My older sister, Laree, started a blog!! Her first entry got me thinking about the way I blog.
The truth is, I love my life! I feel I have been blessed with so much and am rich in so many ways. My road isn't one without trials and hardship though. There are times that I feel there isn't any way to stop my tears and end my heartache. There are times when I can't possibly see where the light at the end of this long tunnel is. There are times I feel hopelessness and unworthy or incapable of facing the task at hand.
I can look back on past trials and see that they were totally and completely for my benefit and growth in more ways than one. I have struggled with multiple miscarriages and the emotions that accompany them. Including a deep sense of loss and heartache, questioning my worthiness to be a mother, jealously at other mothers who were having babies they didn't even want, and more... But it was in those times of deep heartache that in turning to my Lord for comfort I have been given an amazing gift of His love and presence in my life. I know that there is never a time that I grow more and become closer to my Father in Heaven than during the midst of a trial.
I have had the wonderful privilege and tremendous challenge of taking in and nurturing 4 beautiful children. Children who have been through more trauma, neglect, abuse and heartache already in their short lives than I have ever experienced or probably ever will. I've cried myself to sleep more nights than I can count wondering how I can possibly help them through their deep and intense pain. I've become frustrated with some of their behaviors that to my-inexperienced-unlearned-self seem, at times, barbaric and out-of-control. I have felt my stomach turn with anger as I realize that there is no way a 4-year-old would know how to do what I just saw... unless.
I've seen them flinch and turn away in fear when I raise my hand to give them a high five. I've found food stashed away in closets, drawers, under beds and pillows.
I have walked up and down the streets of my neighborhood countless times praying to my and their Father in Heaven, pleading with Him to guide me, direct me, help me understand, give me that Christ-like love called Charity, and to help me become the kind of person I need to be for these 4 children of His that He has entrusted me with. I have wondered if and hoped that I am pleasing Him and living up to my responsibilities.
I have sobbed to Him while asking forgiveness for my lack of patience and wondered if my actions were scarring them worse. In the midst of my heartache, pain and regret I have felt overcome with an overwhelming sense of His love for me, and have been amazed at how quick and willing He is to take away my transgressions to let me start over and try again.
I've had tears of joy stream down my face as my sweet boy comes to me and asks me if I can hold him, "like a baby." I've felt gratitude and excitement from realizing that Heavenly Father can teach me how to help these kids, through the kids themselves.
I have felt that Christ-like love that I have prayed for so often as I have held crying children for hours trying to reassure them that I'm not going anywhere. That this time they are safe. This time, after living in more than 10 homes, no one is going to give up on them. That I'm here to stay, they are in our home to stay, through the good and the bad, and we can learn how to get through the pain together.
I have sat on my 6-year-old daughter's bed with her as she has fights within herself, wanting to let herself love but so afraid to be hurt again. I have tried to give her words for her feelings, but when words weren't enough we screamed at the top of our lungs together. Finally, she was feeling something! I hugged her harder than I've hugged anyone as she wrapped herself around me and convulsed with painful sobbing that had been pent up for years. I was amazed at her courage when she asked to scream together again not once but 3 more times. Each time she let herself feel more and remember more. We both sobbed through the whole process. I was clinging to her as she clung to me telling her over and over how proud I am of her and how brave she is.
I am reminded at how raw their feelings still are and how much pain they feel when I hug my 8 year old. She hugs harder and harder not wanting to let go. It often becomes a healing time for her as she lets her emotions out and cries for several minutes. I get the sense that she's afraid to loosen up on her grip, fearing that I might disappear. Tears have often run down my face as she finally does let up for a few seconds as she uses sign language to tell me that she loves me so much, then embraces me again.
I've come back from short vacations with Brad and have had to stay up 'til the early morning hours holding my sweet Jada who gets afraid to leave my side.
I just hope that I am giving these children what they need. I know deep within my heart that they are meant for great things and am brought to tears at the realization that it is my responsibility to show them the way back home to our Father in Heaven. I hardly feel worthy of such a task.
I have often wondered, especially after we got the kids, why I was given so much. Why was I blessed with a wonderful family who love each other and are always there for each other? Why was I born into a home that taught me that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and that I have a Savior, a Brother who has died for me and made it possible for my sins to be forgiven? Why was I shown from the minute I was born the way to happiness when so many others live lives full of confusion and searching? Why are innocent children allowed to suffer at the hand of others who are making bad choices? Why was I allowed to have such a care-free, happy childhood when a little 4 year old girl with cerebral palsy is left to care for herself and her younger brother and sisters?
I think I am starting to understand though. I have been given so much. When I ask myself why any of us are given anything, I am reminded that it is so we can help mankind. Perhaps I was given my family, my childhood, knowledge of our purpose here on Earth, knowledge of a loving Father in Heaven and a Savior, Jesus Christ so that I could share it with the world. So that I can give these children all the wonderful gifts that I've been given and they can give it to theirs. I realize that because I have been given so much, much is expected of me. Although I find myself lacking in many areas and constantly regretting things I've done and the way I handle things, I know I am also learning and growing. I know that I need my Savior as much as anyone. I can see miracles taking place in my life and find new blessings to be grateful for everyday.
I would never ask for a life without trials and heartache, because I know from experience that these can be the sweetest times of our lives. My perspective on life and people and trials is changing so much as I am tried. I realize that we are all here to love and serve each other so that we can all make it back home. I am forever grateful for these wonderful lessons I am being taught!!