How do you know if your heart is big enough? How big does your love have to be? How much bigger does your faith have to be? What if you can't grow your heart? What if your faith fails you? I have struggled with these questions since Ashley moved into our home.
When I was a young woman, fresh out of high school, I made a choice that led me away from my faith. I believed a lie. I embraced the idea that I had sinned too much and gone too far. I accepted that God's love wasn't big enough to forgive me. I also operated from the most selfish place possible. See once you believe that you are worthless and not worth loving, you become a selfish person. Everything you do is motivated by the desire to prove that you are worth something. You become so wrapped up in your pain, that you are unable to identify with the pain of others. When you have lived your entire life believing that God's love is all encompassing, the lose of that love is earth shattering.
A decade ago, I believed that my sin was bigger than God's love. That my choices had banished me from his heart and that he couldn't or wouldn't deal with me. My junior year of college I was sitting in the middle of the dirtiest house on earth waiting for my roommate and her boyfriend to stop fighting. His roommates begin to have a bible study and in the middle of that bible study a man got up and walked over to me. "You may not think God loves you" he said "but he does, all he wants to do is love you". With that he went and sat back down and they continued with their study, but that was the chink that made my heart slowly melt.
I no longer questions God's ability to love, what I doubt is my own ability to emulate that love. I am overwhelmed by how much this child needs me, and I mean me specifically. Justin is making headway, but she hasn't really had relationships with men before. I am her life jacket in this sea of change. Yesterday, I felt like I was drowning. She needed reassurance and guidance, she needed to be listened to and loved. I needed space. I felt like I had lost myself. Somehow in one week, I was this person who existed solely to care for this child.
I am cognizant of the fact that this is a blog about how much I want to be a mother and all I am describing is motherhood. However, I didn't get the advantage of the hormone that comes at birth and bonds you to your child and I constantly terrified that I will somehow add to the scars she already has. In short, my heart doesn't feel big enough. Last night I was positive that we had made a huge mistake and were only going to cause pain.
I confessed all of this to my husband, who has been struggling in his own way, and instantly felt better not being alone. I spent the afternoon with my Mom, it is her birthday, and spent the whole time wondering how often she wanted to scream and run. My Mom was all we had. She was Mom and Dad. She wasn't always perfect, but she was always there and I never doubted for a moment that she loved me. She is still there, calling, supporting, and loving me. It isn't always the right words or what I would do, but is always love. See, both my parents love me, but my Mom was willing to stick around and choose daily to demonstrate her love for me by her faithfulness. Her heart wasn't extra big, and I am sure that she had doubts, but she just kept going.
Tonight, we had a minor disaster involving and infected earring hole. I held her and told her she was brave while Justin pulled out the earring. Then we read a chapter of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and spoke about how scary a new school can be. As we turned off the light, she rolled over so I could kiss her cheek. My heart grew in that moment. God helps our love grow when we choose to move forward in faith. Choose loving actions and a loving heart will follow. If we do nothing else, we will support, discipline and love her. After all, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.