Today was a good day. It's only been two days since I wrote a very brief post on the mother that I want to be to my children and the ways that I feel I have failed them so far in their little lives, but I see the changes coming out in me already. And this has NOTHING to do with me being awesome and EVERYTHING to do with Christ being awesome IN me. I'm fighting my selfish desires every day. I thought I was fighting them before, but now I know I am. And it's only because of Jesus that I have the ability to do it, even on such a tiny scale.
Before my huge revelation the other night (I mean, it was HUGE. I was broken, in tears, laying in bed just journaling over and over and over.) I would just be waiting for the clock to get to 1pm so I could put everyone down for their naps. And I would do it as fast as possible so I could get on the computer, watch a tv show, read my book, etc. Anything for just ME...no doing chores or thinking about anything else but myself and how to make me happy for a couple hours. But now, now I see how ridiculous that was. I would make Makayla sit in her room for Quiet Time for two, maybe three, hours a day. Just because I didn't want to have to answer the questions she asks or do something else that I just don't want to do.
It's making me feel very raw to write this all out there for public consumption, but I'm just keeping it real. This blog is my life and this is the season I'm in right now. Take it or leave it.
I see now how much I ignored my beautiful and precious daughters. And I don't want to anymore!!!!
Which brings me back to today. :)
Makayla and I had dentist appointments this morning. My mom came over and watched the babies so I could just take Makayla. We had a great time together...talking in the car on the way there, listening to worship music and enjoying each other. Then after that we headed to Panera for lunch and I just sat there and listened to her talk to me. She told me about how her eyes were dripping from the light being too bright in her eyes when the dentist was cleaning her teeth and they put sunglasses on her. (We got seen at the same time so I wasn't with her.) She told me about how everyone LOVES her unicorn hat (FACT!) and that we should buy everyone their own since they love it so much. And I told her that they love it because SHE is wearing it which made her smile.
I got to sow into her life and just love her. Something I really haven't taken the time to do for a very long time. I'm probably being harder on myself than I should be, but I know that since we started our adoption process, my life got sucked in to that. Now that's over. Kalkidan is home and that is where my focus needs to be...on my three daughters. I still love adoption and will advocate for it (and possibly adopt again one day!) and Ethiopia will forever have a place in my heart...I can't stay away for too long, you know. :) But right now? Right now, I am called to this season of loving and putting my everything into my family, including Adam.
Things have gotten turned upside around here with bringing Kalkidan home and everything that happened in between there that life just got all kinds of messed up. I'm refiguring out my priorities right now. And I think for the first time, I feel like I'm on the path to getting them right. Ethiopia and Africa cannot be my main focus. I read other peoples' blogs that say that they have to be focused on that stuff and I start to second guess myself. Should I be focusing on loving and serving the least of these? Right now in this moment? And the honest answer, for me, is no. I can't. Too much damage has been done to our lives in the here and now. And that is where my focus needs to be for this time. I will always love Ethiopia and Africa and one day I will go back. But the Lord is the only one that knows when that will be. And I'm resting in that. I'm putting my all in to my three precious girls, one of whom has only been with us for three months and has serious trauma issues that we all need to work through with her.
So yes. Back to today. Makayla and I had a great time at Panera and then we brought everyone else lunch. We spent some time with her little sisters and Nana, put the babies to bed and Makayla and I got to spend some more time together. Yesterday I shared with Makayla that we would have some Fun Time and then Quiet Time, so Mommy can still have some downtime, but I'm not being as selfish as I was in the past...just a few days ago and for the past several years. We did some workbook pages that she LOVED, played with some Play-Doh and then did a picture search together. It's only an hour each day, because clearly I'm not cured of my selfishness and I never will be...it's human nature, but I have seen such a difference in the way that she acts with having this time just me and her.
I've also noticed a difference in my attitude towards all my girls and towards Adam. Again, this is not to boast about how great I am. It's to boast about how great Christ is! He is the only reason that I have had any of these convictions about how skewed my priorities in life were and how I was spending my time. He is the only reason that I feel called to this season of putting my all in to my family and not desiring to be somewhere else. He is the only reason that I can do these things. It's not at all because of me. I'm a work in progress and nowhere near where I should be, but I am so thankful that God is showing me all that He is right now so that I can be the woman, wife and mother that He wants me to be to glorify His Name.
It's been an amazing last two days. I know it's not much but it's a start and how else can you change if you don't start somewhere?
Also Adam sent me this blog post a couple weeks ago when I was really struggling with liking Kalkidan and rereading it today has helped me so much. He brought it up last night when were talking about all of this mothering stuff and all that God is revealing to me and it is all so true. I didn't adopt Kalkidan to adopt the cause of adoption or to adopt the cause of orphans. While I love those things and believe in them and will advocate for them, I adopted Kalkidan to bring another child into our family to love. For her to have a place to feel safe and call home forever. Our adoption journey is over now so I need to focus on Kalkidan being here...not living in the adoption world. I'm not shutting everyone out that is from our adoption circle, but I can't keep living with talk about court dates and referrals. Those things are all amazing and wonderful...truly they are. But I can't live there right now because that part of our journey is closed. Kalkidan is home and with us forever and she is why we went down the path of adoption in the first place.
Anyway, here's the link: Adopting a Kid, Not a Cause
Forgot to add this part earlier...last night when Adam and I were talking about my failures as a mama, I felt like we should be praying with them and for them more. We pray with them at dinner and at bedtime, but I feel like God wants us to do more. To show them more of Him in the every day. So today on the way home from Panera, we passed a car accident and I asked Makayla if she wanted to pray. She suggested that I pray instead. So I did. Makayla really loved it.
We were home for a few minutes when Makayla asked me to come with her behind the couch...the girls like to hide back there. And she showed me a tiny little cut on her knee. She always shows me her little scrapes and bruises that she gets from every day fun and I usually just tell her I'm sorry that she's hurt and try to validate her feelings. This time, I asked if she wanted me to pray for her. And she said yes. So I did.
This evening before bed she showed me another little scrape and we prayed for that one, too. It really made her feel better and I think that's the best kind of validation that I can give her. That every little thing matters to me. And even bigger is that every little thing matters to Jesus. And she can take it all to Him. All the time.
When Addi woke up from her nap today, she stuck her arm out and I asked her if it was hurting her and she said, 'Deah. (yeah)'. So I asked her if I could pray for it and she said yes, so I did. She was so happy when I was finished.
While we were putting the babies to bed, Makayla came into their room with a little stuffed doggy and said, "I want to give this to someone, maybe like my sisters or one of my friends that doesn't have a doggy. Or maybe someone that doesn't have a doggy. Because I have so many and I want somebody to have one, too!" So she put it by the stairs and asked us to leave it there for her to take to preschool in the morning. Adam and I both told her how proud we are of her and how she is being so generous in wanting to give something to someone else that doesn't have what she has. It was so beautiful seeing her precious, loving heart played out in action. I mean, I've seen it before but this was a new way that I haven't seen before. We just kept telling her how great it is that she wanted to do that for someone else.
I really, really love my daughters.