A little from my heart….
Now that the brain fog has cleared from the jet-lag and extreme lack of sleep…I feel it’s ok to finally share and focus some of my energy on reflection and writing.
The first week was brutal….but we made it through…
I’ve had this message cooking on the back burner of my heart since before we got the call in China that Wesley would need to be TB tested. It was on that day we got the call that I had begun to write a blog post. At the time I felt that maybe I didn’t finish it because it was a personal, intimate message to me personally from my Father, that He wanted to sink in deeply. I’ve learned in the past… some messages aren’t to be shared, especially right away. They are to be kept, treasured, and left burning within as warm coals, so that they leave a lasting impression so seared upon the heart, that we are renewed and forever changed.
The message was spoken in a still small voice to me one early morning in China. I heard God tell me “Don’t forget the intimate love we have shared” and “I know your work…..return to Me, your FIRST LOVE.” Immediately these are the scriptures resonated as confirmation…
I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
I knew quickly that in God’s great and beautiful mercy He was calling me back to be filled by Him. Because all the work and serving would become empty and meaningless without Him. That I could do more damage because what I was doing was “in His name.” Now, more than ever, I realize my enemy is out to attack and marr the name of the King I serve….and I would despise it if he somehow used me to destroy the name of the Father who has loved me unconditionally.
If I begin to “TRY” in MY OWN strength….without HIS filling. I will hurt instead of heal.
“Without Me, ye can do nothing“~Jesus
But with Him…..with His love….
“I can do ALL things through Jesus Christ….who gives me strength”
I can wake up and go through the motions and do all I think is correct…but without the only life-filled love that all my actions should hinge upon…there will be no life producing healing.
I must go to Him, wait upon Him daily….. to be filled with His love. So that every moment, of every day I am not leaning upon my ugly flesh, but upon the ONE who turns every ugly situation into beauty. The ONE who brings to life, where death once wreaked havoc.
There are plenty of situations in every day, that would seem to justify anger, frustration, self pity or harsh judgement. But when my feet are planted in love my whole body and soul come alive with that love coursing through my veins.
These boys have been hurt, and need a Mom who sees them through the vision of a Father’s love. It’s with this vision I can handle changing wet sheets time and time again, bad manners, or dealing with anger, fits, and bad learned behaviors. It’s in this love…in the late night wakings….I can serve instead of huff or puff. For it’s only in His gentleness will they learn a new behavior. To treat and talk to others with life-giving love.
If I find myself huffing or puffing…it’s time to go back and sit at the feet of my beautiful loving, wonderful, gentle, kind….Savior. It’s in His mercy he draws us there. So that we will not become dry, parched ground…but a watered feild of beauty that reflects His goodness.
These boys are so full of life. And we’ve been amazed at every turn. They’ve been so adaptable. So adaptable it’s almost sad. They just go with the flow and go where they are told. But I hope as the days go by they are realizing this a permanent move.
A little about the boys….
The pictures speak volumes. The healing taking place is so evident to see!!
Hudson is learning to let go of some very hard emotions and we are learning him and what triggers the hurt he has endured from the past. We use “time-ins” where I sit nearby him until he has calmed down. He is learning how to interact more calmly and gently with his brothers and sister, to not put everything in his mouth, and some personal hygiene. John helps at dinner time to show the correct way to use spoon or fork instead of the vacuum cleaner method. He is learning polite words and how to keep a lower volume. Hudson is very easy to correct and is very proud of himself when he learns something new that we’ve been trying to teach. I’m very careful to show him I am not going to leave him when he does something wrong and tell him via our translator that he is only sitting because of a bad choice, but that I will be his mom and love him forever.
Wesley has come such a long way in the past month! Yesterday John texted me that he had been with us one month. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already. He has learned how to regulate his emotions and no longer throws a fits to the extreme he did in China. The first few weeks with him were the most challenging. He would just burst into tears and look so sad that first week. We knew he was grieving and missing the only normal he had ever known. But we are in awe of how quickly he has adjusted to this new normal with us. He goes to bed easily, wakes up to potty, then goes back to bed. In the morning I hear him whisper outside our room “Mama.” It almost sounds like a scared cry. He is VERY attached to me, and likes to know where I am at all times. I told Ryan he came with the same homing device he had when little. He could find me wherever I was in the house. It startles me sometimes when I think I’m alone and I turn around and there Wesley is! He is very sensitive and kind-hearted. He says I love you in both English and Mandarin and seeks out attention constantly. He loves to be held and is working through his jealous feelings. He also got over his EXTREME fear of our dog. He would start crying, shaking and his heart would pound. It was horrible the first few days especially. But now…
All the kids are working through sharing toys and learning to obey. The boys definatley test us on touching things after we have said no. We try and not let the little things go unnoticed, so that they will understand we aren’t going to accept bad behavior. These are the things that make visiting for long periods of time challenging. We have to address the little things and keep things consistent for a while to help them pave new pathways in their brains. Some pathways may have never been formed so it may sound strange but I’ve put out baby toys, I rock them, and read books that would seem to babyish for them.
