Sunday, June 8, 2014

How I spent my summer vacation...

Summer is officially here, and we are loving it! I love having my little kindergarten graduate
home with us all day (and to help us, too-she's an amazing big sister!), but it does present some challenges. After being in school for the last several months, she is used to being busy, and some days at home can be rather mundane to a busy six year old (although I think things at home are anything but boring lately!) Thankfully, we have things this month to keep us entertained though--Lucy and Gabriel started swim lessons yesterday,
 and those go for two weeks. Then, we have VBS the following week, and by that time we will already be headed into July.

Side note: As you can see, Gabriel was less than thrilled about swim lessons. They assured me it is totally normal at his age though, and I imagine by the end of this week I will have a hard time keeping him away from the pool. (He's always loved bath time, but pools are a different story apparently.)

I do remember taking swim lessons a few summers when we lived in California, and my friends and I spent as much time as possible at the neighborhood pool.
But after we moved back to Texas, swimming wasn't a staple summer activity.  Some kids go to camp every summer, and others look forward to a yearly family vacation, but me?  A huge summer staple for me was attending the Texas Music Teachers Association's convention every summer.
In a way, it was kind of like a camp and a vacation rolled into one (and the hotel always had a swimming pool:) At that time, competition was pretty fierce to get a spot on the ten piano ensemble team that would perform at the convention. Starting in the sixth grade, I auditioned each year through my senior year and was able to secure a spot. We would then drive 45 minutes each day for two weeks for rehearsal with my fellow ivory ticklers, and then my mother and I would head to the convention for a long weekend. We played some really fun, melodious pieces such as Dizzy fingers, Turkey in the Straw and Rhapsody in Blue.  And then there were Witold Lutoslawski's Variations on a Theme by Paganini. 

I remember hating just about every step in the process of learning that piece. It was made up of the strangest chords ("modern" music for sure!), tons of dissonance, and there was no melody to really pick out. But what is sometimes easy to forget when working on an ensemble piece is that the part you are playing is not meant to be heard alone-it is a part of a much larger work that needs all parts playing together to create the sound the composer intended for the piece. But, you can't put those parts together until each part is ready, so this means a lot of grueling practice sessions that aren't always very enjoyable. But once you've spent those tedious hours of practice and hear the work completed, it all begins to make sense.

Well, my summers no longer consist of trips to the TMTA Convention each June. Rather, we spend our days with sidewalk chalk and swing sets and family outings. One such recent family outing was a very special one for us--Last weekend, we attended a picnic with Christian Homes and Family Services.
 This is a yearly picnic they have for their adoptive families to come together. It was so neat to see our caseworker, Gabriel's birth mother's case worker, and dear friends we made through our adoption journey.  (The picnic so happened to fall on the anniversary of the day we actually met Gabriel's birth mother, too. As she has said, it was the day we extended our families to each other.  I will never forget that special meeting and how it changed the course of our lives in the most amazing and beautiful way.) They had a man there documenting the day, and he asked us to share a bit about our adoption process. I always seem to freeze up when asked to briefly explain our experience. It's just so hard for me to put it in a few short statements, because the Lord did so many amazing things throughout the process, and I never want to short change any of it. But, when asked to describe what we learned through our journey, this is what came immediately to mind;

Faithfulness.  God's faithfulness. 

It oozes out of every portion of our adoption journey; it drips from every memory of our story. And I can see that all so clearly now that the pieces have come together. But what about all of those years we tried to conceive and could not? What about all of the nights spent filling out paperwork and stressing over how to portray ourselves on paper? What about the days spent wondering if a birth mother would even want to pick us?  What about...?  We may not have been able to clearly see the evidence of God's faithfulness in the midst of the journey, but that doesn't mean it wasn't there. He was orchestrating something far greater than anything I could have dreamed of. He was weaving all of the difficulties, the dissonance so to speak, together to create a beautiful masterpiece displaying His faithfulness and His goodness. Some songs are so catchy you can't help but immediately get them stuck in your head, and others takes awhile to grow on you, and then there's our song--an anthem of sorts that holds the ups and downs, the dissonant chords, and the beautiful harmonies that echo of God's faithfulness.  

Just like that ensemble piece I learned so many years ago, our lives were never meant to be lived on our own-they are meant to be lived through our Lord, the Composer and Conductor of our lives. He understands how those "minor themes" and "modern dissonances" can be placed together to create an amazing and beautiful work. The question is, are we willing to allow Him to do His work in us?  Will we withstand the grueling "practice sessions"? I pray my answer is yes, and that this summer I can find myself singing the tune of His faithfulness as I continue learning to trust His ultimate plan on His perfect path... 

"And we know that ALL things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful dear Paula-Beth! Thank you