Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fourth Gift = Compassion

Back to the great book, "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting" (Whitcomb)to learn about the fourth gift of waiting: Compassion. The author talks about how when we are waiting, we tend to seek out others who understand how we feel. That's what brought some of you to this website, I am sure.

I think adoption waiting is hard for people to understand unless they are in it or have been through it. Most people don't adopt, so they don't understand the roller coaster ride. I know that I find Internet groups of adoptive families to be helpful (most of the time) because though they may have very different lives than me, they have one important similarity...they are waiting for their child.

Compassion teaches us how to accept help from others. We need other people as we go through this process. It's hard to admit that sometimes. The author says "being able to receive comfortably and with grace is a blessed relief." So, if people want to help you in some way, let them! Sometimes we need strength from others to hold us up.

The idea is that through the waiting, there are other people who will be able to help us. To really see us for who we are and what we need at those moments. I think for that to happen, though, we have to open ourselves up to the idea that we do need other people to get us through this. It may not be the people we would normally turn to for help. Perhaps your close friends don't understand or your family isn't supportive of the adoption. That just means you have to look in other places for support.

I know that I count it a great blessing that through the adoption process the first time around, I made some incredible friends. They are people I would likely never have met, otherwise. That's one of the great side benefits to this process.

Who have you met through this process? Who do you turn to when you need support about the wait? Is there anyone in your life who sees you for who you are and knows how to lift you up? If so, let them know how much you appreciate it and look for ways you can show that kind of compassion to others.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Poetic Waiting

It's Friday and I can't really think of a good funraising Friday post, so I'm giving you a poem instead. I found this during our first adoption wait. I liked it then, but I'm really living it more now. Hope it speaks to you, too.

by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate
...and the Master so gently said,"Wait."

"Wait? You say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.
My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance and you tell me to Wait?"

I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no,' to which I'll resign.
You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting...for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine...
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.
I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.

You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.
You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.

You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.
You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.

You would know that I give and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still "WAIT".

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gift 3 - Living in the Present

We're looking at the book, "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting." (Whitcomb)
Next up: Gift #3 Living in the Present.

The first sentence of this chapter is "Waiting teaches us to dwell fully where we are." I've already been thinking about this idea because I have been listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's cd, "This Moment," non-stop in the car lately. The songs have taken on new significance since the Chapman's lost their youngest daughter, Maria in a tragic accident at their home. She was adopted from China and they have a wonderful foundation set up to encourage adoption. (Shaohannah's Hope)

One of my favorite songs is "Miracle of the Moment" and here's a little bit of the lyrics:

And He has given us a treasure called right now
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

So breathe it in and breathe it out
Listen to your heartbeat
There's a wonder in the here and now
It's right there in front of you
And I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment

That's the idea of this chapter, too. Be present right now. Let go of the worry of tomorrow and live now. Appreciate the small things, the good things you have now.

I know in my own life that I do tend to mark off the future in little increments. Like, I get back from vacation and then mentally check off how long until the next vacation? My daughter learns how to drink from a cup and I think, "how long until she learns to tie her shoes?" I'm always thinking about the next step before I get done taking this one. There's nothing wrong with planning for the future, as long as it doesn't get in the way of experiencing today.

Though it may not seem like it right now as we wait, time really does go by way too fast. Time to stop wishing our lives away to the weekend, to the next vacation, to when the kids are in school etc, and enjoy this moment.

Now quit reading this blog and go enjoy the moment with those you love!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Second Gift - Loss of Control

I'm loving the book "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting" (Whitcomb). The second gift discussed is loss of control. I'm the kind of gal who likes things to be organized and orderly. I have a plan, I arrive on time and I like being in charge. So this "loss of control" idea isn't really appealing to me!

During our first adoption, I was anxious as I prepared our adoption dossier documents. I wanted to be sure that I did it right, so we didn't hit any delays caused by my error along the way. However, once I sent that dossier off to the agency and the waiting began, I didn't find it that difficult. I knew that there wasn't anything else that I could do. It was in the hands of the agency and the other government. My part was done. I thought having no control over it would bother me, but it was actually kind of freeing.

I think that is the essence of the author's point in this chapter. Once you realize there's not a darned thing you can do about the waiting, it can give you a sense of freedom. It allows you time to let go and help others along the way. She also says it can teach you resilience. I'm sure it does, but that gift comes with hindsight, I think!

The difference between the first wait and this second adoption wait for me is that it is so much longer. It wasn't hard to give up control when everything went according to the plan in my head (if not a little faster than I thought it would). When everything seems to come to a screeching halt, it is much harder to feel the freedom in the wait.

I read once that you should take all your worries and anxieties and wrap them up in a little mental box in the morning and send them up to God. He's got it covered. I try to do that, but sometimes I find myself peeking in the box. Just shaking it a little or popping open the lid a bit to see what's in there. Then I remind myself I don't need to hold onto this stuff. Send it to someone who is better equipped to deal with it. Someone who sees the whole picture, not just the little pieces in the box.

How is that "loss of control" thing working for you? Love your comments.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Gifts-- First up...Patience

An anonymous poster left a comment that I should read "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting" by Holly Whitcomb. I just got the book and I love it! Written from a Christian perspective, the author talks about the gifts that waiting can give us, if we choose to accept them.

I'm going to do a sort of book review and look at each gift. Gift #1 is patience.
Some key points are:
"Patience means trusting there's no quick fix."

"What seems a often the essential prelude to a far greater YES." (Madeleine L'Engle)

"Don't let the time do you, you do the time" (a prison quote...waiting feels like a prison sometimes, doesn't it?)

"Waiting presents us with a choice: to fret in isolation or ...realize that we have the time to be available to others."

For my adoption related wait, I see those points from this view:
There's no point in second guessing our decision to go with the kind of adoption we chose. We can't move ourselves ahead in the "line", we just have to wait!

When we are told that our wait has been extended, it is not a "No", just a keep waiting. The child that will be placed in our family just isn't ready yet.

Don't let waiting be such a negative experience, find something good to do.

Especially in the adoption world, I don't wait alone. That's what inspired this many waiting families across the world. How can we be more available to each other?

My other favorite part of this chapter were 4 questions from psychologist Jack Kornfield:
How have I treated this difficulty so far?
What does this problem ask me to let go of?
What great lesson might it be able to teach me?
What is the gold, the value, hidden in this situation?

Good stuff! I'll leave you with those questions to ponder about your own wait.

Next chapter is on loss of control. My type A self does not like loss of control! Sounds like I need to keep reading!