Category Archives: Sanctification

To Our Child I Never Knew, Thank You…

Precious One,

Today, April 1st, is the 2nd anniversary of the day we lost you, the day that changed me from the inside out. As much as I struggle with facing this day each year, there is a strange sense of joy that comes, too, with this date creeping up on me. Though I think of you several times throughout each week, it is on this day that I feel complete freedom to bask in the tremendous beauty, and even the sorrow, that comes from being your mom.

I love you, Precious One. Had you stayed with us, you would have been around 16 months old, only 5 months younger than your cousin. You would have been walking by now and full of personality, I’m sure. You would have been so loved and cherished by so many people, Precious One. You still are by the two people who created you, your dad and mom.

The Lord and I often have conversations about why, in His sovereignty, He allowed you to leave this earth so quickly, before I even really allowed myself to fully acknowledge your presence, before we ever even got to see you through an ultrasound. The only moments you and I truly had “together” were when I was awoken from my sleep in a cold sweat and in piercing pain, yet you had not left me yet; it was only then, when I was sitting alone in tears that still stain my Bible, that I allowed myself to believe what I think the Lord had been trying to tell me for several days – I was indeed with child, that you weren’t a figment of my imagination but instead fully alive inside of me. It wasn’t 45 minutes later that you began to pass, and with you, a part of me died, too.

Over the past 2 years, I have often felt so incredibly vulnerable from, and lost in, my grief. As one who always easily expresses herself and is known as a very upbeat, positive person, it has been a very odd, humble journey for me to walk. There have been days that I wasn’t sure if I was going to get out of bed, let alone function like a normal human being. Part of that was from my already-taxed body’s reaction to your sudden disappearance, which left me in several months of hormonal havoc and most likely undiagnosed postpartum depression. Even when my body eventually healed, my spirit was often, and sometimes still is, slow to do the same. With each new pregnancy announcement my friends delivered, each new baby shower I participated in, each new opportunity to rejoice with our friends for how their family was growing, there was a very real, stinging pain that came (and still often comes) for your dad and me as we thought about you, your siblings, and the fact that we weren’t – and still aren’t – privy to having any of you in our lives. Who knows? Maybe we never will be parents. Only the Lord knows that. If there’s anything life has taught me, it’s that, as Christ-followers, we aren’t guaranteed anything but His presence, no matter our circumstances.

It shouldn’t surprise you that this isn’t the road I, or your dad, expected to take. In fact, this isn’t the road that we would have picked for our worst enemies. It is, however, the road that God has chosen for us for our good and, most importantly, His glory. Though the path has been long and steep, full of unexplainable hurt and so many detours I’ve lost count, I wouldn’t change, for even a moment, the fact that you exist. I wouldnt’ change the fact that, though we weren’t meaning to create you, in secret your dad and I glorified the Lord through the creation of you, Precious One. I can only pray that one day, when we are all glorified and together with the Lord, that you have somewhat of an understanding of just how much you have meant to both of us.

You will always be my child, and I will always be your mom. I will always love you. I will never forget you or forsake your existence. Besides your dad, you are who the Lord has used the most in my life to bring me closer to Him. Thank you for allowing Him to use you so powerfully in such a short amount of time.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was pregnant with, and then miscarried you, around the Easter season. Thank you for allowing Him to show me that ultimately God cares far less about me being an earthly mother than He does about my sanctification, than He does about changing me into the likeness of His son, Jesus Christ. That is a fact that I admittedly don’t daily want to grasp, but in His goodness and through His grace, I am clinging to that Truth more and more.

Because of the work the Lord has done in my heart in light of your death, I am finding peace and freedom in the fact that my value and worth as a wife, and ultimately as a woman, is not found in whether or not I can successfully deliver children into this world. Again, I don’t believe that every day, but I’m getting better at looking at myself the way our Heavenly Father does, the way I would have wanted you to look at yourself, i.e. as whole and valuable not because of anything you have done but because of His finished work on the Cross, as enough.

Thank you for allowing Him to use you to soften my heart toward the thousands of fathers and mothers who, too, have lost precious children and/or are in the season of barrenness, a season that often is accompanied with such despair; this despair paralyzes so many and inhibits them to do Kingdom work because of the lies from Satan they, and often I, have believed. Though your life was but a vapor, you have left a Kingdom-impact, and for that, I am extremely proud.

