I Didn't Follow my Heart

Someone recently commented about our adoptions saying 
"that is so good of you, you are amazing, that must feel so good". 

As well intentioned as the comment was, it left me speechless.  I'll skip over that suggestion that somehow I'm "good"...because honestly that's just plain laughable if you know me.  Only Jesus is good.   
It is an uncomfortable sentiment I hear quite often though. It was the last part that floored me.
Externally I mutter something like "we are so blessed and thankful"....which is absolutely true.

But here, on my blog, I'm going to be a little more honest. 

An adopted child doesn't arrive with a bag of warm fuzzies.  Nope, not even a little carry on.

 Parenting and loving a child isn't something we do to feel good.  If that is an adoptive parents motive...Lord help that child. 

I sounded just as strange to me, as it would if you were to tell a parent of five biological children 
"it must feel so good".

How do you answer that?

Are you curious what adopting a child, particularly one with medical needs and complicated histories, feels like? 

It just feels like parenting
...which many days "feels" anything but good.   It's that simple really.  I'm just a parent, not some sort of saint. 

It "feels" like very uncomfortable lessons in patience and self control.

It "feels" like relentless fear, frequent frustration, sleep deprivation, and a nagging headache. 

My own selfishness being stripped away by shrill little voices demanding more from me than I want to give, usually "feels" more like a cheese grater than an emotional high. 

This is exactly the reason I don't "follow my heart" but rather bring those "feelings" into submission to a Lord who lovingly laid down his life first. 

The gospel trumps "feelings"

I want to make something very clear.   I did not "follow my heart" to my adopted children.   
I didn't pursue them, because it "felt right".

In fact my "heart" told me that each of our special needs adoptions was a very bad idea indeed.
 My heart told me to run away in self preservation,
far far away,
anywhere but where God was leading us to. 

If I had followed my heart I would run hard and fast from realities like chronic liver disease, blood tests, viral loads, uncontrollable mouth infections, attachment disorder, drug withdrawal, therapy, assessments, leg braces, stretching, expensive equipment, trauma, and brain injury. 
Every.  Single. Time. 

So much risk, so much potential of being hurt and rejected, so many unknowns, so much vulnerability....so much assurance of certain difficultly.   If I had followed my heart, or was looking to "feel good", I would have hunkered down, closed my eyes, and settled into a life of elusive self gratification.   

If I had followed my heart I would have appeased my conscience by giving a little money to charity, and then felt a bit of smug pride about it.  I would have assured myself that my own "quality of life" was my most important goal. 

My sin twisted little heart tells me I deserve a life of ease, that my time is my own, that I answer to no one, that I should be able to shower alone, pee without small hands reaching under the bathroom door, and that I can "find myself" apart from my God given tasks and roles.  
My heart is an idol factory, so easily deceived and lured into temptation.

Feelings run out, experiences prove shallow, and good intentions run dry. 
No amount of do-good social justice activism will hold up under daily strain of monotony and relentless demands.  

Love is a choice. 
Love is choosing to do what's right for someone else, even when it comes at a cost to yourself.  

When the gospel naturally propels sacrificial love and actions, and the Holy Spirit empowers it,
 joy, peace, purpose, and contentment do absolutely come as a by-product of that obedience.
You will find treasure in the most unexpected places.  In submitting to something greater than my own feelings, I have been incredibly unbelievably blessed.  Two little gifts that I could have so easily missed because of my own fear. 

When you are in Christ, actions flow out of position.  When you know who you are, you know what to do.  

In losing your life, you find it.  

But some days losing it honestly feels like I just might "lose it" in the process.  

Today my "heart" is totally telling me I'd rather be lounging by myself on a tropical beach than dealing with poopy bums, whining tantrums, and a never ending pile of laundry.  

Soli Deo Gloria,


Sherri Davidson said...

I think as Moms, no matter how we got that title feel that way on many days. I'm past the poppy bum stage(for now) but I'm in the adult/teenagers stages. It's hard no matter what stage. It's after all exactly what you said...parenting. The being n the trenches suck sometimes. Thank goodness we have an amazing Lord that is there in the trenches with us. :)

Designed with Purpose said...

Loved what you said about the Gospel "trumping" feelings. We are looking into adopting for a 2nd time and boy does the enemy bombard us doubt or the fear of life getting difficult. Thanks for writing this, it is good to remember that parenting is just plain difficult but the gospel so worthy!

Marie said...

How true! Love your honesty!

Carla said...

Thankyou Ladies. It's nice to know I'm not the only one in these beautiful, frustrating, often exhausting trenches of parenthood.