But for Grace…

My heart is tender this week.  Seasons are changing and I can’t help but acknowledge the array of feelings.  Gratitude. Thankfulness. Tenderness. Sadness. Where do I begin?

Grace. Each feeling comes down to grace.  As I’ve thought recently about the upcoming month, the holidays and the excitement that surrounds 3 little girls I am pointed back to God’s grace in my life. You see, when I consider God’s grace and faithfulness, I am filled with gratitude and thanksgiving.  At the same time, I am tender and saddened for our girls’ birth mother.  I’ve seen a lot of foster / adoptive moms write about birth mothers recognizing that in so many ways, “they’re just like me”.  But this week I’ve realized in so many ways, we are just different.

Dear birth mother, I am in no way better than you, but in many ways different.  In the beginning, I’ll be honest, I resented you.  After all, this calling has been costly and many times I have resented that your choices have cost your children greatly. I resented that at times it feels like I am also paying for your mistakes.  But I have asked God to help me see you through eyes of grace – and now my heart hurts for you.

Your sin is no greater than my own, in this way we are the same.  The consequences may be different, but we are both sinners in need of grace.  I have no idea what it is like to struggle with addiction – I can’t begin to relate – but I can imagine that it is painfully hard and often hopeless.  I have to believe that your heart is broken by what this has cost you.

As I look forward to Christmas with three giggling girls, baby’s first birthday and her soon-to-be first steps there is this ever-present feeling that this isn’t my right.  You are somewhere, wishing this were you.  I feel the weight of that. I hurt for you.  You carried these girls.  You bore the pain of birth.  They carry your image, your personality and a love for you I can never know.

I promise to honor you, even when it is hard.  I promise to let your girls talk of you with their own fondness and memories.  And I promise to always seek to offer grace.

I look back on my life and wonder what made me who I am today.  It still comes down to grace.  It’s by God’s grace that I have the family I have, the opportunities I had and the life that I enjoy.  Her story could just as easily have been mine but I had parents that fought for me, loved me unconditionally, sacrificed for me and gave me every opportunity for success.  I met my Savior at a young age.  I can’t help but wonder if she ever had the same… what is her story?  Has she seen God’s grace?

It is often tempting to judge in these situations and many like these. But friends, we cannot understand the struggle others face.  I pray you are able to offer grace to those around you and never take for granted the grace that has been poured out on your own life.   As we celebrate Thanksgiving and enter into the season of Christmas do not lose sight of the gift of grace, the sacrifice of love and the hope of glory.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, the saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

Love Does

The $#@^ has hit the fan!

Pardon my French 😉

Earlier this week I wrote a deep, reflective piece of how God has graciously revealed blind spots in my life.  It was wrought out of about 5 days of really being honest with where I am in this process.  Click here to read the post on My Broken Pieces.

Then… as if my pain was not enough… it’s as if I was missing the “cherry on top” – along came Thursday…

Much of my childhood I recall being sick.  I would catch anything that was going around and my own anxiety created more than my fair share of tummy-aches.  As an adult, I have enjoyed a healthier life but take germs seriously.  We all know that children tend to be little germ sponges.   Children in daycare… that is a whole other level.  Because I am a praying woman, my prayers often go like this… dear Jesus, thank you for bringing this precious child into our home…please let us get through this whole placement without getting sick.  deal?  amen.

Deal or no deal?  …no deal.

Wednesday night bedtime was a bit more whiny than usual.  Daniel looked at me puzzled – like I would know the cause?  Around 1:30am, baby girl woke up… she wasn’t acting like her normal self that sleeps soundly through the night.  She just wanted to be held.  So I did.  And I held her almost all night long as she slept on my chest.  Then… I put her back in her crib around 4:45 because I heard Sissy calling my name from the other room.  So I went in to comfort and assure her it was too early to get out of bed….when it happened…she said…look, I spit up right here.  Oh No… say it isn’t so… is that what I think it is… please No!   It’s all in her long beautiful hair, on her beautiful little face and pajamas.  As I began to clean her up (holding my breath), Prissy wakes up and asks what’s wrong with Sissy.  I told her not to worry, she just spit up a little bit.  Prissy said, oh then you need to change my sheets too… I spit up over here.    As she sat up and revealed the mess that she had quietly slept in… I was devastated.  And then it started… I walked slowly out of the room into our bathroom where Daniel was getting ready… with the look of death on my face I said… I know what’s wrong with our girls.  What?  The stomach virus is here.  You have to come help clean this up.


As I tried to hold the bucket for Prissy, my own personal weakness set in, I yelled for back-up as I ran to the nearest bathroom –  where I found Sissy trying to get her dirty pajamas off and I immediately began gagging over the toilet.  So picture this… one twin in the bed letting it all out, one twin in the bathroom trying to get out of it and one mama that’s losing her (well, you know).   Sissy is telling me she needs to poop… right now… I’m begging her to give me ONE minute so I can stop gagging… Daniel is assisting Prissy as she’s unloading dinner and Baby girl is in her crib screaming.

This is what Christmas cards are made of.  These moments.


So, I did what any responsible mother of three would do in this moment.  I called my mom.  She just so happens to be staying a mile away in a condo for the month of November.  There is a God!

24 hours later and we’re back on our feet.  The house is disinfected and life is returning.  I just have to laugh at my life these days.  All the protective strategies I’ve built to avoid situations like these and I walk right into it.

