I feared the reactions of others. I didn't want others thinking bad thoughts about me. I didn't want to be seen as a bad parent. Those old high preteen and teen issues of rejection that were overwhelming to me, came back as I realized that my mothering, that thing I was so passionate about, was on the line.
The immediate response was not as I expected. Friends wrote messages of encouragement, saying things like, "This makes perfect sense," "I'm not at all surprised by your decision," and "God is using you in my life." And for a time I was able to forget those fears of rejection.
But the other day I received an email from someone with her own confession. She confessed that she didn't "get it" and that she had even been angry with me for leaving my children at home. She admitted to half-heartedly praying that God would change her heart, but it didn't happen. Until a moment one morning when God touched her, the floodgates opened, and she got it. I appreciated her honesty and I am thankful for how God has changed her heart. I am grateful for her note. But I will admit that it also brought up those not-too-old or too-deeply-buried fears of what others are thinking.
So high school of me, worrying about what others think. And so ungodly of me. I know it's difficult to "get it" when someone says, "God told me to." Those on the outside don't know everything that went into the decision. We certainly didn't go into this without searching God deeply and asking our prayer partners to join us. As we did, it was very clear. But we know decisions shouldn't be made in a vacuum. As our prayer partners prayed, they received visions and words from God, all of which ended up pointing to Victor. To say no would have been to go against God's plan. It would have been easier to say no. We would have saved face with some people, including some friends and relatives who I'm certain think we've gone off the deep end and who think I'm the worst parent for making this decision. But I can't find any place in my Bible where it says I have to look good in the eyes of family and friends. In fact, it says just the opposite.
Many times I've thought of people in the Bible and the choices they made to follow God no matter what. We know how Noah's neighbors reacted when he built the ark. It was crazy for Abraham to take his family to the land promised by God, when God didn't tell him exactly where he was going. I will never understand why God asked him to sacrifice Isaac without knowing how God was going to intervene, but he obeyed. I couldn't do that. But maybe to some people it looks like I am, like I'm neglecting my children. And then there are heroes of the faith whose choices led to martyrdom or imprisonment. They had to follow God and trust their families to Him. I recently read the blog of a woman whose parents chose to be missionaries to Siberia when this woman was a preteen. She wrote of being so angry with her parents; it made no sense. Siberia? But her parents trusted God and today she is thankful for their faith and for the experience.
In the past ten years I've really been looking at American Christianity through a different lens. A lot has come from reading books like Crazy Love and The Hole in Our Gospel, and most from studying the Scriptures themselves. Nothing about the Christian life includes comfort and ease. That is an American twist on Christianity. Instead I want to be like Christ, the One who leaves the 99 for the one who is lost. He does so, knowing that the 99 are in a good place and safe. I think He also knows that the 99 will learn and grow through His example of sacrifice for the one. I am believing that He is also teaching my children during this process. I don't know why I had to go to Utah to do it, but I do know that I was to go to Utah. No doubt. I don't want to be lukewarm anymore.
Our adoption consultant spent an unexpected year in the hospital one of their adopted children. While not out of state, she did have to travel a distance. She was so helpful as she wrote to me, "Through this all you will be torn often. I fully understand. You need to spread your love, and you will find grace." And I have found grace, through the encouraging words of friends, the prayers of many, and the joy and peace that truly does come from being in the will of God. When my focus is on Christ, there are no worries, no fears, and no rejection.
So if you are in that place of not "getting it" and maybe even feeling anger toward John and me for what we are doing, please know that it's okay. There is grace for all of us. I know that we are all at different places in this journey called life. But I do ask you to continue to pray for me in Utah and for my family at home, that not only will they survive this separation, but that they will each draw closer to God and in so doing, be willing themselves to step out in faith throughout their lives.
We had a bit of a scare yesterday morning. When I arrived at the hospital, Victor's temperature was elevated, as was his heart rate. The nurse suspected that his temperature probe had fallen off slightly so the bed thought he was cold and tried to warm him up, resulting in too much. She thought skin-to-skin would be good to see if his temperature would come down while he was outside of the bed. Sure enough, it did, he behaved beautifully and was able to be held for 2 hours and 15 minutes! By the time he got back into his bed, his temperature was normal. They watched it throughout the day to be sure but he was absolutely fine.
The doctor made no changes to his care yesterday.
He is up to 1010 grams which translates to 2 lbs. 3.5 oz. Inching along. He graduated to larger diapers. Go, Victor!
Yesterday, he did not brady at all! My big boy remembered to breathe! That's what I've been praying for! Praise God!
Down the road, the three factors that the doctors will be watching to determine when Victor is ready to go home will be his need for oxygen, his ability to take feeds on his own AND gain weight, and the ability to hold his own temperature. Let's start praying for all of these now. It is possible that he will be ready to go home but still need oxygen, especially since Utah is at a higher elevation. However, let's pray that he doesn't need any assistance when he leaves the NICU!
Pray for Grandma Mary Ann (John's Mom) who will be traveling today, from Ohio to PA.
Praise God with Andrew for the last day of his high school career yesterday and exemption from all exams. He's finished!
Pray for Jesse and Mariana as they prepare for exams and for Mariana as she prepares for Thoroughly Modern Millie which opens Friday. She's feeling run-down and definitely in need of a break. Summer is coming!