My "word" for 2017 was metamorphosis.
I'd say this year hit that nail on the head.
I am not the same person I was on December 31, 2016. However, my vision of what I thought the word metamorphosis would mean in my life versus God's version are polar opposite.
This past year, my faith has been stretched, bruised, snapped, and fractured. The beautiful result of all the trials and heartache I've endured is a depth in my relationship with Christ that I've never before experienced. I've grown in ways I didn't know were possible and quite honestly, ways that my human self never would have chosen.
Losing Sparrow the very hour I was finally able to be matched with her has been brutal. I covered her in prayer for almost a year.
And then, she was gone.
It threw me into a tailspin of questioning; a vicious cycle of never-ending whys. Why did God allow that? Why did he bring her into my life? Why did he knit her so deeply into my heart? Why did he give me such a powerful dream about her? Why did he provide signs and assurance along the way? Why did he open the pathway to her just to slam the door at the last minute? Why did he allow me to experience such excruciating heartbreak? All of those and more led to further questioning:
Do I even know God's voice?
I've been a believer and follower of Christ for many, many years and this question shook me to the core. I thought I knew his voice. I study his word. I pray all of the time. I seek wise counsel. How could I have been so far off? It's like I took a hard left when really I was supposed to go right.
I was content to be finished with adoption. My girls have been the biggest blessings ever and I'm beyond thankful I get to be their mom. They are thriving and we were ready for the next chapter.
And then he brought me Sparrow.
I go over and over and over all of the details but I never get an answer to my why. This last month since I lost her, has felt like my faith played a giant game of Jenga. I pulled perseverance from the bottom and precariously perched it on top. Hope was drawn out from the middle and I tried to slide it in next to perseverance. Trust was pulled and gently placed on hope. Finally, I carefully extracted faith from the foundation of this structure and gingerly placed it at the very top.
And it all came crashing down.
In my tirade of emotions, I took my arm, angrily swiped it over the panel, and sent the pieces hurling into the air.
I sat staring at the blank game board of my life.
Where do I go from here? How do I move forward? This adoption journey has consumed the last eight years of my life. I've been stuck in what feels like quicksand; a perpetual land of waiting, where the only movement I felt was the ground sinking beneath me.
I bought Roopa a Batman big wheel for Christmas. She didn't even know they existed. It came complete ~ decked out with stickers, rims, and alllllll the buttons you ever wanted to push. Each one with flashing lights and a corresponding command: "Moving left!" "Let's get to work!" and of course, the Batman theme. This gift elevated me to new heights in Roopa's mind. Her eyes filled with wonder and excitement.
"Mommy, how did you even know I wanted this? Oh, wait. I know. You used your mommy powers!"
I laughed and then grew quiet.
As Roopa's mom, I see her in ways others don't. I know her heart. I know her reactions. I know her deepest desires and her greatest fears. I know how she responds to correction. I know how she processes new information. I know how she learns and plays and thinks deeply about life. I know her gifts and talents. I know where she needs growth. I know all of these things and more because I am her mom and she is my daughter. I spend almost every moment of every day with her. I knew that she would love that gift. I knew that because I know her. So even though Roopa had no knowledge of its existence, I knew. And it brought me great joy to give it to her.
In my questioning and my doubt, God used Roopa to reveal more of himself to me. I will never understand his ways. I will never get an answer to my whys. I will never be able to see things the way he sees them. I will never understand his theology. He will always be a mystery to me.
The only thing I do know, is his character. I know he is always good. I know he loves me more than anyone ever could. I know he will never leave me. I know he is always with me ~ in the deepest depths of grief and the highest mountaintops of joy. I know that his plans for me are good. I know he wants to transform me; he leads me through the refiner's fire to make me more like Christ. He is the potter. I am the clay. He molds, bends, and shapes me. Sometimes, I become hardened, which makes his work more difficult. He adds water through my tears spilled during trials and tribulations to once again bring me to a place of pliability.
He is the God of the universe and the Creator of everything and everyone.
Who am I to even slightly begin to understand his ways, his thoughts, his plans?
So I enter 2018 with the words, "Surrendered Faith."
I have no idea what his plans are for me or my family. I don't know if he will bring Sparrow back to me. I am hoping against hope he will. I don't know what the next chapter will entail.
What I do know is that he loves me and wherever he calls me, it will be good. It might not be good in the initial way I see it, but he has a way of washing away the dirt and dust that clouds the mirror through which I view myself. He draws me closer to him so that I can see through his filter the beauty he has crafted within me.
I walk into this new year with a blank canvas, open arms, and no vision of my own.
I humbly await to see the brushes he puts into my hands and the colors he chooses for my palette.
I know that by letting him guide my hand, whatever he paints into my life this year will be a masterpiece. I've painted enough to know that a truly beautiful work of art is not just made of highlights. Shadows are critical to the depth of emotion that is elicited from viewing such a showpiece.
I am at a point of total surrender; knowing that he will lead me to the mountaintops this year holds for me, but more importantly, he will carry me through the deepest, darkest valleys.
I learned this truth, however painful it was.
My God will always be with me.
"Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever."