do i deserve to be blessed?

Do you believe you deserved to be blessed?  I mean, maybe not deserve – that words seems so strong, but maybe do you feel like when God does bless you it’s okay to accept that blessing graciously?

I realized this morning that I struggle with this.  A few very very close people to me have noticed this and told me I have a problem with this.  I trust their wisdom so I heard them but didn’t really get it.

Until this morning.

I was up exhausted from having yet another sleepless night with Little Bit.  At 4:45 he finally fell asleep for the third time and I had my hand on my door knob to walk into my bedroom and crawl back on my freshly scented lavender pillow and warm covers.  I thought to myself, “I can squeeze in another 2 hours of sleep till I have to wake up Little B and get him ready for school and begin the day.”

But I couldn’t.  Something Someone else strongly pulled me away and I knew where I should go instead.  Though my brain and body were so so tired, my heart longed to hear what God had to say.  And I’m so grateful.  I don’t listen to my heart every morning.  Unfortunately my exhaustion wins the battle and I sleep and hit snooze longer then I should.  Guilt was the name of my game when I was in this stage with Little B but now I know that it’s a season and God doesn’t want me to feel guilty.  He understands what lack of sleep can do to a Mama y’all.  I believe that.  So I no longer feel guilty that I don’t wake up every morning before the rest of my family does to have my time a lone with God and The Word at my special spot in the house. But I do miss it.  It’s precious time and I long for it.

Ok, back to my question.  I’m serious and I would love your thoughts on this…

As I was reading, I was brought back to a verse in Luke.

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.

~Luke 1:45

You are blessed, because you believed that the Lord would do what he said (New Living)

When I say I was brought back I mean God has used this verse several times to remind me of His promise for me.  The first time He used this verse was ONE OF  the hardest days.  I was probably at one of my lowest points in my faith thinking that God was never going to give us a baby – a family.  And then Jaime and I were reading our Daily Lite together before work and she read this verse to me.  That same exact day on my way home from work I got the phone call about adopting a baby.

Then again, while waiting for Little Bit this last year, God brought me back here to Luke 1.  And I was reminded of God’s faithfulness.  I was reminded that I could trust Him and believe in His promise.

And this morning…here I sit.  And in front of me is this word about Mary and how God “will bless her because she believed that God would do what He said.”

Y’all I know God has blessed me.  I have the most gorgeous, amazing, tender-hearted 5 year old boy in the world and now I have a 6 month old little boy who makes my heart explode every time I look at him.  On top of that I have an amazing and godly husband.  Wow!

But when I look at this verse it’s so hard for me.  I know that I believe God will do what he say’s.  I KNOW it because He has done it time and again.  But if I were to say to you that God has blessed me because I believed what he said I would feel like I was being… haughty , for lack of a better word here.

But it’s not haughty.  It’s truth.  Why do I struggle with this?  Do you struggle with this?

I don’t think we are meant to.

I think (and this is what my sweet friend and mentor said to me once) that I have a problem accepting God’s blessings.  Like I feel guilty sometimes when I know he is blessing me.

Growing up, my Dad wasn’t in the picture and when he was it wasn’t healthy or good.  My mom was a single mom who worked 2 jobs.  My grandmother helped her raise us every other weekend and during the summers when my Dad was supposed to have us.  My point is that my sister and I weren’t raised receiving gifts.  It just wasn’t apart of our lives.

Now I’m not talking birthdays and Christmas here.  These are holidays where giving and getting gifts is what you do.

I’m talking about gifts for no reason other then someone wants to lavish there love on you in the form of something special and tangible that you can see and touch and feel.  A gift that is a reminder of that person’s love for you for no reason other then you are you and they love you because of that.

Am I making sense?  I hope so.  Because I feel like a light bulb went off for me this morning.

I think that sometimes I push God’s blessings away.  Meaning also that sometimes I push God’s expression of love for me away because I feel like I’m unworthy.

I’m just Melissa.  People don’t give ME gifts just because.  People do that for other people.  So God shouldn’t bless me just because, right? Surely he wouldn’t give us a second BABY.  Surely he wouldn’t PROVIDE a way for us to adopt twice, maybe 3 times someday.  Surely he wouldn’t….

And when he does I should keep it to myself because maybe other people will think I’m boasting or being prideful.  When really I should tell the whole world so they will know that THIS IS WHO GOD IS!

