Overwhelmed... with gratitude

I keep planning to write a post asking why we have it in our heads that we deserve our lives to be easy. I will still write that post, if only because I need to hear it myself sometimes. Today, though, I want to focus not on the hard stuff, but on the beautiful things in my life.

Because while there are some difficult things that we deal with, often on a daily basis, there are also the moments of wonder and beauty and hints of the redemption to come. I am firmly convinced that while I did appreciate the things which were wonderful before we ventured into the crazy life we live now, I think I appreciate them so much more because of the contrast. I am sometimes overwhelmed with gratitude and humility that I have been given this life to live.

It also does not escape my notice that so much of what is wonderful may very well have never existed without the hard things being there. I will never know for sure what decisions prompted others, but I can reasonably guess. You see, without that initial decision to add to our family by adoption I don't think it is very far fetched to imagine that half of our children would not belong to us. It goes something like this...

If we had never adopted TM, we probably would not have ever known about, much less adopted K. Then having seven children already, it changes your thoughts about family size. Would I have longed for more little girls? Would the prayer have ever been there for God to answer? No little girls?! It makes me nearly hyperventilate. Without moving in adoption circles and doing endless reading on the experiences of older adoptees and how to help them heal, I would never have come across the website where H. was mentioned. If I had never seen her picture, I know for sure she would never have been part of our family.

My older children have been shaped in significant ways by living with a brother who is not always easy or pleasant. They have learned compassion... sometimes more than I have, I am sad to admit. They have become flexible in dealing with difficult individuals. They have had their idea of humanity broadened. This is not just a proud mother bragging about her children. I have had many others mention to me that these characteristics stand out in my older children.

Our first hand experience with trauma and PTSD has broadened our world as a family, as well. As a result, we were not scared to open our home to someone who needed a place to heal, and another small family (who has become very dear to us) has had their lives affected as well.

I ponder these things as I sit at the dinner table and see all of these people whom I love sitting together. I hug my children a little more tightly when I briefly think about how miraculous it is that they are here at all. God has orchestrated and created a beautiful thing that I get to be a part of. He has done so much more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for.

Sure, sometimes it is crazy or loud or messy. Sometimes it is just plain hard. I don't always appreciate it. But at other times, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness and am left somewhat speechless.

All because of one little yes.


Angie B said…
My girls don't seem to have learned more compassion by having a sister with issues. They mostly ask why and cry over needless meanness. I struggle to know how to encourage them. I try to say that God put them in this family and He will give them the strength and love when their sister is unkind. Do you ever feel that it is unfair to them to have to be hurt, screamed at or put down by someone just because that person has "issues"? Life isn't fair but I want our family to be a place of love and kindness not cruelty.

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