Thursday, July 14, 2016

the floodgates of heaven

It was by Him that everything was created...
All things seen and unseen...

Colossians 1:16

I believe that children are a gift, given by an all-wise, all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-holding Father. That even before they were each formed in the womb, the Lord already knew and ordained each day that they would live. I believe that He has a plan and purpose for every single soul He creates. 

The one who lived for only a few weeks.



The one who's little heart is still beating strong.

I believe that there are no mistakes, no accidents, and no surprises. Surprises for us, yes, but for Him, no. 

Every detail was crafted through His design,
By His own hands,
And for His purposes...

Colossians 1:16

I believe in His perfect sovereignty. I believe in His loving heart. 

I believe He's the most kind and wise Father. 

I believe He's a very good and gracious gift-giver.

I believe that these gifts that He gives are precious treasures, that this calling is a sacred stewardship, and that this responsibility of being a parent is an incredible privilege.

I believe that there are hard things we are all called to do. Hard and holy things. Things that are both sacred and scary. 



For all those times that living out our convictions and our callings turns out to be harder than you imagined and scarier than you anticipated...

For the times when our beliefs fly in the face of common sense and cultural expectations and times they are contrary to even the most well-respected wisdom... 

For all those days {and nights} when the responsibility feels too heavy and when the load feels like it's more than a person is meant to handle... 

For all those times when everything feels like it's falling apart...

For when I am falling apart...

He gives this promise:

It is His hands that hold everything together.

Colossians 1:17



When I found out this spring that I was pregnant again, this time with two, I struggled to find the words for all the emotions in my heart. Sometime around the 8 week mark, we lost one of the twins, leading to more uncertainties and unknowns. Over the past few months as I've wrestled, wondered, and waited, there have been plenty of times that I've questioned what I believe. But in the midst of all my doubts, the Lord just continues to remind me over and over again:

His hands hold these children.

His hands hold this family.

His hands hold us all together.



And I believe these words and cling to them {and the Author of them} with every fiber of my being. These simple words take the weight off of my shoulders and give me the freedom to watch His plans unfold for our family. I can trust Him that He knows best, and I can accept the gifts that He gives with a glad and grateful heart. 



I used to think I knew what I wanted my family to look like. First, a little boy named Web. Then a second, named Palmer, and a third, we named Hank. Then there was the fourth, Barrett, the one we prayed and waited for. This baby changed everything. 



The vision we had for our family changed and instead of it being OUR vision, it became HIS. 





His vision for our family doesn't look anything like what I ever imagined. I never could have dreamed of a family that would include an Evie, Haddon, Georgi, Sophi, Faith Ana, another little Blackmon baby, and the tiniest ones I believe we will meet one day in Heaven. 

Quite honestly, some days my hands feel so full that I need eyes of faith to truly believe that His vision is good {and not just plain crazy}!



Right now, it feels hard. It feels heavy. It sounds loud. It smells stinky. It looks messy. Its constant, all-consuming, and, yes, most days, it is indeed crazy.



It is exposing my weaknesses. It is uncovering my shortcomings. It is revealing my secret struggles.  It is showing that instead of having it all together, I'm really just falling apart. 



These children. These adoptions. This pregnancy. It's my undoing. 

A gracious undoing. 



Undoing me of my pride. My self-sufficiency. My striving. My controlling. My unrealistically high expectations for myself and for others. 

Lovingly and patiently, He has been prying my hands from the things that I grasp too tightly, and, faithfully and consistently, He's been reminding me that it's not my job to hold everything together. 

It's His. 



He's mercifully and meticulously undoing me of me, and He's making more room for Him

And that's why I can be confident that His plans for my family, for my life, really, truly are good. Good for me. Good for every single member of our family. And must importantly, I believe that this is all the for the greater good of His Eternal Kingdom. 

It's all for His glory and because I know this in my heart of hearts, I can believe and trust and look to the days ahead with hopeful anticipation.



Of course, there are plenty of doubters and naysayers out there. There are plenty of people {family and friends included} who think we are crazy and have lost our minds. Ironically, I've shared the same sentiment from time to time over the past few months. I'd like to blame it on pregnancy hormones or a lack of sleep, but the truth is I've had many of my own moments of unbelief.



"Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief" is my midnight cry, my early morning cry, and my middle of the afternoon {will this day ever end?} cry. 



I'm so glad, though, that even our own doubts don't alter His faithful and steadfast love. That our questions and concerns don't inhibit the perfectly timed unfolding of His plans. I'm so thankful that His patience doesn't run out and that His mercies meet us in our weakest moments. I'm incredibly grateful for His grace and His mercy that He just continually pours out on us. Lavishing on us. Overflowing on us. Overwhelming us.



When people ask Will about our family, he always tells them the same thing...



