Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Have you ever had a day where you wish you could wash away the hurt and the pain and the sting in the shower? When the day reminds you of your brokenness and frailty. When they day slaps you in the face with your failings. When your heart breaks and you weep for those around you that are hurting too. I had that day. And I seem to be having those days. 

And on one such day I heard the most hurtful words flung from the mouth of a babe. And I hurt down deep because those words first came from my mouth. And the sting was deep. And I cried out God help me. Change my messy broken soul. Make me something more. Make my heart something that pleases you. Make this frail broken mess something that brings you glory. And I weep. And I ache. 

And I shower to try to wash away the numbness. And I cry. And I eat cookies. And I sit on the floor and have tickle fights. And I weep long in the arms of the man I love. And it still hurts. And I am still broken. 

But my God is big. And His mercy and grace are new every morning. He is perfect. He is good. He is holy. I am not. And today I can rest in the fact that His grace is sufficient for my weakness. 

And I list gifts. 

#555 cookies
#556 lunch with dad
#557 wrapping gifts with little girls
 #558 tickle fights in the floor
#559 stopping by a friends 

And joy comes still in the midst of pain. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some exciting news to share!

     Many of you know that we have been waiting Impatiently for referral from Ethiopia since 2010. That road has been rocky and rough to say the least. There have been lots of discouragements and not much good news to report. So I am super happy to have some good news to share with you all. Ethiopia is still rough. Our agency has not had a referral since April. We have been desperately praying about what God would want us to do. And it has been a tough decision. As many of you know our hearts were set on Ethiopia. And we have been heartbroken to think that may not happen. But God is good. And while we still do not know for sure that the door to Ethiopia is closed we are feeling a peace to apply to another country. 

     I am super happy to tell you in the thick of the rough road God has opened up a new direction for us. And I am happy to report we are pursuing an independent adoption from The Democratic Republic of The Congo. We are almost done with our dossier and I am hoping that by the end of this month we will be officially waiting! 

   What this means officially is that we are still technically on a wait list for Ethiopia. And we will also be on a waiting list for DRC. But we are not even close to the top on the Ethiopian list and it hasn't moved at all in the past 6 months. So we are hopeful that the DRC list will move more quickly. We are using a facilitator that we trust very much to find a child and an attorney in DRC.  This particular facilitator has been giving referrals to families within weeks of getting their dossier done. But our hope is to have a referral within a few months. Once the referral comes in we have to say yes or no and agree to work with the attorney who is connected with that child. If we agree we then have to pay the attorney fees/ and child-care expenses, which will total roughly $16,000.00 Once we have that in order our attorney files paperwork for us in DRC and we get a court date. After a lot of paperwork and waiting, if we pass court we will then apply for embassy dates and get to meet our child in country. This will probably be roughly 5 months from when we get a referral. And after lawyer fees, legal fees, childcare costs, flights and stay in country we are expecting to have to come up with roughly $25,000-$30,000 in the next 6 months or so. 

    So with that in mind we would love for you all to join us to help get our little guy home. 
Here is what you can do. 

    First and foremost PRAY. This is the most important. God is the one who decides the outcome here. Not us. And we know that God moves on behalf of the prayers of his people. Pray for God to lead us to the right child. Pray for God to orchestrate our paperwork and to have us ready when our child is. Pray for God to prepare us emotionally, physically and financially for this new child. Pray for God to protect our child and get him into the hands of people who will fight for him. The DRC is very unstable. The more I have been reading about this precious country the more my heart is broken for the people and the children who are in the midst of war. Please pray for the nation of DRC. And pray for God to bring redemption there. Pray. Pray. Pray. And pray some more. And let us know you are praying. We are so encouraged when people tell us they are praying for us. This process is hard. And we feel weary many days. But we are so blessed by our community that has been actively praying for us and our baby.  The people who have sent emails, texts, and calls. People who have hugged us, cried with us, let us vent. We are tremendously blessed by our friends, and family and friends who are family. Thank you! Thank-you! Thank-you! So please keep praying. 

    And if you are able and would like to support us we have a few fundraising options coming up in the next couple months. 

