Friday, April 17, 2015

unfolding grace for bleeding hearts

SO, S, 

you and me, 
we're not giving up. 
How could we! 

Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us,

on the inside where God is making new life,

not a day goes by without His unfolding grace.
2 Corinthians 4:16

So, S, you and me...

We went to church on Sunday. I count this a big victory even though we only lasted for the first three songs before we had to slip out. But it was definitely worth it, seeing you so happy and smiling. You were very proud of your new birthday dress and necklace, and I was very proud of you.

You and me, we both loved the music at church that Sunday. You rocked back and forth and lifted your arms up high in the air. Your attempt at dancing got you quite a few stares, but you didn't care and neither did I. You opened your mouth, trying to sing. And, me, I stopped my singing and just couldn't stop looking at you... 

S, we've had our struggles. You and me, we know struggle very well. I've struggled to love you in a way that you can grasp, and, you, you've struggled to receive my often faulty and flailing attempts at love. Bless that broken and bleeding heart of yours. How could you possibly even begin to understand what love is? 

And that's why I stood there just watching you. Because I knew that I was staring at a miracle. 

You reached your arms toward me and said "up" (a miracle that you can actually use a word and use it appropriately) and how could I resist? Of course, you are much too big to be picked up and my back is much too tired, but I did it anyway. You cupped your hands to my face and your big brown eyes looked straight into mine, and that, in and of itself, is another miracle. How many months (years?) you refused to make eye contact, I can't even remember. But, this day, you hugged and kissed me and held on tight, and I did the same. All the wounding and trauma your precious heart endured during those first six years of your life without a momma to love and care for you? And all the ways this momma has let you down over the past three years? 

Children, drop your chains and sing...

Somehow in that moment, I knew that Love was winning. I saw love. You for me and me for you. And I knew I was living and breathing a miracle. A miracle wrought in my heart and in yours by the One who saw fit to make you and me, mother and daughter. 

Chains have been undone and we are singing...

Ours is a messy love, and I have faltered and failed you more times than I can count. There's a weakness in my love, and I am so, so sorry for the many, many ways I have wounded your already gaping heart. But here's the thing I've learned since the day I first heard the pitter-patter of your little feet and you walked into my world. His love is stronger. Stronger than how I feel. Stronger than how I fail. Strong enough to sustain and strong enough to keep giving and giving and giving. Strong enough to not give up.

There's no other way to possibly explain it. 

His love has made a way for your heart to love me in spite of the many times I have blown it with you. And this blows me away. I stand humbly amazed by the way the Lord has worked a miracle into that heart of yours, enabling you to learn to forgive and love and keep reaching those arms up toward me. Again and again, S, you have shown such grace and courage, and I have learned from you, more than from anyone else, what it means to truly love.

And His love is making a way in my heart, too. It's just as much a miracle. He's helping me accept you, and He's showing me just how to love you. S, your love language is different from anyone else I've ever known, and it's taken me a long time to learn it, but the Lord is faithfully showing me just what you need from me. It's been my heart's cry for a while now, Lord, show me how to love this child in a way that she can understand. And He is. 

Our stone hearts become flesh that's beating...

Some days, I am the one learning how to give you the grace and space you need to be exactly the special and unique little girl that He has made you to be. Other days {most days}, you are the one giving me the grace that I desperately need. S, there have been many days that I haven't known whether to laugh or to cry at the sheer craziness of the Lord giving a child like you to a momma like me. But there's one thing that I do know and at the end of the day, no matter how miserably either of us have messed up, these words are just what we both need to hear: Not a single day goes by without His unfolding grace


S, that day we celebrated your ninth birthday, when I watched you in your pretty white dress, opening your mouth, and trying to sing, the Lord gave me a glimpse of eternity... 

Encourage the exhausted, 
and strengthen the feeble. 
Say to those with anxious heart, 
take courage, fear not...

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, 
and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. 
Then the lame will leap like deer, 
and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy.

Isaiah 35:3-6

I've claimed these words from Isaiah many times before. For you and your sister, for me, for all of us. And this day, your ninth birthday, I claimed them all over again.

S, you will sing, and your sister will dance, and me, there will come a day when I'm not exhausted! And, oh my, what a day that will be! I can hardly imagine it.

And that's why we're not giving up. How could we? On the outside, it might look (and feel) like things are falling apart all around us. But that's ok. Because on the inside, I know, He's making new life. He's changing your heart and mine and giving both of us all the grace we need to keep going, one day at a time. SO, S, happy 9th birthday! I'm believing this is going to be the best year yet!


***Fellow adoptive mommas, or, really, any of you who feel a bit like love is a strugglethis post is a must-read. I have been so blessed by the words of Sara Hagerty, both from her new book, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, and her blog. Can I encourage you to check it out? And a special thanks to the sweet friend who loaned me a copy of her book. The day that I took Faith Ana to Birmingham for her surgery back in January, I devoured this book! The next day, the day I miscarried, the Lord knew that this is exactly what my own bleeding heart would need to remember.***

There's a wreckage, there's a fire
There's a weakness in my love
There's a hunger I can't control
Lord, I falter and I fall down
Then I hold on to chains You broke
When You came and saved my soul. Save my soul

We are free to struggle
We're not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and makes us children
Children, drop your chains and sing

So, why, Lord, do I still fail,
Do I wear thin?
Why do I still give in to temptation?
On my own, I am bankrupt,
I don't trust You or take You at Your word
What You've promised, yeah.

We are free to struggle
We're not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and makes us children
Children, drop your chains and sing

Death is overcome and we are breathing
Our stone hearts become flesh that's beating
Chains have been undone and we are singing
The fire has begun. Can you feel it?

Tenth Avenue North
"The Struggle"


  1. As always, thanks for opening your heart to your readers, sharing what the Father is teaching you. I was struck when I read the "pitter patter" post that you linked - how different your tone and voice were back then as opposed to now. There is added depth and wisdom to your voice now. I have seen that in my own journey too. And thank you for sharing the link to Sara's page, too!

  2. "With every act of Love..You bring the Kingdom come!" God Bless your amazing family! The Websters

  3. "With every act of Love..You bring the Kingdom come!" God Bless your amazing family! The Websters

  4. "With every act of Love..You bring the Kingdom come!" God Bless your amazing family! The Websters