Soooooo, what does one get when one openly complains about the abysmal Thanksgivings of the past? Christmas with the flu, that's what. I assume it was the flu anyway. It was the kind of illness that smacks you flat on your face in bed, one leg hanging over the side while you snore with your mouth open until it's as dry as the Sahara Desert. Not pretty, Friends. NOT PRETTY. The kids got hit with it too (all except Will). It was pitiful. They felt really bad on Christmas day. The reactions to gifts were tainted by the feeling that they wanted to die. They looked at Christmas dinner like I'd just served them the innards of a dog...and opted for saltines and water instead. Then they slinked off to my bed (thanks, kids) where they slept most of the day. Where are the photos of them opening gifts and smiling? There aren't any. I'd just cleaned up vomit (Ben) so I decided to forgo the candid shots of early December 25th. Merry Christmas.
So Will's first Christmas didn't turn out how I wanted. Our first Christmas with my parents living here in Birmingham didn't turn out how I wanted. Welcome to Birmingham. Here's the flu. Thanks for coming over. But, somehow it was all alright. We got better. The children began to enjoy their gifts. Leftovers were eaten. Jesus still came--the fact that we were celebrating in our pajamas mattered not!
And so here comes the New Year. No, we're not doing anything special. Are you crazy? Have you been reading? No, we're sitting here on the couch pretending it's just another normal night in hopes that a piano doesn't fall out of the sky. No holiday here. However, I just can't help but think about this past year. It's been a remarkable year for us as we watched God grow bigger and bigger throughout our adoption journey. He revealed His glory in major ways and it left me loving him more and standing in awe of a God who commands everything and everyone. It's been a year of seeing His followers serve us in remarkably sacrificial ways. We're still humbled. Grateful. And this year we met our son. We've watched him change over the past four months and begin to melt into our family and into our hearts. Here are some of the high points:
1. He no longer picks at his fingernails--a nervous habit he's had since the first day we got him. We haven't seen him do it in several weeks.
2. He no longer cries when we discipline him or runs to the corner. He's able to apologize.
3. He doesn't throw 45 minute fits anymore. He does still have tantrums, but they are seldom and short.
4. He kisses mommy on the mouth and readily accepts lots of affection :)
5. He initiates play and understands playfulness.
6. He loves the bath--took us three weeks to get him into the bath tub.
7. He is slowly learning to take turns and to trust that we will be fair and just.
8. He still has food issues, but they are getting better. S-L-O-W-L-Y.
I just can't express to you what mothering him is like. He is not wired to want us or love us--in fact, he's preconditioned against it. So the fact that those defenses are lowering and he will fall asleep in my arms and holding my hand makes it so so sweet. When he reaches for me in the morning and says "hi momma" in his sweet voice, I know it's only because of Jesus. Oh how much I have learned about love- God's love for me.
As this new year arrives, I'm not making any resolutions. I'm re-committing. I'm ready to follow Christ into 2013 and ask, what now? Once again, everything is on the table. We've been praying about big stuff--selling our house to make less of us and more of Him. Adopting again. Supporting ministries we care about. Beginning ministries. What next, Lord? Show me. So I'm just re-committing to loving Him everyday and serving him everyday no matter where it takes me. It's scary exciting. Because when we ask, He will answer.
Tonight I'll hit the pillow with a heart full of thankfulness and I'll say: Wow, God. You are amazing. Thank you for all you have done for us this past year. Thank you for the friends and family who love us so well and serve us so fully. Thank you for the gift of our children and for the redemption taking place in the little life of Will. Continue to change me into who you want me to be. Give me wisdom in my role as wife and mother. Help me to listen and obey when I don't always want to hear your voice and when I don't always feel like yielding to your way. And when things don't go as I would have liked in 2013, help me to remember that you are still God. You are still my God. Don't let me fear. Don't let me run. Hold on to me and show me your greatness.