God LAVISHES his love on us.  He does this sometimes through unexpected and undeserved blessings.

This is our father.  This is my Dad!  He gives me gifts sometimes for no reason other then I am his little girl and he wants to see me smile.  Not because he has to.  But because IT IS WHO HE IS.

So I’m thinking that this is something big.  Something I need to talk to him more about.  I’m thinking it would make Him happy if I gladly accepted his gifts – just like I would feel when giving my children gifts for no reason other then I love them and want to see them smile and happy and feel loved like crazy.

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adoption is hard but adoption is beautiful – part 2

I’m continuing the story of Little Bit today.  If you have missed part 1 of our journey bringing him home you can read it here.

On a side note… I gotta tell you, Bart is so happy that I am doing part 2 because he is ready to move past that awful and depressing picture of me from the last post.  He hated seeing that picture.  I should have him write a bit about this from his perspective as a husband and a father.  The experience for us both was so similar,of course but also so different!

When adoption and foster care don't go the way you plan. Adoption is hard but adoption is beautiful by Melissa Lewis at www.midwestmagnolia.com

Writing about this time in our journey with Little Bit is probably the hardest.  There is pain here of course.  But I struggle also with guilt.  Guilt because going into this time we were told it was completely a “respite” care situation. When we picked him up that Tuesday afternoon it was only for 2 to 3 weeks, to help birth mom out and then we would take him back. We told Little B, our oldest, that we were babysitting.  He knew it was the baby that we didn’t get.  We didn’t hide it from him that even though we were hurting, this baby needed help.  This Birth Mom needed help.  We wanted him to know that was much more important.

And that battled with my heart.  Day in and day out. I went into this with a wall up.  I told myself I would not be emotional about “this baby.”  We were babysitting and that was all.

But the problem I faced was how do you not love a child that God already created the love for in your heart before that child even took his first breath?

When adoption and foster care don't go the way you plan. Adoption is hard but adoption is beautiful by Melissa Lewis at www.midwestmagnolia.com

I don’t think you can.  I don’t think I was meant to.

I was trying to be practical and smart.  I was trying to protect myself and my family.  I didn’t want my oldest son to fall in love with this baby either.  I didn’t want Bart to be worried about me everyday, that I would fall in love with this baby only to be hurt… again… in 3 more weeks.  Then he would have to carry that all over again as well.

Do you see it?  I see it so clearly… now!  I was trying to control it all.  I was trying to be smart.  I was viewing it from my perspective. But my heart was truly meant to love this little boy.  It wasn’t meant to have it’s guard up with him.

Crazy but it was so easy for me this time around to trust God in the waiting.  But when Little Bit was here and it didn’t look or feel the way I thought it was going to or should…I found myself lacking.

One of my closest friends told me recently that she was really worried about me during this time.  She said that I sounded different.  I sounded defeated.  She said she had never heard me or seen me without hope until this period of time.  That says A LOT because she was with me during one of the other hardest times – when we were waiting for God to bring us Brennan.  She had seen me in pain before.  But this was different she said.

We tried to keep our daily routine normal.  Like we didn’t have a newborn in the house but yet we did.  I didn’t want us to feel like a family that just had a baby.  Because we didn’t.  Even though we did.

When adoption and foster care don't go the way you plan. Adoption is hard but adoption is beautiful by Melissa Lewis at www.midwestmagnolia.com

I took all of these pictures with my phone so that I could send them to my family in Memphis.  I’m kinda smiling in this one.  But I think what I wanted to really be doing was either sleeping or crying.

What I don’t have pictures of is Little Bit crying.  Between 2 and 3 weeks he got really colicky.  The ONLY thing that helped him was bouncing.  Praise the Lord for Mandy bringing me her yoga ball. That thing and I were best friends.  You would find us bouncing on the ball pretty much every hour on the hour EVERY day for 2 months.  I don’t ever want a yoga ball in my house again thank you very much!

I’m making light of it, really y’all.  I hate saying this out loud.  But I feel like it’s important to share.  Little Bit hasn’t been an “easy” baby.  When the days and nights were filled with colicky cry’s and I was suffering from exhaustion and now I think maybe a bit of depression, I really had it out with God.

Here is this baby, that I prayed for every day before he was born.  I loved him before he was born.  I grieved over losing him.  And now here he is.. in my arms…but yet he isn’t mine.

