28 October 2014

Bob Dylan's 49th Beard

Ever want to break up with yourself? With your "lot in life"? With how emo you are? GET IT TOGETHER, MICHELLE, says the mean me on my shoulder. Above is the title of the best breakup song probably ever. I wish I could grow a beard, bc things are weird between me & myself right now.

Tbh, I could really use some prayer for a faith so real it can keep me functioning when I just want to lay on the floor all day. I'll update you on some big events that have recently transpired when I'm able to think about it without crying, bc srsly so sad over here right now.

07 October 2014


Do you remember a time when you couldn't pinpoint a feeling you were having until someone else named it? As a mom, I can assure you it happened a lot, at least when you were young (teaching Ezra feeling words is quite the challenge, as everything comes out angry, and we have to dig to find the real feelings).

I couldn't name how I was feeling about our adoption until I saw the word on a friend's blog, totally unrelated to my situation, but so poignant: despair. I don't want to talk about, even think about our adoption, because I am despairing of it ever actually happening.

I have lost hope.

Whew, that is a bitter sentence to speak, and the tears I cry just reading it are bitter. But even that is better than no tears, for me at least. My heart is so sick within me that I haven't been able to cry the tears that would flow from a tender place.

In an honest moment like this one, I can admit I don't believe we will adopt. It feels impossible. It would take too many good things happening in an area of my life where I have experienced nothing but disappointment and loss. Courts have become hostile, referrals have ceased, and we lost the opportunity to adopt a precious little girl because of her government, after we'd already begun to try and bring her home. We were told we'd receive a referral of an orphan (waiting for her family) in July that has still not been received. It has been three years since we decided to adopt.

The only hope I have is in the Lord, and he's been so quiet, so quiet, for so long in this area. Still, he has not said to stop, and I know he'd have enough mercy on us to tell me when to actually give up. Sometimes I guess you have to trust that he is who he says he is, even when he's not overtly showing you. I do believe (a tiny bit) that I will see his goodness in this plan someday. I just don't know how.

18 September 2014

In the thick of it

It was a sobering thought I thought last night, but a true one:

If parenting was a marriage, I would be divorced already.

Not because I don't love my kids, but because it is so hard. And if I could get out of it somehow (without anyone getting hurt, you know), I totally would. Right now, as Ezra adjusts to a new normal (that is also constantly changing, since infants never stay the same for long), and Judah adjusts to life on the outside, I am trying to remember how to be underwater and not drown.

I lost myself for a while with Ezra. I don't think it was a hormonal depression; I think it was the new levels of grace required to be a mom. I am fine with accepting grace and mercy for the things I do to me, because it's my life my sin screws up. Even when I sin against my friends and family, they're adults; they can take it to me and/or the Lord. I may reopen old wounds, but it's unlikely I can hurt a grown up in a way they've never been hurt before.

With my kids, it's so different. I make wounds where there was wholeness. And, while I know there is so much mercy and grace available to me as a mother to my boys, I don't want to take it because I deserve to be miserable for hurting them. So self-condemnation is my food, and despair clothes my days, because how can I undo what I have done?

This root goes so deep into my life that I don't think it will come up with one firm tug. But I don't want dreading every tomorrow to be what I look back and remember from this season. Instead, I'm trying to memorize Psalm 134:

Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
Lift your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.

God (and every mom of a newborn) knows I am ministering by night, and our house may not be a temple, but it is a house of the Lord. I need to remind myself that I am:
(1) a servant of the Lord, and not of my children. God is my master, and I look to him for direction and affirmation.
(2) ministering to the Lord. It is hard, so hard for me to remember that it matters to God that I make Judah's wipe solution or help Ezra put his underwear back on. It ministers to his heart when I do the thousand mundane tasks that make up my whole life right now. I need to remind myself to wear my invisible ephod (and tassels!), because these hands that wipe bottoms all day are holy.

04 September 2014

New Mom, Not-New Mom

Ezra is three and a half now; it feels like a long time since I was the mom of a newborn. So it's been fun to step back and think of ways in which is feels like old hat and ways in which it feels totally new.

Old hat: I never forgot nursing all the time and it taking forever
As if it had never happened to me before: the pain of beginning to breastfeed again. I didn't forget, but I DID NOT REMEMBER. Probably bc the horrors didn't even last a week.

Old hat: not leaving the house for days. Days. And having to find new times to do normal life things, like shower and put on deodorant.
Completely new: putting my newborn on a pillow in the bathroom because I can't trust my preschooler to not hug him to actual death.

Old hat: newborns are so tiny, but still pretty sturdy.
Never before would I have said Ezra was big, but over the course of a weekend (the one after which Judah was born), he must have grown a foot and like 20 pounds, because he is enormous now. He's still in the 20th percentile for 3 year olds, but apparently 3 year olds are huge.

Old hat: no schedule, no routine, just the whims of an infant.
Bewilderingly new: why are you crying? Stop crying, please. Just fart or burp or poop and feel better. Or are you actually hungry? You don't even know, do you?

Old hat: new parent doting. [srsly tho, my baby's beautiful.]
All new: being super in love with Judah and still really focused on our adoption. Like, now that we can do something, let's get this thing done.

Part of that new parent Crazy is trying to make me feel guilty, like "why isn't Judah enough to focus on? He's going to be hurt forever because you weren't satisfied with him right now." No, Crazy, we're not playing these games this time. You can just shut up.

26 August 2014


I laughed as Judah was born; I didn't remember until my midwife's apprentice reminded us. That is NOT to say my labor was peaceful or joyful or even positive. It was intense to the point of overwhelming for several hours (for those who understand these things, I went from being 3 cm dilated to Judah being born in just over 4 hours). I told Stephen during my labor (I believe shortly after vomiting) that if we were ever to get pregnant again, we're going to the hospital and they're stabbing a needle in my back (I've since begun to reconsider, but I make no promises either way).

 Judah was born "en caul": with the amniotic sac ("bag of waters") unbroken. That wasn't because we made a decision not to break my water; there just wasn't time - the contraction I had just after my midwife checked my dilation was the same contraction during which his head was born. Luckily, I was able to wait for another contraction for the rest of him to be born.

And that's why I laughed - the joy of a thing completed, particularly something inconvenient (he was born at 3:41am in the worst time of year for people who minister to college students), painful, and long-awaited.

It's weird to have a new baby again, when we've been so long expecting our next child to be adopted as a... not-baby (could be toddler or older, but not a baby). It's also a strange feeling to be elated that he's here, and yet still feel the lack of our little A. Judah has two older siblings, but one is missing from all the photos. It's hard to wrap my heart around sometimes.

Still, it's a comfort, really; it reminds me in my heart that God hasn't closed the door to adoption for us. We don't know if we'll have more biological children, but our family is certainly not complete. As we adjust to being a family of four (as in, wait, when do I take a shower now?), I confess I already think of us as a family of five - and expectant family, still. We are still in gestation, and there is no estimated due date yet. As one wait is over, my earnest hope is that I'll continue to wait well on this much longer-deferred hope: to cast my cares at God's feet; to be thankful for His many ways of protecting, loving, and caring for us; and to receive God's peace (instead of being petulant. Yes, petulant).
Judah Titus; 8/15/14; 7lbs, 14oz; 20.5"; ours.