    Right now we are selling shirts to raise money. T-shirts, green or black S, M, L, XL are $20.00. Sizes 2XL-3XL are $22.00. Hooded Sweatshirts $30.00. If you require shipping it will be an additional $5.00. We are pre-selling shirts until December 17th. We can have them out by Christmas if we get your order by then. Contact me if you are interested. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Giving Thanks

    It was one of those days when a lot of what is wrong with the world was smacking us in the face. It was just a struggle. A bad day. A day that could make me sink. I started the day waking up 20 mins late. I rushed around to get everyone out the door. As we were driving in the car, I thought of how my Bible lay unopened that morning. My devotional book un-cracked. My daily Thanksgiving journal lay untouched. I hungered for that connection I get with God from those moments. But I cried out to him in the car in the midst of the chaos and kids arguing. I cried out to him and just said, "I need you Lord. Please meet me today."

    The day was hard. Hurtful words thrown my way. Kids not obeying. Deadlines looming over-head. News of friends hurting, real, raw. Kids fighting. Momma's nerves wearing thin. Plans having to be shifted and changed. Disappointment settling over the kids. But in the midst I saw His fingerprints. I saw God reaching out to me. Reminding me that He was there. He was writing my story and His plans are good. An unexpected lunch invitation. A friend helping me, right when I needed it. Daddy home to stay with kids while I make an afternoon grocery run. Watching the girls trim our Christmas tree in the kitchen. Snuggling close with girls while watching a long anticipated movie.

After the kids were snuggled into bed, books read, prayers said and kisses given. I sat alone in the living room. I watched the lights on the Christmas tree dance. I sipped a warm cup of apple cinnamon tea and cracked open my Bible and Thanksgiving journal. My heart was over whelmed with peace. Peace that is beyond understanding.

In the midst of hard God is still there. And there is good. Such goodness still.

Will you join me today and be on the look out for what your heart can be Thankful for?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Doing the next thing

I woke up this morning way too tired. I woke up this morning way too crabby. I woke up this morning with my heart full of way too much. I went over the list in my head of all the to dos for the day and the to dos for the week and it was all too much.

There is no way I can possibly be all that everyone around me needs me to be. I need to parent and disciple these two precious little girls well. I need to teach their minds and hearts knowledge and the studies of all things. I need to discipline them well and instill a heart of gratitude.

I need to be a good wife to my husband. I need to be respectful and submit to His leadership. I need to make him feel welcome and treasured when he is home and to think and talk well of him in his absence.

I need to be housekeeper and clean and organize the space we are blessed to call home.  I need to wash, dry and fold the mountain of clothes we are blessed to have. I need to create healthy and filling meals to nourish our bodies.

On top of all of these I need to make time to read God's word and pray (most important), to rest (so needed) , to exercise (Let's not even go there). I need to do these and one hundred other little tasks each day. And I want to do them with excellence.

But if I am truly honest sometimes I just want to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head. It is all too much.

So I found myself crying this morning as I was putting another load of laundry in the washer. Fighting my way down the basement stairs with arms too full and stuff falling down around me as I walked. And crying. Crying real the kind where you start to breath all huffy. Crying over laundry. And not laundry. Crying because I can't do it all. Crying because I am overtired from staying up too late.

And I stopped in the midst of my huffy breathing and gave thanks. Raw, hard thanks. Thanks for a washer that works and for the little girls giggling up the stairs. Thanks for the arms and legs that are healthy enough for the task. And I cried out to God to please help me make it through this day and the million tasks that lie ahead.

And then I did the next thing. A while back I came across a poem quoted by Elisabeth Elliot that talks about when your heart is feeling overwhelmed that the best thing to do is to cast your cares on God and do the next thing. Do it with reliance on God and thanksgiving.

So I did that. I began cleaning one area at a time. First the kitchen. Moving onto the living room. Now here I am. Its almost noon. I still have much to do. And much that may be left undone. But my heart is filled with new joy.

