A bat to the head and the scars to prove it {when good intentions go bad}

If you were to walk into my house at any given time (unless I know company is coming and I've hidden everything) you would find sports cards laying around. And even though they aren't allowed in the house, you'd find a ball. My boys like sports. Even my two-year-old is always wanting to play catch or shoot for the hoop. All year long we cheer at basketball, soccer, football, and baseball games. Thankfully, we've been injury free up until this past baseball season.

 

To be honest, I kinda hate baseball. The season is just so long. When it starts, we all have to bundle up and huddle for warmth as spring slowly enters Michigan. By the time we are finishing everyone is in shorts complaining that the bleachers face directly into the sun. Often, the games seem to be scheduled in the middle of nap time. We rarely make it to the 7th inning stretch without a fit because the snacks are gone, no more candy is allowed, and the toys we brought are suddenly "so boring".  Even so, there we sat this year to watch our oldest and middle pIay.

 

This particular game did not start until seven in the evening. Our team was up to bat, and since my boy had batted the last inning, I knew he wouldn't this time around. We weren't watching too closely because his little brothers were completely over it. They were busy running near the side field where we were standing. It was during that time when I heard a few people in the crowd take a sharp breath in. It was collective enough to catch my attention. I directed my eyes to the field and saw a little boy, right near the dugout, laying on the ground. I immediately thought "oh shoot, somebody, got hit with a ball." Before I had time to reassure my mind it couldn’t be Greyson. Another dad standing near us asked, " Isn't that Grey?”

 

 At age nine, my oldest is seeking independence, but sometimes he still wants his mom around. As we quickly walked closer to the dugout I was having a mental debate about whether  or not to go to him. Before I could make my decision, his coaches raced over. At the same time, I realized he hadn't been hit by a fly ball. He had actually been hit in the head by a swinging bat. Now there was no debating, my husband rushed out and swooped him up. 

 

Much later we learned that Greyson had noticed a bat lying on the ground. He had told me through tears that he hadn’t wanted a teammate to trip on it. He ignored the rule that you must have a helmet on outside the dugout and scrambled to grab the bat. What he didn’t account for, was that his team member was taking practice swings in the same area. Wrong place, wrong time. WHACK!

 

Have you ever felt like you just didn’t see the bat coming? Maybe your intentions were pure, but your timing was misplaced? Rather than take a step back and analyze the entire scene, you cannonballed right in. After all, you just wanted to help. Man, I’ve been there and I hate that place. Not too long ago I found myself smack dab in the middle of a similar scenario. It wasn’t until after I was lying on the ground in a puddle of tears that I started to ask God some questions.

 

When I did finally take some time away to pray, God led me to a really good book that helped me sort out my thoughts. Then he gently whispered to me, "I never told you to involve yourself there.”  The minute I heard that correction drop in my spirit, I felt a multitude of emotions. Embarrassment, anger, disbelief but also peace. My first thought was, “you’re just telling me this now?”  Even though I was the one who hadn’t asked in the first place, this project had taken up a lot of my time and I was feeling frustrated. Still, for the first time in a while, I had clarity and direction.

Weeks later, I was still unsettled. I was wrestling with feeling like a failure. The thing was, I had done a ton of work and helped in a lot of different ways and once I realized it was time to put that project down, I felt like a quitter. I don’t like to quit. Finishing strong and receiving praise and approval is much more style. I was having coffee with a mentor and giving her an update on the situation. I told her I felt dumb for missing the queues and that I was disappointed in myself. My mentor said to me, “but aren’t you glad that God loves you enough to not leave you in that place?”  I had let myself believe that God was just waiting to knock me down after I messed it all up.  But God wasn’t swinging a bat in my direction. The minute I fell under my self-imposed weight, He swooped right in. I was just too busy feeling sorry for myself to think of it that way.

 

The story didn’t just end when my husband carried our little man off the field. As we sat next to our son on the bench two women walked over. One was a nurse and she had brought us an ice pack, the other a Physicians Assistant. Both checked for signs of a concussion and took a peek at the sizable bump forming on his head. They offered solid advice and encouragement. After they walked away, I suddenly remembered my other kids. Seriously, how embarrassing. I jumped up from the bench and saw that the couple we were talking with had stepped in to help with them. One of my boys was playing catch and the other was being snuggled. Everyone was okay. Later that night, as I laid down in bed, I got a little choked up. All these different scenarios of what could have happened played through my mind and none of them ended well. We could have rushed to the hospital because of a serious injury like a cracked skull, a crushed eye or damaged ear. Instead, he just has a scar.

 

And do you know, my story hasn’t ended either. When I sat down to talk with God, His Holy Spirit offered me some solid advice and encouragement too. God placed people in my life at just the right time. When I compare my son's story with my own, it helps me better understand something that I learned years ago from a gifted teacher (thanks, dad). When it comes to dealing with the messes we can easily create for ourselves, it’s really important to grasp that 

 

 Correction is not rejection, it’s redirection. 

 

Isn't that so true? We all have scares. Sometimes they are easy to spot and other times we’re the only ones who know about them. But our scars aren’t there because of rejection. We’ve got to remember that our scars are there because they are a sign of our healing. Scares are marks left behind from the process of our Heavenly Father doing a good work in us.

I needed to learn a new language {so I saw a therapist}

Hi, my name is Erin, I see a therapist. Sometimes, I feel like that's the way I should start conversations. Then maybe if people hear or see me acting in a very particular or specific manner, they'd understand.  I sometimes hear myself repeating what I've learned in therapy and I think "you're a nut". The thing is, sometimes being a little nutty actually works. 

It started almost a year ago. I knew something had to change because the way I was, or wasn't, connecting with one of my kids.  It was affecting our entire family. I would try so hard to be what it was he needed, but not matter what I did, we just kept butting heads. It wasn't like every once in a while we'd have an issue, it was like every couple of hours.  You know when you flip through channels and land on one about animals in the wild, and they show two males fighting for dominance. You can't change the station because you're curious who is going to win, that was us. 

 So we set an appointment and we went together for a few weeks until we decided it was best if only I attended the sessions. I've had to stop saying we have gotten our kid help because if I am the only one going, it's safe to say, we're just getting me help. I don't really care how we label it, I was desperate and so was he. 

