Monday, January 21, 2013

Eyes that See

Mari's first two years home were filled with ups and downs.  From the early days of the language barrier to the months of attempts at gaining control, battling her understandable fear of being abandonded and navigating the muddy waters of attachment.  Pondering the unknown of just how much she really remembers and how much of "this" is normal, how much is manipulation and how much is related to early has been hard.
Harder than I expected.
And God, He sweetly but not-so-gently revealed my "stuff"...the ugly that lurked and the selfishness that disguised itself as fatigue.  He showed me that unconditional means just that.  That forgiveness was the key.  He demanded I forget and start each day anew, focusing on the little victories instead of what seemed to be big defeats.
The last 3 months have seen a turnaround in my girl, and in me.  I worried that I didn't experience that "warm fuzzy" when she entered the room.  I worried that her eyes would always be guarded and my heart would hesitate to risk being rejected by this child who so desperately needed to belong.  I feared she would not attach and that I would fail.
My prayers changed, became desperate.  The Lord brought me to the end of myself, brought me to repentance and began the process of restoration.  He surprised me and my heart responded.  I determined to start each day anew, out of obedience to Him and for the sake of her spirit.  I asked Him to love her through me, to love her as she needs to be loved and to know when to pick the battles and when to let them die where they landed.

In the last few weeks, I have been surprised by skinny arms around my neck...chapped lips pressed to mine and a little voice with a slight Ethiopian lilt saying "Mommy, I love you so much."

And her eyes...they shine with more than childish energy and playfulness.  They shine with love.  I catch her looking at me, waiting for our eyes to meet so she can gift me with a smile.  My heart sighs happily when she enters the room with a smile.  I love her.

I've always loved her.

But this is a different level of love.  A love that is more than a decision or a commitment.  It is a gift of God.
It is the fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit.

It is a miracle.

It is attachment.

It is the answer to my prayers.


  1. Even coming home as newborns, this struggle can exist (though clearly not in exactly the same way). I know I struggle with one. Pray, cry, hope (repeat again and again). And like you, I often struggle to guage the "why."

    No matter how difficult the journey, though, we can surely rest in knowing that GOD'S plan is at work. His best will be accomplished through us and IN us and our children, in spite of ourselves. It's HARD to admit that I might never have the relationship I desire in the specific WAY I desire it. But that's when I rely on the core reality that it's my job to continue to point them to HIM,...and to surrender them constantly to His plans.

    Be encouraged, friend. You ARE doing well by ALL your children.

  2. Toni, what a blessing to hear from you! I just read both of your sorry you have been having trials of your own. You would love the conference...maybe next year we could plan to meet up there?? wheels are turning! Blessings to you, friend!


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