a work in progress

A wonderful, beautiful friend of mine posted on her Facebook account that her daughter had been selected for an amazing honor.  Her daughter was chosen as the Ace National All Star.

Photo: 2013 Ace National All Star!!!

Isn’t she beautiful?  Ace could not have picked a better person for this position.  I’ve had the honor of knowing this amazing girl, Ellie,  and her mother since she was just weeks old, and she is destined to bring hope and inspiration to many.

And you want to know how I felt when I read the post?  I was jealous.  I was sad.  I felt like a failure as a mom.

You see, Ellie has spina bifida just like my daughter does.  Ellie’s mom and I have been the dearest of friends since the nurses at Northwestern introduced us, and our daughters adore one another.  God handed me a true sister for this life, when he gave me her, and I could not get through the struggles of having a kid with special needs without her.  We have cried, laughed, prayed, drank over the past 8 years together and I love her so much.

But I wasn’t able to be happy for her daughter at that moment.

I was so sad.  I just sort of felt like Faye already has a list of things that she will do differently than other kids, and now here was something that she could have had, but didn’t.

I was so jealous.  I wanted to scream “Look at my kid.  She’s special too!”

And I kept thinking that although this honor would be a burden for me, and  I would not enjoy the responsibility of it at all, I couldn’t help but wonder if I wasn’t selling Faye short.  If I wasn’t her mom, would someone else have given her this chance that I couldn’t?

I will acknowledge that we were a week shy of going into the hospital for major surgery, and I do get a full on basket of crazy going before surgery, but it wasn’t just that.

It was, as my husband put it…

“ohhh, somebody has got a little bit a ugly on the inside right now.”

(it was said with a smile…..)

I am a work in progress.  Jesus still in the process of showing me my weaknesses and doing some transformation.  Sometimes, out of NO WHERE, this burst of ugly just rises up and overtakes.  I am flesh.  I am human.  I cannot always resisit, but I can continue to ask Jesus to change me.

These are the things I know, because He has shown me, in my heart, that they are true:

I was created to be Faye’s mom.  Faye was created to fulfill her own destiny, not another’s.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,

which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Jealousy is a human emotion.  It happens when we are merely acting like, well, humans.

For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among  you,

are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

Jesus can remove the ill-will inside me and allow the truth in my heart to be revealed.

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;

the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

My heart knows truth, and I just need to listen.  Then I need to tell my brain…

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,

that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I actually am happy for Ellie.  Really. She deserves it. And that is what I need to think about.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,

whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

My emotions were never really about my friends.  Ellie’s award just gave an opening for a few of my issues to rise on up to the surface.  Which is wonderful.  Because we can’t fix things that are hidden and denied.

I’m better.  I was reminded of so many truths in the past few weeks.

Now I just need to post them all on my wall for the next time I find myself filled with a little bit of ugly.  Because folks, I am after all, only human.

 

Here’s a New Year’s Resolution We Can All Keep…..

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  I’ll just let you know that up front. 

I am fully aware that I can’t do anything for 12 months.  I’m just not a follow-througher you could say. 

I have beautifully chronicled scrapbooks for the first year of 2 and 1/2 of my 4 children.

When my babies were born and people would ask “How long are you planning on breast-feeding?”  I would always respond with “Through the end of the day.”  That was as far as I could guarantee without my stress meter hitting the roof.

My children do not get Advent Calender at Christmas.  Seriously people, 25 days IN A ROW I’m supposed to remember to open that little box of candy.  I tried.  Doesn’t happen.

Instead of dieting, I just eat what I want and if I happen to achieve an actually healthy day or go to the gym, I consider myself a cheater on my normal diet.  Makes me a winner almost every day!

So why this year?

It all started when my friend sent me this link to Tenth Avenue North’s new song Worn

Sometimes my soul feels crushed by the weight of this world.  More people today are slaves than at any other time in history, we have a record amount of parentless children, funerals were beginning for beautiful children out east, my second daughter was having a moment of deep grief over her disability, crying out in sorrow, and my oldest had “failed” at one more thing in her life and she was feeling hopeless, begging me to get her out of the challenge that was ahead of her. 

I’m worn.