So, until we meet again, I will continue to rejoice in the fact you are mine and safe with our Heavenly Father. I love you, much more than I even could ever say. Thank you.

Your Momma

 

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Filed under 2015, Adoption, Baby, Marriage, Miscarriage, Purpose, Redeeming Loss, Sanctification

Why I Try To No Longer Sit Around Waiting For Our Adoption To Happen…

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve written, I know.
I am here now, though, so take what you can get! 😉

Since the last time I wrote, not much in life has changed, except it’s now 2015. Also, as of the second day of the year, I am officially in the last year of my 20s. John and I are both settled into the jobs we began in early 2014 and, due to John especially finally being acclimated (for the most part) to his new career, our stress level here at home has thankfully significantly subsided.

Since I know you’re wondering, and thanks for doing so, let me go ahead and tell you: Despite us wishing it weren’t true, there really isn’t anything new to report regarding our adoption journey. Yes, you read that correctly — nothing new to report. I promise I’m not “hiding” anything. Believe me, had I news to report, I would be telling you! Alas, though, there is nothing new. We are not “expecting” a child in the immediate future and don’t even have any prospects on the horizon.

The birth mother due in December who did not pick us (the only one to whom we have been shown) should have had her baby by now. We pray that she and her child are both doing well and that the baby is happy and healthy with his/her new family. It’s strange thinking about how I very easily could have been an earthly mother by now, caring for my approximately two-week old child on my 29th birthday just a few days ago. That wasn’t God’s will for us, though; so instead of spending the day feeding and changing a newborn, we spent my birthday in another city just the two of us and then had dinner with a dear friend.

I wasn’t even fully aware of this shift in my thinking until just the other day when a close friend asked me how I was doing with the whole adoption thing. She mentioned she hadn’t asked in a while, and I hadn’t said anything, so she figured nothing was new, but she wanted me to know she cared. I did very much appreciate her inquiry, but as she expected, I had nothing new to share — except for one thing. I am starting to approach our adoption journey a bit differently, and until just a few days ago, I didn’t even know it.

As I told my friend how I had been feeling about how things were going, I found myself understanding what had been going on inside of me for the past several weeks. I used to literally wake up every morning and say to myself, “Today could be the day!” I would sometimes get up, go into our already-furnished nursery and spend several minutes praying on the nursery floor; at the very least, I would put a lot of emotional energy – almost every single day – into thinking and/or praying about our adoption all day long.

When we spent those few weeks this Fall praying and thinking through difficult circumstances that made us question even allowing our life book to be shown to the birth mother, just to in the end step out in faith and say “yes” on our end but not be picked and have no idea when we will have another chance to be shown, I couldn’t help but become very emotionally-vested in a child I will never see, let alone mother. I sincerely loved that child and, in some ways, still do. Because of that very surreal time in our lives, as well as watching close friends of ours walk through a devastating adoption-oriented situation, I think God began working in my life in ways I didn’t even realize at the time. He has been showing me grace and teaching me to demonstrate the same grace to myself.

Now, a few months later, I am still trying to learn how to truly leave our family’s future in His hands, not just in word but in tangible ways, as well. I am also, though, trying to learn how to keep my sanity, while I wait for someone (or more than one person) who seems at times like a figment of my imagination, while also displaying childlike faith that my dream of becoming a parent could happen tomorrow. It’s a delicate, sanctifying balancing act.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I always believed, and still believe, the Lord has His hand in our adoption plans. I have always wanted, and will always want, His will to be done and Him to be glorified, even if that means that I’ll never be an earthly mother, which is a possibility as harsh as that sounds to most. This process could take another year, or two, or three, or longer, or never even turn out the way we’d like…and if I truly want to be the happy, positive person that I have always been, I am going to lose steam fast if I keep operating the way I usually did the past year.

While I wait to see what He has for us, I am learning that every. single. day. I don’t have to – and can’t – emotionally submerse myself into anything and everything related to the fact we are not parents yet. I just can’t do it, if I want to stay sane and really be present in the present, instead of feeling guilty about the past and/or pining about the future.

I am learning I can’t wake up every morning and dwell on the fact that, “Today could be the day!” Could it? Sure. Of course I still believe that, but what if the “day” isn’t until 3 years from now? What do I do in the meantime? Pull myself off my nursery floor every day just to be filled with more disappointment when I am still waiting for the “day” to happen years from now, while most of my friends continue to be blessed with more children while I still wait to be able to be one’s mother and have nothing else to which I look forward?

