Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Baby Girl,
It’s your birthday today, and I’m wishing I could light a little candle in your world and plant a sweet kiss on your cheek.  Instead, you’re oceans away, and I’m simply hanging on to waves of hope.  I wish I could take pictures of your face covered in cake, gentle nudges to pray that an amazing guy will someday be guilty of the same shenanigans on your wedding day.  Months have passed since I first saw your adorable face.  It has been grace that has kept me occupied and distracted during the wait, just as it has been grace that has helped me walk with patience the past nearly 8 years of waiting to bring you home, Little Bird.  I still remember the start of my paper pregnancy at the kitchen table all those years ago, always wondering who you would be.  Little did I know the setbacks and decisions that yet awaited and that the paper trail was far from over!

And little did I know that that unexpected paper trail that journeyed through the years would take me on another journey as well…to greater degrees of hope.  Not the sappy kind of hope that wishes a favourite sports team wins or that you’ll make it to your appointment on time, but the kind that presses down on you with a weight of glory.  The kind that leans into expectancy and rebels against cynicism or doubt.  The kind that holds with an open hand rather than a closed heart.  The kind that believes that life can come from death, that sees the darkness and believes that light will win.  A hope that chooses brave in the face of fear and loss.  A hope that’s like a Velveteen love that becomes more real, worn bare by brokenness that has found a greater beauty.  The kind of hope that is forged by being made and remade one day of waiting after another.

You see, I’ve spent a lifetime learning to hedge my bets, Baby Girl.  I’ve experienced some of the hardest disappointments, many in places they should have least been found, and ones I pray you’ll never have to know.  So I learned to be my own safety net and keep my dreams manageable, I suppose.  Hope stopped coming naturally to me along the way because it meant I’d have to live with expectancy, that I’d have to press into believing, and live fully alive to the moment yet forever remember the fragility of it all, and I couldn’t afford the kind of heartbreak that experience had taught me can come with that.

But then you graced my life and started to teach me about hope again…choosing to embrace fully with expectancy the “not yets” of life while “happily ever afters” remain uncertain.  You teach me to see you despite the unknowns, to see the invisible threaded through the tangible.  As the sun bathes my face, I see your silhouette from behind, riding your little tricycle down the long road stretched in front of us on evening walks.  And I remember too when I saw you running through a nearby field of wispy dandelions as the spring gave way to summer.  When I watch a father and his son throwing a baseball around, I see you there too.  I’m excited to watch you soak up the world in slow wonder, much like this journey I’ve been on waiting for you.  So many take for granted everyday what I’ve been praying so very long for.  Thank you for teaching me that sometimes dreams look like finding the extraordinary in the everyday ordinary and stitching eternity into the seemingly mundane.

All dreaming and seasons come with their own kind of growing, Sweet One.  All things bloom beautiful in their time, though time will sometimes feel like a great thief more than a blossom-maker, including on 1st birthdays when we’re oceans apart.  I am sad for the days I am missing right now of your precious life, sad to be missing your soft baby cheeks and little toes, comforting your tears, and knowing I’ll never have a photo collage of these moments in time.  But Heaven will tell the stories we missed together on earth, Little Bird.  Tonight, I will curl up on your bed again, take your little lamb in my arms, and pray the Good Shepherd will take you in His, protect you, fill your gaps, send you a gentle soul who comes when you cry.  I pray that He will make you a ray of sunshine and let your heart feel how much you are loved.

Both the now and the not-yet have their own blossoms, so we’ll learn to call time our friend instead of our foe.  And we’ll keep believing that birthday cakes and bedtime snuggles and bathtimes and bicycles will be our gift for your next birthday.  Bloom bright, Baby Girl, pinks and oranges and brightest yellows!  And wish upon a thousand “happily ever afters” because hope sometimes looks a lot like dreaming big and finding your way Home.

Happy birthday, Little Bird!  
All my love,

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Oh, Happy Day - Operation Sunshine!!!

I'm adding a new set of "genes" and Converse shoes to my world!  It has been a long and unexpected adoption journey scrawled across the past 7+ years and a few continents, but I'm hopeful I will get to bring my little girl home next year . . . after nearly 9 years of paper pregnancy instead of 9 months . . . a kaleidoscope of grace few would ever choose.  But sometimes the things we wouldn't pick choose us to become brave and tenacious, surrendered and patient.  And they remind us that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.  I have finally been matched with my precious, adorable little girl!!  Although my match won't be paper official for some time yet and there are always risks in this unfolding international adoption adventure I'm affectionately calling "Operation Sunshine," I've decided to share my news (call it an "adoption sonogram") so you can help me pray my sweet girlie home.  That would mean so much to us!!

