My three boys (okay, my four boys) were way into the MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU pun yesterday. They donned their Star Wars gear and waved colorful light sabers in my face at every opportunity.
Is anything more exciting to young boys than a battle between Darkness and Light?
But as much as Light vs. Darkness seems a game, a fantasy, to them, it’s been pretty real for me lately.
Have you ever felt that when you’re on a mission to carry out some weighty work, the powers of Darkness launch a full-out attack on your hopeful, bright-eyed self?
Back in November, my husband and I agreed it was time to move forward with our intentions to add another child to our family through adoption. We chose the route of fostering-to-adopt through the State of Michigan, and spent the first few months of the year readying our home to comply with requirements, form-filling, fingerprinting, interviewing, training, and praying. Lots of praying.
It was a happy day when the application packet was sent off to Lansing to await the big old stamp of approval from the state. (At the moment, I imagine it’s sitting in a ceiling-high pile on some fancy cherry desk with an engraved name plaque up front.)
But the moment we hit the System Activation button on adoption, pesky hunks of space debris started falling on our family.
Sickness entered the household.
Our beloved Wookie died unexpectedly.
We discovered we owed more on taxes than we anticipated at the same time we discovered the need for some repairs at the Jedi Temple.
My husband’s fingerprinting forms got messed up, so he had to do it again. Then both of our fingerprinting forms got messed up, so we did it again-again. (I’m hoping we are triple-cleared-for takeoff at this point!)
We brought home a tiny new Wookie who barked and whined in his crate all night long for two solid months.
A Dark Princess from the past popped into our lives, attempting to distract my husband from his mission.
Space Shuttle Harrison almost, ALMOST got creamed by a distracted driver in an F-350 Craft.
psoas muscle blaster pistol jammed up, requiring physical therapy medical droid intervention.
We’ve been tired. We’ve been challenged. We’ve been stretched.
Yesterday morning, May the 4th, I attended a local moms’ group for the first time in weeks. I was signed up to bring an egg bake, or I’m not even sure I would have made it there with my troopers. Before the meeting, a sweet mom named Mindy who I have been getting to know (and who has also adopted) approached me and asked if I could use an adoption journal and an infant car seat for our future child.
She had no idea that the ONLY piece of equipment we needed before adopting was an infant car seat. Ours expired just after our third son outgrew it.
I was touched by her thoughtful generosity and told her so, but after the meeting, I was blown away at the beautiful condition of the car seat she was just giving to me (and the fact that it was even covered in a fabric print that I would have chosen myself at the store — little things, right?)
Before heading home from the meeting, Mindy and another friend, Kelly, both adoptive mommas, inquired about my family’s journey, and I had a moment to share some interesting twists with two moms who truly understood.
I felt so safe in that moment, standing in the presence of women who have DONE IT. Their very lives make the process and the product so real to me. Their families were woven together with the threads of adoption.
With the closing of the car door and turning of the key came tears. Honestly, they surprised me. I hadn’t fully realized I’d been feeling isolated or fearful or under attack until I stood with Kelly and Mindy and felt safe and certain and understood.
I was suddenly aware of the ways Darkness has been trying to distract and destroy us by way of physical harm or worse, those shadowy lies. The Money Lie. The Busy Lie. The Tired Lie. The Not Enough Lie.
But through the trials and doubts, we’ve been practicing keeping our eyes on the Light.
Because I would be the one lying if I said the Light was always visible and bright and easy to follow. I would be lying if I said the Light was never infringed upon by the shadows.
Sometimes, I have to squint my eyes.
Sometimes, I have to adjust my blinders to keep the Light within my sights.
But occasionally, in moments like the ones I experienced yesterday, I get to stand right in it — to feel it wash over me.
And it was BRIGHT.
It was bright in Mindy with her understanding eyes, sending me on my way with an adoption journal and a gorgeous car seat with not one, but TWO bases!
It was bright in Kelly with her kind smile, her Let us know how we can help, and best of all, her adopted son on her hip – a visual reminder of promises yet to be fulfilled.
It was bright in many other things that unfolded on May the Fourth…
A friend pushing her card into my hand as I pulled up to the gas pump, saying You prepared a wonderful meal for us on Saturday. Let me fill your tank.
A reminder that I am not inviting God into my plans – he has invited me into his.
A friend donating an awesome piece of play equipment to our family.
And in many simple kindnesses too, like a dozen free eggs with my regular farm delivery, an encouraging word from an editor, a wet grin from my baby niece.
I’m not sure whether the people who loved on me yesterday were feeling all Light-shiny about it or if they were just being nice, but I am crazy grateful for their collective Brightness.
I’m grateful that Goodness was blinding yesterday – that Light is unstoppable and unlimited and so easily conducted through smiles and friendships and good books — through car seats and gas cards and baskets of beige eggs.
Life can be dark. Life can be gloomy. Shadowy. It isn’t always easy to follow the Light, to keep track of it, keep it in your sights. But it’s worth it, so worth it, when you are given a moment to just rest in It.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. -John 1:5 (NIV)
*Images via Canva
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