Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Finding "Just Right"

The other day our cat, Elizabeth, found a box that was just right for her.


She spent hours curled up in that box. She didn't have anything pressing to do.

She fit perfectly. Actually, she fit purrfectly (couldn't resist - I apologize).

Just like my girls fit here, in our home. It just didn't feel like it at first.

Think Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

In my first adoption journey Hannah felt too big or too small, too hot or too cold, too hard or too soft. Just too something. It was uncomfortable and uneasy, cramped and awkward.

And I hated every minute of it.

I was miserable. But I wasn't alone, she was miserable too.

When were we going to get to the "just right" that Goldilocks always ended up with?

I'll let you in on a little something I learned. She wasn't too big or small or hot or cold or hard or soft. I was.

Yes. It was me.

She was doing the best she could with what she had to work with. Remember, she was the nine year old. I was the adult.

I learned that my problem wasn't that she didn't fit, it was that I was trying to fit her where she didn't belong.

I thought I knew what it was going to be like. I was wrong. And I didn't know how to handle it.

So began my discontentment.

She didn't measure up to my standards and the worst part was that she wasn't even trying.

Was there something wrong with my standards? No. They were things like kindness and honesty and obedience and consideration for others. Character qualities that she needed.

Was there something wrong with Hannah? No. She was a nine year old little girl who was doing the best she could with what she had to work with.


The problem was that I wanted her better now.

Yes, she needed to change, but expecting her to do it overnight was unrealistic. Sometimes I look back and wonder why I didn't get this earlier. What took me so long to take a step back and realize that she wasn't broken, she was wounded and needed time to heal.

Why wasn't I willing to give her the time?

Because that time was exhausting. During that time my days were filled with crazy amounts of supervision, broken stuff and screaming fits. It wasn't pretty.

I wanted her better now because I was tired.

And then one day Galatians 6:9 came alive to me.

"And let us not be weary in well doing:  for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

It was exactly what I needed. What a beautiful verse. What a breath of fresh air into my stagnant days.

I had grown weary, but that day as that verse rolled around in my head, I realized that Hannah was worth every ounce of my energy. If she drained it from me every single day, I would turn around the next morning and give her a new supply.

After all, God's mercies are new every morning. If He was willing to do that for me, why wouldn't I be willing to do that for her?

She needed to learn. I needed to teach her. Just because I thought it was going to be easier, didn't mean it would be. It also didn't mean that it wasn't worth it. Because it was. It still is.

As Goldilocks would say, Hannah was "just right" from the very beginning. I just didn't recognize it.

When Hannah started to heal and our days got a little calmer it was easy to see how carefully God had crafted our family. And when Ashley and Amy joined the bunch, His hand in it was so clear.

It was easier the second and third time around. Everything gets easier the more you do it.

Poor Hannah, always the guinea pig of the bunch.

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