If you are feeling a bit like I was today., I encourage you to do the next thing and do it with thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday Musings

 It was Monday. The day was long already and it was only 2 pm. I was battling an allergy headache and a soul full of crabbiness. I had given on up on the rest of school work for the day after finding one child had purposely taken her sisters "special" coloring page and "finished" it for her. I no longer had the energy. I was attempting to reassemble our house after a weekend of disaster fun. Laundry was piled high. There were remnants of playtime all over the house. Markers and crayons strewn on and under the table.  Building blocks thrown about the living room. 
 I am not sure what was the thing that set me off. Maybe the dirty socks that were found laying under the kitchen table. But my mouth went into full out war. I found myself saying things like, "Do you think I am your maid?" Just hearing the words come from my mouth I knew. I could see how my grasping for peace was turning our home into a war zone. 

Why do I do that? Why do I demand perfection from myself and thus place those expectations on my family? Does it matter that much if my house is perfectly in order? I know it does not. But there are moments I think it's my right to have a clean home. It's my right to have things put back the way I left them. It's my right to not have to clean up markers and crayons for the 77th time today. 

 What about my rights? 

 Mark 10:42-45 (NIV)
Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

The Son of God left His rights and gave Himself up to serve. There are days that this life doesn't feel like service to God. The daily grind of making meals, teaching kids, doing laundry, dishes, and chauffeuring from here to there. This daily living is not exceptional. But I was reminded the other day while reading My Utmost for His Highest that God does not require me to do exceptional things. But instead He wants me to live my daily life in an extraordinary way. 

I admit the daily serving of those closest to me is the hardest for me. It is hard for me to respond patiently when the girls are arguing for the  millionth time today and I don't want to be referee. It is hard to respond with love to the whines of a child.  (Something about that decibal just grates on my nerves.) When I walk into a room, that was just cleaned, to find it now completely destroyed the very last thing I want to think about is serving my family with love. 

My girls only have one mom. My husband only has one wife. Our home can be cleaned by anyone.  The laundry will still be in the same spot when I get back to it. And food can be ordered take-out. But there is only one person who can fulfill the  role of wife and mom to my family. And that is me. 

I really would like to say I got over my funk and am back to being a loving mom and wife. But really, the truth is, I am all too often in that funk. I am all too often demanding my own rights instead of looking for ways to serve my family. 

Lord- Give me eyes to see how to love my family today with the heart of a servant. Forgive me for demanding my own rights. Forgive me for seeking to be served instead of looking to serve those around me. Change me. And teach me how to be the wife my husband needs and the momma my kids deserve. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A heart of Thanksgiving

    It has been several months since my last post. The post about a wall of thanksgiving. And to be honest I titled this post "Heart of Thanksgiving"  but I am not sure I am completely there. The past few months we have been learning more and more about the state of our adoption in Ethiopia. Things do not look positive. It has been over 6 months since our agency has had a referral.

    I have had many super tough days. Many days when I would pray and beg God for direction, clarity,  some kind of sign that we are still supposed to be doing this. I have looked for other options, researched, prayed over, cried over other countries, other plans. And to be honest we are still in the same boat. We do not know when or even if we will ever complete an adoption.

But here is what I do know.

1. God is the one who determines our steps.
"In his heart a man plans His course but the Lord determines His steps." Proverbs 16:9 NIV

2. God can be trusted.
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man." Psalm 118:8 NIV

3. I can know the will of God.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18

   This certainly not an easy time of life for me. So much of my dreams seem to be slipping away. But if I trust in my own ideas of my what my best plans are I will surely lose my life. ( Luke 9:24 "For whoever wants to save His life will lose it, but whoever loses His life for me will save it.") So here I am stumbling, struggling, and many times failing but trying to  surrender my plans and my dreams to be faithful to my God. He is God and I am not. And while this does not always make sense I know He is good.

    Yet in the midst of this struggle I have found a deep joy.  And it came from a heart of Thankfulness. Over these past few months I have been stopping for random moments to write down what I am thankful for on my wall of Thanksgiving.  And more recently I have taken the challenge to journal what I am thankful for and to count to one thousand gifts.

