Friday, September 10, 2010


I just had one of those moments where I became overwhelmed with amazement, gratitude, joy... and at the same time felt my heart break. I have been showered with grace and mercy. I love my husband so much it hurts. I am in awe at God's plan to bring us together. He is my true love, my soul mate, the leader of our home. He is a loving daddy and when our kids think of daddy I know they think of Jesus because there is rarely a conversation he has with them that doesn't center around his first Love. The other night he was tucking the girls in and suddenly I heard them all cheering "KINGDOM!!". He was doing "cheers" with them, including dance moves, as they celebrated the kingdom of heaven. This morning I woke up to find Joah sitting at the table next to daddy his hero and both of them had a Bible open in front of them. I don't say this to brag him up but to share part of where these overwhelming feelings of gratefulness are coming from. A husband and dad who lives for Jesus is the best gift a family could ever have. I have a dad like that too and that is another reason I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. Even though My dad died suddenly at age 48 I have never been bitter or angry at God. I miss him terribly but God has spoken to me in his still voice, assuring me that this life is the blink of an eye, and I consider myself the most blessed girl in the world to have had a dad who adored her, even if our time on earth was cut short. I have nothing but thankfulness for the grace God poured out on my life. You see, one of my favorite memories of my dad is seeing him sitting on the end of the couch with his Bible open on his lap, spending time with his first Love.

I had one of those weeks with my kids where I was one proud mama. I had to remind myself to stay humble - these kids belong to the Lord, not me! Grace decided to run for third grade student council. She prepared a beautiful speech, straight from the heart. Grace is a very compassionate girl and has gifts in leadership. I know she would be wonderful on something like student council. But she did not get voted in by her classmates. We talked about dissappointment and how proud we are of her no matter what. She handled it beautifully and said she'd try again next time. Our identity is in Christ and not what the world says about us. I think at age 8 she gets this even more than I do.

I am overwhelmed with love for my kids. Anyone who needs to feel loved should come get a hug from Asher - no one hugs better, complete with a "Hey Mommy, I love you!" But in saying this and receiving these gifts with joy and amazement at God's goodness to me, my heart breaks too. So many nights I think about the children with no one to take care of them and I plead with God to be their comfort. To pour out his Spirit upon them and give them peace. To pour out his salvation upon them. I know most of them will never have a loving home here on earth and with this helpless, heartbreaking feeling comes Jesus, our only hope. Please pray with me for these children. Pray for a specific country or even a specific child. I love to sing and one of my favorite songs is "Hosanna" by Brooke Fraser. One of the lines is "Break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am for your kingdom's cause." I think God has broken my heart for children for a reason. He doesn't want me to just throw up my hands and say there is nothing I can do, it is useless. Ask, seek, knock. He is their God too and is bigger than we can imagine. He can be their comfort, their daddy.

Jesus, thank you for overwhelming me with your grace and mercy. By your grace alone am I saved. Continue to break my heart for your children and show me what I can do for your kingdom. Thank you for being my healer and never giving up on me even when I wander away. You are Love.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


My mind keeps racing so I decided to pray and blog. I seem to go through phases with this whole adoption thing. I have been content to wait and then I become overwhelmed with the great need out there and I wonder why God would have us wait when the need is now. Maybe I'm not being obedient? I came across 2 little brothers from Taiwan who need a family. I can't stop thinking about them and yet I wonder if I am ridiculous to think I could have 4 boys under the age of four. Is that crazy? I actually do believe that truly following Christ will make us appear at least a little crazy, as I've written before. I actually wouldn't hesitate to get the process going, in fact, Justin even suggested it yesterday! I want to hear God's voice, for Him to tell me what agency, what country, what ages, even what gender. I am honestly open to almost anything. Our hearts are longing to adopt a waiting child. I can't imagine waiting for a family. Wondering why I wasn't "chosen" as I grow up and continue waiting. I keep wondering if we should wait and adopt an older child when our kids are older. So many things to wonder about. I want to release this completely into God's hands - I know this is the only way. The more I pursue and research things the more anxious I get, wondering if we just need to move instead of wait. Lord, this is your plan. Forgive me for my anxious heart. May I walk in obedience - each step and not looking too far ahead. You give me manna for this day. This is your child/children and your Holy Spirit will work. Help me keep walking even if the next step is waiting on you. Pour out your Spirit and Your love on all these babies. You are their Father. Continue to break our hearts for your children so we will lift them up to you.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My dream

