Sunday, June 26, 2011

as close as i could get

this is so hard.
i KNEW it would be hard. i did NOT think it would be easy.
i just didn't know HOW it would be hard...what it would look like.

so many of you write/comment and say things like, "you are in awe" or "we are showing God's love" or "what a testimony we are" and, just speaking for myself here, i do NOT feel able to accept those comments.

i am struggling.
for those of you that have become parents, you know how it brings out how sinful you truly are? you just don't realize how selfish you are until you have someone depending on you 100% (again, speaking for myself here)

well, this is like that, but 100fold. maybe i "shouldn't" be saying these things.
maybe i should just share the beautiful singing "how great Thou art" this morning in church while holding levi - the precious boy i've prayed for for 2 years...and looking over at pat holding lincoln in his arms. it was beautiful. but, it's also was the last song of the service. i spent the whole service outside holding a screaming baby. pat spent the whole service with lincoln in his lap squirming like an octopus.

i know that i can't do this on my own.
i need HIS strength.
i spent a few minutes a little bit ago with my Bible...hoping to soak some of HIM in.
i opened it, read 2 words, and my head fell onto it and i wept and wept and wept.
that was as close as i could get...i can only weep...and beg...and repent...and try again.

pray for strength for me.
supernatural strength.
i have none left.
i had heard going into this that the "normal" progression is that there is a "honeymoon" period. and then a "hard" period. and then you transition into just being a family.
well, i don't think we had a honeymoon period. maybe we skipped it?? or, if this IS the honeymoon period, i might need to be admitted to a mental hospital :-)

 i'm really ok.
He is good. He meets me when i need Him to.
i'm just trying to be honest and real.


Tisha said...

Courtney, my heart goes out to you. I have been where you are, your words have been my words, your thoughts my thoughts, your tears my tears. We are 16 months in, and I can honestly say I am just beginning to feel a sense of "normalcy." It's new a normal though - the kind where I accept that I am not who I once thought I was - that my kindness and compassion and benevolence is much more shallow and circumstance dependent than I would like it to be.

It is the kind of normal where my optimism is less pure, my vision less idealistic because I have been living in the trenches of reality where things don't look so pretty and life has no shortage of sorrow and angst. I have depended on God, cried out to him, I have felt like He left me, I have wondered why he allowed these children be placed with me, wondered if I would ever be able to "mother" them, I have found Him. I asked myself why I didn't see this about myself - that I would find this so terribly hard. I once loved being a mother.

Slowly, things are coming around. Slowly, slowly, slowly. And, after all that, I'm finding this is a good place to be. It's softer and gentler and more understanding that we are all desperate for Him, for His grace and tender mercies upon our lives.

He will give that to you, and to your children - all 6 of them.

It's ok to be where you are. This will take time. Lots and lots of days and nights and days and nights. You are not alone.

Love you. I'm praying for you.

Kelly said...

I'm praying for supernatural strength for you and for Pat. God WILL see you through this. And you WILL come out stronger on the other side. I love you, my friend.

Debbie said...

God specializes in supernatural strength. I pray that you feel it at this very moment. xoxoxox

Carrie said...

Praying for you all. God is holding you and He KNOWS.

You can do ALL things through Christ who gives you strength.

And no matter how you feel, you are doing an amazing job! You are loving well and mothering well.

Abi said...

praying for your family. you are a testimony of God's grace, even when it is hard. this phase will end, but enjoy the dependence on God while you're in it.

Tracey said...

Keep being honest and real! It's what we want and why we read your blog.

Hang in there, dear one. You will be home soon to the land of Chick-fil-A drinks and long runs with your girlfriends~the things that keep you from going to the mental hospital!

You are loved.

Schulz Sightings said...

amen and amen, echo all comments. right there with you, but getting much better 3 months in.

Mommylove said...

I can't read all this daily without crying, too! Be honest, keep it coming! I have been reading a lot of adoption (Congo) blogs recently and there is a lot of emotion and a lot of reality. Those that have adopted the older children (over 2) seem to have initial bonding issues which DO get better but seem like eternity at the time. And being in a totally foreign country doesn't help either... You are doing what is good and right in the eyes of God, and He will hold you together, and He has provided Pat to help you with that! You will get through it one day at a time. I will continue to pray for you!

Laurie said...

What Emily and Tisha said, except we're only 3 weeks into it. I've never recognized how much grace He gives to me and how much my children need it too. It's so hard...