 We started out small discussing the problems and really just letting me vent my feelings and fears. Then she started to give me “homework”. This is where the nutty part comes in because I was told to use very specific phrases and words in a monotone voice and show no emotion. I keep comparing myself to that Will Ferrell skit from SNL.  "I SUFFER FROM VOICE IMMODULATION".  Funny stuff unless it's you. I felt so dumb and embarrassed because when my kid was flipping out and I'm dodging the items that were getting thrown in my direction, the only thing I was supposed to say was " I see you throwing your toys, I hear you screaming". 

It was like I was learning an entirely new language , and it felt odd rolling off my tongue. It took patience, perseverance and commitment.

After that lesson was mastered, we moved on. Next, we started conspiring to integrate actions with feelings. It’s really hard to connect with a child when they can’t articulate what is making them upset. His defense mechanism was to react in a negative manner, but I began to realize those were just red flags pointing us to deeper issues. It became my mission to insert words like safe, scared, kind, sad, tired, lonely and angry into all kinds of everyday events. Slowly, it started to work. He began taking steps to claim an emotion attached to a certain behavior. It blew my mind.

It was a different way to think and I am still working on remembering to practice this new language. Its been several months and now I can look back and see that the foundation for getting things headed in a positive direction was to learn how to speak to his heart. Really, truly the key to it all is letting him know that I see him and I hear him.  There is a lot of stuff that I just don't relate to about my boys. For one, they're boys, sometimes I just cock my head in disbelief at what they find humorous. Then we pepper in all that testosterone, fierce competition, need to be right and respected in addition to race and adoption components. I hear myself sighing often.  Out of the many ways I can't or don't relate to them the need to be seen and heard is not one of them. I completely understand that need, can't we all?

 While I’m not screaming and throwing things at my loved ones, I have learned plenty of ugly behavior.  Like with my boy, these behaviors are simply signs of a deeper issue. Sometimes it’s easy to get tangled in the web of lies that we are alone. It’s when the marriage is stuck in unmet expectations, or the body is yet to be healed. Times when our dysfunctional childhood spills over into our adult lives, and we wake up with anxiety and depression. It occurs when we are overwhelmed with our workload or the responsibilities of raising children. Certainly we have all looked around and felt anger at the injustice of a situation that fell in our lap. It’s hard not to get emotional when you had no control over decisions that have now greatly affected your life.  It’s then that we begin to question, why me? And we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are not seen and we are not heard, but that's not true. 


My Pastor once said “We have a God with Scars.” 


Meaning that we don’t have some religious belief system where we are constantly trying to prove our worth by being a good enough person. We have a God who already proved our worth by the shedding of His blood.  So when the therapist kept reminding me how important it was to speak direct truth into my little boys heart, I couldn’t agree more. The truth is: He is El Roi, the One who Sees. He is an intentional God, who purposely sent His son to us, so a relationship could be built with us and now dwells in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because He was forsaken, we can rest assured that we never will be.

The world tells us it’s okay to behave in certain ways, to allow our emotions to run wild, yet it leaves us feeling alone. Learning the language of the Word and applying it to the dark spots in our hearts, will produce transformation that can only come from the realization that we are seen, heard and loved far beyond what we can even comprehend. Even if we feel a little nutty in the process.

 

Timeout {I've got to ask my dad something}

My husband and I were standing in our bathroom having a conversation when our son burst into our room yelling for his dad. It is common in this stage of life for our conversations to be interrupted. Between three boys and a dog, someone always needs something.  In spite of this regular occurrence, his request intrigued me.

 

Our gangly, sports-loving boy was playing a game of one-on-one basketball with his neighbor buddy, and he was getting his butt kicked. His exaggerated expression and serious tone told me he was feeling pretty frustrated. Expecting him to complain, I was pleasantly surprised to hear him ask his dad for advice. I listened as he explained all the tricks that were already tried, but had failed.  My heart swelled that he thought his next best move was to call a timeout and ask for his dad's advice. 

 

The man I married is an incredible dad, and he truly shined in this moment. Rather than telling Greyson, our son, to try harder, he asked him what he knew to be true about the situation. Greyson stated that his friend was taller and could shoot better. However, Greyson was faster.  Next, my husband asked the advantages of being faster. The conversation continued a few minutes longer and ended with them running plays around our bed.  Greyson walked out more confident and ready to implement all he had just learned. 

 

I don't ever recall doing something like that when I was little. I'm pretty certain I just convinced my friends to play games I knew I could win.  The whole scene stuck with me for a few days. I kept thinking how proud I was of Greyson. His emotions could have taken his actions a number of different directions, but he chose to get help.  Ever play against a sore loser? A person that lets anger or jealousy get the best of them. I can distinctly remember a time when I was winning at monopoly and my opponent didn’t like it. Rather than strategize their next move, they just flipped the board up. Paper money and little gold tokens fluttered to the ground, game over. Or sometimes people just give up. They don’t see a quick win and decided it’s easier to quit. Honestly, in the game of life, I sometimes look more like the sore loser rather than one seeking out a fresh perspective. I was humbled by my kid and I wondered, what if I put into practice asking my Father for help when I couldn't figure out the next move? And what would He say to me?

 

I believe the conversation would greatly resemble the one that took place in my bedroom. My Heavenly Father would not placate me with a quick answer, but rather point me to what is true. And there is no better place to find the truth, but in His Word.  The Bible is like the worlds best playbook and reveals answers to my questions when I am struggling. Taking the time right in the middle of the "game" to simply ask for some help would not only change the way I played the game. It would change me.

 

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
— James 1:5

 

I would be able to walk out confident and equipped for whatever comes next because He too, is an incredible dad.

 

 As Father's Day draws near you may be reflecting on your personal experiences with your own dad. Maybe he was really good at answering questions or perhaps not. It could be you didn't know your dad or what you did know of him, you disliked. In any case, the good news is that  Our Heavenly Father is the kind of dad that lavishly loves. He will always take the time to show you the right play. All you have to do is ask.

 

{The very best advice}

Middle school was a little rocky for me. One minute I was experimenting with blue eye shadow and the next I still felt like playing with barbies. I got braces, and learned to shave my legs, and suddenly noticed boys in a different light.  It can be an awkward stage of life and I often relied on my mom for advice.

I remember over the years specific times when her advice was pivotal. In seventh grade, I really wanted a two piece bathing suit, but simply put, I was chunky.  My mom took me to the store and I tried out a lot of suits. She finally said very kindly, "maybe this isn't your year for a two piece".  Good advice.  In high school, my senior year was tough. Girls can be ruthless, and I found myself lonely and misunderstood. She made sure I knew the difference of remaining kind, but not getting walked all over.  More good advice. Later, when the choices in life were bigger and more important, she would listen and then hand out words of wisdom. But the very best advice my mom has ever given to me is: let's pray about this.