Last night I had one of those dreams that was very vivid. I was in Ghana, Africa on a short-term mission and I was somehow helping with adoptions. This is no surprise because I have been doing a lot of research on adoption, both domestic and international. Anyway, in my dream I clearly remember buckling a baby girl in a car seat and riding with her birth mother to bring the baby to her adoptive mother. I remember the little girl's face and I remember holding her and also hugging and talking to her birth mother. I watched as the birth mother placed her baby in the adoptive mother's arms and then later watched the adoptive mother walk away to take the baby home to the U.S. I sobbed in my dream as I watched this. I'm tearing up right now remembering it. I felt so honored to be a part of this incredible gift and miracle. I remember thinking the birth mother was so amazing, strong, and loving to do what she did. I also remember that I stayed there in Ghana and that it wasn't me bringing that baby home as my own daughter. I wished she was mine. I do believe that God speaks through dreams. I have had many powerful dreams - these are so much clearer than others. I woke up and thought about how interesting it was that I was not the mom adopting but the woman helping and serving the children and the birthmothers. I have been so focused on what adoption looks like for our family right now and my husband and I don't have a clear leading at this point. I am not impatient, in fact, I will wait for God's timing with joy and anticipation. But I have felt an urgency for the orphans and I have assumed that means adoption for us right now. But maybe it means doing everything I can to care for orphans, pray for orphans right now and waiting patiently for our own child to adopt, knowing God will lead us and work out the details. I know I haven't figured it all out and that all I can do is listen and obey the call to care for the orphans.

I have done what everyone says not to do - look at pictures of waiting children. I can hardly even look at their faces because it is so overwhelming. A few in particular have stood out to me and I have been lifting them up by name to the Lord - Craig, Mercy, Sandra and Wendy from Ghana, Davina from the U.S., and Wang from China. Pray for these orphans to know Jesus and be brought into loving homes. That they would experience someone laying their hands on them and blessing them as Jesus did. We can all do something to answer the call.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

World Mandate

Two weekends ago I went to World Mandate in Waco, TX with a group of people from my church. Justin and I decided to take Grace with us too. As we drove 45 mph through a blizzard in Oklahoma I thought to myself, "This better be worth it!" Believe me, it was. In fact, it was life-changing. I know that you don't need to go away to experience God but there is something to be said about going and taking action to really seek Him. World Mandate is put on by Antioch Community Church and these people really get it. They don't just talk about reaching and loving people in the name of Jesus, they go and do it and they go in power. I heard many encouraging words of truth while I was there. One was to run into the pain instead of avoiding it and there we will find God. We do everything we can to avoid pain and as Jim Yost stated, "We are creating a generation of useless people." That really hit me because I have four small children and I have always feared the pain they may go through someday. We make life so easy for our kids by giving them everything and this hit me because I don't want my kids not to know how to go through tough times. Why would they be aware of their need for God then, and how would they learn what real compassion for others is if they avoid all the pain in the world? Anyone who's read the Bible knows that those God chose to write about in His word not only were thought to be a little crazy but they went through some pretty difficult things too - some ending in death (including Jesus). God is there in the pain and I need to be willing to run there with Him. I can spend time with a hurting person instead of avoiding them and saying it's none of my business. Everyone wants to be loved and noticed. I also realized that my fear is not from God - He does not give a spirit of fear! This is something I battle daily because I love my kids so much and want them to be happy. We were never called to only be happy but to take up our cross and follow Him. And in that I believe there is true freedom and joy.