I have to flash back to May where I built this list of…

Things they don’t teach you in licensing class:

1. You need a hazmat suit…or two. Because when children vomit it’s a lot like a murder scene.
2. White bedding – ain’t no one got time for that.
3. All those pretty pillows? Targets for projectile.
4. Carpet? Rip it out.
5. Consider putting a drain in the center of the room so hosing it down is an option.
6. Teddy bears…. innocent victims. We had three go down.
7. That smell… there’s no cure. It will stay with you for years I fear.
Please.send.help. pray for us people! ‪#‎mynightmare‬

Anyway, we are survivors.  Thanks for joining in my momentary suffering. 😉    #lovedoes



My Broken Pieces

“Abraham did not choose what the sacrifice would be. Always guard against self-chosen service for God. Self-sacrifice may be a disease that impairs your service. If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; or even if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him. If the providential will of God means a hard and difficult time for you, go through it. But never decide the place of your own martyrdom, as if to say, “I will only go there, but no farther.”  – Oswald Chambers

A friend shared this recently and it pierced right to my heart. I was immediately convicted of my self-chosen sacrifice. A sacrifice that fit within my “box” of specifics that I could handle and still maintain a sense of control. But God has brought us into more.

The past two months have revealed deep lies I have believed and as life has touched these it has forced me to face whether I believe the lies or I believe the truth of who God says I am. In some ways, I feel like a mine-field… someone with even the best intentions could say something and trigger the pain of these lies and I am left picking up the pieces, repenting and trusting God for healing.

Who knew that saying yes to this placement would uncover such deep places in my own life? I feel certain things are being touched that would have never been revealed outside of the current situation. I have spent three months wondering why God chose me for these girls, when really I am now seeing that God chose these girls for me. There are places that He wanted to reveal, lies that need to be broken and pain that needs to be touched that never would have been uncovered had we not said yes.

This.is.painful. Some days I fail completely. Some days I am grumpy and I do not invite my domain into life, beauty and rest. Some days I am so focused on what it is costing me that I can’t see straight. And sometimes, someone tells me what it is costing them… and I am undone. And God brings me back to a place of seeing who He is, who He says I am and how He is graciously pursuing me to be all that He created me to be.

I can see now how my own limitations we set in our foster process were a sort of “self-chosen service” for God. Pretty much saying, yes God, we’ll serve but this is how far I am willing to go. Then God clearly called us into something more. Something that broke all the boundaries I had set. This is just as hard as I ever imagined – which is  precisely why I had the boundaries I had. But God is after something much deeper in my life and it required a bigger obedience than I would have chosen. But He is gracious. I am tired of growing… but I can’t stop here. The growing pains are indeed a pain but I feel the comfort and love of those around me that are speaking truth, comforting and walking with me as I grow further into the woman God created me to be. (Even though it looks completely different than what I ever imagined.)

My heart is tender, but I feel loved, seen and cherished. I know God is up to big things in my life, my marriage and the lives of these girls. I am trusting that His heart is good and I am being made whole and a better representation of Him.

Love Does

Something Changed…

Change is inevitable.  While I’m not a fan of change, it happens whether I’m ready or not.  As an adult I have a lot of power in choosing how I respond to change… but children… they have no concept and very little control over their response.

Today we are feeling the affects of the time change.  Our girls have not been on board with this seemingly minor change.  I will admit, this used to be one of my favorite things… fall back… an extra hour of sleep, signaling my favorite time of year, so much to love… until there are children in your home.  Dear Jesus, the time change is clearly not Biblical so we must do away with it!

But there have been more changes around our home and it is taking me some time to process how it makes me feel.  We are 12 weeks in with the twins and one month with baby girl.  We had a rhythm (until that time change thing took place!) and we’re getting somewhat used to the flow of life these days.  But something shifted…

They call me mommy.

Somewhere in the past 5 days a shift took place.  These girls have spent the past 11 months in a world of change and uncertainty.  Despite the challenges we’ve had, I have sensed a settledness in the girls in the past week.  A shift in their security.  In the midst of that came a question, “can I call you mommy?”  Take a deep breath.  It pierces your heart.

We began our journey into fostering with no intentions of adoption.  As you know, the goal of fostering is almost always reunification.  Our heart is to come along-side of families, love them and provide a safe place for these children that are often victims of circumstances, that they may know that they are worth loving.  But I wasn’t trying to replace a mommy..

However, I have realized in our limited experience, every child is longing for security, safety and belonging.  As humans, we are created with a need for belonging, community, love and intimacy.  I cannot imagine being a little girl and separated from my mom and dad.  They were such a critical piece in my life.  I always knew I was loved, safe and belonged.  But so often the actions of these children are deeper cries of “am I loved, am I safe, and where do I belong?”.

So how did I answer her question?  You can call me mommy if you want to.  I know I am not her mommy, nor am I trying to replace her mommy.  But if calling me mommy helps to bring a deeper sense of security and knowing of my love, then by all means, bring.it.on.   If your knowing you are loved helps point you to the loving heavenly Father that brought you here, then I am all in.

Sometimes they say it just to see if I will answer.   It’s like a pop quiz!  Mommy!  –  yes dear?!  Ok, nothing.  Sometimes mommy is called in the night, when darkness has fallen and uncertainty lurks.  Sometimes mommy is screamed in frustration because I won’t give just one more piece of halloween candy.  And sometimes mommy is cried for their real mom.  And sometimes I cringe…because I know there will be pain… there will be loss… and again I am faced with the risk of loving deeply.

I cried because choosing to love something means accepting the inevitability of pain, disappointment & loss, along with all of the god-awful feelings that come with it.  – Alex McDaniel

Friends, pray with us; pray for us; love with us.  But know, there will be pain.  So much of this path is uncertain.  All I can be certain of is that in God’s infinite love He has carefully crafted a plan to provide good things for us.  He loves these girls much more than I ever could.  AND… He doesn’t need sleep.  🙂  So He can love them much better than I can.

Even though I know a day will come when my heart will likely be broken, I pray I look back knowing I loved well, I fought hard and these girls have tasted an everlasting love.  #lovedoes