No, instead I have changed my focus. Instead of daily sitting and thinking about my children for hours, I will be intentional in how and when I pray about my children, with some days devoted to more focused times of prayer than others. Some days I have, and will continue, to shut the nursery door when its emptiness is a little too much for my sensitive heart. I will still unashamedly ask for prayer for our adoption journey, and thankfully welcome concern from others regarding the process, but I will also be trying to celebrate the other things going on in our lives, too. I will do this even when those joys seem at the time to pale in comparison to the joy I’ll feel one day when I am, if the Lord allows, finally a mother here on earth – my deepest earthly desire not yet fulfilled. I will be a supportive, loving wife to my hard-working husband and believe that he truly loves me, despite my inability to provide him the biological children he always assumed he’d have and I, to this day, so desperately wish I could give him. I will do my job with excellence and continue to well serve the 300 or so authors left to my charge. I will serve the Lord in my church and be thankful for the responsibility and privilege to serve ladies of all ages within our Body, as well as the children we’ll both serve soon in the nursery. I will continue to love my friends and their children, while also supporting and caring for those who, too, are walking their own lonely journey of infertility and/or adoption. I will be thankful I am able to be an empathetic shoulder (tangibly or figuratively, depending on their location) on which they can cry, because I know better than anyone else, sometimes all you need is a good cry on a caring shoulder.

As I continue to wait, but try not to sit around waiting for our adoption to happen, most importantly I will daily allow the Lord to sanctify me to His truth and try to walk in the power of His Spirit, seeking Him above all else. I will continue to be honest about the struggle it is to strike a healthy balance between acknowledging my God-given desire for motherhood and saying “not my will but Yours be done,” because that is all I know how to do.


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Filed under 2015, Adoption, Baby, grace, Purpose, Sanctification

The Long & Hard Road

No one ever told me this season in life would be so hard.
More importantly, no one ever told me it would be so…lonely.
So very lonely, at times.

My husband and I both are experiencing very hard seasons in life. He is getting used to a new and exciting, yet stressful, job. Consequently, often (like tonight) the last month-and-a-half, because of the stress and/or lack of sleep the night before, he gets tucked into bed when there are still hours left of daylight. I, too, am getting used to a new job, and have experienced my share of long hours and work-related stress, though my job is thankfully slowing down and becoming much more life-giving. It also helps that I am now 2 months post- sinus surgery, so I am no longer heavily drugged or in pain; therefore, I can think straight, unlike when I first started. 🙂

For my Loves, his career, though he loves it, is his main source of stress and exhaustion right now.  For me, it is my empty arms and nursery, especially around Mother’s Day. For both of us, this is the hardest season of our marriage, and in some ways, our lives.

Last night, it was John’s turn to not sleep. He sat awake in the family room with his Bible,  sermons on his phone, and his nightlight while I snoozed away. I, on the other hand, had my turn the two nights before, when while he sawed logs, I slept no more than 2 hours in 48. I tried so, so hard to stay awake with him, as I usually do. The Lunesta I found in the cupboard from my surgery, though, beckoned my attention and wooed me into a deep, much-needed time of 12 hours of rest.

 To say that life is hard around the Payne’s right now is an understatement. We are exhausted, in all senses of the word. We are also closer than we have ever been. It’s funny how, if we are willing, the Lord refuses to waste our (and your) suffering, even the kind that involves the most stinging of pain.

 

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Yesterday, for us, was in a way a living hell. We both didn’t make it through church without crying. John got close but broke down at the end. I never had a chance. We both cried some more later on in the day. To make matters worse, I had spent the last 2 nights up in the dark crying out to the Lord to please take this cup of sorrow from me.


He has chosen to call me to wait for earthly motherhood, and though I can quote you all the verses and know I am to be content, sometimes I am just not OK with that. I know that’s not the “Jesus” answer, or something of which I am proud, but that’s the truth. I can quote you all the verses (in context) and exegete the passages, but sometimes all I can manage to pray is, “I believe. Lord, help my unbelief!” To be honest, this road of barrenness has been much harder for me than it ever was to almost die at the age of 19. Can I say that without you judging me and calling me melodramatic? Maybe not, but I am going to say it, anyway.

