Saturday, May 31, 2014

It's Flooding Over Here...But I'm Not Complaining!

If you have been reading here for any period of time, you know that for years now, I have been in a spiritual desert waiting for it to rain. Longing for the provision of life and sense of renewal that inevitably follows in the wake of a good soaking.  But for so long things in my life have felt well, dry.  Then one fateful Friday night back in February, our dishwasher decided it was time to unleash the floodgates of water that would just not stop flowing.  It leaked out of our dishwasher onto our kitchen floor, running with gusto toward our family room carpet, down into our unfinished basement as well as into our laundry room for hours- all night long in fact. It was a full-on literal flood.

Of course I did not connect these ironic dots until months later, but looking back, I can see that the flood in our kitchen was a physical manifestation and the beginning of the spiritual flood for which I had long been waiting.  In the immediate hours following our dishwasher's mysterious malfunction, we turned on huge fans, de-humidifiers, pulled back carpet, emptied all of our cabinets in our kitchen, moved pretty much everything on our first floor to the farthest reaches of the corners we could find to stash things (every appliance, cabinet and counters included!), packed our bags and moved into my parents house across town for what would eventually become two months.  TWO. MONTHS.  

That crazy blur of time was filled with bids, contractors, insurance claims, research, decisions, paint colors, new floors, carpet swatches, potty training beginnings, time outs, close quarters, winter storms and heat waves. I felt like we were living in a bubble -not fully a part of our old life and routine at home with neighbors, friends, weekly rhythms of activities etc, and also not fully able to settle into a "normal" life across town at my parents.  We were camped out completely in the "in-between." One of those seasons where things are decidedly not normal but also not bad- just radically different and where nothing feels quite comfortable.  We lived out of our suitcases in my childhood bedroom and tried to leave as tiny of a footprint as possible at my parents house...which is not easy when you have a two-year-old!  

We were of course not planning on this little detour to my parents home for two months.  Thankfully my parents are lovely and gracious and welcomed us with open arms- until that final week of month two when everyone was ready to pack our bags and help us move home. Ha! Lily loved the extra time with Nana and Papa and they of course did as well.  Although it was an adjustment for everyone,  I already look back on those blurry weeks with a sense of gratitude for the season of togetherness with my parents during a precious time in Lily's life.  A season that we will probably never see again - at least for that length of time.  I can see now how despite all of the challenges, it was a gift. 

It was an unexpected flood of goodness.

Of course ripping up and remodeling pretty much our entire first floor was also not in the plan for 2014.  It was certainly on my dream list for the next 10-15 years, but to suddenly have this opportunity was shocking.  Being in the middle of the adoption process only added to our angst about how to proceed with our kitchen repairs.  Do we upgrade while everything is ripped up (which makes sense)? What needs to happen now? What can wait? I am not lying when I say adoption is expensive and to have this added layer of home expenses added to the hopper was pretty stressful for us.  We wanted to be mindful of priorities, but also mindful of the opportunity.  We have long been trying to figure out how we are going to fundraise  for our adoption (and ps. we are still trying to figure this out!) but our kitchen quickly became a priority for us since we were displaced from our home until things got figured out.  So...

I began putting my hobby of pinning dream home ideas on Pinterest and Houzz to good use.  We love to entertain and have friends and neighbors gather in our home for any possible reason.  Sometimes take-and-bake pizza is on the menu while other times its a little bit more fancy. Our kitchen (as is true for most people) is the heart of our home.  We spent a lot of time dreaming about this space and kicking around ideas- which of course cost thousands of dollars and were WAY out of our budget.  But as we pared things down, prioritized and focused our efforts, things finally began to take shape.  Of course some of the major repairs and changes (new hardwood floors, carpet, laundry room floors, paint for the walls etc) were covered by our insurance company (which was awesome to work with throughout this process by the way) and in the end we decided to add a few changes and upgrades out of our own pocket on top of their repairs and replacements. There are naturally more things we would like to do to complete the project, but things are great and in a good "for now" place until we can financially get to those projects down the road.  

We initially could not understand why God had allowed this major damage to our home to happen right in the middle of our adoption process, when financially things were already tight.  However,  looking back now, we can see His hand lavishly providing us with a beautiful new kitchen as well as (pretty much) an entire new first floor of our house, during a completely unexpected season- a season when it could only be Him- His hand.  All of this happened during a season where Joe received a bonus at work, as well as a raise, and we also received our tax return....pretty much covering almost to the dollar every penny of our out of pocket expense for our new beautiful kitchen. Praise God!

It was a flood of His amazing provision...beyond what we could have asked or imagined for sure!

Then about three weeks before we moved back home in late April, we received the best phone call we have possibly ever received in our entire lives.  I was rushing across town to meet Joe at the bank to co-endorse an insurance claim check and I was late -and I hate being late. I was distractedly focused on trying to go faster to get there sooner when her words caused me to practically have to pull over my car to a complete stop.  It was official - a birth mother in Utah, had seen our profile and had chosen us - US!- to be the forever family for her little precious unborn son!  Just three short months (almost to the day) after being officially active in the adoption process.  Of course I asked her to repeat herself about 10 times while I tried to absorb the enormity of what she was saying.  We had been picked!!!! (Or as they say in the adoption world, matched!) We are beyond thrilled and humbled to get to share with you (finally!!) that we are going to have a son in less than (if not sooner) three weeks!  She is due June 17th and we are absolutely over the moon.