~~ I knew I loved you before I met you, Baby Girl, and I can hardly believe I've finally found your beautiful smile and giggle.  They light up my world like 10,000 fireflies dancing in the dark.  I can't wait to fly with you.  You've already given me wings and taught my heart so much about perseverance and hope, grace upon grace and open hands, and joy in the waiting.  I know you've had a rough start, but hang on a little longer, baby bird . . . your momma's comin' as soon as I can! ~~

 ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

An Open Letter To My Baby Girl

I started this journal a while back for my little girl that I plan to give to her someday filled with precious moments and life lessons and things I wish for her heart.  As I've been waiting so long during my adoption journey to bring her home, it has been a way of bringing her a little closer and bridging the gap between hope and my waiting heart . . . a simple way to knit her into the fabric of my heart and to knit my heart into hers as the years go by.  I thought I’d share a snippet of her journal and my heart as this crazy adventure unfolds a little more . . .

An Open Letter To My Baby Girl

Baby Girl,

I have so much I want to share with your heart.  I think about it more often than I write.  But however full this journal becomes, may it always remind you that I loved you before I met you.  You were born in my heart long before you graced my life and filled my arms.  And I bled your orphanhood and abandonment on the pages of my own life and felt their hard ache long before you felt their sting.  I’ve known many of your scars before you’ve known the ways that life can wound.  As I wait to bring you home, I’m reminded that this reality called adoption is brutiful.  Someone had to lose you so that I could gain you.  She had to let you go so that I could hold on.  She had to grieve you so that I could fully love you.  She had to tear you from the fabric of her heart so that you could be woven into mine.  Her death has become my life.  And her great courage and selfless love in choosing to give birth to you despite circumstances less than ideal has inspired mine.

You will probably wonder one day what she looks like.  “Momma, is she gentle and strong?  Tall or short?  Do you think I look like her?  Do you think she loved me?”  And I will grieve that I don’t have all the answers.  And you will grieve that too.  But we will walk through it together.  And we will find that the sorrows of life stretch out greater spaces in our heart for joy, compassion, and love for others. 

We will watch daddies lift their little girls on their shoulders at the park, and my heart will break inside as we walk home and you ask me, “Mommy, where is my daddy?  Could I have a strong one too that’s proud of me and that carries me on his shoulders?”  And I will draw you close and hold you.  And I will tell you how much you are loved and take you to the God who carries governments on His shoulders...and little girls too.  And then we’ll let the world slow down for a little longer and throw a baseball around together.  Yes, I will long for a daddy for you, but I will trust that our gaps will build a bridge of invitation for a broken world as those gaps teach us to be that bridge.  I won’t have the answers to many things in life, Sweet One, but a little mystery keeps us humble.  And in the midst of the hard, we’ll still have kitchen dance parties, inside jokes, food fights, and tea parties, snuggles on lazy days, and adventures on crazy days.  I may have missed your first breath and first steps, but I hope to give you my last.

And I hope your story helps you defy the brokenness in this world and teaches you to fall in love with all the people whose stories mirror yours and the ones that are different too.  I hope your story points you to the beauty of redemption and relentless love in dark places where the sun has yet to kiss the horizon.  Our stories will never be perfect or free of pain, Baby Girl, but my prayer is that shame and loss will always be upstaged by hope.  You and I will never be able to go back and make the painful details of life pretty, but we can always choose to move forward and make the whole beautiful.

Some think I’m a little crazy to adopt you while flying solo.  But sometimes life asks us to take leaps of faith and build our wings on the way down.  To simply be ordinary people foolish enough to believe that the world can look a little more beautiful when we choose to go out of our way to love and to tell someone that they’re worth being fought for...and waited for.  And I’ll have you by my side, a little bird that has grown new wings and found a safe shelter in my arms, so I won’t be alone.  I sense you’ll teach me how to fly far better than I’ll ever be able to teach you.  

This long journey to find you scrawled across the past 7+ years of my life would never be what I would have chosen.  But sometimes the things we wouldn’t pick choose us to become brave and tenacious.  Sometimes we get what we need by walking through the things we never wanted.  And those things that make us fall apart sometimes become the very things that teach us how to be held together...and the things that break us become the very things that break our hearts open to something more.  Sometimes the greatest gifts and greatest wisdom come at the highest cost, Little Bird.  While we cannot always see the other side of this confusing, tangled tapestry in this journey of a thousand miles and then some, one day we just might.  Until then, I wish you courage and kindness in the adventure, Sweet Girl, not the kind that roars and makes itself loud, but the kind that humbly shows up every day to sing your melody and light up the darkness.

As I imagine watching you sleep and memorizing the curves of your face and praying over your little heartbeat, I’m already overwhelmed with my calling in your life.  I see the areas I fall so short.  I know I will fail you.  I will hurt you.  I will misunderstand you.  I will disappoint you.  I know I’ll never have all the virtues I wish not only for me but as an example for you.  But I will also teach you of grace and forgiveness and love and perseverance and trust these flowers to grow in the garden of our hearts.  I pray I can be a good momma who gives you wings to fly, who’s always ready to let you go when it’s time, who helps you be wise and shine like the stars.  I pray for you a heart that lives with greater expectancy than expectation...that doesn’t box this life but leaves it open to more than you can see.  I do not wish you to be shielded from hard things but from a hard heart.  I do not wish you to be kept from a broken heart in life but from a broken spirit.  Broken hearts keep us humble and thirsty for grace.  They teach a strength borne of gentleness, and I yearn for character to always be more important to you than ease, popularity, or reputation.  I wish for your love to not be hollow or shallow in all the places that it needs to be deep so that your words and promises will not become mere flattery or convenience but trustworthy.

