That Kid With The Story

My principal emailed me last week and said she added another student to my roster. "But come talk to me when you get a chance. I have to tell you her story." And I replied, "You know I love kids with stories!"

Rewind seven years.

I was a first year teacher. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, convinced I was going to implement everything I had learned in school and saw on Pinterest perfectly. It didn't take long to realize the goal of the year was to survive. And not let the children kill each other.

And let's talk about this for a minute. Why in all of God's green earth, do they give first year teacher's THE. WORST. CLASSES? For the life of me I will never understand it. Thinking back, regardless of my inexperienced classroom management, that class would have sent the most experienced teacher to her grave. It was hard.

I made it through October, you know that's saying a lot, and me and my first year class were finally dancing smoothly together. We had established a community of learners and I felt like they were starting to listen to me. Right when things started to become manageable...

He interrupted our Thanksgiving Feast.

I'm sure she saw the terror in my eyes. The office lady handed me a stack of papers and leaned in to whisper, "The guidance counselor will be in here shortly."

He just stood there. Looking up at me with his big, empty, chocolate eyes. In that moment it was as if the Lord allowed me for a second to peek into his soul. I knew he came with a story. And I knew I was there in that classroom, at that moment, for him.

The weeks that followed were somewhat of a blur. I don't remember anything else about my first year, except for him (and a terrible puke experience. Let's just say the janitor not only cleaned the floor but handled the situation too).

He stole my heart. And my patience. And my temper. But mostly my heart.

He moved from another state because he had witnessed his dad being murdered. Basically a drug deal had gone wrong, and his little eyes were the ones who saw. He had severe behavior problems. Wouldn't you?

He would run out of my classroom. Lock himself in the bathroom and bang his head on the door. He would hide under the lunch table. I found it ironic once, that the Special Ed. teacher couldn't help me get him out from under the table. He would have crying fits, sprawled out in the floor. I literally had to hold him like a baby. After I would finish the song I was singing, he had calmed down enough to get back to first grade work.

For the rest of the year, he consumed me. I prayed for him on my way home. I talked to my husband each night about his day. I went to sleep thinking about him, and he was the first thought that passed through my mind the next morning. How could I love him better? How could He know Love because of me? How could I break through those walls he built to protect himself? And show him that he didn't have to walk through life alone?

That kid with the story, he changed me.

By March, his little brown hand always found it's place in mine. His tantrums still were happening, but he trusted me enough to get through them faster. In May, after MAP testing, I was amazed at his progress. I don't know how that kid, or all the other kids in my class learned a thing that year. But they did.

I believe he is part of the reason my children are in their forever family. I always had a heart for the orphan, but after him, I knew I had to do more. He changed me. Forever. He taught me that I was much like him. I, too, have a story. And parts of it, although different, look much like his. Broken. Messy. Damaged.

He will be a big seventh grader this year. And even now, as I type this and think of him, tears roll down my face. He still writes me letters, sends me pictures, and I've heard from other parents that I'm still his favorite teacher. My former principal emailed me a video of him performing in the school play, and I literally watched it a thousand times. And cried. God has done so much in him. So much in me. And I still pray that if he hasn't already, God would rescue his precious heart, and redeem every part of his story.

So Monday starts a new year. And my roster is all wrinkled and scribbled on. Those names have been prayed for. And I can't wait to meet the kids with the stories. They make it worth leaving my babies at home.

It's easy to get caught up in curriculum, new standards, lesson plans, paperwork, and duties. But teacher friends, pretty soon, there will be little people behind those names. Each with their own story. And I don't know about you, but it's not enough for me to only teach them. I want to always be their favorite teacher, not because I taught them to read, but because I showed them Love.

That Love. He is always the reason.

And you never know, those kids with the stories, might just change you.

To The Waiting Mother, on Mother's Day..

Although I am now a mother, and will celebrate my fourth Mother's Day, my heart still breaks on this day. My heart still grieves all the years of pain this day caused. It makes me want to come find you, Waiting Mother, wrap my arms around your neck, grab some Ben and Jerry's, and eat until we see the bottom of the container. If I could, I'd tell you it gets better.

God is so faithful and He answers prayers in the most beautiful ways. Ways we would never imagine, but always better than our greatest dreams. Although I know this to be true, on this day for you, it feels so far away. And every commercial, every present, every lunch, every barren second of this day, holds the reminder that you are not a mother...yet.

