Thursday, October 15, 2009

Friday Food for Thought-- the Long Edition

Have you read Jen's post about breaking the will of God? If not, do so. It is amazing. I haven't been able to get it off my mind. I was preparing a comment and thought that instead of rambling on in her combox, I would post my protracted response here so as not to bore her readers.

This post obviously strikes many chords with me personally. The caller and I have much in common. I have three biological children and recently adopted a fourth and am in the process to adopt a fifth (special needs) child, and pregnant with the sixth. Do I ever get that nagging voice in the back of my head that says I am really doing this for some prideful reasons? Yes. Do I ever feel as though I am thwarting the will of God by adopting? Do I worry about the impact these decisions have on my other children? Are there moments I think we must be crazy? Yes, yes, and heck yes.

I had those feelings more intensely prior to Juliana's adoption. I felt I was somehow tempting fate bringing into our family a child I knew nothing about. If God wanted me to have more children wouldn't he have given us another pregnancy or spared us the pain of so many miscarriages? I would have moments of doubt, and then I would feel guilty for having doubts. I worried about our intentions, I worried we were biting off more than we could chew. I constantly prayed we were doing God's will, but since God doesn't send us handwritten messages giving us detailed descriptions of exactly how He would like us to carry out His will, I worried we were off the mark.

Then I realized God gave me these desires, he put in my heart the desire for children. My desire to be a good mother was precisely because it is through that vocation I could best serve Him. Yes, I could still be prideful, but that didn't mean He didn't will for us to adopt a child. In some ways, those doubts were more temptations to pride. I needed to accept who I was and who God was. Without Him, I don't even have the power to make mistakes. To expect that unless I am perfect in my intentions, I am not carrying out God's will simply cannot be true. My intentions will never be perfect, I am human. I have to trust that God will bring good as long as I do my best to serve Him now, which means acknowledging my failures, confessing them, and then working hard to serve him better next time.

Perhaps my favorite paragraph from Jen's post was:

"What I eventually learned that has brought me immeasurable peace on this subject is that it's more important to ponder how God can bring good out of any situation -- even bad, sinful situations that are the result of fallible humans' mistakes -- than it is to ponder what the details of his will are for any specific scenario. I've stopped spending so much time asking "Was this God's will?" and am trying to spend more time asking, "How can I serve God in love at this moment, right now?" Maybe the situation I'm in is the result of a bad move, but as long as I keep turning to God there will be an opportunity to bring love out of it."

I can't say it any more eloquently than that. Her recommendation of the book He Leadeth Me is one I heartily second. I read and blogged a little about this gem of a book last spring. There are any number of issues in our little household in which we find ourselves looking for God's will and asking ourselves are we clouding His will with our own desires. They come in the form of how we manage our finances, how we manage our time, our discipline techniques, our schooling choices. Really, the list is endless. As I quoted in that older post,

"To predict what God's will is going to be, to rationalize about what his will must be, is at once a work of human folly and yet the subtlest of all temptations. The plain and simple truth is that his will is what he actually wills to send us each day, in the way of circumstances, places, people, and problems. The trick is to learn to see that-- not just in theory, or not just occasionally in a flash of insight granted by God's grace, but every day..."
From He Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek.

Now that Juliana has been part of our family for almost a year, so many of those doubts have melted away. Before the adoption, even on the plane ride to China, I worried about our decision. Now I can't imagine life without her. On the plane ride home, Juliana had a terrible fever. It was higher than any of my children had ever experienced. I was worried sick for her and I was tired from the whirlwind trip we had taken, and an exhausting plane ride. On the 11 hour flight from Tokyo, I sat next to a Korean man. He had two daughters of his own. He asked about Juliana and was shocked to learn we had three more little girls at home. He asked if I really thought I could love Juliana as much as my biological children. Had he asked me that question two weeks earlier on the flight to China, I might have been hesitant. However, after two short weeks, looking at that dear sweet child, sick as she was, I already knew the answer, I already loved her that much.

When I think back on the process, the moment I truly realized this was without a doubt God's plan-- Juliana's baptism. No matter what my intentions were, no matter how flawed I was, this child, solely through God's providence was welcomed into the His family, His church. That moment was so monumental, I knew that my intentions were completely insignificant and I thanked God for taking them and making something of beauty beyond comprehension.

1 comment:

Corinne said...

Beautiful post, thank you.