As a child in the mountains of North Carolina the beautiful woods all around my home were my playground. I ran barefoot and free all summer long collecting rocks I found down by the creek, lying flat on my stomach to search for a four leaf clover or flipping over on my back to look for shapes in the clouds. When night fell, barefoot stiil, I would chase fireflies in the otherwise absolute dark with a blanket of countless stars overhead. There were no city lights to pollute the view or break the blackness but I was completely without fear because I knew every inch of that place, even at night. I loved the land and it loved me right back.
One of my favorite things to do during the long, carefree days of summer was to go to the back of our yard where the grass ended and the trees began, to find the wild honeysuckle growing there. I would pluck one of the small white blooms and expertly pinch off the end. Then, I would slowly pull the stem from the flower, bringing with it one small, crystal drop of perfection. Placed carefully on the tip of my tounge, it rewarded me with the most wonderful, intense sweetness, a heady taste of Heaven itself.
That sensation is the only experience in my memory that adequately captures the feeling of overwhelming gratitude that washes over me from time to time. It always comes out of nowhere, completely unexpected but it is always, always when I am watching my girls. I know beyond all doubt, it is a level of thankfulness I would not have ever had the priviledge to experience if not for God’s faithfulness to fulfill the promise of Romans 8:28 during the long trial of our adoption.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
There are simply no words to describe how excruitating the two year wait for our girls’ adoption to be complete was for me. Eventually, as the long months drug on, layer after layer of sadness draped across my heart and I began to wonder if they would ever come home at all. Then, somewhere along the way I spotted the promise of Romans 8:28, a promise from God that no matter what came my way, or my daughters’, that He was able to turn it around for our blessing. It does not mean that bad things won’t happen, it means that if we love God and are walking in His ways, He promises to turn around the very thing that threatens our destruction and bring blessing from it.
I could not help but realize that is what he did for our family as I watched my daughter last evening at her first pool party, laughing and splashing with her friends. She climbed from the pool and lept from the side into the cool water and rose again radiant with water dripping from her curls, such athleticism from this my child who only a year and a half before could not even pull herself up into our van.
Beautiful, happy, healthy and…..home at last.
And so, that is why I was overwhelmed with that familiar but never ordinary moment of thankfulness and it is a blessing God brought from sorrow and pain because thankfulness is the root of pure joy.
Honeysuckle gratitude. Oh, so sweet and a little taste of Heaven itself.