Rejoicing in the Midst of Grief
Grief has many faces. None of them are pretty.
When you hear someone is “grieving,” you think of the loss of a loved one. For me, the most I’ve ever grieved was when I found out I couldn’t have children. I grieved the death of a dream.
How do you reconcile a report like that with your faith? When you know all things are possible with God, and yet nothing happens, you feel at war with yourself and your faith. It hurts too much to hope. So, I guess you could say I was grieving the loss of my hope.
My husband and I prayed for a miracle for ten years. In the waiting, we were stretched like a rubber band being pulled around a watermelon. There were times I thought we’d break. There were times my resolve was strong. There were times I wanted to give up. He was stretching us, and in doing so, preparing us for the miracle.
I decided to quit going to baby showers. I hid behind humor, telling people I hated babies. I emotionally abandoned my husband whilst trying to keep myself busy doing things that people with kids couldn’t do. I was trying to convince myself I was okay. I wasn’t. I was hurting. I was heartsick.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
We’d been married fifteen years before God gave us two year old twin boys. I don’t know if anyone is ever truly READY for parenthood, but our hearts were ready. It was love at first sight – the bond was instant. Our quiet house was turned upside down in the best way.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
When I reflect on it, I can see God’s fingerprints all over it. During the middle of it, during the waiting, everything feels like failure.
My miracle boys are turning six years old next month. A friend told me, “nothing brings you to the end of yourself the way parenting does”. We live in that tension. Stretching like the rubber band, forcing us to grow.
Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief. (Proverbs 14:13)
Amongst all this joy and longing fulfilled, there was a hiccup. Our birth mother decided last minute to have an open adoption instead of a closed adoption. This meant she would now be in the picture. At this point, it was not worth fighting because these were our boys. We have quarterly visits with the woman who gave us our children.
It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Harder than potty training the boys! It’s delicate as I want her to know we care, but I also want it to be clear that I am the mama. We’ve learned a lot about setting boundaries. It’s not fun, but my boys are worth it.
I wish life was less complicated.
Life is really a dance of joy and grief.
All I’m sure of is that His plans for us are good, and I find comfort in that. I’m not sure why He does what He does because His ways are not my ways. If I’d had my way, there would be no Levi and Wyatt, and that thought is unfathomable. He knows better than I do.
“In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord.
Jenny is a textbook extrovert, Pastor’s wife and adoptive mom of twin boys. She leads worship for Elementary and Middle school students each week in chapel services at a Christian school, and loves speaking as well. She is a a contributor on the Portland Moms Blog, and also writes an article called Everyday Heroes for Tigard Life and Tualatin Life newspapers that celebrates people serving in her local community. She likes donuts, making people laugh and changing her hair color almost as often as she changes her mind. Follow her misadventures.