All that is left of these little sweaters was to add the buttons, but for some time now, I couldn't seem to muster the courage to do it. (Courage...for buttons? That's odd.)
Those little sweaters were a part of a dream that I had been holding on to very tightly, a wish that ALMOST came true. Woven in the fibers of each stitch were countless prayers for two teensie little ones that I may never meet, each one further etching them upon my heart as if my own flesh and blood. Putting on buttons and sending them off feels more like mourning to me...mourning the death of a dream, saying goodbye to the hope that I have clung to these past few months, of bringing twin girls into our family this fall.
I have wanted to adopt for decades but have always been prevented from doing so for one reason or another. We weren't 'settled' enough for Matt, it wasn't a good time. Finances. International adoption is so super hard and the broken foster care system (which I grew up smack dab in the middle of as my parents were exceptional foster parents for all of my teenage years) mostly just makes me super mad. So, it seemed a lost cause for me. Something that would never be. God would have to orchestrate everything *just so* to ever give me the pleasure of having this dream come true. The challenges seemed so insurmountable that I tried to give it up.
And then, one day, a Mama was pregnant. With twins. And a neighbor told me of her niece and in one fell swoop, I heard the orchestra playing right there as we sat on the porch. And it was amazing that God really COULD orchestrate everything just so- despite insurmountable odds (Insurmountable to me only.)-and that it seemed He had done so for me. It was incredible! My heart immediately dove into the idea and, though there was certain concerns- the biggest being Matt's feelings on the subject- I trusted that, if God can plunk this situation right on my lap as I rocked in a rocking chair visiting with a neighbor- on a random day of a random week within a random month of a random year... then He can certainly work out the details that still seemed insurmountable to me. I began to pray, almost incessantly, for these girls and their Mama and their Grandma. I would wake up at 2:00am every morning and not be able to find rest until my weary eyes would spy the alarm clock and it would be sometimes after 4:00. Like clockwork. And I used those hours in the dark to say the things I could say to no one else, not even Matt. I poured out my heart. I pour it out still.
Little by little, the insurmountable details were worked out just right and every prayer was answered, all except the unspoken one. The most important one. The little detail of their Mama not needing me after all.
As the days grew into weeks and then into months, I grew to love those girls. I mean really LOVE them. It is a mystery to me...I can't explain it and no one who hasn't felt these same things would understand what I mean. They aren't born yet, they aren't even growing in my own womb. I've never met them or seen them and yet, they feel to me like my own dear children. And that, I suppose, is the most devastating part. Because I made myself vulnerable to them, because I bared my heart to them, I also opened myself up to the heartbreak that comes from not having them. And now it is pain that feels...insurmountable.
Why does God do this? Why did He do it to me
? How could He dangle my dreams in front of me just to snatch them back again a moment before I reached them? Why did He go to all the trouble to so beautifully orchestrate PAIN? Wouldn't I have been better off living my life, oblivious to the fact that there is a hurting mother with two sweet twin girls that I might have been able to help? I hate this.
But then I remember that God orchestrates our lives for His glory and that has to be
enough. He does what He does for our good. And it doesn't have to make sense to us. We can not even see what is right in front of our faces- how can we see out to the end of the greatest story ever told? Our brains are so small yet we think we ought to be able to comprehend the plans of an infinite God. We are blind fools.
Our lives don't have to be pretty or feel good for Him to be good. That is what trust is. That is what faith is. We live in a world wrought with pain- and He wasn't the one who made it so. Yet, gloriously, He is the one who promises to be there for us, comforting us, guiding us.
Had He not put the twinnies in my life, I would have missed the great dependency I felt to Him as I fervently prayed, more fervently than any time in my life. I drew closer to Him and my soul rested in Him in a way that I had let slip past me for such a long time in the busyness of mothering and homekeeping and being a busy wife. I realized what it means to love your neighbor as I begged to be given the chance to love these particular ones. I realized how poorly I love my own husband, my own children, my own brothers and sisters and neighbors and friends.
Last Sunday, these words struck me cold...
"If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it." (Mark 8:34/35)
It occurred to me that losing your life doesn't just mean being martyred nor even (as I think we often translate it in our days) being willing to be treated poorly by unbelievers. It means dying to self. And it follows that if I refuse to die to myself and the wishes, hopes and dreams that make up who I am but that are contrary to His will- no matter how virtuous they may be- I am denying Him. His plan for my life is good. And my plans for my life are dust.
I have heard nothing from that faraway Mama. I don't know if the twinnies (as I have nicknamed them) are born yet. If not, soon. From her silence, I presume she has decided to give it a go despite the many odds against her. The not knowing, the wondering, the hope one moment, losing hope the next...it's a most terrible place to be. Opening my heart here, finally putting a voice to my secret thoughts, will maybe help me to move forward? So, I have to sew those buttons on and I have to send my love off, though I can't see through the tears, to girls I will probably never know but desperately love.
Those girls are woven in my heart and will be for always. I will never stop praying for them or their Mama. And I don't know that I will ever stop grieving for myself at not being able to show them how very loved they are.
But even in my grief, God is good.