I read this post tonight by Kristen Welch as I was lying in bed trying to process my emotions and clear my head. Kristen speaks truth and for those of us who’ve picked up our cross and walked the walk, her words bring comfort.
Tonight I am conflicted between gratitude for the fact that my daughter is in a safe place and grief over the fact that she has not fallen asleep in my lap or ran through our home laughing (or screaming) in almost three months. I physically ache to smell her hair and kiss her head. We make the drive to see her at the Kennedy Krieger institute in Baltimore a minimum of four days a week. I count down the 59 mile markers on the roadways between our house and her temporary home… 58 miles until I see her eyes. 47 miles until I smell her hair. 32 miles until I hear her say, “Are you really here, Mama? I missed you SOOOO much.” 19 miles until she asks, “Can I give you a hug?” and then tries to pull my hair.” 11 miles until she says, “Will you please stay and eat dinner with me?” 5 miles until she begins to beg us to bring her home. 2 more blocks until my heart is torn between soaking in every second of visiting hours and aching over the fact that at 7pm, we will be asked to leave her there…. again.
The days between our visits are spent on the phone with doctors and therapists and social workers.
“Sofija is a hard code to crack…”
“Do you know why she does this? Or that?”
“We may need to stop x, y, or z and try something new.”
“Please hang in there. We’re going to figure out what we have to do to reduce her behaviors and make her safe at home.”
From friends and family… I am asked hard questions…
“Why did you adopt her?”
“Would you do it again with what you know?”
“Do you have regrets?”
“HOW do you do it?”
Hard questions do not have easy answers. Hard questions only increase internal conflict. What I DO know is that I cannot fathom the idea of Sofija not being my daughter. She’s my child. It has been nice to catch up on rest and work on our marriage and engage in life again. But I miss her and I am CONSTANTLY aware that she isn’t with me. If half the dreams in my heart for my own accomplishments are buried with me, but she reaches her full potential and lives a full, happy life; then my life will have been a success. And I know… that when I stand before my maker, He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. And while I’m waiting for that meeting, I can do ALL THINGS through Him because His grace is enough and my strength comes from Him.
“I didn’t know it would be this hard.
I didn’t know it would be this lonely,
I didn’t know the road would be this long.
I didn’t want to lose friends.
I didn’t want to make life harder for my family.
I didn’t want to be an inspiration.
I didn’t know there would be a pedestal.
I didn’t know it would cost this much.
I didn’t know I would have to lose my life to find it…
… So, don’t let anyone tell you that following Jesus will be easy. Don’t believe for a second that being a Christian should be easy.
It’s hard, but it’s good. It’s challenging, but it’s rewarding. It’s draining, but so fulfilling.
Because He leads us into places we would never go without Him.
Places that are dark and lonely and terrifying. Places that are rich and deep. Places that don’t look anything like our expectations. Places that are amazing. Places that scare the hell out of those around you.
No, it’s not easy. Doing what is right is hard and long and it won’t cost us something–no, it will cost us everything…”
But oh that God of ours… Always there. Always cheering us on. Always providing.