Tuesday, August 5, 2014


We recently had to have a tree removed from our back yard.  Dead as a doornail....is that right?
Dead as a doornail?
Or is it a doorknob?
Either way it doesn't make sense...... but I'll move on.

It was a dead tree.

So, some nice people came out & they cut that tree up piece by piece and they carried it through our backyard, down our driveway & to a truck.  
We offered our wheelbarrow but they were not interested.  
And I watched them working .... from my air conditioned room with the TV on, I'm sure.  And I was grateful.  Because we had a need & they met it.  And we didn't have to.

But I wondered....who benefits most from this right now.....

Me?  Sitting on my rear, relaxing while someone else helps us check something off our list?
Or them?   As they carry each heavy piece of tree down the driveway.  

Lately, it seems we have been hoping for things in our family & things just haven't gone our way.
We've been fairly honest about the things we desire.  We have been incredibly vulnerable with things that feel tender & close & we've let people just be with us where we are.   As uncomfortable as it is to sometimes feel like you're failing out in the open for all to see.

The most recent was our kids working towards a goal in a sport that 2 of them love.  All 3 of them love it, but the 3rd has declared she doesn't like hard work ... so, we'll stay focused on the 2.
It sounds silly at first to let a sport be a big disappointment this early in the game, and at the end of the day when they feel a little empty after all the hard work they put into something....we all have to remember that swimming is not about swimming.  
At least it isn't for us.  
It can't be.  
Swimming is an opportunity to live out the things we know to be true.  
To treat people well.   
To give your best effort for the audience of One.  
To encourage people.   
To respect & listen & apply the teaching of your coaches.  
To win well & lose well.  
To learn from your mistakes.  
I watched our kids walk away without the super prize & achievement they wanted at the end of it, but Lee & I saw more.   
We saw a boy who could lose & then immediately cheer his heart out for his teammates.  By name.  
We saw a girl bring laughter & joy to her team.  We saw her most interested in pushing others forward.

5+ years ago we started the process to adopt a child from Ethiopia.  And for so many different reasons that story is not where we thought it would be today.   There's a nursery that is still painted as a nursery & boy clothes still waiting. 
We prayed & prayed about it.
So many friends & family gathered around us in support.  People prayed for & with us, some gave money towards our adoption, people constantly encouraged to walk the road God laid out for us.
We have never heard the Lord so clearly & we had never been in a sweeter spot as a family than when we began that journey of faith.  And for anyone who has traveled that road knows it is gut wrenching.
We did it all.  
We laid the most personal parts of our lives out on paper & had it notarized.  We invited people into our home to critique who we are as people & as parents.  We faced tremendous conflict with people we love.  And when it all started to unravel, a dear friend reminded me that ....."this was never about a baby...."

Because it's not.
It can't be.

God has never asked for anything in return from me.  His love has always been for me.  His love is not conditional based upon my good works no matter how pure they are.  There are things we missed out on, for sure.  
God is still bigger.

I know wonderful people who want good things...spouses, children, employment.....and having or not having those things does not define a love or lack of from the Lord.  
And I wrestled with those words - it's not about a baby.  
Because I wanted him.
I maybe even wanted this baby more than.....
And coupling that with the way I thought we would be seen was crippling.

And as I watched those men carrying their heavy loads down the driveway I realized that they are becoming stronger by doing the work .... & when we carry the heavy loads....so do we.
At the swim team finish line, our children got the bitter taste of disappointment & the temptation to be jealous.  The heavy load was placed on them...and what they were capable of in those moments made me proud.
What I saw come out of me while carrying the burden of grief for this child of mine that we may never know short of Heaven was not pretty.  And it was not glorifying.  
And we are bruised from the process. 

I keep hearing that if God has given me a story, then He's given me a story to tell.
But I haven't liked my story.  So I didn't want to tell it until it took the turn that I wanted to tell.
And there's not bow at the end.
And somehow .... that's ok.
The journey God's got us on is, well,...a journey.  And I don't want to miss the opportunities to become stronger simply because I don't like the story.