    I have a little journal that I am handwriting and counting what I am thankful for. I have gotten to #148 as of today. #148 A day with daddy home. Stopping to count the moments has taught me to fully enjoy each moment. When I can stop to record something as simple as #70 The smell of tea bags it reminds that each moment is a gift. I can choose to embrace each gift as a blessing from a good God or I can reject His moments and scoff at all the gifts I do not have. I am learning. I am far from there. And I find myself falling into old routines. I find myself looking at how God has blessed others. How he has written their stories and being jealous. But when I choose instead to give thanks. To see that His will, even now, is perfect I find joy. I find peace. I find that I have intimacy with God Himself.
   That is the way to find joy. Not to have everything I want. But to truly enjoy everything I have. I invite you to take the challenge for yourself. What are you thankful for?

#135 A warm shower...
#137 Watching my 4 year old read a BOB book to her daddy...
#139 Restful sleep...
#141 A warm, sunny day...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wall of Thanksgiving.

So during one of my rough days a few weeks ago I was texting a friend and she said she was praying for me and asked if she could give me homework. "Sure", I said. Her homework was for our family to remember all the times God has been faithful to us and to write down all the things we are thankful for. I loved the idea and immediately wanted to make this something we can keep. Something that will look pretty and we can display for years to come. I scanned Pinterest but still could not find anything I really liked to display thanksgiving. Everything was specifically for the holiday of Thanksgiving so it looked a little too fallish for everyday. Then I came upon a homemade cork board and really loved the idea. So I set about to make my own cork board for thankfulness. The above picture is what I ended up with. I love it! Please do not pay attention to the dirty fingerprints on my white door. (This makes me want to clean that right now.)

Here is how I did it in case you would like to make your own.

Step 1. I purchased a cork panel from Hobby Lobby. It was around $14.00. Hobby Lobby has coupons on their website for 40% off any one item. That makes it roughly $9.00.

Step 2: I searched and searched for the right fabric to cover the board. I could not find anything I loved for under $40.00. I finally found this shower curtain at TJ Maxx for $14.99. I had a $10.00 gift card for there so it cost me roughly $5.00. You can pretty much use any fabric as long as it is large enough and is not sheer. I bet you could even find something at a Thrift Store that you can use. 

Step 3: I cut the fabric to roughly the same size as the board and used a staple gun to secure it to the back of the board. Todd helped me with this step because it was useful to have another pair of hands pulling the fabric tight while I stapled. That and maybe he didn't really trust me that much to handle his staple gun.

Step 4: I secured a piece of ribbon to the back of the board with the staple gun.

Step 5: I cut out tiny pieces of pretty scrap book paper for us to use for our things we are thankful for. And then we stuck them on the cork board with push pins. 

Here is the finished product along with the first things the kids said they are thankful for. 

Elizabeth: God helps me when I am hurt. He heals me. I love Him. 

Claire: God loves me. I love Him. I am thankful for the bunny rabbit. 

I think that alone was worth the $15.00. 

I am super grateful for the ability to remember how truly blessed I am!

Monday, May 21, 2012


I am wrecked. I was Internet shopping this afternoon for a little gift for a precious family who just came home with their son. I imagine to any normal person looking at adoption gifts doesn't send you into tears. But for me it did. Suddenly all the adoption books, wall art, t-shirts were not for this precious family but for me. For my son. For our family.

I never really understood, until now, how someone can simultaneously feel two feelings. I feel intense joy, and gratefulness to God for writing this precious story for my friends. I feel incredibly privileged to bear witness to God doing a miracle in the life of a precious child. I am overjoyed with them for the blessing they now have in their home.

And then I also feel longing. Longing for our call. Our picture. Our happy ending.  Longing for our story of redemption. Longing for our turn.

I am wrecked.

To say that I am coping is a stretch. I am weary. I am burdened. I am hurting.

I am not ok. Some people may be wondering why I would admit this. Why would I admit that I cry almost daily and sometimes over the silliest things. Most of the time my tears are private. Most of the time I save them for the shower or the bathroom or the car.

So how can I feel a wreck and yet live with hope?

