Love Does, My Story

When Heaven Moves Earth

“yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so”

I hear the sweetest little voice singing these words from under the table.  This is my favorite.  My heart skips a beat at the sound of her voice singing the words I long for her to know in the depths of her being… Yes, Jesus loves you!

Adoption is in the air… the anticipation is almost more than I can bear.  Every little thing tugs at my heart-strings.  It’s not just our story, but yours as well.  The very day we found out that we were cleared for adoption, 4 houses down from us a tiny baby girl was born into her adopted family that had waited and prayed for this child.  I met this tiny one last night and the peace that envelopes her is surreal… I can’t help but wonder, “will you ever understand how heaven moved to get you here?”

One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is found in Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” 

I have often said, my dad makes God look good.  When I have thought of this scripture I have known that there is nothing on earth my dad would not do for me… how much more so my heavenly father?

There have been many times in the past 21 months that I have looked at my circumstances and talked back to God saying, “my dad would have done something by now!”  I’m sure there were some feet stomping and tear shedding to go along with my tantrum.

I may not fully see in this lifetime how heaven has moved on my behalf… but I know it has.

When I look back on our story, the past 21 months, and all that God has done to bring to fruition the dream he placed in our heart I want my girls to know one thing, He is a good good father. 

It’s hard some days for me to wrap my head around adoption.  For adoption to be necessary something has broken, a plan or a dream,  something is not what it should be… but in God’s grace, he provides a path of redemption, a saving of the story.

Here we are, literally counting down the days until adoption, practicing new names and beaming with excitement like expectant parents.  I have prayed that God would guard this season, for the first time we get to truly be excited and let the anticipation build up for this one big day… almost like a wedding!

We’re riding down the road in the car, “Raise your hand if you wanna be adopted!”  or shouting out new names like we know who we’re talking to.  Y’all, it’s just too much!

We had never discussed adoption before last week… honestly… the girls haven’t even known that they needed to be adopted, life has just been life for them.  So we took them out to dinner and it went something like this:

“Girls, mommy and daddy want to talk to you about something.”  – me
“What!?!?!?”   – all the little girlie voices
“Well, want to know if it would be okay if we adopted all of you so we can be your mommy and daddy forever?!”  –  obviously me
a twin’s head hangs down and she softly says, “but I wanted a new mommy and daddy…”
……………….    [I am sitting there stunned….]
“I’m just kidding!  I want you to be my mommy and daddy forever and ever and ever!” – said twin

What the hell was that!?!?!  Seriously! That is some high level sarcasm there.  Not what you would expect from a four-year-old!  I almost told her I changed my mind!  But honestly, I can’t blame her… Daniel and I are two of the most sarcastic people you will ever meet.  I can’t say I deserved that… but I can certainly see where I contributed to it. 😉

I told my dad the other day I’m a little worried that once we finalize adoption I’m not going to have anything to write about…. after spending a couple of days around us he assured me there will still be things to write!  Maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to see our fun side again.

Until then… I will be reading everything I can about What to Expect When You’re Expecting – 3 Toddlers… oh wait, no one in their right mind would put something like that in print.  I’ll keep on potty-training, planning a celebration and seeking to capture this story that God has given us.  Thank you for being there through every step!

I mentioned last week that there were a bunch of legal hoops that needed to be jumped through, and I just have to say, our case-worker was on point… and God has moved in incredible ways.  We have been approved and will be moving into our final stage of adoption, exactly ONE day before our home-study expires.  Yeah, let that sink in.

God is kind-of a show-off.

This morning as I sat, somewhat anxiously, considering where we are and what still needs to happen I came across a new-to-me song that just met the state of my heart…

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

– excerpt from Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin feat. Pat Barrett & Anthony Brown

My heart can’t stop singing this morning of His goodness.