Now I'm the mom, and as a mom, I've done some things exactly like my mom used to growing up. While other times I've decided to do things differently. In any case,  I often feel the pressure of caring for three boys day in and day out. Parenting is such a huge responsibility, but each day we are given the opportunity of repeating small acts, which can eventually lead to a big impact.

 Small acts are another thing I learned from my mom. She had a way of subtly bringing up Jesus all throughout the day. We used to have a pool, and we loved to swim. Often she would say things like "my goodness, isn't Jesus clever for making water good for our bodies and fun to play in."  Or each time we pulled aside to allow an ambulance to speed by or happened across a traffic accident, the first thing she did was ask who wanted to pray for the people involved. By consistently bringing up ways to acknowledge our heavenly Father, she was teaching us kids a form of communing with Him all day long. 

That is the kind of example I want to be for my kids. My mom was not perfect. I am not perfect, but isn't that where Jesus works the best? If we wake up in the morning, and hand Him our day knowing that without His grace it will be impossible to get through, He meets us there.  

If we, as moms, are created in His Image then we have the ability to be used by Him every single day. Since His Holy Spirit resides in us then we have the power to introduce eternal perspectives on our kids' circumstances. We get to show our kids each and every day what abiding in Jesus looks like. Not by huge gestures, but in quiet whispers. Cheering them on at sporting events, taking an interest in things that interest them, or slowing down to simply be with them. Rather than trying to change our kids to be become the people we want them to be, we can love them exactly the way God made them to be. Not by being wonder mom, but by teaching them through our own mistakes and flaws that God's love for us is unconditional.

 Each one of my kids is a unique individual with specific needs. So I have read a lot of books and searched out a lot of advice regarding parenting. Yet, the best advice I ever received still comes from my mom. She exemplified Jesus beautifully when she consistently taught me to take the matters of life and bring them before God in prayer. Thanks, mom. Happy Mothers Day!

 

You're not you when you're hungry {Jesus satisfies}

I took a deep breath and walked toward my four-year-old whose crying had quickly escalated into a full blown screaming fit.  This middle child is an intense one and has no problem expressing his deep felt emotions in loud, challenging ways. But this particular morning he was very hungry which did nothing to help his mood. We have a term for this kind of behavior in our house, “Hangry.” 

 

You know those Snickers commercials, the ones that show a person acting very unlike themselves until someone else hands them a Snickers. After taking a bite, the person magically transforms back to themselves and then the slogan comes on the screen

 

 “You’re just not you when you’re hungry. Snickers Satisfies.”

 

That describes hangry perfectly, and for my kid, he gets unreasonable, angry and crabby when he’s hungry. Let’s just say he comes by it honestly. My husband can come home and see me frazzled or tell by my less than kind responses that I need to eat. That’s the way our bodies work, we can’t expect to be nourished the entire day by eating one meal, but rather, a consistent refueling all day.

 

I started to think about that specific thought and related it to my spiritual life. Because unfortunately, my hangry tendencies not only affect my physical body but my spiritual one as well. I find that I compartmentalize my time with the Lord. For example, if I get up and read a devotional, pray or spend a few quiet moments with Him, it’s like I can check that off my list for the day. However, I would not consider doing that to my physical body. I wake up and eat breakfast, but a few hours later my stomach informs me if’s time for lunch. How then do I expect to get through my day when I am starving myself spiritually?

 

I am the bread of Life
— John 6:48

 

 

As I walked over and picked up my little boy, careful to avoid his swinging legs, I sat down with him and helped him eat. Within a matter of minutes, it was clear his sugar levels were evening out. He was much happier and even smiled, but he needed to be fed in order to get his attitude into a better state.  And while I don’t have physical temper tantrums, sometimes in my mind I’m kicking and screaming. That’s why it’s so important for us to be feeding on Him, the bread of life, all day.

 

To bring our hurts, anger, fear and doubts to Him. Letting His Word replace them all with His good promises.  I need to remember to let Him pick me up and take me on His lap. Allow Him to feed me, bringing nourishment to my soul and correcting my behavior  at the same time.   

 

Snickers might be on to something with their slogan except I would argue it this way:

 

“You’re just not you when you’re hungry but Jesus Satisfies.

Accepting help is sometimes hard {for me}

I used to work at Cygnus restaurant before I got married. It was by chance that I got the job. I had gone to a mass interview process for jobs at the Devos Place and was pulled aside to interview for the hostess position at the upscale restaurant on the top of the Amway hotel. I got offered the job that day and worked there for about eighteen months leading up to my wedding. It ended up being a fun job.

Sometimes I witnessed a marriage proposal, often times families were out celebrating something special or business people were wining and dining their clients. The job was easy; just show the people to the table, smile and make sure you used the phrases they taught you in training like "my pleasure" and "certainly Mr. so-and-so." Never point your finger but always use your entire hand to gesture.  I came to recognize the executives high up in Amway that frequently dined with us. I learned the names and faces of our regular clients. One in particular always caught my attention.

He came in about once a month.  He always requested a particular table and dined in on a weeknight when we weren't as busy. He was curt, but polite and always carried a book. He just sat comfortably and read, enjoyed his dinner and left. I was told he tipped well. I always thought to myself " Who does that? Who has the time to come in every month to an expensive restaurant just because?" 

Tonight, that was me. I have actually never sat alone at a restaurant and eaten, but tonight I found myself with a good book and an even better glass of wine sitting at a table for one. A few nights ago, I dropped a full bottle of water on my toe. I immediately dropped to the ground and started sobbing. No joke.  I mean it actually hurt pretty bad, but sobbing is a little dramatic for a toe. My husband, who is a pretty smart guy, just let me cry it out. I went and took a hot shower and came out all blotchy, red-faced and swollen eyed. We sat next to each other for a few minutes before he broke the silence by telling me he had booked a hotel for two nights and he expected me to go, alone.

I said no. I gave every excuse in the book why this was impossible. He had work, I had to get a child to an appointment, there was a book report due, football practice, Sawyer has not been home very long, Charlie isn't sleeping and so on. He just sorta glanced at the water bottle then back at me. He said,  "I don't want to argue about this, but I think you could use a break." I still said no. But here I am, sitting in a hotel room with me, myself and I and it's a little awkward.

