I don't know about you, but I can get somewhat proud of myself when life is clipping along and I feel "not so sinful". Circumstances have not pushed my buttons to bring my true nature out in the open and I can become overconfident in myself instead of God.
Each and every time I have a come apart I'm somewhat surprised by the enormous ugly deep inside me...yet I know it is always there just waiting to be coaxed out by the day or moment.
I can easily say adoption has been the vehicle in which God has most acutely revealed my sin nature to me. It is also where He has given me more mercy and grace than I deserve.
I was that naive mother prior to adoption,
you know the one, "been there done that...all the mothering experience I've got under my belt" confidence.
I knew on some level that adoption would require more of me than my four biological children required...
I studied all the books, memorized the traits I needed to be hyper focused on for strong attachment, readied my heart to be open and available.
And I was. Open and available...
because God prepared my heart for these girls. He gave me an intense love for them. And yes He is all too aware of my gift of mercy. That gift of mercy has served me well until it does not anymore.
God held me in a beautiful place the first year following each adoption. My heart was ready for the hard, I was merciful to my girls and their needs. God settled my expectaions and gave me strength.
That is until it got too hard.
My expectations increased, that desire for a cohesive "normal" family daily overrides my ability to enter into the rest of our Lord. Thus enters my sin nature.
One morning, not so long ago, I was driving Janie to school after a tumultuous morning of disobedience; ignoring my calls to find socks, shoes, to whining about her water bottle and then on to blaming me for her behavior...
In complete frustration I yelled at her to "just hurry up PLEASE", I guess I was thinking the added please helped negate the yell.
We jump in the car and I immediately began to apologize to her. I said, "Mom should not have yelled at you like I did. I am so so sorry, will you forgive me?"
Her response was to turn and look out the window and ignore me the entire way to school. I apologized many times to no avail. I was even proud of myself that I did not point out that she was not obeying me as we were leaving. I was owning my own sin of losing my patience with her (yeah I'm awesome huh?, until I'm not)
I'm ready to lose it again with her...she is a hardcore stubborn one and can frustrate the fool out of me. The same stubborn trait I understood just a few years ago when we brought her home. Of course she is stubborn. Stubborn is her go to coping mechanism, a trait learned as a means of survival as a young sick orphan in China. Only on this particular morning I chose not to remember why she can be so stubborn.
I began coaching myself "you are the adult here, she is the child, let it go" as I was fuming over her stubborness. Gently the thought settled on me, "you are just as sinful and childish as she is, you are no better than your nine year old."
I'd love to say she sweetly smiled and kissed me, as she does every single day, when she got out of the car. She did not. She never looked at me, refused to speak and walked into school.
My lovely thought..."good riddance my child".
As I pulled out of the parking lot, relieved to be ALONE... I prayed...for her and for me.
And all the yuk that we carry around in us ready to jump out when least expected.
I thought about my sin and feelings of frustration and thought what I always do "you sure would be proud of your lack of sin if it were not for these girls" ha!
I can blame my behavior on raising young children in my mid fifties or I can own my sin. I'm quite sure I would find my way to sin if in any other life circumstance as well...
that is what we do when we place our hopes and our expectations in this world and not on Christ.
We get caught up in justifying our sin instead of turning to Christ.
He is the only one who truly understands our sin nature...while we are at times surprised by the ugly that quickly spews forth in us.
Hebrews 2:18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
He understands more than our minds can fathom.
As usual these rambling thoughts of mine are a pep talk to myself and possibly can speak to you as well. I know myself well enough to realize my expectations can be set on what will happen in my day instead of putting my expectation in Christ. You know that daily struggle with life and sin nature...
Psalms 39:7 And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in you.
Thankfully He knows me better than I know myself. In His infinite wisdom He gave me two precious needy girls. My eyes well with tears as I type this. He KNEW I needed them more than they need me. Each and every day He pulls me closer to him out of my need for direction and HIM. I shudder to think how I may have fallen away left to my own plans.
Because I am ALWAYS looking for a great laugh, I chose these pictures for this post because I made the girls take these pictures for me after they had been arguing. Notice how Madeline's arm is limply thrown over Janie's shoulder?
Also notice how Janie's little hand is gently resting on her sister's shoulder...she had already forgiven her sister.
She also forgave me for yelling at her that day. She hopped in the car after school smiling as she told me about her awesome day. I asked, "are you still mad at me?"
She smiled sweetly, as she always does, saying "yes, and I'm sorry too"...then continued her non stop chatter about her day😊