We went to the beach to celebrate turning in my full manuscript.
But it was so much more than that.
It was a mini getaway celebrating the book that wouldn't exist if we hadn't walked through some really dark days-turned-years.
It was a mini getaway celebrating the joy that arrived in the morning.
I knew joy would arrive in the morning, but I needed space and permission to sit in the dark.
We aren't very good at giving space for people to sit in the dark.
We like to rush them to the morning, even when the dark takes its time.
And I am one that firmly believes He is with us in the dark; but He doesn't push us into the morning. He sits with us.
My morning arrived but it was birthed through a long, long night of labor. And just because I am currently in a morning doesn't mean I don't have marks of the night. The darkness in the night can scar us, sometimes leaves marks of trauma from nightmares.
I'd dare to say the marks of trauma have made me a better person. They've taught me how to sit on my hands, to listen better, to do my best to quiet my defenses and explanations.
I've learned I can grab ahold of the immense joy in the morning and continue to acknowledge the darkness preceding it.
It's this beautiful journey of pain and healing crashing into one another, continuously.
When I see these boys, I see marks of miracles and grace. I see joy. I see gifts.
I see reason to keep learning how to love better.
I don't know what our days or life or family will look like in two months.
I don't know the way our story will continue to unfold. I assume there will be really hard days—days with more carpet fiber tears and asking Him where He's at.
But what I do know is right now, life is infused with a chaotic sweetness.
We are tired, we are running in every direction, no one ever sits down, we live in a teeny-tiny crammed space, neither boy sleeps through the night, and both boys never sit still for more than three minutes. LB is in grad school, about to quit his job to student teach, I am releasing a book (I can't even pretend like this is some natural, simple thing..I am amazed this book exists) and continuing to build my photography business. We have one to three doctor/therapy appointments each week. Life is anything but simple.
But life is sweet. And I know it's sweet. I know this is an undeserved gift of grace, living the life I live.
I also know another dark night will come because that is the pattern of life.
We walk through valleys, wade through rivers, climb up mountains of impossibilities, and keep going.
Sometimes it's a season of coexistent immense joy and deep sorrow. The more I learn, the more I see this is often the richest experience life can offer: simultaneously grabbing ahold of joy and sorrow. All at once.
It's in the bittersweetness of life I experience the fullness. You know?
I am so grateful for this little family.
I am grateful for the painful days because the painful days created deep wells of grace—grace and gratitude to be poured out.
But I could not have honestly said I was grateful [for the pain] while I was in the thick of the pain. I wanted to be grateful for it, but wasn't there yet; I figured I would be one day, but I needed to sit right where I was at.
You never know the mountains someone is climbing or the valleys being waded through.
I hope to always invite someone to be honest, even if honesty seems unpopular.
Truth sets us free. And truthfully? It was in being honest through the dark night I was able to claim the ridiculous freedom joy has brought me in the morning.
I have broken myself and poured myself out: I have authored a book. It is the story of surrendering my sorrow by grabbing ahold of it, claiming it, being honest about it. It is a story of The Wait, of miscarriage, of adopting while pregnant, of birth trauma and lost expectations, of church and spiritual trauma, of becoming a transracial family.
It is a story of pain and healing, coinciding and crashing into one another in unexpected ways.
Because really? If we dare to be honest, I believe we can all walk the path of pain and healing, crashing into one another.
My prayer is that you'll find the courage to be honest, brave to love outside of your comfort zone.
You'll find Him there: in spaces of pain and humbling yourself to love outside of your comfort zone.
He is in both the dark night and the joy-filled morning.