I don't think I have been by myself overnight anywhere for years. I've been away, I've had vacations but I have always been with someone.  I don't really know what to do, I have a hard time just sitting at home, so this is a struggle. Which sounds funny because I don't know how many days a week I think about just getting a few minutes alone and here I am alone. 

Last week at church we had a special guest, he was really good, and I keep thinking about what He spoke on. He taught about receiving and how it's just as important or maybe even more so than giving. After all, how can you give if you never receive anything? Of course, I had heard this before. You must be filled up spiritually in order to give to others. Quiet time with God is essential for getting through your day. Fill your tank so you can go somewhere etc. But he said something  that I have been thinking about since that service. In the context of the sermon, it was something close to " The inability to receive is actually a sign of arrogance." Hmph.  

He shared that God had been laying on his heart to start a community of generosity. His merchandise was available to buy after the service, if you couldn't afford it, but wanted it, just tell the people working the table.  They would simply give it to you. If you could afford it and afford to pay for someone else's, then do that. If you could afford it but God was telling you to receive one for free, then go ahead and do that. He told a story about a wealthy lady who had bought a bunch of merchandise for herself and had bought even more to donate. She went to leave but was physically unable to exit the building. Crying and in tears, she went back and asked for a free book. She had so much in life, she didn't feel she had the need to receive.

Receiving can be hard. I think, for me, it's hard because it means I am lacking something. Why is it so hard to ask for help? Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't be able to ask for help because my family is healthy, my husband has a stable job, we live in a nice house, we have food in our cupboards. I feel as though I really don't deserve to ask for help. And I don't know why I feel that way, but to me, it's a reflection of what I can't handle. My Type A personality really struggles not handling things. I have a real need to be doing something. Whether it be for God or others. I am always praying, "God, what can I can do for you?" I just didn't expect him to say, be still and receive. 

So when I heard that in certain terms not asking for help is a sign of arrogance, I felt a little twinge.  Could it be that my unwillingness to ask for help and taking the time to settle my soul is actually a sign of disobedience? When I thought about it that way, I agreed to a few days away.  My husband was being sensitive to the Holy Spirit when he set this up for me. (He is awesome)

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack for nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake

So could a dinner alone be an act of obedience? Can receiving a break for a few days away be steps in humility? And is it possible that just being still before God is really all He is asking of you right now? I think yes. What a Father! One that is able to understand my heart and my anxious thoughts. He adjusts my view and opinion not by condemnation, but in a quiet whisper.  I am so thankful for His help.

The sheep at the hospital

About three weeks ago my little guy had surgery. I have learned that he internalizes things, so I struggled with when and how much to tell him. On one hand I wanted him prepared about going to the hospital, but on the other, I did not want him worrying about any of it. I was doing enough of that for both of us.

 

It doesn't seem to matter what you know about the medical field, when it comes to your own family, you worry. Ironically, I have worked for an ENT for the past several years. I know enough to be dangerous, and that is probably not a good place for a mom with a kid that has a chronic ear, nose and throat problems. So, yes I knew that this was a routine surgery, and yes they almost always go very well. It's the times when they don’t that worried me. It was remembering all the little faces that would come into the office where I worked after having just recently had tonsils removed. Tired, pale little faces that hold their necks pretty stiff because I imagine it hurts their throat to move. I know it typically gets worse before it gets better. That in addition to Charlie reacting poorly one other time during surgery had me worried. I hate worrying and yet I seem to be really good at it.

 

I decided to casually mention that his throat and nose and ear all needed to get better and soon he would go to the hospital so they could. That was about a week prior to surgery. Then we happened to be driving past downtown and I pointed out the children's hospital. Just subtly getting it into his brain. Finally, the night before, Ron and I told him tomorrow was the day. We were going to go to the hospital and both mommy and Charlie were going to sleep there for one night. He seemed fine. He has had two previous surgeries so this was not a totally new experience. We all slept well and off we went in the morning.

 

After we pulled in and got registered Charlie went from walking on his own to wanting to be carried. He was chattering away, but then got much quieter. It’s like he realized something big was going to take place, and that made him a little bit nervous. Maybe this hospital thing wasn’t exactly what he thought it was going to be. Soon we were taken back, vitals were checked, the terrible fitting hospital gown was put on, and he was given some medicine to “keep him calm”.  Basically, they make your kid a little loopy so they aren't so aware when they are wheeled into a big, intimidating surgical room. It's funny and you kinda need the comic relief.  He was just laying on the bed, holding the stuffed animal they had given him. He looked at me and asked “mama stay?”  I said, “yeah buddy, mama stays”.  Then the surgeon came in and the anesthesiologist who wheels Charlie back. I watched him connect with Charlie and make him laugh, but I also noticed my little guys eyes darting back to me. And again the question “mama stay?” and again I assured him that I was not going anywhere.

 

We walked as far as they would allow us and twice again Charlie asked if “mama stay?”.  It’s hard to say yes when they are telling me this is the furthest point I can go. I said, “mama is staying right here in the hospital with you and I will see you in a bit.” The anesthesiologist made the bed become a race car, and off they zoomed both giggling, loved that man. We were seated in the family waiting room with all the other people waiting for word on their little ones. I was doing better than I thought and I think that’s because of the devotional I had read that morning.

 

Basically, it was about Jesus being our good shepherd. The reason he could be such a good shepherd is because He has also been the sheep. The main scripture text was Psalm 23 and the message after was titled “Peace in the Midst”. How timely for me as a mom to remind myself that Jesus has been through it all, even death, and I didn’t have to fear. I found myself thinking that all morning I had been saying the same thing to Him as Charlie had been to me. Charlie was saying “mama stay?” and I was saying  “Jesus Stay?”. 

 

 The difference was Charlie’s concern was legitimate since I was only permitted to go so far. Whereas my concern came from a place of fear because I forgot to remind myself who He says He is and what He says He does.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not fear, for you are with me. Psalm 23:4

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you: he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut 31:6

It’s something I need to remind myself of a lot. Between surgeries, travel and court date for an adoption, adding a new little one to the already busy mix, and the list goes on. I find myself anxious and feeling overwhelmed.  Are you in that place too? Feeling fearful about something?  Could it be that it might have to hurt a bit more before it gets better? Are you aware of just enough of the bad to forget the good?

I might have to read those verses aloud daily in order for my heart to be able to rest in the truth. And the truth is that we don’t have to ask Jesus to stay with us. He’s already there and He isn't going anywhere, ever. 