Isaiah 40:28-31 (niv)
 Do you not know Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom. 
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;  
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Giving it over

So the past few days Todd and I were trying to figure out if and where we were going to do a family vacation this summer. We have gone every year, for the past three years, to a little beach house in a cute little Michigan town. We love love love this. It is a super inexpensive and low key way for our family to make some memories. So we were looking to go to the same little town this summer and the place we normally stay was mostly booked so we started looking at other options. Now this is not a big deal. It isn't super important in the grand scheme of things. But, can I tell you, my heart was in a panic about it. The act of emailing people, bargaining, and moving around dates was making me freak out. In the midst of trying to wrap up our school year, and trying to just get the other life stuff done it was too much for my brain to handle. It doesn't make a lot of sense. It really is not a big deal. But suddenly my brain was in an all out tizzy over dates and places and money and... what if the dates we want cannot be found and we will never be able to have a great family vacation filled with memories. My children will be scarred for life.

Ok, so back to reality. I took a second and had a little conversation in my head and reasoned that this thing is getting out of control in my little brain so I need some help. Now while I was looking at houses, emailing people and going out of control, my much more sane husband was doing the same thing in a much more human like fashion. So when he came home last night I said, "This vacation thing is freaking me out, so I am handing it over to you and I trust you to do the research and then when you come back to me with a decision I will on almost all accounts agree to whatever you have decided." And then I pretended to physically hand him the "vacation" box. Shew I feel better already. I literally felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I took something that I was freaking out over and gave it to some very capable hands.

This little exchange has me thinking about how so often while I am in a tizzy about something in my life God is already working on it. And I think He is just waiting for me to hand him the box and say I trust His decision. So last night as I lay in bed I had a mental picture of handing over about a half dozen boxes that I have been "working" on that are becoming to heavy for me to carry. And I feel better. Until I try to pick up those boxes again. So today I want to lay it all down and instead choose to carry His yoke.

Because what happens is I give Him a box and say I trust Him. But then when things aren't working out exactly like I thought or according to my time-table I pick it up again and try to make it work on my own. And that doesn't ever work out. But for some reason I keep forgetting that. And my patient and loving heavenly father continues to remind me over and over that I can trust Him with my boxes.

What boxes have been causing you some craziness? It's time to hand them over. But not to me. I have enough to carry and cannot be trusted with them.

* A little side note. Sorry the verse is coming out all crazy. I cannot make it look normal and have no patience for it right now. That box is gone.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Faith enough

I am reminded over and over that my thoughts are not the thoughts of God. My ways are not His ways. It doesn't make much sense by human standards to love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:43-48) It doesn't make much sense to give my life away and think that in doing so I will truly find life. (Luke 9:24) God's ways don't often make much sense to my mind. But more and more I am finding my heart being changed, renewed and made different. And I am finding that sometimes my initial response is really the thing that God wants. I am finding my "natural" tendencies are being shifted more and more to things that seem unnatural. When I am hurt I am finding that sometimes I want to respond with forgiveness and love. When I find a hopeless situation sometimes I want to respond with faith and believe that with God all things are possible. But it isn't me. I know this because it wasn't always so. And I am finding the more I lay down my will and submit the more and more God's ways are starting to make sense to me.

I had a revelation moment last night. There was something I wanted and desperately prayed for many many years ago. I longed for this thing and yet it didn't happen. It didn't make much sense in the moment. But last night I had a glimpse into what my life may have looked like had that prayer been answered how I wanted. And it was not a pretty picture. And I found myself thanking God for not giving me what I wanted. For seeing beyond my initial hearts desire and looking deeper into the real longings of my heart. I am so utterly grateful that I didn't get to choose. I would have messed it up for sure.

I am grateful for the hurt I experienced then because in the end it is better for me. In the moment that hurt did not feel good. The pain I experienced was real and hard. But I see now that it was what needed to happen. And now I can thank God that His ways are higher.

One of my deepest desires is to be a momma to many children. I know I am utterly blessed beyond measure to be able to mother the littles that I have been gifted. I know this. And I am working hard to treasure the moments I have with them. I am so thankful for them. And there are days when I am overwhelmed with them.  But I love that I get to be their momma. I feel truly privileged to be able to shepherd them into adulthood. And I long to do that for more babies. I long to have more littles calling me momma. Yesterday at Co-op I had the blessing to hold a little guy who was 10 months old while his momma was visiting his older siblings for a few minutes. Do you know what happens to a momma's heart when you long for a baby and one is placed in your arms? It is an intense feeling. A crazy tug at your heart. And my heart was longing.

