Monday, December 31, 2012

Mercies Piled High

December flew by! I can't believe that Christmas has already come and gone, and here we are on the eve of 2013! 

The past month (year) has been a whirlwind! I don't even know where to begin. Life has been full and loud and constant and hard and crazy, and I've had a hard time putting words to all that is in my heart. Here's my attempt at a quick recap and also a look ahead.

This year we enjoyed some special traditions, which were all the more special (and all the more stressful) because of the two little girls that joined our family in 2012. We had many "firsts" this December, and it was especially fun to see how excited the big boys were to tell S and Evie all about Christmas. 

Some of the highlights from December were our neighborhood luminaries, the Christmas Eve communion service, several Christmas meals and get-togethers with family, and a lively Christmas morning full of balloons and treats and new toys. We also celebrated Barrett's second birthday. Needless to say, S learned what the word PARTY means!

We have had lots of good days, really good days, and I am very thankful for them... 

Because we've also had some hard days, days that make me lose hope and get discouraged and wonder what in the world we are doing...

Our hard drive crashed on our computer. That would explain the lack of updates this month. Lately, I've felt like I need a new hard drive too!

We've had multiple plumbing issues, stopped up potties, overflowing washing machines, and broken garbage disposals. Just to name a few! I take full responsibility for everything but the potties! 

A teething baby girl has made for some long nights, and a certain 2 year old still continues to wake with the sun! Long nights and long days are a rough combination, but these two sure make me smile!

The three big boys have had moments of playing together so well! It's fun to watch. And, then, in the blink of an eye, a fight breaks out, and somebody slugs somebody and somebody else starts screaming. The sights and sounds of a houseful of little boys...

S is continuing to adjust. She is communicating more and more. Not so much with words, although she does have a few that she uses often. She's done great with potty-training, another huge blessing! She is learning how to play and loves to look at books, play with Barrett's trains, jump on the trampoline, and has even learned to peddle her new trike!

Her hair is growing out. Finally long enough for pig-tails. Her eyes look brighter. She is more engaged and responsive. She follows instructions and, for the most part, is very compliant. She still has a lot of quirky orphanage behaviors, but we are starting to see them less and less. She smiles more, and, at times, seems to "get" things! She is silly and sweet and has a wonderful laugh! I am hopeful that she is starting to understand family and that having a Mama and Daddy is a good thing. 

And then other times, she resists our affection and pushes away from our embrace. Although it is happening less frequently, she still would readily hug and kiss random people we see at the grocery store. It's hard and frustrating, and it is easy to lose hope and get discouraged and wonder if we are making any progress at all. People always ask me if I think she's attaching, and I honestly have no idea what to say. I know that only the Lord can heal her little heart and enable her to learn to trust and love, and it will all happen in His perfect time!

I tell her often that Mama loves S and that Mama will always love S. I'm still unsure of how much she understands, and sometimes I say it just for my own ears to hear! I tell her that she's a treasure, a gift, and a blessing! I tell her that she was chosen, that she is safe, and that she belongs! I pray that it sinks in. I ask the Lord to heal her little mind so that she can understand, to open her mouth so that she can learn to speak, and to open her heart so that she can love and receive love!  I also ask the Lord to soften my heart toward her, to fill me with love and patience, and to continue to knit her heart to mine! 

And He is. Even when I don't feel it or see it, I know that He is! This is mercy. Mercy that keeps coming, just like the waves! I can't see where they start or end! They all run together and just keep coming, one after the other. And they wash over me just now as I reflect on all that we have been through this past year. It makes me want to breathe in deeply and let it out slowly! 2012 was quite a year...

And in these few quiet minutes, I whisper thank You to the giver of every single one of those mercies! What a year full of mercies it has been!

His mercy flows in wave after wave 
on those who are in awe before Him...
He piled on the mercies, piled them high...
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God,
God's sunrise will break in upon us,
shining on those in the darkness,
those sitting in the shadow of death,
then showing us the way,
one foot at a time,
down the path of peace.
Luke 1:46, 67

I love these verses, and I've read them many times this month. I've lived these verses this year, experienced first-hand God showing us the way, one step at a time. He guided us along an unfamiliar way. One foot in front of the other.  One moment at a time. Day by day. Night after night. Even when the path was hard, and I couldn't make out the next step! Even when I didn't want to take the next step! But here we are! One year ending, a new one beginning. His sunrise breaking through the darkness! His healing coming! His mercies piling high, flowing in one after the other, just like the ocean waves!

This year, which has been so challenging, stretching, and faith-building, is winding down. Only a few hours left. Looking back I see Mercy everywhere! Every picture shouts it! Every memory triggers Mercy, how He carried me and how He met me! Across the ocean and back, twice. In a hospital delivery room, laboring hard, waiting to meet our fifth child and our first baby girl! In another room, a long way away from the first, a different kind of laboring. Waiting to hear not a newborn's cry, but the pitter-patter of little feet! Meeting our sixth child, another precious little girl! Mercy everywhere, from our backyard all the way to an orphanage in a run-down part of town halfway around the world. He's been with me every step of the way! Every where! Every day! Every moment! 

And not just mercy looking back! There's mercy ahead. As the clock chimes midnight and ushers in a new year, new mercies are right on its heels. It's a promise I'm clinging to again in 2013! I can't wait to see where the road leads, and today I'm asking the Lord to flood my heart with hope as we look ahead to what lies ahead! It's bound to be good because God is good and He's faithful and He's the giver of every mercy that come with every new sunrise! From our family to yours! Happy 2013!


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