Accompanying all fresh announcements is a split second of raw, genuine exposure that can't be hidden or taken back. I know, because those are the split seconds of life that I faithfully bungle. If you want to gauge a clumsy reaction, try your news on me. I faithfully blunder those opportunities for beautiful instinct. I'm intuitive, but an over-thinker, to say the least. Maybe it's because I'm a slow processor, (or because slow is my one speed for just about everything... running, cooking, talking... Have I mentioned I'm looking forward to being in a country that I hear runs on my time?) but you can count on me to be three seconds behind on the genuine smiles, squeals, etc. that I WILL enjoy with you - just give me a second. This truth about myself has enhanced my appreciation of these people:
Dena L. - We are blessed to have lots of these stories to recount, but the first one that comes to mind is Dena's. The body of Christ is amazing. It is a wonderful thing to work alongside people you share the joy of Christ with, and I had the opportunity to do that at our church's "Summer Kids Club" in June. It's a week of everybody working in the field they're gifted in (crafts, skits, organization, snacks, music...) but together. It's fun! I know Dena because I've taught some of her kids and enjoyed getting to know her family better over time. I could have told you Dena was for me. And that she probably liked me. But I never knew how Dena loved me. We were standing in the back of the chapel where allllll of the kids were being entertained with the morning skit (screaming their cheers, laughing, waking up lions, all the usual in the background). Dena, our nurse for the week, stopped instead of passing me to ask how the first day had gone. In my response, I alluded to the whirlwind of events outside of SKC, assuming her daughter (who I had gotten a chance to share our news with) had already told her. She looked confused, and I realized she didn't know. "Oh! I figured she had told you. Well, Cary and I are adopting twin boys from Ethiopia!" Dena's eyes welled up with tears before I could blink, and her lip trembled as she said, "Oh, Amy." She was joyful, and I was floored. How could Dena love me enough to care that much about how Cary and I were starting our family, or for our boys, or... how could she care about anything of ours enough to make her heart overflow that fast? I realized at that moment that she loved me well - the way Christ does. I couldn't have done anything to make her love me that well, but she does. Christ's love in her was tangible. Unmistakable. And I'll never forget it.
Sherry H. (Also at "Summer Kids Club") - Before prayer time first thing in the morning before the kids arrived, all of the SKC leaders were sitting around sharing things we'd seen so far in the week that we wanted to thank Jesus for. Sherry brought up music time and some specifics about the way the kids had been engaged. Then, from across the room, she looked right into my face and said, "You're going to be a great mom one day." Her statement was so loving, but so intense! (Of course, she was completely unaware that we were starting a family, or that we'd decided only weeks ago to bring home twin baby boys.) She could have just talked about my teaching, but the Lord moved her heart and she didn't think twice. Whoa. It was one of the most impacting things that has happened to me in a lonnnnng time. I appreciated Sherry's boldness to make a statement that someone (a little more like myself) might have felt insecure making in front of other people, especially when it may not have seemed relevant to the moment. She could not have imagined what a blessing she was to me that morning as she said what had been placed on her heart, and spoke directly to my fears. And then we prayed together.
Josh M. (My brother in law) - It was during our very first adoption announcement (read about it HERE) that, when the news was finally out of our mouths, a face instantly lit up. (So did everyone else's as they realized what we were saying.) But Josh's smile sticks out in my memory as being the first thing that happened once our news was finally out there, and it felt big. :) I am not offended in the least by people who take a few seconds to cycle through our news, whose faces may not brighten for minutes even. (I'm in your club, and I know you are JUST as genuine when you rejoice with us!) But in the power of a split-second, Cary and I have been blessed in a special way that's fun to zero in on.
Josh and Holly - We've gotten close to this special couple over the past few years. They got married the same summer we did, have just had their first baby, and it's been fun swapping stories and enjoying being in the same stage of life. We knew Josh and Holly would rejoice with us in our decision to adopt our two little boys, and so we were eager to tell them. Their reactions were great - much like we expected. It was their next reaction that caught us off guard. The next thing Josh and Holly thought to do was put money toward this new piece of our lives that they were excited about and believed in. (Our turn to *blink, blink.*) I wouldn't disclose the amount they handed us a check for because they'd be mortified, but I tell you, it wasn't extra that this couple had lying around, superfluous to their monthly bills, baby supplies, and mortgage. They offered it to us freely, just in time for the first round of adoption fees. (It still makes me feel a little bit like we're living the vision of the early church - people sharing what they have in joy with each other, even giving up what they have to share it with one another, all because that's how Christ loved us.) Beautiful.
As I mentioned, we have been blessed by these people, and MANY more. There is SO much story to archive, and I will! (Maybe after this season of trying to choose middle school band concert music while accomplishing requests for a third copy of the permission slip while writing 16 purchase orders and throwing a jazz band sponsored dance - oh, and finalization of the adoption of twin boys.) But it's coming...