There are certain things that God knows I struggle with - one of those is waking up early. Case in point - yesterday we headed to our doctor appt. almost 2 hrs. away and we had to be there by 8 am - yep, you get the picture. It was EARLY for me. I know some people enjoy that, but I do not. I try to be kind at least, but you aren't going to get any deep conversation - Chloe tried, just ask Joe - it didn't work too well. Nope, not until that coffee has gone to my toes and my eyes can stay open without wishing they were still closing - THEN, I become who you know on a day-to-day basis! SO, getting up early to read the Bible - I think God knows my heart - it just doesn't work the best for me. God and I have discussed this - if He calls me to it - I will give it all I've got, but until then......I sleep! So then one must find another time to find that time alone with God - but, as many moms know, that can be a challenge. There is only one of me - but with 5 kids - they take every ounce of me - time included. I know that I need to be in the Word daily though - that is what keeps me going - so I make time everyday to spend time alone with Him.
The other day, the girls were watching TV, and I thought - this is it - this is my 30 min. - here I go. I quietly snuck into my bedroom - I mean, I was quiet - I don't even think the dog heard me. I opened my Bible and my new study book - and I smiled - yep Lord, I did it! But I hadn't even finished one paragraph when I heard feet. Now really, Moms help me here - why is the room no longer fun when Mom leaves?? It's true - you know what I'm talking about - it was all ok until Mom disappeared and then it isn't any fun anymore and so off they go to find Mom. And that is just what happened!
I looked up and Jada was attempting to crawl up onto our bed. I made the "shh" sign to her - I was ok if she wanted to join me, but it had to be quiet. I guess I should have told her to stop wiggling too - my Bible now has lines that are not as straight as I'd like (that's a whole different post!!) due to her inability to sit still! But she sat there for a bit and then disappeared. When she came back she had her notebook and a pencil and came back up by me. She never took her eyes off of me - when I wrote, she wrote. When I read, she pretended to read. When I moved my hand, she moved her hand. (I know, I was getting a lot out of my reading, wasn't I!!??!) It wasn't very long thereafter that Chloe appeared and sat down by me as well. Neither made a peep - Chloe was reading to herself and Jada was continuing to draw in her notebook. I was tempted to think - OH MY WORD - I can not even get 10 min. alone - but I stopped - I really did -
I stopped and thanked God for two little girls that love their momma! And I hope they remember seeing Mom read her Bible often. I am glad I can show them how important it is to me - even with two little girls trying to distract me!
I am not a very good gift-giver. I'll admit that right up front. I have thought it through MANY times and I can't put my finger on it, but as close as I can figure - I think I am just too practical. I want to surprise people and give them something they'll love, but practicality always wins out! Take Joe on the other hand - the guy is the master of gift giving - he starts his spreadsheet in May and plans out what he is going to give and yes, he saves those spreadsheets - he has them from years past just to keep track! And he's so great at coming up with ideas - I mean, really, THIS will go down in infamy!!!
So this year, for Christmas, I really tried hard NOT to be practical. Ok, the upside down map that Joe asked for - that was probably practical, but the tickets for tonight's big show in Sioux Falls - not practical!! And boy was he surprised! I made a puzzle he had to put together, yep, that's the other problem with Joe - you just CAN NOT surprise that man - he always figures it out. SO as he's doing his puzzle - he is just clueless. He gets it done - and he's STILL clueless because I only listed date, time, and place - not the performer! But really, he lives and breathes the music of this man, I thought he'd know he was coming and the exact date and time!! But no, and then when I told him - yep, he was a little teary! I LOVED that - I surprised him - and I was NOT practical.
(I know, patting myself on the back here - but after 18 years, I think I deserve one pat!!)
And, I needed to post this today in case Chris was reading - I don't want to offend him at all, but I really won't be watching him so much tonight - nope, my eyes will be on my husband - he'll be WAY more fun to watch!!
The questions I get asked over and over are, "So how is Jada doing? AND Are you seeing progress?" And, as tough as it is to put down on paper (or a computer screen!!), I am going to try! On a good day I will respond, "She is doing great!!" But what I really mean is - she is BY FAR, not the same sullen little girl we brought home a year and a half ago. This little gal has a will - oh man, there are some days we wish she was still sullen - oh, just kidding - although she does want to be boss and that creates a bit of friction for Dad and Mom to deal with - we love to see that there is a little spirit in there that cares. That is not what we saw at first at all - you could do almost anything to her and she had absolutely no spirit to fight. She is also not quiet anymore - and yes, maybe even on some days I realize I didn't enjoy those quiet days enough!!! This little one has LOTS to say and even though you may not understand it all - there are no more quiet car rides and no more playing silently with toys. If she is not talking to Chloe or the boys, she is sitting beside me (wherever I happen to be) and talking my ear off - in her own Jada-way! She has come SO far.
However, on one of my down days, I would answer your original question with tears in my eyes because I want so much more for my little one. She will be 5 this May and really, often, we see more like a 2 or 3 year old in age. She is SO behind - both developmentally and academically - we have been asked to think of having her repeat Preschool, she is still seeing sometimes 5-6 therapists a week, others outside of our family would be hard pressed to understand her speech, she still has muscles that are not able to function like they should - it all breaks a mamma's heart. But I think what really matters here is not where Jada is but where I am.
