Sometimes, I forget that we’re expecting. I suspect this is because my belly isn’t growing. I feel no kicks from within. I’ve never had a moment of morning sickness. Yet, we wait with great anticipation for the day that (Lord willing) my phone rings with the news.
A birth mom has selected you.
These words, they pierce my soul even as I type this post. When I ponder the immense, brave choice that birth moms make . . . the choice to place their very own child in the arms of another woman . . . to walk the earth knowing that this woman is called Mommy, instead of her . . . my heart is rent. The complexity of this endeavor we call adoption is never lost on me.
I think this is partly why I was so hesitant to let a few sweet friends from church throw us a baby shower. No birth mother has selected us. (If she had, the typical course would mean we have 6-8 weeks to prepare for the baby’s arrival.) The word imposter floated through my mind on a regular basis. How could I sit in a chair, smiling sweetly, and open gift after gift, when I am not expecting?
Except that I am expecting. It just looks different, and there isn’t a known due date on this sort of expecting. I can promise you that the joyful idea of our future child is very much alive and growing in my heart. I am definitely expecting to someday hold a baby in my arms. I completely believe that the Lord is working our adoption such that the growth in my heart, and our child’s growth in his/her birth mom’s tummy, will coincide in an overwhelming tidal wave of love (and grief, but that’s for another post).
So, it is in this reluctant place–uncomfortable with the idea of a baby shower–I sat until we attended a day-long training required by our adoption agency. In our ideal scenario, we would have plenty of time to prepare, and we would need not be in a rush. But then . . . they invited two adoptive families to join our gathering and to tell their adoption stories. We were surprised to learn that emergency placements are not uncommon. In both cases, the adoptive parents were contacted while the birth mom was in labor. They were told they could be matched one day and placed the next.
Obviously, this changed our perspective–and my willingness to entertain the thought of a shower! Suddenly, being at least a little prepared sounded pretty good. Let me tell you, I am so glad that I said yes when asked if we would like one, and it has not one bit to do with receiving gifts.
It confirmed for me that we have a supportive community around us, one that values life and agrees, in one way or another, that we are expecting. In a sense, they are expecting with us! It touched my heart to read the cards and to know how many people are praying not just for us, but for the newborn the Lord sees fit to place in our home. We are now surrounded by all things baby, and we are one giant leap closer to being ready to care for a little one.
I feel like our shower was a warm, preemptive hug for our future babe. Our friends and family, like us, are already falling in love with the idea of this child. We are ever-grateful for such a show of generosity and kindness.
Soli Deo gloria,
I’m beyond excited for my friend Heather, as her second book-baby will be delivered on November 1! The second installment in her series The Tethered World, The Flaming Sword is fast-paced and keeps its claws in you until the very end!
Perhaps my favorite thing about The Flaming Sword is the breadth of growth for the main character, Sadie Larcen. In the first book, liking Sadie as a character was a real challenge for me. She was dragged along on an adventure, instead of reaching out and making her own adventure. I so deeply desired for Sadie to make strong, bold choices! And that’s precisely what happens in The Flaming Sword: The reader sees Sadie blossom from a hesitant, fearful girl who resented her family’s legacy, to a courageous, strong-minded young woman. Sadie’s faith has been tested, and she more fully understands her role in the family and the Tethered World.
This proves to happen in perfect timing, because the Larcens once again step into the world beneath our own — this time to find a darker political atmosphere. The factions and alliances that have formed, in the name of protecting The Flaming Sword of Cherubythe, have the Tethered World on the precipice of war. Unlike their first adventure down below, this time the Larcens are separated. This creates plenty of tension on its own; but the Larcens learn some unexpected things about some unexpected enemies, and these twists and turns keep you guessing!
I very much enjoyed this second installment. Heather has done a fabulous job of ratcheting up the tension for the third book. I can’t wait to read it!
*I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the author.
Falling Free by Shannan Martin releases on 9/20! Click here to pre-order your copy today!
In my opinion, one measure of a non-fiction book’s quality is the extent to which it prompts me to examine my own life. (Actually, more and more I notice that I evaluate fiction books on this spectrum, too.) Earlier this year, I read and reviewed a book that made me reconsider how I plan my days, weeks, and even my year. It helped me to grab hold of a better understanding of efficiency as it relates to life priorities. That was a good book.
Shannan Marten’s Falling Free is also a good book, especially in terms of heart-level examination.
As my eyes moved from page to page, I found my soul praying for the Lord to search my heart…to know me (which, of course, He does) …to show me the ways in which I need to change how I live and love for Him. Because Falling Free is the catalyst for discussions that bring real soul and heart care (and hopefully change), it is the best kind of book.
Since I finished reading Falling Free, it has served as the impetus for deliberation in the following ways.
1. I have begun to reevaluate my priorities in living for Jesus.
This isn’t to say that my priorities will necessarily change drastically or even right away. As Shannan says, not everyone is called to her specific type of ministry, and right now, my sphere of ministry seems straightforward. Being a pastor’s wife and classroom teacher, the stage is pretty set. But the Lord has been pinging around some ideas in my heart for a while now, and Shannan’s words have simply watered the soil around the seeds that were already planted.
As this school year took root at the end of August, I found that Falling Free had changed my heart even with regard to teaching. I teach sixth grade, and if there is ever there is a place that drives you to your knees, it is a middle school classroom, friends. These kids are at a crossroad, and I’ve been given this delicate gift of speaking into their little hearts for the next nine months. Though this doesn’t really tie into the dramatic lifestyle-change Shannan writes about, it definitely is parallel to her words about pouring yourself out for others to show them the love of Jesus. Through my words and actions, I can show these children Jesus for 138 days. Let it be so!
2. I am considering my generosity as regards my time, talent, and treasure.
Sometimes I wish we could just empty our bank account and live in one of those tiny houses with food, books, and our pug. When I think of what a difference that could make, how we could give . . . my heart is stirred. And I always find joy when I get an opportunity to exercise one of my God-given gifts. But you know when I start to feel the squeeze? When using those talents starts to encroach on the time I’ve so carefully allotted for specific activities, it pinches a little. I’m pretty introverted. In truth, at the end of most school days, I prefer to have “carefully allotted” my time to read and drink a cup of tea. But Shannan has reminded me that my time isn’t actually my time at all, and my way isn’t necessarily the best way either. Now it’s time to eagle-eye how I spend my time and to decide how I could spend it more wisely for the kingdom of God. (Not that reading is sinful . . . but I really love to read and it can definitely distract me from kingdom causes.)
3. I am challenging my own ideas and expectations about community.
Above many other things, I value authenticity and transparency (as is fitting for the relationship) in community. But, add to my introversion some painful events from my past, and you have a girl who needs to think once again about what community really means. I’m still percolating on this one, and it might spur a separate post in the future. But for now, as Forrest Gump says, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
The bottom line is this: If a book can make me start to ponder these things of consequence, I will recommend it to anyone who will listen. Such is the case with Shannan Martin’s Falling Free. Get it. Read it. Let the truths learned through her experience percolate in your mind, take root in your heart, and change your perspective for the better.
Soli Deo gloria,
In exchange for my honest opinion, I received an ARC of Falling Free from the publisher.