Julie said...

praying praying praying for you sweet friend... love you and praying for God to meet you in your weeping and your hard times and your good times... just that you would feel like HIS child and embrace all his love to then give to your kiddos. You are such a blessing.... praying....

Katy said...

these moments - they are real and they are messy and they are hard - and yet they are JUST as much a testimony of God's faithfulness and goodness as the PRETTY moments are - probably even more so. Don't let Satan's lies start holding any water - you know the truth, and you have stepped out in obedience to what God has called you to do. He will meet you there and will SHOW Himself faithful. Your children - yes, all 6 of them, are being loved and shown who God is, in an unbelievable real way because of what you and Pat are doing. So know that you are loved and being held - not only by God's hand Himself, but by the prayers of people who LOVE You!

beckley said...

Court, we have a weird concept of discipleship in America these days- like it's supposed to be clean and neat and perfect, like we digest things or submit for some transaction and that covers it. Discipleship, if we truly understand it, is hard. It is brutal. It is ugly and dirty. When we follow Jesus on his roads, rather than the roads that we design for ourselves, it is filthy with unhealth.

We don't understand a lot of that because our lives in America, when not caught in oppression or poverty, are really fairly easy. We talk about "struggles" and when we do, they have a beginning and an end, often.

But sister, as a pastors' family, one who walks with people primarily through pain rather than celebration and ease, I can tell you that the ones who follow Jesus through dirt have much harder lives. Are they more beautiful? I think they are. But they are filthy with the dirt of the Rabbi's trail.

I wish you peace. I think it is what sustains. Peace and the belief that we stand on the other side of the resurrection and by this power we now live.

You could have chosen an easier path, but you didn't. And on this path, as your feet are dirty, may the peace, grace and power of the Rabbi go with you.

And in your dirt, love.
Your cheering squad is immense. You are not alone. Check it out, yo...

Resurrection work is dirty, and you are beautiful.

Jenny said...

I totally get where you are right now. We've been home 2 months and oh it's been hard!!! Joleigh is almost 2. Our time there was our honeymoon period... the flight home, reality sat in and it's been hard! She was SOOO very difficult and mean on the way home. Didn't want anything to do with me b/c I had to tell her no. I built up a wall of defense b/c I was so worried how she would treat our kids at home and that wall is slowly, slowly coming down. It's been HARD!!! Praying for you!! Know you are not alone and the feelings you are having are feelings many of us share... yes, even the UGLY, UGLY ones.

mary eva cassada said...

Congratulations to you and Patrick – Linda Cassada Smith was passing around photos yesterday at the family reunion near Charlottesville. Best wishes to your ever-larger family. I look forward to seeing all the little Cassadas (new and otherwise) in the future.

Heather said...

Courtney, your desire to follow Him through the hard times is awe inspiring. Thank you for sharing your heart and allowing us to lift you up. As I was reading my heart was lead to these verses. I am praying for you.

Lamentations 3:21-24
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."

scooping it up said...

Oh Courtney, my heart is with you. I KNOW. I KNOW it all. It's going to be so so so hard. Maybe for years. But I too add my testimony to yours and others that God can sustain you. Keep praying with Pat. My hardest thing in our trying times was Hubs and I going into survival mode independently because there were too many little ones that needed arms and too often our arms didn't find each other. Stay as close to each other as you can. Sending love.

Megan said...

One day at a time sweet friend. Call when you get home. I KNOW. I know.

jbro said...

This is hard. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to walk into another culture, try to understand children who don't speak your language, & who have never been exposed to the culture that you are accustomed to. The only commonality that you have is the Creator!
I love that He has brought you to them. He brought you to be His flesh as you continue to wipe the tears of the crying, you settle the squirming, you pour out to the ones that look like you, & you fall into His arms at night. He is the sustainer of your lives. You know this. You are doing exactly as He has asked you, you are following where He is leading. He will work it all together. He will sustain. He will work it out. You are the fleshly example of salvation to these kids & how much greater will they understand His rescue because of your family! He will give you rest, He will hide you under the shadow of His wing. As you cover them, He is covering you guys. You will receive the reward of your suffering!
Father, we entrust to you tonight the Cassada family. We believe that you have added by Your divine grace Levi & Lincoln. We thank you for the struggle because they are worth it. We thank you for the opportunity to be the physical representation of Your mercy to these kids. We thank you that Pat & Courtney are the perfect parents, chosen by you, to raise all of these beautiful gifts. We know there are times of struggle & we ask that in their time of need that Courtney would feel your tangible presence holding her up. As the children cry, may she see Your great hand wiping away their tears. Father, we ask that you bring more moments of joy than those of struggle during these times. We thank you for the reality of dreams fulfilled. We thank you that things worked for are SO much sweeter & more treasured than things that come easily. We thank you that You know exactly what you are doing every step of the way & we are expectant for the lessons that Courtney, Pat, & the kids will learn through this time of adjustment & the rest of their lives together. Thank you for the miracle of creating family out of different culture, race, & continent. You are good, sovereign, trustworthy, & a place of rest. Thank you Father for the blessing of being Your kids!

