The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014

Revelation = Revolution

I love my book club. It's just precious to be among women who come together to share our lives, our thoughts, our realities, our hearts with each other and with our God. I'm telling you, these are some of the most beautiful, authentic, uplifting women I've ever had the privilege of sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with. They bring their hearts--and that's definitely the best part.

We just started reading Captivating by John and Stasi Elderedge. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but God is doing something through it in our hearts. This week (chapter 2), there was something that struck me strongly, but it wasn't until I was discussing it with A tonight that it really began to undo me.

The book is about femininity, women's role in the world. It's not about doing better as a woman; it's about recognizing what real femininity is, the power it holds for the redemption of the world. One thing about women is that we want to be beautiful, we want to make our homes, offices, etc beautiful, and we want to create beauty in the world. In this, we are just like our Maker, a vivid representation of a part of Him. He laps up praise and worship from people who see and recognize His beauty. He surrounds Himself with beauty (the descriptions of heaven are almost gaudy-sounding). He created the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world and gave it to us as a gift. That just resonates with me. That desire to have my own beauty, to be enveloped by beauty, and to give beauty as a gift.

In Captivating, the authors posit that beauty is powerful because of what it "speaks" to the world. Here is the passage that began my unraveling:

And what does beauty say to us? Think of what it is like to be caught
in traffic for more than an hour. Horns blaring, people shouting
obscenities. Exhaust pouring in your windows, suffocating you. Then
remember what it's like to come into a beautiful place, a garden or a meadow or
a quiet beach. There is room for your soul. It expands. You
can breathe again. You can rest. It is good. All is
well. ...

That is what beauty says, All shall be well.

And this is what it's like to be with a woman at rest, a woman comfortable
in her feminine beauty. She is enjoyable to be with. She is
lovely. In her presence your heart stops holding its breath. You
relax and believe once again that all will be well. And this is also why a
woman who is striving is so disturbing, for a woman who is not at rest in her
heart says to the world, "All is not well. Things are not going to turn
out all right." "Like a fountain troubled, " as Shakespeare said, "muddy,
ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty." We need what Beauty
speaks. What it says is hard to put into words. But part of its
message is that all is well. All will be well.

When I read that last paragraph, I instantly thought of the story of Jesus visiting the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. (The actual story can be found in Luke 10:38-42) In this story, Jesus and his customary crowd are passing through town and they stop at Martha's house for a rest. Jesus sits down and begins to talk with the people there. Lazarus (Martha's brother) and Mary (their sister) sit down among the crowd. But, Martha begins to fly around making the house ready and a dinner for the travelers. She was serving them, being hospitable, making them comfortable. After a while, Martha has had enough and is overflowing with disappointment (to choose the mildest emotion she may have been feeling) that her sister is not helping her with these womanly duties. She blusters into the room and accosts Jesus, thinking he'll take her side, and demanding that he instruct Mary to lend a hand. But, Jesus surprises them all by saying that "Mary has chosen the good part", the "one thing that is necessary" and "it will not be taken away from her."

My heart is so like Martha's. When people are in my home, I want to serve them, to be hospitable, to make them comfortable. My eyes, hands, and heart are all applied to "making things perfect." I want them to have a good experience while they are with me. When it comes to my family, I am often striving to provide good memories for them, a perfect experience. Whether it's guests in my home or it's my intimate family, I want to give them the feeling, "All is well here. This is good. This is beautiful. This is perfect."

But, what ends up happening is that a small thing gets a little askew of my picture of perfection and I become a striving, controlling shrew (sometimes it's not that bad, but sometimes it is). Just this morning, I had a plan for dropping Punk off for his first day of Kindergarten. I set it all up in my mind last night--every detail of how it was going to go. Then, this morning, A declared that he wanted to go with us. He threw off my plan-of-perfection. I grew panicky. Now, I had to not only get my son whisked off to a dreamy first-day-of-big-school, but I also had to manage to get my husband to work on time, get my lemon-blueberry muffins glazed, and get to book club without time to waste. My heart began to say (in the tone of an alarm), "All is not well!!! This is not going to go right!!!" Enter Shrew. I was awful. I was mean and short and nasty to A. I was probably even a little abrupt with the children. My perfect picture of dropping off Sam became filthy with my bad attitude. What was that Shakespeare said? "Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty." Blech. Punk made it to school and we had a good moment of seeing him off, but as soon as we were back in the car, I turned the shrew back on to torment the plan-disturber. How ugly is that!?! So the opposite of what I wanted this morning to be.

And, that's true in so many situations. I'm just heart-broken and grieved to look over these moments of striving for "All is well" and so completely destroying it with my own actions. Proverbs 14:1 says, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." During how many family or guest dinners have I muddied the waters by striving to bring perfection? How many times have I gotten frustrated that "I'm just trying to make her hair look beautiful!!!!!!" and wound up tearing both our hearts to shreds with my anger that it's not perfect?

What God revealed to me this evening as I was talking with A about it is that my desire in all of this was to minister to the heart of my family and guests the feeling that all is well. But, I had fallen for the scheme of Satan that said that it was by making the externals (the dinner, the timing, the plan) perfect that I could minister to the heart. But, the truth God shone His light on is that only one thing is necessary, and Mary had it--a heart at rest, in the peace of Jesus. The heart at rest is the only one that can bring other hearts to resolution and peace. It's when my heart is peaceful and centered on Jesus and the fact that He really does make it all alright that beauty can radiate through me to touch and minister peace to other hearts.

The truth is, if I just showed up, the real, authentic, Jesus-imbued me, that would minister to the hearts I care for. Having a nice home, cooking a succulent meal, creating perfect braids--all of that is important. It does help to fulfill needs, but it misses the heart.

What would dinner parties in my home look like if I was at peace in my beauty? What would hair day be like for my precious daughter's heart if I came to her with my own heart full of beauty while my hands were tangled in her curls? What would she learn about her own beauty if my heart was ministering peace and love to her instead of spewing the poison of striving and a focus on the external those long days through? What would my children remember about their big moments in life if I was there for them in the security that All is well; All will be well?

With Holy Spirit transforming my heart into that one of restful peace, my home will be utterly transformed. Nothing will be the same. This will revolutionize every day of my life, every relationship I have. Do it, Jesus!


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

Talk To Me

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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