"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—
when they see the love you have for each other."
~John 13:34-35 (The Message)
God has called me to love others. God has called all of us to love others. I am blessed to say Nora is one of my "others". In my obedience of that command, I have loved another human being I never would have imagined crossing paths with in this life. I'm so thankful for this opportunity. I'm so thankful for this calling. I'm so thankful for this gift. A blessing I have received by loving her is that I have been loved back in the process...more so by God Himself than Nora so far...but that has been amazing! It is the blessing that comes from giving your love towards another being...you get so much in return. Despite the agony of the process, it is a tremendous journey of love I am blessed to be on.
So how does a person love another human being who is separated by approximately 1800 miles of land and water? How do I love Nora when I have only spent 4 days with her in my arms? It is a great question. It is not an easy answer. Love is complicated no matter if that love relationship is with a spouse, a child, a stranger, a parent, God...they all have challenges and joys in the mix. With Nora, I'm noticing a few different ways in which I have seen my love for her take form. I have truly loved this little girl for longer than she has even been on this earth. I have seen that love change, grow, get deeper, pull back, and fight with everything I have. Recently, I found myself praying in my journal about all of my children and how I am so thankful to be able to love each of them. I thought I'd share a bit of that prayer dealing with Nora. I hope my honesty will help others who are contemplating adoption see the different forms love can come in during the wait (by all means, these are not exclusive!). For those not really considering adoption, I hope there is someone around you who IS in the adoption process! Maybe this can inspire you to talk to them about what their love looks like for their child/children, ask them where loving their child has been easy or how it has been hard, and simply listen to their hearts as they wait...I'm betting it is always on their mind anyway so having a friend care enough to ask would be so uplifting.
"God, then there is Nora. This child You have called us to parent, to love, to raise, to love, to nurture, to love, to take burdens from, to love. God, it's hard to love her for over a year now and only be physically with her for 4 days. I do love her, God, but I feel as if I have only been able to love things about her--her eyes, her tiny curls of soft hair, the smile she gives to strangers in photos, the reports of her being happy, content, adorable. They are all things I love, but others could love those things about her just as easily. I want to love more than just "things about her".
What makes my love for her more of an intimate "Mama's love" instead of just the general love You ask us to all have for others? What makes my love for Nora more personal? Well, I love the idea of her being added to our family. Finally...a sister for Lily (and another one for the boys)--how my heart dances when I think of Lily having a sister relationship. Just seeing Lily play with that little 11 month old girl at the pre-school open house did wonders for my heart, Lord. She was so happy--so caring--so in her element. I am beyond excited to see her love on Nora in the same way! I love the chance for our family to show others how to love beyond race or country ethnicity. God, use us to break down stereotypes and preconceived notions that are built on ignorance or pride. I love the thought of helping a baby girl from extreme poverty have a chance to impact the world in ways she may not have had if left to starvation, a restavek life, or even death. Thank You, God, for giving us a chance to love her through our actions and not just our words. Those reasons for love are certainly more personal, God, but those are currently just future ideas...things I love we will get to do, but we aren't necessarily doing much of right now. What is it about loving her RIGHT NOW that makes my love for her personal and intimate?
I think I know what it is! I love Nora for what she has brought out of me--not selfishly, but graciously. I love her for what she has inspired in my relationship with You. Lord. Because of Nora and the process to get her into our family, I have been blessed with a clearer awareness that I am nothing and You are everything, God. A deeper faith that I can trust You. A stronger belief that You are good no matter what the circumstances are and that You are always fighting for us--with us! That my prayers matter to You. That my actions speak more than my words. That You desire me to bring my weary, broken, selfish, impatient self to You daily in order to receive the blessing of holy victory only given through You. The victory of life instead of death, joy instead of sadness, hope instead of fear, faith instead of doubt, excitement instead of dread, peace instead of wondering, and refreshment instead of stagnant living. I love Nora SO much for being a driving force behind me acknowledging and believing all the amazing Truths this past year. She has already done in her 11 months of life what You desire from all of us--to reflect You in such a way that we end up being drawn more to You and less towards people. Thank You, God, for the light Nora is to me and for increasing our family with her. Thank You for giving us the gift of loving her. May we bless You and give You glory as we do that. Forgive us when we fail and guide us with each new step.
God, as I reflect on the different forms of my love for Nora, I have to admit, I am ready for another one. I'm ready to learn how to love her better--not the things about her, but HER. Her as an individual, as a child You created, as a miraculous being You have given as a gift to us. I'm ready to spend more time with her and learn how she ticks--what she loves, what she hates, how she processes, what skills she needs help with, what gifts and talents You have given her, what brings out her smile, what food she finds irresistible, what size her hands are inside of my grasp, what products will make her hair healthy and shiny, what songs make her dance. I'm ready to love more than her looks, the idea of having her in our family, or even the fact she has blessed my faith and love of You so much already...I am ready to love the Nora Josephine You have created. The Nora Josephine You are intimately blossoming and protecting in a country too far away from me to watch it all unfold. I am ready to love all of her--the good, the bad, the miraculous, the fallen, the selfless and the selfish. Please, God, move this adoption process forward so that I can experience yet this other form of love for her.
God, I thank You for creating this beautiful child. I thank You for weaving her into my life story. I thank You for the opportunity to love her from a far and I ask, boldly, believing with all my heart it's what You desire for me to be praying, for the chance to love her now in my own arms. Will You please move on our behalf and get Nora's name printed so I can love on her face to face, hand in hand, smile to smile, hearts beating beside one another? Thank You, Lord, for orchestrating such a wonderful, awe-inspiring and beautiful story for my life as well as Nora's. I give you all the glory."