I walk out into the living room from our bedroom in the mountain condo. All three kids have jumbled together on the pull-out bed and couch even though the girls have a separate room to themselves to enjoy. They’ve all just woken up. Their eyes don’t swerve from the cartoons on the TV as I cross the room. Jacob is propped on his elbow with his head rested on Lexi’s bent knee.
I sit on the side of the bed and give Jacob a big hug and announce to the room, “Today is one year since we got Jac0b!” No one makes a move. I don’t think it’s that they don’t care, but that we’ve been celebrating every month on the 7th for 12 months straight.
I move out to the back deck in the cool air to watch the steady rain on the field behind us. I remember one year ago it was sunny and hot and we stand in front of a welcome sign on our garage with lots of hope and joy behind our smiles. The gray rain I watch from the deck seems fit for the anniversary. It’s not that there is no joy or hope anymore. It’s just this is the year that I found God in the storm.
I heard Lysa TerKeurst talk about ministry yesterday and she said at some point, God will give you a blessing of growth, but a burden will come with it–it’s a two-edged sword. As she talks, I think of the verses that tell us when we are given much, much will be demanded.
Hannah Kallio teaches on her blog about blessing and how the orignial Hebrew word is a word picture of a rope being held between teeth and stretched and straightened. The blessing is that we are straightened, but the burden is in the stretching. I say it with full meaning that this year has been a blessing.
I read journal entries and posts from this time last year and I was just so excited to take this journey and just to know my son. I didn’t realize the price of a relationship. It costs to build trust. It costs to know each other. It costs to be able to speak to each other without saying a word.
We paid a hefty price, particularly in the first 4 months last year. When my flesh wanted to run from the conflict, I had to learn how to stay and work through it. When my flesh wanted to give up or spew out, I had to learn how to die to that and press on. When emotions overtook me, I had to learn to take those to the Lord and let Him carry my burden. And I only did that with the help of Jesus Christ. I learned what the verse his power his made perfect in my weakness meant. Only through the working of the Holy Spirit and the words of God the Father did I find strength and hope.
But, oh, the blessing. I know my son now. I have earned his trust. I can speak to him without saying a word. I know what he likes to eat, what colors he likes, what he likes to wear, how he likes his pancakes, what scares him and what makes him laugh. He trusts me in the little things and the big things. He calls me Mommy and doesn’t stop when people are around.
I’ve learned that any relationship is built on a foundation of love, respect and trust. We have laid that groundwork this year.
More than that, my children have learned that this year. Where once there were tears and frustration, there is laughter and well, still frustration because, yeah, they’re siblings. They’ve learned what it looks like to follow in obedience even when sacrifice is required. They’ve learned that love is not always a feeling, but an action of faithfulness and service. But the fruit of that faithfulness is the feeling.
Personally, God has used this year to discipline me, to guide me, to break me, to love me. Most importantly, I look at this past year and see God has taught me to abide with Him. God can use all sorts of circumstances to bring us to our knees in dependence on him. For some it is cancer, others it is divorce, perhaps some it is financial ruin or grief. God chose adoption for me.
I would not trade a single tear, frustration or smile for the relationship I have built with Jesus this year. He has become my one and only. It is no longer Jesus and something else. No longer Jesus and perfection. No longer Jesus and fear. No longer Jesus and entertainment. No longer Jesus and good works. Just Jesus. He is sufficient for me.
I have fallen in love with his word, with his presence, with his ways. My faith is strong. He is enough and my all. I do not want to go anywhere where His spirit does not go with me. And he is so faithful, He promises to never leave us or forsake us.
So, today I indeed take a moment in the midst of the mundane and celebrate the blessing and burden of this year. I celebrate with a gift of knowing and loving my son and His Son more.