Friday, September 9, 2011

Surrender: The Giving Over

Fall, for me, tends to be my purge and clean time ... for whatever reason--
It's my backwards spring-cleaning I guess. Goodness knows I'm NEVER one to throw anything away ... so it isn't some sort of discipline, maybe I just know as winter approaches I'll be shut up tight in our house for many months and a little extra breathing room would give quite a bit of freshness. Or maybe it's the gentle but persistent growl from my neat-as-pin husband that has worn me down ?

So I've been busy ... purging ... 
sorting through the outgrown clothes and toys that have found their way to the basement ... although this time around they will not be refolded and organized into totes for our future use. Instead, I am preparing them to be given away. What should take a normal person most likely a half an hour, takes me the better part of the morning or lets be honest, months, as I struggle to let go of the little boy clothes and things that have so many memories of some of my nephews and of course of our 3 boys in their littlest, tenderest years.

This purging has been a long time coming ... and yet it isn't one that comes easily ... because it takes a good deal of surrender, a surrender of what has been and what could be. And in their place ... there is a void that sometimes I doubt could ever be filled. 
And I hate to give up or letting go ... so I'm trying to focus on looking at this as a "giving over" instead of a final "giving up" ... even if in all honesty my faith is a bit weak.

And like any good band-aid removal by a wimp, I've had to do it slowly and painfully ... starting with a few things here and a few things there. But then there was that big ol' elephant that was in the upstairs closet. No, not the gray kind with the big ears and long trunk, although I know we have a stuffed one of those that Jeff would love to get rid of too! ... 

 This "elephant-in-the-house"resurfaced earlier this summer while looking into the guest room closet for something. All these unused baby clothes--an over-abundnce. Why were they hanging there uselessly? Why was I hanging on to them uselessly?
I will admit that I have known that they were there ... 
and I do know that we don't have any plans to fill them with babies in the perceivable future ... 
and yet why could I not let them go? 
The Ruffled Feathers Tea Party earlier this August was a great opportunity to let go of a few of the little girl dresses that I had purchased through the years ... and it warmed my heart with so much love to see the little ones at New Day wearing them and finally giving them the life they deserved! And there is a bunch of little boy things that are just as eager to make the trip over there soon too. Somehow knowing that THESE sweethearts will be using them makes their parting sweeter to me.

then there was the one day that I was searching for something in my hope chest ...
and there they were ...
no, not clothes ... but another part of that elephant ...
Oh my ... 


When we were expecting our first child (Brayden) we were typical first time parents with the usual unbelievable high notions of what life as parents would be like. We over prepared on things that I think back on now and laugh about and then there were other things that just never had crossed our minds until we were in the parenting trenches! HA!
One of the funny "must haves" were these wrapped candy bars that I planned on giving out after His or Her birth. They were all prepared with the girl and boy names we had chosen ... our names as parents, a place to write in the exact birth-date and time and weight ... (sigh)
I guess that is one of the pains of being a graphic designer--It's fun to make things.
We were THRILLED to use the boy ones proudly printed with Brayden's name! (But quite honestly I was so exhausted from his marathon labor and delivery I barely could write out the details on the wrappers let alone give them out! HA!)

And into the hope chest went the "girl" Ashtyn ones.

And again they came out for the trip to the hospital to have Easton ... along with the ones emblazoned with his name (which we just love!)
and back again the girl ones went into the hope chest.
However, by Nolan we had changed the name choice for a girl to be Ashlyn (so I guess the priority of candybars had fallen off of my parenting to-do list by little one number three! Or maybe I was planning on a little white out and ink? I don't honestly remember.)

But one thing that didn't miss out on the trip in the hospital bag even on trip number 3 was this:
 Yup, a carefully packed ziplock bag of 3 pink outfits, hair bows, and "Daddy loves me" socks.

Of course there was a corresponding ziplock of little boy clothes for that "first-hospital-photo-of-baby" (which they charge an arm and a leg for the photo and usually it isn't very flattering ... although we of course bought it because it was OUR little baby!) And the going home from the hospital outfit ... and a back-up too. And I was blessed and thankful each and every time we have brought home a blessed baby boy into our home and arms.