We love you Cassada Family!

The Blakes- Mike, Mer, Carson, & Caroline (& Jenny)

Anonymous said...

As I go forward step by step, the way will be opened up to me. Prov. 4:12
you are faithful, He is faithful! and it is such a beautiful testimony
love, Stace E

Kim said...

You two are never alone and god is with you all, giving you the strength you need. We are all praying for you. you well have good day and bad one just like with you little one's were born.
we love you all hugs.
kim.s aunt

C said...

Courtney, I love you so much and we are praying for you daily! HE IS NEAR! 2 Cor 9:8 - And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Alison McLennan said...

Oh Courtney, yes. No honeymoon here, either. And if these comments say anything, it's that you are not alone and what you are experiencing is natural! I wake up every morning asking God to change my heart, and I go to bed every night repenting of all I shouldn't have said, done, or felt. I feel like a failure every day, and I've even wondered at times if Avivah was better off in the orphanage than she is with me. How could I have longed for her so desperately and then be like this? It is so, so hard. Thank you for being honest. We all need to be honest, because we need to support and pray for one another. I believe that this is the part where we truly learn about God's grace in adoption. This is where He shows us just how unworthy we are of His adoption of us.

You are in my prayers, friend. Hang in there.

Renee said...

Courtney, I LOVE reading all of the comments because it means not only are you not alone but I'm not alone either. It is SO important to have friends who have adopted. I don't have many but having one friend that I could be completely honest with and who would be completely honest with me was SO important. It's so wonderful that you seem to have least through your blog. People don't talk about it...even if they "talk" about it they don't really say everything. I see people make comments about how hard it was/is, and then you look at their blog and there is nothing to really clue you into how hard it blog included. You are so honest and I really admire that. I'm not brave enough. We didn't have a honeymoon period...maybe from the time we met her until the 24 hours later that we actually got her. :-) It's been hard. REALLY hard sometimes. I have a feeling it will always be hard in some sense. Yes, bio kids are hard too. But the "hard" is a little bit different. I think one of the most important things is not only to admit that it's hard (I spent a long time denying it - mostly to myself) and then to be OK with it. To not beat yourself up. With all your heart you followed what God lead you to do. You are exactly where he wants you to be. You know without a doubt He called you to this. He won't give you more than you can handle. These are the thoughts that help/helped me through the tough times. You have MANY people praying you home!

Tammy said...

i know the feeling of being faced so bodly with your sin. so ashamed that you don't even want to lift your face to Him. BUT sweet Courtney, that is when He wants to hold you most closely. it is just like after we discipline our children...we ALWAYS take them in our arms afterwards and say ,"I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOU ARE MINE."

that is what the Father wants to say to you...LET HIM SAY IT. as hard as it is to accept at this point. LET HIM LOVE YOU, SWEET FRIEND!! HE LONGS TO!!

The theme song of my life is this
"He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, the sun and the earth and jupiter and mars. HOW LOVING AND PATIENT HE MUST BE. He's still working on me."

It is OK, even great, that He is working on you. It means you are His and He loves you.

Turn your eyes from your sin and look into His eyes. I love you, friend!!

Mary Jeanes said...

Dear Courtney, I am finally able (I think) to leave a comment. I've had some technical troubles. We have been reading your blog every day and praying for you all throughout the day! We love you all and are so incredibly encouraged by what you are doing.

Though I cannot come close to relating to everything going on in your heart, I do think it's very relevant to your experience. You are adjusting to SO much, so fast. Even though it might be harder in some ways when you're home, you will also be back in your world, your space, with your church and friends, and I think God will use all those things DAILY to strengthen and encourage you as you adjust to this new, amazing yet very difficult challenge of adopting in two little boys. When all is said and done, what matters MOST to our Heavenly Father is our hearts. He's all about our sanctification, which is hard but such a beautiful thing as we grow more and more like Him. I see you growing so much and I am SO very encouraged, and humbled.

Love you so much friend! Have you been able to read our notes? :) Miss you! Can't WAIT to meet your precious boys and see your other precious kiddos!