I know I need to life my eyes up, but I’m too weak, life just won’t let up

and I know that You can give me rest

so I cry out with all that I have left…

Let me see redemption win

Let me know the struggles end

I want to know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life

And all that’s dead inside can be reborn

Then I saw the sun come up one morning on our road trip down south.  And it gave me such hope.  Not just for me, because my life has so much joy in it so often, but for all those who right now feel broken and hurt. For all the unknown people and children that I read about and pray about every day.   I  realized the only way for redemption to win is for this world to find love.

So here is my New Year’s Resolution

Help Love Win

It isn’t always as easy as it sounds, but it will change the world around me.

What will I do?

Small things: smile at strangers more, children especially so they know that there is love and safety in this world.  Listen better.  Hold someone’s door.  Put love out into the world through the things I do and say.

I will ask strangers how their day is, and really intend to listen. 

I will babysit a young mother’s children.

I will check in on my friends that I have not checked in on in some time.

I will remind one child that she is far more than her disability.

I will help another daughter overcome her challenges instead of just removing them for her.

I will kiss my husband more and thank him for who he is.

I will host a child from Safe Families, expect nothing in return, and love on that child for as long as I have him/her in my home.

I will write to Emebet and Eshetu, my Compassion International kids because my letters are the only mail they get and someone on the other side of the world can and does love them.

Instead of comparing myself to other women I will rejoice in their achievements.

I will make one young girl a child with parents this year.

I will love, to the best of my abilities and in ways that I can’t even imagine.  And I will not feel worn any longer, because putting out love makes a person feel love on the inside.

Life isn’t easy.  But love makes it worth living.  Love heals wounds.  Love changes lives.

If you haven’t made a resolution yet, join in on mine.  Looking through the lens of Love, I can see redemption win.

my first retraction

So I’ve only been blogging for a few months and here comes my first retraction.

On January 2nd the information that I could find stated that the adoption tax credit was not renewed, but I have now come to find out that it actually was.

Here is a statement from the National Council for Adoption

“While I certainly cannot speak for the entire ‘Fiscal Cliff’ bill that was signed into law by President Obama, the portion pertaining to the adoption tax credit was a huge victory for vulnerable children around the world and those American families called to provide them families. This piece of the legislation was organized by a truly grassroots campaign aimed at simply extending the adoption tax credit. The measure to make it permanent assures that foster children, orphans, and vulnerable children will have one barrier to a home, finances, alleviated.” 

My happiness is overwhelming. 

I am so pleased with our government and our president at this moment.

I feel so much hope right now for the future. 

If you’ve considered adoption and the financial piece is something that has held you back, it is now time for you to take another look. 

 

 

an unhappy new year for those without a voice

I am troubled over the recent blows to the orphans in this world. 

First, Vladimir Putin decides that he has a new dislike for Americans and in a rash decision, made in less than 24 hours, he bans adoptions to any American, even those who are already in the end stage.  Over 50 children were in the final preparations to join their new American families and now those hopes and dreams of a future family have been taken away.  Did Putin deliver that news to those children personally?  Did he bother to find them some professional counseling as those beautiful children were yet handed one more disappointment?  Did he promise them a mom and dad from another country?  Did anyone do anything for those 50 breaking hearts? 

Putin’s decision was in response to a U.S. law targeting Russians deemed to be human-rights violators.  Sounds like a school yard fight where only the vulnerable lose.  

 Not everyone in Russia agreed with Putin’s decision. In fact, some top Russian officials, including the foreign minister, openly opposed the bill.  Maybe there will be hope for a change in the future.

Secondly, in all this tax mess, many tax credits were not renewed, including the adoption tax credit.  2012 provided a little over $12,000 to families in a tax credit to help recover the excessive cost of adopting.  An international adoption costs anywhere from $24,000 to $30,000 and a domestic adoption costs $17-20,000.  The tax credit not only motivated families to begin an adoption, but a number of people have gone back for another child once they received the tax credit. 

There were some huge tax issues at the end of 2012 that would have impacted the entire country.  Something needed to be done to help America and congress had a lot to agree upon.  But congress managed to extend the wind energy tax credit for another year in the fiscal cliff deal that passed yesterday……and although that is something I do value, I just can’t help but notice that an industry with lobbyists and political influence can manage to get their agenda passed, but the parentless don’t seem to have any lobbyists advocating for them. 

My heart hurts for the least of these.  For those without a voice.  For those that society chooses to leave behind.  And for the parents who want these children so badly but can’t find the resources to get them.

It is not a happy new year for everyone.