Nine months is a long time. I carried her expectantly as any mother, waiting and wondering. I felt her move within me as a flutter at first, mesmerized by the possibilities within those tiny hands and feet. I grew tired of answering that question, “when are you due?” I just wanted her in my arms, to feel the reality of what seemed like month upon month of only dreaming.
In a week or so my almost 19-year old daughter will board a plane for Africa, and we will again wait nine months to see her face. Nine months is a long time.
I am trying to process this, but I can’t. My mind cannot begin to wrap itself around her departure. My heart is in a weird kind of holding place. I have moments of panic, moments when I can’t breathe.
Several women have said to me, “I just don’t think I could handle that.” I want to say, “I don’t think I can either!”
She’s So Strong
Have you ever looked at someone’s life circumstances and thought to yourself, “I could never do that.”? Have you believed that God calls a “certain kind of person” or a “strong person” to handle tough stuff in life? Maybe you watched a family with a terminally ill child or the wife of a soldier deployed overseas and thought that God chose those parents or that wife because they could “handle” that kind of life.
Is that how God works? God’s showcase in the Bible of those greatly used by him were just messed up people like you and me. They didn’t possess some kind of special strength or power. Paul was once a hater of Christians who called himself the “chief of sinners”. He struggled with a “thorn in his flesh” that he begged for God to take from him.
Rahab was a prostitute. The disciples were blue collar workers. Abraham gave up on God and took matters into his own hands, actually a maid servant to be exact.
Those “certain kind of people” we think God has picked out for the really hard stuff were not chosen for their superior spiritual strength. God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God puts his light in us to shine to the world in this way.
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7
He doesn’t choose the strong. He strengthens the weak as we walk with him, as we fall before him in our weakness and desperation and say, “God, this is too hard. I can’t do this!” Maybe that mom whose child was just diagnosed with cerebral palsy is on her bathroom floor wailing. What if that military wife who smiles at you over coffee falls apart at home in her bedroom?
What happens when we believe that some are strong and can handle hard things, things we could never do?
We isolate others
What a lonely place- struggling to survive something while the world around you praises your strength and faith. What if our friends doing hard things are actually having a hard time? What if they feel unqualified and beg God for relief? We see them at the grocery store or at church, at soccer games or Starbucks and they seem so strong, but don’t we all put on our best face in public?
Personally, I have been there so many times. People assume that we know what we are doing as adoptive parents, and that it just comes easy to us. What?! We hide in our closet and cry. For real. We are not qualified, and it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done! I have never felt more lost in my life. I experienced nothing in life to prepare me for parenting a child from trauma.
I have watched a friend deal with her autistic son and thought, “Wow! She is so great with him!” Then I got to know her and heard her story. The real stuff that she deals with daily. She struggles like any of us would.
Imagine with me a woman treading water while a crowd gathers, cheering her on. They can’t believe how long she has been keeping her head above water. “Wow! She’s a great swimmer! I could never tread water that long!” I want to suggest that she is just doing all she can to survive, like you would. What if the crowd came to her aid and offered her a life preserver instead?
Being on a pedestal is lonely. Maybe those who seem calm on the surface are paddling like hell beneath.
We May miss what God has for us
Do you believe that God’s grace could be sufficient enough for you in hard times and in difficult circumstances? That’s what he does. He gives us grace when we need it, as we draw near to him in our weakness. I can tell you that I will be drawing close to him over the next nine months. If I don’t, I won’t make it. Isn’t that when we are closest to God? When life is too hard, the wait too long, the pain too great, and the burden too much?
We may miss the sweetest times with God when we say, “I could never do that.” We may live in fear that God would give us too much. We may never say yes to foster care or adoption because we are not the “kind of people” God chooses.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27
God chooses the weak. Remember that when you see a friend walking through something difficult. Consider praying for her even if she seems okay. Ask her how she’s doing and how you could pray for her. I promise you she wasn’t sitting around praying for hardship, tragedy, or challenge to come her way because she felt more equipped than you.
I am so excited for my girl! I did not see this coming in her life, and know that God has answered so many prayers to bring her to this place. I am not really worried about travel and what “might happen” abroad. I am, however, not sure how my heart will stay intact away from her that long. I’m just going to miss my child so much!