Monday, July 19, 2010

Love without measure…Gretchen's Journey

A few weeks ago, I emailed my friend with the request to share her adoption story with the readers of my blog.  Her journey is a precious one... one that we can all learn from.  Please come back daily as I will be posting the next "chapters" over the next few days.  I hope her journey is a blessing to yours.

Love Without Measure....   

Nearly 18 years ago I began a journey of love that would change the course of my life, and teach me to understand love in a much deeper way that I knew was possible. In the summer of 1992, I found myself forced to face the fact that I was not nearly as invincible as I thought I was. Through the events I was about to experience, I would discover the love of the Lord without measure.

That summer, I found myself sitting in my living room trying to put the pieces of my life together. I had completed the last of several pregnancy tests, wishing that they were wrong, and realizing that there was no way they could all be wrong. Now what? I always thought this happened to the “bad girls”. Was that me? What now? Why me?

My heart was drawn to look at the Bible sitting on my end table, which I had not read for several months. As l began reading it, with tears flooding my face I was reminded of the scripture my mother shared with me many times as she prayed for me while I was running from the Truth I knew in God. That verse was Philippians 1: 6, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I wasn’t sure what that meant to me yet. But I knew that it meant God would not give up on me, and somehow, neither would my mother.

The questions came much faster than the answers. I found myself doing what I knew to do, and working out a plan to survive. I figured out everything the best I could, but it was all lacking so much. This is NOT what I wanted for my life. I had goals, dreams, and plans for my future. But now, all I could do was figure out how to get what I needed to take care of this baby growing inside me. All my dreams were gone, at least for now.

Several months later, with the nursery ready, and my stomach growing, I met a lady who shared with me about Liberty Godparent Home (LGH), and the blessing she received through them in her daughter. I was hesitant to say the least, but went to visit. Somehow, I thought I didn’t deserve to be in a place that beautiful or have help for myself. I thought I needed to “pay the price” for my sinful living that had gotten me into this mess. I had heard so many people comment that “you made your bed, now you’ll have to lay in it” that I actually believed them. I was so far from knowing the depth of God’s love and grace.

By God’s grace, He brought me to the home where I found people who were ready to love me and not condemn me. They were warm and friendly, yet firm and direct. They gave me hope again. I was able to begin to see that God was extending His grace and love to me without measure. It was like a cup of water that was waiting for me, and when I was not strong enough to pick it up and take it, He began to flood my life with the living water of grace and love so that even though I couldn’t pick up the cup, the flood waters would eventually cover me with His love without measure.

As I spent time thinking, resting, reading, and listening to Scripture, I began to love a new passage. Psalm 19: 12-14 (NLT) became comfort to me and assurance that I could be something different.

“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?  Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.  Then I will be free of guiltand innocent of great sin.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

During my time at LGH, I decided to place my baby with a family who the Lord led me to. I didn’t have any idea how I would ever be able to go through with that plan, because I had grown to love my baby more than anything. But, I also knew that there was an inner strength growing inside of me. I was used to people saying that I was a “strong lady” and that I could do anything I put my mind to, but if only they knew how weak I really felt. The strength that was growing in my heart was a different kind of strength. It wasn’t tenacity or “grin-and-bear it” strength. It was different. It was peace, joy, and love.

I began to feel the truth of II Thessalonians 2: 16-17 which says, “And may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and has graciously given us eternal comfort and well-founded hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word.” Day by day, I understood more that it was not about my own personal fortitude, but the strength and grace that Christ could produce in me.

On March 3, 1993, my precious son was born. I felt love like I had never felt before. I knew our time together would be short, but there would always be room for him in my heart. The most loving thing I could give him was a family and a home that I wasn’t prepared to provide yet. It was through the next few weeks that I would experience the joy of giving love without measure.

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