Monday night was one of the sweetest evenings in recent memory - a "baby" shower for Sestra! My girlfriends have an understanding - we believe that every baby is worth celebrating and, since we're always looking for a chance to host a party anyway, we throw showers for every pregnancy (including, apparently, the paper ones!). The caterer, however, was a little confused that the "guest of honor" wasn't the one with the giant, beautiful belly (Kristen is 9 months preggers!).
It was a beautiful, intimate shower at one of my favorite places in the whole wide world - The Beehive Tea Room in Salt Lake. And it was made all the more fun because both of my moms were in town from Maryland to join in the celebration! My sisters (and moms!) truly showered me with love and some really cool gifts to boot, like this sweet blanket that Mom crocheted.
I'll admit that I'm not quite sure that I'm ready for violently pink boxes filled with anime-eyed dolls that crawl and make baby noises. Good thing that I have friends who ease me into the world of mothering a daughter gently :)
It's hard to pick out a favorite moment in an evening that was just so sweet and special, but I really loved hearing from Kristen, Laura, and Cindy about what this adoption journey has meant to them and taught them as they have walked it with me. Cindy spoke about God's perfect hand weaving together so many details that maybe weren't the things I wanted at the time but that are the very things getting us to Kazakhstan in two weeks (ack! LOI, come soon!). This wild idea one year ago is on the brink of bringing a little girl into our family, and that simply doesn't happen by accident or happenstance.
Kristen spoke especially poignantly about the biblical relevance of adoption as God's illustration of what he has done for us. She quoted from Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.And she talked about our long and arduous planning for adoption, the pleasure we've taken in orchestrating the details of bringing Sestra into our family, and the simple fact that Sestra has done nothing to earn a place in our family - she didn't win a contest or perform really well - but simply because we choose to love her and because of the joy it brings us to add her to our family.
...It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
It's a perfect picture of God's grace. We can't earn it, it is simply a result of who he is because his nature is love. He has chosen us and it brings him great joy to add us to his family.
Grace. This whole journey has been about grace to Steve and me - learning about God's grace, letting his grace cover our fretting and worrying, and just reveling in our place as his adopted son and daughter, joint heirs with Christ. We could never deserve a gift like that, and that's why God gives it freely. What amazing love.