Monday, June 26, 2017

Like An Avalance

There's a thing that happens when you have deep wounds.  Sometimes those wounds have turned to scars, sometimes, they're still in the healing process.  Sometimes the scars are easily reopened.  The truth is, I've been walking this grief journey a while.  Since childhood, really.  As a child of adoption myself I know the deep feelings of unworthiness that can lurk waiting to have an opportunity to rear their ugly head.  It doesn't matter how loved one is in their home.  It's still there.  A feeling that somehow I'm not enough.  The truth is, my adoption story is nothing like my children's individual stories, but still filled with pain.  My "step-father" adopted me, and I saw my biological father from time to time.  I say "step-father" in quotes, because he was not a "step-father" at all to me.  He was Daddy.  He loved me in spite of my wildness.  I was a difficult child.  My Shea is so much like I was.  (At least how they describe me to be).  I was wild.  They would say that if I came near sugar I was over the edge.  I would roll my eyes and think they were really ridiculous ;) Now I see when Shea thinks about sugar she goes off the rails....  I see now.  Isn't that what life is?  We hear "hindsight is 20/20" all the time, yet somehow it doesn't sink in.  I see now that I was such a difficult child.  I see now that in spite of that, my Daddy loved me.  I see now that my biological father, my Dad loved me in the best way he could, by giving distance so that my Daddy could be all in.  I see now that everyone around me were just broken people doing the best they could.  And, now I find myself with children who all have their own deep needs, and deep hurts, some related to their adoption story, some unrelated, but all needing different things.  I see myself not measuring up on a regular basis.  I see myself doing the very best I can, but still failing them each daily.  I see myself loving them all, and I see them still feeling unloved, and unworthy.  Just as I did.

The only thing I can do is try to point them to the Father.  I can't fix these wounds in their hearts.  That's the hardest part of being an adoptive family.  And it's hard for my biological children too.  They live their lives sacrificing their own comforts to provide a safe space for other children to experience our crazy life too.  One of my boys told me the other day that he has really struggled lately because when my cousin died and we got the Middles he realized family can be temporary.  He never considered that possibility before and our family is everything to us.  This is what happens when we face great loss every single day.  We can't help but be reminded that it exists.  We can't just go on with our life virtually unchanged.  It is forever changed along with our children.  Their life was changed, but so was ours.  And we do it because God called us to do so.  It is not the easy road.  Not at all.  But it is the road God called us to. 

The reality is, though we rarely realize it, we are all adopted.  Those of us in Christ's family.  It is truly what we're made of. 

"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children." -Romans 8:14-16 

When we are ourselves adopted into Christ's family, how can we not adopt those orphans around us who need who deserve to be wholly loved for who they are?  I know not everyone is called to adopt like we have been, but my point is, this is what God has called us to.  Maybe he has called you to support those who adopt?  Maybe he's called you to mentor children in your church.  Maybe he's called you to recognize weariness on the momma at church who needs a break and offer it to her...  ALL mommas get weary. 

But, even with this deep love and devotion for our children they are still broken.  That's why we all need Jesus so much.  The only peace I have found for my own brokenness has been Jesus. 

Like An Avalanche- Hillsong United

Beautiful God
Laying Your majesty aside
You reached out in love to show me life
Lifted from darkness into light
King for a slave
Trading Your righteousness for shame
Despite all my pride and foolish ways
Caught in Your infinite embrace
And I find myself here on my knees again
Caught up in grace like an avalanche
Nothing compares to this love love love
Burning in my heart
Saviour and Friend
Breathing Your life into my heart
Your word is the lamp unto my path
Forever I'm humbled by Your love
Take my life
Take all that I am
With all that I am I will love You
Take my heart
Take all that I have
Jesus how I adore You
And I find myself here on my knees again
Caught up in grace like an avalanche
Nothing compare to this love love love

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Thy Will Be Done

I'm so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don't wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I've got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done I know you're good

But this don't feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about
It's hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you're God
And I am not

So Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will I know you see me

I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Good news you have in store

So, thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord

Some days I don't have any answers.  Lots of days.  It's why I need Jesus so much.  Because daily I'm faced with reminders that I don't have the answers and I don't know what tomorrow holds.  Reminders that I can't control the outcomes of what happens around me, but I can find peace in knowing that whatever happens I do not have to walk alone. 

I recently was reminded of my deep ingrained fear of the effects of drugs on your life.  I honestly do not believe anyone to be immune to this.  I think it is completely irresponsible, and also unfair to think that because someone appears to have it all together that they are immune from the draw of artificial remedies for life's problems.  In this case, the fear is centered around drugs and their effects on those that get caught in their draw, but the same could be applied to just about any aspect of life- the woman who believes her husband is perfect, but under the surface unknown to those around him he struggles with deep issues including porn, or infidelity- the homeschooling mom who looks like her kids are all perfect ducks in a row, but inside her is a deep feeling that she isn't ever enough- the adoptive mom who adopted because there was so much love to give, but now finds herself wondering if she's the right parent for her kids...... etc.  Artificial remedies can range from drugs, to alcohol, to being a control freak, to even something beneficial like exercise.  There are many ways to address the problems of life.  Sometimes we feel like we call out to the Lord and don't see an answer, or don't like the answer.  Sometimes we just need to learn to let things go more than we do.  What is of most importance to you?

