A thunderstorm and a bad dream landed Ben in our bed around five this morning – arms laden with two blankets and one giant stuffed bear. In order to make space for him, I had to reposition Charlotte, who had fallen asleep in our bed last night after Dave and I were already dozing and too tired to move her to her own room. Just after getting everyone settled in, lightening struck outside our window producing a loud clap and booming thunder. This caused one dog to jump up in our bed and the other to pee on the floor. After cleaning the mess, I crawled back into my little corner with Ben on my left and Chiquita at my feet.
My mind refused to go back to sleep. So, here I am. Typing away at the kitchen table listening to the storm outside and relishing the rare moment of quiet inside. There’s something about being up before the sun that feels almost holy. Like God can more easily meet me here, in the stillness.
Let me be clear, rising before the sun does not happen often. Which is the one of the reasons I have been so quiet on this little corner of the internet. Our summer days have been so full. Full in lovely ways – memory making, spontaneous adventure ways – but full, nonetheless. I have kept my computer tucked away and focused my energy on my people.
This is the first summer in two years where we can all get out and have fun. Two summers ago, when Sylvie first came home and Charlotte was a newborn, we weren’t having a whole lot of fun. We were in full blown survival mode. Last summer, we started to breathe. And, now, here we are. Heads above water, actually enjoying one another’s company. It’s breathtakingly beautiful when I stop to think about it. In the day to day craziness, I very often miss the beauty. It gets lost somewhere between the sibling squabbles, the piles of laundry, the wet towels and swimsuits and the endless snacks (the snacks! I can’t keep up with these little appetites this summer).
But, it is there. Just a bit below the surface. A relentless beauty. A well-earned, fought-for beauty.
We entered in to a HARD place when Sylvie came home two summers ago. We were thrown into this family thing in an instant. We stepped into the grief and pain our girl carried like a heavy, heavy cloak. We haven’t done things perfectly, some days we don’t even do them well, but we step forward one moment at a time. The sharp edges haven’t disappeared but they have started to become smooth. The bewildered feelings – not knowing how to parent this broken little person – have started to dissipate. We’ve gotten to know one another. We’ve learned that love isn’t something you feel and talk about – it’s something you do. Even when it’s the last thing you want to do, when you feel rejected and are on the receiving end of piercing looks, you do it. You love. Even when it all feels like it’s falling apart and you will never feel normal again – you love. And, eventually, after days and days and days of loving, you have a moment of connection. It may be over in an instant, yet, it is enough to sustain you for more days of pouring out an imperfect love.
It’s far from easy. I’ll be honest – it’s so hard. So hard. My selfishness and bitterness and frustrations too easily creep in. But it’s absolutely 1,000% worth it. These two years have shaped and refined my heart. This little girl – this daughter of my heart – has rocked my world and shown me what bravery and grit and strength look like. Adoption is messy and broken and born from a place of great loss. Yet, it can all be transformed for good. I have a picture of the gospel right here under my roof.
I have to admit that summer fun hasn’t been the only cause of my stepping away from this space for a couple of weeks. The truth is: my words feel hollow in light of what’s happening in our world. I know my words aren’t needed right now. Instead, I’m listening. I’m reading. I’m learning. I’m leaning in and trying my hardest to come to the conversation without any filters – to really hear.
I’ve intentionally been quiet in the midst of loud voices and booming opinions. I’ve felt hope only when I stepped away from the news and the articles and the Facebook updates and stepped into real life with real people. Sharing hard conversations and tears.
Our little community had a sweet time of prayer last weekend and I left that space feeling so hopeful. There were no lines – all genders, races, ages, denominations – gathered together to pray for our hurting sisters and brothers. I hugged another momma as we left and we cried together as she shared her fears for her infant son. As we hugged, he slept soundly – safely – in his momma’s arms. The fear she has for her innocent baby is real, y’all. Until we can acknowledge that, we can’t move forward.
If you would like resources to listen and learn, one of favorite resources is the Be The Bridge ministry founded by Tasha Morrison: “Our heart and passion is to display God’s Glory by Inspiring the Church to have a distinctive and transformative response to racial division. Our mission includes equipping bridge builders with resources, vision and skills for Racial Unity.” Also, my friend Lindsy does a really great job sharing excellent resources. I also love this comprehensive list from Sarah Mae.
Wishing you all a beautiful weekend. Get outside with your people. Love big, breathe deeply, pray whole heartedly. <3