But ... this ...
this ... remains unfilled ... 
and even though I would never, EVER, admit that maybe there might have been a whisper of sadness that crossed my heart when I let go of the hope of a daughter each time we welcomed a son (I even had people who gave us their congratulations to us who in the next breath actually asked me POINT BLANK if I was disappointed it was another boy ... oh my goodness. How can someone dare ask that?) there is a sadness of what isn't, even in the joy of what is.

So, this last week ... I gathered my most precious, precious pink things that I didn't think I would, or could, ever let go of ... and I mailed them off to the other side of the world.

I'm not going to lie. It was not easy. 
I'm selfish. And always want more.
Because it is a letting go of what I hoped would be.
And I still wish a little bit that I would have held onto the little "I Love Daddy" socks ...

I remind myself over and over that Hope always, always awaits ... and that HE answers the deepest yearnings of our hearts, many times in ways we might not imagine. There is a much bigger picture beyond ourselves and HE is in control of it all.

But it still hurts to wrestle with the thoughts and feelings, we are SO BLESSED ... and yet I still want more. It's just been a funky week of emotions that just isn't shared by anyone else in our household.
The one bright spot is that I can imagine the beautiful little ones at New Day who will finally fill these little pink things with life.
And finally I can be truthful with myself that I am surrendering all of my hope. Maybe not all at once or in a neat, tidy, non-tear filled way--but slowly-- I am giving it over to Someone higher who can do so much more than I can imagine or dream. 
 ... it's surrender ... and it can be raw ...
but I'm hopeful ...

that something good will grow in the empty places ...


The Sanders Family said...

Oh Valerie!! Hugs to you! I am every praying for you and your family (as you know.) Surrendering those desires to Him is never wrong. Being His humble servant and allowing Him to work and lead our lives is never wrong. You will be blessed immensely for giving everything over to Him, however painful it may be at the time. Don't give up hope...hope in the Lord that He knows what's best for your family and in what timing. And seriously, call me if you need to talk. Maybe we just need to get together. Sometimes it helps to just have a listening ear. I'm always here, my friend. Love you!

Tara Anderson said...

It's never easy to surrender the desires of our heart and trust God to give us His best instead. But it is a HUGE step of faith, and I know that the sweet little ones at New Day will be incredibly blessed by your package.

Love you!!!

TanyaLea said...

Oh Valerie! ~ *surrender*'s a powerful word isn't it. For me, it is one that, if I'm being totally honest, does not usually surface without some real struggle. I could see SO much of myself in this post. I am a sentimental SAP who likes to hold onto things (though, I've gotten much better about this, too... realizing that which I value isn't really in the 'things' but in the memories or desires of my heart.) But I'm so proud of you, and KNOW God is going to reward you for this. NEVER give ups hope. Hope is the essence of FAITH. And we all know that 'without faith, it is impossible to please God.' I think some of the most powerful testimonies and praise reports I have ever heard or witnessed have come after a time of true surrender in people's lives, and in my own. So I look forward to the next 'season' of your life and the rewards which I fully believe He has in store. I thought it was so powerful when you wrote this: "...there is a sadness of what isn't, even in the joy of what is" ~ SO true! I think the same applies to 'letting go' and 'giving' those precious pink treasures to the little precious treasures half-a-world away that will be wearing them! Surely there is a sadness that they have left your home and will not be used as you had originally hoped or planned... but a happiness in knowing the little treasures who WILL be wearing them! Oh, and I just had a 'goosebump' thought... WHAT IF God has a plan through those... maybe YOUR daughter (that you don't even know is your daughter yet!) is the one who ends up wearing them!?! Wouldn't that be JUST LIKE our AWESOME God!?! I could see Him doing something like that! But whether He does or not, we know they will be appreciated and loved by some precious girlies that you and I both know and love!

And of course, I can't help but think of Tara and Cora in this story. How when Tara and Andrew truly surrendered all, God gave them BACK the desire of their hearts! He is just looking for our committment and obedience and faithfulness, and in return, His rewards are almost always greater than what we could've dreamed up on our own!

God bless you, friend. I'm SO proud of you and know that wasn't easy! But you know 'when' (I truly believe it is a WHEN) your day comes and you have that daughter... we will all be showering you in many sweet gifts of pink, the way you have poured out your love to so many of us!

Love you!!


Gretchen said...

Oh sweet friend, I pray for you and your family DAILY and that God would show you and your husband His plans for your family. Sometimes He just says wait. Praying for your tender heart.

The family

The family