Thursday, December 9, 2010

a change of heart

I've been learning lots about my heart...and how unlike Christ it actually is. The lessons I continue to learn through this gift God has given me called adoption completely blow my mind! A month ago I had a commitment to share my story with a group of adoptive parents, some already have their children home with them and some are in the midst of the process. Anyways, I was super excited about this...until the day arrived. As I spent four hours in the car driving to the location, God began to prepare my heart. I talked outloud with Him because I was alone (imagine that) times smiling, at times getting a little loud, but most of the drive I was talking through tears to the One who always listens, who always stays true to His promise--the One I adore, the One I seek, the One in whom I placed my trust and my life. I thought, in my own wisdom that I would talk about Ephesians 1...God adopting us into His family and the parallels that earthly adoption would align with. Don't get me wrong, there are some nice parallels--God chose me, we chose Selah. I was broken and in need of saving. Selah was broken and in need of saving. God loves me so much that He forgives my sinfulness and and sees the beauty, rather than the ugliness that so often is my mirrored image.

That's where the difference lies--right there! I thought I loved well. I loved my other children well--those that were born to me, sweet Gracie who came to me without a tiny infant, helpless and not tainted by the world. But Selah...I love Selah...when she conforms to my desires, when her behaviors are appropriate and kind, when I am feeling patient and kindhearted, when I get enough sleep. Seriously? My love has been so conditional--it's completely humiliating to admit, but until I was able to admit this to myself and to God, I was stuck. I can make a list of all the reasons that I was entitled to these feelings, but in reality I have absolutely no business even making an excuse for my attitude.

God amazes me! Completely amazes me! It's times like this that convince me more and more that He is so present with me--only He can change my heart. Others can speak to me, can give advice, can help, but only God can change a heart. Many, many times it's through the voices of His people that we are changed, but the credit is always His. It's in those quiet, seemingly dark times that so often we are overcome with His light. That day, in my car...a change began. He has given me a new love for my daughter. Am I still frustrated? To be perfectly honest, I haven't been since that day. Have the behaviors changed? Maybe a bit--that's not the point--they will. It's my perspective that has. I am called to love as He loves and that is without condition. Love can not depend on circumstance or it is not love at all.

Selah is a delight, she is created by God in His image. She, like me, needs a Savior because we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). It's so much fun listening to hear recite all of her Bible verses--she knows quite a few and they are so meaningful to her. I asked her what her favorite verse was for our Christmas card and she replied "Joshua 1:5--I will never leave you nor forsake you." She has lived 8 years of life left and forsaken--she is no longer. My eyes are all wet just thinking of the magnitude of that answer. All she wants, all she desires is to know that she is not going to be left or forsaken. Whether she understands the love of God or not, she needs to know that love from her parents first and we pray she sees Christ through us fullfilling that promise to her.

The rest of the Opps are doing well. Derek recovered well from his accident--thank you so much for praying for him and for all the kind words. Gracie is doing OK--her blood counts are going in the wrong direction and she needs to have some pretty major oral surgery in the next few weeks. Connor is busy with basketball and Breuklyn is swimming. We celebrated Selah's birthday on Sunday--what a fun day we had! And tomorrow is the big event--Selah and Gracie are both having their first birthday parties ever with friends!! We will be constructing gingerbread houses with 20 kids--should make for some fun photo opps! I will try to update this more often--actually I don't even know if anyone is still checking in. No matter, I love having a journal for my kids!

Have a terrific night!




Ellen Stumbo said...

Oh I check in :) I follow your blog so every time you update it shows.

And great post!

Holly said...

Hooray! I love a new post! : ) And it is a really, really excellent one. Thank you!

LovinLife said...

Oh, Gayle...My absolutely favorite people, the one's that leave an imprint on my heart--are the REAL ones. I love the glimpses you share of your own reality. Only those that are secure in the Lord and secure in themselves could post such a blog. Thank you. You know good and well that there's not a one of us that isn't able to empathize with feelings of being ashamed of how we feel... If the day ever comes when I stop growing because I am flawless, then that would be the saddest day, indeed. May God continue to bless that big, beautiful heart of yours. Take care, my friend. <3 SL

Donna said...

Of course we follow!! Thank you like always for sharing your heart. It is so healing and meaningful to me. Christmas blessings to your family!! Would so love to come for the gingerbread house building...

Jen said...

Thanks Gayle for posting this. I think it hit me at my core. We have been struggling with our eldest adopted at a year old.

Almost 10 mths ago, our surprise was born to us. She's been easy and it's been a struggle to love and give our eldest what she needs. Difficult at time - comparing them and wishing that the eldest was not so hard to discipline and love.


Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five said...

Oh, Gayle, what an awesome message from the LORD! I remember well my post about Another Kind of Miracles. We sometimes think adoption is about the change in our children's lives...but we walk the dark times and KNOW that God is changing be more like him.
Love from GA!!! And, don't forget to stop nearby for spring break.

Faye Verquer said...

I check in on you and your family daily!! So glad to see an updat that your sweet boy is OK and that you are doing great! We keep praying for all of you and will continue to do so.

Jean said...

I love hearing from you on your blog.

Great post and it hit home with me. I love the Lord with my heart and soul but older child adoption has made me painfully aware of my humanness and sinful nature.

Today it was over- whether or not she brushed her teeth... After ... I thought of a hundred different ways I could have handled it better.

So thankful for our Lord. He gives me hope that I can do it better next time. He loves me, he forgives me and he teaches me- I can learn from his patience and his unconditional, never ending love.

Thank you for sharing!!

Would love to have you over or meet you somewhere IF you're in the area!!