One Bite at a Time

Anybody else have a mile long, ever growing to-do list?

I don’t think I’m alone.

Life has been crazy here in the Ganshert household. Cra-zy. 

We have all this educational stuff we have to get through for our adoption. I’m talking, pages and pages of homework and hours and hours of video that detail all the problems we may face in the future.

We’re organizing a Silent Auction/Trivia Night to help raise funds. And wow….

Rounding up donations + coming up with trivia questions + spreading the word so people will come + all the other odds and ends = one gargantuan time commitment. 

Then there’s that book that just released. Wildflowers from Winter. Seeing as I wrote the thing, I should probably be promoting it. Which is an insane (albeit very fun) time commitment in and of itself. 

It’s no surprise then, that I had my first official melt down last week. 

Allow me to state the obvious:

Adoption is not an easy journey.

Combine that with all the nutty emotions that come with debuting a novel and yeah….

I felt angry that it was this hard to be a forever family to an orphan when there are so, so, so many out there.

I felt ridiculously worried over all the unknowns that lay (or lie?) ahead.

I felt like a bad mom because I wasn’t giving Brogan the attention he deserved.

I felt like a bad wife because I was taking some of these emotions out on my husband.

I felt resentful and overwhelmed and stressed out.

So I emailed two of my closest friends. Basically hurled all my junk into cyber space. Apologized for the delightful pity party I was throwing myself. Got into the shower and cried. Not a pretty cry either. But an ugly, scrunchy-faced cry.

When I got out, I hugged my son for a really long time. 

And later, I opened my email and read this:

I think we have tendencies to go on and on pretending we are doing just fine and trusting God, but deep down we are quickly getting worn out and beat up.  I honestly think pity parties are God’s way of letting that all rise to the surface so we can face it all, get support/encouragement from others, and start to process through all the muck that life throws at us (seemingly all at once).

My friend, she knows me well. Because I do have a tendency to forge ahead and pretend everything is good. 

But in that shower, when I was having that ugly cry, God brought me face to face with all kinds of gunk that needed processing. All kinds of gunk that needed surrendering.

I also read this: 

Take ONE thing at a time.  Don’t think about the whole…just pick one and then cross it off the list.

Ryan and I went to Minneapolis this past weekend and on the drive, there was a long stretch of construction. Workers were tearing up an entire road. There were piles of rocks, miles and miles long, that needed to be crushed and carted away. Looking ahead, the job seemed impossible. There wasn’t an end in sight.

Yet on our way home, only two days later, those construction workers were already halfway done.

I have no idea if the workers worked the entire time with their eyes on the never ending piles of rocks ahead. Daunted and overwhelmed.

Or if they focused on one rock pile at a time. Talking  and enjoying the sun. 

Both involve the same work.

One makes for a much happier construction worker. 

It’s like that cliche…

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time. 

In this crazy busy often-overwhelming thing called life,  we need to focus on one bite at a time.

And we should remember to laugh and hug and pray and play and breathe and process and enjoy life in between the bites. 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:34

Let’s Talk: What bite are you working on today? What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed?

Kathy Harris interviewed me on Divine Detour yesterday. Hop on over for a chance to win a free copy of my debut novel!  

Beauty from Pain

This theme unfolds all around us.

God bringing beauty from pain.

God breathing life into that which feels dead. 

It’s a running theme in my debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter.

It’s a running theme in adoption.

Every single one is born out of pain. Out of sadness.

It starts with frightened pregnant teenagers who don’t want to be mothers. It starts with houses steeped in addiction and abuse and neglect. It starts with countries afflicted by war and poverty and AIDS. It starts with parents who die and governments that devalue life. 

Orphans exist because our brokenness is real and pervasive. 

Yet God uses what is broken to reveal His glory, showcase His mercy, bring about healing, pour out His blessings, knit together families, and draw hearts closer to Him.

Beauty from pain.

Life from death.

It’s a truth that resonates deep in my soul.

Nothing is too broken, too tattered, too lifeless, too painful for the Master Craftsman.  

Not me.

Not you.

Not any choice we have made.

Or any circumstance we find ourselves in.

He can use it all to sculpt that which is beautiful and that which is breathtaking.

All we have to do is let Him.

Let’s Talk: Tell me about a “beauty from pain” story in your life or in the life of someone you know. 

In case you missed it, Southern Writers Magazine had me as a guest on their blog yesterday. I wrote about Love Delivered. Come say hi if you get the chance! 

The Best Response

When a friend announces she’s pregnant, our responses tend to be predictable.

Excited squeals. Enthusiastic hugs. Congrats all around. And eager voices that ask, “When are you due?” and “How are you feeling?” 

When Ryan and I found out we were pregnant with Brogan, we couldn’t wait to tell people. We couldn’t wait to share our news. We couldn’t wait to share our joy.

And the same was true when we made the decision to adopt.

Our joy was the same. Our anticipation was the same.

Yet the responses ran the gamut.

From absolutely thrilled to absolutely wary.

The wide variety had me wondering why.

Why are the reactions so varied?

I think a lot of it comes from not knowing. So many people just don’t know how to react, because adoption isn’t as common as pregnancy. And there’s this somewhat popular thought that people adopt because they can’t get pregnant. And being infertile isn’t a happy, celebratory thing. So we’re just not sure how to respond when someone we love tells us they’re adopting. 

As I travel this journey, here’s what I’ve learned.

When it comes to our response, the why’s don’t really matter. Because by the time a family announces their adoption, they’re excited about it. Sure, there are other emotions too. Just like there are other emotions when a woman is pregnant. But the dominant emotions are usually positive. 

So the best response, the one I think adoptive parents most appreciate, is when people react like they would to a pregnancy. With joy and excitement!

Because the family is going to have a child. A precious, beloved child. And that child deserves to be celebrated.

Of course there will be questions. And there will probably be concerns. But get excited first. Ask questions second. 

Be like my aunt Peggy, who completely lit up, gave me a big hug, and asked when she could start telling people. 

These responses are such a blessing. Thankfully, there have been plenty! 

Let’s Talk: Why do you think the responses are so varied when it comes to adoption?