what my toddler's tantrum taught me

life lessons from toddlers motherhood advice Many Sparrows blog Kayla Craig

“Mommy, I NEED chocolate milk! Right now!”

I placed the baby in her swing and made my way to the kitchen.

“Can you ask nicely, buddy?”

“Chocolate milk, pleeeeeease?”

He asked as he ran to the fridge, swinging open the doors and standing on his tip-toes to reach the chocolate syrup bottle.

“I get it, Mommy!” My two-year-old declared as I reached inside, grabbing the milk.

I snagged a small plastic cup from the cupboard (why do we go through 100 every day?) and placed it on the table as my impatient toddler worked intently on opening the syrupy goodness.

I poured the milk (“A BIG glass, Mommy! BIIIIG!”) and took the syrup from his hands, squirting the liquid gold into the milk, a bit spilling over the side of the lime green IKEA cup. And that’s when it happened.

Threat level midnight. Meltdown of epic purportions. Sobbing and screaming that didn’t stop.

I sighed of exhaustion and prayed for an ounce of patience. “Bud, I’m making you chocolate milk. That’s what you asked for.”

“Nooooo! You’re not doing it right! Nooooo!”

Cue more sobs and me rescuing the brimming cup from flailing limbs. My attempts to mix syrup into soy milk were increasingly unsuccessful. The full-fledged tantrum was escalating quickly. It was only a matter of minutes before the baby — who had finally fallen asleep — would be awoken by her tornadoing brother.

I inhaled deeply, wearily eying my messy kitchen. Nothing I was doing was pacifying the eye of the hurricane, so I grabbed a dishcloth and started wiping the counters, stepping away to let the storm run its course. I tried tuning out the angry screams and flailing limbs.

After a few minutes that seemed like eternity, I felt two arms pulling my legs, a little head ramming into my shins.

“Buddy, WHY are you crying? WHAT do you want?”

I kneeled down and tried to pull out the ounce of patience I had left. Big brown eyes with tears around the rims looked up at me.

“I want you to hug me.”

That was it.

Cut to the heart, I scooped him up and held him close. He wiped his runny nose on my shoulder and his cries turned into soft sobs as he snuggled in. He twirled his fingers through my hair. I rubbed his back. His heart rate slowed to a calmer cadence.

I sat with my growing boy on the crumb-laden kitchen floor, rocking back and forth. I wondered how many times desiring to be seen, heard, and loved manifests itself in screaming, anger and ugliness from us grown-ups. How often does hurt show up as anger, loneliness as pushing people away?

How many times have I been the screaming toddler?

How many times have I glossed over others lashing out in pain, not seeing the hurt hidden in their hearts?

I don’t think my son even knew the needs tucked away in his little soul. He recently had to relinquish baby status to his little sister, and he’s aware another baby is on the way.

I kissed his forehead as the tears subsided, and we headed back to the table, together.

Sometimes it’s hard not to cry over almost-spilt milk.

Posted in Family, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

eliza's adoption story: part 4

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

I thought I’d get to this part in Eliza’s adoption story much earlier. (If you’ve missed it: part one, part two, part three.) But the stories we live aren’t often quick and concise — they’re made up of moments that take us up hills and down valleys we could have never imagined. Now, though, I want to share one of the purest moments of profound joy I’ve experienced.

I experienced it when I stood at the back of a church in a big white dress, arm-in-arm with my father, as the big doors opened and I looked down the aisle and saw my future husband standing at the altar. I experienced it when a Nigerian nanny placed a snuggly, sleeping six-month-old in my arms and told me, “Here is your son.” I experienced it when I looked into the bright eyes of the newborn son I had just brought into the world and my own eyes couldn’t stop my own tears.

And I experienced on December 21, I experienced it when we met our daughter.

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

Her foster mother gingerly placed her in my arms, and in that moment, each fear and worry I had locked away in my heart melted away, leaving only a raw, all-consuming love for this tiny baby.