If I could, I would hug you, and remind you that "yet" is the word to breathe in, breathe out, and repeat today. I pray from the depths of my heart that these words meet you in your need, and more than anything, I pray that you will find Him here, right in the midst of your waiting.

To The Waiting Mother,

You, precious one, are not alone.

God sees your broken and weary heart. He is here, right now, holding all things together. Quiet your heart, just for a second. He is holding your very existence together, spinning your world, telling the sun when to set and fall, and holding each star in it's place. And in His grace, knows what you ate for breakfast, your favorite song, how you like your coffee, and the very depths of your aching heart.

Most people would tell you, Waiting Mother, to sleep. Because you will literally never sleep on your schedule again. Seriously. You will walk around like a zombie for the first two months (if you have a good baby). You'll wash your hair two or three times in the shower because your so tired you won't remember if you did it. And they say, "sleep when the baby sleeps." Yeah, right. Only if you don't want to get a shower that day. Eventually, sleeping in on Saturday, will mean your body (or a little squeal) waking you up at 6:30.

But you won't care. You'll run to that nursery. You've dreamed of this. What it would be like. How it will feel to be someone's mommy. You've imagined those tiny hands holding onto your finger as you softly sing Jesus' name. You'll eventually learn how to function on very little sleep and those baby love snuggles will be even better than caffeine.

Some people would tell you to go on dates with your husband. And I know you say, "That won't be us. We'll have a date night once a week." Well maybe so, if you get to stay at home during the day and you don't feel guilty leaving your baby with another baby sitter. Or if your willing to pay 10 dollars an hour, plus your actual date, every week.

But you won't care. It'll be hard. You will make it work. And when you do get those sacred moments where you just get to be a wife to your husband, you will cherish them more than ever before. And ultimately, he is your first ministry, so you will find a way to make him your priority. It might come with lots of trial and error. More losses than wins, but you'll make it work. After all, your marriage is the Gospel on display. Your little one, and the world for that matter, is watching.

Other people will tell you to get your nails done, shave your legs, do the laundry, organize, and clean. Really clean. Because you won't have time to even cut your nails, so you'll just bite them. Your legs won't see a razor until your husband starts to complain. The laundry....there just aren't words. It will NEVER, I mean NEVER be done. Just accept it. And your house won't ever be clean again. Really clean. You'll find puffs in your couch, paci's in random drawers, and green pea splatter on the walls.

But you won't care. You'll learn that all those things can wait. Your life, will indeed, go on even with a messy house. You will never have this day with your baby again. You won't want to miss one gummy smile, slobbery kiss, or squishy hug.

But you do care. You're not there...yet. Telling you to enjoy your sleep, go on dates, clean, and shave your legs is just ridiculous, and honestly insensitive. Your heart aches.

So while you wait...grow.

All those nights when you are crying out to the Father, begging Him to answer your prayer for a child, you are learning how to need Him. Because you will.

Lean into that.

Every time your friends tell you they are pregnant, deep in your heart you wonder why it can't be you. And you run to your Dad, to feel His big, safe arms wrap around you. This is how you will comfort.

When you feel like you are the only one in the whole world who isn't a mommy, you remember the story of a woman named Hannah and the big prayers she prayed for her Samuel.

And you'll pray those same prayers for your promised one.

It hurts.

It's so uncomfortable. The pain is just too much some days.

But don't fight it. Open up your hands and ask Papa to teach you how to wait. Ask Him to help you grow. Savor your desperation for Him. And then watch. Watch Him make your angry, winter heart a beautiful, spring meadow.

 And while your eyes are on Him, you won't even notice how He surprises you with your dream.

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.."

Hosea 2:14-15a

*Photo by the amazing

Rachel Ackerman Photography

*

Waiting...

I hate it.

Never. Ever. Have I liked to wait.

But I find myself doing it all the time.

It never fails. If I am late for work, I will absolutely find myself waiting at EVERY. SINGLE. RED. LIGHT. On really long days after teaching six year olds, I STARE at the clock, watching that red minute hand slowly tick, waiting until the day is done and I can sit in my car with silence. When the night before left me with not enough sleep, my groggy eyes wait for my friend, the Keurig, to make my coffee. After my hair girl does her magic, I wait for it to magically turn blonde. (It of course is natural.) Then at the very end of the day, I wait impatiently for the shower water to turn blazing hot so I can wash the day away.

These things, aren't hard. We just do it. It's apart of life.

(Selah waiting on her YaYa and Papa to come over.)

But then, there's the hard kind.

If you are like me, you know this well.

