Well this month, if I am being totally transparent, has not gone the way I had hoped. I was really excited about #AdamsActs this year and I had high hopes for what I would be able to accomplish. I felt like #AdamsActs in 2017 should be bigger and better than the previous years in honor of my brother who is, after all, forever seventeen.
Sadly, I feel like I sort of failed on bringing that dream into fruition. I really poured myself into the devotional (which is still available in the bookstore for all you slackers who haven't gotten it yet) and that left me feeling a bit dry and depleted going into October. Throw in a major home renovation on our old house and the overwhelming pressure to sell it as quickly as possible, add a dash of pneumonia and you've got my start to the month. Needless to say, the month has hardly been the "bigger and better" I dreamed it would be, instead I feel like it's been smaller and worse. In short, I feel like I've failed.
Normally, this realization would spiral me into a really embarrassing shame storm. I would feel all guilty like I have let you guys down, or that I am not doing enough to honor Adam. My survivor's guilt would kick in to high gear and I would revisit old thoughts that it should have been me that died so young and not Adam, because he would have made a beautiful and immeasurable impact on this world for good. And I do struggle with those things still to this day. I often feel guilty because I get an unbelievable number of requests and suggestions for acts of kindness I should do for others, and I feel guilty that I cannot read let alone do all of those things. I get so much encouragement, but I also get some private criticism. I am too Jesus-y for some readers while others are extremely disappointed that I do not share my faith enough saying I have "wasted my platform." Some think that I am "fixated" on Adam's death and that I would be further along in my grief process if I focused on God instead of worldly pain. Some of you think I am trying to become famous or brag about the nice things I am doing for people.
Ya know what though, this time I am not going to spiral into an embarrassing shame storm. (Okay, that's probably a lie. I will most definitely spiral - at least a little.) But here's what I know to be true:
I did not die when I was seventeen. I lived. And now I am here, and I am doing my best. I have zero ambition to become famous and my acts of kindness this year are more pitiable than brag-worthy. But I am here and I am doing my best. And maybe I have let some of you down, but one thing I know to be true is that I'm not really doing this for any of you. I love you all to pieces and #AdamsActs would not have the reach or power or impact that it has without all of you... I need you guys to be in this with me. But I never set out to do this for anyone here. I did it for Adam. And honestly, I did it for me. I did it for the little eleven year old girl standing at the foot of her mother's bed, staring at the deodorant without the cap. I did it for her. Because she stood there alone and afraid in that moment and tried to piece together what sort of emergency would make her mom run out of the house in the middle of the night in such haste she didn't have time to put on a cap. I did it just for me.
If you are a Christian you might be thinking "see that's your problem, you should have done it for Jesus." Well, guys, I didn't. I didn't do it for Jesus, but just like everything else in my life... I did it because of him. I try to live my life in response to Jesus. Wanting to examine my own grief process and give myself permission to splay my deepest grief before the whole world is because he is in the business of healing and binding up wounds. In response to that, I participated in the process. I am just here, and I am doing my best. And I am thankful that Jesus is easier to please than people. He likes me just as I am, right where I am, and he'll take my best, all he wants is my best. And he knows why I did this, and ya know what, I think he still likes me quite a lot.
Today I sent some encouraging messages to people who get a lot of private criticism. I sent out a few free copies of my devotional and I also rescued a puppy. I left my car running in the street with my door hanging wide open and I chased down a lost puppy that was running around dragging its leash behind him. I got him to a neighbor of the owner who promised she would get the puppy safely home. I did not change the world and I did not magically convert anyone to Christianity via a blog post. But I opened my home to host our community group and I shared vulnerably and honestly in our discussion, and I invited people to explore a deeper faith with me in the devotional.
I wanted this month to be bigger and better. But I am starting to realize that my part doesn't have to be bigger and better for this thing to grow. #AdamsActs is growing, in spite of me. I am growing, in spite of me. God is constantly redeeming and repurposing the pain of Adam's death and transforming it into something that is beautiful and meaningful. This is all happening in spite of me. And even though there are critics out there who want to tell me that I am doing it all wrong, I know that God is not one of them. The God I serve is willing to fill in the gaps and stand in where I come up short. I don't think I need to push that kind of God on anyone... the appeal of his acceptance speaks for itself. Because he knows that we are here, and we are all just doing our best and he is simply wild about every last one of us.