We only get to live as much as we give our hearts sincerely away, Sweet One.  But it will be all too easy to look around at the big, wide world and the things you lack and compare and convince yourself that you’re too small or not enough, that you have too little to give.  But our giving is most beautiful when we simply give our best, and gratitude will always turn what we have into enough.  In humble smallness, love can write the most beautiful story.  It already has, Baby Bird.  And it points to something greater, something bigger.  I do not have all I’d like to give to you either, but you have my whole heart, and I’m trusting my little to be multiplied into much.  And despite my weaknesses, I trust you will still find your strengths.  And in both, may we never aim to perfect life but to just sincerely live it...the messy, the grace, the sorrow, the joy, the beautiful, the broken.  Bring your little piece of sunshine to this world, Baby Girl, knowing it will echo through eternity.  And in all these things, may hope grow as a beautiful flower in your heart...not a hope that erases your hard past but that purifies it.  A hope that will not only anchor what was once unsettled in the beginning months and years of your life but will give you wings to fly, that will ground you yet help you soar free.  And may you find beauty in the everyday ordinary because this broken life is mended by beauty.  The beauty we choose to see.  The beauty we choose to find. We become what we behold.

May you live loved, Baby Girl, because you are!  And may you never be afraid to be the one who loves the most in life.  Fly, little bird, fly!

All my love,

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Beginning

It was always the little girl that captivated her – the one reaching towards the endless sunlit sky and racing through a field of tall grass and wildflowers, chasing dandelion dust and butterflies on the breeze.  Her hair twisting and flying.  Her legs barely able to keep up.  Racing a boundless horizon.  The summer dress.  The cloudless sky.  Embracing sunshine.  Freedom.  Joy.  Grace.  Holy abandon.  Heaven smiling down on her in fullest delight.  It was the place her mind ran to when she wanted to step away from the world for a while.  When she needed “pilgrim” to be redefined and “wanderer” to be a thing of beauty because being both sometimes called her to the outer edges of her faith.  

Life in a broken world has a way of teaching us sometimes that it isn't safe to trust or to dream for ourselves or for others -- that it isn't safe to chase dandelions -- that if we allow our heart to breath out hopes, like a wind-kissed dandelion, they will scatter instead in a million directions and be forever lost.  White picket fences become things of fairytales but not real life.  Redemption becomes heaven’s playground but certainly not earth’s footstool.  Things gained come shrouded with some kind of loss...the great trade-off of the universe.  So holding joy comes to mean holding fear, yet the heart cannot hold both together.  Can the God who clothes lilies with beauty while the heart lies bare really be trusted, we reason?  Can His goodness ever bridge the gaps and demands of life when those very gaps and demands elude goodness?  How does one chase dandelions when His whispers seem too quiet to hear and the shouts of this world too loud to ignore...when the lies of everyday reality seem easier to believe than His truths that challenge them...when the transparent beauty of the gospel for real life seems to get veiled by real life itself?

So He asks us to simply run, limping with wrenched Jacob-hips and all (Genesis 32).  Unhindered...with the joy of heaven set before us (Hebrews 12:2).  While life may offer up only leftover crumbs after everyone else is satisfied (Matthew 15:24-28), He offers up a heavenly feast and delights in taking the "Mephibosheth hearts," lame and crippled in spirit, to be His sons and daughters and invites them to eat continually at His table (2 Samuel 9:11,13).  Yes, He asks us to run...in open fields of beauty where the God of Hope comes and reminds us to breathe out hope in Him, and to let it scatter in a thousand directions and plant seeds under heaven’s canopy.  Eyes of Grace will watch where each seed falls – He will catch them in His heart before they hit the ground, never allowing one to be lost from His gaze, that word of love, that little gift, that sacrifice, that right choice, and, yes, even that dream.  And He'll catch life's betrayals, rejections, wounds, and heartaches too with the tenderness of a healer.  He'll keep gently whispering along the way that hope brings joy and that joy is never for holding but only for giving.  A heart that is trusting is secure in not only what it has but in what it gives away.  Lessons for life, learned and relearned in the dust at the foot of the cross on our paralympic journey to the finish line.

You know, they say white picket fences and giants are for fairytales.  Perhaps they are.  With fences of pure grace hedging us behind and before (Job 3:23, Psalm 139:5), He confines our hearts to His as the King who makes princes and princesses out of paupers (Ezekiel 16:4-14).   Giants in so many forms set across our path till we learn to become brave Goliath slayers.  Until we learn and re-learn the simplicity of five little stones, prayer, the kingdom within, and Things Unseen.

And they say little girls running through fields of dandelions and a thousand little violet flowers are storybook endings.  Maybe they are.  Our story wrapped up in Jesus' story written across timeless pages where, as the last page of life is turned, we see instead, in His indelible script, the words "The Beginning."
This blog....
Chasing dandelions.
Chasing grace.