My Story, Uncategorized

It’s gonna be worth it

Hope came alive your very first cry…
-lyrics by Nate Kelly

There’s this story, you might have heard it, about a world in despair. Hopeless. Waiting. Wondering if the words spoken would ever be fulfilled.  Then one night in Bethlehem a child was born and the hopelessness lifted.  “Hope came alive your very first cry… on Christmas Day”.  This was the one they had waited for.  Hope for every man.

Sitting in church on Sunday I heard this song of a friend and this one line put perspective back in my heart.  How long had they waited for the fulfillment of this prophecy?  How many generations hoped they would see the Messiah? How many times did they wonder “did we really hear him?”?

My waiting… my wondering… the tension I live in every day… it pales in comparison.

But let’s be honest here.  I live on the good side of that Christmas story – the retelling side.  I live right smack in the middle of my story – the wondering side.

I’m writing this post mostly for my mom… and for all of you whom she has frantically emailed for prayer support.  Good news, I haven’t jumped ship.  I’m still here and I still know there’s a God.

The past 10 days have been an emotional roller coaster.  Nothing about roller-coasters is fun to me. Somewhere in the past 6 months I allowed myself to really hope this adoption thing could happen this year.  Last week we received news of a new road-block that will prolong us even more than what we were already facing.  It was a blow to the heart.

As I briefly shared the news with my family I followed it with… I’m probably not going to answer my phone.  I had to shut down. I couldn’t think about it, I couldn’t talk about it, I was trying to do everything I could to keep from that ugly cry.  I was devastated.

There are things about it that felt threatening to our hope for sure.  But I’m realizing what was most painful for me in the moment was the disappointment. Letting go of the hope that finalization could be soon… that broke my heart.  Recognizing that finalization isn’t even guaranteed – well – we’ll see what God has to say about that.

Thank you to all of you who have sent messages, written notes, checked on us and prayed for our hearts.  There are points that I clearly recognize I am standing purely by the grace of God and your support.

So to tell you how my heart is… it’s pressed but not crushed… perplexed but not abandoned… it’s holding on to hope and truth and driven by love.  I am humbled by the support of those around us and those we don’t even know are praying.  I cried today just thinking about the sweet load of gifts that were given for baby girl, just out of the kindness and generosity of a stranger that “adopted” our angel from a tree.

We do not battle alone. Thank you for fighting with us and for us.

Where am I in processing the disappointment and the delay?  Well, I can’t help but wonder what God is up to in this story.  Where things seem like he could easily move on our behalf, it’s not moving quite so easily.  I have to ask, “what is it you want to be for me right now?”

I regret some of the questions I’ve asked in the past week… the honest, gut-level questions that make my mom wonder if I’m in a crisis of faith.  (I’m not.)  I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s pulled out her rosary and lit some candles 😉

I think what the enemy has meant for harm, to bring us down, to shake us… will actually strengthen our stand, solidify our hope and secure our trust.  Yes, there are moments that I don’t feel or sound strong… but as I wrestle through my questions and choose to believe, I’m getting stronger.

One day, I know I will see the beauty in this journey.  The glory in the pain.  Right now, I just feel exposed.  I feel like I’ve put my whole heart into something that I have no control over the outcome and it gets hit with arrows on a regular basis.  I guess that’s the risk you take when you choose to live whole-heartedly.  I can’t say it’s fun… but I will say it’s worth it.

To those of you that are holding on to a word, a dream or a promise, I’m right there with you.   One thing I recently heard from a teacher on living in God’s promises that has given me courage is:  “do not let your circumstances challenge the prophecy when the prophecy was given to challenge your circumstances”. 

Don’t give up.  There will be songs of joy.  Maybe some wise-men will even show up with gifts.  This waiting, this wondering, this hoping… it’s gonna be worth it.

My Story

The Battle… is real


Trouble surrounds me, chaos abounding; My soul will rest in you.
I will not fear the war. I will not fear the storm. My help is on the way, my help is on the way.
(Always, Kristian Stanfill)

I wish there was a pretty way to say this, but there isn’t.  The battle is real and friends,

This isn’t a fun post to write.  I’ve wrestled for a week with how to share in an authentic way, baring our scars, sharing our wounds, showing our fears yet claiming the truth.

