My mind did a “double take” as I tried to process these words spoken in love by my therapist.
(As a matter of semantics, I love saying “therapist” over “counselor.” Better rate of return on the listener’s reaction. 🙂 Counseling implies your life just needs a little tweaking, the gentle hand of a dashing dance partner. “Therapy” conveys the idea that you need to be hit over the head with a 2 x 4 in order to avoid derailing this train, taking a nose dive into the loony-bin, and dragging innocent bystanders down as collateral damage.)
Throughout my life I’ve been pretty good at making safe, calculated choices. Choices that, if I hedge my bets, still keep me on the predictably successful side of the fence.
Adoption is not one of those choices.
Before we began this journey, a commonly asked question, introspectively asked by onlookers as well as myself was, “Do you think it is possible to love an adopted child just as much as a biological child?”
This answer, if I may be so bold, is yes. And no.
To a two-dimensional question there is a two-dimensional answer. Both the question and the answer are limited to a finite reality. One tethered to what we know of human love on this earth.
In my own strength, I can love a sunny day in the mountains. The fragrant smell of a lilac bush nestled just outside my living room window. A kindred soul who shares my passion for a good latte and an even better bargain.
In my own strength, I can love and even like a child (biological or otherwise) who listens to and obeys my every word. A husband who bends over backward to give me much coveted free time and even folds the laundry while I’m away (and believe me, he does!! Please try not to be too jealous). A God whose perfectly laid plan falls in sync with my own.
In my own strength, I can love and even like myself on a day when I’ve worked out, dusted the baseboards, baked fresh banana bread, tickled my children and bandaged a skinned knee. On a day when my first reaction to an unruly child isn’t one of frustration, but one of patience and tender loving care.
In my own strength.
In my own strength, I fall pitifully, unmercifully short of manifesting the kind of love it takes to love the way Jesus does, for any of my children. Any of HIS children.
To love with unabashed passion when none may be given in return.
To love the unloveable. In them. In me.
To love with the kind of selflessness it takes to fully lay down your life for another.
To love in such a way that I would believe all my children are His and not mine.
If I seek my sole identity in the mothering of my precious children, I may feel filled up… For a while. But we are human. However well intentioned, we are broken. I love them all the same. But that “sameness” is mortal, fallable.
If I prioritize anything or anyone above getting to know the penetrating, unconditional love of my Father, emptiness will inevitably rear its ugly head.
But in Him. I am free.
I am free to love. To be loved. To live loved.
Free to live into being the mother He created me to be. For the ones woven in my womb and for the ones who continue to study my face and find the word “Mama” rolling easier and easier off the tongue.
Motherhood is about daughterhood. Seeking to find my true identity in Jesus Christ. Modeling that. For them.
Efficacy as a mother flows from dependency on my Father.
Only then am I free to fly…
Motherhood is not my greatest calling.
Fatherhood is HIS.