She was more precious than we could have imagined, with a mop of curly tendrils. Almond eyes, button nose, beautiful mocha skin. I held the bundle tight in my arms, close to my chest. I studied her little fingers and watched her breathe and whispered in her ears that I loved her. That I would love her forever.

“We’re here now, baby girl. We’re yours.”

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog
I breathed in her sweet baby smell and finally shared, placing her in her daddy’s arms. I watched him and quietly thanked God for the compassionate man I walked down that aisle to seven years ago.

The small meeting room was full of social workers and foster parents and notaries and adoption agency staff, but to us, we were the only ones in the room. The stresses of the piles of intimidating adoption paperwork we had just completed dissipated as we soaked in the glory of the moment.

We had a daughter, and she was more perfect than we could have ever imagined.

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

This sweet moment in a crowded meeting room is one that I’ll tuck away in my heart forever.

It was a whirlwind to get to her, but God made a way. As we looked into her eyes, we knew. We knew that we would spend our lives loving her. Encouraging her and empowering her and advocating for her. We knew she was joining a family that was overjoyed to welcome her. A wild family that was a little bit loud and a little imperfect, but boasted big hearts. I knew my boys would fall in love with her (spoiler: they did). I knew that in that moment, I was mama bear, and I had been given a precious gift to nurture and protect, and someday send into the world.

I don’t know what else to say except that this sweet baby has blessed us in ways unimaginable. That every time we look into her precious eyes, I’m reminded of God’s grace. The way she snuggles on my chest. The way she looks into my eyes and smiles when she sees me after waking up. The way her heartbeat slows when I pick her up when she’s upset. Just by being her, she is a gift beyond measure.

We’re smitten with Eliza — all of Eliza. An extra chromosome will certainly bring her some challenges, but in this precious daughter, we haven been given a gift. Only because of God’s grace will we have the amazing opportunity to experience life in a new way because of Eliza.

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

We have seen the goodness of so many friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers. We have been recipients of generosity that we could have never dreamed of and will never be able to be repaid. We were lavished with love through so many ways I’d need a new blog post just to list them. And through incredible private donations and contributions, we will be be able to fully pay Eliza’s adoption fees without debt by the time her adoption is finalized.

Our lives are just collections of the yes moments.

I don’t know what God is whispering in your heart, but I pray that you’ll experience the same profound joy that comes to saying yes. He doesn’t ask for perfection. He just wants our willing, imperfect hearts.

When we hold Eliza, we’re just a little bit closer to heaven.

What an amazing gift of grace she is.

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

Eliza’s Adoption Story:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

[Top photo by Everyday Moments Photography]


Don’t miss anything! Let’s connect. Enter your email address to join the Many Sparrows newsletter mailing list.

powered by TinyLetter

Posted in Adoption, Faith, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

eliza's adoption story: part 3

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

This is the third part of our adoption journey to Eliza, our precious daughter. You can read part one here and part two here.

I would say that as soon as we put our yes on the table and joyfully learned a sweet two-week-old baby girl would soon be our daughter, things started falling into place. But I can’t say that because this story is so much bigger than happenstance. We’ve been privileged to be part of this amazing narrative that God is crafting, and when he writes a love story, his ways are so much bigger than ours. No plot line is forgotten. No chapter goes unfinished.

The creator of all things drew so close to us and I can honestly say that we felt reality of his presence in new ways as we began to piece together the journey to our sweet girl. The day we learned of Eliza, Jonny talked to a friend, a fellow Iowan and pastor in our denomination. He and his wife have three sweet daughters with Down Syndrome via birth and adoption, and he was an amazing resource for us to ask honest, real questions. In an after thought, really, he happened to ask Jonny where this waiting baby was. It turned out that his mom had a beautiful home in Florida she wouldn’t be at for the time we would need to be there.

Through this precious family, God provided ample and amazing housing for us for the entire adoption wait. When we thought we’d be pinching pennies for a cramped hotel room, God made a way we could have never come up with on our own. He does not leave us on our own. He is the good shepherd who cares for each one in his flock.