And sometimes my longing heart can cause me to hurt And hurt can lead to doubt. And doubt can cause me to question the wisdom of God. I am thankful that my God is patient with my questions and loving towards my doubting heart. And He is faithful to give me practical glimpses into what my like would be like if I would have chosen my own way. And again I am reminded that His ways are better. So yesterday, while I had a glimpse of what life would be like if I would have gotten all I wanted, I also had a thought- "I bet in the end I will say that I am thankful for this hurt." And maybe someday I will hold another little who will call me momma and I will be able to say this may not have been what I would have chosen but it is much more than I ever could have hoped for.

There is a song by the band Jars of Clay it is called "Faith Enough".  I love this song. I could recite all the lyrics because just about anyone of them speaks to me but here is a snippet of what I love.

The land unfit enough for planting
Barren enough to conceive
Poor enough to gain the treasure
Enough a cynic to believe
Enough a cynic to believe

Confused enough to know direction
The sun eclipsed enough to shine
Be still enough to finally tremble
And see enough to know I'm blind
And see enough to know I'm blind

                    Should the world rely on faith tonight

I am choosing today to rely on faith. Faith not in what my plans are or in what I think is best. But faith that my God truly does know what is best and have my best interest at heart. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

True Story

So here are some real life quotes heard around our house the past few days.

As we are just about to pull into our homeschool CO-OP.
Child: Mom, Why are we always late for school? All the other families are not. 
Me: That is because this is where I fail at life.

As we are eating dinner.
Child: We had this for dinner last night. 
Me: Yes I know. 

As I am bent over child trying to tie her shoes for her.
Child: You are squishing your boobs together. Followed by crazy laughter.
No reply. What do you say to a child with no filter?
Just Keeping it real people.

As daddy is giving good night kisses.
Child: Everyone has their own smell. 
(This one is stinking cute.)

Me: Don't step in the baby powder. 
So in an effort to rid of some annoying ants I have covered several areas along the wall with baby powder. It seems to be working but really how long can one keep baby powder all over their floor? I am thinking it needs to go soon but then will the ants come back right away? Hmmmm... we shall see.

Thanks for listening to my random ramblings.

And here are the quotation culprits.

On a completely separate note. I took these pictures one night after a long evening of playing together because I thought they looked so stinking cute I wanted to remember them like this forever.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Where is your house built?

A 20 year old girl said yes. She married the man of her dreams. A few weeks before the wedding she couldn't believe this was her life, a fairy tale come true. 

A few weeks later - the wedding, the honey-moon, the move to a new place, figuring out how to live on her own. Trying to work, be a wife, grocery shop, budget, cook, clean and run a home.  Figuring out how to share space and time and everything with someone else. Figuring out that you don't always like that someone else. Finding out that this fairy tale is not exactly a happy ending. Wondering if there is hope. Wondering what happened to all those happy feelings and dreams she held just a short time ago. 

A young woman, now a wife. Feeling stuck in a life she wasn't sure she still wanted. Still feeling love for this man but feeling stuck in a cycle of hurt and fighting and pain and not sure how to make it better.   Crying out in desperation to her Savior. She lays it all bare and says she doesn't want to do it anymore. She doesn't like this life. His call is to surrender. For a moment she hesitates. She knows what surrender will mean. At least she thinks she does. But she says she will. 

She lays it down and commits again to this marriage. Not knowing what the future would hold. But knowing her Savior was worth following. When she begins to give up her pain and feelings about the marriage the Savior begins to show her how much she has to learn. How she has wronged him. How much she has hurt him. How she is not always as right as she imagines she is. Slowly her ideas about him begin to soften. And she sees how much he really does love her. How much he is trying to make her happy. She begins to forgive him and to seek his forgiveness. 

Slowly she learns what it means to be a wife that is after the heart of God. She learns to respect her man and to lift him up. She learns to bring him before the Lord and to beg the Lord to shape and mold him. But along the way she realizes that more than shaping and molding him the savior is shaping and molding her. And as her heart is changed their marriage is also being changed. 

