The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014


Wooo--I'm wiped! This weekend was REALLY emotionally draining, but really, really good too (is there a better word for "really" out there?). So, thank you, my e-friends for supporting me in prayer.

So, I pretty much cried for two days straight about missing Pence and despairing a little that he will never get home. I realized that we have been in this for a year now, since we first heard about Pence, and there has been no progress. I guess the contrast with Pea's process moving forward so quickly and us getting the home ready to receive her just emphasizes that we thought Pence would be home by now, or at least coming home with her.

At one point in the retreat, the speaker asked everyone to stand who felt they were in an impossible circumstance. I stood, along with many other women. Then she had us sit down and asked women who had been rebellious as children or teens to stand. And then, women with rebellious children and teens were to get prayer from those who were standing and had come through their rebellion. All over the room women were eventually ministering to each other--those who had come through the "impossible" ministering to those who were "stuck" in the impossible. But, of course, there was no one who had been in my shoes. I thought of Patty (our adoption agency's director) who had fought for 2 years to get her daughter out of India. I desperately wanted to speak to her and be encouraged. But, I prayed with another friend (thanks Tami!) and felt some restoration of hope and faith. I still want to speak with Patty and I need to keep on pursuing God about this, but I came up a bit that night. And, I had many other friends come up to me and say that when they saw me stand as one in an "impossible" situation, they burst into tears. It helps me to know that I am surrounded by people who care and who love me, even if they haven't "been there, done that." Thank you to all my e-friends too, who are standing beside me and my family through this long and difficult separation. It really takes a village!

So, our retreat's theme was "Authentic Friendship." Lest you assume that it was a series of light and fluffy, feel-good messages, let me tell you, it was powerful! Right from the get-go, there was so much to mull over. It was deep and impactful. One thing that really hit home for me was the idea that you can't have authentic friendships until you are willing to be an authentic person. I consider myself to be very open and honest, and therefore, authentic. But, Cindy (the speaker) redefined authenticity a bit. She talked about how we are not as afraid of our darknesses as we are of our brilliancy. We hide a bit; we don't let our full strengths shine; we hold ourselves back. But, if we would give ourselves permission to live at our full capacity, we would unconsciously give others permission to come up to their full brilliancy too. I tend to think of myself as having a strong personality and I think I intimidate people (I have, in fact, been told I had a hard time getting a date in my younger years because I intimidated men!), so this was a really interesting perspective for me to ponder. Perhaps, if I let more of myself shine, rather than being intimidated, others might be encouraged?! Hmmm. She related this to "iron sharpens iron"--that we keep each other spiritually keen and alert. But, that only comes to fullness when we are living authentically. I'll test the theory and let you know!

The other thing that struck me on this "intimidation" issue is that we often underestimate the caliber of friend God would give to us. We need to repent of the attitude that "she's out of my league." How will we grow, how will we come up to our potential, if we are not led there by women who are "out of our leagues"? We need to get over our intimidation (yep, I'm not only intimidating, I'm also intimidated!), and initiate friendships with brilliant women. I'm excited to live out this lesson!

Another theme that struck me was that we tend to "assign heart motives" to other women and how wicked that is. It deprives us and them of so much! By "assigning heart motives" I mean that we assume what another woman thinks or feels about us by outward appearances. My friend Tami illustrated it beautifully: In preparing for the retreat, Annie feels that she must bring just the right outfits, wear her makeup to a T each day, and accessorize well so that she will be accepted by the other women at the retreat. So, Betsie looks at how well-put-together Annie is and believes that Annie doesn't need another friend and isn't open to relationship with Betsie. Then Cathy sees Betsie being withdrawn and thinks that Betsie doesn't like her, so Cathy closes off too. And so on down the line. The insidious thing is that EVERY ONE of these ladies is longing for friendship and some of the very behaviors that are meant to attract intimacy (eg--dressing to impress, withdrawing with the hope that someone will see and initiate) actually wind up precluding it. Tami did a better job of illustrating the progression, but I hope you understand. We are so quick to believe we are being rejected when if we really knew another woman's heart, we would see how lonely she really is and how she is longing for intimacy as much as we are.

I have often felt like a "lone electron" in a sea of atoms. I bounce up against an atom and it seems that her electron field is full--she is friendly but has no room and no desire for another "electron" (friend). Finally, I bumped into Tami and found that she was sort of a lone electron too! But, I wonder now, if those other atoms, were only "faking" fullness? Were they intimidated? Were they afraid of intimacy? Were they just not ready to be authentic with the new gal yet? Did I give up too soon? I will see this experience very differently from now on. God, keep my heart pure and convict me QUICKLY when I am "assigning heart motives"!