GOAL!

I think that both gyms and authors must love January.  It’s around this time, when a New Year begins, that we all feel the need to make some resolutions.  Everybody has those extra pounds they will absolutely lose this year, and that gym membership is going to jump start the process. 

People decide that they don’t want another year like the previous one and buy a self-help book to transform themselves.  Maybe others invest in a budget app because they don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck anymore.  We are busy making goals and plans in hopes for a better future.  And for the most part, that’s a good thing.

I guess I do try to set some resolutions.  I’m not always great about getting healthier. I really don’t mind working out, I like the way I feel when I do, but I’ve got a terrible sweet tooth.  Put a cake in front of me and my goals go out the window…sigh.  I can make a conscious effort to read more, slow down and be more present with my family.  I am a “set goals” kinda girl.  I love checklists!  The nerd in me absolutely adores crossing things off of it.  If I start a book that is a real page turner, I’m staying up until 3 am to finish it.  I can’t simply clean certain rooms on certain days. I’m going to clean the whole house at the same time.  I struggle to sit at night if my kitchen counters are not clear and all toys are not put away.  So, it’s either goals or maybe I’m a Type A personality, but, either way, I like things getting done.

Goals are good. We should set them, but sometimes I wonder if once they are set, we become so focused and unwilling to deviate from them that we miss what God is trying to do with/through us.

In looking back at this past year, I realized it turned out so differently than how I planned. We knew we would like to adopt again, but in no way would it be from Korea. This decision had everything to do with me and nothing to do with God. In fact, I didn’t ask His thoughts on it at all. I made the decision based out of my past experiences.  Then I went to a conference last February called IF: ( side note, if you have not been, look it up, find a local church hosting it, and attend. You won’t be disappointed)  Towards the end of the conference they had you do some soul searching. Basically, what was God saying to you about you, your life, and Him in your life. They asked that whatever it be you write it down.  

Consider Him. That’s the impression I got. Consider Him in all things. I felt like God was saying “Maybe just consider that what I have for you is different than what you have for you”.  It’s hard. I like my plans because they are all about me. It’s a work in progress because some days, I just don’t want to consider Him. My flesh desires self-promotion and self-satisfaction.  He desires me to lay my life down, but by doing so, I pick up something so much better. 

I have often thought that when people used to say that, “ He has something so much better” they meant in material gain. Like I just wanted a warm coat for the winter but then God blessed me with boots, too. There is truth in that, His blessing on the small things. His concern for our everyday life, but I think “the better” is really more about Him. For example, the things we have gone through in our adoption processes (mostly Charlie’s) were awful and it wasn’t that God was going to make the process all smooth and easy for me that was “ His better”.  It was what He was revealing about Himself, His ability, and sovereignty to move in my situation. That was “His better”. 

I have never been closer to God than while adopting. In fact, about six months after Charlie was home I thought. Well now what, God?  Those years were a roller coaster for my emotions, but my spiritual life was at an all time high. Funny how that works. When you are willing to do something that to you seems impossible, unlikely and difficult. That’s when a God full of never-ending possibility shows up.  Some of the toughest stuff I have walked out in obedience, are also the times I felt nearest to God.  And in all of those situations, adoption related or not, I wouldn’t have picked that for me. I would always pick easily attainable, healthy, non-suffering, happy-go-lucky every single time, but where does that leave God? How can I show a hurting world He is ABLE if I am not willing to walk down a painful path, and let Him sustain me through it?  How can I step outside myself, and consider that maybe my situation is not just about me. Maybe, I am the vessel He is using for a greater purpose. 

 

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
— 2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT

The hard stuff

The ugly stuff 

The I hate this stuff

The I don’t understand You stuff

The I don’t want this for me stuff

 None of it even comes close to the “ Oh, look what you did there…. for me, for them stuff.” 

That’s what I want more of, but  I also joined a workout group, started a new devotional, and will try to play more WITH my boys, rather than sending them away to play.   I hope I’ve made some good goals for this year, but more importantly, I pray that I am resolute in His will for my life. 

At least I had a choice

Greyson had the stomch flu not long ago. He was pretty miserable the first day. It was no fun and I hated it for him.  At bedtime that night after the shower was done, the jammies were on and he was tucked snugly into bed. He began to cry.  I rubbed his back and looking into his tired eyes, I asked what was wrong?

Hunger. He was hungry and exhausted.  Since being awoken by sickness the night before, anything that had previously filled his stomach had been emptied out. The fever had not broke all day. It seemed the last twenty four hours proved too much as the cries turned into sobs.

He couldnt understand why I wouldn't let him eat.   He didn't know his body needed sleep.  He needed comforting.  I felt a little helpless in that moment.  I couldn't offer him anything more that some cuddling and reasurance that tomorrow would be better.  Finally, he settled down and fell into a much needed sleep.

I walked back upstairs and began to cry myself. Not becaues I too was exhausted, but because a few days earlier I had watched a video about the countless displaced people on the other side of the world. The clip kept circling in my mind.  I saw the first hand account of people reaching solid ground after being at sea.  Packed like sardines in a tiny little life boat, they risked all they had to find safety for their children.  I had been thinking about the clip for days and seeing my boy crying and in pain made me think of those kids.

I thought about the little girl who's father just handed her off to complete strangers, asking them to please take her to safety. I can't get the images of that little boy out of my head. The one so similiar in age to mine.  His lifeless body washed up on shore.  The article I read about the women and her husband who worked like slaves for months to save up enough money to pay the travel fee. They were capsized at sea. Her husband saved her and other women by giving up his life vest. She will spend the rest of her life missing him.



 

My son was just downstairs safe in bed. He was getting the rest he needed as the bug worked it's way out of his system.   At least I had a choice to withhold food for a few hours so his stomach could settle. That's not the case for those kids.  The only choice for them was to trade one dangerous situation for another. Just as I felt a little helpless as to how to help my son when he cried.  I feel completely helpless as to how to help those running for their lives.

 

And if this tugs at my heart, it makes me wonder how He feels watching His children suffer. 

Since the problem is so far removed, often it's out of sight and out of mind, but it shouldn't be. We should be looking at these people as Jesus does. Dearly loved and deeply treasured. That brings up the question, now what? Here I am,  what can I do? So, I compiled a list of organizations that right now have boots on the ground. I can't be there but they can. They are showing the love of Jesus by offering blankets, food, a place to rest, a hug and prayer. People who might never know Jesus are catching a glimpse of Him in these workers.  I love that! I love being able to know the Light is being shown in this dark situation.

