If at first you don’t succeed…

As we start the New Year, I reflect back on where I was a year ago.

Worried.

Confused.

Scared.

Exhausted.

We had just finished our fourth hosting through P143 (Project 143 Orphan Hosting Program) and this hosting period was the first time we met our two little girls.  It was also the first time they were reunited with their three, big, biological brothers. The boys remained in the orphanage when a foster family was finally found for the girls, and they hadn’t seen each other in years. Needless to say, tensions ran high and expectations ran even higher.

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This picture about sums up how I felt. I was trying desperately to hang on, to be happy and to find the joy and blessings. However, in reality I felt pushed to the ground. Overwhelmed by children. Overwhelmed from the newness of having little girls in the house, after having only little boys for so long. Those high-pitched screams and the WHINING! Ohhh I was NOT prepared for the onslaught of whining that commenced with their arrival. And those were just the surface things. Then there was the overwhelming fact that they knew zero English and were accustomed to fighting it out with their foster siblings. We had a lot of hitting and scratching and temper tantrums.

But the hardest part, and this is difficult for me to admit because I feel so much guilt over it, was their desperate desire to be loved by me. To be cuddled by me. To be held by me. To be adored by me. For me to give them my undivided attention. It was quickly overwhelming to be giving that much attention and physical contact to two children while maintaining a household and tending to six other children. And I wasn’t expecting that. I wasn’t expecting to feel “over loved”– is there such a word? I felt over touched. I felt over talked to. I felt over climbed on. My senses were on overload. Everything was louder, took longer, required more effort and organization than previously, and I was just downright EXHAUSTED.

It was hard.

I felt like a failure.

I felt guilty that I was struggling with these things.

Was I a terrible mom because I saw that same child coming for the 100th hug in the last hour, despite the fact that I am arm deep in toilet bowl cleaner. He doesn’t care in the least, but I am deeply annoyed.

As we began to draw near to their departure date I began to look forward to it a little bit. Bedtime would be so much easier. No more high-pitched whines. No more fighting. My husband and I were leaning towards believing that this was not going to work for our family.

We felt defeated.

We were ready to give up.

It is SO much easier to give up then to persevere. It is SO much easier to give up then to endure. It is SO much easier to give up then to bear another’s burdens.

But we aren’t called to live an easy life. We were warned there would be trials. We were asked to pick up our cross and follow Him. We were told that we would only make it by abiding in Him. Apart from Him we can do nothing. With Him, nothing is impossible.

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And what does “perseverance” mean? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines perseverance as “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition”.

Did you catch that?

DESPITE difficulties, failure or opposition. As in to persevere you must first be faced with difficulties, failure or opposition.

So if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Don’t give up.

Abide in Him.

Run the race.

Persevere.

Because you know what? It DOES get easier. He does help me when I turn to Him. He does strengthen me when I pray to Him. Time allows for so many things to work themselves out. The girls are absolutely fluent in English. It took them less than five months time to go from zero English to fluent. Amazing! And those tantrums? Yes, we still have some every now and then, but they are radically different from what they were a year ago. They are now identifiable. They are understandable. They are manageable. They are almost gone completely. Amazing!

And I sit here typing this embarrassed at myself that we almost did give up. That’s the truth right there. We almost let all the fears and worries of the world get the better of us, then trusting what God was telling us all along.

Trust me.

Obey me.

Abide in me.

I will provide all you need.

I don’t know what your mountain is today, my friend. I don’t know what you are staring down this year and wondering how you will ever make it to the next. But know that I understand that feeling. I felt hopeless this time last year, and I really couldn’t see past it without a huge amount of God’s help. So I am here to encourage you to reach out to Him. Stay close to Him. Abide in Him. And He will take you through this year to the next. I am living proof of it.

 

 

 

 

58 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed…

  1. Awemazing and beautiful and powerful. God just gave me the word ” over come”. Well, I guess that is two words! What a testimony of overcoming your fears and doubts, not to mention exhaustion! So proud of your faith and family!! Thank you so much for sharing your gifts!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Such words….such life….He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him…..the joy of the Lord is our strength. What beautiful encouragement to persevere ….KNOWING from where our help comes from …I love your story….your truth and vulnerability…..abide in HIM…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I love this post. I think longsuffering (kjv word) is one of the often overlooked Fruits of the Spirit. We spend so much time on the love, joy and peace, and hoping for them, we forget longsuffering (patience, perseverance) is listed right behind those. Now I’m not saying there is any kind of hierarchy in the Fruit of the Spirit, but Love is listed first, and it by far is the most important, You are learning an extremely valuable lesson, and I rejoice with you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for reading, Pete. I’m glad you loved the post! What a great point you make here about long suffering. I always remember the fruits of the spirits with”patience”, but the KJV translation of “long suffering” makes me see this in a new light. Thanks for sharing this!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my, thank you Lindseylivings! I would say YOU are the inspiration out there everyone needs, because you just inspired ME! 🙂 Thank you for such sweet, kind comments. I really appreciate you stopping by to read and leaving a comment. I give all the glory to God. It is truly HIM, not me!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Awwww, thanks for stopping by and reading, Missy. I’m glad it touched your heart. It has absolutely been the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my adult life, but also the most rewarding, by far. I still look at all these little faces and wonder how I almost let this opportunity slip through my fingers for fear! I’m so thankful God led me back to where I needed to be! <3. <3. ❤