I hate to admit it - but I am going to - I pride myself on being honest and transparent - so here goes. I was not ok with this whole thing a year ago. I felt like this was really a raw deal. I mean, really, we went out on a HUGE limb - both financially and in faith - to bring Jada home. She was #5 for us - we were plenty busy juggling homeschooling, church, jobs, LIFE, and we really did not need another child. But we truly felt God's call to bring another one home and so we stepped out. We feared from the beginning with her eye condition, but when we got to China, I was even more scared at what I saw and yes, angry. There were things I saw in Jada that honestly frightened me. She seemed almost mute and she could hardly walk without falling down - she was so unsteady and had no muscle tone. She looked like a little girl with a body - but no soul - she seemed so empty it was eerie. But I kept going back to the reason we were there -we were called - there was no doubt in my mind. However, was I bucking the whole way?? Yep, I begged God to change His mind, to remove that call - that this was TOO much for me. But He did not. I remember the morning we had to take all of our money - and give it to the orphanage as a "donation" for this little girl that I was sure God had somehow mistakenly closed His eyes for a few minutes and we had somehow been given the wrong one. I just could not see a big plan and all I could humanly see was how much work this was going to be and how unfair it all seemed. WOW - I look back and read those words
and what really strikes me is how much work God had to do to in me. Those days in China were a whirlwind in my mind. Joe and I didn't talk much. I was battling that dumb blood clot
that kept me from going anywhere without hobbling and in much pain, and we were both scared to death. This little girl - with all of her problems - seemed overwhelming to both of us. I remember coming out of the bathroom the morning we had to take all of that money and give it away in order to keep this dear little one. Joe was sitting on the floor crying and I came upon him and started crying myself. It was SO much money for this precious little soul - this imperfect little soul (in my eyes) and I was sad because it all seemed so unfair - the whole situation seemed unfair - but my wise husband looked up at me, tears running down his cheeks, and said, "He paid SO much more for us - and we aren't perfect either." Yep - that about summed it up. We would give away thousands of dollars for one that didn't "measure up" in the eyes of the government but who was I to judge - I am FAR from perfect myself - I am sure God just shakes His head at me sometimes and thinks "we have so far to go" - and we do.
But a year and a half later - I STILL have SO far to go - I really do. But I have also learned SO much. And I am going to say this out loud now - I would do it again tomorrow. I truly would. The WHOLE thing - I would go out a limb, I would take a child that had unique needs, and I would go and bring them home. I would do all of it knowing that when we got home we would
have to see doctor after doctor, therapist after therapist, and worry and wonder and not know what our future held for this dear little one. And I would do it even if God never asked me to - because I have learned so much and my heart is truly being changed. I LOVE this little Jada. I see a totally different little girl when I look at her now and I believe it is all because someone dared to love her. We may not know what is wrong with her mentally or developmentally - and we may never know. But what I do know is that I can pour love into her little life and give her something she never had before. I can be her MOM.
I say all of this today because, it being Valentine's Day, I was thinking of love. It is easy to love - really, we can all do it. But sometimes we get tested a bit. Just a little bit of "how easy is it to love if things aren't A-Ok?" testing - you know what I mean?? A year and a half ago, I sat and wondered how I could love - I remember thinking it - I still hang my head in shame. And now I don't doubt it for a minute - I love every quirky thing about this dear little one. I have been shown over and over how there was no "mistake" - she is exactly HOW God wanted her to be and she is exactly WHERE He wanted her to be. And I wouldn't have her any other place......
We are always looking for ways to show our kids that God is at work. So, when we started our adoption of Chloe, I heard a speaker share how her family said that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills - so whenever they got a grant or a sum of money they told their kids, "God sold another cow." We LOVED that and I came right home and shared with our kids that that would be how we would watch God provide for us. And we did. Every time we received a grant, we'd say, "God sold another cow!" We loved it - it was a tangible way to show His constant care for us.
When we began our adoption to Jada, and stepped out again in faith financially, our kids said, "Well, God just has to sell a lot of cows!" And that is just what He did for us - cow after cow, we made our way to China and brought Jada home. That isn't to say he provided every penny the way we thought He would - some of it we received by taking a second mortgage (right or wrong financially - we felt it was the way God was providing for us since that was our last option before we traveled).
Now that we are home with both girls - AND I felt God leading me to quit my job at the library (for a number of reasons - some good, some bad - I am still glad to be home) we are tighter than ever financially. Our stepping out in faith was good for us, and still continues to be - God keeps us right on the edge to watch Him provide. (I hope this doesn't sound like complaining - nope, I see right where God has us and I am just grateful that He provides for us enough to pay the bills each month!) So, a few weeks ago we get a call from a meat locker near here and the gal shares with us that someone purchased a portion of a cow for us and how would we like it processed?? Can you just see how great God is??? Once again, we had to smile - He provided a COW for us to show us He's still watching out and providing for us!! I love that - I wanted to share with everyone how God will NOT let you flounder on your own when you follow Him. I think the poor gal on the other end of the line thought I had lost it - I said a couple of times, "A Cow?? How awesome is that??" Yep, the cow is home - in our freezer and we feel so blessed. It was an anonymous gift - we can't even appropriately say thank you - but that is just how God likes to do it sometimes. I know, some are shaking their heads and saying, "Becky, it's a cow - really!!" But God just does not drop cows on you everyday and to us it was a great big hug from Him!
When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don't go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do. ~Deuteronomy 24:19