Sometimes, the pain that is involved in not having our child who passed away, here or earth or any child at all, is just too much to bear for my weary soul.  With each passing announcement of another pending or new birth, I feel like part of my heart is being ripped from my chest, that I am slowly dying inside. I desperately long to be a mother, much more than I ever knew until I was asked to journey the road less traveled that involves not being able to have them. My husband struggles, too, though he tries to keep it together outwardly more than I do; for both of us, though we deal with it differently, it’s our Cross that we daily bear.

As I said on Facebook last night, though my journey is not normal (especially in my circle of friends), it is not unique. I know that. I know, even though Satan want me to feel like I’m the only one, there are millions of women who are either barren or who have miscarried; they understand my pain in a very tangible way. As I also said, though, we women need each other. We need each other, no matter if we are the mother of 8 kids or on our 8th year of painful infertility. We all have something to learn from, and more importantly to offer,each other.

We need to rejoice with those who rejoice just as easily as we mourn with those who mourn. There are a women on both sides of the coin, women who deserve to be loved and fully met in their current season, even if that season is the polar opposite of ours. Is that always easy? No. It is always necessary? Yes, for the benefit of all involved.

Why? Why force ourselves to enter someone’s joy when we are hurting or embrace their sorrow when our life is far from sorrowful?
Because that’s what Jesus would do and calls us to do, as well.
After all, we are to be His hands and feet.

Why? Because that’s how we learn to do live life – the good and the bad of it – together as the Body of Christ.
If you just focus on the good, you lose sight of our utter dependence on Him, of the perfect Redemption to come.
If you just focus on the bad, you lose sight of the beauty of grace and God’s constant hand in our lives.

So, even though my arms are still empty this Mother’s Day, and I just experienced 2 of the darkest days in my life, I publicly celebrate and honor those to whom I am close who are mothers. I love you all and think you are doing a great job. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Purpose, Sanctification

Why I Still Love Our Empty Nursery

Like most young couples, there is a room in our home designated as a nursery. The only difference is, unlike most others, this room was meticulously prepared without even knowing when the baby is going to arrive.

Like the old hymn, Coming Again, I am reminded constantly that our baby’s coming “may be morning, may be noon, may be evening and may be soon”…or it may be years from now.

Yes, the room has all the trappings of what you would expect for a baby’s room, but there’s no child anywhere to be found. Instead, there are grey walls longing for a personalized tree decal to be put on them, an empty, white, sleigh-style crib with Pottery Barn Kids bedding that is used as a clothes rack, empty dresser drawers (minus the old computer currently residing in one of them), a comfy, custom color rocker no one rocks in, and a super awesome, owl lamp (thank you, HomeGoods) that no one turns on. There is a corner full of expensive gadgets (play mat, stroller, car seat, and a baby carrier) that have never been used; some haven’t even been put together.

Most of all, our nursery is filled with a lot of hopes and dreams, but also a lot of fears and worries. Some days I adore going in there. Other days, which are few and far between but still my reality, I have to shut the door and forget it exists.

Many friends warned me that putting the nursery together so soon may not have been the best idea. They cautioned me of how hard it would be to stare at an empty nursery, especially if we waited a long time to adopt our child(ren). They told me it was something they would never do. They encouraged me by saying they would help me whip up a nursery in no-time, once I knew that a baby we could call ours was on the way.

Though I knew my friends had the best of intentions and were just looking out for me, I didn’t listen. And you know what? I’m so glad I didn’t. Though sometimes dwelling on its uselessness (at least right now) can cause me pain and angst, I needed this nursery. I needed this nursery much more than my children ever will.

The Lord knew that, though, which is why He gave me such a clear vision for that small space. I’ve asked Him for a vision for every room of our house (call me weird), as I love decorating but also want Him and others to feel welcome in our home. The people (besides John) I most want to feel welcome into our home are our children, the ones for whom we have prayed for by name for so long.

I want Noah James or Hannah Grace to know (I realize they won’t really “know” but you get what I mean) from the moment they are brought home just how much we have longed for them, so much so that we had a room all ready for them even when we had no idea when they were getting here. No, my children will not be an idol. I want them to feel loved, anticipated, cherishes. Yes, my relationship with the Lord and my husband will always come first (a post in and of itself), but I absolutely adore my kids, and I don’t even know them. Other than praying for them daily, the only tangible way to show them that right now is by creating for them a safe haven that will one day, Lord-willing soon, be their very own.

