Early morning light prodded me awake, anticipation nudging open my eyes. Why do I feel this way? What’s today?
Then I remembered. Sixteen-year-old Yolanda. Baby Leo. Maybe our next child? Anticipation…and regret.
Not an infant. A 10-month-old. Not a second chance with a mewling newborn. Another dream derailed. This was back in July, the third time our emotions were caught betwixt heaven and earth, suspended in that four-letter word: Wait. Far from sedentary, my waiting struggled in my suspension, like a butterfly caught in its cocoon hanging from a leaf — not nature’s gentle emerging, but a battle against becoming what I’m meant to be.
Really, God? Can I have no part of the story I want? No pregnancy, no matter the prayers and faith. Now I look forward to another adopted infant, and you decide I can’t have that, either. Why have you answered the prayers in the lives of so many others, and not mine?
I know, I know — strike up the violins, right? Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You have a beautiful daughter and wonderful husband. Count your blessings, for the love of God.
Yes. And no.
For the love of God, surrender. Feel what you feel. Admit it.
Own it. And surrender it.
My heart cannot make room for cherished blessings until it surrenders the disappointments. Everything is granted a time and place. Honest, courageous surrender comes first.
There’s nothing new about surrender.
Every day I surrender to traffic laws and my desire for chocolate. I surrender to the comfort of my husband’s arms encircling, holding me…reluctantly surrender his lips as Madeleine tugs on my pants and says, “Hug? Self?” Eagerly surrender to my 2-year-old daughter’s affection.
Some surrender I like; others I don’t. Know what I would tell you with absolute conviction? You won’t reach your full potential or find your greatest satisfaction without complete surrender. It’s this hunch I have. But I don’t want to surrender; not one little bit. Not if I did not choose it to begin with.
Do you have any idea — any at all — how much I’ve wanted to be pregnant? Aside from recreating Rob’s & my DNA, aside from having a little girl with Rob’s red curls, I simply want to feel that miracle growing inside me. I had a taste of it; I want more.
Before I ever met Rob, I told a coworker, “I don’t know about raising kids… H U G E responsibility…but I’d love just to be pregnant.”
When Rob and I married, my deal with him was, “I’ll carry the children; you raise them. You realize we have the potential to ruin their lives, right? OK; your responsibility.”
I never got to hold up my end of the deal.
Yet on this July morning, now fully awake in the bright sun, I realized something. Or remembered it.
I am God’s servant. Not the other way around. God is not obligated to give me anything. What if he wants me to be the hands and feet of Christ to 10-month-old Leo? What if Leo is God’s answer to our prayer for a child who will thrive in our family? Who am I to order around my creator? Who am I to pout at his answers? Who am I to think the God who loves me — and I know he does — has no idea how to bring me happiness? Who am I to limit what can make me happy — and why would I want to do that? How incredibly short-sighted and unimaginative of me.
This earth makes room for me not so I can serve myself, but so I can serve God. Swimming in the sea of God’s grace, I forget this. My life is not about me. I may rail at God if I like, but I will end exhausted and unhappy.
I have had other surrenders in this journey, none of them easy. Surrendering to the possibility of a tough road ahead. Surrendering to the need for thankfulness. Surrendering my idea of what “family” looks like, and surrendering the challenges that my daughter will likely face as she surrenders her comparisons between her life and the lives of her friends…the life she wishes she had. The rub is that some surrenders take practice — and so I get to surrender some things again and again.
Surrender so often feels like I’m giving up…if I just push harder for what I want, I’ll get it; and if I stop pushing, no one will look out for me.
But surrender is growing up. It isn’t laying down to die; it’s being willing to beat my wings and become who I’m meant to be. Emerge from the cocoon and see what colors the rainbow has painted me. Soar down my path and boldly meet what surrenders come my way. It’s foolish to degrade myself over the difficulty of surrender. Surrender is hard. But it forms me, so let it come. Let it come and form me into something beautiful — that can fly.
Author’s note: This post refers not to a new situation in our journey, but to one that happened several months ago. Some posts just take a bit longer to form. I did surrender to the joy of welcoming baby Leo into our home, but it was not meant to be.