Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Kindness of a Stranger

I just had to take a moment and journal
please bear with me while I back up just a bit...

Honestly, it has been pretty rough around here.

Nothing horrible/bad -
just a lot of stress and pressure
that had begun to show itself in our whole family.

Not. good.

As a mama, I never want my kiddos to experience the stress
but it had begun to spill over onto them.

:o(

So- about a month ago an opportunity
presented itself for us to go to

 and go for an amazingly low price.

And with 10 of us going, this was huge for us 
even at this discounted rate.  
But we needed to get away if only for one day.

So we decided on a date and I tried to book the tickets
online but because of my little one in the wheelchair
we had to call in-
*sigh*
I was not looking forward to this at all.

Who I got on the other end of the phone line was
a dear, sweet, operator-
she found us seats on the day we wanted
and all by the handicapped chair slot.

We lightly chatted as we went through the process
as strangers do-
but honestly, I don't remember what we talked about.

At the end of the call, she happily commented
"See you on that Saturday!"
And I think I teased "Sure!" - 
of course knowing that the theater has over 2,000 seats
per showing and over a dozen showings between
when I was booking and our show date.
  
~~~~~~~~~

Now - for all of you that have a large family
or those of you who have special needs children
you KNOW what it is like preparing to go out 
for an entire day.

Yup, kind of like trying to plan a military maneuver.

Packing for every circumstance, trial, and 
problem that could possibly come your way.
Honestly, I felt prepared.

So- we started loading up all of the winter-coat laden
toddlers into the two cars and prepared to leave
when we discovered one of the cars had a flat.

ugh...

We handled it as quickly and with as much grace as 
we could muster.  And we went on our way again.

We arrived in good timing several Disney movies and probably a half a pound of snacks later.  
Exhausted already, but looking forward to the exciting show.  
(and feeling that we were a bit insane to take 
toddlers & special needs children with us)

(but honestly, there are very few who offer to help parents with special needs kiddos)

They opened the doors for seating, we found our seats and I began the process of taking the children one by one to the bathrooms to change them after the long ride and before the long performance.

While I was gone, a sweet woman stopped by 
and talked to my husband.

She was the operator who took our order one month before!
She just felt that she wanted to stop by and thank us for coming - with her she brought
8 cookies!

4 bottles of water!

 A bag of almonds!
  
and a CD and magnet from the show!

 Words cannot explain how this gift impacted my heart.
I was so grateful for the gift
(and my big ones loved the cookies and water!)
but beyond the gift I realized that I had been crying out for a touch of kindness-

Life can bring some harsh cruelties sometimes and despite our best efforts we can feel isolated and alone.

The show was about God loving Moses past his failures and shortcomings and using him to fulfill His plan-
and oh! did I need to hear that!

But this simple gesture from this sweet woman to make note of our family and when they were coming,
to collect our bag of goodies
and come over to meet us...

this was truly a touch from His hand and 
I am so grateful.

   

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Adoption Day - x 2!

Yes, you read it right...

We had TWO amazing adoption days over here!
Our awe-inspiring God never ceases to amaze me
and blessed us beyond compare
by allowing us to become
a forever family for two of our treasures.

And although pictures don't show all the chaos
that insued over a two-day period,
they certainly give you a glimpse!

Waiting to be called up for Madelyn's court time...


In the courtroom


Picture with the judge after it is final!


Post-adoption picture with all of Maddy's workers
(Her law-guardian, Allelie - Her caseworker, Trish - 
Our Harvest of Hope worker, Sherrie)



Waiting for Gariella's court time with her sister, Saige!


I'm waiting, but not sure for what... :o)


Gabi's post-adoption picture with the same judge!


  
 Our adoption celebration at the Atlantic City Aquarium




 



 Waiting for service to start with our church family.
We could not be more blessed!

We loved celebrating adoption with all who came
and pray that hearts and homes will be opened
to see Jesus' heart for the orphan.

(I will give some really amazing testimonies from the days in another post!)

 
External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.






   

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Road Not Taken...

Lately, I have been quite introspective...

Looking at what I have become
Looking where I need to grow
Looking at priorities.

Quite melancholy - 
and anyone who knows me 
knows this is not me.


Maybe it's the stress level
of all the responsibilities...

Maybe it's all the emotions
surrounding the closeness
(I can almost taste it!)
of two of our treasure's adoptions...

I don't really know.

But this level-headed gal is very emotional these days.

I'm even hearing whisperings of my mother
who loved literature and all the fine arts.
 (Well technically it is Robert Frost in my head)

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I always loved the poem
as it speaks the truth about our decisions.

Decisions that we make everyday
big and small

That lead to who we are and where we are.




This makes me pause.

Am I making the daily decisions as I stand at the two roads in the wood?
Am I choosing the road less traveled?
Am I looking back and wondering "what if...?" I had taken the other road?
Am I honestly praying before I make these decisions?
Am I letting them be made for me?
Are they being made with selfish desires or with God on my mind?

The less traveled road.

I am having that time in my world
when I look around and see everyone just hustling about. 

Let's face it  - the busy-ness is just going to get worse.

Maybe, just maybe - 
we are called to a different life.
A life of giving - not out of our excess
but out of our need.

Maybe we are called to serve - 
not out of our spare time,
but selflessly giving time that we don't have.

Maybe :o)

And yes, out here on the less traveled road can get lonely.
But even at the end of the day, I am so blessed to be here.
Serving, giving, learning, growing-

All for His glory!











Sunday, October 19, 2014

Yes, God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle...

I know if you are anything like me you have cried out to God,
"I can't handle this anymore!  I don't know what to do!  I can't handle this!"

Right?
C'mon...admit it.
We all have.

When life becomes overwhelming, 
everything feels like it is crumbling beneath our feet, 
and our world feels like it is falling apart.


Yup.  Just like that.

It seems as if someone during these times always spouts out that tired old saying...
"God won't give you more than you can handle.."

And yes, even this mild, sweet, mama wants to reach up
and punch them in the face.

 
That phrase always always feels like rubbing glass in a wound-
it certainly isn't a comfort. 
It feels like I am not measuring up.
It causes me to ask
"If I am supposed to handle this, then why can't I handle it?"

The truth is, dear ones,
that God never said He wouldn't give us more than we can handle.
If we can handle anything that comes our way, then why do we need God at all?

We need to realize that sometimes we can't make it on our own.

Soooooo... just where did that tired, old phrase come from?
Why do so many well-meaning Christians spout it out?


The verse that they are "hinting" at is 1 Corinthians 10:13.
 "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; 
but God is faithful, 
who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, 
but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, 
that you may be able to bear it."

Let's be clear here.
Paul was referring to temptation, not suffering.
 Paul points out that God will never let us be tempted beyond what we are able
because He always provides us a way OUT of temptation.

When we become aware that life will give us more than we can handle
and come to grips with this,
we find a promise:
God is faithful to meet us in the mess and in the pain. 

And yes, when He meets us there in the sorrow and despair, 
we learn to recognize our constant need to depend on Him.
We can then see that we can rest in the reality that we cannot handle it,
but our Heavenly Father can.

Period.

He. is. able.

And maybe, just maybe...
it is during these times we are called to be His hands
and reach out and walk with those going through life's trials.

It is time to get real -
with ourselves,
with our brothers and sisters in Christ,
and even real with God.

We CANNOT do it alone
and we were never expected to.

Which is why He gave us each other!



Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Have Not Forgotten You....

Ok - 
Now I know I have been "missing"
but y'all have no idea what has been happening!

Two weeks after we FINALLY brought our precious Abi home



My husband ended up in the hospital with an exacerbation of his bone disorder


a week later and he still wasn't healing and he ended up in emergency surgery.


Now WHILE he was in surgery (yes, at the SAME TIME)
My dear daughter was making her bed 
and fell off her top bunk and
BROKE HER FOOT


So there I am!  Mom of 6 (at home)
(One of which with severe special needs who we are still adjusting to)
and I am going "solo" with two more to take care of!

So - in the midst of the laundry... 


and the cooking...


 and the cleaning...


 and work...


this mama just hasn't had time to journal!
 
BUT....
 
I am tucking away some amazing things that God is doing
