Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dear Sugars: Be Thankful in ALL Circumstances

Dear Sugars,

I grew up in church.  We were pretty much Baptists where we youth group kids earned t-shirts and candy bars by memorizing Bible verses.   

Have you read that verse in 1 Thessalonians?  It's 5:18.

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."


ALL circumstances?   

Like, thank you God that my children have opened a box of tampons in the middle of Target and are throwing them like confetti while I frantically pick them up and stuff them back in the box?

Like, thank you God that my diabetes is being a total a-hole today, a feel like death, and I have no fewer than five places I have to be today?  

Like, thank you God that my dryer just stopped working and my son has no clean bedding?  

What about all the ladies out there waiting for their first baby by adoption?  

Thank you God that I wasn't chosen .... again.

Thank you God that my body is broken, and I'm a hot crying mess all the time.  

Thank you God my husband is hesitant to embark on an adoption journey.

Thank you God that my paperwork is delayed...nope, wait.  It's missing.   

Thank you God that ANOTHER friend of mine is pregnant.  

If you are in a thanks-but-no-thanks place today, I get it.   Last year, my dear friend Madeleine and I wrote a book called Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey: 52 Devotions and a Journal.   Between us, we have six kids.  Madeleine is an adoptee who wrote an incredible book called Dear Adoptive Parents (that I highly recommend!).   We wrote this book because we HAD to.  There's this place where faith and adoption intersect and it can just be pretty murky and confusing and gray and disheartening.  

There are times you don't want to be thankful.  You have not an ounce of energy left in you to even utter the words, much less think them!   How can we be thankful when everything seems to bleak?  When hope is a concept and not a reality?

First, God can handle your BIG emotions.  It's ok to get real with Him. He already knows what you're thinking and feeling and struggling with.  There's no point in making it more "pretty" and flowery and presenting it to Jesus with your lipstick and pearls on.   Messy honesty is ok.  

Second, God sees the bigger picture, beyond the moment.  There is a plan.  There is a future and hope.  

Third, there is a season for everything, and waiting, frustrating, fear...well, those are natural seasons that occur (and re-occur) in adoption.  These are the times you are getting refined.  You are getting prepared.   There is a purpose for the pain.  

When I think of being thankful in all circumstances, I think about looking at what there is that is good RIGHT NOW while still yearning for something in the future.

Thank you God that I can afford to embark on an adoption journey.

Thank you God that I have friends who will celebrate with me when my baby arrives.

Thank you God that an expectant mother chose to parent her baby if that's what she believes is best.

Thank you God that I have a supportive spouse.

As you journey, just know what Madeleine and I have both "been there, done that," and our book is intentionally written to meet you where you are:  mascara running down your face and all.  

I'm cheering for you, Sugar!  

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