12.14.2011

Come What May, and (try your darndest to) Embrace it...



I've lived long enough and experienced a certain amount of personal struggles in this life to now understand (and accept) the fact that life is going to bring disappointments, hardships and trials.  Thankfully, in between these more challenging times, we are allowed to experience many joys and blessings that help temper the sting of the trials, when they do come our way.  

I have been working like a mad woman the past two days trying to finish addressing and stamping all our family Christmas cards.  When my order arrived in the mail last week and I opened the box to look at the cards, I smiled the biggest smile.  I absolutely loved them.  But then, almost instantly, I had this painful thought pour over my heart.  The sad realization that there aren't more children scattered across our family's Christmas card this year--it seemed to hit me like a ton of bricks.  

I would be lying if I didn't admit that I am still struggling with our failed adoption.  I somehow naively had convinced myself that I was prepared for the possibility that we might not get selected.  I naively assumed that I would be this beacon of strength, in the event we were not chosen--that somehow I would faithfully accept the decision if it didn't go our way.  That I would be happy that the girls were going to a good home, albeit it wouldn't be ours, but another family who would love them and care for them.  Unfortunately, this acceptance and peace has not come easy for me.  I have struggled with accepting the Lord's will on this one.  Oh how I have struggled.  It just felt so right to both Jody and me and the timing of it all, it felt as if the Lord was leading us to the girls.  But we were wrong.  

My faith has been tested like never before.  I have literally felt, at times, completely broken...both emotionally and physically.  We both seem to be at a loss about where we should go with this journey and what step we should take next.   Should we just give up...accept being a family of three, and get on with our lives -or- do we move forward with a renewed sense of faith, start all over and see if the Lord leads us to another child or sibling group.  Quite frankly, this nearing 10 year journey to adopt more children has just reached a point where I am tired of hoping and waiting.  Alas, it continues to be something I wrestle with in my heart and soul.  We continue to pray for guidance about where we should go from here and I am trying my best to wait patiently for some answers.

With this pain and heartache I have felt, I am happy to say that I have also felt tender mercies from the Lord as I have struggled to come to terms with this latest disappointment.  Time and my faith have begun to heal my heart.  And yet, I still have days (like the other day when I opened the box filled with our Christmas cards) where the anger, frustration and confusion about our inability to grow our family seems to all of a sudden swell in my heart again.  

Today, I was reading  a few women's blogs that I enjoy following.  Sadly, I learned during my reading of some how they are facing difficult times in their lives.  One sweet lady is facing the declining health of a loved one.  Another is trying to stay positive despite the trial of her husband not being able to find gainful employment.  One dear woman is facing what seems to be an enormous trial by caring full time for her husband who is now (at the young age of 26) paralyzed from the neck down from a war injury while serving in Iraq.  And yet another sweet lady, she is feeling the overall stress and weight of being a full-time wife and mother and all the while trying her best to balance everything in her life.  

I was thinking to myself after reading these posts that no matter what stage we are at in this life...no matter how rich or poor we may be...no matter if we are single or married...divorced or widowed....sick or healthy....young or old----one thing for sure, we will all face difficult trials at varying times in our lives.  We will all experience sorrow and disappointment.  And without question, no matter how faithful and emotionally strong we may think we are, it is normal and quite common to feel a little overwhelmed and discouraged by it all.  

As I was pondering this thought today, I immediately thought of the Savior.  It's hard for me to fully imagine and comprehend the immense stress He must have felt during his short time on this earth.  Not only did he experience his own trials, He also experienced each of ours--very intimately.  When I think of just my own little heartache that I have felt after our failed adoption and then when I juxtapose that with the Savior's heartache and pain while in the Garden of Gethsemane, it's almost imaginable to comprehend that He felt in the most painful of ways all of our heartaches in this life.


I love this uplifting spiritual messagewhich was shared by Joseph Wirthlin back in 2008 at a church conference.  There is a portion in this talk that struck a chord in my heart and I wanted to share it with you...

"You may feel singled out when adversity enters your life. You shake your head and wonder, “Why me?”

But the dial on the wheel of sorrow eventually points to each of us. At one time or another, everyone must experience sorrow. No one is exempt.  I love the scriptures because they show examples of great and noble men and women such as Abraham, Sarah, Enoch, Moses, and Joseph. Each of them experienced adversity and sorrow that tried, fortified, and refined their characters.

Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others.  Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increased compassion and understanding for others."


In our times of sorrow and disappointment in life, when we make a choice to turn to the Lord and remember Him, we inevitably begin to feel a strength beyond our own.  A strength and sense of peace that can help us weather the storms of life.


"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." {Proverbs 3:5}  

XO,

Jennifer

3 comments:

  1. I love that verse. My heart goes out to you and I pray that things work out according to His plan for your life and your family's. I read your adoption story and cried. It was so beautiful to read. You and your husband's selflessness was heartwarming and your outlook on life inspiring. I work with children who just want to be loved and admire people like you who have the ability to see how precious and what a wonderful gift the love of a child is. It's obvious how much you love your son. He is blessed and so are you which I have no doubt you already know :) praying for God's guidance and continued blessings for you and your family.

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  2. Amen! I am going to pray for you right now.....

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  3. Jennifer, I've thought about you so much during the past few months. I feel so bad that your adoption of the girls, that seemed so perfectly suited for your family, didn't go through. It's so hard to be patient, isn't it? I just want you to know that I feel for you and Jody and you're in my prayers.

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