[ this post is a continuation of Love, Unnaturally, from yesterday]
The tears of years break surface when we least expect them.
We were all packed in, beginning our cross-country trip back home, the home they’d now known for months. Out of the blue the one most steady in our grip burst the silence of six sets of eyes absorbing the great-wide highway’s unfamiliarity with her cries.
“Why did she leave me?” she sobbed.
I absorbed the shock. This was a first for her. What triggered this?
“Why did my birth mommy leave me?” she bellowed, her tears turning to wails.
And while I was formulating my response the one behind her joined in, wet-cheeked already, himself. Sympathy or empathy, I wasn’t sure.
Still floundering, I was processing, while the third, beside her, chimed in “why did my birth mommy have to die? why didn’t I ever get to know her?”
By that time I was crying, too, just as I am now as I type. This moment has been suspended in my timeline. How could one car, one family, hold all this pain?
And, finally, the fourth found her voice, through whimpers. “Why is God letting my birth mommy die?”
Like steam painting the windows, their questions left me momentarily blindsided. I sat, holding the shards of stories that had only just begun to be rebuilt.
I had met my broken pieces in my twenties but their innocence was stolen before they lost their baby teeth.
Who was I to walk them over this glass?
Hallmark-kind of love surrounds my world. Like second-hand smoke, I receive definitions of love, all throughout my week, that betray its Source. Love, like candy — lustrous and sweet, leaves me, still, depleted.
How much of this do I inhale, unknowingly?
The sugar rush doesn’t last long when scars run deep.
Adoption has given me permission to see Love in a different light. Better, it’s kindly coerced me to see Love in a different light. From me to her — but first, from Him to me.
And this love, His love, is not natural.
If you’re stuck in a place where your love isn’t working as it should or it can’t match the wounded one receiving it — if you can’t feel it and you can’t muster enough force to produce it — rather than believing that this adoption or this circumstance has gone sour, might I suggest He wants you to inherit another way? Another kingdom’s love.
Adoption is my golden opportunity. (What’s yours?)
I can’t love them into wholeness with candy love.
Have I subtly abandoned great expectations, for me and for her, because the hand-me-down love I’ve borrowed from the world around me doesn’t work?
Mary-go-round rides and tickles and teddy bears are shadows for my littles up against the kind of love that moves and changes them. And me. I come up dry if I expect that what I’ve learned from the world around me about love will be enough to heal a heart that’s been broken.
The answer isn’t, then, to forfeit my expectation that love can heal.
It’s to find another source.
The only true Source.
A love birthed through blood and sweat and the mess of the world, but untainted, is this love. His love. His love that was a Person, is a God-Man.
“Fierce love” as my friend coined it.
It asks me for everything, but when I get close enough to it, to Him, I can’t shed extra weight fast enough. My everything feels like giving nothing compared to Love that melts me when it touches me. It makes the dull parts of me passionate. Alive. His love looks deep into my dark, not away from it. And His eyes, they heal me. My wounds don’t scare Him, they invite Him.
Fierce Love is not threatened.
His love is a love that wars and wrestles and consumes all in its path. It lifts, alights and gives flight. It doesn’t just free, it releases.
His love is her answer. And it is mine.
Adoption lays bare my lack. I can’t love her with this love unless I’m coming to know it myself. Daily. Hourly.
It takes His Word and makes it into my vernacular. My understanding of Him moves from the pulpit’s echo or a past story, retold as today’s testimony, to my food. My daily bread. Adoration is not natural and will, in no way, be easy to my flesh.
Just like, at times, loving her.
His love, too, takes practice.
Practice in writing His Words over my moldy understanding of Him and living His love over her wounds that need more than an ice cream run.
Adoration is pushing a pause button on the world around us and tuning our ears to the only sound that will give us real life.
It is training our hearts to know Love.
A wild love that, though work to receive and pour out at the onset, is infinitely better than any warm, fuzzy but fleeting love this world can offer me. Or her.
Every Monday my column to the right-side of my blog moves here, front and center, and I invite you to join me adoring Him from your kitchens, your cubicles, or on your morning commute. Because we had one of those weeks, my Monday turned into Wednesday. And now it’s Thursday. So here we are, wrapping up the week, with adoration.
I can’t think of anything better. Friends, this habit of adoration is re-writing my understanding of love. Might you consider giving it a try?
Here’s what it looks like written out:
“… that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith …” Ephesians 3:17**
How many times have I read this, studied it, yet You have new words for me today, tucked in Your Word.
I worship You, God of new, who is always making new out of old. There is nothing stale in Your presence.
Every moment is ready to birth new understanding of You. You pervade a room. Tedium is from man, so far from You, God.
And it’s with this ever-giving life You ask to dwell. In me.
Because love dwells. It doesn’t flit and flutter. It rests, within.
Who am I to hold You, inside of me? Your offer speaks more of who You are than what I’m not. You share Your home with the soiled so that we might know what it means to live clean. You don’t just brush over, sweep from a distance, You dwell.
My heart, so thick and often burdened, was made to know the freedom of being a dwelling place for Another. This current rough spot is not my end point, it’s Your opportunity. You are making Your home in me. So that I might drink, daily — hourly, of the Love I only barely know.
I adore You, oh God who loves tirelessly.
I worship You, Daddy, who seeks a place to dwell not just visit.
You make my life Your home. You expand my heart to receive You. You stretch and prod and push so that, after the pain of the moment, I might have more room to receive more of You. You purpose and Your eyes are on a dwelling, not just an overnight stay. You are shaping me — yes, me! — into one who can hold You, display You. You are allowing me to be a window into a beauty I’ve not yet fully known.
I receive You as I reveal You.
You occupy my splintered floorboards and cracked walls and You restore, by Your very life, within me. I love You, willing Father to settle into my mess so that it is no longer mess, but You.
My heart was made for more than turmoil and strife, it was made to thrive, by You, inhabiting me. And every day, new ground is offered its opportunity to be won as You claim what was and is always Yours … me.
Photos compliments of Mandie Joy.
You may have noticed I no longer have an option for comments on my posts. For a little explanation to this shift, read Why No Comments?
**I absolutely treasure your stories. I love the memorials coming my way. What’s being erected over your lives, I am celebrating: He is good. With a life of four-being-restored and two of us not too far ahead of them, I don’t have as much time as I’d like to respond to every email, message and comment. Though the demands under my roof may not allow much time to respond to these, please know I am honored by what you’ve sent me and the time you took to tell me your story. They are gifts to me.
***For a context to this little space on my blog, read: Why I Adore. For a more detailed description of how to start adoring Him in your day-to-day, read: Showing Up. To see all my “Morning Chai” devotionals, use this link: http://www.EveryBitterThingisSweet.com/posts/chai/. And you can easily subscribe to these devotional meditations as they are delivered, by using this feed: http://www.EveryBitterThingisSweet.com/posts/chai/feed or by entering your email address in the second box on the right-hand side.