What does love feel like?

All those good intentions to blog  more often got pushed aside in the busyness of our last couple months. But here I am again. And I thought I’d share with you a bit about a conversation between one of my kids and I …

It was one of those amazing sweet moments of connecting, brought on by big feelings and complicated issues,

at bedtime…

of course…

I don’t know about you, but when bedtime rolls around for me.

I’m tired.

And just keeping my fingers crossed that everyone will slide into bed, cozy down and nod off into dream land without me being needed too much. After all I will have just spent the last half hour or so doing massages, giving cuddles, warming up little ‘heaty’ guys, (little rice and lavender filled stuffed animals), and doing the little night-time rituals….

Altho’ those expectations of smooth bedtimes actually sometimes happen, tonight was not one of those.

So I ended up back down on the couch with one of my littles.

I’ve been doing this gig long enough now that I know we have a lot more going on under the surface than what meets my tired eyes at first glance. I’ve also learned it’s in those moments that I get some super amazing glimpses into the hearts of my kids, when I just get off my bedtime-agenda-horse and am willing to just cuddle, connect and go ‘there’ with them.

Where ever ‘there’ happens to be.

Tonight was no diff… we cuddled, and talked, and as these talks often do they take lots of twists and turns until we get down to the real big reason that is causing the pain and fear.

It’s too long to talk about how all the ins and outs and how we landed on this but she started telling me about “the little girl she use to be”, a ‘homeless girl’ as she put it.

And I knew we’d hit gold.

… so we just sat in the moment, feeling, quiet and calm, her snuggled in my arms … after a bit I asked her, “What do you think she would  ask you if she could?”

She didn’t hesitate, “She’d ask me, ‘What does love feel like?‘ ”

“And what would you tell her?”

Here’s what she said-

-It feels good.

-It feels like you are here and important.

-It feels like everybody cares about you.

-Everybody around you helps you with your problems and you help them with theirs- like a FAMILY.

-It feels better than anything.

*tears* – mine.

My child knows what love is.

Now.

But she remembers a time when she wondered what real-forever-type-love felt like.

And that knowledge gets me right in the gut. It’s never fun thinking of the ‘before’, the sadness, fear, insecurity and pain my babies went through before they were safe in my arms.

But it also thrills my heart because she doesn’t wonder anymore.

NOW SHE KNOWS WHAT LOVE FEELS LIKE.

She knows love is belonging, knowing you have value, giving and receiving care, …

she knows family.

And it’s in those moments that I’m hit once again over the magnitude of the miracle of this.

The adoption journey is messy.

It’s very, very inconvenient.

It’s extremely time consuming.

It’s can feel pretty lonely.

But man, to get to show a child what LOVE is…. who cares about the inconvenience, the dark circles around the eyes, and the loneliness.

It just really doesn’t matter.

Friends, the sacrifice is SO worth it.

If you are in the trenches tonight, I’m in no wise down playing the sacrifice. Hey, we’ve been right there in those trenches for years now too. I know it’s not easy, and I’ll be the first to admit the arms get weary sometimes and I wish that we had more people that would help hold them up. So dear fellow mommies and daddies, we get you and I send a big hug tonight.

But I’m also here to tell you that what you are doing is HUGE. VERY. VERY. HUGE.

Like change-the-world-kind of huge.

Because of you, a child (or children) have a chance to KNOW love. Their little hearts came to you so full of fear and mistrust. They only dreamed of love and the security of a forever family. And YOU get to be the ones to show them love, to build that trust,… to show them what family is all about.

I know it’s not glamorous, and often doesn’t feel world-changy at all… it feels more like wiping noses, changing diapers, remembering snacks, picking up legos, managing your ‘circus’, going potty with an audience and scraping dried egg yoke off the floor.

But you ARE changing the world….

In all those little moments…

when you choose to empathize with their big feelings, even if it’s seems like a non-issue to you.

when you take time to kiss the imaginary ouchies.

when you show them they are safe with you, and regardless of their behaviours you will never hurt them.

when you give them a voice, even if that voice isn’t always perfect or respectful, so they know they are truly heard.

when you model to them the proper way to handle relationship issues.

when you deep breath through your own triggers and realize this is not about making you look good, or feel good, but about them needing to know they are precious, loved and accepted regardless.

when you gaze into their eyes and let them know you are on their side and that no matter what they’ve done they are ok with you.

when you let go of your own desire to control and manipulate.

when you are willing to take them back to those milestones, and life experiences they may have missed, like rocking, bottles, and all the other newborn and toddler years things, regardless of their age.

when you give them tools to empower them, and keep the bar high enough so they can grow but not too high so they are constantly frustrated with failure.

when you accept their story, their birth family and all the other things that they held precious long before they had you.

when they know without a shadow of a doubt you will meet their needs, no matter how big or small.

and the list could go on and on.

And as a mommy of six, I’m here to tell you all that above stuff is a WHOLE lot easier to type out than it is to live on a daily basis, when you are dealing with all the trauma, and baggage that your dear little ones bring to the table.  AND all your own human tiredness, and own personal baggage too.

This is real tough stuff some days.

And I fail. A lot.

BUT….

when Jesus came to show me what love was all about,

talk about inconvenience,

loneliness,

discomfort,

unpopular lifestyle,

and then

it KILLED him.

Yeah, that’s what happened when He came to bring love to me.

And you.

And everyone else.

And we get to live LOVE. We get to share LOVE. We get to be LOVE.

Right here, with our babies in our home.

We get to crack those lies of fear  wide open, that they’ve believed since their early itty-bitty days. We get to be the ones to breathe love over all the hurt, and pain, and mistrust. We get to be the ones that shows them love.

And in that they will see God.

And isn’t that what we all want in the end of all this parenting stuff?

*****

And as my little girl and I wound down our little talk, there was one more thing the ‘little homeless girl’ was wondering about….

” She wants God in her heart. ”

“Why does she want God in her heart?” I asked.

“So she can feel what love is, even when no one is around her.” she replied.

And my heart nearly burst.

When we love we give our kids God.

So, as I kissed her and tucked her in bed, I just felt so very thankful that in the midst of all my parenting imperfections, God is at work , busy filling in the cracks. He just needs me to give it my all, to be willing to believe in love myself so that I can let it flow out of me and bring healing to my kids.

He loved us so  we can love and answer the questions of those  little hearts wondering what love really feels like. ❤

(PS. Oh, just to clarify this was not a salvation discussion, this dear little girl of mine gave her heart of Jesus, a couple years ago, and her walk with God is something that she holds very precious.)

Just some recent pictures as we are enjoying this amazing Spring weather….It’s such a beautiful, crazy, fun life!

Love to each of you,

Meghan

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