 Give because you can. Pray like their lives depend on it, because they do. 

 

www.samaritanspurse.org

www.convoyofhope.org

www.preemptivelove.org

www.A21.org

www.club1040.com

 

 

 

*photos are from Humans of New York, NY Times, CNN, rescue.org  and video from Samaritans Purse

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I just forget

I love Little Critter books.  The accuracy of life with kids detailed in the books often reminds me of things going on in my own house.  Mercer Mayer, the author, does such a great job of capturing the thoughts and actions of children.  We own "Just A Little Critter Collection Book" and the title of books included in the collection crack me up.  There's  "I was so mad" , "All by myself" and "Just go to bed". My favortie is "I just forgot".

Life can be so busy. It's easy to get caught in the cycle of everydayness (I know, not a word). Kids need to eat, dogs need to be walked and bosses expect us be at work on time.  I often find myself running through my never ending mental check list. Pick up prescription, respond to the email, write the check for school, pick up snack for soccer team...  on it goes.  My mind is so jammed up with to-do's that sometimes, "I just forget".

In the book, each page describes things the little buddy remembers and forgets. Like he remembers to brush his teeth but forgets to make his bed. He remembers to wear his rain coat but forgets his boots. He was only going to eat three cookies but forgets to count, this happens to me too. As I was reading it the other day I thought about all the things I forget.

I remember to grab a quick kiss from my husband as he heads out the door but sometimes I forget I am the lucky girl he picked to marry. That it's so much more than a partnership, it's a holy covenant. That we not only love each other, but we really like each other too.

I remember to bath and feed my kids but sometimes I forget to just enjoy them. To listen at all the hilarious things coming out of my seven year olds mouth. To watch in wonder as my two year old grasps another concept.

I remember to complain about the laundry and the dishes, but forget that having to take care of them means we have plenty of clothes to wear and full bellies.

I remember to look into the mirror and see the new wrinkles on the forehead, judge the way some things don't look like they used to. I forget to be kind to myself.

Towards the end of the book after listing all the things he forgets.  Little Critter says that there is one thing he never forgets. He always remembers to have his mom tuck him into bed and he always remembers to kiss her good night. This statement caused me to pause. In the list of things I forget in a day, do I remember all the things Jesus does and says concerning me?

Have I forgotten that He is the God who sees me, in all things. He created every inch of me with care. Do I remind myself that the promises of His word are for me. He is alive and active in this world; if I am willing to pay attention. He has a purpose and plan for me to accomplish and it's good.

 That's my prayer, I want to be like Little Critter who at the end of the day never forgets the one thing that is most imortant to him. 

 

 

Abortion is wrong. Shall we fight?

Abortion, it's a tough subject to tackle.  It's a touchy one and the battle lines are clearly drawn. Neither voice on either side of this argument wants the other to tell it what to do.

 I have read, watched, prayed and cried about these Planned Parenthood Video's that keep emerging and it shakes me to my core.  I can't speak for women who have wrestled with this decision or have gone through an abortion, because I have never been in that position. I just feel sorrow for them. 

A few years ago I had endometriosis pretty bad.  My OB doctor suggested I have surgery to clean out the effects of the endometriosis or try to get pregnant. I was 24. I got pregnant.  Then we lost the baby. About two weeks after my miscarriage, still mourning my loss, I had the surgery. Not long after, my heart still tender and my arms feeling empty, I got pregnant again. Nine months later I bore a beautiful baby boy. Over the next five years, I had two more surgeries and a year of intense endometriosis treatment (think shots in your butt and crazy hormones), plus we had adopted.  My latest surgery was a complete hysterectomy, no more pain, but also no more growing babies. This was a decision my husband and I were in complete agreement about, and okay with.  Now, we wait again for the travel call to meet our third son in Korea. 

So, I have lost a baby, birthed a baby and adopted a baby. I have always loved babies and I had never understood abortion. A little over two years ago, I started volunteering at a Christian pregnancy center. I just wanted to help out, so they had me sorting donations. That was good for a year, but soon I wanted to help more. So I took the mandatory training classes and became a "counselor."  Now I hear their stories.  Now I understand why some consider abortion.

Before I go further it should be noted that I am 100% pro-life. I do not ever for any reason condone abortion, period. It is murder, it is horrible and the companies involved are certainly doing this for a profit. Abortion is wrong.  All of these videos coming out are exposing motives and my goodness are they ugly. The movement out there telling women that this is their body and they can do as they please is so unsettling to me. I call that playing god and it's not our role.  I agree with the arguments that  aborting for convenience sake and not taking responsiblity for actions or choices is wrong .I disagree with the pro-choice agenda which is self-promoting, deceptive and destructive. All these attributs are opposite of Jesus who brings redemption, restoration and life. (John 10:10)  I am also highly concerned, more so, for the other group that chooses abortion. The scared and alone group.

I said I understand considering abortion now because my eyes have been opened to what the lives of others can look like. Sometimes when I hear other people's stories,  I have to force my jaw to stay shut.  Some of these people have been through things so tragic, so painful and so lonely; it's heart wrenching to hear.  It's there in those stories that abortion becomes understandable to me.

In the chaos and dysfunction of an upbringing with neglectful or abusive parents, it's there.   Watching a  single parent struggle or having no parents at all, it's there.  In the foster system that failed them, it's there.  In the lie of the man who said he loved them so they would sleep with him, it's there.  In the poverty, where they truly don't know where the next meal is coming from; in the one night stand; in the fear of becoming a single parent, it's there.  In the exhaustion of trying to manage your already full home with no hope of any real future for the baby; in the addiction;  in the incarceration; in the hopelessness of their life, it's there. There is a truth that has not been revealed to them . It's that He's there too, Jesus, Hope for the hopeless.

I am humbled every week when I leave and get into my car and head to my nice, safe neighborhood.  I am able to open my pantry that is filled with options.  I can call my mom or mother-in-law to see if they can watch my children, so I can get a break and go out with my husband. My husband, who has a steady job, a loyal man who helps me at home after he works all day.  My life cannot begin to compare to theirs.

And so, however they found themselves deciding to abort, whether because they think it is their right, or they feel they have no other choice, my heart breaks for them.  All of them. I see all these passionate articles going around on social media meant to evoke our sense of justice, but I wonder still what we are doing about it?  We are waging a spiritual battle here, one that in involves accountability, justice, truth, kindness and action.

