Friday, September 13, 2013

Hurt has a voice

And sometimes it needs to be shushed...

Lately it has been given free reign. And I had to make an apology for that. The apology was clearly and strongly accepted.

But the problem is that all the talking hurt has done was not just to the person who accepted my apology. That's the thing about voices... they carry.

I have said it before, and I say it again: Words are both my greatest asset and my greatest stumbling block.

I am being vague - but those who need to know what I am saying should know I am saying it and know I am speaking to them. Part of the problem is, I cannot be sure specifically where an apology needs to be made. So I am making it here. I apologize. I can only hope it is accepted. Whether you were offended for yourself or on behalf of another, whether you felt hurt, or even felt betrayed, I am sincerely sorry.

I could try to explain myself, but it seems to me that would only undermine the apology, so I will not.

Instead I hope for fresh starts and second chances and forgiveness.

I cannot promise hurt will always be silenced - my transparency is who I am, and honestly, it ministers to some, but perhaps the few (but the few matter).

I will do my best not to project the past on the present, I will not let fear and feelings from "before" superimpose themselves on the things I see and experience now.

I will take things at face value, give the benefit of the doubt. It is NOT my nature to do so, but I will try - actively.

I will do my best when hurt does speak not to allow it to be accusatory or judgmental.

I will do my best to cause hurt to stop, wait and think before it speaks. And to choose where it speaks wisely.

I am thankful for those who choose to be loving enough to confront and address (even tattle.) I hope second chances and restoration will follow right along.

Only time will tell, and I can only do my new part from here. Words (even vague words) cannot be unsaid. I will think on that and remember that before I speak them again in the future... at least I promise to try.

Hurt has a voice, now hope speaks too.

Today is a new day, mercy is new every morning. I choose to believe that's true.

I hope my apology is accepted.

I'm asking for grace undeserved and a fresh start to go with it.

Sincerely, I apologize.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Sometimes that's how I feel - or spiritually bi-polar, perhaps. High highs and low lows and they intertwine and interchange at their own will.

I read an article recently that said "Creative people's openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment." Sounds like a typical Tuesday (or any other day of the week) to me.

Sensitivity might be an understatement. Sometimes I feel like I live my life inside out - emotions and feelings all on the surface, easily bruised and always a certain level of rawness. It doesn't help that I have forever felt under high scrutiny, judgment and rejections.

I have been known to call my self a "strong flavor," and declare that people either love me or hate me, and there are very few in the middle of the road. But the declaration holds no confidence behind it because the sense (or assurance) that there are people out there that really really don't like me just kills me! I have a friend (and a husband, come to think of it) that says, "Why do you care what other people think?" Like that seems the simplest obstacle to overcome ever!

My answer, "I don't know why I care, but I do! Desperately!" It matters to me what other people think of me. Reality may be that it matters to me THAT people think of me. Lord have mercy, I am so stinking self-focused sometimes! Maybe if i could come to terms with the fact that when I am convinced of dislike, judgment and rejection, the reality may be, people just aren't thinking of me at all! Maybe there would be a great measure of freedom in that. I guess I hope someday I'll know!

I'm reading a book called The Search for Significance. It theorizes that these sorts of human struggles I am sharing are rooted in a misunderstanding of my value to God. I wish that were true. What? Why? Yes, I wish that were true because then I would know the antidote. Time in God's Word and His presence would be convincing. But here's the thing, I am already convinced of God's love.

I came to Christ a filthy sinner with the blood of my murdered unborn child on my hands. I came to Him, broken, desperate, empty. Kind women I did not know came alongside me and POURED His love into me and upon me, and they saturated me and my life with His Word. I drank it in, every gulp, sip and swallow, and I am CONVINCED both of God's love for me, and that He thinks I am wonderful. Me and God - we are GOOD.

But I cannot for the life of me reconcile myself to why that just doesn't seem like enough. I feel badly that I don't believe other people see what God sees in me. I feel badly that people don't buy into how fabulous God thinks I am (tongue firmly in cheek). And this girl who has spent her life striving to prove herself for the approval of others and has hit stone wall after stone wall after stone wall now runs ahead with the expectation she's going to get knocked down, beat up and disappointed again.