and I am looking forward to sharing!
 
   


Thursday, July 31, 2014

But God....!

I will let you all in on a little secret...
in our home - these are our two favorite words.

We quote them often - reminding each other that God shows up
when everyone and everything around us seems to have given up.

That, my dear friends, has been the cause of my elongated absence.

The "but God" of this season is our greatest gift 
and our greatest challenge.

Meet Abigail Grace!



Doctors once held her life in their hands...
they decided *twice* that they were going to turn off her life support 

BUT GOD
moved on the hearts of those involved in her care to keep trying.



Doctors declared that there was so much neurological damage that she would 
NEVER breathe on her own...


BUT GOD
declares He is the author of each of our breaths and intervened!



Doctors said she was going to be blind...

BUT GOD
makes the blind to see and this precious one was given sight!


The audiologist said that although she had "functional hearing" she would NEVER 
be able to speak because of the neuro damage...

BUT GOD
opened up her understanding and this precious one can say
"hi!", "uh-oh!", "more", "all done" and more

(and by the way she can sing the WHOLE song to "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and more!




The speech therapists told us that children with her condition rarely are able to ever eat orally and she would have her g-tube her whole life...

BUT GOD
always has the final say - 
and our precious treasure is now EATING baby food 2-3 times a day!




 So - to all of you that may think something may NEVER happen....

just remember our two favorite words....


 
 BUT GOD!!!


 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In Over My Head

This month has been flying at a furious pace
as we are preparing to bring Gabi's sister
into our home.


This is
BY FAR
the toughest thing that God has called us to.

He has brought me to the edge of my comfort zone
and flown straight past comfort into
"I have no idea how I can do this on my own"


So many times I feel like I am in over my head
and I just want to shout 
ENOUGH!
and declare that this is past me.

But God in His infinite grace
keeps gently reminding me
that it is not about me.

And a resounding voice comes from deep inside me
that heard a quote that read...
"There are a million reasons for me not to do this
and all those reasons have to do with me." 

*gulp*

The true fact is that Jesus wants to bring us all to that point -
where we cannot take another breath without Him - 
past the point that we can say "I can do it by myself"
and straight into the deep deep waters of faith
that makes our soul cry out
"I can't make it another second without you, Lord!"


Past the point of comfort...
past the point of complacency...
 past the point of self-reliance...

into the arms of our loving Savior who
has so much more to offer us
than what we can get in our own power.

oh, so much more!

So I continue to step out in faith-
Yes -scared
Yes -overwhelmed
Yes -unqualified

but He isn't.

Not one little bit.

 
He knows my situation and the sacrifice He has called me to.
And He has promised to provide.

So stepping out
releasing my own self-doubt
following Him into the calling...
and placing myself
in deep



over my head!


Monday, April 21, 2014

The Changing of a Name

I honestly have been amazed at how strongly
some people have reacted when we share
that we are intending on changing the children's names
when they become legally ours.

So much reaction that I took it to prayer.

I certainly didn't want to "rob them of their identity" 
as some had suggested.


Many also claimed that it would cause confusion...
since they already knew their name.

But God showed me something completely unexpected.
HE made over 10 name changes in the Bible!

Abram to Abraham
Jacob to Israel
Sarai to Sarah
Saul to Paul

just to name a few...

Also several men of God (including Moses)
instigated a name change for another person.

Wow~
Why would God change names?
These were adults - who surely knew their names :o)
 What was He telling us?
What did this signify?


Through study and prayer
He began to show me the significance of these changes
and how through the name changes, 
God was expressing a new identity that He wanted them to embody.

So as I look forward to the family that He is bringing to us
and specifically the ones that He is planting in our family
to be forever ours

 We see it as a "shedding off" of what was
and a "taking up" of the promises of God 
that He has given to them for their lives.

"Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!"  2 Corinthians 5:17(AMP)

So -
while some may still disagree...
I am at complete peace as God rewrites our family
and directs us to rename the newest blessings!


"For in Him we live and move and have our being; 
as even some of your [own] poets have said, For we are also His offspring."
Acts 17:28 (AMP)