Sunday, October 2, 2011

Four Years

Tomorrow is such a special day for our family.  It doesn’t seem like it has been four years since we brought our son home from Guatemala.  Celebrating our fourth Family Day day this year includes a family photo shoot, gifts, dinner and dessert that Tommy picked out (tacos and a cookie cake) and a trip to the fair the next day.  Family Days are as important to us as birthdays.  We waited a long time for days like this. 

As special as tomorrow is, I can’t help but think back to four years ago tonight and how my heart overflowed with joy at the thought of bringing Tommy home the next day as I sat in my hotel room sobbing because I had to leave Guatemala.  I’m not sure I have ever felt such a mix of emotions before or after.  I remember packing our suitcases,  glancing at his visa next to my passport, such a marvelous sight at the end of any international adoption, and the sound of his breathing as he peacefully slept.  He had no idea what was going on…no idea that his mom had never been so close to being put back together even though she was falling apart at the same time.  I talked to Danny and heard his excitement and nervousness as we discussed my schedule for the next day and I was excited, too, but I also remember telling him that I didn’t want to leave Guatemala.  Not yet.  Maybe never.  I much preferred he just move to be with us.  He must have thought I had lost my mind.  In fact, I’m certain that is what he thought.

Once our bags were packed and waiting by the door in preparation for our very early flight the next morning, I sat down by the window overlooking a busy street with my prayer journal.  I read back over a prayer I had written the month before.  I told God that I knew there must be some reason He was keeping me there.  I begged for His help in opening my eyes and my heart and asked to fall deeply in love with Guatemala if I had any kind of purpose there.

I did fall in love Guatemala and the night before I left, I prayed something much different.

“…I wanted to love Guatemala in a way that is unimaginable and as always, you answered. The love that I have for this country is greater than anything I will ever be explain. I do not want to leave and I can’t hide the fact that I’m disappointed about not being able to stay longer from you. But I’m still listening, still following. Give me the words to express the things you want me to say when I tell others about what is needed here; speak through me. I’m so afraid that as time passes I will lose this passion to return to Guatemala to help those that need you. Keep the passion burning inside of me just as intense as it now. Never let it die. My heart is still open, now more than ever. A piece of me will always be here. Please show me what to do next. I am still so confused…

Please also comfort me and as Guatemala fades into the distance, remind me that I will return because I feel like by leaving this place, I am losing a part of myself. Please, God, be near me because leaving Guatemala now, even with our son, is hard for me to do...”

I was so afraid that once I left Guatemala, that new love would quickly fade as I settled into my new routine as a mom in the U.S.  And I wasn’t completely convinced that He would bring me back to Guatemala quickly, maybe even never.  And it is true that as Guatemala faded into the distance the next day, I cried right along with our son…tears of sheer joy because our biggest dream was in my arms and on his way home and the most heart-wrenching pain…as if I were bring ripped away from something that was a part of me.

It’s almost funny to look back on it all now.  Thank the Lord, I will be back in Guatemala next week.  That passion didn’t die and it doesn’t burn now as it did then.  It’s much stronger now than it was even that night.  That teeny tiny baby is now a pre-schooler that is the light of our lives and desperately wants to go to Guatemala with me (he is staying in the U.S. this time).  Being his mom is by far the sweetest gift and raising him well is the most important thing I’ve ever done and will ever do.  And then there is this Guatemala ministry and what we’ll call a slowly growing international ministry.  I couldn’t have dreamed what our lives would be like four years ago and I make no attempt to guess what they will be like four years from now.  What a precious time we are living in!

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