Sunday, 17 July 2011
Change and pain
I’m linking up this post with The Gypsy Mama today, 12/26/11. This post is my favorite of the year because it’s raw and true and represents a turning point with God and me. It was written while I was in the middle of our adoption process in Uganda, Africa.
How can you come to Africa and not be changed?
I prayed that I wouldn’t return the same as when I left. This prayer has already been answered. But changing and growth always come with a measure of pain, and yesterday was painful. Not the fear alone, but how quickly it took over. “Perfect love casts out fear” has been a theme of my spiritual lessons over the last year, and I really thought some progress was being made. I was really getting it. Lean into his love when fear rears its head. Love will dismiss it. Fear has no power in the face of love.
And yet. Physically, emotionally, spiritually — fear consumed me yesterday. Even now, when I think ahead to the next hurdles here in Uganda and the adjustments at home, the changes to our family, routine, life… fear is dominant in these scenarios.
An internet friend recently said she read something that said “Uganda will reveal to you a thousand gods you never knew you had.” That one hit me between the eyes today, after the exhaustion had worn off and I could see my reactions for what they were.
The adoption process is so charged — at first, all the paperwork and bureaucracy is about proving yourself a worthy parent — a super-parent, even. You’re “selling” your abilities as a parent to an adoption agency, social worker, your government, a foreign government. You make bold statements and you have the documentation — financial records, reference letters, diplomas, degrees, parenting philosophies, ideals — to prove it.
Then, you are face to face with your new child, and you realize you have all the same insecurities you always had. I’m not a super-parent. I’m not a hero. I’m a very average parent, and I’ve already made mistakes with my third-born child. Bolstered by promises on paper, I thought everything would fall into place after we got through the “hard part” — the process in country, the court, the governments, the checklists. But now I remember. Babies and their needs have a way of bringing me to my knees. It doesn’t feel magical like I’d always imagined — if I’m honest, it feels scary. I am completely humbled by this responsibility, this life I’ve been entrusted in Benjamin. All my brokenness is exposed. Why in the world did God let me do this?
But that’s fear talking again. We are all broken, regardless of the good face we put on paper. If God is going to change me here, I want it to be like this — to bring me to the very end of myself. So all that is left is him.
Jesus, put to death my illusions of control. Slay my self-sufficiency. Open my eyes to see that everything I have comes from you, and that I cannot accomplish a single good thing on my own. When fear raises its head a thousand times, remind me to wrap myself in your love a thousand and one. Help me to walk in the freedom that this will bring: When I am no longer in charge of my destiny and responsible for controlling the outcome, I am truly free to follow your lead, and to finally, really trust you. Kind of like the way my new baby trusts me to give him everything he needs.