I have been carrying around a lot of doubts lately...a lot of worries...a lot of sorrow. 2008 is proving to be an extremely emotional year for me, which in and of itself is not a bad thing, but leaves me in an uncomfortable place at the moment. Do you ever have those times in your life when many changes happen, when life feels out of kilter for a long stretch? I know it is during these times that we tend to grow a lot, even at my advanced age, but that doesn't make it fun.
And I find myself feeling weepy an awful lot lately, which is totally not me.
I think what bothers me the most though, is that my thoughts are drowning out my ability to figure out what God wants for me. I am confused and questioning, and hearing nothing...and it is my own fault.
There is news on the adoption front that now Kazakhstan is, at the very least, temporarily closed to US adoptive parents. This latest bit of information is causing me to really look hard at our hopes and dreams for the future and wonder if I am having a big STOP sign put up in front of me for a reason, or if this is just one test along a winding road that eventually will lead to our daughters coming home. This is in addition to the other difficulties that lay ahead that still are not resolved. My mom and I had a conversation about this recently, and I am not sure if I expressed myself well enough. I also find it hard to talk about with others, as the emotions run so deep that it feels imbalanced and too complicated to go into. I haven't sorted it all out yet, and I sit here waiting and wondering, wishing I would have a large billboard placed right in front of me to steer me. I am willing to accept anything He wants, but discerning that right now seems impossible.
It also feels kind of lonely.
Then I think long and hard about committment, sticktoitiveness, and two smiling faces staring back at me who are counting on me...and I know I really have no choice but to see it through to completion. As one important person in my life reminded me via email, if God really wants to put a stop to something, He will do it and I will have no doubts.
Interestingly, this very conversation has come up in an email dialogue I am having this week with one of our youth group members, a bright young person who is asking all the right questions, searching and trying to figure out what this means for her life. All the while I am thinking to myself "What in the world are you doing helping ANYONE try and see how God speaks to them...you can't hear Him at all right now!". It feels false for me, of all people, to be in a position to talk about such things.
Don't get me wrong, I am not moping around, head hanging low, wallowing in anything. But my inner dialogues lately are not exactly filled with hope and happiness. Our friends leaving is cutting very deep and it is a challenge to keep the joy there while they are still here, knowing just how empty our lives will feel for a very long time after they are gone. Then there is the emotion about the girls, and all that brings to the table. And I try to live day by day, not thinking too much about it all and not fret about what tomorrow will or won't bring and enjoy today, but there is this underlaying discomfort about it all and peace remains ellusive.
Perhaps if I can manage to quiet my soul, I will be able to hear Him. I have no doubt He is speaking to me right now, but I am uncertain what I need to do to turn down the volume so I can listen to Him.
Then there is the risk one runs in expressing such thoughts publicly. Sometimes I really don't know why I am doing this, putting my more intimate thoughts out there for others to judge me with. It sometimes leaves me feeling vulnerable knowing that many think I am a fruitcake for thinking a certain way or feeling something. Or that there is this expectation that I am someone I am really not. What started as a journal for my boys to help them understand what their adoptions has meant to me has grown to something bigger than that, and I am not really sure why. But since this is for them, when I am tempted to be less than forthright, when I backspace and erase something and try and make it sound more Disneyesque, I realize that is not fair to them...that I don't have to be afraid of being vulnerable with them. In fact, it is exactly what I am trying to teach them...to be bold and fearless when expressing their feelings, to know that sharing your emotions should never be embarassing and can lead to more fulfilling relationships. I have been reminded of that truth a few times this week when I have received emails from a couple of people who have taken the risk of sharing their hearts with me.
But the whole public versus private blog issue is answered for me often, particularly today when I received 11 emails off the blog from parents who are currently struggling with their children, and they feel alone, scared, and misunderstood. They come here to this virtual place and read something that offers them hope, or simply makes them feel a little less lonely, and I am reminded then that although I may not be hearing God right now, He is still using me so someone else can hear Him speak to them.
The past year and a half, since I started the blog on a whim, has really given new meaning to the phrase "My life is like an open book.". The ups and downs, the good and the bad, all of it is out there for all of you to take what you can from it. And the temptation to sugar coat it all and become Pollyanna is there, but then I doubt anyone would really care a whit about what I wrote. Real life is messy. it is also wonderful, challenging, scary, and tender all at the same time. Right now happens to be one of those uncertain spells, and I am so very grateful to those who have cared enough about me to write me, or who know me in person and snuggle up next to me and put their arm around my shoulder. When I stop to think about it, if we are not honest with others when we are going through the rough times, we deny them the opportunity to express their love for us, which fills them up as they offer us comfort. But allowing our vulnerabilities to show through can be oh-so-frightening, because it gives others the power to hurt us as well.
So tonight I sign off wondering why I am writing these things...and yet feeling as if I should. It seems like every time I follow through when writing about something that my gut says I should, I am surprised to find it has touched someone's heart. Not sure what all this has to do with anyone other than me and my own stupid thought processes, but something told me to write it tonight, so here I am...actually feeling quite foolish about it. I will go to bed with a slightly heavy heart and kicking myself for feeling that way in the first place when my life is filled with so much good stuff. But the smiles of friends from this evening still linger, and the thought that He hears my pleas even when I can't hear His carries me through. Good night.