And suddenly there is hope again. Life is peaceful. Joy fills the home. Hearts are being molded and drawn towards each other. The man is surrendered to the Lord. The Lord is the head of the home and the wife is surrendered to the man and the Lord. And now the fairy-tale is a distant memory but I would not be trade the joy of the moment for any fairy-tale. 

This is my story. 

I cannot be more grateful that my Savior called me to surrender when I was at the end of my hope. I thought that being willing to stay would be mean a life doomed to that crazy cycle. But instead when I was ready to let God lead me wherever He wanted I found infinite joy. And the love of my life. I love you Todd more now than 8 years ago when that young girl said yes. We have surely had the wind and rain beat upon our house and the storms of life threaten to knock us over but our house built upon the rock of Jesus Christ remains.  Praise Him!

Matthew 7:24 (NIV) "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on a rock."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Postponement in the Desert

A few months ago I sat at my computer desk and opened an email from our agency. I read through the email and it basically said, "Bad news, bad news, bad news, you should probably be double applying, don't put all your eggs in this basket." So I read the email. I cried, I prayed and then I told God, "That's it I'm done. I quit this. I can't do it anymore." As I was praying there happened to be an advertisement for a video game on the right hand screen of my computer. And in big bold letters flashed, "CHOOSE YOUR GOD."

That same evening with my heart hard and hurting we made our way to church. Want to guess what the message was? It was about choosing who your God was going to be. If Jesus is really going to be your Lord and master then He should be able to tell you where to go, what to do. Even when you don't want to do it. So I sat there knowing this was exactly what my heart needed to hear. And I surrendered. I gave Him my hurting heart and my will. And I told Him I would do this if He wanted me to. I didn't know how or have the strength to walk this way one more minute but He is my Lord and my God and I choose Him.

Right now I am reading the book "Hinds feet on high places." The book is about a woman named 'Much-Afraid'. In the book the Shepherd promises Much-Afraid to take her to the High Places. More than anything in the world Much-Afraid wants to go there. She longs for it. And one day the Shepherd actually takes her to begin her journey towards the High places. One day when the path takes a turn into the desert and far away from the High Places Much-Afraid calls to her Shepherd and asks Him why. She cannot imagine why this is the path and feels like it must be a mistake. This cannot be the way he is leading. This way is going directly away from her hearts desire and she does not want to go. Taken from the book- "Then he answered her very quietly, 'Much-Afraid, do you love me enough to accept the postponement and the apparent contradiction of the promise, and to go down there with me into the desert.' "

When I read these words it is like my God is speaking them directly to my soul. I don't understand why this is taking longer than I ever imagined. I sometimes feel like a fool for going this way. Why walk through this desert? There has to be a quicker way to have a child right. I mean pregnancy is shorter. I don't get it. And I wish I had a easier and quicker way. But for whatever reason He has lead us through this desert. He has lead us to this path. And I am trying to be faithful. I struggle. And many days I feel the weed of impatience in my heart. But I know He is good and so my heart says what Much-Afraid replied to her savior.

"I will go with you, for you know I do love you, and you have the right to choose for me anything that you please."- Much-Afraid

Monday, March 26, 2012

Food for thought

I was just chewing on an article I read. The teenage son of a pastor (black) asks a white girl from his Christian school if she would attend his senior prom with him. She says yes but then a few days later comes back to him with tears and says her dad, "doesn't believe in that." This church going, assuming Bible believing dad doesn't believe in that.

So I am just wondering, assuming our adoption works out and we really bring home a beautiful dark skinned baby boy, will anyone be offended in 18 years if he wants to take your white daughter to prom? Or what if in 25 years he asks your daughter to marry him? Will anyone really think, "I don't believe in that kind of thing?"

I hope not, but I cannot help to think that may be something we will encounter.

And I am chewing on that today.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

True Beauty

A few days ago I was looking at some pictures on the computer with Claire. We came to this one. I asked her, "Who are these two pretty little girls?" She pointed to the little blond in the pink and black (herself) and said, "This one is not pretty."

That little comment broke my heart in two. I often tell her she is beautiful. Her daddy says it too. She is not compared to her sister. We dont tell Elizabeth she is pretty more often than we tell Claire. I talk to my girls so much about what it means to be "beautiful." I tell them beauty is about more than just what you look like on the outside or the clothes you wear. I tell them the truth about what God says is beautiful (1st Peter 3:4) ..." The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." I have quoted that verse to them a gazzilion times. But still she thought she was not pretty.