A dear freind of mine gave me some adoptive books written by a family that adopted 5 children at one time (all siblings). I’m so thankful I read them because I’ve noticed and not been alarmed by some of the behaviors we’ve witnessed thus far.
Both boys seem to be used to caring for others. Hudson will clear the table with Ryan after dinner without being asked and Wesley will make sure he gets a snack or straw for everyone’s drinks. I just witnessed as I sat here the boys clean up their Legos after playing and come to get a high five from me!! Woohoo! Progress is being made.
It’s been a diferent pace for all of us. The constant activity in our day from start to finish has me seeking out a small corner in the house to be all to myself. Now that I’ve had a couple of good nights rests, I am thinking about trying to wake up early to have a few moments to fill up before the busy begins. It has been challenging for all of us, but we are quickly finding a new normal. Ryan and Jenna have been amazing and we encourage honestly from them and Elyana. Ryan and Jenna returned back to school only a day after being home. They did so great even in the tired fog they were operating out of.
We had the hardest time with Elyana at first. She was throwing huge fits and just melting down over the littlest things. Now that she has sleep and has adjusted some she is doing SOOOO much better. She has regressed in some areas, but we are all trying to pour out grace on each other and allow for some crazy behaviors to subside.
I would say the most challenging thing would be the language barrier for us, and even that is worked through. They get frustrated sometimes, but the way we see it…love, security, and a forever family are worth this momentary inconvenience. I’m sort-of glad at times we can’t understand them. Here I am just smiling and nodding when they are probably being rotten!! lol I crack up listening to them argue or talk and laugh in Chinese. I will miss hearing their language when English becomes their primary language. But it will be SOOOO nice for all of us to be able to express ourselves to one another. I’m amazed at what they have learned thus far.
And finally….a little about our home and the wonderful welcome we were given….
I’ve said so many times in the last few months that I’ve felt love was poured out and gushed upon our family from our Father. And HE used many of YOU as vessels to do His pouring.
The night we arrived home we were welcomed with a freshly painted home and a wide open space that the construction workers worked SOOOO hard on while we were gone. We have been blown away by the amount of care and integrity that went into our home. Thank you Ben, (his wife) Jenna who organized moms to paint, and Art along with all the workers from Performance Construction.
What a welcome we had!!! Our bedroom, the boys bedroom and the great room…and painting our whole home…was no easy task!! Many of our family and friends quietly came without even telling us…to serve, love and welcome us home. We had no idea how much was being done for us. There were moms, couples, and people from Arcadia that were a part of bringing us meals, painting, and cleaning. We were amazed as we walked through the door and felt every bit of love being dumped on us!!! We were again, overwhelmed in a very good way…
THANK YOU just doesn’t seem enough for ALL that has been done for us. We are praying that someday we will be able to give back what has been given to us.
LOVE suffereth long, and is kind; LOVE envieth not; LOVE vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. LOVE never faileth.
That last truth has been one I’ve hung onto so many times, and still today find it steadying my heart. His love NEVER fails. It was His love that calmed our hearts from fear this past year throughout this journey, and stilled the crashing waves that tried to capsize us after Hudson’s gotcha day.
His love is steady…easy to be intreated/or digested. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
We’ve felt this love poured out upon us in so many ways as our Father has cared for every detail of our lives and the lives of 2 little boys so far away in China. We thank you for being a willing part of this journey we’ve been on and thank you for loving in HIS name.
Without this love I am a tinkling cymbol. I don’t want to be clanging around, but want every breath, every action, every word….to bring life and make a difference today. Thank you to everyone who has made a difference in our lives, and the lives of 2 little boys that are ORPHANS NO MORE!!!