It hit me last weekend, late in the night as I was sitting in the emergency room for the second time in as many weeks.  Daniel brought me a “bug-out” bag with toiletries and change of clothes since I had just found out Prissy was being transported to another hospital for observation and such.  It had been a long day and an even longer night.  He held her hand beside the hospital bed and I just looked with tear filled eyes and said, I’m really tired of being under attack.

It was the first time we had acknowledged it but it felt like saying it out loud brought a bit of freedom.  This can’t be normal life.  There are too many pressures, too many pains, too many surprises to think this is normal.  Or maybe, the battle is our new normal?

I remember waking up on Monday morning and thinking, I cannot be an adult today. seriously, can someone else be an adult for me. I just want to go back to my parents’ house, curl up in my bed and pretend like I’m not an adult.

My honest, gut level response to attack is to evaluate what we’ve done to set us up, drop it and pull back, bringing relief from the enemy.    Is it fostering?  Is it adopting?  Is it Wellspring? What do I need to do to get relief, fast?

Well, I’m sure it’s any one or all of these things… but each of these are where we believe the Lord has called us and each of these are worth fighting for.  What’s a girl to do?

Look for Jesus.

Two months ago I sensed the Lord say to me, You will not be shaken.  That’s always fun to hear.  Why would he say that? Why would I need to hear that?  Probably because I would be faced with attack that over three weeks would make me feel like many things were failing, that he was not seeing and that I am alone on a battlefield.  In the midst of the battle, I need to remember his words; and despite what life feels like, I can know that we will not be shaken.

There have been many people over the past month that have loved me well, engaged my heart and the painful things that I couldn’t understand.  Many have prayed as we’ve invited them and I feel like we’re coming up for air. What I want to share is two-fold.

First, I invite you to pray with us.  We need you guys to continue praying that God would give us strength, grace and perseverance every day.  Secondly, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned so that as you walk through your own battles, maybe you can find hope.

One of our pastors shared last week in the sermon series “Battle Lines” about being under attack.  I wasn’t able to attend but I was able to watch it later in the week.  It had a powerful impact for me and I want to share some of the key points.  I hope this is legal…

Some of you are in the fight of your life – the hour of darkness – and considering exchanging the most precious things in your life for things that will alleviate the spiritual attack…  don’t make concessions.

It is easy in the midst of a battle to want relief, to feel weary and wish you could give up.  Don’t make concessions.

I am reminded of the scriptures in Isaiah God gave us at the beginning of this journey with the girls, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

The battle is in believing God is for me, that he is with me…. it’s not for the breakthrough… it’s for the believing. 

In one of my struggles I entered some significant disappointment that made me question if God even sees me.  If what I’m praying for, believing for, hoping for doesn’t happen  –   what does that say about me?  Am I worth it to God?  Have I done something to deserve this?  Is God even there?

There are many things I will never understand this side of heaven.  I can’t even begin to list some of those questions. But one thing I’ve learned is that I have often confused having hope in God with having hope in an outcome.  Once I shift my hope to believe that no matter the outcome, God’s heart towards me is good, I can rest in his promises.

The tactic of the enemy is to go after your relationship with God.  Yes, he uses all the things around you that you love and hold dear, but ultimately, he wants us to question if God is who he says he is.

In the sermon he went on to challenge me to “Look beyond the hour”.

The hour of darkness is not meant to prove us but is meant to reveal Jesus.”

There’s really not much I can do about the attack, but I have full control over how I respond.  My hearts desire is that my response to the disappointment, the pain and even if one day I experience suffering, that it reveals Jesus.

John 12:27 in the Message says: “Right now I am storm-tossed.  And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’?      No, this is why I came in the first place.  I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.'”