Hopefully, they both like grey, white and chevron. 🙂

Yes, for now having a completed nursery and no child means I have to stare at a crib that is only used right now as a clothes rack for John’s many suit pants. It won’t be like that forever, though. I know that, though sometimes, like last night, the enemy does his best to whisper fears into my ear and tempts me to allow them to sink into my heart. Sometimes the fear and the worry grips me more than other times; usually when I am stressed (like now — both of us changing jobs in the past month has led to very hard-and-fast transition) it is the worst. During those times, the thought “it’s always something keeping us from being parents” or “sometimes I don’t think this is ever going to happen” creep in. Thankfully, though, by nature I am a positive, the-glass-is-always-overflowing type of person, so those times of utter desperation and deep sadness are really few and far between – not that I don’t have them. I am human, after all.


I won’t lie. Having a nursery when you don’t even have a “due” date is not easy. It’s not for everyone by any means. It is, however, for me.

More importantly, the Lord constantly uses that back room to remind me that He is the Creator and Sustainer of my children, that He is bringing them to us in His timing and His way. He is using it to remind me that my children do exist, at least to Him; they are not just some figment of my imagination, though the enemy would have me believe otherwise. My loving Father is reminding me through sitting on the floor of a room that used to look completely different that He truly does make all things new, either now or when we are glorified and with Him and reunited with our baby we never met. He is reminding me that there can be JOY in the waiting, if I just allow the Holy Spirit to fill me and sustain me. He is reminding me that our journey – all of it, griddy-ness and all – matters.

Thank you, Jesus, that our messy journey to parenthood matters to You.
Most of all, thank you that our kids do, too. Lord, I believe; please help my unbelief.

 

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Nursery, Prayer, Purpose, Sanctification

Seeing Red

Some dates are etched in your memory forever.

Birthdays. Anniversaries. Days our loved ones pass away. Major life events. We all can list at least a few dates that automatically stick out in our minds, whether for welcomed reasons or not.

December 4, 2013 will always be one of those days for me. That was my estimated due date for the child I miscarried on April 1st at 5 weeks gestation. That was the day our child, as microscopic as he/she was, went to be with the Lord. That was the day part of me went to be with Him, too.

To say I was heartbroken after we miscarried is a gross understatement. If you recall, there was a lot already going on in our lives in early Spring. It was so much that the most grounded people would feel like they were losing their grip on their sanity prior to what transpired on April 1st. As we all know, the roller coaster wasn’t over, though.

Once the bleeding stopped, I was emotionally as empty as my formally impregnated uterus; in a matter of a few hours, the life had been sucked out of me, literally and figuratively. Like millions of women each year, I was left to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and move on.

For me, though, “moving on” was going to be a long, long journey.
It was going to be a much longer, harder, more private pilgrimage through grief than with what I (and, in some ways, others) was comfortable.
It was my journey, though, nonetheless.

The first few weeks, I would come home from work some days and just sit on the floor in our empty nursery. I would begin to replay over in my mind the trauma that had been the few weeks leading up to me unexpectedly getting pregnant, as well as the subsequent drama which led to finally having a confirmation that I had indeed miscarried and wasn’t losing my mind...or was I? 

When I was alone, the previous few months played out like a dramatic Nicholas Sparks’ movie in my head. Scene after scene, I saw the characters, i.e. me and my husband, develop and the plot thicken and thicken some more. The plot became so thick, I felt as if I were traveling through a dense fog in my head, a fog which would last for months. Some days the fog was so thick, I couldn’t tell if I was indeed the protagonist or the antagonist of my own story; some days I felt like both, sometimes simultaneously. As I dealt with post-miscarriage health complications for months on end on top of my grief, there seemed to be no climax of events (let alone a resolution) in sight, in my real life or in my imagination.  I wanted out of the madness. Honestly, some days I wanted to just go to sleep and never wake up. I wanted peace and rest, and those things seemed hard to come by at the time.

After all, it was hard to feel at peace when you feel you have failed as a woman, and more importantly, as a wife. For a myriad of reasons, that’s the way I felt for a long, long time. Thankfully, though, after months of spending time with the Lord, countless hours of conversation with my husband and a few close friends, and being forced to deal with the root of my feelings, I (for the most part) don’t feel that way anymore.

Thank God, I don’t usually feel that way anymore.
One day, I hope to say I don’t ever feel that way anymore.
One step at a time, though.

