It’s finally December, and while in some ways 2019 has flown by, in other ways we will be glad to keep moving forward. This past year certainly hasn’t panned out the way we anticipated or hoped. Does it ever though?
When we started out the year, as you know, we made changes to our waiting game, effectively closing one door and opening another. Now, over a year later, we’ve had more doors open and close than we knew what to do with. While we’ve been relatively quiet, please know that expanding our family by adoption is still our main priority (and you can follow in a private group here). The thing is…now? We only know what we’re hoping for.
Our season of “waiting” began five years ago this month…which we both agreed seems crazy to think about. Five years ago we began the adoption process (12/12/14), and, fun fact, neither of our boys were even born yet! We’ve been in some form or another of anticipation or of not having answers, but still knowing what we were hoping and waiting for since that date. While I don’t pretend that our waiting season of anticipation is remotely comparable to the Advent season, i.e. the birth and coming of Christ, it’s a somewhat easily understood analogy to make.
Hope and anticipation for something can be really fun. It’s nice to look forward to something. On the short term, we’re really looking forward to surprising the boys at Christmas with the gift of a Disney trip…who wouldn’t be excited for that? And on the long term, the wait that’s been going on for over a year now, we’re still looking forward to Jet and Judah’s baby sister (whoever and wherever she may be). Both boys picked out gifts for her in the Amazon toy catalog, unprompted, so I know they’re also excitedly waiting. (Although, to be fair, one boy’s gift suspiciously looked like something he chose for himself. It’s probably not the boy you think it is.)
On the flip side, when that hoped-for-something doesn’t happen…when plans change…it can be hard to keep the momentum going. While we wait for the unknown to reveal itself (Into the Unknown, anyone?), for all of our half open doors to completely open or close, we know that not having the answers right now is okay. Still though, we are faced with a choice of how we spend this in between time. Do we sit, wait, and do nothing? Or do we find things we can do now?
I’m not a huge fan of at times overused quotes, but I found one a few weeks ago I never actually heard before that’s great for our family while we are in this middle stage: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa
Do small things…with great love.
We teach the boys that to love someone is to look for ways to serve them, to make some sort of personal sacrifice to show others what they mean to us. There are quite a few examples in the Bible we can think of, but right now off the top of my head I’m picturing Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, and the woman washing Jesus’s feet with expensive perfume. (Side note, no feet have been washed sacrificially or in servitude in this house to date.) But, this is the easiest explanation for them on their level of understanding.
And so, if you stop by our home and a small person asks you “how can I serve you?”, no, we are not training them for a career at Chick Fil A. I also know this isn’t a new concept of doing an act of service or kindness each day during the advent season. (Here are a couple resources here and here you can use for your family if you want.) Instead, we hope this becomes a heart habit for them, something that goes beyond the 24ish days of Advent and what they’ve been practicing up until now. As a family, we continue to look forward to and anticipate what 2020 will bring while focusing on how we use our time during our own season of waiting.