Last night the speaker at our church spoke on fear. He was using Moses as an example of someone being afraid and having all sorts of excuses for why he couldn’t do what God was telling him to do. When we got home from church, and finished wrestling our exhausted children into bed, we sat down for a few minutes to talk to one another before bed. I could tell Glenn was struggling with something during the service but I wasn’t sure what. Life is busy right now for us, with adoption stuff and Glenn’s work is crazy with school starting soon, so there are any number of things to be concerned about. He told me he was struggling with fear about our upcoming adoption. I told him I was too. He was surprised. He said I couldn’t be scared because I was doing things for the adoption like paperwork and buying Elizabeth clothes and stuff. I told him denial is not just a river in Egypt. I am really good at denial, it’s a coping mechanism for unpleasant feelings for me. It can be a good thing sometimes, it keeps me from worrying about things I cannot change, but it’s not good when it makes you not deal with things you should deal with or gives off the impression you are okay when you are not. We began to talk about what things we were afraid of specifically and, surprisingly, they are different. Glenn is afraid of the long-term impact on our family of having a child with significant disabilities. He is afraid of what that looks like for the rest of our life and how that impacts us and the plans we had. My fears are much more immediate. I think if we can make it through the next year everything will be okay. I wonder what she will be like when she gets here and how she will react to us and her new home? I know from other parents there will be difficult moments and days and weeks even, and that makes me nervous. How will my boys react to her? Will it make them act out? Most likely. A lot of what ifs. But once she gets settled, I am not concerned as much.
Glenn told me that the immediate doesn’t bother him because we have been through hard stuff before, like when Joshua was a newborn and we found out we were expecting and he started a new job all at the same time. We made it through then and this will be no different. I am glad he is confident. (sarcasm) And I told him about a family I saw at Carowinds a few weeks ago. It was a mom and dad and adult son with what appeared to be Down Syndrome. I told him they seemed so happy to be together and didn’t act like being with their son, even though you could see he was older, was a burden to them. I have read about other families with dependent adult children and how much joy those children bring to their parents. It’s just a new normal. I see so many people get depressed when they retire and have an empty nest and we don’t have to worry about that. We will always have a child that needs us.
I think fear is a good thing. If you don’t have fear about what you are doing, then you need to do something bigger. God calls us to things that stretch us and make us grow and those things can make us fearful at times. At the end of the day, while I am still unsure about what the future holds for us as we bring our daughter home, I know God has called us to this and He will provide for what we have need of. If I didn’t have moments of fear about this change in our lives I would be nieve. But I have to have faith that God is going to see us through it. I have had a number of people, especially at the beginning of our journey, question what we are doing and why we are doing it. “Don’t we have enough to handle right now” and so on. And while those were well-meaning people who just wanted to make sure we had thought it through, they now can sometimes become a voice of negativity in my head. I hear the “how are you going to do this?” statements and it makes me doubt. I have to ignore those voices and listen to God saying He will be with us. When you are doing what God has called you to, you will have opposition and often it comes from those closest to you. Hopefully, there comes a point when those closest to you realize you are doing what God has called you to and they change their minds and support you. But if not, you have to learn how to tune them out and listen to God. That is not easy.
Fear is honest, but not always truthful. The fear we feel is an honest emotion, but the reason we are afraid does not reflect the truth which is that God is with us and He will provide for us.