To my surprise it had been a fun filled day with no trauma related meltdowns or behaviors. I was thankful. The sun was beaming in, the girls were looking at picture books on the couch and little man cub was pretending to win a heroic battle of some sort. I was mopping when I heard the unfiltered words effortlessly fall out of her mouth, “And see that’s your REAL mom.”
Those words hit my ears like a million pieces of glass piercing my weary soul and I stopped. I had to remind myself to breathe. I waited a second longer before turning my head, mop in hand and with a questioning tone said, “What did you say?”
Our eyes met; her dark brown eyes met my weary eyes and she fumbled for words. Two years into her adoption being final, those words somehow cut deeper now than they did two years ago.
“Real mom?” Why does that cut so deeply? Why do I feel like the air has just been knocked out of me?
To be totally transparent, it was only God that gave me grace to move towards my daughter. I was no stranger to words that severed the soul. Sorrow and suffering had been very present in our call to adopt older children. My flesh wanted her to know the depth of pain those words caused me.
I stop. I lay the mop down and I kneel down to her.
“I love you” -a declaration to my own heart more than to hers, because sometimes we have to speak it, to believe it.
“You have a place here. You belong. You are wanted” -a truth we are all really longing to hear.
“I am your real mommy. I am also baby sister’s real mommy and man cub’s real mommy” -a promise that will never change no matter how hard things get.
“I know I didn’t grow you in my belly. Your birth mom had that beautiful privilege and she will always be part of your story” - a truth we often talk about in our home.
“You are my daughter. You will always be my daughter and you will always be part of this family…forever”- a reassurance that none of us are going anywhere.
Tears well up and for the first time, maybe ever, I see a genuine feeling being released. Sadness and thankfulness wrapped up in those big brown eyes and suddenly it was as if the light finally was showing through with every tear that fell. Instead of harshness, gentleness was present. Instead of anger, thankfulness. Instead of suppressing all emotion, she allowed herself to feel something real.
Tears stream down my cheeks as I exhale. Baby sister comes running into my lap and man cub wraps his arms around my neck and my brown eyed girl embraces me tightly. I whisper, “I’m so glad I get to be your mommy.” For a moment in time it was as if Jesus wrapped His arms around all of us, filling us with hope. Hope that He indeed will make all things new, one day. The weighty stories, the broken hearts, the weary souls, He lifts and mends and makes strong.
This is what Jesus does.
He draws near to me in my brokenness. He meets me, face to face in my confused and misplaced heart and reminds me that I belong. He does not wave his nail pierced hands in front of my face, He simply reaches out and says, “Come.” He reminds me of my place in the kingdom and He declares that His love will never run out.
So tonight, I do not lose heart.Though outwardly most days I feel like I am wasting away, inwardly I believe I am being renewed.For these momentary troubles (as Paul writes) are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory, if we do not give up. So tonight, I fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. I fix my eyes on Jesus and I hope today or tonight or whenever your eyes read this, you too are reminded to fix your eyes and your heart and your affections on the only one who can fill you with all HOPE and PEACE.