Saturday, March 21, 2009

What My Momma Gave Me...

...Hips. My momma gave me my hips. I am what some would consider a lanky, maybe even srawny, girl in the upper half, but I make up for it below the waistline. This has always been one of my jokes with my mom since we are built so similarly. We talk the same (though she, as with the rest of my family, has the stronger southern accent), we are built the same, the look in our eyes is often the same, and we have very similar facial expressions. While I am definitely a hodge-podge of varying family traits from both sides, the older I get the more I see these similarities between me and my mom.

We are also very different in some ways, mostly evidenced in our personalities and preferences. She likes sage green; I prefer the bold statement of red and other rich colors. She likes horses and small dogs; I like dogs that are the size of small horses. She received years of formal training in music performance; I kind of rebelled against and opted to do things my own way (which is an indicator of my severe lack of discipline in the area of music).

In short, my mom and I have some rather distinct likenesses and differences. We have had an interesting history in our relationship, having been through some very rocky seasons particularly during my adolescence. However, after all of these years, I can look back at how the Lord was working even during those difficult times, and I am thankful that He's brought us to a place of forgiveness and mutual understanding. I am grateful for the relationship we have now, and for the ways in which I can rely on her as my mom and friend. One of the things I have been able to talk with my mom about since getting married last year is the topic of motherhood. She knows me well, and also knows of my deep longing to also be a mother someday. While she cannot fully understand the struggle, she is a wonderful listener and graciously reminds me that she will love any grandchild she has, whether biological or adopted.

Not only do I have my own mom for whom I am grateful, but I have also been personally touched by other mothers whom I have been blessed to know over the years. There are two in particular I am continually encouraged by at a very deep and unique level, my "mom" from back home who has gone from mentor to friend in recent years, and my mother-in-law. Both of these honorable women experienced some of the same emotions and thoughts I am going through even before my husband and I begin having children of our own. Both of these women have impacted me deeply because of the ways in which they have displayed the undeserved, unmerited love of our gracious Father.

I am encouraged by them because they too have given life to two children. One of them traveled over land and sea to bring her daughter home, and the other brought her son home from a Catholic orphanage in west Texas. Did either of them know, fully comprehend, the great gift they were giving another human being? Did either of them anticipate the joy these two individuals would bring? I am sure they had an idea, hence some of their anticipation in bringing their children home, but the Lord has a way of blessing us beyond all we ever ask or imagine. I remember numerous conversations with my "adopted mom" back home in church offices, on livingroom couches, in car rides, as she poured out her heart about the pain that comes with not being able to bear children. I remember hurting for her, knowing I could not comprehend the depth of her pain at the time, but even in my immature understanding, I knew the Lord was near and I knew the Lord would do a great work. And He has... I have had conversations with my mother-in-law about that day when they received a phone call from the adoption agency that there was a baby available and ready to be brought home. In a flurry of activity, they packed up and drove to Amarillo at a moment's notice that they might bring home that 10-day-old baby boy. Little did they know that that little person at that orphanage in Amarillo would be used as an effective instrument in teaching and preaching the Word of God. The Lord worked through both of these willing women and their husbands to give life, and He has given life abundantly.

I still struggle with the unknown of mine and my husband's circumstances, and he is more than understanding when I am in those moments of very real pain and uncertainty. About 27 days out of the month, I can honestly say that I am completely at peace and content with however the Lord chooses to bring children into our lives. We count ourselves privileged if I was to either carry one myself, or if we were to bring one home via adoption. Either means of building our family proclaims the Lord's grace, speaking truth of the intricate ways in which He breathes life into being. About 27 days out of the month, I am simply eager to be somewhere more permanent so that my husband and I can begin talking more intentionally about a timeframe and the details of what we are going to do. And the remainder of the days in the month? I do struggle. I do cry and wonder and question what in the world He is going to do in our lives regarding children. I know that whatever He does is His will for our lives and not our own, but I confess that I am not always content to simply know that. During those other days of the month, I have a very impatient and anxious heart. I am at a prime age when countless friends are welcoming their own little bundles of joy, whether biologically are through adoption, and I count myself as blessed to witness such joy. But I cannot deny that I don't hurt at times. I was telling my husband earlier this week that I cannot deny that desire that resides deep within, that nurturing desire to mother my own child. I know that such a want will not be fulfilled on my own timetable, I fully acknowledge that now is clearly not the time for that, but I have to at least admit to my husband that that desire is always there. Sometimes the gnawing is subtle, and other times it's quite overwhelming.

I am eager to give life in whatever way the Lord ordains us to do so. That nurturing desire has no requirements. In other words, I do not and have never seen adoption as a "Plan B." Adoption is a specific and privileged calling just as carrying your own child is a gift. The mothers who have impacted me the most are not determined by the way in which they became mothers, but rather by the unconditioned love they instantaneously bestowed upon the babies they welcomed home. May the same be said of me when the Lord ordains that same blessing for us. I discovered this quote on another blog, and I want to echo the thanks to all of you mothers near and dear:
"To all mothers, be they natural, birth, or adoptive, may you receive the thanks and honor due you for bringing us life and love... for sacrificing so much for us. May the Word to you be, 'Well done, My good & faithful servant. Come and share your Master's happiness.'"


Stephanie Robertson said...

Oh how I understand your wondering and torment. You know my situation. I hope it encourages you that the Lord is the one who opens and closes the womb. No matter what your body does, or what you do... the life that you mother will be created by your Father, either inside or outside of you, and given to you at the perfect moment. (even if you don't think it's quite the perfect moment :-))

jennypen said...

My heart goes out to you, especially on those one to four days in the month where longing, doubt, and uncertainty try to take over. You're a good friend to share in the joy of others rather than focus on those other feelings. I love you and look forward to seeing what it is God has in store for you.

PandaMom said...

Of course, I cried.

He is in control, no matter what.

I say that to myself as well.

Love you much.

You Little O Wife said...

The first part of your post made me laugh out loud, thinking of my own "gifts" from my legs! We tease eachother about that "gift"- and blame it on grandma of course. :)

And then the last part of your post made me cry. It made me think of three things...(1)whenever I get irritated with my mom, I just think--she's going the best that she can, (2) being a mother is such an awesome responsibility, and (3) your desire to be a mother and nuture is not in you by chance. The Lord put that desire there. He is good, and He has a wonderful plan for you and your family with Bob. Love you friend.

Funderstorm said...

Wow. I want to have eloquent words for you, but the truth of the matter is, I don't. But I do know that He is sovereign and knows the great plans he has for you.
I'll be watching and cheering you on as always.