Posts tagged grace
Grace and Life
Grace. I understood it now. It was being able to give up something that it broke your heart to lose, and be happy about it.

— Robert McCammon, Author of Boy's Life

I think I understand it now, too.

It has taken me a long time to learn the true meaning of grace.

For last five years or so I been working hard to take back the reigns of my own power. From my ego. She has ruled for so long that her strategies for keeping control were deeply ingrained in me. I lived by her rules; of planning, organization, accomplishment, and to do lists. She kept me unsettled, and very busily focused on the end goal. As I work to let go of her unhealthy practices that had me not fully appreciating the many little and big moments of the life right in front of me, I have been more easily able to recognize moments of true grace in my world.

Grace = doing the right thing.

Being a planned, organized, control freak doesn't prepare you for the unexpected things in life that happen, like learning your baby is having a baby. Especially not when he is only 19 and clearly not emotionally or financially ready to care for a baby, and isn't even in a relationship anymore. And it does not prepare you for being a grand parent for the first time and not being able to officially claim the role you've been anticipating for years.

The thing that gets you through is grace. Doing the right thing, even if it is the hardest thing you can imagine.

The decision to give my grand baby up for adoption wasn't mine to make, thankfully. And while this situation was one I never thought I would be in, it has shown me how to be thankful for the little things, even if they don't work out the way you once imagined they would. 

I appreciate how very lucky to be even a small part of my grandson's life.

My son showed me the meaning of grace as he wrestled with his decision to either fight to keep his son, or to give him a chance at a life with two loving parents. He understood he wasn't ready to be a father, and wasn't strong enough to navigate a messy co-parenting situation with someone he was no longer even friends with; and yet babies are his thing. He has always had immediate and deep bonds with little ones. I know that making the decision to let go of his own child ate away a part of his heart. As it did mine.

His grace-filled decision to do the right thing was in turn mirrored by the beautiful couple who adopted his child as they agreed to an open adoption. Showing their grace in turn by doing the hard thing and allowing (strangers) to have a presence in their son's life. From the first moment we met them they offered us grace, and while I sometimes have a hard time accepting I am worthy of that kind of grace, I am fully thankful of how awesome it is.

This whole unplanned situation has been a great learning experience for me. It has opened my eyes to the many sides of adoption. I appreciate my grandson's loving parents for their willingness to stand firm in their acceptance of us even in the face of questioning from their family and friends. I realize his other grandparents would rather not share the role with my husband and I, and maybe even secretly wish we'd just fade away. I might feel the same in their shoes.

I understand why their friends and family question their decision to trust us to babysit. It isn't hard to imagine them thinking thoughts about us like "how can you trust them, they clearly didn't do a great job of parenting the first time around." Or, "what is wrong with these people that they wouldn't keep their own grand child?" Because once I might have had similar ones myself.

And I accept that most people may even judge us for giving him up in the first place. At one time I probably would have. Funny thing is, we often think we know what we would do in someone else's shoes, until we find ourselves in them.

I have come to realize, even the best laid plans go haywire sometimes. Every time I think of the family and friends who doubt my grandbaby's parents in letting us get to know him, I want to shout from the rooftops that we don't want to intrude, or to assume someone's rightful role, or to overstep--- we just want our grandson to know that he is/was always loved, always wanted and will forever have all the love in our hearts.

This situation is heartwarming and heartbreaking. Beautiful and Brutiful --in the words of Glennon Melton. Their willingness to include us in his life and in theirs is humbling. It is selfless and scary and overflowing with buckets of grace, and is something I will be forever grateful for.

Picturing my grandson's smiling little face reminds me to take a breath and allow grace to soothe me. To stop being sad for missing the special moments of his life and to rejoice in how lucky I am to even know him. As I continually work to appreciate, I am simply thankful to be a part of his life at all.

Huge gratitude to all the teachers in my life who have shown me through their actions what grace truly is. By their examples I am learning to both accept and offer grace, to myself and to others.  


At Rock Bottom is Grace

It is my experience that you don’t truly transform, until you hit rock bottom.

Or until your heart cracks wide open and you are finally no longer able to keep change from coming in. 

I absolutely remember my rock bottom and when my heart cracked open for good--it was loud and painful. I was in the midst of several big life changes, a new and (stressful to me) job, my youngest child growing up and fighting to do things his way, and a search for a greater meaning and purpose to my life.

I was alone in the house sobbing uncontrollably on a Friday night after a long and stress-filled week. I felt helpless, hopeless, and so far from myself I wasn't sure who I was anymore. Everything felt off. Wrong.

A mixture of shame, guilt, frustration, anger and all the other lower energies took control of me. The sobs came from deep within, the kind that leave a trail of snot and spittle on your shirt and sweat pits under your arms. My stomach hurt, my head hurt, and my heart hurt.  I remember being really scared I would not be able to summon the strength to pull myself back together again, to get myself under control if I let it all out. But keeping it in was no longer an option. My gut was burning.

What I see now looking back is that the breaking of my heart on that day in November of 2012 was not a falling apart to render me helpless, but a cracking open to heal. It was an answer to my prayers for wishing to live happier and freer. It was a letting go of the bottled up negativity that had held me hostage for way too long.

Lying on the basement floor, feeling broken and exhausted, I opened my eyes to the sound of another human being asking me what was the matter. It was the person who I might at the time have been the most worried about, most scared for and certainly the one I was feeling the most disconnected from. It was my youngest son Mitch.

