There are some spaces & times that make me pause and remember why walking together through life’s challenges with perseverance & grit is so important. Because it changes us & those we do life with; the fighting through together ushers in healing and gives us new eyes to see the beauty we often miss. It is in part because being family has been hard fought we see the miracle happening around and in us. I can not even talk about this day without my eyes swelling with tears because I am so grateful for this reminder.
It started as nothing special but then don’t all moments of disruption, of opportunity? We were walking in the house after church and she asked “Mama, am I a Christian?” And although the day was full we made space for that question. We asked her what she thought that meant and what she thought about it. What happened next was over two hours of family togetherness; of tears & laughter through tears (I think my favorite emotion of all), deep felt questioning, laying on of hands and prayers, & the extending of grace towards one another. We allowed space for the questions and in the sacred space of vulnerability pointed each each towards Jesus.
THIS is our family. THIS is what we want to be about; not neat, tidy answers but the ability to be together in the mess and beauty of life and see God’s hand at work.
Our conversation spanned so many topics and questions led to more questions and more wondering and reminding each other of all God has done. As she asked about following Jesus we told the stories of Anni & Evy deciding for themselves- I am so thankful we recorded those moments too and we read together their stories ( here and here) and all cried. So many details of these little girls growing up so quickly I had forgotten came rushing back.
Together. And I thought more and more about how much my children have taught me in my own journey, that God brings people,
even especially little people, into our lives in ways that can usher in our own healing and restoration if we allow it.
Annikah lead her in prayers and we all shared imperfect answers to her questions. I told her I am still trying to figure out what this whole following after Jesus things looks like in my life too. Faith like a child was valued highly by Jesus and we want to be led by our kids even as we lead them. Even though the journey is long and there are lots of windy parts of the road this day is a marker, a day where she invited us into her heart and we do not take that for granted because for a long time she kept that understandably hidden in self protection. It was her way of surviving but before my very eyes the survival is giving way to thriving and just being known and loved. I will never fully understand the great cost and the great hope that requires.
We are becoming a family of 6 more and more. It is a miracle I am living and seeing everyday.
Jason and I reflected on these moments later and we so grateful for this reminder of the sacredness of right now. We often forget the bigger, fuller picture of the importance of family in the daily grind of life with 4 kids; in the daily showdowns, bickering, to-do lists, & my many failures and weaknesses as a Mama I lose sight that what we are building matters. Most days, if I am brutally honest, I feel like I’m surviving to to the end of the day but the truth is I can stand in victory that is already won because it was never my battle in the first place. I am learning to be more confident in believing that all the little moments matter, that it is not the flashy things the world values that make us who we are but the daily choices to show up, embrace your weakness, and push through anyway. Maybe you need this reminder too that what you are building in the quiet, small moments is really BIG. Bigger than you know. It matters and Jesus sees you.
We can help each other up and press against the darkness and tyranny of the immediate to believe in the light when we show up and remind each other when we forget or are distracted. This timing of her big questions was also not lost of us. As we prepare to finalize our adoption we see God reminding us there is more goodness He has in spite of all the loss. There were many times we were living in an in-between space of not knowing what the future would hold and choosing to love anyway. And through our many failures and doubts God sustained us. We reflected on how much healing and trust has been built over the almost 3 years since she arrived at our front door with a pillow, a backpack, and a garbage bag full of clothes and memories. It has been grueling, for us and her, and it shows few signs of smoothing out, and we have made lots of mistakes
BUT AND it has been a beautiful, messy journey of learning to trust one another, learning to be FOR each other, learning what family is. This is HARD. It is not “natural” but it is also one of the most amazing forms of love I have ever been a part of. For all of us. It is not tidy and there are so many questions that still remain but we will journey together through it reminding each other of these moments.
There was also a pink & purple cake to celebrate that even in the mess we trust the light of the world making all things new. He starts with us. This legacy matters.