Love Does, My Story

All You Need is L.O.V.E

Typewriter-lovestory-comp1I still remember it like it was yesterday.  I remember the phone-call from Jennifer,  Abby, I know you’re on a break… we have twin 2 year old girls…do you want to hear more? 

How did she know?  How did she know we had been preparing our hearts and home for twins?  How did she know to push our boundaries?  We were licensed for one child between the ages of 5 and 10.  Nothing about this call fit our box.  How did she know there was a yes waiting at the other end?

Everything about the timing was wrong. Everything about the situation was outside of my comfort. Everything in me would normally say “no” but God in His incredible mercy came before us.  It was a dream.  It was the obedience of one girl to be bold enough to share. It was the perfect set-up for this phone-call.  In the midst of all the fear, in the midst of all the plans, in the midst of all the uncertainties there was a little bit of courage that creeped up and said yes. 

I’m no Joshua, I’m no Moses, I’m no saint.  But I am a girl that longs to be the woman God created me to be and when that means walking into the scariest thing I had faced to that point, I had to muster up every bit of courage hidden in my heart and say, I choose you.  If you say this is what you have for us, I’m gonna have to believe you’re with us.

Let me tell you, knowing that you are walking in obedience to the call of God gives you a whole lot of confidence in the raging storms.  There were countless times over the past year where it would have been easy to give up, but when you can look back and know that this is what God has called you to for this very moment, there is a peace that passes understanding.

I remember in October, sitting in my living room across from the girls’ therapist with tears streaming down my face.  I couldn’t hold anything in.  This is so hard. I am exhausted. My life looks completely different.  We are absolutely controlled by bed-time. We can’t even go out to dinner, much less have any sort of normal life. Everything revolves around these girls!  She kindly looked and me and said “this is parenting”.  And before I could even catch the words, they rolled right out of my mouth, but I never wanted to be a parent!

There. I said it. Half-way owning it; half-way embarrassed; all the way wondering if she was going to call someone to take these kids away from me.  But she didn’t.  She simply smiled and said, “Abby, you’re going to have to grieve some of these losses.”

It really made perfect sense.  I was being torn apart by remembering how easy, convenient and care-free our life as a childless couple had been… all while wading through how difficult it was to keep 3 little girls alive and trying to gain some sense of normal.  I had to grieve and let it go.

For a while I stood on that tight rope of my old life still feeling within reach and my new life being so hard but trying to embrace it out of obedience.  I simply could not move forward until I let the old go.  So I grieved, I cried, I let go of all those selfish feelings and surrendered to the new life God had invited us in to.

Then, one day in November, we woke up in the darkness of morning to the madness of a stomach virus.  [See my best post ever for more on that memory]  I remember thinking, I just earned Mother’s Day, once we survived that hell.

Recently, I revisited a video that a friend, father of four had shared back when our life was on the easy street.  This is perfect.  The funniest thing about it is that I can so clearly relate to both sides.  You really have to watch this…

That is absolutely my life now. And all we can do is laugh about it.  🙂

When I look back on this past year I am honestly in awe of what God is doing in my life, in our girls’ lives and the story He is writing.  I met my husband in the fourth grade.  We dated in highschool and reconnected in our college years, married when we were too young. I love our story.

But friends, this story right here, this one takes my breath away.

Oh man, how I hope and pray for a happy ending. As we close the chapter on year 1, we celebrated with little gifts for the girls, necklaces with the letters L.O.V.E.  That’s the bottom line of our story. Everything else is built on this one thing, Love.

To wrap up birthday and anniversary week we’re taking our little party of five camping.  Because, what better way to celebrate love than squeezing into small quarters and pretending you’re homeless?

Pray for me friends!


My Story

Cheers to birthday week!

It’s my birthday week!   Normally, that’s not too big of a deal, but this year I’m turning 2 years older.  Yep, it’s true.  You see, we also celebrate our one-year mark with the twinsies this week.  The girls moved in with us just 4 days before my birthday last year.  Evidently, in the midst of all that entailed, I forgot I turned a year older.