Friends, October was not fun. I feel storm-tossed. We’re a bit weary. But Lord willing, we’re still standing!  I don’t think you could find a happier girl to see the month of November begin.  As I sit and reflect on the things that have felt hard, I cannot help but be thankful for God’s grace, for your faithfulness to pray and all the many ways I can see he is fighting for me.

Hope is rising like the light of dawn.

There’s too much at stake.  The battle is real. But it’s worth fighting.

To hear Pastor Jeremy’s sermon, feel free to watch “The Hour of Darkness” at this link

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.

My Story

Name the Graces

To see the glory, name the graces.             Ann Voskamp – One thousand gifts devotional

This line, this simple statement has replayed in my head for two weeks.  To see the glory, name the graces.  I remember a prayer when I was 18 years old, enamored by the story of Moses on the mountain calling out to God, “show me your glory”.  This has been a consistent cry of my heart through the years, Lord, show me your glory.  I’m in awe of glory and I long to see it daily.

In Exodus the story goes on to say that God positioned Moses in a cleft in the rock and covered his face with his hand as he passed by.  Basically, God put Moses between a rock and hard place then allowed his goodness to pass before him.

Friends, it is in the hard places of life that I am most clearly able to see God’s glory – his goodness – his graces.

When days are hard, when darkness falls, when motherhood squeezes every bit of life out of me I must choose to count the graces… and in that place, I see his glory.

What does grace look like in my life?   It looks like surrender to a plan that I never planned.  A move to a place I never considered to position us for a part we didn’t know we would play.  It’s pure grace that we have four parents, still living and well and able to help us raise children we never knew we would love.

Grace came from the lady at the pizza place who came in for her shift at what was obviously her second job.  And when this crazy momma became frustrated that our pizza order was completely wrong – she saw the exhaustion in my eyes and responded with patience, kindness and love.  She offered me ice-cream to calm my crying girls as we waited for our pizza.  When I said “I just need it in a box so I can leave”, she graciously carried it out to the car because my arms were tied up with little people.  We were on day 3 without daddy, my eyes had cried all day after leaving the land where we had just lost our dog and walked into an empty house…  she saw past my attitude, she saw me at my end and offered grace.  I will be forever humbled by her gift. Undeserved grace.

Grace is the sister that reminds you there’s an oil for your control freak ways…   Grace is the daycare that stays open til 6:00, just in case you need it.  Grace is the neighbor that waits hours outside to give your girls the gift they brought back from Disney World.  Grace. Grace. Grace.

Grace is the friend that walks with you through the pains of life, loss and love.  The ones that come around you when everything is falling apart and don’t say it’s going to be ok, but are willing to say, this stinks but I am here with you.

Grace is the fellowship, your people, the ones that live life with you. Grace is that moment when your head hits the pillow, all is quiet and you slip into rest.

Grace is his goodness, his faithfulness, his glory that passes before you, even when you’re too busy to see it.  Grace is the obedience of one to share the word or dream that God has given them, so you are better able to respond with obedience.

Take a moment.  Name the graces.  Find the glory.  It’s worth it.

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. ….   16 For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace.    John 1:14, 16

Grace after Grace.  These are our gifts.

Thank you for being a channel of God’s grace in my life.  Every word of encouragement, support and prayer is deeply appreciated.  Please continue to pray as we move into the next phase of adoption.  I would love to move smoothly through this without any bumps or bruises.  I see the undeniable thread of grace in our story and trust that God is not finished yet.

My Story



Hope is risky business.

After nine weeks of waiting, hoping, praying,  I can honestly say hope is fragile.  I waver from hope to worry like a child on a see-saw.

A facebook post that shakes my certainty.  A blog post that reminds me of others’ experience in the system, losing everything they hoped for in the ninth hour – wondering if their story will be mine.

Another foster parent letting their little one go back to a home that they can only hope will love and protect them as much as they deserve and in the way we would our own.  After one year, two years, pouring out love and investing in a child only to see them move back and know that our role is to celebrate but deep down the pain is real, there is a loss.

I didn’t enter this world blindly, but I couldn’t have imagined the messiness of it all.  I couldn’t fathom our story looking as it does and hoping for a forever I never dreamed of.

When it feels as though everything is shaken, I am reminded of the one who loves deeply – the one who loves through me; the one who sees me with tears in my eyes and knows what it feels like to give up a child.  The ONE who asked HIS son to carry my weight of sin.  I remember that he loves these girls more than I do.  He loves me more than I can understand.  No matter how our story unfolds, He will never forsake me.

I think deep down, I find myself trying to protect God from my own disappointment.  If I’m really honest, when I consider what scares me most, it’s the idea of pain so deep that I can’t find God.  I can get lost in the “what ifs” but those aren’t my biggest fears… it’s wondering if in the darkest hour will I still see grace.

In the midst of all the things I cannot control, I must choose where I place my hope…

Not in a system – but in a Savior.  Not in a process – but in a promise.  Not in my goodness – but in His goodness.

When I determine to set my mind on the truth of who He is, my hope stands renewed.  I can’t say I overflow, but I feel confident that even if the world falls apart I will not walk alone.

In the midst of the waiting and uncertainty, we are seeing small victories.  There have been decisions that have helped us move into stability and allowed the girls to settle a bit more.  For this we are grateful.

Some days I wonder how I got here.  Life was easy before our first yes.  My bubble was quite comfortable.  But I can see how God’s pursuit of my heart through this adventure in fostering has brought me to a greater dependency on him and those around us.  I will never be the same.

I have a greater appreciation for the support and love of our friends and family.  Everyone has stepped up in amazing ways.  We have friends that aren’t even in the family way yet that have openly embraced these girls, played with them, loved them and adapted to what our new life looks like.  It doesn’t just cost our comfort but it costs theirs.  I used to have guest rooms – now I have guest couches… if even that!  But friends still love us… even through crazy bedtime routines.  They patiently wait for us to calm an anxious child, they offer choices and hugs to help them regulate… they love us well by loving them well.  And their rewards come in hugs and kisses.  Adorable love.  That’s all we have.

Thank you friends for loving us well.  Thank you for standing in the gap and praying with us / for us.  Please continue.  Some days we feel weary, but Lord willing, we will never lose hope.

My Story

It’s Mother’s day, birth mommy

It’s mother’s day birth mommy.   In the midst of celebrating and being honored, my heart hurts for you.  It started creeping in last week as I considered what the weekend would hold for me… knowing your arms would be empty.

My greatest gain comes at your greatest pain.

I thought of you all day, birth mommy.  I honor you in my heart and know that you are the one that carried the sweetness that fills my house.

Every moment I get to enjoy, and even those that drive me crazy, they were meant to be yours.

How do you say thank you to someone that never meant to lose?  My heart is torn.

I’m filled with thankfulness for this space in life filled with pink and purple, giggles and curls –  a dream I never knew I had.  At the same time I know this was your dream but life’s hard road took it from you.

Something in me feels this isn’t fair.  I know this wasn’t the way the story was supposed to go.  God’s plan for family didn’t look like this… somehow I want you to know that.  This wasn’t always his plan.

It feels wrong.  In all the drama it’s easy for you to look like a sinner while I look like a saint.  I know this isn’t true.  We’re both sinners… and I know your heart is good.  I see it when you look at your girls, when you give them kisses to keep and hope they remember your love for them.  Even on my best of days I feel undeserving… wondering if I can ever love them as much as you.

I remember looking in your tear filled eyes and promising I will do everything I can to love and protect them.  I remember your eyes birth mommy.  They were windows into a hard life, a broken heart and a selfless act of surrender.  You have loved them deeply.

In the moments of Mother’s Day, when I squeezed out one more kiss from baby girl, hugged two twins and celebrated this new-found role of motherhood, through my own tears I see you.  I see you in their eyes, and the way they store up kisses.  I see you in their personalities and in the way they fight back.