And, I learned again about the levels of relationships. Cindy reminded us that not everyone is our friend. Why would Jesus have talked so much about how to deal with enemies if everyone was our friend? We don't have to be everyone's friend! Some people are friends; some people are enemies; some people we don't know well enough yet to tell the difference. And, "neighbor" and "friend" are two different types of relationships! And, we can have mini-friendships that are valid and beneficial to both parties. We don't have to interact often to have consider someone a "valid" friend--they're our mini-friends. To have the guilt lifted off of that is GREAT! We tend to spend half of our time feeling guilty about not spending enough time with our friends and half of our time feeling rejected that others don't have time for us! But, giving validity to mini-friendships solves both problems!

Well, I hope you learned something from my retreat too! I think things are really going to be a bit different around here now. :)

(Hmmm, Cindy didn't have any advice for e-friendships!!!)


Amy said...

Oh, wow! This is so, so weird! I truly thought I was the only one who was intimidated by other women. Everyone else seems so friendly and at ease! I always feel so unequal, I come off as unfriendly! I've been dealing with this issue a lot lately. I only feel at ease around older women or "outsiders." I only have one close friend outside my family, and she had to practically force herself on me to become my friend. :)
And Rae, I need to make a confession! I've been intimidated by you even never having met you! I've been equally hoping we get to meet someday and hoping we DON'T so that the "in-person" me doesn't disappoint you!!!
I think I need that retreat!!!

Tami said...

Haha, wow I laughed at your "compare & contrast" statement. LOL!!! That would have been funny, you totally have my permission to do that in a future instance. ;-)

Charlotte asked me this weekend if I have the little red-haired boy.

You made such an amazing recap of the weekend, I want to forward to all my friends. I'm not much of a journaler, so my remarks were VERY brief. I'll just borrow yours!

Thanks for being a VERY AUTHENTIC FRIEND and for not being intimidate by me. Not for me intensity, non-stop talking, or very messy house. So don't you wonder if it WAS sovereign that we came to BVCC at the same time? I thank God for you, my amazing amazon twin.

PS Did I ever tell you I often remark on my own "Amazon Complex"? I couldn't believe you posted that on my blog - you MUST be my twin! "Wonder Twin Powers, Acitivate!"

My Man and Me

My Man and Me
married 7/7/2001


ours through biology, born 7/25/2004, home 8/1/2004


ours through adoption from Liberia, West Africa, born 7/15/2005, home 10/25/2007


ours through domestic adoption, born 1/15/2011, home 2/10/2011, final 8/3/2011

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Round Two Timeline

  • 9/24/08 Home study update home visit for Ghana adoption
  • 10/15/08 Dossier sent to AOHG
  • 10/15/08 I600A application sent to USCIS
  • 10/30/08 First heard about possible domestic private adoption
  • 11/18/08 Last spoke with contact about possible domestic adoption; expected to hear back about meeting with birthmother
  • 12/3/08 Withdrew application from AOHG
  • 1/6/09 Found out another family had been chosen for possible domestic adoption
  • 1/21/09 USCIS fingerprinting appointment
  • 1/8/09 Received USCIS fingerprinting appointment notice
  • 4/11/09 Sent Pre-Application to Covenant Care Adoptions for Domestic Infant Adoption program
  • 6/8/09 Social worker visit to update home study from International to Domestic
  • 7/24/09 Received completed home study update
  • 8/25/09 Went "on the list" for birthfamilies to choose from
  • 4/28/10 Found out a birth mom had chosen us
  • 5/8/10 Met the birth mom
  • 5/11/10 Got the call that birth mom changed her mind
  • 5/19/10 Birth mom's scheduled c-section
  • 11/30/10 Visit from DSS sw about foster parenting
  • 11/30/10 Got the call that another birth mom had chosen us
  • 12/21/10 Met with the birth mom
  • 1/15/11 @1:42 PM BB was born!
  • 1/19/11 ICPC (interstate) paperwork sent to GA for approval
  • 1/31/11 ICPC Clearance Approved
  • 2/10/11 Placement Ceremony and Pup comes home!!!!
  • 8/3/11 It's Official! Pup's Adoption Decree was issued