Can I just say that I am in love?!!!!
Yes, I just said it. Yes, this is going to be the most optimistic blog post ever written, and if optimism isn't your thing, then you should probably stop reading right now. I'm not sorry for not being pessimistic, depressive, nor snarky in this blog post.
As I sit here typing, trying to capture everything in my heart, I must confess that this morning (3 a.m currently), I have sat in the dim light nursing a sweet miracle, reflecting on the last thirty years.
Yes, I am beginning a new decade.
I AM READY!
I've left it no secret on this blog that my life has been tumultuous, and I've spent many years being unsettled, many years living in fear, and many years stuck in the past.
I've made peace.
It has been difficult for me to come to a place of rest, I never felt comfortable standing still, not constantly having some kind of change on the horizon. Yet here I am, settled in life, and thirty years old. I've been married for nearly a dozen years, I have five children, I live on a farm, I am settled.....and it's okay. I am at peace with being settled.
I'm not only settled, but I am having fun.
Can I just reapeat that with enthusiasm?
We are having FUN!
Oh the last decade, let's see, three intense deliveries of my babies, an international adoption of two kids with intense special needs (aside from the Down syndrome), military drama, buying a house, selling a house, buying another house, bouts of depression in the early years for the hubs, a coming to Jesus for myself, and the struggle with our boy. Oh it has been intense to say the least.
So my first thirty years on this planet have been everything but settled and secure. This blog has been left neglected, I have struggled. My life has been overwhelmed, and every time I would think it was turning for the better, we would get blind sided by something else. It felt as though I would come to a place of rest and then take two steps back into turmoil. I wasn't truly seeing the big picture.
My greatest goal in life is to teach my children about their Lord and to infuse them with love. Yet, I have been failing over the years.
I have let the circumstances of daily life gain power over that goal. Since Andy was two, we have witnessed things about him that just weren't quite right. His delayed abilities (that I notice even more now that I've had two more babies), his intense meltdowns over the last eight years, his struggle with social aspects of life that seem to come natural to everyone else but not to him. This has been something that was of great concern to me, but not to those around us, presumably because they didn't witness the all day every day that is life in our home. So we tried to overlook it. All the while struggling greatly.
Then there is that pesky thing called RAD. I wasn't prepared for reactive attachment disorder. I wasn't prepared for adopting our two kids with Down syndrome, and all that would follow. I thought I was. I thought we were. We were not. I had no idea that they would have self stimming behaviors that would be destructive to them and drive us all up the wall at times, I had no idea that they would suffer so greatly from the years of love deprivation, I had no idea that we would bring them home and give up being able to go out as just a couple, and that one of them would have absolutely NO impulse control what so ever, causing each and every day to be chaotic.
I feel like I've been on a mission over the last eight years, how can I make it all better. What can I do to make myself better, my kids better, my husband better. Yet, all of the things I did, all of the (read hundreds) of books I read, none of it helped. My plan didn't help. I just never was able to fix things.
God patiently waited for me to figure it out.
Just after Andy was born, I recommitted myself to the Lord. I spent a long time trying to figure out how to make it up to Him for my sins of the past, how to live for Him, how to be what He wanted on the outside. It took a long time to realize that He didn't require any of that from me. You see that is the best thing about God, He doesn't require us to prove anything to Him. He just wants us to love and accept His forgiveness, and when we finally really and truly do, our actions change naturally.
I couldn't fix things. Everything I tried to do, would go well for a few days, and then crash horribly. I began to lose faith, to be drowned by the circumstances, to feel defeated. How could we ever get on top of things and enjoy life, if I couldn't make everything work? If I couldn't fix things.
Then I realized the problem. I was humbled before the Lord. I had been waiting to truly enjoy life after the circumstances had changed, instead of being truly content and faithful in all circumstances.
So I had a crappy childhood. It's in the past, and it does no good to dwell, plus it was peppered with some great times. Dwell on the great times, find strength in overcoming the tough times. So I can't cure my kids. I don't need to. I just need to love them. Loving them doesn't mean trying to make them into something they are not. We had to accept that life isn't what we thought it would be, that our circumstances aren't like other people's, and that while we miss out on a lot, we really get to experience some amazing things. We were able to go head on at having fun, letting things go horribly wrong, and still enjoy ourselves. We don't need perfect experiences.
Can I confess something?
I had been so worried about helping Anna and Tanner make up for the years lost in the orphanage and feared doing a lot of things for the chance of regression. So, about half way through the school year, we quit. We didn't quit learning, but we quit being formal about it. I quit looking for progress, and we just started having fun. I quit trying to help them move forward, and I started trying to help them have fun....genuine fun. Oh we still have to handle things a special way, and we are still stringent with our attachment therapy approaches (which are WORKING!), but we have relaxed so much.
We are enjoying life. This life that is messy, imperfect, chaotic, stressful, scary, unpredictable, and full of curveballs.
Life isn't going to be perfect, people aren't going to be what you want them to be, circumstances aren't going to always line up just right. There will be sadness and struggles. There will be tragedy and times of failure. There will be days where it feels like Jesus can't get here soon enough. Our world seems as though it is overcome by evil, and it is easy to feel that way in our homes. It is during those times that we must focus on the beauty.
There is true beauty from the ashes.
My last thirty years have been hard.
I am so incredibly thankful for that.
No matter how the enemy attacks, I know that my God will give me strength. I can rest in that, and truly enjoy life. I can see the beauty. My husband can see it to, and let me tell you, life is pretty good when you begin to open your eyes together. When you stop looking for perfection in yourself and life, and start looking for the moments of beauty, you start to realize that everything is amazing and worry is useless. If worry is useless, then there is nothing holding you back from going at life head on. I have waited a while to post this, I wanted to make sure we were truly at this place of rest. I know that life will never be some picture perfect vision from my head played out in reality, and I'm starting to see that I'm so thankful for that. At the end of a tough and trying day, I can sit here and feel so blessed, blessed that the Lord gave me patience that day. I feel blessed that I am the kind of person who can be so overwhelmed with love for a child who has tried everything in their power to test the limits of my sanity :)