It's not like I always feel like giving of myself for others. My first thoughts after being offended are not always kind. I offend people, I say the wrong thing. I yell at my kids and I have stupid quarrels with my husband. I desire material things and monetary gain. So my intention is not to paint a picture of perfection but people wake up and look around you! The battle is raging and it requires that we fight. I am willing to fight, are you?

 

Fight for your kids    -

know that the world is pushing all sorts of things at them. PUSH JESUS MORE : get them in church, pray for and over them, teach them the truth of who they are in Christ

 

Fight for your communities -

Volunteer and get involved in things with an eternal perspective. Reach out and into the lives of the hurting and vulnerable all around you. Only after you have put in the time and work will you be able to insert your opinions and be respected for them.  Vote!                                                                                                                                 

 

Fight for your neighborhood -

Get to know the ones living close around you; so that someday if they have a spiritual question, they come to you and you point them to Jesus.

 

Fight for the Hurting and Lost -

Please be kind to others, no matter if you disagree with their political party, sexual orientation or behavior. Who would want to know Jesus if His  followers are harsh tongued, unforgiving people.  Adopt or foster, if you can't then give rest and help to those that are.

 

 Fight for your Beliefs -

 Get yourself in the Word. Know what you believe and why. I recently did a Bible Study on the books of John which was called What Love is - by Kelly Mitner.  I highly recommend this study as it reinforces the biblical truth of God's Word in an age and culture that is constantly disregarding and molding it to fit their lifestyle.

 

Fight for the Unborn -

They have no voice, you do. They are vulnerable; as are the women carrying them. Be abundant in mercy and gentle in speech. 

                                     

               MOVE. ACT. DO SOMETHING.GIVE HOPE. SHOW JESUS. HE'S THERE

The doctrine of grace and redemption keeps us from seeing any person or situation as hopeless.
— Tim Keller

 

Here are the URLs for both the Bible Study I mentioned and the book UNPLANNED by Abby Johnson. A former Planned Parenthood employee. It's a really good read.

http://www.lifeway.com/Product/what-love-is-bible-study-book-p005635536

 

 http://www.amazon.com/Unplanned-Dramatic-Planned-Parenthood-Eye-Opening/dp/1414396546/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1439521153&sr=1-1&keywords=unplanned

 

 

 

 

We. Don't. Lose. That. Blanket...Ever - But what would happen if we did?

When we met Charlie, I asked a lot of questions about him to his foster mom. I was trying my best to get a sense of who he was, his likes, his dislikes and how to care for him in a way he was accostomed. His foster mom answered as much she could and I caught about half of that given the interpreter and environment. What I did learn though, was that Charlie liked a specific blanket. I was told when he was tired he would crawl over to it and try to wrap himself up in it.  He slept with it at both nap and bed time.

So, you can imagine my relief when his foster mom pulled it out on the day we got to take him.  She said he loved it and she wanted to make sure he had it. Can I just say, I love her!  From that first night in the Hotel in Seoul until last night when I tucked him into his bed, blanky as we refer to it, has been there. A few times I have washed it and then forgotten to put it in the dryer only to be reminded right at bedtime when blanky was no where to be found. It does not matter how many other soft, cuddly blankets I offer. Nothing will do until blanky is dry and wrapped in his arms.

"BLANKY!"  We hear yelled all throughout the day.

This may sound weird but I think at times I have been a little jealous of blanky. This inanimate object was the only thing that would bring him comfort those first few months of grieving. This plaid, fleece piece of material is still what he calls out for when he gets hurt, is tired or has gotten in trouble.                              

 It's not that he doesn't call for me it's just that he usually calls for blanky first or even after I am holding him, he wants both the blanket and me.  Sometimes he is so concerned about getting his blanky when he gets hurt, he misses the fact that he is safe in my arms being comforted. He is too small to understand that other than the emotional connection he feels to it, blanky can do nothing for him. I get him water or food when he needs it, I wash the dirt from the scrape and bandage it, I kiss the owie, I tickle the tummy and all the while blanky just lays there.

There are days when I wish I had a blanket to curl up in and hide my face. To be safe in my own little world.  Situations in life come along or people I encounter make me want to find a spot and wrap myself up until I don't have to deal with the bad, the hard, or the ugly parts of life.  Or if I am honest, there are things about me I wish were covered up by a blanket. Thoughts I have, personality traits, words I say that are better left hiding where no one can hear or see them. But would that really do me any do good? It might temporarily fill a void or give me momentary relief but when I uncover my face the world, with all it's problems, is still there.  I am still there and hiding will not change any of it; nor will putting my trust in anything other than Jesus. 

And so I wonder if He, The Creator of the universe ever feels jealous when I continue to scream "BLANKY" first before I call for Him. What are we using other than Him to temporarily fill a void or give momentary relief? Adult blanky's come in many shapes and sizes.  Overeating, drugs, alcohol, pills, lying, gossiping, overspending. Those are drastic examples but what about micromanaging my kids because of fear or constant anxiety over my health.  How about never missing an exercise so I look or feel a certain way, or maybe just constantly scrolling on social media comparing or judging. Those hit closer to home. Are you over-working so you make a big paycheck because your so concerned about money and status?

 Are we missing the fact that Jesus is there, comforting and guiding us. Are we too concerned about finding that blanket to notice Him?  Do we know and remember Jehova Jirah, our Provider?  Or are we wrapping ourselves up with so many other things? 

It's not that in every situation the blanky is a bad thing. It's just that we need to remember and prioritize when we haul it out. So what would happen if we did lose blanky? Would we miss it? Would it be painful? Could we ever fall asleep again??? 

Becuase he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him. I will set him securely on high; because he has known My name. He will call upon Me; and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.”
— Psalms 91: 14-15

I bet if we called out to Him first, allowed Him to wrap Himself around us, to be delighted and  comforted in His presence, we just might be so fufilled and busy doing what He intended all along that we forget about blanky just lying there in the corner.

 

Reacting vs. Responding

Recently I attended an event where some local artist’s displayed their best work, each one had unique qualities and all of them were good. Some things I liked better about one than the other, and some I didn’t care for at all, but it was fun to see people’s talent on display. 