I don’t really feel it necessary (at least now) to take you through the play-by-play of the highs and lows of my journey of grief. I guess after the realization I came to during my mid-life crisis, I don’t feel anymore like I “owe” you, the reader, an “all-access” pass into the most personal caveats of my life. I guess I’m still learning to have boundaries in my relationships, online and off. I have to say, after a year of a lot of hurt and heartache, it feels good to not (usually) feel guilty for protecting myself emotionally.

Just know that the last 8 months of my life have been filled with extremely personal, heart-wrenching moments. It hasn’t always been pretty. In fact, many times it’s been rather ugly, but it’s always been one thing – real and raw. After all, love it or hate it, I know no other way to be. If there’s one thing I’ve re-learned during the craziness that has been my 2013, it’s that I can’t control a lot in my life. God, in His sovereignty and goodness, numbers my steps, oftentimes much differently than I would. On the flip side, though, I’m learning there are some things I can control, namely having healthy boundaries with people and owning and being proud of, instead of shaming, my own journey.

And oh the journey it has been.

I’m thankful, though, I’m finally far enough down the path that I can say I’m thankful for the past 8 months. I may not ever understand why John and I had to lose a child, or why it had to affect me so deeply, but I do know good has come of it.

do know that what Satan meant for evil, my gracious Lord meant for good. Yes, He meant it for my good and, more importantly, His glory. Those nights I lay crumbled up on the floor in my empty nursery, when I wasn’t sure if I was the protagonist or antagonist of my own story, I had forgotten to ask the Author and Finisher of my story who I am. Instead of trusting Him, I listened to my doubt. Instead of believing I am who He says I am (beloved and loved, far from a failure), I believe the father of lies who is always out to steal my (and your) joy and vision. Thankfully, I don’t forget anymore.

In the Old Testament, when God’s people had an unforgettable encounter with the LORD, they often built a memorial out of stone in commemoration of the event. They (and sometimes the LORD Himself) wanted a tangible reminder of what the LORD had done. I, too, wanted a tangible reminder of how the Lord had restored and healed my heart, so I completely changed my appearance (at least for now).

For almost 28 years, I was a blonde. Now, I’m a red head. 🙂

2013-12-05_16-12-01_263When I look in the mirror, I am constantly reminded of the fact I not only look like a completely different person, I am a completely different person because of God’s gracious work in my life! I’m pretty sure I will eventually go back to my roots (or closer to them than I am now 😉 ), but for now, I needed an external expression of a very powerful, inward change. The dye is temporary, but the branding on my heart is forever.


I finally see He is bringing much beauty from the ashes of my once shattered heart.
He is mending and strengthening. He is healing and restoring.
He is being what He always is – good. So, so good.

I’ll leave you with a song that has meant so very much to me over the past several months.

 

Father, thank you for loving me so.

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Filed under Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Miscarriage, Redeeming Loss, Sanctification

Cosmic Shift

Drafts. A post. Lots more drafts.
That’s been the extent of my blogging the past several months.

Tears. Refining. More Tears. Did I mention tears?
That’s been my life the past several months.
Much of that just hasn’t been put into words, here or even in-person.

Why?
Well, because…

Sometimes the most powerful, gut-wrenching yet healing moments in life leave us simply so undone we (even I) am unable to utter a sound, let alone wax poetically about the cosmic shift occurring within. We are unable to ascertain just exactly what our Creator is doing in the miry depths of our disheveled soul, which can leave us feeling vulnerable to the core and, at times, scared of what is next. All I know is that, if we surrender to the beautiful chaos, when He’s done chipping away and putting back together, we will never be the same. I will never be the same.

Thank you, Father, I will never be the same.

More to come. 🙂

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Filed under grace, Life, Sanctification, Simplicity

Where Our Adoption Stands

Don’t worry. Our plans haven’t changed (again).
As I told you last month, we’re still adopting. 🙂

Sorry I haven’t really updated you all on our progress lately.
I guess working through my mid-life crisis, and life itself, just got in the way.
There’s been a lot going on here at the Payne’s, I guess you could say.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, so I figure it’s time to update you again!

I have some exciting news, though, on the adoption front!

If you didn’t catch it in last month’s update….

As of mid-September, we have an official, completed home study! 😀 😀 😀

This makes us officially “legal” and able to take a child, if one would be offered to us. In case you couldn’t already tell, this is a huge, huge deal and was a giant hurdle to cross.