We knew we’d be driving all around the state for different appointments and paperwork, but a rental car for what was looking like at least a two-week wait was more than what our meager budget could handle. Friends of ours from when we lived in Des Moines now live in Florida, and very, very generously offered their second vehicle for us to use as our own. Another detail that we worried about, but God had already taken care of. When I think on the love and generosity so many poured out on our family, I am brought to tears. We truly got a front seat to the compassion of the body of Christ…and friends, this was only the beginning.

A whirlwind may be putting it lightly.

We got the call, tried to process life-changing news, and ran around our house, haphazardly throwing clothes in suitcases. We packed diapers and a dear friend brought over two huge boxes of newborn clothes and baby gear for us to borrow. That Saturday morning, we managed to celebrate Christmas with our boys, go through a last-minute home study visit with our social worker, and drive to Kansas City. The airport there had the most affordable plane tickets, and my parents were planning on being there to visit my grandma for Christmas. We would be able to leave the boys with my family, and fly out early Sunday. My amazing mom, who never has time off, happened to already have the next week off, due to Christmas, so she could watch the boys for us.

The timing of everything was something only God could orchestrate.

When the world says no, God makes a way.

God always had a plan for Eliza. Always. And I’m so thankful that we get to be a part of it.

When we finally boarded our plane at 4 a.m. that Sunday morning, I was physically and emotionally exhausted, and if I’m being honest, I was terrified, too. Despite God’s clear faithfulness, I was scared. What were we doing? Others would surely think we were crazy. Were we crazy? Were we making the right decision? I missed my boys already. Anxiety mixed with pregnancy and I actually threw up. I felt fatigued and over my head. I pushed my head back on the plane seat and put in my headphones, turning up a new album Jonny had just downloaded. As we ascended into the clouds, I closed my eyes and tried to breathe. Of course, God met me there, on that plane. This is what I heard:

Skies spin their dance within Your breath. Time runs it’s race within Your hand. And my mind runs wild to comprehend what no mind on earth could understand.

Your ways are higher, your thoughts are wilder. Love came like madness, poured out in bloodwashed romance. It makes no sense but this is grace. And I know You’re with me in this place.

Here, now. All I know, is I know that You are here now. Still my heart, let Your voice be all I hear now. Spirit breathe like the wind come have Your way. Cause I know You’re in this place.

Faith makes a fool of what makes sense. But grace found my heart where logic ends.

Cause I know that You are here now. Heart and soul, God I know that You are here now. Fix my eyes on the things that I can’t see now. And all I see is the glory of Your Name. (“Here Now” by Hillsong United)

Tears streaked my mascara as I dwelled in the reality that even in the unknown, God keeps his promises. His ways are beyond what we can understand — and so. much. better. I took a deep breath and let God’s grace fill my lungs. I knew in that moment that there was so much I didn’t know, and that was okay.

It is so much better to do hard things with God than to do easy things without God.

In every corner of my whole heart, I believe that. We love because He loved us first and He loves with an intimate, outstretched love that I’ve only been able to begin to understand in the times in my life when I relinquish control and rely on his fullness to fill my brokenness. Fear only takes over when I start forgetting that I’m not in this alone. Perfect love casts out fear, and I wish I could tell that scared mama on the plane last month that every single worry would wash away when a tiny baby would be placed in her arms just a few days before Christmas, when so many around the world would celebrate the tiny little baby that changed everything.

I began writing this third part of Eliza’s adoption story believing it’d be the final part, but the words seem to keep coming. Thank you to all who have read along so far — there’s still so much more to share about our journey to our precious, perfect daughter.

I’ll leave you with the words to the next song that played as we flew through the clouds: “Lord I hear You. I know You’re there. Closer now than my skin and bones could dare. Breathing deep within me, you are always with me. I can see You where eyes can’t stare. Brighter now than the sun could ever dare. Breathing all around me, God I know You’re with me here.” (Closer Than You Know, Hillsong United.)

