Here lately I have been feeling ugly. Keeping a brave face and staying focused on God has been difficult. Although I know in my heart and mind that He is with us and that He is working out things for a greater purpose, it still doesn't take away from the fact that this is the hardest thing Aaron and I have ever had to walk through. One day is different from the next, and each day is unpredictable. Yesterday was a good day, no tears and no dwelling on the things we can't control. Today feels heavy. I have already cried, yelled at my husband in front of my kids, and I am still in my pjs. Today it's really hard to pray. I feel God saying..."Turn to me and not that chocolate rice crispy treat." HA! Yes, I think I have gained just as much weight in this adoption as I have in my 2 pregnancies with my girls. Sad but true. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, and I have REALLY been trying to enjoy and focus on all that I have to be thankful for and that is A LOT my friends! So here in an effort to snap out of this ugliness I am going to list 10 things that I am thankful for!
1. I am thankful for the friend I have in Jesus. I am thankful to know that He is crying with me, and still loving me even in my ugliness. I am thankful that He already knows the outcome of this and is going to carry me through every step.
2. I am thankful for my husband...He is the strongest man I know emotionally and spiritually. I am thankful that he can keep his head on straight when mine is spinning out of control, and he still loves me even when I am acting ugly :) I am thankful that we have the common bond of knowing Jesus, because if we didn't while walking through this adoption, we would probably have grown apart instead of growing closer.
3. I am thankful for my precious girls. They are such a blessing to me. They minister to me daily and their sweet words bring healing to my hurting heart. I am thankful they have an understanding of the bigger picture more than a lot of adults do. They are wise beyond their years. They make my heart swell with pride and joy when I look at their precious little faces.
4. I am thankful God trusted Aaron and I to be Josiah's parents. I am thankful for the love I feel so deeply towards this little guy that keeps me fighting for him daily. I can't imagine the calling he must have on his precious life if the enemy is trying this hard to keep him away. I am thankful one day I will hear him calling me "mom."
5. I am thankful for my friend Becky. She and her husband are in the same boat as us with bringing their daughter home, and I probably talk to her on the phone at least 3 times a day. The Lord knew from the very beginning that we would need each other so He orchestrated us meeting on our first trip. I am not saying that misery loves company here, but I am saying that walking through this with her makes things so much better. I have only met her in person once, but feel as though she is my closest friend.
6. I am thankful for my extended family...mom, dad, brother, nieces, nephews, grandmothers, in-laws etc...thankful for our health and closeness, and thankful we all have each other to love each other through our good and bad times, and through mistakes and all. I am thankful that although sometimes not everyone agrees with us or understands us, they still support and love us.
7. I am thankful for my dog, Lucy. I am not one of those I-love-my-dog-like-she-is a-human-child kind of people, but there is something about Lucy's unconditional love, faithfulness and sweet spirit that reflects God's heart and brightens my day.
8. I am thankful for our house and car. The house isn't big and fancy and we don't live on acres of land with an amazing view, but it's cozy, nice, and warm, and it's ours, and our car runs great and gets us where we need to go, and that is awesome!
9. I am thankful for my friends and church family. These are the ones we can completely be ourselves with and lean on for support and prayer, who give us encouraging words when needed and sometimes even words that we need to hear but don't always want to hear. These are also the ones that challenge us in our faith and help us along in growing up more in the Lord.
10. Although it is hard, I am thankful for this difficult journey. Through it we have been stretched and molded like never before. Experiencing such helplessness has made us put our trust in God more and trust Him that He is in control. Some days that is hard to do, but we do it anyway, because He's all we have to hold onto! Yes, it has been stressful on our marriage and on our family life, but Aaron and I are closer than we have ever been, and our girls have gotten to watch us fight to bring their little brother home. They are fighting with us. Last night we were looking at our YWAM Christmas catalog and Aaron asked Alyssa if she wanted to pick something out for us to give towards YWAM for Christmas. Alyssa said to him..." you know I have money in my piggy bank dad." We have always told her the money in her piggy bank is for a car when she turns 16. She said ,"Dad, if you were me, would you use the money for the kids in Ethiopia or would you use it for a car?" Aaron said..."I don't know Alyssa, what would you do?" And she sat and thought for a minute and said, "I want to give it to the kids in Ethiopia." Aaron had tears in his eyes when he was telling me this last night. Our 6 year-old gets it! These lessons and spiritual growth our girls have received in this with us is priceless! We would do it all over again, because it's worth the cost!