Last time I checked, though, even if you’re legally able to say “yes,” to a child, it’s rather rare to just get called out-of-the-blue and offered the opportunity to parent one, not that it couldn’t happen if the Lord saw fit, though! 😉 

That being said, logistically, we’re making progress.
Not enough, though.
There’s still much work to be done. :/

To be completely honest, October wasn’t a fun month for me. I had grandiose hopes and dreams for the month with our call to fasting/prayer for our adoption, ones that (for the most part) did not come to fruition. When God wasn’t meeting my expectations for the month, I oftentimes struggled with feeling depressed, emotionally tired, confused, alone, and every other negative feeling the enemy tried to throw at me. I didn’t always stand firm on the promises of the Word. Many times, I let my circumstances, ones that weren’t changing fast enough for my liking, determine my level of joy instead of my confidence in Him and Him alone.  Many times, though I was participating in my own call for prayer and fasting, I wasn’t actively participating. Instead, I was just going through the motions, tapping my foot, waiting for Him to “just do something” because we were doing all that we could do and seemingly getting nowhere. Consequently, during those distracted times, I missed out on seeing what the Lord was doing in our midst, even if those things upon which He was working weren’t at all for what I had been praying so fervently and weren’t exactly fun to process.

You see, God certainly did move in October; it was just mostly in ways I hadn’t planned. In hindsight, I am reminded of the verse in Isaiah 55 (v.8) which tells us, ““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.”

The Word tell us that man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (I Sam. 16:7). How does that relate to us?

The Lord showed me that oftentimes I, like most people naturally do in my situation, have been coming at the adoption from a purely logistical (“outward”) standpoint. After all, if you know anything about adoption, there are a lot of logistics to think about. When I wasn’t thinking about the logistics, I was thinking about our child and the awesome privilege and responsibility it is going to be to be their mother. Obviously, these were all good things on which to ponder. God, though, in His divine sovereignty and goodness, has been coming at it all along from a holistic standpoint. Moreover, because He so lavishly loves us and longs to reveal Himself to us, He has been thinking not only about not only our precious child and all the details that go with bringing them home to us but, just as importantly, about ME, about US, this whole time, too. 

Though we (especially I) couldn’t see it for the longest time, He hasn’t left us in the desert. We aren’t aimlessly walking around year-after-year, experiencing trial after trial, locked out of the “Promised Land” of parenthood because we’re being “punished” for whatever reason. No, He knows exactly what He is doing, and, contrary to the lies Satan would have me believe, His goal isn’t to break my heart; actually, it’s quite the opposite. No, before He allows us to enter the new “land” of parenthood, He sees the utmost importance in beginning to heal our hearts (in particular mine) first before He moves us elsewhere, especially into such an important season as the one upon which we are about to embark.

No, He isn’t purposefully withholding parenthood from me to torment me. No, instead, He longs for me, for us (individually and corporately), to feel whole before He moves us to a different, very challenging land. The Lord loves us, and our children, enough to tend to our hearts before He ever brings them into our lives.

Sure, He could have parted the waters by now and easily allowed all the tangible, logistical things to fall into place for us to be able to adopt. We could have been richly blessed with a child (or more than one) and going about our lives with our newborn(s) feeling extremely tired but blessed. He chose not to, however, because we never would have felt completely whole. Consequently, things never would have been completely as they should, and the Lord loves us too much to allow that.

He loves us too much to allow us to gain what we want tangibly but, in the process, settle spiritually and emotionally for much less than we could have with Him and with each other as husband and wife. He loves our children too much to leave their parents (i.e. us) as broken beings unable to fully embrace and appreciate our family for what it will be. All this time, He hasn’t been withholding from any of us but instead protecting us, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Though I couldn’t say it much last month, I am so thankful for that fact. I am so thankful that God did not abandon us in October but instead was preparing and healing our hearts, in particular our marriage, in ways that are crucially important for the well-being of our family once we finally do become a family of three (or four 😉 ).

So, where do we go from here?

  • Well, we pray. And then we pray some more. We have extended our October month of fasting/prayer into November and would love to have your support in our efforts to be bathing our adoption in prayer. You can find an outline of our specific requests (which have been updated) by going here.
  • We refuse to lose heart.
  • As Charles Stanley would say, we “obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.”
  • We stand back in awe and wonder and watch Him move.

Lord God, thank you for how You’re moving. You are all we need.

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Filed under Adoption, grace, Marriage, Prayer, Purpose, Sanctification