Yesterday was our daughter’s birthday, which always brings me some extra thoughts and a little grateful overwhelm.
Being entrusted with her (both by God and by her birth parents) is without a doubt the single most humbling gift of my entire life. I don’t take one moment for granted.
Maybe this is an adoption thing, or quite possibly a parenting/mothering thing, but I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing as a mom. They don’t give you a manual for a baby or even a cheat sheet for how to handle an open adoption. (SERIOUSLY I didn’t know this. At the close of our adoption placement ceremony we all just waved bye to each other in the parking lot. I hyperventilated on the way home because nobody told me when to feed her or how we were supposed to handle all the families.)
We figured it out, of course. Despite every one of my fears, we’ve managed to keep our daughter – and her two younger brothers that followed – alive and well.
Worry, fear, anxiety, and pressure
But that little parking lot panic comes back all the time. What do I do about her grades? What if she picks the wrong friends? How do I answer the questions she’s going to have about her adoption and God and love and failure and justice and equality? What if everything we’re teaching her about life and faith and wellness isn’t enough? WHAT IF I AM RUINING HER?
(If this is just me, and not all parents, rest assured, I go to lots of therapy so I’ll add it to the list. If, however, this IS the insane inner monologue all parents experience, adoptive or otherwise, I have a thought.)
Thank GOD this is all bigger than me. Thank God he’s bigger than all of us.
Because no matter what I say or don’t say, do or don’t do, these magnificent little creatures are not really mine. They were never mine to begin with. And someday I’ll have to give them back. I just get to steer them down the track awhile, with love and looser reins the more steady they become. I have to pray that when they ask questions, I’ll have the wisdom to answer appropriately and also the humility to say “I don’t know yet, but let’s find out together.” I have to remember I’m not molding tiny versions of myself, but instead coaxing out what’s remarkable within each of them. Because who they’ll become someday isn’t up to me. I just have to do my part with care and trust that no matter how royally I screw it up sometimes, this is all bigger than me.
Trust takes the pressure off me
It all comes down to trust. Doesn’t everything? Trust that all things are working together for good. Trust that I'm not going to mess anything up so badly that it can’t be redeemed. Trust that I can release my death-grip on the handles of control (or the illusion of control) in favor of offering my best. Trust that God and the universe and all these angels in human skin down here are going to steer us in the right direction.
That kind of trust takes GUTS. It requires letting go of what we'd prefer to rely on - our own limited strength and finite resources - and lean on something we can't see. The tradeoff is that God and the universe have unbounded strength and infinite resources. We never run out of support at the end of ourselves. When I fully embrace the truth of this kind of trust, it brings me so much peace I could cry.
That’s faith, in a nutshell. Trusting and believing even when that cynical, skeptical voice starts whispering doubt in our ear, and moving ahead even when it seems absurd.
Eyes up, heart open, feet forward. We have everything we need for the work we’re called to do.
HP, J <3