“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.
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.
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.