I have shed tears this month thinking of Eden and her beginnings. The story that one day I will have to tell her in detail. It is a story of much loss for any person, but for one who is so young, so innocent, suffocates my soul and mind with grief. 

When Isaac and I were going through our adoption classes this past summer, they spoke a lot about the "losses of adoption" and I shook my head thinking I understood or even knew. Oh, naive heart of mine...

I would not carry this child. Yes, I understand that. 

She will leave her country and all that is familiar with her. Yes, got that

But, what no one could prepare me for was the grief I felt in my heart for her and the losses in our own story.

I was at a baby shower the other day, a beautiful baby shower, and the whole time I so wished I could have our little Thai Eden in my belly from the very beginning to be able to protect, comfort, and soothe her. I almost cried thinking of how I never knew her story (or all the other vulnerable children in the world) who needed some protecting. I felt loss. 

I was hanging her stocking on the mantle of our fire place and wished that for the last four years of her life, she could have been here with us celebrating her birthday and our Christmas traditions she always knew. Loss. 

I wish I could erase the loss in her story and protect her from the very beginning so she would know her Mama is a warrior who fights just for her life. 

But, I cannot undo the loss of either of our stories. I cannot erase it or try to make it look "perfect" or "pretty". It is quite the opposite - messy, filled with hurts, & confusions. 

This advent season, I have been setting time aside to read, write, & meditate, and this Christmas I look at the birth of Jesus with a new filter. I look at it from the lens of a mother. A mama who knows a thing or two about loss. 

I wonder if Mary knew of all the losses Jesus would have to endure. 

I know a mama's heart and I bet she would have wanted to shield Him from the cross that was only His to carry. 

I bet she wondered, "God, what are you doing? This loss was your Divine Plan?" as He laid dying on a wooden cross. 

I bet Holy Mary questioned because only a good mother would to long to protect her child. 

 "When you are brave, you give yourself the gift of facing and touching the torn places." - Ann Voskamp 

But, I wonder if Mary knew of the glory that would be revealed through the losses? 

And I pondered this for weeks... did she know the only way to His glory is through His loss? 

I love how author Donald Miller puts it, “If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn't cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers." 

There was no loss, no sacrifice. Therefore, no glory. 

For it is through our own brokenness we can see His glory. The losses are truly gains in the Kingdom of God. Our barrenness gave way to our Eden. Glory. 

There is a misleading connotation in the life of many who think glory is created by no loss, no sacrifice, or work. 

Every year I want to be in the Olympics (want: key word there) due to that one picture perfect moment of the athlete standing with their gold medal. We see glory, but what we do not see is the sacrifice, dedication, and perseverance to come back after multiple injuries. They give up their lives believing in the glory of what is to come. 

Loss is the opportunity for glory to come in your life. If only, we let it become His glory. If only, we let Him fill all the broken places for Him be seen in us. 

 Our story is filled with opportunity for Him to fill in the cracks and bring His glory. 

I was sharing this with Isaac the other day and the advent reading for the night was this beautiful promise: 

But Joseph replied, "Don't be afraid of me. You intended -from the very beginning- to harm me, but God intended it all for GOOD. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people." Genesis 37:20

"You can stand around the Christmas tree with a family like Joseph's, filled with cheaters, beaters, and deceivers, or a family like Jacob's who ran away... But out of a family line that looks like a mess, God brings a Messiah. What was intended to harm, God intended all of it for GOOD, and no matter what intends to harm you, God's arms have you. You can never be undone. He is never absent from your story... never distant. The cross stands as the epitome of evil, but God takes the greatest evil ever known to humanity and turns it to the greatest Gift you have ever known. You, the one with torn pieces, look again - all is grace." - Ann Voskamp

Advent Reading: The Greatest Gift, December 9th, page 81. 

What was intended to tear you apart, God intends it to set you apart. 

So I hold our losses today - Eden and ours - and I pray that one day they will be used to bring glory to His name because He deserves it all.

-Libby Wendland