I remember thinking one late night or early morning rocking him in the rocker… I wanted to kiss him as a mother would kiss her son, like I would kiss Little B when he hurts, like I wanted to kiss this sweet baby…but he wasn’t my son. I cried, literally, to God that this was a really cruel joke.

I wasn’t only exhausted and depressed, I was also angry.

When adoption and foster care don't go the way you plan. Adoption is hard but adoption is beautiful by Melissa Lewis at www.midwestmagnolia.com

Then my mom flew down.

Oh my goodness y’all, I didn’t realize how much a woman in her mid-thirties could still use her Mom until my mom got  here.  What a relief.

I had her hold the baby because I was holding him too much and really starting to enjoy it and I couldn’t.  I made sure though that she knew she couldn’t get attached either. Yeah right!

She stayed for a week?  Maybe a week and a half.  I actually don’t remember.  I’m telling you, it really is kind of a blur. But she stayed up with him and fed him and I slept.  She cleaned and I slept.  She bounced him and I slept.

While she was here our case-worker called to schedule the day we would bring Little Bit to the office to give back to birth mom.  We didn’t admit it but we were hoping that Birth Mom would have changed her mind and that we wouldn’t ever have to go back to the office.

It didn’t work that way…

{More on our Adoption Journey}

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diy IHOP Baby Shower

How to host a DIY IHOP Baby Shower by Just Melissa
This weekend I got to host a special baby shower.  Now let me make a disclaimer that “hosting” is not my thing.  Many are natural “hostesses” and “party planners”.  Some were so blessed to have received this as their spiritual gift. That is not me!  The minute I know I am going to be hosting something, even months and months before, I begin to stress and break out in hives.  Not really, but kinda.

How to host a modern DIY IHOP Baby Shower by Just Melissa
However, there comes a time when a shower must be thrown and you are the one that should throw it.  And you want to throw it.  But your scared to throw it.

But then…the clouds part and God shines his light upon you!  You flip through some magazine and see that Kourtney Kardashian’s girlfriends threw her a cute little pajama baby shower at IHOP!  Your sweet sweet friend just so happens to LOVE pancakes.  She also happens to LOVE wearing pajama’s.  She’s also having her third baby so it’s totally acceptable to throw all the traditions out the window!

Praise Jesus!

How to host a modern DIY IHOP Baby Shower by Just Melissa
I think some of the reason this idea appealed to me is because planning a shower as a whole is overwhelming.  You have to make a food list.  You have to think of decorations.  You have to clean the house.  You have to think of food presentation, you have to figure out where everyone is gonna sit…  But with the IHOP shower, you have everything concerning the food already done.  Everyone sits at the table that’s already there at the restaurant.

All I had to concern myself with was decorations.  And I love decorations!  And I love DIYing decorations.

How to host a modern DIY IHOP Baby Shower by Just Melissa

I met with my friends/shower co-hostesses and we came up with some ideas and who would get what.  We were able to have fun with it but still keep it simple since there is really only so much you need to do.

A lot of the decorations we already had on hand.  We were able to bring mason jars, burlap, twine, clothes pins all from home.  We bought fresh flowers to set out on the tables.

How to host a modern DIY IHOP Baby Shower by Just Melissa
We made the dreamcatcher and diaper cake.  Diapers are a common gift for baby showers.  We decided to make it part of the decorations.  I used burlap and scrap fabric that I already had on hand instead of decorating the diaper cake with flowers or toys or baby items.  I used this easy tutorial I found here.

How to host a modern DIY IHOP Baby Shower by Just Melissa
We pre-ordered the pancakes and had the coffee and juice on the table when everyone got there.  It was fabulous y’all. Pajama’s, pancakes and coffee!  I mean, really. It was so laid back and fun.  The waiter would come and check on us and refill our coffee.  The other girls and myself weren’t running around making sure everyone had everything they needed because IHOP did that for us!

How to host a modern DIY IHOP Baby Shower by Just Melissa
A gift I try to give at baby showers is a book. One of my favorites is Guess How Much I Love You!  So sweet y’all.

Again, this was something that was a gift but we also implemented it into the decorations.  And to make it extra special, each one of us signed it with a special message to Baby “Nugget.”

For all you girls out there like me who aren’t natural hostess’s…this was THE shower to throw.  I even actually had fun at it myself.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on ways to simplify shower’s but still make them special.  I need the help!

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