"He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from the darkness for the prisoners to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance our God, to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness of a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places only devastated they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations." Isaiah 61:4
Life always has a way of taking unexpected turns and around each corner lay surprises and sometimes we need some directional signals to send us to the right road. I am constantly in awe of a God who is so intimately acquainted with my ways as well as the lengths to which He will go in order to reveal Himself to us. I just love it when He overwhelms me with just how close He is to me and how He longs for me to live with an abundance of joy. There was a time in my life when joy seemed so foreign to me, so far within my grasp that I thought I would never taste the sweetness of it again. yet in the midst of that season of my life God knew that He would restore my joy and that slowly I would savor that which I longed for. When my sweet baby boy Connor left my earthly presence and was welcomed by His Creator into the glory of Heaven, my heart was crushed. I hurt with a pain that left my emotions in "ashes". I moved through life with a sadness as I longed to have my son with me in everything I did on a daily basis. Each day I had to make a conscience effort to choose joy. It wasn't beautiful and it wasn't natural, it was a choice that I had to make for Cody and Grace and Mike. I really thought that I would never know the natural, spontaneous feeling of happiness again. However, slowly over time God healed my heart, He brought beauty from the ashes in my life and gave me hope that I WOULD live with that joy again. Through the adoption of Emily we were given a special mega sized dose of happiness that healed those dark places in our hearts more than I could ever describe and life has taken on that sweetness that I thought would never exist again. I still long each day to hold my baby boy and to have my lips rest on his sweet face, to get lost in his eyes and to feel his gentle touches of deep, unconditional love but my longing doesn't hurt as much and I have learned to delight in the gifts God has given me and love and soak in the memories. Despite the healing there is a day when the pain remains very real and very strong and that day is on October 31. It was on that day in 2003 that Connor left my physical presence and not matter what I do each year to make it easier the day is just hard. I ache for him, I utter the questions of why all over again, I cry and I just simply try to make it trough the day. And so last October 31 I awoke on that day with the expectation of grieving my loss. As in past years I posted a tribute to my precious son on our family blog. It is something that I started a few years ago that I enjoy doing. I love honoring the memory of a little boy who transformed my heart both in life and death. You can read my post here. Little did I know that this post would be used by God in providing one of those directional signals in the pathway of our life all the while transforming a day that remained "ashes" to beauty as He brought a new memory in the form of something joyful.
After posting to our blog I went about my day. I chatted on the phone with my sister, did a little house work and planned an evening out with Mike and the kids. Later in the afternoon before we left for the evening activities I decided to check my email. Upon signing in a specific email appeared in my inbox. It was an unfamiliar address although the sender's name led me to believe it was something I should read. To my amazement I read the heart of a woman who had been touched by my post about our Connor and moved by God to suggest that I take a look at a little boy on an adoption agency's waiting child list. I immediately clicked on the link and saw this darling face for the first time in my life......
I gazed upon the face of this sweet little boy literally stunned. Overwhelmed with many different emotions within about 60 seconds, I knew instantly that it was no coincidence nor was it an accident that God had allowed my path to intersect with the path of this little boy. Confident that God was at work and grateful to this woman whose heart was very attuned to the heart of God I found myself in drawn into considering the possibility that the deep brown eyes looking at me in this photo were indeed those of my son. I know that for those who haven't adopted before this concept of knowing a child is yours simply by looking at a photo can sound a little odd but for those of you who have experienced the gift of a child through adoption, you know exactly what I was feeling on that day. I have never had the joy of giving birth to a child but I have known the miraculous pleasure of looking into the eyes of each of my children and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt from the first time I saw them that they were created for me. This moment was not unlike each of those memories etched in my heart and mind when I came to know my sons and daughters.
After soaking up details of this little boys picture, I noticed that the name given to him by the adoption agency was "Connor" and again was in awe of my God's ways in getting our attention. I quickly read the short details about him and discovered that he was absolutely perfect. Not exactly sure how to approach my husband with these events of the day, I minimized his picture and info on my computer, closed out my email and left with my family for the evening.
As a family we spent the evening doing some things to remember our Connor, went out for dinner and attended Saturday night service at our church. Upon arriving home, I went immediately to our bedroom to change out of my clothes while my husband sat down at my computer in the kitchen. When I returned to the kitchen I noticed that he had pulled up the picture which I had minimized and I quickly provided the details of how I came to have this picture on my computer. Expecting the usual conversation of why bringing another child into our family would be too difficult I was surprised by Mike's response which was quietness. He simply sat in front of the computer staring at the photo.
The next morning we both awoke and talked about the events of the previous day. We both knew that we couldn't deny the miraculous circumstances by which we came to know about this little boy and wanted to walk in obedience to what we felt was an invitation issued by a loving God to once again add another thread to the tapestry of our family. We agreed to send in the initial information and request his file. The agency's website indicated that due to the large number of families interested in the waiting child lists we probably wouldn't hear from them for a couple of days but first thing on Monday morning I received a call from them and his file was emailed by that afternoon and within 24 hours we had submitted our Letter of Intent.
The feelings that filled us were amazement, happiness, nervousness but most of all humbleness. We were so honored that God would think enough of us to give us this opportunity to once again become a mommy and daddy to another child. I am far from perfect when it comes to being a mommy and I fail miserably everyday in doing all the right things with my children but despite that fact God still has enough confidence in me that He knows through His strength I can walk this road again. We were overwhelmed with thankfulness to Him for granting us another son and for the glorious way He chose to bring him to us. In His careful way of restoring our joy, He chose to bring about a memory of happiness on a day that had remained ashes. I will be forever grateful to "mommy2achinagirl" for having a heart that was sensitive to the nudging of the Lord and for stepping out in faith to do something extraordinary. Her willingness to act on the Lords behalf has now giving our family another son and brother. I hope to one day know you face to face and have the opportunity to express my deepest gratitude for giving us this miracle.