Thursday, September 3, 2009

In the Dark Room

I have often wondered if biological parents get this as often as I do. “Your kids look just like you.” “I can’t get over how much he looks like you.” “He has your eyes.” “You all look just alike.” I don’t exaggerate when I say, we average these comments once a week. It’s crazy and now that it happens so often, a bit comical. A LONG time ago I just started saying, “Yeah, well, I’ll say 'thanks' to that.” (Might be a compliment- might not) Before then, depending on the situation, I might have taken the time to give them a blurb of our God given story of how He put our family together through adoption. Some have laughed thinking I was kidding proceeding to “argue” with me, whereas others have just stared in disbelief, which, actually, I find myself doing several times a month. On a few occasions, some have ventured to ask, “I guess they have the same [birthmother]?” “No, but brother and sister because God wanted it that way.” There have been moments that the timing was right and the audience seemed captive enough that I was able to give God praise in that He didn’t have to give us similar physical features, but He chose to and it’s kind of fun.

The other day, the three of us literally ran into Target to grab something a clerk was holding for me and as we stood there waiting, she looked at my small crew of two, turned to me, smiled and said, “My, my. Aren’t they just a picture of you?” I hadn’t gotten that one before. While appreciating the words she used to say it, I stumbled around for words of my own. I think I wound up saying something like, “Crazy how that happens, isn’t it?” Not in my top ten responses to what I think were kind words from a stranger. In typical me fashion, I mulled over our exchange for the rest of my day hoping the nice lady who had helped me hadn’t taken me for a smart aleck. I had to let that go, but I could not let go of “a picture of you”.

Who knows what those two are going to look like one day? Who knows if we will get those comments when we walk into a store to which Brighton has just driven us? Or, say, when we all go for a tasting of reception food for Julia’s wedding? For those of you who know me really well, can say, "Sure, we know why Julia rolls her eyes too often, says “I’m sorry” incessantly, prefers dark chocolate over milk, talks with her hands when she is excited, and says a few words funny (or a few funny phrases). And sure, Brighton, has that same drawl on a handful of words, likes certain things “just so”, is unable to paraphrase anything, likes to be the one taking pictures, loves guacamole and can speak paragraphs with his just his eyebrows." But as I see them picking up these little habits and preferences of my own (some beneficial, some not), I see how naturally and silently they will take on things that will affect the eternal part of them, their relationship with their Creator. “My my. Aren’t they a picture of you?” God help them. Help me. For them to be a picture of me is NOT the goal, by any means, but I often think of that verse where Paul says to the church at Corinth, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (I Corinthians 11:1) It’s obviously an enormous statement and read without knowledge of Paul’s character could be taken as ego-centric. But it was a practical directive, one from which they would benefit greatly. In our home, I am realizing it is a directive I don’t HAVE to tell Julia and Brighton because they are going to follow me whether I am following Christ or not.

“A picture of you.” It makes me wonder, who WILL their picture look like? What’s going on in the dark room of this home? What kind of pictures are actually being developed here? Whose pictures? Did I not just yesterday hear my all too familiar “matter of fact”voice travel from Julia’s mouth to Brighton’s ears, squelching his excitement over his building idea for their puppet show? How many times have I noticed how concerned B is about whether I will like his Lincoln Log house or if he is hurting my feelings because he may not prefer what I prepared for dinner or some activity I planned to do? I hardly ever consider how using my “I am in task mode” voice, that I don't even like, affects their siblings or even their friends. I never knew my people-pleasing tendencies could be picked up by a 5 year old boy. I assure you, these pictures are many – some already developed, some still in the dark room. I won't let myself be so negative to think there isn't another set……. a better set, some already developed, some still coming into focus. I am most grateful for these.

The dark room is full. Opportunities are many. Lenses are always focusing in order to get the clearest picture, moving around to capture different angles, and zooming in to get a closer look. Clicking sounds are constant but I am usually too preoccupied to notice. So....which pictures will they keep and become part of who they are? Which ones will I love? Which ones will I want to send through the shredder? Will the colors be dull? Or vibrant? Will the picture be clear? Or fuzzy? Here’s the one I am most interested in…..what about that last picture of my children that is fully developed-- that last one to come from the dark room here in this house?

Father, as those last pictures emerge from the dark room of our home, may the picture be crisp, strong and lovely. I ask that the colors be like none our eyes have ever seen, saturated to the most beautiful hues You've created. I pray the clarity of the image be surprising. May we find it hard to remove our gaze because we are so spellbound by the likeness of You and then may we fall on our faces out of gratitude to You for being so strong in our many weaknesses. May Julia and Brighton be like trees planted by streams of water, yielding abundant fruit, not withering from lack of Your nourishment and prospering in whatever they do. May they be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of Your splendor. The display of YOUR splendor. A picture of me? Oh, what a disappointment that would be. A picture of You. Your glory. Your splendor. You.


Shannon said...

Beautifully said, Krista. Lovely post! (And I say this as a compliment - your children ARE a picture of you...on many levels!)

Alyssa said...

I'm speechless. Can't believe how you were able to put those deep feelings into words. I second Shannon's compliment.

Tori said...

What sweet, deep thoughts to share about these precious gifts God has given to you. As I prepare to welcome this baby, I have often thought, "How will I be able to accomplish it all - teaching this sweet girl who she is in Christ?" What a sweet reminder that we are not the ones who ultimately create the picture. I am so thankful for Godly women like you who are great examples of what being a wife and mother should look like! Your picture DOES echo the image of Christ, Krista! Thanks for sharing these words.

Anonymous said...

Krista, what beautiful imagery. I love the connection between pictures and our children. Thanks!

Jessica said...

Beautiful, Krista. A treasure of words and wisdom. Loved our all-too-brief time together this weekend. Jessica Brogdon

Beth said...

Loved this, Krista. Have you considered compiling your blog posts into a printed devotional?? ;-) (Not kidding about that.)


andrea said...

Just catching up and funny (as in coincidence) that I found this article as I am not reading them in any particular order, that I was thinking about this exact same thing. When I opened up your blog and saw your Christmas photo of all 4 of you; how beautiful you all looked and how you do look alike (beautiful smiles, eyes, faces with beautiful personalities) and what it must feel like to hear that 'They look just like you and Jeff'. Was it insensitive, did it bother you, or did it make you proud? But you dig deeper into this and I learn that it doesn't bother you to hear those words and again I learn from you. Thank you great teacher and bless you.