At the time he was struggling with his own set of life issues, his having more to do with the friends he chose to hang out with and the choices he was making about his future. Mine revolved around my need to stay in control, to do things perfectly and to keep my Type A, control freak death grip on life in place. It was no longer working the way I was used to, and I was lost. I had fallen into a deep well of self-doubt and I couldn't find a way out.

His concern, his gentle words and the tender way he touched me, lifted me up and gave me courage to let it all out. I opened my eyes and out spilled all my regret over how I hadn't been the mom I had always wanted to be, how I had tried too hard to keep he and his brother safe and maybe in the process suffocated them and how everyone and everything was falling apart around me. Worst of all I was a mess and I considered myself a failure.  From my low place all I could see was what I had done wrong in my life.

There was no doubt I had gotten lost from my true self somewhere in the busy years of being a mom, wife and working woman. Yet beneath the controlling, judgmental, hypocrite I had become, Mitch still saw hints of the real me underneath the layers of pretend.

And with grace greater than I ever expected from him (or thought I deserved), he said the words I needed to hear. That I was not a parenting failure, that I was not a complete failure as a human being, that he, in fact, wanted to be more like me. Didn't I know that he wanted the kind of marriage, family and life his dad and I had for himself someday?

I looked out through my swollen eyes in disbelief and wonder, and I probably cried harder at that point, but the tears that streamed out were somehow softer, cleansing maybe, and I felt the tightness in my belly and chest begin to loosen. I believe now that this brief exchange at my rock bottom moment created a small space in my heart for the real healing to begin.

As Glennon Melton author of Carry On , Warrior so eloquently said: the call from God doesn’t just come once, if you missed it the first time (or the second or the third) he will find a way to reach you. To offer you that door again to see if you are ready.

I was clearly ready.

Up until that point in my life change had never my friend. Since the same old hadn't worked for me in years, it was time to try something new. When you hit rock bottom the only way to go is up. Changes began in me and around me from that point forward. I won't say the changes were always easy, I experienced many things I never thought I would, and yet I found myself dealing with them in much healthier ways. 

Slowly but surely the broken pieces of me fit back into place --- putting me together in a way I had never been before. Or at least in a way that I did not ever remember being. Creating a better version of me. A more authentic, stronger, happier me.

There is no doubt grace finds a way in through the actions of others, through unexpected acts of kindness and sometimes even through what seems to be a hopeless situation.

For most of my life I feared rock bottom. Now I see it was the solid ground I needed to get to before beginning my ascent.

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My Christmas Miracle

I have tears of happiness in my eyes today.

I was granted one of my greatest wishes this weekend.

I was able to babysit my sweet grandbaby two evenings in a row. I got to feed him dinner, change his diaper, play balls and cars with him, give him a bath, read him a story, cuddle him and tell him how much I love him. I got to watch his little face express determination, curiosity, silliness, happiness, frustration and deep intelligence. I saw him walk, not crawl across the room for the first time and I was reminded of how busy a little boy can be.

I do not take those things for granted.

If you are reading a post of mine for the first time you may not know that my son gave his son up for adoption. And by the grace of God it is an open adoption and I am able to know my grandson; a gift so incredible it never fails to move me. Or to start the gratitude to his adoptive parents flowing.

This weekend I was able to watch my husband, the love of my life, be a real grandpa--- to make his grand baby laugh, teach him how to bounce a big ball, bathe him and rock his soft little body to sleep. I was able to see three generations of boy put together a racetrack.

I was also gifted the special moment of experiencing my baby reading a bedtime story to his baby and of seeing the sweet look of love on his face as he rocked him to sleep, their two hearts beating as one for a moment in time. I will lock that moment in my heart forever.

What a gift.

What a joy.

What a blessing.

I will treasure the wonderment of having Ford reach his hand back for mine as I stood by his crib, as if to make sure I was still there.

It made me see that love is all that matters.

It made me wish for him to know that anytime he reaches for it, my hand will be there for the taking. And as he tucked it in close to his chest I felt my heart melt with a rush of unconditional love so big it overwhelms me even now.

It inspired this Christmas Wish:

Ford-- I hope you know that I will always be there to take your hand when needed. I will love you from afar and take every chance I can to be present in your life so that you always know how special, wanted and loved you are. Ashley and Travis, I wish you to know how much I appreciate your grace and trust, and to explain that no matter how hard I try I will never be able to fully express the depth of my gratitude to you for allowing us to know your son.What may seem weird to others is nothing short of a miracle to me. You have inspired me to share grace in any way I can throughout all situations in my life. Your kindness brings me to my knees. When others doubt or question your choices in regards to allowing my little family to know Ford, please remind them that adoption goes both ways with healing. As much as you needed Ford, we needed you to provide for him what we could not. And letting go was the greatest way we knew how to show grace. Allowing us to be a small part of Ford’s life has not only been healing; it has been life changing. I wish for them to see us as additional support, and not as a threat. We never wish to compete with or intrude on the wonderful life you all have made for Ford. We only wish to let him and you know that he is surrounded by loved on all sides.

This Christmas miracle has inspired me from this moment on to take every opportunity I am offered to show LOVE, share LOVE, spread LOVE, and receive LOVE.

Because love is all that matters.

And I will keep the sweet scent of my grand baby’s freshly washed hair in my nostrils, the feel of his little hand in mine, and the joyful sound of his happy giggle in my heart as I head intochallenging times.  When I feel lost or scared I will remember the sweetness of his heart beating next to mine as I rocked him to sleep, and I will know that everything will be okay.

Related blogposts:

The View From Here

My Glass is Truly Half Full

The Here and Now