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  4. God doesn’t send trials our way if we can’t handle them. I’m glad you were able to overcome all the challenges 2016 has thrown at you. To God be the glory!

    Also, I hope it doesn’t bother you, but I tagged you in “2016/2017 TAG”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is true Wittymummy! And absolutely— to God be all the glory, we could NEVER have survived and pushed through without Him!!! 😍 I don’t mind, but I have no idea what “2016/2017 TAG” is!!! I’m clueless on WP! Hahahah! 🤣🤣

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  5. I can only imagine how you and your husband must have felt. I can also only imagine how those little ones felt as well. They were in so much need, and they finally had happiness and all the hugs they wanted. However, it is very understandable that it was very tiring for you and your husband. I can identify with your remark earlier: “It is SO much easier to give up then to persevere.”

    But you are very loving people to want to provide for so many children! The Lord will help all of you if you just take things with patience and understanding, as I’m sure you have learned. This is a very open and honest post, and it takes a lot to be the kind of people and parents you two are! Lord bless you for your efforts!!

    Steve

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind comments and encouragement, Steve. I was a little concerned to publish this post because of some of the raw honesty. But I think other adoptive parents (or any parent struggling, really) can appreciate and relate. This is hard stuff. We are only human. Only by the grace of God have we survived this journey. BUT- He promises us He is with us. He promises us He can work ALL things for good (not that there won’t be bad, but that He can bring forth good from the bad). I cling tight to these promises daily!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it is that “raw honesty” that people respect and identify with. And you are right, God will never leave nor forsake us, (Hebrews 13:5). I’m sure God knows what great parents you and your husband are from the heart!

        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. They are beautiful girls. And don’t feel bad. I have had the same feelings with one of my kids. He has always wanted me close and, especially when he was younger, hugged me all the time (he was doing it yesterday a lot, too, and he’s 15 now – my boys lost their dad to suicide seven years ago and it really affected my youngest). I often wondered if I was horrible when after the 25th hug I felt accosted. But He always reminded me that being hugged to death is a blessing and to soak it in while I could.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing, Joanna. The truth is- it IS a blessing, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment. ☺️ I’m sorry to hear about your boys’ dad- sounds like they are very blessed to have you as their mom!!! 😍

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been meaning to post a comment here because this post really resonated and spoke to me. 🙂 I don’t know about others but it is this kind of insight that I always appreciate and a reminder that I constantly need to be reminded of. 🙂 I don’t know if you felt as if you were being spoken through but I definitely felt something truly inspirational and great coming through you and from you in this post. So glad you shared these thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing such a kind and encouraging comment with me. I truly appreciate it. It is always nice to be affirmed that your words are inspiring others. I am glad to hear this has touched your heart. Have a great day, Suzy! 🙂

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  8. Thanks for sharing. This is quite inspiring and thought provoking.
    I miss feeling overloved and overtouched… my kids are grown and I am starting to feel lonely even though they still live with me. They have started to live their own lives. It’s just natural but it still stings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Etoile. My oldest is 21, so I know how fast these years fly by and I know I will miss it. Things are much different now then they were a year ago and I think I am in a much more balanced place, overall, with this. I know as they grow I will quickly miss the snuggles and hugs and fingerprints on windows. ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes! Totally yes! Absolutely yes! So glad you shared the link to this post with me. Oh, I relate to the overloved idea so much. I like the way you put that. All the attention they want. The way the others have to make me laugh if one of them does. Etc etc. and yet, I agree…we aren’t meant to live an easy life all about us, but we are to lay down our lives for others. Be willing to suffer and sacrifice for others. In this case, our kiddos. So glad I’ve connected with you on here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so happy you can relate, Lori. Yes – the making you laugh part…oh my! My hubby and I say it’s like they have supersonic senses…if they hear us “wrestling” with one, they all come tumbling over quickly to be a part…if they hear us talking to one, they all come running “mamma I want to talk to you, too!”…if they see us hugging one, they all come running and jumping on me for their hugs. I don’t blame them one bit. As you say, I know they need it – and I happily supply it, but it DOES take it’s toll over time. I have seen it decline some over the past month, so I know it will get better. Happy to have connected with you as well, Lori! ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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