If you read

this post

, you know I recently had surgery to help me live with the pain of endometriosis. We did not have this surgery as a means to "get pregnant." This surgery was an avenue for us to take to avoid medicine (which we are not totally opposed to, but we do like to try the natural routes first), and allow me to be a good mommy to my heartgrown babies (Selah and baby brother to come).

Can I be really honest with you? It's hard to explain. I tried to explain it best in

this post

. But I can't articulate exactly how my heart feels. And maybe it's because I honestly don't know exactly what my heart really feels.

But in my head, before the surgery, I just knew the doctor would get in there, remove all of the endometriosis, I wouldn't have to go on medicine, and then God would heal me. We would, by a miracle, get pregnant a few months after brother comes home. God is big enough to do that. I know Him to be strong, powerful, and faithful. He can heal me.

Something different happened after the surgery. The doctor got in there, and found the endometriosis to be as bad as it possibly can be. Regardless of his best efforts, he could not get it all out without damaging other organ functions. Last Wednesday, he looked me in my tear-filled eyes and told me, "You will NEVER get pregnant without IVF, and you HAVE to take some type of medicine or you will have a hysterectomy in two years."

We will not being doing IVF, because we aren't trying to get pregnant. I will be taking some type of medicine that is contraceptive because we have tried all the natural routes. That's not the point.

It was the hope. The hope of one day. And who likes to be told, once again, that their body doesn't work the way it was intended to?

My precious husband (gah, I love that man!) was on shift at the same hospital. He met me downstairs, where EVERY pregnant woman in our city walked in and out of the lobby (why in the WORLD, do they put the infertility clinic and OB on the same floor???!!!!). My broken body collapsed in the familiarity of his strong arms, and he let me cry.

He isn't a man of many words in situations like this, and is so intentional about what he says. But when he does open his mouth, wise goodness seeps out, "Can I buy you a coffee?"

Melt my heart, "Yes!"

So we drank our coffee. And he wasn't embarrassed that I was a hysterical mess in public. He sat with me, held my hand, and made me laugh at something. He told me I was beautiful even with black trails of mascara running down my face. And told me the all the super secrets of the hospital staff. It was like real-life Grey's Anatomy. Really.

I got in the car to drive home and realized something...

I'm waiting again.

I'm waiting on God to heal me. And His healing might not look like what I thought. But I know Him to be strong, powerful, and faithful. And He WILL heal me. He will heal my body one day. And until then, I'll be waiting and loving Him. And the tears I cry in the meantime, will continue to soften my heart to need Him.

There's another kind of waiting, too. The achy kind.

The waiting in-between treatments. Those two weeks are MISERABLE, aren't they????!!!! The whole time you wonder, "Am I a mommy and I just don't know it?" Then there's the waiting for those pink lines...utter TORTURE!!!! It's the achy kind, that hurts real deep, to the very depths of your soul.

Then there's the waiting to be approved by your agency. The waiting for a birth mom to choose you. The achy kind of waiting, when you do get chosen, and your waiting, wondering if she will really place the child in your family, or choose to parent. There is the ache of going into that nursery, and rocking in that chair every.single.night. Praying. Crying. Aching. Hoping soon to be a mommy.

It hurts. And honestly, with all the waiting I've done in my life, the achy kind might just take the cake. It's hard. And lonely. And you feel forgotten.

But all of these types of waiting have made me the wife, the mommy, the daughter, the friend, that I am today. This waiting, has made me hungry for more of Him. It's made me realize my desperate need for Him every, single, achy second. And He has used all of this waiting, to usher me into His presence and know Him more. Know the cadence of His heartbeat, and the rhythm of His breathing. Really know Him.

So... our

birth mom

can go into labor at any second. And we're anxiously waiting on "the call." Seriously. Any second, our son could be born. And the waiting...it's killing me.

But even in this waiting, the excited-nervous kind, God has something to teach me about Him. There is a side to Him that He wants me to know.

And I don't want to rush this waiting, because I don't want to miss Him.

I don't want to miss a single second of knowing Him better. Deeper. More intimately.

And that's what waiting does.

"The

Lord

is good to those who

wait for him,

to the soul who seeks him.

26 

It is good that one should wait quietly

for the salvation of the

Lord

."

Lamentations 3: 25-26 ESV

Waiting is good. It doesn't feel good. It's annoying, hard, and sometimes achy. But it's good.

Dig your heels in, sweet friend.

And wait.

Because really, He's the One waiting. He's waiting on you and waiting on me, to know Him deeper.

Let's find Him here, in our waiting.