Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"On and on and on and on it goes....."

          (Disclaimer: The following events are true and accurate.  They are not being shared to elicit pity, sympathy, or judgement.  This may seem to be all over the place, which reflects my current mental state.  Finally, be warned, this post is one of the things that goes on and on and on.)

           I couldn't begin to guess when I first started to read Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts," but I do know that it was in God's perfect timing.  I had planned to read it for quite some time, but just so happened (sarcasm) to read it when it would be something that I truly needed.  Something that really changed my life, and I know will continue to.  Because God does that....he uses people, their ideas, their experiences, their minister to you at just the right time.  And as I look back over the craziness of these past few months, I can already see SO many examples of everything being a gift....everything.  But at first?  Not so much.

          While I know the things that I see as hardships are nothing compared to what some endure, for me many events of the past weeks have been difficult to be thankful for...difficult to receive with gratefulness....difficult to see as a gift.  At first glance.  The hard eucharisteo seemed to hit..well...hard!  Interestingly, in my quest to complete the joy dare, I seemed to be counting the gifts faster than I ever imagined.....and then I got to 900....and July came....and some days I struggled to find the gifts.....
It has seemed like one thing after another...on and on and on it does God's love.  We sang this song on Sunday that echoed all that I've been feeling.

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains

Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me x3

On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death and in life I'm confident and covered by the power of your great love
My debt is paid there's nothing that can separate my heart from your great love

           On and on it has thing after another....and in that one thing after another has been God's ever present, unwavering love.  Demonstrated in so many ways, but so clear....even now while still in the midst of the chaos, I can see it clearly.  The gifts....everywhere I look.  Gifts in the hard things.  Gifts in the uncomfortable.  I just have to accept them and receive them for what they are.  Gifts.  Allow me to share share how my perspective has changed and I am learning, ever so slowly, to accept everything as grace....everything for what it truly is, a gift.

           Early July, feeling God's call to adopt again.  Putting aside our plans.....wondering about the uncertainty of bringing an older, children....siblings...into our family.  And on it goes.....God's peace, confirmation.....excitement and joy for what is in store....that He will use us!  Such a gift.

           Mid July.....medical issues hitting hard, leading to a gluten intolerance, lactose sensitive diagnosis.  Diet change.  Uncomfortable.  And on it goes....seeing the timing.  God slowly leading me in the months prior to learn to cook more from scratch, to even enjoy it a little, and to begin to make small changes that would make the transition less extreme.  And the healing....feeling normal again (whatever that is : )  Especially with all that was to come....I would soon need my health more than ever!  Such a gift.

        Soon thereafter finding a home that seemed perfect.  Off the market before we could see it.  Back on the market 24 hours later.  Offer accepted that week....closing scheduled in four weeks, for late August.  Feeling the pressure build and the "comfortable" of life fade away.  Often wanting to back out and remain comfortable....financially, mentally, physically.  Feeling like this was part of God's plan and stepping out in Faith.  And on it goes.....the blessing of a home in the exact location we desired, large enough for us to grow into, with so many things we had long since come to terms with never needing in our future home.  And again, God blessing us....infinitely more than we could have imagined.  What a gift.  

        Mid August....3 weeks after buying the motorcycle he'd talked about for years....I get the call.  "Some girl hit me, knee hurts...think the ambulance is going to take me to the hospital."  It was a day off, an order back....he was supposed to be home.  And on it goes.....the blessing of wonderful people who stayed with him in the hospital, brought him home at 4 am, called, sent cards.....prayed!  Knee reconstruction.....a better outcome than so many others.  And yes....possible funding towards the next adoption.  Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.  Yes, I trust God will use this for His good in more ways than one.  Such a gift!

       And the ripple effect began....The accident changed things for the bank.  Will his income change?  How long?  Do you have proof?  More paperwork....more uncertainty.  Was it all for nothing?  The closing is supposed to be in two weeks!  And on it goes.....God's perfect timing.  Allowing us to close in us an extra month to find renters and remain in our home without two payments.  Such a gift.  

      Renters.  They came through, loved the house, wanted to leave a deposit.  The accident happened just after.  I was too distracted with my husband's injury, impending surgery, paperwork needed for the bank, changing insurance companies, and trying to care for two toddlers and a now much more dependent husband.  They moved on.  And on it goes.....God blessing us with the best Realtor who was willing to help us find the tenants we needed at the right time.  God knowing what we couldn't have known...that the closing would be later and we wouldn't have been able to hand over our home in time for those first tenants anyway.  A gift!

