The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014

Catching Up

Well, things have been a little zoo-y around here lately. (And, while we're on the topic of zoos, yes, hoppipytimus is hippopotamus. I guess that was kind of obvious, not to insult your intelligence, but it's cute nonetheless!) We're over the pox and Pea never got them (thank you, Jesus!), but Punk's bout really threw me off. I'm not used to being home-bound, even with the one-car routine, and I got a bit behind at work trying to squeeze it in between rounds of "Goldfish" and hide-and-go-seek. And, my sister just got engaged, so I've been helping her with wedding planning stuff. Then, I went away over the weekend. Now everything's off kilter and I feel like I'm scrambling to find "normalcy" (why is it SOOO elusive?) again. And, when/if I do, it'll be just in time for A's folks to pop in from OR (I guess that's really more than a pop) for two weeks over Thanksgiving. Deep breaths.

And, I happen to be looking around every corner for belonging-resolve-security! (I'm gonna need some of that security while the in-laws are here!) So, Friday I left at noon for a Women's Retreat with some gals from my church and other churches. I was really looking forward to getting to know some people; in fact, that was my main motivation for going. So, Friday morning I was pondering life during my shower and thinking about the fact that I wasn't really expecting much from God--after all, He did just speak to me mightily the weekend before. I felt like God interupted my reverie to say, "Really, Rachel! And, didn't I make it clear that you are to expect more for this whole month?!" Ooops. Oh yeah. How quickly we forget!

I had a nice time with the women I rode and roomed with. They all had the same age kids (older than mine) and all the kids go to school together. I had a bit of a hard time finding my place among them and feeling like I had anything really to offer them. I've had that experience a lot since moving here--seems that everyone is either a few years older than me or a few years younger than me--and their kids too. Punk and Pea have friends their age in their classes (duh!), but I haven't really met the moms much yet. I haven't met another 3 or 4 year old at church... I'm starting to feel like the only 32 year old in the city! ;)

Anyway, the speaker was Sheri Rose Shepherd and she has a wonderful story. One of the other gals from our church said Sheri Rose was her favorite speaker. I can't say that, but I did enjoy her. She speaks with a lot of humor and has many powerful God-stories. The message themes didn't hit me strongly, but they were solid, helpful, and I can see myself returning to them sometime.

What stood out to me most was how much I cried during the conference! I just can get so overwhelmed with a story, just glimpsing what the person must have felt at the time, and may still be feeling, that I have to cry! It happened with the speaker's stories; it happened with one of my roommate's stories; it happens in prayer meetings. I told one of the other gal's that I feel that I must have the spiritual gift of crying! :) She said the Bible has a name for that one; it's called the gift of mercy. Hmmm. I've never really thought about that before, never considered myself to have the gift of mercy. Frankly, I'm not really sure what is meant by "the gift of mercy" and will have to do a little looking into it.

The same gal asked if I've always been this way. She was shocked when I told her that I was rather hard-hearted and cynical in my teen years and that once I met Jesus, that was one of the first changes I noticed. I was never very rebellious in my behavior (I was a virgin on my wedding day and never had a glass of alcohol until a year or two later, never smoked, never even seen a drug except for educational purposes!), but I was bound up by religion, legalism, unforgiveness, and just plain nastiness--mostly toward my parents (God help me now that I'm the mother of a daughter!). At the same time, though, I was fairly easily moved with compassion (a teacher of mine battled cancer and I used to write her letters when she was no longer able to come to school--I still have a gift her twin sister gave me at her funeral because she was so touched by the fact that I wrote her), but not with tears. I hardly ever cried then and thought it was a show of weakness. Even my compassion was "detached"; my empathy toward others now (in both dire and amazing circumstances) is much deeper and intimate. I just automatically enter right in and feel what I think the other person must feel. I don't have to imagine what they felt or actively put myself in their shoes--I just go there. I guess if I was going to describe something called "the gift of mercy" that's pretty much what I would describe.

So, now what? What do I do with that? There's a passage in Jeremiah 6 that has captured me since I first noticed it several years ago. "13 For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. 14 They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace." Another version says, "They offer superficial treatments for my people's mortal wound." It might as well say, "They put Band-Aids on life-threatening war wounds." Uuuuugh! I so don't want to be that kind of person! I want to help people be truely, truely healed. But, I don't know how. How? How do you handle people's real and deep wounds and traumas without just slapping a Band-Aid on so you don't have to look at it anymore?

I'm ready to learn it. I want to be involved in that. I wonder if the belonging-resolve-security has something to do with "no more Band-Aids"...


Melodie said...

Great post Rachel. I too cry very easily, though not nearly like when I was a kid, and like you, when I hear a story I instantly know what the person must have been feeling. I have learned that my empathy and tears are what true compassion is. In the gospels when Jesus looked at the crowds he was "moved with compassion". Pity is feeling sorry for a person, but compassion is feelings sorry for them then doing something about it. I know my deep compassion for hurting people is a gift from God. God also feels deeply for those he loves. It is my reminder to take the time to truly invest in people's lives and do what I can to be Christ's hands and feet to them. I could go on and on with this topic. I am learning that women's emotions are often misunderstood, people don't know that when channeled appropriately they can be a valuable ministry tool. Write me of you want some conversation on this!

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