And those dark thoughts creep up whenever they want to. Looking through social media and stopping on a picture of friends (even acquaintances) being together, enjoying one another and their friendship - I suddenly feel lonely and sad. Why can't I be happy for them instead of making it all about me? Therein lies the struggle. Does it have anything to do with being creative? I don't know - but just as low as I can go from seeing something like that, the simplest offer a friendship, an email or a tap on the shoulder at church with a smile, all of those things can rise the low to a high that can last for days. The power of feeling like somebody cares or accepts you is powerful.

I am still in a season of loneliness when it comes to friendships. I have good, loving, kind women in my life who I've known for a long time that I now only see occasionally. I have some newer women I see regularly but who really don't know anything about me or about what's going on in my life. And then I compare those relationships to ones that have been lost in my life and it's lonely. And then I can be sitting in that loneliness and suddenly be completely fulfilled in a room with my husband and our kids around us, and the pendulum swings, low to high - one personality to another, and I feel completely schizophrenic or bipolar again.

I am certain God has a purpose for this season. But I also know what it is is not something I can see while I am walking through it. I have to declare it in faith that I know He is with me (first of all) and for me (always) and that on the other side of this season, I will hopefully be a little more like him, a little more usable to Him, and a little more relational with Him.

At times I am convinced that that is the core of this season, that I will know HIM as Friend more than ever before. And there have been moments on my knees where he has felt very present, but it's never all the time - and though He is never more than a prayer away, it's not the same as a friendly face across a table, or a listening ear on the other end of the phone. But then perhaps that's exactly the point - my strength needs to be all the greater and the knowledge I have of who I am in Christ and what I mean to God needs to come to the place where it permeates my existence. And I don't have to strive anymore for the acceptance and approval of others. I hope so. But i have to say, the process is long and sometimes it hurts like hell.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Adoption Part 2 - The Incomprehensible

Read the first part of this series here.

Adoption is impossible to describe in many ways. On a thousand different levels it seems illogical. Loving someone who's not "your own" seems like a tall order. I get that. And in my many experiences of counseling women in crisis pregnancy, I understand why it is their fear that giving up a child for adoption seems cruel. How will the child ever feel the love that they should without their "real parents."

It is incomprehensible, until you have the privilege of experiencing it for yourself.

When I took Ethan in my arms that night in the hospital, all the bonding I missed not carrying him myself happened in an instant. Instead of nine months of falling in love like I had with his older brother, and very shortly after would with his little sister, it took about nine seconds.

My theory is that God himself stands above the adoptive child and his new parents and takes his very best supernatural needle and thread and sews hearts together. I know there are lots of stories told about the contrary, attachment disorders and the like, but I firmly believe those are the exception (but people like to tell the tales anyway). Now mind you, God pierces his blessed needle through both the parent heart and the heart of the child (and eventually other family members as well) but picture the thread - for Ethan and I, in an instant I felt my heart completely drawn to his and I am thankful that in my case I had the privilege of being the only mom he ever knew, I know that's not always the case. For older children or parents even who struggle a little, the pulling of the thread may take a little longer until the hearts are intertwined, but the connection is there regardless. It's a "God thing." One of those things that is hard to put into words.

Despite the fact that I felt like I got a glimpse into God's heart for us - broken, with little or nothing to offer Him, He loves us anyway. For me I felt no benevolence in my love for my little boy - only gratitude. Grateful to be his mama, grateful for the deeper understanding of what it is to choose to love, but also overwhelmed how quickly the choice becomes an impulse that I could not overcome.

My biological daughter came very quickly after we brought Ethan into our home. There are less than ten months between their births. Because Ethan's adoption was so extremely complicated and full of struggle, I didn't tell his birth mother about my pregnancy until I no longer had a choice. At that point Ethan's placement wasn't even official (seriously, the details of our story... would send people RUNNING from the prospect of adoption) and when I finally had no choice but to tell her about another baby coming, she could have easily removed Ethan from our home. Losing Ethan was a realistic fear we lived with for almost three years, and it was more than three before he was legally a DePriest.

So the night that it was clear by my bulging belly that I had to tell her I was pregnant was a difficult conversation I did not want to have. When I told her it got very tense, and she got very quiet on the other end of the phone.

"What's wrong?" I asked her.

"I'm afraid you won't love him as much as you do your own kids," she said.

My own kids. She still had no clue.

Ethan was mine. Ethan is mine. As incomprehensible as it is, biology had nothing to do with that.

"I'm worried I won't love my next baby as much as I do Ethan," I told her. And I was.

Thankfully love and hearts are things God enlarges. We don't have limited amounts that we have to dole out, we just get more. It is an unlimited resource and biology has nothing to do with that either.

Sometimes I will stop and catch myself and it will suddenly occur to me that Ethan is adopted. Most days though I completely forget. The truth is, I have the knowledge in my mind - and I am proud of the incredible testimony that is the story of HOW Ethan came to us, and HOW we fought to keep him, but it's only there in that tiny little box. It exists in no other part of who I am. Not in my heart, not in my soul, not in my love, like or care.

Adoption is a miraculous thing, one I wish the whole world could experience. There are simply no words that do it anywhere near the justice that it deserves. And that's why I tell you...

The beauty of adoption - incomprehensible.

The heart of adoption - incomprehensible.

The experience of adoption - incomprehensible.

It's like a secret club, no matter how much you may support, approve or like the idea, without the experience, the fullness of it, is just simply, incomprehensible.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The anatomy of a hug...

I am a reader. Beyond books, magazines and the back of cereal boxes, I find myself trying to read everything - tones, eyes, expressions, inflections. For me very few thinks are completely revelatory at the surface. But the problem with being a reader of things beyond words is there is a LOT of room for misconception. (And for the record words can get pretty confusing too in places like emails, social media and even lovely little blogs like this one.)

But yesterday I found myself finding a hug quite the easy thing to read. Or so I think.

Can you relate? Have you had that awkward forced hug? You've felt the insincerity of it, right? I remember a lot of those in high school. You know the hug I mean, the one where the hugger is pushing back from you before they even pull all the way in. It read with insincerity and obligation. Sometimes they speak separation or dissension.

Not all awkward hugs are that way though. My husband is a hugger, and I watch him reach around in some weird directions to hug a friend. But I know whoever is on the receiving end of my husband's hug finds true kindness, true concern. He's a good hugger.
When I hug Neal it's usually different for me. Though he's no repel-er with even a friend or one of my kids friends, when I stop to hug my hubby, I really sink into it. I lay my head on his chest and I rest there. I am not a hugger, so when I hug my husband, I do it with purpose. He lets me melt into him when I hug him. My hug says need, and his appropriately replies provision. It's probably my favorite kind of hug.

Although I am not a touchy-feely person, I like hugging my kiddos too. My daughter hugs me like I hug her dad. She settles in and rests her head on my chest (though she is so tall now it's really more on my shoulder. My younger son is an awkward goofy hugger. It's that middle school age for him - and when he hugs me there is often a little repelling if I am the pursuer, but if he's made a mistake or done something wrong, he comes looking for a hug. His hug speaks repentance, mine speaks forgiveness. My oldest is a man (gulp) and his hugs are big - he is his father's son. And when he hugs me it speaks of the transition he has made from boy to man, but there still remains some of the little boy lingering inside him, and his hugs speak love (and sometimes self-preservation since I like to pinch his nipples.)

Sometimes a hug speaks friendship, it says "I miss you" or "I want to know you more." Yesterday I got a hug that said, "I see you are hurting. And I care." Not a word was spoken, but that's what the unexpected hug spoke to me. I could tear up now even thinking about it.

Hugs are important. There is a woman I used to know who probably could have built an entire ministry out of hugs. Her hugs were awkward always because she wouldn't let go for a good long time. She held on till you relaxed and settled into the hug. Even when she was finished, you still felt hugged, and you knew someone cared. That's a little how my hug was yesterday, though more awkward and brief - that's what it spoke to me.

I miss the hugs in my life that I once had, which is probably why I have settled into a lot more of my hubby's hugs in recent days, and why I am more willing to hold on to my kids when I can. Hugs are important, and they can speak so much more than a thousand words.

I wish we could feel the hug of our heavenly Father every day. I once had a supernatural experience that was that real, but those are few and far between. So I think it's important that we do His hugging on His behalf. People need to know we care, and they need to feel loved and important. That's what a hug is all about.