One piece in particular was really very striking, it was also bold, loud and big. I don’t think many people could deny the quality of the work but for some it might have been too over the top. I was  looking it over and started a conversation with the artist. I asked him a few questions, he was a little eccentric so his answers were quirky and funny but somewhere along the way our conversation took a turn and I didn’t like it, I keep thinking about it. 

The artist overheard people mention that while the piece was beautiful, it was not for them.   Altogether, most people liked it. He then went on to explain that one person in particular thought it was way too over the top. The artist thought that while the way they remarked about the piece wasn’t necessarily mean, it certainly got the point across that they didn’t really approve. The part that bothered me was more the way the artist described the situation. He was clearly on the defensive about the person’s comments.  So, in order for it to appear that the artist was right, and the other person wrong, he began to describe the person who made the negative statement. He started out by mentioning appearance, then moved on to their socioeconomic class (assumed) and ended with how terrible the behavior of the children that accompanied them were. And that bothered me.

I kept going back to the conversation in my head days after the event was over.  I kept wondering why it bothered me so much and why did I care?  At this point I am not completely sure what riled me up more, the fact that he tore the person down in order to build up and justify himself, and that by doing so decided that he was better than the other person. Or is it that I know I am guilty of doing the same thing. And if I was bothered by the way he spoke of that person, have I caused others to be put off by my attitude of certain people? 

I have read some books over the last few months and in more than one of them the author talked about responding to people rather than reacting. This is easier said than done. That little thing, or in some cases big thing, called pride does not want us to respond; pride wants us to react! In my experience when I react quickly to a situation, I usually end up regretting my words or actions. It’s hard though, to not look down on someone because of the way they made you feel.  It’s hard not to “prove” that you are better because of the way your life looks compared to theirs. To not take note of appearance and make judgements based from it, but the Bible is pretty clear about how we are to treat people:

 

Excerpt from James 2:

“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made a distinction among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?…. “If however you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, you shall love your neighbor as yourself,”… you are doing well.”

 

 

 

Gulp. Sigh. Repent. 


That’s me, I do that, I show partiality, I judge and I jump to conclusions too quickly. I’m pretty sure God is trying to teach me something given that this has been a theme in my life for a few months now. I am so thankful that He is God and I am not. I am thankful that rather than react to my short comings, He is responding to me by breaking my heart for what breaks His. He is teaching me how to see people as He does; as my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Reminding me that He loves people, all people, no more or less than He loves me.

A New Chapter

A few years ago when we started our first adoption I got the notion to start a blog. At first I wanted the touchy, feely kind with pictures that made you cry with quick little updates on my life. My blog "answeringthekoreancall" was great for that, but somewhere along the lines it changed. It could have been when the process took some unexpected turns, when I realized I liked this writing thing a bit more than I expected, or when I was the one crying all the time and needed an outlet. How it happened is not really as important as why it happened. 

For a while now I have felt God pushing me to write about more than just adoption. I have become so hungry for Him that I have begun pursuing Him with a renewed passion, studying, seeking and asking. He has been faithful in presenting new opportunities to help me grow, all of which I did not see coming but never the less, there they are.  Which bring us here. A place for me to dabble in a website rather than just a blog. A place to write about my life with Jesus. A place to Consider Him.  Welcome!

 

Walking it out

I was at a shower a few weeks ago and the host had each person go around the room to explain how they knew the "mom to be" except this was a baby shower with a twist. This "mom to be" was waiting to get the call to travel to Korea to bring her daughter home, a daughter she has been waiting five years for. So for this reason the sharing portion of the shower was much more personal than most showers I have been to. Of the fifteen women present only two of us made it through our introductions without crying. Each introduction was more like sharing a short story and most of those short stories were inlayed with various versions of faith being strengthened or bonds tightened because of watching this women walk out her faith.

As I sat listening to each women talk, I felt the spirit of God whisper to me " This is what obedience does" and "This is what being willing to do what I ask of you looks like". Soon it was my turn to share and I was definitely one of the criers. I cried because I too had been in the same place the mom to be was currently in, the waiting, anticipation, excitement and fear. The past four years have changed me, my thinking and my faith.

The rest of the shower went great with presents, food, laughter and fellowship but I have not been able to get what the Lord spoke to me off my mind. I just keep marveling at how God uses my son's life and her daughter's life to touch others. I have been thinking about how different things could have looked if either of our families had given up the adoption process. If we had decided this grueling process was too much, how not fulfilling the call He placed on our lives could have changed others lives. You see, when we are obedient to God, it becomes a catalyst for Him to move. His plans will get accomplished in one way or another but if we are willing to be obedient  and step out in faith what else gets accomplished? I believe that other peoples lives can be transformed and changed, people we  don't even know. By saying yes to God we open the path for Him to use our life stories to influence others.

I know this to be true because all the women who shared at the shower said that watching this families adoption journey had in one way or another proven God's faithfulness to them or made Him more real in their lives. I have had similar stories shared with me during our journey of adoption as well. People who I have never meant have read my blog about trusting God through our adoption and on more than one occasion I have received letters from people expressing that what the Holy Spirit led me to share had helped them take a step of faith and act on what God was calling them to do. So in this particular journey that has caused tears, heartache, pain, joy, smiles and relief I have learned that the most important factor is obedience.

Being Obedient is hard, it means not getting our way and not always understanding the way He has chosen for us. It means trusting. But ultimately by doing what He has asks of us it means that we will be in His will and that is the safest and best place the be. When I am in His will I can hear His voice speaking to me which is so vitally important as I parent both my sons. I can be the mother He called me to be and help them navigate their lives by pointing them to Jesus and lets be honest, I could use all the help I can get. This parenting gig is hard but then to throw in adoption, bonding, racial issues and cultural differences on top of it....sheesh! I need to make sure my heart is at a place of obedience at all times so I can be ready for the hard questions, the fear, the anger that will no doubt come because as redemptive and beautiful as adoption is, it is painful. My sweet boy who has been through so much already in his young life will encounter more as he grows and he will be looking for truth, love and guidance.

As we close out this month of Adoption Awareness, I encourage you to be listening to what He has called you to, if you choose to obey, it will change your life!

I realized that because we were never able to post anything online before getting Charlie home, I never posted pictures of our first meeting him.  Here are some pictures of our first meeting. This is what walking out obedience can look like:

                                                     Finally got him to come sit by me

                                                           He let Ron hold him too

 This was the at the adoption agency on our second visit. He was looking at pictures of Greyson on my phone.

This is right before we had to say goodbye and did not know yet when we would be back to get him but God was so faithful in that situation as well.