(To be continued)
[Photo by Everyday Moments Photography]

Don’t miss anything! Let’s connect. Enter your email address to join the Many Sparrows newsletter mailing list.

powered by TinyLetter

Posted in Adoption, Faith, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

our adoption: part 2

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

I want to continue to tell Eliza’s adoption story because each dotted i and crossed t points back to a loving God that so intricately wove our stories together. Every time I look at her face, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness. Of his goodness. Of his grace. (Read part one of her adoption story here.)

It was just an ordinary Wednesday morning when an email — the e-mail — arrived in my inbox. I had just finished hanging ornaments back on the tree (my two little ninjas kept knocking them down!) and I cracked open my laptop to follow up on a few work-related assignments. I spotted a new e-mail. An adoption situation email about a two-week-old baby girl, waiting for her forever family.

When she was born, she had been unexpectedly diagnosed with Down Syndrome, and she though she had a few obstacles, she was doing very well. My heart skipped as I quietly imagined this sweet little one in our family, and then I shook my head. Surely, we couldn’t be her family. Our family was busy — two busy boys, one with a chronic illness, and another baby on the way in the spring. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking of her. The tears came when I saw her photos. I called Jonny upstairs and asked him to read the email.

“Maybe we could be her family.”

“Maybe we should consider it.”

And we did. I Googled more than I ever have in my life and reached out to friends and acquaintances who have adopted and fostered children who have Down Syndrome. I learned that people born with Down Syndrome have an extra chromosome, and that affects their development. I also learned that I had many misconceptions about what people with Down Syndrome could or couldn’t do.

Jonny left to go to work, and I tried to go through the motions of the day, but I could not get this sweet girl off my mind. I prayed and researched and threw the idea out there to some close friends and family. To my surprise, everything kept coming up yes. So often, God uses his people to speak to us, and when I kept expecting cautious no’s, I didn’t receive them. Little did I know, Jonny was doing his own research and calling his own connections.

That evening, we shared our fears and hopes and dreams. We talked realistically about pursuing special needs adoption and wrestled with trying to discern God’s will. We both felt a tender spot in our hearts for people with Down Syndrome (remember when I wrote about Down Syndrome adoption here?). Jonny and I took a class together at Drake where we learned the heartbreaking, staggering statistics of Down Syndrome abortion after prenatal diagnosis (around at least 70%), which I think sealed in both of our hearts that we would pursue Down Syndrome adoption much further down the road.

But now? I had been expecting to adopt a toddler. Could we really be the best parents for her? We knew we both had to be on the same page. We believed that God wouldn’t call one of us to something without calling the other, too. We sought prayer and wisdom from others and we went to bed that night fully believing that if this little one was our daughter, God would pave the way.

The next morning, adoption forms from interested families were due. We answered the questions about why we felt led to pursue this adoption situation, initialed the dotted lines, and submitted it just a few minutes before the 10 a.m. deadline. I hit send and felt a whoosh of relief. I also felt a pang of sadness, already worried that I had given too much of my heart away to a little one who wouldn’t end up being ours. But mostly, we both felt confident that we served a God worth trusting.

Confident that God is a God who orchestrates more than we could imagine. That he knit together this little girl in her birth mother’s womb and that she was fearfully and wonderfully made. Throughout the adoption process, we walked through doors in faith, and when those doors shut, we felt confident that we had been obedient. Things were out of our hands, and we went about our day. Maybe we would hear something further about the situation later in the weekend.

Light snow fell as Jonny headed to our local college to pick up Edwin, our host student, to drive him 2.5 hours to the airport so Edwin could spend Christmas with his family. I kissed Jonny goodbye and went about my day, trying not to obsess about that potentially life-changing document we had just submitted. I took Joseph to school and played blocks with Asher and cut the crusts off peanut butter sandwiches.

