If you're Catholic, you recognize that phrase. We hear it at every Mass, directly after the 'Our Father'. I never really thought specifically about those words, but tonight they sprung to mind. Although I'm not the most patient soul in the world, I am honestly enjoying these past few weeks of patient waiting to hear from overseas about my court dates. I've been in this position three times before...waiting for Nastia's court dates, then Anya's, then Daniel's. All three were very different experiences as I became less and less trusting and more and more cynical as time dragged on and answers never came for two of those adoptions. But here I am again, in the same place - waiting - and I can't help but feel I am 'waiting in joyful hope.' Some of you might think I'm crazy to hope after such losses, and you may be right. But all I know is that my heart feels expectant - joyfully expectant.
I will not know if this adoption will truly succeed until I leave the courtroom with my little girl on the final court date, months and months from now. This first trip that I am likely to make in October is just for our initial court date. It gives me guardianship of her until our final court date. It is truly scary for me to think of what may come. I honestly do not know which way the road will bend, but I am strangely calm and blessedly hopeful. It is not my own experience that allows this hope, it is surely grace. Grace from a God who loves me truly, madly, deeply. I feel it in my bones. It's grace.
And so, I am spending my days cleaning her room, getting the house in order, doing as much prep work for my job as I can...so that IF (and I truly embrace the IF)...so that IF I am blessed with the gift of her homecoming, I am as ready for her as I can be. Ready with not just her clean room and an orderly house...but with a wide open heart and a willing soul.
I know from experience the road ahead will not be easy either way. If she comes home, I know there will be days I do not feel I'm strong enough, or wise enough, or worthy enough to be her mom, but that's where God comes in. Scoff all you want, I know He is there. I've lived it. I have my share of atheist friends who smirk at my 'naive' trust in 'something that doesn't exist.' (their words). But I feel no need to convince them, or you. Love is patient. It'll find It's way to each of us one day.
All I know is that I could not have survived the things life has brought to my door if there weren't a loving God. Trust me, if I could take credit for overcoming all I have, I would. I'm human - who doesn't like to get credit for for overcoming the big stuff? But I can't. I know better. I've seen and heard and felt the power of his intervention, his involvement, and his insatiable, unspeakable, unknowable Love for me. Do I get it, understand it? No. But there it is, anyway.
Nastia was cuddling me as close as she could last night, grasping my face in her hands. 'Mom? Sometimes I love you so much I think I'm going to explode from the power of it.'
I know how she feels, because that, of course, is how I feel about her. Sometimes just watching her sleep fills me with a love that I think might consume me, body and soul, and I might die right then and there from the power of it. I get it, Nastia, I really do.
And you know what? I think that is exactly what it is like for God, too. His Love for us is so all-consuming, so infinitely unspeakable and extraordinary that it creates universes and galaxies in testament.
The next time you don't feel loved, look at the night sky and imagine that it is God's love letter to you. His Hand scrawled those stars against that inky darkness out of his pure delight of you.
That's how I see it, anyway. :)