Living A Dream

 

“You realize, this is everything I ever wanted.”

My husband said those words.
We were sitting outside on our back porch swing in the late evening light.
To any passerby, we were relaxing in silence together.
In reality, we were sitting in weariness after a very long, very hard, very draining day.
Big things were happening in our family. Very good big things. But big things create ripples and waves that bring undercurrets of loss and confusion to our children. The repurcussions of which we had been seeing poured out all day long.

My eyes filled with tears at his words. In an instant, my mind began to retrace our lives over the past years together. We had done so much in our short time as a married couple, but all I could see were the whitecapped waves of every storm.
I could outline the pathway of struggle and pain etched into our family, our house, and our faces.
Cramming so much life into such short years had definitley left it’s mark.

The pain. The sickness. The infertility. The never-ending doctor’s appointments. The terrifying days. The long, tearful conversations. The final decisions that would change our family’s life forever.
The journey in foster care. The paperwork. The reality that our home and our lives are never really our own but are subject to observation at any moment. The countless hours spent makeing appointments, sitting in court, reading reports, and talking on the phone.
Our marriage. And it’s deep dip into struggle. The heavy weights surrounding us pushing in between us instead of forcing us together.
The children. All the beautiful, precious children that have walked into our hearts and lives. And walked back out. Their little footprints stamped in our hearts for eternity. The heartbreak. The loss. The tears and anger, fear and letting go.
The havoc wreaked on our home. Not just from all the children currently living in it. But the steady stream of in and out has brought with it chaos. Chaos reflected in our strength and emotions, piles and stuffed closets, disorganization and mess.
And adoption. That beautiful, beautiful gift. The gift that has brought forward a deep pain that we were unaware of previously. How the reality of “forever mine” clashes with the weight of “wasn’t always.” “I’m always here for you” with “I wasn’t there.” And “I love you fiercely” and “so does she.” Walking with a child through such vulnerable pathways. The fear. The longing. The pushing away. The clinging close. The anger. The tears.

All these thoughts went swirling through my mind in flashes and memories. The tears remained in my eyes and a lump formed in my throat as they melded together with the present realities of our life and family.
Our family has grown and is bursting at the seams. It is cobbled together through God’s grace by love and choice. It’s precariously balanced and must be guided gently. Carefully. The delicate framework clearly reflects that it is not through our strength that our love stays strong and our family holds together.
Days like today must be a constant reminder to bow our knees to the One who can. Opening our hands, loosening our grip on the things most precious to us. Because, we simply can’t. The strength is not in us.

As my thoughts continued to wearily sort through the struggle, I mangaged to lift my eyes up to the face of my husband sitting beside me. His eyes were upward. Focused on the last glow of the sun. His features releaxed. His lips forming a smile.

“Really?”

I could barely manage the one word. Each memory. Each emotion. Each step felt so very overwhelming.  How could he really mean what he said? Everything he ever wanted?

He turned to look at me and the grin I’ve learned to love so dearly spread across his face.

“Yes! Really.

I wanted you.
And a life together with you.
Living a dream.
Following our God.”

And with those simple words, my mind began to run again. Combing through all those memories once more. This time without feeling the weariness. This time touched with the light of a dream. The soft light began to touch all those hardened memories. Softening the edges. Piercing through the dark places. Bringing the giant mountains into focus and revealing their rugged beauty. Blending each color of pain, joy, faith, struggle, and love into a beautiful tapestry. A tapestry woven so tightly, so expertly, so beautifully. Only One could’ve planned it so perfectly. 

 

A smile of peace began to play across my face as joy and strength began to return to my heart. The grace of my Father shown through my husband washed over me all in an instant.

We can do this. We can face another day just like today. And another, and another if need be. We can even face the days we haven’t seen. The days that are coming that are new sorts of struggles we haven’t weathered yet. The grace will come. Each day. Just in time. Just enough.

We are together. Living a dream. And following our God.

 

 

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We Live In The Same Town, You And I

We live in the same town, you and I.
I see you walking down the sidewalk, waiting at a bus stop, crossing in front of my van.

We live in the same town, you and I.
You don’t seem to see or recognize me, but I see you every time. My eyes search for a glimpse of your jacket. My heart starts at the sight of your face.