At 1 p.m., I received an unexpected call from an unknown number. 

“I’m calling about the adoption situation.”

I ran into the living room to escape the Curious George Asher was loudly watching as he ate lunch.

“Congratulations…you have a daughter.”

I stared at the Christmas tree as the twinkle lights began to blur in a mess of tears and laughter. I took a breath and tried to find the words to say and a chair to sit in before my pregnant body fainted in shock.

“You’ll be hearing from the agency soon. They submitted you along with other families to the baby’s birth mother, and she quickly chose you. You’ll start getting paperwork soon.”

And that was it. I stood, mouth gaping, phone in my hand, staring at the Christmas tree, in shock of the life-altering call I had just received. My heart dropped and burst into a million pieces. My hands shook as I called Jonny, who was in another state on his trek to the airport.

My words jumbled and I somehow choked it out that this was it.

We were going to be parents to the most perfect baby girl.

(To be continued)


[Photo by Everyday Moments Photography]

Don’t miss anything! Let’s connect. Enter your email address to join the Many Sparrows newsletter mailing list.

powered by TinyLetter

Posted in Adoption, Faith, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

our adoption: part 1

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

December ended up being a pretty wild, amazing, unexpected ride. The week before Christmas, our beautiful daughter Eliza Marie was placed into our arms via adoption and our lives have been forever beautifully changed.

But before we get into that, here’s a bit of the back story that led us to our perfect girl:

We took a nontraditional adoption path. When we started this adoption, Jonny and I were on the same page. We really felt specifically led to adopt a child who was already waiting for a family. We did not sign on with a particular agency and instead pursued a home study with an independent social worker so we could be open to broader adoption situations. We were approved for ages up to four years old, multiple races, both genders, sibling groups, and special needs. Since God had already grown our family through transracial adoption, we felt more intentional about that for this adoption as well. We didn’t know what this adoption would look like, but we felt compelled to be open to what God had for us.

My sweet friend Courtney is an adoption consultant who is networked with multiple agencies, social workers, and attorneys across the country. I reached out to her about our heart for harder to place children and she agreed to let us know when she came across higher-need situations. I also joined Special Angels Adoptions, a nonprofit group for home-study ready families that helps connect willing families with special needs situations. We additionally submitted our home study to AdoptUsKids.org, a national registry of waiting children in the U.S. foster care system.

And then we waited. Any of you adoptive mamas know the reality of aching and waiting for a child, even if you don’t know who that child is. I kept delaying our Christmas cards, holding out hopes that kiddo #3 would be in our photo.

We prayed about, researched, and pursued a few adoption situations, including a infant waiting for months in the NICU, born heavily addicted to heroin. We learned much about the brokenness many children in foster care have to suffer when we sat in on interviews to find a family for a 4.5-year-old suffering from PTSD and attachment disorders. Our hearts were continually broken and re-broken as we saw firsthand the hurt in our world, inflicted on sweet little ones due to no fault of their own. Our hearts also grew for birth families, as we had a front-row seat to the trauma they have often endured as well. Adoption is a blessing, but oh, how it comes from so much loss.

Families come to adoption in many ways, and while some assume that infertility is the only reason, that is certainly not the case. For us, adoption was something God laid on our hearts as a young married couple before we thought to build our family in any other way. We are so grateful for the ability to grow our family through adoption and birth, and when we adopted Joseph and then decided to get pregnant, it sealed the deal for us that we would eventually have four children — one more biological child and at least one more via adoption.

This summer, as we continued to pray and wait for our little one via adoption, and as we dreamed of having a family with children close-ish together in age, we were so thrilled to find out God was giving us another little one via birth. As my bump grew, I felt mixed emotions — so thrilled to have a life growing inside me, but increasingly discouraged that our family was somehow still incomplete. I wrestled with God — did he really lead us to adopt a waiting child? Couldn’t we go a more traditional (faster) adoption route? What in the world was going on?

But as my kids love to sing, “God keeps his promises.”

