The Last Second

My parents gave us 24 child-free hours… and I’m about to use this last one to tell a story.  Life has been hectic and I’m not sure when I’ll have time to sit again, so here we go.

I hope as you’ve had a chance to pop into this story of a girl over the past two years you’ve seen a thread of hope God has graciously weaved through our life.  This has been the most intense season of growth I believe I have ever experienced.  My heart in sharing our story is that it gives you a glimpse into his goodness… and glory.

As we have been in the process of adoption we realized that our cozy little home needed more space.  I’m not saying we couldn’t make it work… but this momma likes peace and quiet… and the size of our home was not conducive to that.  In February I really pressed into the home search and found that everything we touched would close just before we could make something happen.  Then we found something that seemed a bit too good to be true.  It was hard to consider that God might be opening up this door.  As I spent about 5 days trying to make a decision it uncovered some deep questions that I have carried for years.

Throughout our story it has been easy for me to see why God would do good things for my girls… and I just got to be a part of it.  It is much harder for me to believe God desires to do big things for me.  But if I work hard and get things right, then he will come through.  And I tend, in my own fear, to work really hard so things aren’t all dependent upon God.  Because if God doesn’t come through, what does that mean about me?

In February we pretty much jumped off a cliff and started a building project that was bigger than I could dream.  I sensed the Lord inviting me to ask him for more and believe his goodness towards me.  Not because of anything I have done; simply because of everything he has done.

In April I attempted to put our house up for sale by owner and no joke, within days of that God brought two more kids into our home.  All I could do was laugh at the thought of trying to sell a home with 5 kids under 5.  I was simply crazy.

Throughout the summer I continued to softly market and randomly show the house, thinking I was doing my part so God could bring his provision.  Around June he gave me the word “abundance” and I began to pray differently.  I began to believe that his heart is abundant when I was simply asking for provision.  Through this shift in my prayers and a consistent cry to “show me your glory” he just plain showed off in July.  If you remember my post about When God Shows Up , you can see how my faith got a little bolstered.  Even in all that glory I still struggled to believe that God would do that for me.

Around late August we found out that our new home was expected to be ready much earlier than projected.  I was on my way out of town for work and couldn’t even process this information.  While normally that would be a pleasant surprise, it was not in my case.  Our home had not sold and we are required to sell before we could finalize our new one.  Bottom line, we were at risk of losing our new home.

As I drove home alone that Sunday I had four hours of heart-wrenching prayer.  There was a battle going on in my heart for what I believed.  As I began to cry out to God and ask why he hasn’t provided in what seemed to be a simple way I was able to follow my fears and began to ask myself, If God doesn’t come through, what am I afraid of?  One thing I realized is that I am really afraid of being disappointed in God.  So often I hold back because I need to protect him from my disappointment.  I don’t want to step out in big faith – it’s too risky.  As I reflected more in this thought I was able to see that my fear is that if God doesn’t come through, and I am disappointed in him, the lies I am tempted to believe are that I’m just not worth it, I didn’t work hard enough, I was foolish to believe he would in the first place.

Earlier this month I walked into the kitchen and told Daniel, I think we might lose the house.  I explained to him all the reasons why – specific to timing, loans, the closing process and such.  It was a hard pill to swallow but we began processing what it would look like to surrender what felt like our dream.  We talked honestly about the good and bad, what if God was protecting us?  What if God was punishing us?  What did we not get right?  Then What is God saying to us right now?

I think honestly, what I struggled with the most in the disappointment was, did I really hear God?  Did I miss something? How did we end up here?  I’ve had to realize as God is taking us to the next level, there are places of uncertainty, where he is calling us to strengthen our faith.

As we prayed and sought the Lord we just had a sense of peace in the surrender.  The scripture, Be still and know that I am God was a consistent message and we just chose to pause and trust God with the outcome.  It felt as though he was inviting us in to a place of greater trust, like we had not yet walked in, to meet us in a way we had not yet seen.

Every day as I awoke that week I had a song in my heart, It’s your breath in my lungs, so we pour out our praise, pour out our praise…”  In the midst of what felt hopeless I could find hope in the very breath in my lungs.  I sang it over and over.  “All the earth will shout your praise, our hearts will cry these bones will sing… Great are you Lord.”   I had the choice to believe that no matter what happens, house or no house, he is faithful, his heart is good and I can rest.

The week before as I was asking God what he was up to, I just sensed him saying “my provision is not dependent on what you get out of this house. Just trust me.”

The next week I received a call from a very persistent Realtor that had been trying to convince me I needed his help.  He came and met with me the week before and loved the house.  I had tried to put him off, but he kept coming back.  One day he sent me a text and asked “are you ready to let me sell your house?”  At this point I had almost resigned myself to loss.  Daniel and I discussed surrendering the other house and just staying where we are, it was less risky.  So I told the guy, I think we might just stay here.  He asked me what was going on and basically why am I so crazy… and I basically told him of the impending time crunch and that I needed to sell my house in the next two weeks.

Challenge Accepted.

He put our house live on the Multiple Listing Service on Monday afternoon.  The pictures were pretty… the description was simple… the response was immediate.  Within an hour we had people setting up appointments, one asking to come that night.  Everything in me started to freak out.  I have three kids at home, my husband is working 12-14 hour days, I work full-time and people are coming out of the woodwork.  I make the Monday night showing happen, only to wake up in the middle of night to a child with a stomach bug, followed by another child and then the third.  I called my mom and said “I’m pretty sure God doesn’t want me to sell my house.  This is unbelievable.”

Within the first 24 hours we had six showing scheduled.  I probably did 18 loads of laundry on our sick day.  As soon as the girls showed signs of recovery we loaded up and got out of the way for a showing.  By 48 hours we had an offer on the table and on day 3 of showings a second offer upped the ante. By golly, God was moving.  I always thought a bidding war would be fun.  I was wrong.  There was so much pressure and I wanted everybody to be happy.  We spent a lot of time in prayer through the evening for God to give us discernment.  At 9:40 we signed our final offer and went to bed exhausted but in awe of God’s favor.

That persistent Realtor paid off.  It was as if God sent help in my time of need and moved a mountain that I didn’t see flinching.  An answer to many prayers and hope was restored.  We began to dream again.  What if God really is making a way of provision for this new house?  I just imagine him smiling, like he knew what he was doing all along.  😉

Waking up Friday morning felt like turning a new page, entering the next chapter.  We might call this chapter, when crazy gets crazier.  Now we have the adventure of actually moving!

We packed up the girls and headed to Nana & Papa’s house for the weeknd. The girls stayed there and we went off to cheer on our Auburn Tigers as they faced LSU.  Just in case you live in a hole that was a pretty wild game, right down to the very last second.  Considering that we’ve seen how Auburn does with one second, I’m starting to believe God might be an Auburn fan too. 🙂

I’ve often joked that I’m God’s favorite.  As I have wrestled this year through my doubts and surrendered them to the Lord, he’s gone above and beyond to prove to me it’s true.  The good news is that his favorite isn’t exclusive, there’s hope for you too!  Being his favorite doesn’t mean we get everything we want, it means we can surrender to everything he wants… because it is good.  I had to come to the point of honestly saying, God, I surrender this home to you.  If we lose it and stay in our current home, I will thank you for your provision of a home that I have loved.  You are good and I trust your purposes.  I had some painfully honest moments of disappointment, unmet expectations, questions of what I was believing and choosing to trust what God says is true.  It wasn’t always pretty and I’m not sure we’re going to even be able to wrap it all up in a bow.  We still have a few more weeks for everything to play out…. but I’m beginning to understand this trust thing.  It’s really not about me.



How to save a life

I have been reflecting a bit this week on where we started and how unbelievably overwhelmed I was by life.  We have some sweet friends that have just stepped into new territory as foster / adoptive parents.  As I read about their willingness to say yes to two new children for an undetermined amount of time, it catapulted me back to our beginning.

As I sit on this side of our story, knowing I’m not at the end – but some chapters have closed, I was able to understand more clearly some of what was going on in me during that season that felt like a lifetime.  I thought it might be helpful to share some of it because it can be applied not only in situations like ours, but really in almost any relationship.  We all encounter seasons of life that are bigger than us.  The saying that God will not give you more than you can handle is pretty much bullshit.  {sorry}  I have spent two years living out of that lie.

What God does say can be found in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Sorry for my strong thoughts up there… but you have to understand, I spent a long time believing  what felt like would take me under was something I should be able to handle… and the truth is, I couldn’t. But his grace was sufficient and his power was perfect in my weakest days.

What did that look like, practically, for us?  Well, when we said yes to Baby Girl I knew I was unprepared but I didn’t have a clue what to do.  My mom wanted to throw a “baby shower” but I didn’t want anyone to feel like they needed to help us.  (I’ll get to my issues later.)   Someone told my mom not to listen to me, and they went and registered us at Target for many practical things we would need to welcome a baby into our home. And people blessed us.  I had no idea I would need a diaper genie. But I can tell you after the first week of crap I was sooo glad someone saw that coming and bought me one.  Grace was someone taking the time to see my needs before I even knew them myself.

Another way I experienced grace was through the people that have loved us unconditionally, speaking truth and offering hope.  When I had days that I questioned if we would all survive, I can guarantee you that my mom and my sister were faithfully talking me down and lifting me up.  They reminded me of truth, they spoke words that gave courage and they held my arms up when it felt like I couldn’t even stand.  You friends, you spoke truth to me as well.  I absolutely love to read your words that encourage us and tell us of your prayers.  And when you tell me how our story has impacted you, that breathes life into me.  It helps me connect with God’s larger story and reminds me that this is not just about me and my small battles.  God’s grace is so sufficient.

Part of walking with someone through seasons like ours is that you need to be a safe place, a place where honesty can happen. The key to being a safe place is found in vulnerability.  Vulnerability breeds safety.  When someone unloads the gut-honest truth about how they feel they don’t need to be met with a cliche that everything happens for a reason… they need to be met with a connection that says, you are not alone – how can I walk with you?

For so long I didn’t know how to receive help.  People offered but I couldn’t handle it.  I felt like we are the ones who said yes and we were the ones who took on the responsibility and the pain.  While that is largely true, that does not mean that people can’t help us carry the load.  I just (in the past six months) learned that my primary love language is acts of service.  I had no clue!  Then I realized how loved I feel when my husband sees that I need help.  It took a huge fight for us to get there… but I was finally able to see that when he says this simple phrase, how can I help you?  I feel seen, loved and not alone.  As I began to understand that, I was also able to see how I had been pushing away the very thing my heart desired and people around me were offering.  Sometimes I will still say I don’t need it, but just you offering fills my cup!

Looking back, I realize that I spent a lot of energy trying to protect the world from my kids.  I have often said we are a walking circus.  Our circus is crazy, full of drama, lots of giggles and little obedience.  I have no freaking control over our circus.  And because of that, I avoided a lot of things.  I’ll never forget one night when a friend looked at me and said “I can handle that you have kids. I can even help you.”  I lived in a lie that believed I couldn’t let my circus show, I had to keep it wrapped up in a bow – which was impossible – so life had to be put on hold.  Then there are some friends that found our circus to be fun, or at the very least, amusing… and they pushed through my walls.  I cannot tell you how forever thankful I am for a dear one that used to just take over bath-time… and she made it fun!  I sat in amazement that she could handle the chaos with such ease and she never looked as stressed as I always felt.  She taught me through example how to relax and love my girls differently.  I needed her.

The other big thing I would say is don’t feed fear.  Trust me, every one of us is aware of the reality of our situation.  Many of us have spent time counting the cost even before we said yes.  So telling us how dangerous or scary it is isn’t helpful.  We (personally) made a conscious decision that we do not want to make decisions based on fear.  We want to live with an awareness of our situation but not in fear of it.  We consistently assess whether we need to make any adjustments, address any concerns or make major moves for the safety of our girls.  It can be even harder for our families who support us but see the scariness of it all.  In those places speak truth, give life and pray for God’s grace.  Everyone needs it.

When it comes to supporting, here’s what I suggest:

1. Help assess the practical needs and think of ways to meet them.   Coordinate meals, or childcare, or just another human being to help with bath and bedtimes.
2. Be a safe place.  Not everything we say is going to be pretty, love us anyway.
3. Speak Truth. Remind us of God’s faithfulness, his promises and his word.
4. Give hope. Point us back to Jesus, everyday.
5. Don’t feed fear.
6. Pray. Never stop praying
7.  Help us laugh… funny times bring healing.  Help us see the fun in the hard places.
8.  If appropriate… bring wine.  God bless all you parents that have survived without it.

You all know life can be hard, but we were not designed to do it in isolation.  It so much more fun to do these things together.  #lovedoes


My Story, Uncategorized

The life that chose me

He held me tightly in his arms, it felt like the first time I had exhaled in 10 days and all I could think was, remember when it was just the two of us and life was easy?  Remember when what seemed like mountains now look like molehills in our rear-view?  Remember when I thought I had a grip on life?

I showed the house this morning to someone new.  It has become part of my daily routine:  wake up, get girls dressed and off to school, clean house, work, show house, work, feed family, bathe girls, tuck them in, close my eyes, repeat.  Everyone always asks why we are selling… and I always say… because life turned upside down.

She was kind, curious and surprised when I showed her my office.  Oh, you work?  What do you do?   Yes, I work from home.  I’m the operations director for a christian non-profit.  Of course you are.  You adopt children.  Of course you work for a non-profit.  

All I could do was laugh and think to myself, I didn’t choose this life.  I guess you could say – it chose me.  I wanted to be a lawyer and wear pencil skirts and fancy shoes.  But here I am standing in my back yard with ripped jeans and a 2 year old on my hip, praying she doesn’t tee-tee on me.  I thought I would negotiate mergers and acquisitions… instead I negotiate hostage situations among 3 toddlers and bribe with jelly beans to use the potty.

Sometimes I hide in my office and ask God, what in the world were you thinking?

That cute little office my husband built with love, adorned with crystals and splashed with pink… it’s a holy place.  God meets me there – over and over again.

It’s where I pray, it’s where I sing, it’s where I do business with God and for God.  I feel like I should add something to our real estate listing, “God is near”…. but I don’t wanna freak people out.

This life God chose for me, it is beautiful – I am blessed indeed.  But there are days when the weight of adoption, trauma, pain, the unknown and simply feeding people is so heavy I feel like I will crush beneath it.  I want to do all things well but I end up doing little even good-enough.  I hear the voice that says I will never be enough, I can’t do everything and something has to give.

Do you ever feel like you want to hide?  Oh girl, I do.  In this past week when everything hit the fan all I wanted to do was pack up my little family, go home and hide.  I wanted safety, security, a sense of control and say over my life.  I wanted to shut down this story of a girl and pretend my family was built from a different story that doesn’t carry baggage or fear.

But that isn’t what God sees in me.  He didn’t choose me for this life so I can hide.  Sometimes courage is just showing up in the battle.  The thing I’ve found is that when I show up, God shows up even more – and through that, his glory is made known.

I may have cried a little but I’m not hiding.  In some ways I’m still waiting for God to show up.  In all things I have seen his peace meet me, right where I am.  He reminds me that he has chosen me and my ripped jeans to reveal him today.  He reminds me that he is my portion and my cup; he makes my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.  – Psalm 16:5-6

I might not understand this side of heaven what God sees in me… but I’m trying my best to come through with whatever it is.  I feel pretty special being chosen for this crazy part in life… raising three beautiful, funny little ladies along side of one amazing guy… working with people who are passionate about seeing God transform lives and experiencing it myself.  I can’t complain… I can only hope he keeps showing up.

Here’s a little taste of what’s playing in my office this week: