Monday, January 17, 2011

ooh,oooh, pick me!!!

So, after waiting all day with a little boy who was feeling so much better and perhaps even trying to devise plans for escape... Oh wait. Was that him or us?
He could be found waiting in the lobby,
looking for Daddy to pull around in our Suburban...
And it's possible that he expressed his feelings over being hospitalized with the face below...
Who knows?

What is sure is this.
With every day that goes by, I am more and more convinced that I have been given the honor of a lifetime.
It is to my utter delight that I have the opportunity to be a mother to these three beautiful boys. I feel uniquely honored with the gift of each child I've been given. They each bring into our family their own personhood and contribution. Each time I have been blessed with a child, I have waited with great anticipation to see what new and remarkable person God is going to bring into my life. I don't have particular preferences to what it all looks like.
I don't care if they grow up to be doctors or plumbers.
I don't particularly care if they are shy or outgoing, aggressive or passive, social or private, athletic or brainy...or none...or all...of the above.
That's not up to me.
I know that the shaping of an eternal soul into their intended selves is far too massive a job for this ant of a woman.
So I leave that up to God.
He's actually quite good at it.
Ok, so he's perfect at it.
Ok, so he never makes a mistake.

Yet not everyone would agree.
Some children come "broken."
Not as we would have hoped.
It's true.
But look at him.
Really, look at him.
I would not change a thing about the remarkable creature you see in the picture above.
I'm not just trying to make myself feel better when I say
that being Shepherd Jeremiah Joyner's mom has been the honor of a lifetime.
In the early days of his diagnoses, as his health declined rapidly, I wept with disappointment.
Envy towards the unbroken filled my heart.
And I begged God to change this story.
That was almost two years ago, now.
And it's not that I have grown to enjoy what brokeness for my son means. I don't look forward to illnesses or eagerly anticipate future surgeries.
It's not that.
I still fear, I still long to see him grow and gain strength.
But I feel strongly that God has been teaching me about a beautiful, hidden, secret, kept from most on this earth.
Something many poeple will, sadly, live their whole lives ignorant of.

I'll give you a picture.

Recently I watched a documentary called "My Flesh and Blood" which takes you along for a day in the life of a single-mom from California, who has 13 children, 11 of which are children with special needs which she has chosen to adopt.
Yeah, it is.
One scene, in particular, was so poignant.
It was this.
Mom bends down to gently pick up her 19 year old son out of his weelchair. He weighs 40 pounds. He has a terrible disease that is fatal. From birth, it causes the skin inside and outside the body to blister uncontrollably, leaving pussing,oozing sores at all times. He also has cancer. His sister died of the same disease last year.
And she gently bathes him. She does this 4 times a week. It takes 3 hours.
She tenderly carries him to the tub, then cradles his weak body,while she pours fresh water over his angry sores.
She bends over him, hovering like love itself. And she says,
"Imagine being drug behind a car, then taking a bath and having bleach water pored over you."
"This is what it's like for him every time, but we have to keep the infection away."
He peers up under heavy eyelids screaming with pain, his naked body scrunched meekly, while mom loves.
And the gratefulness found there is divine.
She labors.
He accepts.
Knowing she is his gift, given to him to live and be loved.
His need is great.
And her love is greater.

I watched this unfold and felt as thought I had been allowed to sneak backstage, peering at a divine scene.
There I was, naked and bloody and with so much pain,
and nothing I could do about it.

And there He was, naked and bloody,
cause he chose it.
On a cross.

It was the only way to heal me from this disease forever.
This soul-sick brokenness I was born with.
And he left perfection, where all was right, to come bath me in bleach water, then bandage up my brokeness.
And it is messy.
But my King is a humble King, full of compassion and servanthood.
So he didn't just wave the magic wand of Heaven over my life.
He left beauty for despair.
To join me here and carry me, day in and day out. To cry when I cry, catching each of my tears in a bottle, collecting them like the most valuable baseball card that has ever been.
And he holds me and carries me through this life,
and when it's all said and done, he gets nothing.
No purple heart, no reward. He does find pleasure, and it pleases him eternally to be my rescuer. It is his perfect plan.
But what have I really got to offer the King of Heaven that would pay him back or make it all worth his while?

It's this picture that captures it for me.
True vision.
True perspective.
I have never cared for anyone the way this mother cared for her son, day in and day out, without respite.
Honest truth? I know I can't.
I pitch a fit when I don't get to "punch the clock" at 6pm. And I've been doing this for almost 6 years.
I still love sleeping in,
to the point where I debate how terrible it would really be to just tuck a box of Cheerios under my covers and toss them in the direction of the screams.

I like time to myself more than most people I know.
And I simply don't get enough of it.
Can I get an Amen?

All that is to say,
don't get any crazy ideas about me,
dismissing my thoughts to my saintly nature.

I just know truth when I see it.
It rings deep in a place inside of me that was made for knowing it and living it.
My soul.
You have one just like it.
And it's these pictures that inspire me.
Everyone needs a little inspiration...or a lot.
We were made for that too.

And inspiration is what I got on March 28, 2009, when a 5 pound little boy made his way into this world, full of life and losing it all at the same time.
An honor, an inspiration, a joy, a gift, and more.
And when I say he's a gift, I don't mean the kind of gifts that we hope others get, cause they are so hard.
Not the "well, more power to ya" kind of gift.
But the kind of gift that I would knock people out of the way,rushing like a single lady trying to catch the bridal bouquet to sign up for.
Mean it.

What an honor that momma with 13 remarkable kiddos has. She gets to live a beautiful picture of God's whole hearted, sacrificial, fanatic love for us.
I want that.
For my life.

How many people? How many people called Christians? Have not even entertained the idea of caring for a child with special needs,on purpose?
It's one thing when they're born broken.
Watcha gonna do?
But choose that?!
I would. Now.
I didn't. Then.
But God graciously took the choice and made it for me.
And now I know.
And I pray I get the chance to do it again.
For me, that means I'll keep asking God to bring my son and daughter from Haiti home to us.
I actually get excited about taking care of my Haitian son, M, who is blind.
It's not because I think it will be easy or that I am even equipped or able to do it.
I'm totally not. Let's just be clear on that.
It is because my God has ventured out of the most "comfortable situation" anyone has ever experienced to care for this broken human.

So I can at least try.

He has promised to go with me.
I simply have seen what joy awaits for those who venture to see the hand of their God in what the world calls impossible, broken, ugly or worse...
unrewarding, a waste of time, not worthy of your efforts and investment.
So too many children wait in the foster care system or an orphanage, or a hospital, and many die alone.
Largely because they are broken and their need is so great.
It's so great that no one wants to even try to step into it.

Or perhaps those broken ones aren't good enough to risk coming in and messing up an orderly, perfect, predictable life with beautiful, healthy children.
What have they got to offer?
Much more than you can see with your temporal eyes.
Trust me.
Or better yet,
Trust Him.


Melissa Pearce said...

love this.

Lynn said...

Thank you so much for your honesty. Beautifully written...and very timely. I've been wondering if we should be foster parents or try to adopt a special needs child.

We were on an adoption waiting list for a couple of years (about 4-5 years ago). We never got a match, but then again, to adopt a healthy infant girl is the dream of many. For some reason, God has had a child on my mind. I first dismissed it as my anticipation of the "empty nest" come next year. But I'm beginning to wonder if it's someting more.

Watching your journey with Shepherd (online, of!) and now this adoption form Haiti, you have motivated and inspired me and I thank you for that.

Thank you for allowing God to use you :)

Kathy said...

So beautiful. SO beautiful. This spoke volumes to me. Thank you.