And what he had in store for us was so much bigger and better than we could even fathom.

(To be continued)

I share about our adoption journey because we all have our “yes” in God’s Kingdom, and for family, it looked like intentionally walking the path of adoption. For you, it could look completely different. My hope is that by sharing our “yes”, you’re encouraged to dwell in God’s grace and be obedient in yours.

I’d love to hear what “yes” God is writing into your story.


[Photo by Everyday Moments Photography]

Posted in Adoption, Faith, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

parenting: expect the unexpected (and always have diapers ready)

Huggies Little Movers Review and Advice for New Parents Many Sparrows Blog

As my bump grew and we prepared for Asher to join our family, I thought I had a good grasp on what I needed to know about parenting a little one. I wasn’t a first-time mom and I already had one son — would adding another be so different?

I didn’t factor in that Joseph came to us through adoption when he was a one-year-old, and while I understood the rhythms of toddlerhood, I was less experienced when it came to babies.

If I could travel back in time and whisper into my ear, I’d share a few nuggets of wisdom for parenting and transitioning through the first year:

  • Expect the unexpected. As much as we wish we could see into the future, we can’t. You can read all the labor and delivery chapters, but nothing will prepare you for actually experiencing bringing life into the world. You can soak up sleep-training suggestions, but it’s not until your little one’s arrival that you’ll know how to navigate nighttime. Parenting is one big experiment and we’re all trying our best, so don’t worry when surprises arise or situations don’t quite go as planned. Speaking of surprises:
  • Be prepared. And by prepared I mean do not take one single step out of your home without diapers (I like these Huggies Little Movers) and wipes. I am so serious about this one, friends. It’s always the times when you don’t think you’ll need a diaper when your little one will have a what we refer to as a poopsplosion. We now keep a diaper caddy in our car, and I have all the praise hands for it. Having a designated, car-only spot for diapers, wipes, and hand-sanitizer makes all the difference. (Trust me: You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re scrambling for napkins and a forgotten blanket in the trunk to create makeshift wipes and diapers.)

Huggies Little Movers Review and Advice for New Parents Many Sparrows Blog

  • Give yourself grace. Motherhood is humbling. For recovering perfectionists, parenting can be a challenge. We want to give our kiddos the biggest love we can muster, and we heap on the mommy guilt when we feel like we’ve failed. It’s never too late to take a breath and start over. Nobody is perfect. (Repeat that until you believe it.)

Huggies Little Movers Review and Advice for New Parents Many Sparrows Blog

  • Simplify. Expecting a little one? Those department store registry lists can be overwhelming. But you know what? Babies are tiny humans that mostly need three things: your time, energy, and cuddles. Those squishy little ones require some snuggly clothes, a cozy place to sleep, a safe travel system, and lots of absorbant diapers. Do not worry about overcomplicating things with robots that warm wipes while singing and teddy bears that teach your newborn to speak five languages. Get the essentials (and okay, maybe a few special splurge items) and treasure the sweet time with your little one.

Huggies Little Movers Review and Advice for New Parents Many Sparrows Blog

  • Plan ahead. We’ve already discussed that parenting throws us curve balls, but that doesn’t mean we should forgo any parenting prep. A lifesaver for us has been buying must-have baby items in bulk. Asher is still in diapers (praying for the potty-training heavens to open!) and it makes life so much easier (and more affordable) to purchase a big box of Huggies Little Movers on a trip to Sam’s Club. (I’ve had multiple friends swear by the deals they score purchasing baby formula there, too. And for those of us who are small-town dwellers: Sam’s Club provides free shipping on diapers and wipes to members. Amen to that.)

Huggies Little Movers at Sam's Club Review and Advice for New Parents Many Sparrows Blog

I don’t think we ever “arrive” when it comes to parenting. Isn’t motherhood just one big giant adventure? I’m grateful we can learn from our experiences and pass along those ways we can make the parenting journey a little less stressful and a more joyful. As we prepare to add more littles to our family through birth and adoption, I need to remember to enjoy all the messy and wonderful bits of motherhood.