I see you and I love you birth mommy – because I know you love these girls as much as I do.

I don’t know how the rest of this story will unfold, but I want you to know, every year that we celebrate with these girls, I promise to see you, to remember you and to know that you were mommy first…and for that reason, I love you more.

My Story

What Dreams May Come

girls at bay

These are the things dreams are made of.  Dreams I never knew I had.  I have only begun to discover the deeper desires of love, protection and purpose turning into dreams of this life filled with giggles and pink.  I’m in over my head, no doubt.  This picture captures our current dream in many ways.

Friends that have known me forever are trying to grasp where this all came from.  Who am I?  What happened to the girl that said she wasn’t having children?  honey, I feel ya!  My head is spinning too.  There are days that I still wonder what happened.

I can trace it back to three things…

Have you ever seen the movie Despicable Me?  I remember watching this with Daniel some 4 or 5 years ago.  When the three little girls walk into Miss Hattie’s House for Girls (orphanage), approach her desk and the little one asks “Did anyone come to adopt us today?”    Yep, that moment caught my heart.  Sure, it’s an animated movie but deep down I heard the cry of the orphan that longs to belong.  God clearly used this to begin stirring my heart.  I was reminded of the call of believers to look after orphans and widows.

The second thing?  I have a dear friend –  I can’t call her my best friend because she didn’t come to my wedding – but she is dear none-the-less.   {That’s an inside joke}  She experienced incredible pain in her life and as she has shared parts of her own story with me I found myself asking, why wasn’t she protected?  What would life look like if she had known that she was worth protecting?  She had a loving mother and father, don’t get me wrong, but life was hard and pain was real.  Her story stirred in me an intense desire to protect the innocence of children who are so often victims of circumstances that they cannot control.  To swoop in and rescue, to speak words of truth that you are loved, you are worth protecting and you are safe.  Why is that so significant? I didn’t know either until I discovered the significance of knowing it myself.

In 2011 I began a journey into my heart.  A battle.  A process of uncovering the depths of my heart and a growing awareness of God’s incredible love for me.  It’s called the Battle for Your Heart and it has been a 4 year process of uncovering the lies I’ve believed and replacing it with the truth of who God says I am.  In that process I’ve seen the framework of 4 Spiritual Realities:

  1. There is a Larger Story
  2. You have a part to play that is yours and yours alone.  If you don’t find a way, no one will.
  3. Evil is hunting you
  4. There is a Fellowship that desires to protect & propel you into your part

As I have discovered my own deep desires of being loved, protected and safe I can see more clearly why I am motivated to do the same for others.  These have been the cries of my own heart, but I am fortunate to come from a family that provided these in so many ways.  I see how God has crafted my life, my marriage, my family to be a piece of his redeeming love for the children he brings into our lives.

In the four years of battling for my own heart I have seen how to fight for the hearts of others – to bring freedom.  As fear has been unraveled in my life so has my carefully constructed protection of control.  And as control was released I began to see how God was inviting me in to so much more than I could imagine.  My part in his larger love story.  A story that has pursued my heart and pursued the hearts of three little girls that he longs to see know the depths of his love for them.

I am in awe, every day, as I consider the story God has written for me and the way he has moved to position us for this moment.  I can’t help but hope for the happy ending because I can’t imagine it being anything less.  I am fully aware that we are embarking on a path filled with resistance.  But I also know that I have a fellowship, a community that loves me well, supports us and propels us into this story.  You make me brave.

So now we dream.  We dream of the territory God is calling us into.  We dream of the days that we aren’t battling the uncertainty of not knowing where they belong.  We dream in a forever kind of way.

As we wait, as we pray, we remember God’s promise and in his promise there is provision.  He will not leave or forsake us.  We will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  And what dreams may come, he will be faithful – not just to us, but to these girls.  Whether the dream fulfilled looks as we hope or not, he is faithful. Dream with me friend.