Monday, December 3, 2012

Abundant Life

In the history of blog writing, I have never skipped a week of writing a blog, let alone 2 weeks. As I wrote in my last entry, my mom has been diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma cancer. It has been a whirlwind! What appeared as an enlarged lymph node from an infection that needed to be removed quickly turned into a phone call reporting the findings of metastatic melanoma in her lymph node. My heart and mind just sort of stood still. 

As I thought about writing a blog, nothing in the adoption process would come to me that seemed significant compared to what was going on in my heart as I was processing what it means that my mom has cancer. We took a spur of the moment trip to visit her and help (as best we could) as she recovered from surgery.  We were able to have “in person” talks about the future. From North Carolina, Steve and 2 others from The Chapel, left for 2 weeks to teach at a Pastor’s Conference in India. It's amazing what can happen in just a couple of weeks!

Part of the follow up with my mom's cancer is making decisions regarding further treatment. She sat in the doctors’ office with my dad and brother (while my brother texted me every detail along the way)...and the options were laid before her.  I won't go in to all of the details of the options, side effects, percentages, etc. but in the end, she has chosen the option to do no further treatment and to continue on with a healthy lifestyle. As she and I talked it through on the phone and she explained to me her heart, the words that kept coming back to me were "abundant life". Now, I know that every cancer is different, every story is different, and every drug affects people differently.  In no way do I feel that the choice she has made is right for everyone, but for my mom and her story, she is choosing to live the rest of her life in abundance… to the full...for however long that may be. We all have such a peace in the decision.

And as the words "abundant life" came to me in reference to my mom, it reminded me that those were the same words God placed on my heart about 7 years ago. Steve and I decided to part ways with the medical route towards becoming parents. Prior to that, in our effort to have a child, biologically, we had journeyed a rough couple of years filled with lots of medication and doctor’s appointments.  My moods were completely unpredictable. My thoughts were consumed with getting pregnant. My calendar revolved around ovulation. My feelings were like shifting shadows - happy and hope filled at a doctor's promise of "getting us pregnant" and deeply saddened and frustrated when that same doctor told me I was pregnant, only to find out hours later that he was mistaken. Even though I didn't want "pregnancy" to become my everything, the medical path we were choosing forced us to. Doctors appointments multiple times a week and medications to be administered at specific times of certain days made us have to think about it at all times.

I remember a day when I was just crying out to God. I was so frustrated about who I was becoming. When was the last time I had laughed? Or experienced true joy? When was the last month I had just enjoyed?  As I was praying, this verse came to my mind...

"The thief (the enemy) has come to steal and kill and destroy, but I (Jesus) have come so that you can have abundant life - life to the full." (John 10:10)

It was as if God was gently and graciously asking me, "How would you define your life right now? Are you experiencing this 'life to the full' I have for you?" And in that moment I had to say “no”. I was living a life robbed of joy, a life that was on a course to destruction. At that point, Steve and I made the decision to no longer take the medical path towards parenthood. It made no sense to our doctor; he was frustrated because he felt like there was "more he could do". Even friends didn't quite understand. But there was a peace deep in my heart as we made that decision. I was getting my life back...abundant life. It was no longer about getting pregnant, it was about becoming the woman God wanted me to be. And as we sacrificed the dream of bringing life into this world in a biological way, God, the Ultimate Story Teller, was preparing us for our little boy. A little boy who had physical life, but needed to be able to experience life to the full. God is so surrender to barrenness actually led us down a path of life. 

And so, here we are, in the process of bringing home our daughter. This time around, my heart is filled with joy and anticipation, knowing what it is like to bring a child into our family. I can't wait to tell her about the story God has written to form our family. I can't wait for her to see the beauty of our God that turns loss into gain…pain into joy…fear into rest…death into life...Abundant Life.

-We just received a document in the mail that officially states we have been approved by the US government to adopt. That was the final piece of paperwork we were waiting on for this phase of the journey.
-We continue to receive kind and generous gifts - even amidst the busy-ness of the Christmas season. We are so thankful!

-Please pray for wisdom for those who are making decision concerning our referral - that we would be matched with the perfect child for our family.
-Pray for our little girl as it gets colder...that she would be in an orphanage with working heat, that she would be bundled up and warm and hugged extra.

Until next Monday, love, Steve, Kate and Dima

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