Over one thousand days ago I sat down with a calculator, a piece of paper, a pencil and a bruised heart.
We were in the middle of the toughest days we had known to date. Our post-adoption journey was difficult, and though I trusted that God was walking with us through the fires of trauma and secondary trauma that felt too hot to survive, my heart desperately sought after hope.
And so, I did a little math. I’m not sure why I thought math would bring me hope because let’s be real, it’s never done that before in my life, but nonetheless, I started adding.
I added up the number of days Julianne lived in China. The total made my heart sink.
One thousand, four hundred, twenty-six.
I knew that the Lord had sustained and protected our girl through those long months, but it was overwhelming when I thought about needing Him to walk with us for thousands of days as we adjusted to being a family of six… it seemed to be a fire that was too hot to bear.
Well, He has.
Today marks one thousand, four hundred, and twenty-SEVEN days since we stretched out our arms and welcomed our girl into our family. She has been a part of our family for the majority of her life now, and my heart sings to know it.
On that day, a thousand-plus days ago when I thought the stress of parenting children in a post-adoption world would completely break me, God gave me a gift. The number my calendar showed me was Christmas Eve; it was as if he was gently letting me know that he would be with me through all of the days, not just the ones that added up to December 24th, 2018. Immanuel! Every cry of my voice, every scream of my heart would be heard, every rebellious thought would be seen and he would never abandon me to the turmoil of my emotions. Immanuel, through all of it.
This season, the one where we celebrate the birth of Jesus I’m more grateful for the gift of Immanuel than have ever been before. One thousand, four hundred and twenty-seven days has brought us through many a storm and I confess that it feels like the boat we are in never quite manages to hit still waters for very long periods of time but it’s okay.
Still waters or storms, Immanuel.
During the laughter of good times or the frustration of trauma, Immanuel.
When my heart bursts with joy or when I am so overwhelmed I cannot hold back the tears, Immanuel.
God knew from the moment Jesus uttered his first infant cries that He HAD to be with us so that we could one day be with him in heaven, and this is a hope that far outlasts any hope adding numbers and seeing a date could bring me. Today’s date has been burned into my brain as the one when everything would magically be okay, but as per the norm, the craziness of the holidays has stirred up the feelings of insecurity and fear that lurk deep in the heart of my girl’s psyche. Trauma adds a new layer to the typical holiday madness, and while our family is gentle in understanding her and pouring extra into her during these times, we don’t always have a Hallmark kind of day, you know? It’s hard. We make mistakes and speak words from our flesh and she lashes out from the pain of the past and we all have to pause and breathe in a little more of the God-with-us-ness of the the season. It’s all we really need, and I’m grateful that this landmark date in Julianne’s life occurred on Christmas Eve – a sweet reminder of the ways the Jesus has been faithful to be with us through the most trying of times.
So, rejoice, friends! Today we celebrate Julianne being with us longer than she has been without us, but more importantly, we celebrate that God has been with us, God is with us, and that God will always be with us.