When you walk into church, your husband is preaching and you see the title of the sermon, "How to Love Others When Your Tank is Empty," you settle in because this perfectly describes this season.
The truths of 1 Peter 1 and 2 have been particularly helpful in these months. Parenting, special needs, ministry, adoption, pandemic, inflation, new needs, unexpected diagnoses. These have all been heavy at times.
Adoption can be incredible. The joys, the love, the beauty. This is all wonderful. Adoption can also be hard. It can look like immediate bonds and incredible attachment. It can feel like you have been a family forever. It can also look like ten months of trying to cultivate attachment without the feelings following quite yet. It can sometimes be feeling trapped by the strong emotions and pain caused by awful trauma. It can be overwhelming amounts of needs and appointments with no reserve. All of these things can be true about adoption without minimizing its beauty or redemption or goodness.
As Paul taught through 1 Peter, my heart was reoriented. Sure, my heart is weary. The 24 appointments we have in the next three weeks and the unexpected diagnoses can feel overwhelming. But none of this is really my primary problem. Adoption, appointments, childhood trauma, rising prices are not my main problem. My problem is that my heart is already empty and hopeless to be filled. It isn't quiet or simple schedules, lots of affirmation, healthy kids or me time that will fill my heart. It is the Gospel that nourishes my soul and satisfies my heart. The reality of the Gospel changes my heart. Continually confessing my sin, and remembering the life and death and resurrection of Jesus, my living hope and sure future fills my heart. On the other side of rehearsing the Gospel, I am strengthened with the Hope that even if the things I fear most are my experience here on earth, I have eternal hope and joy. As I recall the indescribable love I have been shown, I can move towards others with imperfect compassion and love, overwhelmed by the depth of love I have received.
The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord remains forever. And this word is the good news that was preached to us. 1 Peter 1:24