I tried to sit down and write a two-month update a few weeks ago and I could not do it. I wanted to share all the good things and all the progress made, because those things were in abundance and to share anything less would appear ungrateful. We are so grateful for how smoothly this transition as been.
However my heart was in a different space. It was grateful but also overgrown with grief and selfishness. Even in the midst of so much good I was wrestling with so much ugly. I could not convince myself to just write the pretty. I debated with sharing the ugly though, because the ugly was about me and my heart. So what should I write?
After watching my cursor blink for about fifteen minutes I decided to be completely transparent and just write. Write for me. Write to try to process the junk going on in hopes that processing it would help me make it to the other side.
Below is what poured out that evening.
I typically write from the other side of difficult, once the clouds have parted and the sun is shinning again. Not because I am afraid of sharing my mess, but because I am an encourager by design and sometimes it can be a struggle to encourage others when I am walking in so much discouragement.
So this is new to me, writing in the midst of the difficult. But there are beautiful things to learn in this place too, in the thick of it. Refining is painful and pruning starts out ugly. But I know growth and change await me. Thus I share the struggles today to declare that even in the trying times God is good and He will not forsake me, even in my ugliness.
The Bible says that, “in repentance and rest is our salvation” (Isaiah 30:15). Boy, am I in need of some saving. So this is my confession: I am struggling adjusting to life with a toddler again. We have now been a family of five for two months. Everyone is adjusting beautifully. Our sweet daughter is doing way better than I could ever ask for. She is a gem and blessing. She is bonding well and feels safe. She is starting to trust us and even showing us affection. But she is TWO and in full-fledged toddler mode. Totally normal and I praise God that being in the “terrible twos” is the most difficult struggle we are facing. I know that things could be much worse which is why I feel so selfish that I am struggling so much and why I need to confess the junk in my heart so God can clean it out!
The problem is me. Ugh! That is painful to admit, but it is true. Having a new child in the throws of “toddlerhood” has been shock to my system. I find myself grieving all the freedom that I instantly lost. In the blink of an eye I lost the gift that is going to the restroom alone, taking a shower by myself, going for a run, sending an email at my desktop, peacefully cooking dinner… The list goes on and on of activities that I now do with a demanding, yet adorable babe at my feet. I was not that far removed from this stage before our adoption. My other children are four and five. But oh how quickly I forgot how it felt to have strong-willed shadow.
Parenthood is not an easy assignment and I knew going into this that adjustments would have to be made. But knowing and doing are very different things. I confess that my attitude towards the things I lost has not been a gracious one. It has been one of self-pity, a woe is me attitude. And honestly that is robbing my joy and sucking the life out of me. I really need to get over myself. It is either that or be miserable.
The lesson God is trying to teach me is a simple one: life is not about me.
Ouch. Simple, yet still very difficult to swallow. Thankfully God’s discipline is gentle and in His love He is trying to lead me to something better.
This is what I hear Him speaking to my heart:
“Life is not about you, Renee.” It is not about your comfort or your gain. It is not about your plans or your agenda. It is about something much greater. And better. If you could just get past all that you seemed to have lost you would see that I am building something greater for you to enjoy. It comes down to this my daughter; do you trust me? Do you trust that my plans are to give you a hope and a future even while you are smack dab in the middle of two-year-old tantrums? Can you trust that I am sowing good seeds even when you have no fruit as proof yet?”
I hear this and know that it true and good, but I am just not there yet. I am not ready to concede. I am not ready to stop being grumpy about this loss. I just want to be mad for a minute about it.
Wow. Now there is some ugly truth for you. If that does not sound like a toddler tantrum I do not know what does. Oh God, you must do a work in me.
After a few weeks of wrestling with my sin and the junk in my heart I can now say “yes God, I trust you”.
I do trust Him. And I am thankful that His loves for me is SO deep and SO wide that He patiently waited for me to get over myself and repent and release this junk. It did take me some time, but my few weeks of pouting are over and I can now proclaim my joy has been restored!
So much has changed: my schedule, my routine, my priorities, but most importantly my heart. And God gets all the credit for the heart change! Because of the work He has done I am now ok with all the “losses” or rather “changes” as I am now calling them. Only God can change our hearts and I am thankful for the work He is doing in mine.
AND NOW that I am through this rainstorm may I encourage you, dear friend.
To you who finds yourself in a pruning season,
Do not get stuck in the middle of your junk. Once it has been revealed do not let the enemy condemn you over and over again about it. Wrestle with the sin in your heart. And then confess it. Release it. Lay it down and let God change you and free you up!
In repentance and rest is our salvation (Isaiah 30:15). Let Him save you while you rest in His grace and mercy! His grace is sufficient enough for all your junk. And their is abundant life on the other side.