      Work on the house?  The plan was for Luke to do most of it....we didn't have the funds to pay someone else!  Now, how would we ever be able to move in quickly so that we wouldn't be paying two mortgages?  And on it goes....God knowing beforehand that we were in over our heads, but planning to provide and make a way if we just moved forward in faith.  Providing Luke's dad to come for an entire week and sacrifice his time, efforts and many talents to do what Luke likely could not have done in that short time as well as many other jobs we would have had to hire someone to do!  Another gift!

     Without Luke being able to work on the house, I had to do as much as I could.  Often leaving just around nap time, I've been spending anywhere from 6-12 hours a day cleaning, painting and doing all I can do to make it ready.  Exhausting....sometimes seemingly impossible.....but on it goes and I see all of the gifts.  God providing my wonderful, hard working family to sacrifice hours of their time and energy every single day after work to come alongside me and help.  If Luke were working, how would I have ever been able to leave the kids and get so much accomplished?  And again, this accident....while not welcomed and not what we would have chosen....could it be, a gift?

     Luke finally able to spend some time at the house.  I have the kids in the truck and am heading out to do a few, much needed, errands.  I arrive at my first destination and turn in, no power steering.  I'm no car expert, but I recognize this!  I did after all drive an old Del's truck back in the day!  My stomach feel sick...we really can't have anything else go wrong....right?  I call the mechanic, he says they'll get me right in.  And on it many gifts in this one seemingly stressful and just downright frustrating situation.  An opportunity to pray with my boys about the situation, and to answer Caleb's questions about why we're praying for this!  A couple of hours, unplanned, with my boys a midst weeks of chaos and very little time focused just on them.  We took that double stroller all over a Walmart to use the last of Caleb's birthday gift McDonalds where Levi enjoyed his first fast food burger and ate every last bite!  It was such a special time to just let the boys lead.....let them decide what they'd like to do next and to enjoy each other be all there.  The truck was done just as we headed back from lunch to check on it....and the cost?  Only $50.  We prayed on the way home, thanking God for the blessing of a quick fix, cheap fix, and time together.....and answered prayer.  So Many Gifts.

      Our new stove arrived with a dent.  We needed help to get it home since Luke couldn't load and unload, so we surely weren't bringing it back.  And on it goes.....a partial to use towards other needed resources!  Our washing machine currently in pieces after one repair has already been done.  Piles of laundry adding up.  And on it goes.....offers to do my laundry elsewhere, a little perspective on how blessed we are just with the clothing we have seeing as I haven't done laundry in four days and we have not struggled to find what we need to wear.  All gifts......

      I've never seen it this way before.  I pick and choose what I consider a gift....but these would certainly not have made the cut.  These words ring in my head....."And what do I really deserve?  Thankfully, God never gives what is deserved, but instead, God graciously, passionately offers gifts, our bodies, our time, our very lives.  God does not give rights but imparts responsibilities - response-abilities - inviting us to respond to His love-gifts.  And I know and can feel it tight.  I'm responding miserably to the gift of this moment.  In fact, I'm refusing it.  Proudly refusing to accept this moment, dismissing it as no gift at all, I refuse God.  I reject God.  Why is this eucharisteo always so hard?"  I've realized that everything is a is how I choose to respond, how I choose to see, that matters - that changes everything.

      Many have asked, through the seeming chaos (which I should probably start referring to as season of many gifts!) if we are still planning to adopt.  The answer is simple....yes.  We are still planning to follow God's lead.  And for now, we feel Him leading us to a second adoption.  From the very first conversation we had about moving forward, I felt strongly that we would not begin updating our home study until late this year, possible not until January.  At the time, I wasn't sure if I was just trying to put things off, but now I know why.  There were things to learn, gifts to receive, and changes to be made as God prepares us in so many ways to expand our family.  And I am certain, as we are promised difficulty and hardships in this life, that there will be many similar seasons where it seems as if it just goes on and and on, one thing after another.  But I pray that I will not forget that everything is a gift....and will always be so thankful that......

                        Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me 
Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me 
          Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me 

On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul

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