For me, the number one thing is that my children and husband know I love them and that I love God, and God loves them.  I have a mantra I use with my youngest ones who have deep issues with abandonment, and it goes: "God loves me first, and my family loves me too".....  This is a good mantra for us all.  And we need to remember, that God's love for us is not tied to whether we have the perfect marriage, successful kids, clean house, etc.  God loves us because He KNOWS us.  He knows us better than anyone.  I listened to a podcast today where the man was talking about his struggles with infidelity - it was the people who run the Undone Redone podcast, who were sharing on the Homeschooling In Real Life Podcast.  One thing he said he had to tell himself as he walked back from his struggling and exile from his church was that "God knows it all, and he loves me, these people only know a little bit".  Wow.  How often do we look to others for acceptance, and for approval when the truth is God knows us all, and the people around us only know a little.

Where this all applies to me, is, if I'm really honest, I've gotten myself into a busy-ness trap through trying to please God and others through my works.  I know that God loves me no matter what, but I try to please Him by serving His people (and others) because I love Him so much and I want others to feel the love that I feel.  But the problem here is, that as I've become more and more overwhelmed with my schedule in recent years (and am now working on reducing it) that people aren't always feeling his love at all through me, because, quite frankly, I'm too overwhelmed.

So, back to the most important thing for me: Love- my God, my children, my husband, and leaving a legacy that speaks love.

This is what I need to focus on to figure out what stays on my list, and what goes.  If it doesn't further this purposefully, and intentionally, then it goes off the list.  I'll spend the next while using this measure to examine my priorities better.

In case you're curious about the podcasts, here is the one I listened to: Homeschooling In Real Life Episode 145  and the guests were the authors of the Un Done, RE Done Podcast

How are you giving yourself permission to evaluate your life?  Let's share in this discussion!

Love Always,

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Do you ever have so many words in your head, but when tasked with writing them down nothing comes?  It's like there are too many.  Or they're stuck.  Or some of the thoughts are ugly, so, they don't have permission to come out. 

What happens to those ugly thoughts?  Sometimes they grow.  They take on a life of their own, and before you know it, a minor ugly thought has started to take over and consume you.  I don't really know the answer to this, because, the other side is that if you voice these ugly thoughts that can give them power as well. 

What I know about myself is my own head is often the worst place to be.  I can easily choose offense when I see that one of my friends has tagged several of our friends, but not me.  I can easily choose despair when my 7 year old is throwing his 10th tantrum of the day.  I can easily choose defeat when my husband looks more at his phone than me.  I can easily choose thoughts of inadequacy when I look at my messy house.  Part of the problem is where I choose to get my strength from.  All of these are real problems for just about any mom or wife, right?  We all go through ebbs and flows of feeling great about ourselves, and feeling down.  There are books about friendships, like Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding And Keeping Lasting Friendships and Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard that say none of these feelings are unique to me.  In this age of "connection" through FaceBook, Instagram, SnapChat etc we are finding ourselves less connected than ever.  Rarely do we visit each other's homes anymore.  Phone calls are almost a thing of the past.  I am as guilty as anyone.  As these technological advances came promising more time, I find myself with less and less and less.

If you've read my blog for any period of time, you know that I am completely in love with God.  He is the source of my strength in the hard times.  But this is the important point.  There are hard times.  Being a Christian doesn't make me immune from that.  I look for self-worth in all the wrong places a lot.  He is always beckoning me back to Him.  I know that closing up inside myself is the absolute wrong thing to do, and I need to work on changing that.  Over the next while, I'm going to spend some time thinking about how I close myself up and how I can begin to see people again.  I'll be going over the various different aspects of my life that make it what it is- grief, adoption, homeschooling, law enforcement, parenting, having adult children, being an in-law etc.  Each has it's own piece in my life.  I invite you to join with me and share your journey with me as well.  Do you crave connection too?  Let's do something about it!

I love music.  It speaks to my heart.  One of my favorite places to go to be with God is music.  And Hillsong is often the path that gets me into a place of worship.  One of my favorite albums is Empires.  If you haven't heard it, check it out.

I've been listening to this song while writing this blog:  See if it speaks to you:

Captain- Hillsong
Through waters uncharted my soul will embark
I'll follow Your voice straight into the dark
And if from the course You intend
I depart
Speak to the sails of my wandering heart
Like the wind
You'll guide
Clear the skies before me
And I'll glide this open sea
Like the stars
Your Word
Will align my voyage
And remind me where I've been
And where I am going
Lost in the shallows amidst fear and fog
Your truth is the compass that points me back north
My Captain
My soul's trusted Lord
All my allegiance is rightfully Yours

Love, Semalee