Monday, 17 August 2015

feeling fruity


Having had a little re-read of the last few posts I must conclude that a)this has been a tough year and that b)I save all my rage for the page. Page rage.

This time I've saved my happiness.

Even my joy these days is a little cautious, a little wary, flighty and tip toes and riddled with caution.Too bruised to relax into things.
And still. And yet. I will extend my arms one at a time and look up, because 'the best thing you can do for God is embrace all that He is doing for you' (MSG).

Joy has crept up on me. Sneaky-like.

When John and I signed up to this - and it's YWAM so 'signed up' basically means turned up - we were idiots. Blind trusting fools who didn't know anything about fostering, adoption, engulfing, accepting, guarding....we hadn't even had one biological baby at that point and our experiences of love were snog based. Cupid enhanced. Love for your spouse is a choice blah blah blah but we've always liked each other a lot and when it's two of you there's time to date. To play. To fight. To make up. To dream. Obviously relationships can be really hard and never completely easy, but at this stage it's all about you and your other half and love is kind of the done thing.
Then we had Bethel and our concepts of love got exploded. Our identities changed. To feel love as a physical, genetic thing that suffuses all your sleepless nights. Love as a high. John bawled for twenty four hours, in a happy way. Love as something that wrecks you, that compels you to last place, urges you to prefer the needs of someone else. That warms you entirely with every milestone, smile, gurgle, unblinking gaze and so much joy. Love as a huge, huge trial where you die to yourself but it's natural and you have never known such happiness even as you stumble around bleary eyed wandering if you'll ever rest again. 

So far, so normal. Meet a person you love. Have babies. All the normal feelings, happy feels and sad feels and so on and so forth.
Then - over time - we added two teenagers and another baby.
We have not found much about this process to be straightforward. There are literally no books written on this. New country, new friends, new language, new culture (never underestimate this! It can destroy your brain and make you crazy paranoid like a stoned person driving home at night, but socially), and love has come to mean something different entirely.

This year has been about surviving and it's been exhausting. I actually have holes in my memory where apparently we did things but I have no clue that they happened. SO TIRED. Babies and blood loss and stress....too much to handle.
My heart has felt small and angry for a really long time.
My experiences of love didn't look like this. My ability to love wasn't big enough.
The love that our British culture preaches couldn't stand up to this so it ran and hid. There's no middle class boundaries here, no safety and pensions and nuclear units and charity starts at home and ten percent is enough. If we even give ten percent. Love as I have taught, as I have been taught, was not enough.
Not big enough.

He had more for me.
He is bigger than that.

So we began a new journey - love as an actual choice. Deeper. When there's no fluffy feels to feed on, there's no fruit to sweeten the deal, there's no reason to do this other than sheer bloody stubborn commitment to the Jesus you followed here.

Every rule broken, every grief, every sleepless night, every anxious thought, every humiliation, every hopeless panic, every time you let. it. go. Extend a clean rap sheet and start again in the morning, every time you decide that even though this feels like crap you will not let go. You will not be the one to give up on them. On this. On Him. There's so much at stake.

When you love like that, when your feet are trudging down a road that is not easy, when your love comes without incentive, when it makes no sense, you round the corner and suddenly you realise that....
love has become a feeling again.
Love fought for, love contested, love watered relentlessly in drought, this love does not give up. It does not return void. Lukewarm love could never stand up to these trials but love forged in fire, well, it starts to get a little bit Holy.

So now, when we've turned a corner and our family feels like a family, I know I am treading on Holy ground.
Every smile. Holy.
Every hug. Holy.
Every joke. Holy.
Every shy glance. Holy.
Every halting story told. Holy.
Every cooking lesson. Holy.
Every cheap present you'd never choose for yourself. Holy.
Every camping trip. Holy.
Every lift into town. Holy.
Every time Sim toddles into Svieta's arms laughing in sheer exultation and she can't even look up because she doesn't know where to look and the grin splits her face. Holy.
Every awkward skype conversation with teens bobbing in the background. Holy.
Every time they email John's mum photos of the kids. Holy.
Every time they mutter thank you as they flee the kitchen to get back onto facebook. Holy.

This house is Holy Ground.

And the love that I knew when I started this journey three years ago, my limited love, has become something different. Maybe it's not my own love that's changed, maybe I'm just abandoned and floating helplessly in a sea of His grace, His kindness to me, His every day miracles and blessings and kindnesses that surround me. Maybe I just depend on Him more because I'm rubbish at life and He's very good at it.
Maybe I had to get so stressed out that I'd fail, fall backwards and find Him standing right behind me solid as the rock that He is.
I've discovered that love is stretchy, it's strong and it wins. Add more people in and it just gets bigger. There's no limit to the size of Him so there is no limit to the love that is accessible within Him.

And that makes me happy. xxxx