A New Song for 2017

Abide. Rest. Comfort. Hope.

Another year gone, another word- but so much more -joins the list.

It was truly a year of practiced hope.

We’ve been raising a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder for about nine years… from foster care to adoption. It has been incredibly difficult and at times, I’ve felt helpless and hopeless.

My family has experienced trauma on a few fronts, all of which affected my marriage, bringing my husband and I to a year of counseling (which greatly helped). We also see individual counselors / mentors to help us navigate the emotional waters of raising a child of trauma (who re-injures in a home with other children.)

We live cross-culturally in a place we love, but in a place, all the same, that differs in language, culture, expectation, money, and norms. We weave in and out of Alemanish Germany, Alsatian France, and Northern Switzerland and a Christian conglomerate of individuals working together from every different denomination, from different countries, and from different cultures with a common purpose and many different ways of getting there. It would be enough to live within one of these cultures, but we daily navigate them all.

And to do that, we have to raise our own salary… which adds another layer of stress (I mean, opportunity to trust and hope and believe).

This is just a sampling.

Needless to say, the words abide, rest, comfort, and hope have been crucial to my last four years. Their deep meaning has carried me and comforted me and challenged me in ways I could never have expected. And as I said last year, each word continues on long beyond December 31st. They weave together into a more beautiful hug.

This year, for awhile, I thought my new word was going to be expectation. It’s close to hope… and I’m fine with a thread of hope continuing to weave through my life story. However, as I was recently on a walk and pouring out my heart to God, I heard myself asking Him for a new song.

Okay, that’s not a word. But I’m going with it.

My last few years have been heartache nestled among great beauty. I have so much to be thankful for, in spite of those things which have challenged me to the core. And, looking back at the me who arrived in Germany nearly five years ago… I’m a different person. Hopefully a better person. Certainly a person, though, that has been to the ends of herself multiple times. Who is clear that she is weak and only He is strong. Who lives in the constant reality of her inability to affect change in the circumstances around her and the incredible ability of God to be the Change-Maker. A person with deeper compassion for godly, loving parents who are struggling, suffering marriages, individuals with depression, the lonely, the lost, and the broken.

And I’m ready for a new song.

There are sweet glimpses of healing and growth and joy in my family’s future. This is where I thought expectation would be my anthem… but instead, I know the Singer and Dancer of my soul delights in this coming season with a new song.

A song of deliverance.

A song of joy.

A song of peace in storms.

A song of love.

For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

 

Five Minute Friday – Cherish

5-minute-friday-1I’ve never known the true depths of cherishing until, once formed and ready, he left my womb and entered my arms. And heart.

This was new.

This looking at another human and feeling the sting of tears meet the sweat of hard work as love overwhelmed.

As gratitude took hold, blessing drew in its breath, and a mother pondered what she could have possibly done in the world to deserve this joy.

Cherished.

Even through the frustration and discomforts of learning him, studying him. training him… this joy so deep it hurts finds an echo from this moment into eternity. And I realize that there is nothing I wouldn’t lay down for this little tiny man-child. This being gifted to me to love, to raise, to usher into the world with purpose.

And then, in mid sensing of these deep things which are mostly felt and rarely understood… a halt.

A silencing of my thoughts as His voice breaks in.

“Sweet daughter, this is a drop in the ocean of how deeply I cherish you. This gift of a child is more than just the child… but a chance to stand in my shadow… to experience the heart of a parent for their child. Magnify it beyond reasoning, purify it above all depravity of this world, and remove every condition that creeps in with fear… then you will see how deeply my own heart beats for you. For him.”

I am cherished.

So are you.

 

What {Dad} Sees

“Mommy”

Big brown eyes blink up at me.

“I want to take off all of my skin on top… and have just the skin that’s underneath.”

My heart picks up a pace. My mind flashes back to being a young little girl who was told she was too fat… and longed for a zipper on this wretched flesh… so I could step out of my body and into something much slimmer.

But she’s only three.

And God-forbid that her little heart, mind, or soul begin to believe these lies about herself yet.

Or ever.

I choke back my fears. “Why, sweetie?”

“Because this skin has too many owies.”

I sigh relief and silence a chuckle.

Indeed, my little love is… learning how to manage and control all of her various appendages. She also has two older brothers.

Those two combined (plus an apparent allergy to mosquito bites) make for a skin that has quite a few bruises, scrapes, bumps, and marks.

But I don’t see them.

I only see her. Her precious cheeks that beg me for kisses.

Her mommy-melting big eyes.

Her plethora of facial expressions… communicating every thought in a wrinkle of the nose, a twist of a lip, or a creasing of the eye…

He contagious giggle, her loud belly laugh…

That is what I see.

My princess.

But she sees blemishes. An undesirable skin.

And she wants to take it off.

Don’t we all have those moments? Things we’d change, remove, enhance about ourselves?

A number of years ago I went on a silent retreat with some missionary teammates of mine. The weekend was arranged in such a way that we had total freedom to just listen. To God, to our thoughts. To rest.

During one of my prayer times I saw an image of myself lying before Jesus. He came to me and wanted to give me a massage. (Why not, right?) Not my typical image of Jesus… masseuse. But that is how he presented myself and the vision carried on.

He began a head to toe massage… lovingly, tenderly… while my insecure self tolerated his touch.

He began to massage a part of my body that I abhor.

And he said, “This is my favorite part.”

I began to convulse… in my vision and in real life… with the kind of shuddering that only deep confusion, pain, and healing can do to a person when combined in full blast.

It didn’t make sense.

How could he love this part of me that I hated. Because I’d once been told that this part of me was noticeably imperfect. A defect. A curse.

And here he was… loving it.

“I’ve created this part of you with special purposes”

It took some time for my mind to calm and Jesus, in my vision, continued on without seeming to notice my physical response.

The vision ended and I laid there in such solemnity. I could no longer hate what he loved. It seemed… wrong. That he created me… with this piece of me… on purpose. For good. I couldn’t understand it.

But I believe him.

And to this day, I look in the mirror and am always tempted to hold contempt for this part of me.

Then his words, his face, his touch, his confidence… flash back.

And I find love.

For myself. For my body. For the time I’m given in this shell. Purposed.

And I think back on my daughter. And I know my daddy sees me. Beyond all of my  bumps and scrapes and bruises and blemishes. He sees me.

And he loves what he sees.

He loves you.

And he loves what he sees.

Can you?

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139: 13-18

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 25 of 31 Days in 2012.