I am still breathing.
My children are still alive.
This is success.
We were not naive going in to this, knowing a family with six children would be impossibly hard. (At least, I thought we weren't!) But knowing it and living it are two completely different things, and "impossibly hard" doesn't seem to be an adequate description of life on this side of the journey.
For the last year, my house has not been clean, the clothes (if they got washed) were always piled on the couches, dinner consisted of something out of a box, little fingernails were always too long and had dirt under them, my standard of personal hygiene went down considerably, and I almost forgot the wonderful man I am married to.
And that was the good part.
Trials have also come from the outside as well. Sickness (months and months of pukes, dukes, and the absolutely horrible flu), a broken bone, broken relationships, stress infinitum, and even the loss of animals to wild dogs (seriously).
We have been hard pressed on every side. We have walked through deep waters and through fire.
Don't you love that. It is always, "But, God..." He is our Rescuer. He is our Sustainer. He is our Provider.
It is by His mercy that we are not crushed, and by His grace we are not destroyed.
He has allowed us to be brought low, to walk through fire, to be broken. HE HAS ALLOWED IT in His great wisdom and mercy, so that we can be refined and made into an acceptable vessel that He can use.
All kinds of gunk comes to the surface. Selfishness, impatience, lack of thankfulness, pity-parties, negative attitudes, etc., etc. -- it has all come to light. Pure Yuck.
But when God allows us to see our sin the way He sees it, pride goes out the window. Humbleness is left in its place.
And I am thankful.
I am thankful because God tells us that He gives grace to the humble, that He considers the lowly and gives ear to their cry. Psalms 25:9 says, "He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way."
So, do I regret it? Do I regret entering in to the pain of another?
No, it is just the opposite. It is my greatest joy because it has been my rescuing. He is rescuing me from my sin and my self.
And isn't that what He did for us on the cross? He entered in to our world, our lives, our mess, to rescue us from an eternity without Him. He was broken and brought low on our behalf. He suffered and died so that we might live.
So we must enter in. If we are truly following Him, we must.
There is an orphan crisis. 147 million around the world, waiting for someone to enter in their world.
But there are also neighbors, friends, family right beside us, who are in hard places. Who need us to enter in.
God doesn't call us to a life of comfort. He calls us to enter in to the lives of others, to be His hands and feet, to be the salt and light of the world.
It's messy business. It's hard and causes great discomfort sometimes. It forces us to be vulnerable and makes our lives feel out of control. It might mean our house is a disaster and our clothes aren't as clean as we would like.
But, in the end, we get Him.
And HE IS WORTH IT.