Recently, when doing the math, we realized I’m a year older than I thought I was.  So just to catch up, this year I’ll be turning 2 years older.

Even though this year has passed by quickly, the days were long, the nights were longer and I am certain I’ve aged a few years through it.  My eyes have dark circles, my hair has more grey than ever before, things don’t fit like they use to fit… I’m a hot mess!

I’m a pretty reflective person.  This year has by far been the year of greatest growth in my own life.  As I was reflecting today and considering what we’ve walked through I am in awe of God’s faithfulness.  My eyes fill with tears when I hear this simple, yet powerful song…

Standing on this mountain-top, looking just how far we’ve come, knowing that for every step you were with us.
Kneeling on this battleground, seeing just how much you’ve done; knowing every victory is your power in us.

My year passes through my mind in sequence of victories, moments where I clearly saw God’s hand in each battle.  He has blown my mind in so many ways.  I remember one night, fighting fiercely for peace over one child who had cried for hours in terror.  When it all settled and she fell into deep rest, I knew we had broken through deep things.  I knew I had fought too hard to give up on these girls.

As I consider the stages of the past year it went something like this…

  • The twins move in and I think, oh, they are so cute…. maybe we can keep them forever.
  • One week later… oh, they don’t sleep?  Please take them back.
  • Three weeks in, oh, wait… you need me to take a baby too.  Sure, why not?  That’s what Love Does… right?
  • Six weeks in…Baby girl moves in.  What the hell just happened!    We’re all crying.  Nobody sleeps.  Surely God has the wrong girl.  It will be a miracle if we all make it out alive.
  • Three months in… ok… it is possible that we could survive this.
  • Six months in … what, you were serious about this adoption thing?  This can’t possibly be my life, forever.
  • Seven months…okay, we’re in.
  • Eight months… I said we’re in… what’s taking so long?
  • Nine months… I said we’re in… you better not be tricking me.  I’ve fought too hard to lose now.
  • Ten months…sleep.  We all sleep.  I’ve been awake for 9 months straight.  I can’t sleep enough.
  • Eleven months… daddy left for 3 weeks… we’re all going to die
  • Twelve months… one big happy family again… could somebody please make this official before I’m raising teenagers?

I’m not crazy.  I’m just honest.  Every step has been one of a larger journey of surrender.  Surrender to his ways.  Letting go of the path of least resistance and embarking on uncharted territory [for me].  I realize many of you have already raised three kids and lived to tell about it. I think of you with great admiration, daily.  And some of you are even brave enough to home-school! Your awesomeness is beyond my reach.

As I close up today’s reflection, I must acknowledge a few things I’m so thankful for.

  • My Dyson vacuum cleaner, it is therapeutic for me. and it’s pink.
  • My crock-pot, for by it we are fed.
  • DVD player in the car. Peace on earth.
  • Bubble Guppies – they are cute enough that even I enjoy watching them.
  • Friends that give me hope, encourage me and let me know things will get easier
  • Family that supports us through thick-and-thin
  • Essential Oils… yep… I’m a believer.  We escaped the plague of “hand,foot and mouth” that took our daycare down. {rest in peace}
  • My little house –  the place where I escape and do my work and pretend like I have a little bit of control in life
  • The three little girls that have rocked my world
  • The best husband a girl could ever ask for
  • Each and every one of you!

So go, have a drink in my name.  It should probably be pink, fruity and not include tequila… (we can’t even talk about what happens with tequila).    and prepare yourself – I’m probably going to be blowing up your news feed with memories this week.  Let’s celebrate!

Love Does, My Story

Beyond the shore, into the waves

photo credit to little miss creative studio
photo credit to little miss creative studio

One year.  Here we are.  One year since the dream. Once year from the leap. One year of life being turned upside down ’til upside down seems right sided. We’re still standing.  Who would have ever thought?

I sit here listening to You Make Me Brave on repeat.  Again.  Just as I did one year ago.  No fear can hinder now the love that made the way. …  You make me brave. … You’ve called me out beyond the shore into the waves….    Because your love, wave after wave, crashing over me…  You are for us. You are not against us.  Champion of Heaven, You’ve made a way… for all to enter in.

I remember.  I was scared to death.  Literally unable to speak, sometimes even breathe. But He truly made a way.  These lyrics are no longer just words but anthem cries.  Testimonies of faithfulness.  Truth that I can cling to. There are days I’m still clinging, claiming, even when I don’t feel it – You Make Me Brave.

Friends, we would not be here without you.  Please hear the love and gratitude I have for each one of you.  You have fought in the heavenlies, you’ve given me courage in the battle, you’ve walked with us and loved us deeply.  You’ve been here through it all and God has used you to increase my faith and given me strength to hang on when things seemed too hard.

One day I’m gonna write something, How to go from zero to three in the blink of an eye and live to tell about it.  I feel like I have to make it longer than one year before I can claim “living to tell about it” – nonetheless, you will be in that story.  You are a vital part of this story of our lives, the story of this girl, the story of our girls. Thank you for stepping in with us.

Oh man, I’ve learned so much! Did you know that those diapers that say “keeps you dry for 12 hours”  – that’s an exaggeration.  They do not keep a child dry for 12 hours. I’ve tested it.

There are many other products that make false claims similar to that.  I’ve tested just about everything you can imagine in the past year.

I’ve learned so much about children from hard places, the paths that trauma has created in the brain, the intentionality it takes to create new paths, the patience it takes to love through pain, to fight for peace and perseverance because no child should have to live defined by trauma.  I am learning to no longer call them post-traumatic but to see them as restored and redeemed, fought for, loved deeply, worth every breath.

I try my best to anticipate triggers, to think through strategies and how to help maintain stability, security and safety.  We just returned from an outpatient procedure that required anesthesia.  I knew that going there, being in a hospital, being taken back with people they didn’t know to breathe sedation and fall into sleep would be challenging.  We prepped, we prayed, we strategized… it was beautiful… but I never imagined the “waking up” would be more traumatic.  Geeze Louise!  I didn’t know it would take the strength of a daddy to hold the weight of his own body on that of a three year old so she could see, feel and know that she is safe.  The fear of a child coming back, disoriented and in the midst of strangers – not comprehending what was going on but seeing lines hooked to machines, hooked to their arm, all those things that remind of past events that never should have happened… dear Lord how did I not think of this?

Now I know.  Waking up is hard to do.  I realize it’s hard for any child under anesthesia, but I saw the fight or flight that was triggered in my sweet one that I never anticipated.  It’s heart-breaking but God is faithful.  Eventually it wears off and our sweet girls returned to normal.  Mommy will never be the same.

I was tempted to be embarrassed by the extent of work needed to repair their mouths.  I have to remember, I wasn’t there the first 3 years, those things aren’t my fault.  It’s ok, there’s grace.  Now, I am responsible for this next set of teeth, so buddy, you better believe we are gonna be on top of that!

I’ve learned that the tooth-fairy isn’t quite as appealing to a 3 year old as it is to a 5 or 6 year old.  Or maybe it’s just my girls.  Somehow, the idea of a little lady that comes in while you sleep, takes your teeth and leaves a quarter ended up being a bit scary.  I can see where they’re coming from.

After going to bed with the teeth on the nightstand, Prissy called me into her room… “mommy, how about you tell the tooth fairy not to come.  I don’t want her to come.  how about you just give me quarters instead and I’ll buy gum.”    –   deal sweet girl. I’ll give you quarters; you keep your teeth.  Who needs a little fairy to come in while you sleep?  You just rest peacefully.   After all, that is what we work for, right?  According to the twins, we work for money to buy gum.  That’s what makes the world go ’round.

I wish I could say we are reaching our one-year point and adoption is here. But it isn’t.  We’ve been delayed, in a big way.  Of all the things I’ve learned in this past year, the one thing that stands out most is, God’s timing and God’s purposes are perfect.  I may not ever understand them.  I might not even agree with them; but I can trust them.

This year has been a crash course in what it means to be a mommy.  It has also been a journey of discovering what it means to walk in obedience, as a daughter of the One who writes our story, who loves me deeply and invites me into the waves, because His faithfulness, His goodness, His grace – they make me brave.