Let’s face it. Saying yes can be hard no matter how old you get.
The little yeses are hard enough. Yes, I will let you in front of me in traffic even though you cut the line because maybe you are just having a really bad day and need one act of kindness. Yes, I will hold back the perfect biting response on the tip of my tongue because words are not weapons to be fired in anger.
The big yeses feel like they can rip our hearts out. When it comes to foster care and adoption, maybe Jen Hatmaker said it best:
“When you say YES to adoption, you are saying YES to enter the suffering of the orphan, and that suffering includes WAITING FOR YOU TO GET TO THEM. I promise you, their suffering is worse than yours. We say YES to the tears, YES to the longing, YES to the maddening process, YES to the money, YES to hope, YES to the screaming frustration of it all, YES to going the distance through every unforeseen discouragement and delay. Do not imagine that something outside of "your perfect plan" means you heard God wrong. There is NO perfect adoption. EVERY adoption has snags. We Americans invented the "show me a sign" or "this is a sign" or "this must mean God is closing a door" or "God must not be in this because it is hard," but all that is garbage. You know what's hard? Being an orphan. They need us to be champions and heroes for them, fighting like hell to get them home. So we will. We may cry and rage and scream and wail in the process, but get them home we will."
She’s right, you know.
But does this mean we are always supposed to say yes? Well, no. Again, whose design is that?
Friends of mine who are newly licensed foster parents were faced with the difficult decision of adopting a five-year-old little girl. This child was their first placement. Adoption was not in their plans but the little girl loves them and they dearly love her. Are they supposed to say yes when saying yes doesn’t feel quite right? Are they supposed to ignore the tiny, nagging voice deep inside of them that is like sand in their shoes, microscopic but impossible to dismiss?
The voice buried inside of us, the voice many of us have completely banished, is where God speaks. I used to think God was somewhere up high, looking down, and judging. It took a lot of years to undo that thinking and to understand God is within each of us. I believe God put a little bit of God into each soul before it was born. We can spend our whole lives finding our way to that tiny speck. As we look for it, find it, and listen to it, it grows bigger and bigger.
Mother’s Day is the perfect time to listen for that voice deep inside and allow it to speak. It is an opportunity to tune out all the bombarding messages about what we should receive, how we should feel, and our obligations. When we make decisions and answer from the voice within, the most impossible yeses are bearable. Living from that place is the best gift we can receive. Ironically, we give it to ourselves. No one can give it to us. Also ironically, it is the best gift we can give our children and those who love us.
We know Whose design that is.
By the way, the five-year-old little girl was matched with an amazing adoptive family who said their own yes. Maybe my friends’ no was exactly what this precious child and her new family needed.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who listen attentively to the children they adore. Remember to listen within as well.