These days, ninety percent of the time people talk to me, they say the same sentence – “You sure have your hands full!”

Guys, I’m not making this up. I’m not exaggerating when I say that people don’t say “Hi” or “How are you” or “Good afternoon” to me anymore. They say, “You sure have your hands full!”

I really do.

I just can’t help but laugh when people say it now, because of the sheer volume. In one doctor’s office yesterday, three out of the four people I passed said it to me. After the appointment, at the grocery store, two separate cashiers said it as I walked by. It has become the caption for my life. “You sure have your hands full!” My answer has become, “Yes, I sure do! And I love it!”

I really do.

And I also get really frazzled, really often. Happy tears blur into sad tears that blur into frustrated tears that blur into thankful tears. I try to wear minimal eye make-up during my peak crying hours. 🙂

I cry because I have my hands full. And I cry because I have my heart full.

Our adopted daughter, Joy, has been a Hiltibidal for two months, now. On April Fool’s Day, Brandon, Ever, Brooklyn, Joy and I shuffled off our umpteenth airplane and breathed in our smog-free Nashville air. Since then, we’ve been introducing Joy to Hiltibidal family life. And we’ve been to doctor’s offices like it’s OUR JOB.

Joy has seen so many specialists, has had so many pokes, has been talked to and about by so many people wearing so many stethoscopes. And we’re finished. We’ve now seen all the people. She’s done the blood and the ears and the kidneys and the eyes and other things I can’t even remember, and so Tuesday was THE DAY. The follow-up day.

Tuesday, we returned to the pediatrician to discuss all the findings. He ran out to meet me in the lobby and ask about her. Then, we had our regular visit, and the prognosis is this – she’s doing amazing.

In China, many guessed “cerebral palsy.” — She requires no physical therapy and all of her bodily structures (besides the having no ears thing) are fine.

In China, we wondered if she’d ever learn to do anything to take care of herself. — All the Vanderbilt geniuses agree, she requires no occupational therapy.

Our doctor thinks all of her issues were due to neglect and believes she will be just fine.

She can hear. She can walk. She can communicate. She’s happy. Her recovery is a miracle.

Witnessing the miracle of healing to her physical body has been incredible. But, witnessing the daily spiritual miracles that are happening just because she is here have me amazed.

Yesterday, in the midst of my “you sure have your hands full,” I went three places. In all three locations, Joy’s presence led people to talk about Jesus in public.

For weeks, in waiting rooms and in lines at the grocery store, people have asked questions. People want to know how old she is. Where is she from? She’s that old? Why is she so small? How much has she grown in the past two months? (An inch and a quarter and six pounds!) Those questions keep leading to Jesus.

Our doctor himself, ran out to see me a third time before I left just to stand in the door frame, shake his head, and say, “God is good.”

This is the same doctor who saw her file and told me we should have great hesitation accepting it. On our way out, the nurse squeezed her little leg and said, “Look at the meat on that thigh. That’s amazing. That’s Jesus.”

Watching Joy go from near death to full of life has us all rejoicing, has our doctor apologizing for being scattered because he’s “just so excited,” and has strangers stopping me to ask questions. Just her presence has Christians talking about Christ in public and in front of all the other waiting room waiters and grocery store line liners.

I cycle through so many feelings each day and in each location. In the garage, struggling to buckle five-point-harnesses and in the park, struggling to keep my eyes on three kids at once and in the kitchen, struggling to keep Dewy from having a meltdown over no more sugar packets. I cycle through and get to the edge of “Why am I so weak! Why can’t I do this well! My hands are too full.”

And it brings me right back to Jesus. Right back to that spot of neediness, of desperation, of dependence. And I inhale His goodness and exhale His love. And I wipe my happy and sad and tired and excited and frustrated tears away for the millionth time and I keep going. And I fight to switch over from “try to be good at this” to “Jesus is good to me.”  And I keep thanking Him.

God “sure has His hands full” with me – maybe His most high maintenance kid – and He makes it look so easy. He doesn’t struggle to keep His eyes on me. He loves me in the midst of meltdowns.  I am His. And He is mine.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:26.

My hands are full. And my hands may fail. But my heart is full of the strength of Another.

So, I’m proposing a new life caption – “You sure do have your heart full!”

Either that or, “Unlimited Sugar Packets For Everyone!”

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