Piece of the Puzzle

Piece of the Puzzle

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Putting First Things First

Yesterday at work I was feeling completely overwhelmed. Transitioning to a traditional school schedule without a vice principal has truly put a demand on my time, energy, and work load like nothing that I could imagine. As I sat at my desk yesterday looking at all the stacks of papers that I needed to review, the enormous amount of emails that I had yet to respond to, the 2 page "to do" list, the 10 parent calls to return, and the upcoming appointments, I just felt like I was drowning.  I shared with someone that all the things that I love to do as a principal and all the things that I thought I would be doing as a principal are getting squeezed out and replaced with tasks that used to belong to other site personnel before their positions were eliminated. I was bemoaning the "good ole' days" of really being able to focus on the things that I'm passionate about with my work.

I was reflecting on this yesterday evening when I got home, when I realized that I had allowed the demands of the job also squeeze out the most important aspects of my "non-work" life. I was moving further and further away from what really needed my "passionate" attention at home. And I've been down that road already - I know where that journey takes me physically, emotionally and relationally with my husband and family.

So today I woke up before my alarm - 3:52 am to be exact! I took a few minutes to pray and then headed out to the gym. I had a great, sweaty, grueling cardio session listening to all my favorite praise music. I came home and spent some quality time reading and reflecting on the day's Bible reading from the Life Journal that we're using at our church.  Even after all of that, I still had time to prep dinner (season a roast, cut up some veggies and throw them in the crock pot) and get to work early! And what a different day I had at work today!! The workload hadn't changed, the demands were no less daunting, but I was different. I had started my day focusing on those things that need to take priority - my relationship with Christ (reading scripture, listening to praise music), my family (preparing dinner so we could look forward to quality family time at the dinner table), and my health (though my sore quads my argue).

As familiar as Matthew 6:33 is  - "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." - it can sometimes be so easy to let all the wrong things impede on time spent seeking God. But when we do align ourselves with His word - WOW!! He shows up and adds to our life all the ingredients that we need!! God cares for us and about every aspect of our life. When His word says "all these things shall be added", it truly means ALL the things that we need (see Matthew 6:32). Sometimes we need the obstacles, challenges and situations to be removed, but sometimes what we need is to be reminded of His promises & His love so that we can endure those challenging situations with grace, love and peace. I'm so thankful that I know and serve a patient, forgiving and loving God. Who steps right in and meets my every need. I pray that I will not lose site of putting "First Things First."

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Real Cost of Adopting

For the last couple of weeks, and especially over this weekend, I have let myself be really bothered by the mean-spiritedness of another person regarding our adoption & our need to fundraise. I think the thing that has bothered me the most is the fact that this person has completely mis-represented my intentions in this particular situation. In all areas of my life, I truly work to operate with integrity and with pure intentions. And while I make plenty of mistakes in life & don't always do things properly, I know that those closest to me do know the condition of my heart. And even as I write this, I realize how silly it is for me to let the actions of someone who doesn't know me, or my heart, to affect me so deeply. There's the old saying "those who matter, don't mind; and those who mind, don't matter."  However, as much as I know that to be true, I can only assume that my heart is troubled because the adoption is a heart issue for me and my family.

Since we began our adoption process 10 months ago, I have sought out adoption blogs, website and groups in order to better educate and prepare myself for this new journey that we are on. I have heard many family's talk about the "cost" of adoption that have nothing to do with money. Just a few days ago, someone sent me the link to a post on just the same topic. While there are definite financial costs to the process, there are other costs that only adopting families really understand. One of those being the cost of enduring hurtful opinions and comments from people - strangers and loved ones alike.

Just a few hours ago, my youngest daughter, Jelly Bean, and I were working on adding another 62 pieces to our adoption puzzle that came in this week (WHOO HOO!). As we sat there working together, I was reminded of just how many benefits there are to being on this journey - precious and amazing experiences that far outweigh whatever challenges may occur. Seeing my daughter's face light up as she talks about her excitement at having her brother home soon. Listening to both of my daughters talking about all the things they are looking forward to when "their brother" comes home. Planning for our first Christmas together as a family of five. Developing connections and relationships with other people who have a passion for helping orphans. Watching God move in ways that we've never seen before. Becoming more connected with my husband and we go through the home study process. Hearing my daughters' level of appreciation for the gifts of support from other families and seeing it translate into a desire to "pay it forward."

When I think on all of this, I know that the costs are SO WORTH IT!! Whatever hurt my heart must endure through this process, I know that the reward of being able to replace that hurt with the love of another child in our home and our hearts is a small price to pay.