My husband and I have been trying to start a family now for what feels like forever, and other than our two beautiful dogs, have had no success.
We've finally decided to move forward with adoption, but after the disappointments we've faced so far, that is a huge step for us and a giant leap of faith. Although mentally I am excited about the prospect of adopting a beautiful child, inside I'm still grieving the heartbreaks and disappointments we have encountered along the way.
Since I have a month off between semesters (one of the many benefits of being a poor teacher!), Ben and I traveled down to Florida to see his family, and then made the trek up to Asheville, NC to see mine.
While we were in Asheville, I had determined to take a personal retreat. Last fall, my brother took me to a beautiful chapel somewhere in the mountains called Quiet Reflections, and I knew that would be the perfect place to get away. So, I took off up the mountain, even though there had been a foot of snow the week before, and I didn't know the conditions of the roads, or if it would even be open. On the way I enjoyed the beautiful lakes and rivers, chilled by the remaining heaps and drifts of snow. As I neared my destination, I realized that the roads were not as clear as I had hoped. And when I turned onto the steep, winding dirt road that would lead me to my place of quiet retreat, I began to notice snowy, icy patches. Still, I persevered! Not far from the top, I spotted a man up ahead who looked like he was taking care of the property (truly the quintessential mountain man, long bushy beard, over-alls, banged up truck and all). Fearing the worst, I rolled down my window and shouted to him, "Is the chapel closed?" He assured me it wasn't, but that I would probably want to park at the retreat house, and then walk the rest of the way up to the chapel. It was then that I thought about the shoes I was wearing...
I suppose I hadn't truly prepared for my journey. But nothing was to stop me this day. I needed to kneel before God and seek healing for my pitiful, tired out heart.
As I slogged my way through the mud and snow, the crisp mountain air and the chilling wind began to invigorate me (even as the snow and ice was quickly numbing my toes). And as soon as I reached the chapel, I knew it would be worth it. It was just as humble and majestic as I had remembered. As you approach the door, it appears to be nothing more than a tiny, unassuming, log cabin.
But as you enter through the heavy wooden doors, you are greeted with majestic splendor. A giant window overlooks all of God's creation as if to remind you of your own profound insignificance. I bowed in awe and worship, and what followed was a time of deep sadness, and great comfort. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4
I can't say that I truly understand how comfort, even the comfort of the Lord is a blessing, in light of the pain of mourning, but I do hope to one day understand. And although my heart still aches for ungranted hopes, dreams and desires, in that small mountain chapel, in the face of all creation and majesty, I once again gave these dreams back to the Lord, for He knows me and cares for me.
It is my prayer that He will surprise us with blessings beyond what we can imagine, ("I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer. 29:11. But in the meantime, I continue this journey, often troublesome and wearying, but sometimes full of beauty, wonder and delight.