Note: For the next six weeks, I am going to do a "pre-book launch" blog series that tells some of the things that have been going on as I prepare to share my book with a larger audience.
This post could be titled, "the craziest, most spontaneous thing that Tricia Wilson has ever done." It could also be titled, "the confirmation that did not want to happen." But I prefer the title above.
Our oldest daughter was scheduled to be confirmed on a far ahead scheduled March Sunday. On Friday evening, there was a get together and walk through. The air was filled with anticipation and great joy. On Saturday morning, our girl began to feel quite ill. Knowing that the flu was traveling around, we rushed to the doctor to see if this was her diagnosis. It was. We began to communicate with our pastor, Lisa, to understand what options were before us. She was most gracious, and we decided to postpone our daughter's confirmation to the following Sunday. We were all very disappointed.
On Sunday morning, one other 8th grade girl was scheduled to be confirmed in our small community. I woke up that morning feeling sad and sluggish. I decided that I wanted to walk to church and be a part of this morning, even though our girl was still burning up with fever. I went alone.
The service was so beautiful, so sacred, so special. I rejoiced with this family yet I still felt melancholy about my own. And then I caught a vision. I hurried home and told my husband, "we have to invite all of our children to be here for this confirmation." These children lived far away - in Boston, Chicago, and Minneapolis. "We need to make this a celebration. A party. A milestone event."
Thus began the invitations, the airline ticket hunt, and a whirlwind of activity. The night before the first scheduled confirmation that did not happen, I attended the 50th birthday party of a dear friend. The food was wonderful. I decided to copy cat her party and invite the local friends who are most special to this daughter and our family. An evite went out. Some could attend the confirmation service and others could come to the party. Each and every one of our far away children committed to show up. One set of grandparents was able to rearrange and adapt to the new confirmation date.
On the Thursday night before this re-scheduled big event, our downtown experienced a five alarm fire. The fire started just around the corner from the space where our church community regularly meets. The building sustained significant damage, and there was no way that a Sunday service could be held in this place. This did indeed seem like a confirmation that did not want to happen. But those in leadership pressed on. They rearranged. They found a space. A sacred to our family space - the actual place where our girls were baptized several years back. Pastor Lisa was the one who placed water upon our girl's head on that long ago day. Soon she would invite our beautiful daughter to confirm the faith into which she was baptized.
As I awoke on the confirmation Sunday, I threw open all of the shutters of our home. I wanted to invite the light to come inside. We had so much to be grateful for and to celebrate on this day. We hustled and prepared for the big feast that would follow the service. And then we headed to the plan B sacred space. It was a most beautiful morning.
Our daughter's youth minister, a foster father and now adoptive dad, voiced a most heartfelt and appropriate to the occasion prayer. When he offered up these words to God - "the long and winding journey for this child to stand here" - the tears rolled down my face. Not only did the previous week include flu and fire, her journey to our family is one filled with twists and turns, ups and downs. This man truly knows of what he prayed.
In my book Adopting Grace: A Parenting Journey from Fear to Freedom, I elaborate on this complicated story. It is my motherhood journey. It is my pathway to grace. There are dark and painful sides to this story. There are light and love filled pieces as well. This carpe diem confirmation week is just a glimpse into the journey of our real life family story. On September 12, I invite you to join me in my story of adopting grace.