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A Season of Grace

March 23, 2012

This morning I was sweeping my floor, grateful to be sweeping crumbs in the sunshine in the stillness that falls between 9:15 and 11:45 four mornings a week, when every one except Mercy is at school. I thought: How blessed am I to be sweeping so our contractor doesn’t get toast crumbs on his socks while he sits at our table talking elevators? How blessed am I that we sold our house and have money in the bank with which to hire architects and contractors? How blessed am I to live in the first world where Joy can have a wheelchair much less an elevator?

How blessed am I that a printer just took delivery of my book from my publisher? How blessed am I to be the recipient of another grant –this time, to publish the work of an author I really believe in? How blessed am I to be looking at a summer filled with an elevator and books: the busy-ness of my blessings?

Thanks to the community God has placed me in, other adoptive moms raising kids who were prenatally exposed to alcohol, I don’t take this season of grace for granted. A few years ago, I would have wiped my brow, smug in the confidence that some smartly applied parenting had just restored order to threatening chaos.

But not now. Today I am grateful. I recognize this season for what it is: God’s masterful control over the ebb and flow of the lives he created. God mercifully giving me little space in which to take a deep breath before the next big wave.

And what, I prayed, sweeping the crumbs in the sunshine, should I be doing in this breathing space? Faith just turned twelve. Joy is about to turn five. What about that family culture I dreamed of, God, before I became a parent? You know: lives invested in serving the church and the world; a city on the hill; all that good stuff I thought we’d have down to a science twelve years into our life with children…. The season of just getting by has been so long –six years. Half of Faith’s life has vanished into the vacuum of crisis control. Now she’s on the verge of being a teen and I feel like I missed so much.

*****

And that’s where I left off writing two weeks ago. Too many friends were smack-dab in the middle of crises for public contentment to seem seemly. But since then, God has brought each of them to a place where they are conscious of being carried, and I’m still meditating on what, that morning sweeping in the quiet sunshine, felt like a loss: the kind of childhood I imagined for my oldest daughter when she was a baby sleeping on my chest.

This is where God has brought me to today: I have not missed anything God intended, anything he wisely purposed for our family. I imagined a good thing. But I didn’t imagine it might be better if my dream didn’t come true.

It is like the certainty I felt in my bones the day almost four years ago I first held Amy in my arms at her orphanage in Busan. To me, the miracles of finding her and finding her still alive, meant I was destined to be her mother, too. That would have been a good thing. But I failed to imagine God’s better plan: A family for Amy in her birth country who would become treasured, birth-culture family for three other Korean orphans (our girls) and whose courageous open adoption of a toddler with disabilities would encourage other Korean families to openly adopt.

My dreams about my older daughter’s childhood are no different. We are just not far along enough in God’s plan to see, yet, where He’s taking us.

In the mean time, I must discipline my heart not to rail against what He is giving me day by day, even when it is an unexpected season of grace. I open my hands, embrace the broom, and sweep crumbs in the quiet sunshine, with thanks.

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