Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Antidote to Fear

A year ago, I was not sure I wanted to adopt again.

I was in the middle of a rough semester--a new class I didn't enjoy teaching (with a larger work load than I was used to), some other things going on that were anxiety-inducing, and parenting a two, three, and four year old.  The pace was relentless, but each day felt endless. 

I knew we'd always planned to have four kids (at least), and we wanted to adopt a little boy from China the next time.  My heart had been there, but I just wasn't really feeling it.  After all, toddler is not my absolute favorite stage thus far, and don't even get me started on potty training for the fourth time.

Maybe three was enough.

The truth is, I was afraid. Afraid that four kids would be too much for me (whatever that means), that I'd discover new depths of frustration and impatience, and that I'd take it out on them. Despite how difficult I'd found things to be, Liz's adoption had so many things that went well!  She bonded, she was barely delayed developmentally, we didn't have to worry about much medical stuff at all...surely doing this again would only be harder.  Surely God would make it harder this time. 

And there is the insidious nature of fear.  In my case, my fear led me to cast God as the adversary.  He would lead us into another adoption, and then make it even harder, even more challenging.  Surely He had already given us all the blessings, all the answered prayers in Liz's adoption.  I just didn't feel up for the fight to do it right, to learn from Liz's adoption, and to be the kind of parent I knew I should be for another child.

My thoughts traveled around and around these ideas until we drove home for Christmas:  twenty hours driving there, and eighteen hours driving back, not to mention the six hours in between homes.  I do most of the driving on these trips, so I actually had some time to think and listen to a lot of music.  We got Rend Collective's "The Art of Celebration" and although I'd listened to their music, I was really able to concentrate on the words during the long drive home.

These songs finally made me realize how messed up my thinking had become.  God wouldn't give me a challenge and then sit back to watch how I handled it.  No, He would be there fighting with me and for me.  Why would He dole out His blessing in small measures...the delight I feel in giving to my children is nothing compared to what He feels about me!  While I felt like these experiences tore me down, He was actually shaping me to be more like Him.  It hurts to have the dross burned out.  But I know He is glorified through it. 

The antidote to fear is to speak (or sing) the truth about God:

We were born for greater things, We were born to chase Your dreams
Your great love will lead me through

In view of Your matchless sacrifice, Take every treasure, take this life

 Yeah, you lift me when I'm sinking
Like the swell of mighty oceans
The power of redemption
Yeah, it gives me wings to soar

You're not finished with me yet
By Your power I can change, I can change
'Cause You're not finished with me yet

Jesus, my soul is fearless
For You are with us
Fighting for us
In the valley of shadows
You are still with us
Fighting for us

Oh praise the One who fights for me
And shields my soul eternally

Of course, you know it took a few more months to come around, but that drive was the beginning of my turn away from the fear and seek the path God wanted for me and for our family.  At the moment, I'm getting a little nervous at how little time I'll have between finishing my class and leaving for China (and don't get me started on my 'little' church project), but I can honestly say I don't feel afraid any more.