Huggies Little Movers Review and Advice for New Parents Many Sparrows Blog

If you know someone who’s adding a little one to their family through birth or adoption, or who has a babe or toddler in tow, consider putting together a go-to diaper caddy for their car for Christmas. I promise you: You won’t regret it.

We include: Huggies Little Movers diapers (available in sizes 3-6 and especially made absorb on contact + prevent leaks), changing pad (choose one that is easily wiped clean), wipes (the sturdier the better!), diaper rash cream (parents will thank you!), hand sanitizer (expect the unexpected, right?), a few baby toys (baby will thank you!), and some disposable bags to place dirty diapers in.

Are you in the mothering trenches? What words of wisdom do you wish were passed on to you?

I’m grateful for Huggies Little Movers for inspiring me to reflect on my motherhood journey so far, and for helping me keep Many Sparrows running through occasional sponsored posts. Like always, my thoughts and words are my own. Please consider supporting brands and companies that support Many Sparrows.


Posted in Family, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

waiting is for the weak

Devotion on Waiting Advent Many Sparrows Blog Kayla Craig

When we were in the process of adopting Joseph, we finally got word that his in-country court date was set for July. I stared at the calendar and time eked by. I rearranged books in the nursery and resorted tot-sized toys.

I made up my mind. My mama heart couldn’t wait any longer. I hammered out some emails and prayed for positive responses. Because I was booking myself a one-way ticket for June — a month before our scheduled time.

If patience is a virtue, I’m cut from an un-virtuous cloth. 

It’s a reoccurring theme in my life — know what I want, and don’t waste time in the meanwhile. Because life is short, right?

I’ve seen it played out time and time again — people spending time passively waiting for things to happen to them. And what are they left with? Not much of anything. Not much living, anyway.

I’ve been able to jumpstart many things in my life. Education and career goals, family hopes and dreams.

But fortitude and passion are weaknesses, too. Positive attributes can easily become corrupted. Desire for control manifests in ugly ways. Control is a deceitful and cunning lie that’s just so easy to believe.

I’m waiting for so much right now — and there’s nothing I can do to control any of it. Waiting is hard and that’s why I don’t like it.

Waiting is for the weak.

To acknowledge this is to admit my weaknesses, to acknowledge my human condition, to defer to something bigger than myself.

I can’t fully grasp God’s overarching love if I rely solely on my strength. When I do this, I use the Holy Spirit more as a booster, less as an engine.

Throughout scripture, we see an overarching narrative of waiting. Waiting for captives to be set free, waiting for a Messiah, waiting for the coming King.

We are weak in our wait, and it’s in those seasons where we cling to God’s sovereignty and goodness, seeking and seeing grace revealed in the quiet unknown. He is a good, good Father, and he desires humility, not hustle.

I’m experiencing my own season of wait right now. Waiting for spoken and unspoken prayer to become reality. I’m aware of my propensity to take the reigns, but it’s painfully clear I’m waiting for things to happen that are mightily out of my grasp.

In these times, I have to trust that God actually does see me. That he actually does care for the big and little parts of my heart. That he created me for a purpose and that he knows me better than I even know myself.

Advent is a time on the Holy calendar where Christians across the globe spend time waiting, anticipating.

Without the wait, we can’t fathom the glory.

A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices.

Waiting can certainly be passive — or it can be an active, holy experience. 

“Celebrating Advent means being able to wait. Waiting in an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It was to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespectful hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them.

Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting — that is, of hopefully doing without — will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in the Manger)

To my friends who are “hopefully doing without” — you are seen. I may not know your wait, but we have a loving, all-powerful God who does. He so intimately knows what your heart aches for because he entered the brokenness of the world and experienced it.

Waiting isn’t easy for me, but I’m learning waiting is for the weak, and that’s good.

Posted in Faith, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment