From Bleakness to Beauty

Rocky Mountain National Park


I stepped over a steep rock and instinctively turned to reach for Desi’s hand. He looked up, reached for my hand like it was the most natural thing in the world, then muttered,

“Dank-u momma.”


Matt turned from up ahead and smiled. He saw something I hadn’t slowed down enough yet to notice. Just over a year ago, my son wouldn’t have taken my hand. He wouldn’t have said thank you. In fact, he wouldn’t have followed me anywhere. I was no one to him.

Let alone his mom.

But now I’m Momma--without doubt, fear, or hesitation. And somehow along the way we grafted together in a way I hadn’t dared hope for last year. And the progress was so slow I hadn’t even noticed.

My heart had been worn thin in the waiting. My life had been nothing but waiting. Waiting for God to place the child he’d planted in my heart in my arms. Waiting for that same child to look at me with love instead of fear. Waiting for a community of people who knew what it meant to raise a child from trauma. Waiting for the word “home” to replace the word, “Colorado.”

God I’m so sick of waiting.

Hike to Miracle Lake

And as I stepped over another stone and reached back to help Desi, I glanced up from his face and saw Goliath-like peaks standing tall behind me. The cold wind slapped my face and I saw it. What I had felt in North Carolina, I could visualize in the Front Range and my stomach dropped. The answer to the questions I had tolerated in the wait were standing right behind me:

“When will you get to bring him home?”

“How do you plan to afford this process?”

“How will you manage whatever disabilities or behaviors that arise?”

“What is it like to raise a child born in trauma?”

Estes

It was right there. RIGHT there--standing tall and unwavering with no clear path to cross. I felt those peaks every day for 3 years blocking me from the life God was calling me to. I went to bed tired and aching from the journey every night and woke up to try the exact same thing the next morning.

All the while managing to smile politely through these questions that just reminded me how long this journey was going to be. Adding more baggage for me to carry up an ever steeper incline.

Desi rubbed his eyes and I knew he was starting to slow down. I called up to Matt that we should take a break. We sat on a large stone where Desi ate a snack while Matt checked how much further we had to go on the map. I just sat there silently, staring at those mountains behind us.

We left a lot of people on the other side of those mountains. The Goliaths we’d somehow scrambled past were mountains many others weren’t called to summit with us. God didn’t design them to face the same jagged cliffs that we were. They had journeys of their own.

I used to resent that our journey seemed so different. I felt in some way that we had been cheated out of the easy path--the path you feel everyone should be able to take if you play your cards right. Over time, though, what I used to see as bleak has slowly shifted into something almost ruggedly beautiful.

Summit

Not much grows at the heights we find ourselves these days. What manages to survive here was meant to grow and thrive in the harshest environments--where the air is thin and the soil is shallow. It doesn’t make sense that it should grow there, but it does--for no other reason than God planted it there.

I’m learning that my family has been called to grow where it doesn’t make sense to grow. I’m seeing now, surrounded by one of the most awe-inspiring mountain ranges in the world, that God is planting us here to thrive. I don’t know what new summits He is going to call us to yet but I have to have faith that he didn’t plant us here, together, by mistake.