I have tears in my eyes and hot on my cheeks just typing out these words.  For so long I have been a little bit afraid to put this news out there. Fearful of actually claiming this incredible blessing as being a true part of our story for fear that that things could change as they so often do with adoptions.  One hears so many stories of minds changing, hearts getting broken...but as we continue this journey toward our next family member, over and over God has continued to hold things steady for us and challenge us to step forward in faith.  With each passing day we are growing with confidence that this little guy in Utah is truly our son- the son He has chosen for our family, and we cannot wait to go get him and meet him and snuggle his sweet little neck. FOREVER!

It remains a crazy flood of His blessing....and it is absolutely pouring down!

With the addition of our big family news, our lives have been a blur of constant motion these past few months and obviously blogging here has sadly taken a seat on the sideline.  But this sunny Saturday morning, events converged and I am here at home, alone, in a quiet house with the windows open, a delicious cup of hot coffee and a fully charged computer.  A gift for my heart from my amazing hubby who sees how desperately I have needed this window of time for myself to just be and not be doing

I could not wait any longer to write.  My heart is slowly on its journey to feeling full again and with that healing I'm beginning to notice how God is slowly allowing tenderly mended bits and pieces of my true self to re-emerge from the ashes of recent years. I am not exaggerating when I say that this feels like no less than a miracle.  The life He is holding for me here on this side of the desert is full- like overflowing Promised Land full- where I once saw only heartbreak and grief, there are sprouts of life, joy, and beauty taking root and beginning to bloom again.  It is a garden of beautiful miracles I am not sure what to do with yet.  So right now, I'm choosing to enjoy, marvel at, recognize and celebrate their simple presence as proof of God's faithfulness growing where I swore nothing beautiful could possibly grow again. 

There continues to be a flood of miraculous growth and personal revelation in my heart and spirit. 

Since our return home in late April, life has been a blur of seeming constant motion:  endless to-do lists, unpacking our entire first floor (it felt like we moved all over again), cleaning the dust and dirt of home renovation off of every. single. thing. in. our. entire. house., potty training, birthday celebrations (for both Joe and Lily), play dates, neighborhood gatherings, wrapping up the "ends" of many of our regular activities for the semester, big girl bed transitions (ie. naps are on a steep decline around here- but I'm praying its only for a season), massive garage sale prep and clean up (ie we cleaned out our entire house- every closet, drawer, box, corner to de-clutter and simplify), researching travel plans for baby brother's arrival (did I mention we are driving to Utah on an unknown date, staying for an unknown length of time and lodging in an unknown location???) and of course there is the nursery prep!  We are working like crazy to get our little guy's room all ready which has been a complete joy and absolute privilege.  

It may sound crazy to say, but I am expectantly looking forward to more heart-healing and resting in the weeks ahead as things finally "slow down" once baby brother arrives safely back home with us.  I look forward to a slower pace, to schedule-free days, to completed to-do lists and to a home prepared for just simple living and being together with family and friends.  No agenda. No rushing. Just. being. present. 

Giving words here to all that has been happening only magnifies the undeserved grace that has been flooding into our lives these past few months.  He is faithful beyond our wildest imaginations.  Our home has been ground zero to countless floods of God's love, grace, provision, faithfulness, and goodness.  These floodwaters have begun washing away the ashes from my heavy heart and broken dreams revealing beauty that I had long forgotten existed- let alone ever dreamed of experiencing again.  He makes all things new, and He is calling me to participate in that renewal right here in my own life and heart. How incredibly gracious He is. 

Floods both literal and metaphorical cannot help but transform the landscapes they leave behind thanks to their force, and their unexpected and unpredictable path of travel through your world.  They often initially bring with them brokenness, damage, difficulty, uncertainty and inconvenience.  But in their wake there is also always transformation, renewal, recovery, mending, blessing and inevitably beauty discovered and revealed in unexpected places.  You generally need one to have and appreciate the other.  Floods and their aftermaths are majestic to behold- if you have ever witnessed one in nature, you know what I'm talking about.  They are amazing and if witnessed through surrendered eyes, both natural and personal floods are nothing short of a true glimpse of the King's mysterious workmanship. 

I feel I'm in the middle of a flooding renewal of heart, perspective and experience.
So my dear friends, this flood of words across this long barren screen, represent but a mere glimpse of the flooding that has been going on over here....massive and unpredictable- but also beautiful and miraculous and I am absolutely not complaining! Thank you for your continued prayers and support of me here.  My heart completely runs over as I have read your sweet comments, notes and texts checking in on me.  Your patience and friendship mean more than you will ever know.  More here soon....  xo