Perfect.” (:
Those are the ways I had HOPED that we would perhaps find ourselves getting a new home.
As it turns out, you don’t always get to set your own terms when it comes to prayer requests…
Heavenly Father decided that He would do things His own way. And HIS way is not at all MY way!!!!! My way is NOT to have a bunch of busy, wonderful mothers who have a thousand other things to do decide to put hours and hours into serving our family. My way is NOT to have PayPal buttons and requests for donations. Seriously—UGH! My way is NOT to have people who have less money than us sacrifice to build us a great big home. My way is NOT to hear of one of Graci’s friends saving up money to buy a puzzle piece (made me cry humble tears). My way is NOT to write facebook and blog posts letting people know that “Hey! Have you heard there is a fundraiser to raise money for ME?!” Hello-- embarrassing! My way is not to set up a twitter account with the sole purpose of tracking down my kids’ favorite celebrities and sheepishly asking them to tweet. My way is NOT to have a tree set up with our pictures on it at community events asking people to learn more about our family. My way is NOT to be public with this whole new house thing.
Yes, He decided to humble me.
See, I have usually been on the giving end when it comes to money. We have been blessed to always have enough to share. We have been the ones sending money to other families who are adopting. We have been the ones sending anonymous envelopes. And because we were never in a position of wondering if we would be able to pay the bills, it was FUN and many times easy to share our financial blessings. It still is! We are not in a desperate financial situation in any way—we just don’t have the ability to build a home right now. Still, we are tremendously blessed financially and like being on that “giving” end of things. (:
I have found that being on this “receiving” end is actually very hard. PLEASE don’t think I’m complaining—I am so grateful! But saying, “Thank you—it means so much!” and accepting help is much harder for me than saying, “Thanks, but we’re fine!” And over and over and over in the past few months I have had to do just that--say, “Thank you,” and accept. “Thank you” to those wonderful people on the Puzzle Them Home committee who are selflessly giving of their time and talent. “Thank you” to those who are sharing our story. “Thank you” to those who have so generously donated financially to the cause. Knowing that this is the type of service I can NEVER pay back is just plain hard!
But I have learned a few lessons. (Perhaps that’s why the house didn’t fall from the sky!)
I have learned that service unifies people in a beautiful way. These sweet women who have sat around a kitchen table with me numerous times over the last few months have become so dear to me. I simply LOVE them. Not even because of what they are doing, but because I have gotten to know their hearts and they are just beautiful people. We have found unity in our purpose of providing a wonderful home for these wonderful kids. I have developed a love for them and their families that I can’t express, and friendship that will last forever.
I have learned about cheerful giving. So many people act like this is the most wonderful thing to be able to serve our family. (: It is easier to accept help when people give it so sweetly and graciously. I am committed to becoming more like them.
I have learned that it is ok to ask for help. (Ok, maybe I am learning…) When Jeremy and I wrote emails to some people on our contact list let them know about the fundraiser, it was seriously so hard to actually push the send button. It took us several minutes of just sitting there. We had to come to terms with the fact that it would take many people to accomplish this great task. That we can’t always do things on our own…
I have learned that I need to let go of worrying about what others may think. There have been a couple of comments on Facebook that were along the lines of, “Well, if these people can’t meet the needs of the kids on their own then why should they be adopting more?” A fair question, for sure! I was glad for the opportunity to explain that we can meet their needs—that it would just be much easier in a home that was custom to them. But then I became very preoccupied with thinking, “Is that what EVERYONE thinks of us? How many others are questioning why we are adopting and why this fundraiser is happening? What other questions are being asked? Are people going to start scrutinizing how we spend our money now that there is a fundraiser going on? Are people’s views of us going to change?” and the list goes on… These thoughts have done nothing good for me. They just occupy time that I should be spending doing good things. So I am trying hard to let go and think more about what God thinks.
I have learned to trust the Spirit. When Chrissy first called me to ask if she could do a fundraiser for us, I felt absolutely enveloped by the Holy Ghost. I felt a confirmation right there and then that the Lord was answering our prayers. He knows better than anyone what this would mean to us. I have reminded myself of that when I get overwhelmed or discouraged or embarrassed about the whole thing.
I have learned that I need to stop relying on myself to bless the efforts of those serving us, and rely instead on our Heavenly Father. It is easy when someone babysits your kids to turn around and babysit theirs. I obviously can’t build homes for everyone that is helping build one for us! (: I feel very humble and insignificant when I can only say “thanks.” I have to remind myself that the Lord sees the efforts made in our behalf, and that He can bless them far better than I can.
I have learned that our Heavenly Father has such a perfect love for His children that He will let them feel uncomfortable and awkward for awhile if it means bringing them closer to Him and being able to bless them in beautiful ways.
I have learned that it is therefore ok for me to humbly ask you wonderful readers if you would consider spreading the word if you haven’t already. That if you happen to have some extra time on your hands and are just perusing the internet, you would consider tracking down some of these very elusive celebrities (; or any others who have the capability of reaching a large number of people!
See… I just did it! I asked a big favor and I am still breathing. I’m even smiling. (:
Even though all I can say is, “thank you.”