My Fleshly, Imperfect Walk

Let’s be honest here. I am human. I am so human! I am a sinner. My flesh gets in the way or tries to get in the way often. My walk of faith and Steve’s walk of faith does falter and stumble at times. We are imperfect. So, I’m going to ramble through this post with examples of my (our) imperfection in this world as we pray our way through this walk with our eight, beautiful children and each other. Yes, we are so blessed. Blessed beyond belief and yet, we are imperfect.

Seth is continuing to do well. He is 8.5 mths. old now. Can you believe it? He is still very tight in his arms and shoulders and tends to always hold his arms straight out to the sides as if he is struggling to balance himself. Even when he is in our arms, he does this. At 7 months he began to grab for toys. We were so excited to see him reach for a toy! Yes, he is behind schedule, but who wouldn’t be after all he has been through? Now he is trying to learn how to sit. I sit him up and he plays for awhile with a boppy pillow around him. Then, he tumbles over. He does not lift himself up on his knees or elbows yet. So, he has no clue how to get back to a sitting position yet. We always help him back to the sitting position when he falls. He also is still struggling with eczema (or is is psoriasis?) all over his body, including his adorable face.

The eczema has brought more words into the air around us than anything else. Here are some of the comments/questions we have received when people look at Seth:

Oh, my what happened to him?? (My flesh wanted to say: Oh, nothing, he just had a birthmother that did quite a few drugs while pregnant with him, he went through almost 3 weeks of drug withdrawal in NICU, he had surgery for tongue and lip tie by 7 weeks of age, he will never know who his birthfather is as his birthmother has no clue, blah, blah)

What is wrong with him? (My flesh again wants to say : Nothing Lady, what is wrong with you for asking in front of all my children what is wrong with their beloved baby brother?)

Did you take your baby out in the sun? He looks very sunburned. The sun is not good for such a young baby. (My flesh wanted to say- Look Mister, I have been married for 26 years, have 8 children ranging in age from 5 weeks to 17 yrs. I think I know by now not to take my baby out in the sun for long periods of time and allow him to burn)

What kind of disease does he have? (Disease? Is this what disease looks like? )

What afflicts him? (What afflicts you to ask this about our sweet baby?)

Of course, my flesh never once said those things, but the thoughts ran through my mind. Instead, I just shared a bit of Seth’s story with them and how blessed we are to have him in our family. Some well-meaning folks then began to offer me all sorts of creams to try, drugs to get from the doctor, etc. My eyes at times glazed over, as this has been a never-ending battle trying to get his eczema under control and you name it, I’ve probably tried it or am still trying it.

Seth’s eczema oozes and bleeds. He now has scar tissue on the back of his neck due to the eczema. It’s pretty bad. I have learned a few items that seem to be helping him right now. It is looking better than it ever has. Please pray for this little guy!

I also had one lady when I was out with both babies, make several comments about how Seth needed love and attention and she kept making sad faces at him. All this, while I sat holding Joy and giving her a bottle. Seth was in his stroller. My flesh felt under attack and wanted to say, “Look Lady, I only have two hands and I cannot hold both babies at once when I am feeding them, but I can love both of them.” Instead I just assured her that all of our children do hold him as well as my husband and myself constantly. I went home feeling as if the woman was judging me for Seth’s eczema! Really? I almost felt like she was implying that I don’t pay as much attention to him as Joy because of his eczema. Really? Like we spent all this time and effort to adopt our son and now we just push him to the side? Maybe she didn’t think that, but let me tell you, I was feeling it bigtime from her.

Then there are the days where Joy gets the spotlight. People do double-takes when they see me holding a baby that is of a different skin color than me. My flesh at times wants to respond to “the looks” with, “Did you know that we all come from Adam and Eve? And all of us have the same blood- it’s red? Have you ever heard the story of the tower of Babel? That is where the beginning of different people groups started….” But, alas, I am usually too busy with a crying baby, a child needing my attention, etc. that I cannot take the time to share with them.

We have even noticed that some people have reacted differently to Joy. Things they have done with Seth, they have not even begun to do with Joy. Is it prejudice? What is it? Why is it? We do not know, but let me tell you, it hurts and we pray for it to stop. Joy may not notice the different treatment now, but her siblings will pick up on it and so will she as she gets older if we continue to spend time with these people.

So, we have been in the spotlight in several ways since adopting Seth and Joy. I must say it has been a learning experience for me. It’s been very eye-opening as well. I never would have dreamed that someone would freely make comments about a baby’s eczema as I have witnessed. I knew there was still prejudice out there, but have still been surprised. It’s okay though. The way I look at it, is there will be some overwhelmingly tough days, but most of the time, people will need to be prepared for “mama bear” to come out from hiding when they treat/speak of our babies in these ways. And Mama Bear is not always the sweetest thing to be around, but she comes out to protect her babies and bring them up in a safe environment, while trying to politely educate others about special needs and differences in people. So, there you have it…for those of you who have looked at us and said to us how wonderful you think we are for adopting and how amazing our family is. I laugh! If only you knew all of our fleshly issues/thoughts! We are so imperfect! SO imperfect! We are not some amazing family. We are God’s people trying to do as He wills for our family and His children. Somedays we get it and other days we don’t. We continue to walk forward daily in faith.

And then my last little speal is about friendships, bonding, Sisters in Christ, etc. I remember years ago when I had started a homeschool support group and led it for 6 years, there was a new mom that called me up one day. I had been praying for a close friend before she called. After we met, she told me that she had been praying for a close friend too. Love you Angela! It turned out that many of the families in the support group thought that because I led the group, I had tons of friends and connections. So, they didn’t ever consider that I might want to do something with them or spend time talking about deeper thoughts. They assumed I was connected. It was tough, but the Lord sent me a few awesome Sisters in Christ, that to this day are there for me at a moment’s notice. Love those ladies!

So, fast forward to moving to UT. I’ll be honest, the honeymoon is over! πŸ™‚ Still love the people here, the beauty, and so much more, BUT I miss those Sisters in Christ. Sadly, it seems that most of the ladies around here are very busy with their activities, sports, etc. and they most likely have forgotten what it is like to be the new kid on the block. And I do not blame them for that! I have tried to connect, but it is very tough. Most already have their close friends that they have known for years and their children’s friends. Our children have had a tough time finding friends too. Some of our children found friends fairly fast, but others are struggling to find that connection. I know it is to be expected after only being here close to 20mths. However, the other day I was able to talk with another newcomer in the area and she expressed similar thoughts to me. She feels lonely here too and that everyone else seems to be too busy to take the time to get to know her as well. She too, has tried reaching out, but like we both said, we do not want to come across as pushy “new kids”. So, this is just a piece of advice for all you ladies out there looking for those special connections during this hectic time of raising children. First of all, keep praying for the Lord to bring you those close friends. He is faithful, He will provide in His time. Second, share with others how you are feeling and that you’d like to connect up with some new friends. They may not have time to connect, but they may be able to connect you with someone else that is looking for a close friend. Third, don’t give up. Keep trying. Keep asking questions, keep inviting, keep sharing your heart, keep on keeping on. I know it is tough. I also know that I have ended up with some very dear friends that felt the same way as I did and yet, the Lord brought us together in His timing. And that bond has not been broken since. These ladies have been Sisters in Christ. They have been prayer warriors. They have been a shoulder to lean on and at other times my cheerleader. I have also been so blessed to be those for these dear ladies.

Please do not think that I am posting about this for pity or comments. πŸ™‚ I am just sharing my fleshly thoughts and struggles. I am being real.

I have to tell you one more thing. I do not like facebook! I never have. However, I had to delve into it when we started fundraising to adopt Seth and so many people asked if we were on FB. I have debated many times about shutting down my account as I really detest it. But, I continue to stay on. The Lord has blessed me with many dear friends through FB and I so appreciate that. Just recently I have had a couple people take a moment and thank me for sharing real, fleshly stuff on FB and not just the highlights of my “perfect” life. They’ve shared that some of the stuff out there is pretty depressing – it seems as if everyone has a perfect life, they take exotic vacations, have tons of friends, buy amazing stuff, post pics. of all their Christmas, birthday and Easter presents, talk about how much their husband drives them crazy, how mad they are at their sister/brother, etc. I want you to know that if you are on FB and feel that way too, you are not alone! If you are on FB, let’s work on being real. Let’s share what the Lord is doing in our lives, our struggles, etc. It’s like a friend told me once. I had invited her over not long after meeting her. I added to the invitation, “Please excuse my house. It is such a mess.” and she said that she was thankful for us being real and to please NOT clean my house before she came over. She voiced how I often feel, and that is why do we try so hard to make ourselves and our home look so perfect? Why not be real? To this day, she and I can go to each other’s houses and not bat an eye at the pile of laundry on the floor or the dirt in the kitchen cabinets. I know she loves me as I am and she knows I love her as she is. So, if you are on FB, let’s be real with each other!

This is my fleshly, imperfect walk.

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