We live in the same town, you and I.
My whole being is filled with such confusing and conflicting emotions. Such a surreal juxtaposition to sit in the drivers’ seat with the seats behind me full of life while you walk, alone. You once had what is now mine. My heart can hardly contain the enormity of that truth.

We live in the same town, you and I.
Fear. Anger. Compassion. Empathy. Judgment. Wondering. Wishing.
All these things and more pass through my head in an instant. In the blink of an eye. The prattle behind me filling the seats fades into the background and all I can focus on is you. You and the emotions and thoughts swirling through my mind.

We live in the same town, you and I.
How can tears of sadness fill my eyes, while my mind begins to question, and my heart races in fear? How can I feel all these things just at the sight of your face? What would you say if I hopped out of my car to greet you? What would I say? We share something so deep, so precious, so complicated. How can I begin to comprehend?

We live in the same town, you and I.
I snapped a photo the other day. I know you didn’t see, and I do hope no one thought me creepy or rude. Somehow, that morning, I just wanted a piece to pass onto those souls in the back seat. A sighting. A proof that you were well at one time. A glimpse of you that just might be that tiny bit of glue to help to heal their shattered hearts. That day that will come when they just need a tiny piece.

We live in the same town, you and I.
I wish that my eyes could see how you really are – below the surface. I feel a drawing to you. A deep connection. I want to know that you’re ok. I want to see that your life is still carrying on. I strain my eyes to catch any glimpse of the hope and well-being that I pray to be present in your life.

We live in the same town, you and I.
I see you and I wonder who is reaching out to you. We did not meet under ideal circumstances. I had to choose your children at a time when you simply could not. And now, your children are mine by law and still I must keep my distance. It is not my time or place but how I long with every fiber of my being to know that you are being loved. In person. With kind and gentle hands. With the truth that can set you free.

We live in the same town, you and I.
We will meet again someday. Of this I am almost certain. We will enter a room. Our child by my side. It will be so very different this time. I have no idea what I will say. Or how you will feel. The pain of loss will feel so overwhelming. For all of us. But our child is beautiful. And our child is loved. And I pray that we will find a way to start again. To live together in this same town. But no longer pass each other by.

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Dear Fertile Friends

We just completed National Infertility Awareness Week. I shed tears. More tears than are typical for me. Especially yesterday. Because, yesterday, April 29, was my 4 year anniversary. The anniversary of the day I became forever infertile.
As I cried yesterday, I decided I needed to share something with my fertile friends. There’s just a few things I want to say.

Dear Fertile Friends,

Thank you.

Thank you for placing your hand softly, protectively on your growing belly.
Thank you for using hashtags like #pregobliss.
Thank you for posting weekly bump updates with little milestones and the “my baby is the size of this fruit” picture.
Thank you for wearing adorable maternity shirts and dresses that perfectly accentuate your gorgeous new figure.
Thank you for sharing those maternity photo shoot photos. All 57 of them.
Thank you for sharing the pregnancy announcement with all the exclamation points and comments of congratulations from those who love you.
Thank you for texting me your ultrasound picture.
Thank you for including me in your gender reveal excitement.
Thank you for letting me touch your belly.
Thank you for basking in your glow.
Thank you for relaxing into your husband’s embrace as he reaches around to hug you and your unborn little one.
Thank you for posting labor updates and sweet first photos from the hospital.
Thank you for cherishing the blessing you have been gifted with.

Do these things cause me pain? Yes. Sometimes. Often.
But the blessings far outweigh the pain. Or the pain makes those blessings sweeter. Somehow. Some way both work together to comfort and heal the little pieces deep inside my heart when I get to watch you reveling in the blessing God has given you.

I also wanted to say that you did nothing wrong if I cry.
I always try to hide it. And I usually succeed. But the older I get, the more often it seems to just run over my carefully constructed walls.
I have known a great loss. And that pain will probably never be completely healed. But I don’t view that as a negative thing. I am so thankful for the gifts my pain have given me.
And, as that pain bubbles up and spills down my cheeks, please know that it’s ok. I’m ok. Being authentic in my pain is part of the healing. And you. Your precious little blessing. God is using you. Both of you. Using you to reach in and bless me. Even if it hurts.

And don’t stop. Please don’t hide your joy. Don’t stop blessing the lives of others by rejoicing in God’s precious gift to you.

Thank you.

Love, from me.

 

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