I look at that picture and cannot even fathom why that little three year old girl could possibly think she is not pretty. Her little smile lights up a room. Her big blue eyes and long blond hair are the things women envy. But when she looked at that picture she saw herself as not measuring up. She said her dress was not as pretty as the other girls (Elizabeth). "And no one else in our family has light hair like me." (Her quote)

This made me think about how often I have looked in the mirror and thought, "This one is not pretty." Even though my hubby tells me I am beautiful often. Even though my parents have told me I was pretty. Even though I have memorized that verse from 1st Peter. I still look at myself and see that I do not measure up. I am not as thin or as nicely dressed. My hair is not quite right. My clothes are not stylish. My makeup looks a mess. I am not as pretty as that other girl. And it makes me wonder is God looking down and thinking exactly what I thought when Claire said that. "My sweet child if you only saw yourself through my eyes you would know you are beautiful."

I wonder if it makes His heart sad too when we compare ourselves with someone else and say that we have fallen short.

Psalm 139:14
" I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well."

Friday, February 3, 2012


I had so much fun at my retreat last weekend. I came home rested and rejuvenated! And while I loved loved loved almost everything about the retreat (except the 17 hours it took to get there), I must admit it was hard to be around all these mommas who were sharing pictures of babies with dark skin and big brown eyes when my heart is dreaming of my own little guy. Its hard to hear stories of gotcha days and big ways that God provided when my heart is longing to see the end of our story. It makes the ache in my heart a little stronger and the yearning just a little more unbearable. I will admit I have been unusually teary the last week. I seriously started tearing up in line at the Christian book store because they were asking for child sponsorship and had pictures of little dark skinned babies posted to tug at your heart strings. I almost lost it and then I had to remind myself, "you are in public get a hold of yourself."

This aching is real and this longing I have for our child is hard. And sometimes when I look at all the 'facts" I get pretty discouraged. If I lean on my own understanding of the way this works out it seems impossible and like this thing will never work out well. And I will be honest, I have been doing that a lot lately. I have been looking at all the wind and waves and I have been drowning a little. But just like Jesus caught Peter when he was drowning (Matthew 14:22-33), He is really faithful to catch me.

I was having one of those drowning days on Wednesday. I was crying and venting to Todd. I love that my husband is so wise because he listened to my craziness and then he said, "God's work is done best when it looks impossible for Him to do it."

So for now my eyes are back on my God and off the waves. The view is much better here.

My heart is encouraged by these truths.

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

Romans 8:28
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Since October

Wow. Cannot believe January is here and almost gone. I realized I havent blogged since October.

So here is an update on our life since then:

We are holding steady on the waiting list for Ethiopia. We have nothing new to update, no news to speak of but we have hope and I am filled with a tremendous amount of peace. So we wait in hope for the Lord! (Psalm 33:20-22)

We are still homeschooling but I admit with Christmas and vacations we have been a little lax in our studies but we just started phonics this week. Elizabeth is loving learning to read. Claire has up this point been interested in doing everything big sister has done but phonics were a little too boring for little sister this week so mom is having to re-work my plan a little.

In December my big little girls had their first dance recital together. Ohh my it was the cutest thing. As they step on stage Elizabeth was posing and smiling absolutely prepared for her moment to shine. But my sweet Claire stole the show by pulling her cute little tu-tu up over her head. So I was that mom who stood in the back row yelling in my calmest whisper "pull your dress down." But seriously the whole aduience was roaring with laughter at her cuteness.

Next week I am headed to Atlanta GA to join 400 other adoptive moms for the Created for Care conference. I am so excited I could burst. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. I was looking forward to this conference so much but a couple weeks ago something happened that made my heart feel like this conference is more than just a break or get away. The worship leader for the weekend posted a song that she said the Lord laid on her heart for the weekend. And that song happened to be the very song God has used over and over to encourage my heart that He has been leading us. So I go forward with the certainty that my God prepared this weekend for me. And it grips my heart with joy!