So many posts and poems and sentiments will be shared today on the subject of love. After all, it is Valentine’s Day. As I considered what I would add to the ocean of words on love today, I hesitated. Should I write about my Henry, the love of my life? Should I write about my children who have stirred such love in my heart I can hardly contain it? Should I write about the great love that was poured into my life by my mother and grandmother? Should I write about the high cost of love as a foster and adoptive parent? Should I write about the greatest love ever offered when God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus?
As I contemplated these worthy subjects I discovered my heart leaning another direction. Love is a journey that is unique for each of us. Love is a great adventure that takes us places we long to see. Love is the ride of a life time. But, sometimes, love is delayed. When this is the case, our hearts can ache with longing for what we begin to fear will never be ours to experience.
Delayed is not what we want to hear. Whether it is as trivial as traffic on the interstate or as life-changing as a failed adoption, we want to move forward and get on with our life, our plans, our hopes and dreams. We don’t want to feel stuck as if we are going no where and making no progress. Love delayed can lead to something worse than a broken heart. Love delayed can lead to a heart that has been torn to pieces.
I have faced some terrible delays in my life. Chances are, so have you.
During the many years of being delayed along the journey to motherhood I often felt as if I were on a roller coaster ride that was full of twists and turns and loops. Just about the time I’d catch my breath and get my bearings, off we would go again in a direction that left me gasping for breath and praying for a merciful arrival at our destination. We had only been married a few years when we attempted our first adoption. We had a baby shower, we borrowed money for attorney fees, we could feel the speed lessening and was totally ecstatic to unbuckle and step off this train of emotional turmoil. Just as we prepared to do so, every thing changed and we were derailed as the adoption failed. Infertility treatments, graphs, tests, procedures and medications all promised relief but, instead they delivered grief.
It was a monumental day when the ‘conductor’ of our train ride opened my eyes to parenting children I might not ever be able to call my own as far as others were concerned. I had to tug on Henry’s sleeve a long time before he would agree. He wanted something more than having a child, he wanted to protect me from pain. Then, God brought this tiny little human being into our lives that would convince us that love was worth the risk of fostering. I won’t name her here to respect her privacy, although many reading this will know. We now had the courage we needed to face the journey ahead. We nicknamed her Grace because we knew it was God’s grace that had brought her into our lives and God’s grace that would lead us through wherever this journey would lead. Little did we know how heavily we would rely on that grace when she left us and took pieces of our torn hearts with her. It wasn’t our choice, it wasn’t hers, but, we did have another choice. There was a sure way we would never have to hurt in this particular manner again. We could quit. We could cash in our ticket purchased by hope and settle down into a life that didn’t include parenting children.
I can’t say that we wouldn’t have done just that but, then there was this other tiny little human being. He soothed the tattered edges of my heart and kept me functioning when I wanted to just cease to do so. It would be two years later before we were able to adopt him as our first forever child. Those two years were terrifying. We knew from our experience with Grace that we were facing possible enormous loss and pain by loving when there were no guarantees. This time, love was not delayed, love stayed and our hearts rejoiced.
Our journey included forty-five precious foster-children and seven adoptions. Some were brief encounters but many lasted for years and still continue today. We have been blessed to see the children of some of these children that are tucked safely in my heart even though they are miles away and grown with families of their own. Although we were separated for a time from our little Grace and others that we love, our paths have crossed again and the bonds of love prevailed. This is one of the reasons I know without a doubt, in the end, love wins.
Are you facing love delayed? Are you tired of the long ride of ups,and downs? Do you long for that special someone to share your life with? Do you ache with desire to start a family of your own? Do you dream of the day when you will have your forever child? Do you find your hope wavering? Do you know what it is to face the delay of death and separation?
Take heart dear friends and be encouraged. The day is coming and it might be sooner than you think that you will be able to say what I can now shout from the rooftops!
“Love was delayed but then, my day came and Love Stayed!”
Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope for and expect the Lord!