He tells the story of our first three little boys and then of the fourth that we wanted and prayed for, but had to wait for. He tells how that season of waiting taught us that no matter how much we thought we could control the outcomes and determine what our family should look like, ultimately He was in control. As we relinquished ours and yielded to His, this is what happened. 



The floodgates of heaven were opened! 

And this makes me smile because it's true on so many different levels. 



It was the beginning of a season of lots of babies and lots of blessings, including but hardly limited to: two little girls from halfway around the world joining our family, financial provision during both of their adoptions, three healthy little babies and another one on the way. We've been blessed with a wonderful {albeit becoming quite crowded} home surrounded by great family and friends. There have been so many tangible gifts that I can hold and touch and see with my own two eyes. 



Some have been obvious. Others have come wrapped in packages that took me a little more time to recognize as blessings. There have been so many ways, both good and hard, that the Lord has grown my faith. Plenty of ways that He has taught me to be thankful for the good things and to find the joys in those hard things. There have been countless times that He has shown Himself strong when I have been at my weakest, turning those very weaknesses into tremendous blessings. There have been so many, many mercies. He has indeed opened the floodgates of heaven, and I am, most definitely, one very blessed woman.


Although my own words have been few and far between these past few months, His words have been plentiful. Here's a few of those truths that have steadied my heart and encouraged me along. Hope they do the same for you. 



Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders - it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30



My grace is sufficient for you
{my loving-kindness and mercy are more than enough}
{always available - regardless of the situation}
For my power is being perfected
{and is completed and shows itself most effectively}
In your weakness, 
so that the power of Christ may completely enfold me and may dwell in me.



So I am well pleased with weakness, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ;
For when I am weak {in human strength}, then I am strong {truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God's strength}.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10



{From a blog post that I read recently. I loved these words so much that I wanted to include them here along with the link to the entire post at the bottom of the quote...}

People like to tell me, “I don’t know how you do it all.”

You know what?  I don’t even come close to doing it all, and that’s just how God wants it to be.
If I had unlimited resources at my disposal, and if God hadn’t come along and interrupted our vision for our family and replaced it with His, I would have wasted my life futilely trying to make our family fit my former idea of perfect.

He had to stretch me so far beyond what grown-ups consider prudent (prudence is overrated!), so far beyond my ability to control processes and outcomes, to move me and my small-minded vision out of the way and accomplish His.

His vision for our family was to become a haven where His kind of love rules and His kind of healing can take place...

As a mom of many children, I have many limitations.  Additionally, as a mom of kids with special needs, I have taken their disabilities onto myself, bringing further limitations into my life.
Every single limitation in my life is a gift from my Maker custom-designed to move my strong-willed self aside so I can see Him work.  A gift indeed!

Therefore I will not just “try to accept” but will embrace my human limitations, my frailties, my inability to get it all together, and my tendency to flub things up all the more gladly, so that Christ’s power may rest on me and work through me.

Christ’s power working through our weakness.  That about sums up our family."




{Also, I realized as I was looking back through all of my pictures, I have very few new ones of either Sophi or Faith Ana. Hopefully, I can take a few more and post a more detailed update soon. 

People ask me all the time how they are doing and if there's anyway they can help. The short version - they both had a very good spring and adjusted easily to Georgi joining our family. We were able to leave them with my mom twice while Will and I took the other kids on a few fun little getaways. One time, we even got very brave and took everybody for a week out in the country. Faith Ana did fine being away from home and her familiar routine; Sophi struggled, especially adjusting to life and routine back at home afterwards.

Overall, Faith Ana has continued to make headway and great progress with her self-help skills and, for the most part, continues to be her happy, chatty self . Sophi, however, has gone through another rough patch. It's definitely been one of the more difficult stretches we've had with her since she came home. Right now, she's back in diapers and on medication to help with the behavioral and emotional issues that have resurfaced. It has been unusually challenging, especially since the worst of her "episodes" also coincided with the worst of the first trimester of this pregnancy

So, friends, how can you help? You can pray. For strength and patience and His love to flood my heart, especially for these two precious girls. 

I'd be so grateful if you join me in praying these words. For your own family, your own callings as well as for ours:

We {I} pray that you'll {I'll} have the strength to stick it out over the long haul - not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful He has for us...

Colossians 1:11-12
The Message


XOXO,
Melanie

P.S. A song I've been loving lately - newsboys "you hold it all" - check it out if you get a chance!




2 comments:

  1. I pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul!!! You are one rockin' momma, Melanie! <3

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  2. It definitely is an undoing. We had 9 come by birth and 2 come by adoption, and this is definitely how God has chosen to shape me, but yes, there is so much that must be undone first. Thanks for being so open and sharing your heart...it is a blessing to read.

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