When I think of family, I think of two things: having family and experiencing family. We are all born into family but that doesn’t guarantee we experience family. Family should be laced with security, steadfast presence, and unconditional love. Family, in that sense, has not been an easy road for me.
My family road has been full of ups and downs, twists and turns. It’s been strewn with loss, heartache, rejection and uncertainty. Growing up it had been a series of foster-homes, in which some I experienced the taste of what family should be and others I did not. With that said, it’s also been full of hope, joy, and healing-most especially since coming to Christ. (More on that later)
But this post…I’ve tried putting words to it for nearly four months now. Somehow I thought that when I had grown up and married, family would just fall neatly into place. Even arriving at marriage was strewn with heartache and rejection. In my late teens, early twenties, I had fallen in love and thought I had met THE man. We got engaged and for an amazing year and a half I marveled at all God had done until suddenly, in what seemed to me like a moment, that engagement ended.
That rejection was the single-most difficult one I have ever experienced, even surpassing all that I experienced in the foster system. In the foster system I learned to be guarded, to not let myself get too close or too attached. There was always a piece of my heart I had a hard time letting go of. Not so with engagement. I was all in-until suddenly all in was no longer an option. It took years for me to learn to trust again.
I did finally trust again. I met Michael in college and we were married. With him by my side I even dared to dream again. That dream always included family. But years of infertility reminded us of all the things we were not in control of. Adoption reminded us of this as well. By God’s grace through adoption God allowed Michael and I to become parents. (A story that I’ll save for Aaron to share some day because that’s his special testimony) What I will say is that I wouldn’t trade the past seven years with Aaron for anything.
Then came 2020. I have a whole bag of mixed emotions about 2020, as many of us do, but I can’t say that it has been all bad or that I would just wish it away. In 2020 God gave us Eli James. In Hebrew, Eli means “ascension” and “my God is abundance.” James is derived from the Latin Jacomus which means “may God protect.” Eli has been an abundance we didn’t even know was possible, and from the moment we knew his little life existed we have prayed God would protect it. He’s the blessing that has enlarged our little family and the addition that has allowed us to experience life with children. We also have some extra grey-hairs from the journey, but we’ll gladly take them. Family-God has given me rich treasures in my boys. For them, I pray that not only do they have family, but that they experience the deep and rich joys of family-the best kind that God weaves in his perfect way and in his perfect timing.