That leads me to something else I experienced first-hand in the last couple of weeks. People are amazing. 36 hours in a vehicle with someone is truly a gift. Justin and I also got the privilege of going on a retreat with our lifegroup this past weekend and the thing that just keeps pressing on my heart is how everyone has a story and everyone is special and worth being known by someone else. Getting to hear the life stories of these beautiful people was such a blessing - I feel like my family has just grown immensely because they are family now instead of simply acquaintences. Many of the stories included just one or two people who took the time to notice, to invest a little of themselves in someone else and it made all the difference. One couple in particular took interest in Justin and I when we were newly married and I could not even express all the ways they have made a difference in our lives. I think of them often and how selflessly they poured into us and what an awesome example they were to us in so many ways. (Thanks Nate and Joan).

God has really been teaching me a lot about his Holy Spirit lately. I've always known that the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, but that's about it. Justin and I have had many conversations in the past 2 years about who the Holy Spirit is. Questions about healing, speaking in tongues, even raising hands in worship came up. God has revealed so much to me about how much He truly wants us to walk in Spirit and in Truth and we just don't do it because we're scared of it or we think that's not for me, or that's for crazy people. I talked to a friend at church tonight who said she finally read the book of Acts and it changed her. I'm not sure why I choose to overlook certain parts of the Bible but now I know without doubt that God wants His Spirit to be upon us, to fill us. This is not just a nice Bible verse, it is POWERFUL! Check out Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 4:18-19, and Acts 1:8. I believe Jesus still does signs and wonders to point people to Him. We heard a lot of incredible miracle stories at World Mandate and Justin and I were so blessed to hear Grace come home and share some of these stories with her brother and sister. She was listening after all =)

I asked God if I could experience Him, even feel Him because I've always felt somewhat on the outside of really engaging in worship because I really want it to be real and never just a show or a bunch of empty emotion. I confess that I have been judgemental. But at World Mandate I kept hearing "even me, even me." The Holy Spirit is for even me, and it is for you too, not just "those crazy people". 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 - I want to be willing to look foolish for God. God answered my prayer and my heart almost jumped out of my chest. I couldn't run to Him fast enough. I told the group we were with that I had felt a heaviness that had been there lift from my arms and I kept waving them around during worship because it felt so amazing. So yes, I did look foolish and I LOVED it! I believe God was honored as I delighted in Him. I truly love to worship Him and am asking Him to help me love Him more each day. Loving God is His first command. I have been challenged to ask myself if I truly do love Him and I can honestly answer yes.

I realize that this experience has been gift and I asked God what all this looks like in my everyday life, at home with my sweet kids. One thing he revealed is that for me, it is a daily surrender of pride - a literal laying it down so He can use me and fill me. It is allowing myself to just enjoy Him in my daily tasks and to bring my kids right with me. I don't want my relationship with Jesus to only be a few quiet moments by myself reading the Word. This is truly important but it is so much more. It cannot be separated from my whole life. Walking in Spirit and in Truth means just that - walking.

I did not post this to be preachy. If you know me, I hope you know that I just want to pour out what God has been showing me because I love people and want to see others experience God the way I have had the honor to. I want to look back on this when I have a season of drought in my life and remember that He is the real deal and there is no life without Him in every part of it. The theme of World Mandate was "Your Kingdom Come", as found in The Lord's Prayer. I remember the first time I really thought about that - His kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. I wonder if you've thought about it too.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

When Grace was in kindergarten, she brought a note to school that she had "written" and told her teacher I wrote it and that it said she had to stay in for recess that day. All she knew how to write at this point was her name so Justin and I had to really try hard not to bust out laughing when we were scolding her for lying because she actually believed that her teacher would think I wrote that note. That was our first experience in parenting with a blatant lie. Yesterday we had our second and it was none other than our 3-year-old Joah.

Lainey was in ballet class so the rest of the kiddos and I were in the waiting room with the other moms and siblings. Joah befriended a cute little guy named Cooper and Cooper was very kind to share his toys with Joah. Joah especially liked Cooper's tiny motorcycle. Well, when it was time to leave, the motorcycle was mysteriously missing. I got down and looked Joah in the eyes and asked him if he knew where it was. He looked me back in the eyes and said "No, I don't." Cooper's mom and I searched high and low but could not find it. I asked Joah at least 3 more times if he was sure he didn't know where the motorcycle was. I really didn't think he would take it but with him you never know. I believed him because I thought if he had taken it he would have surely smirked or something when he answered me. And of course, my sweet little boy wouldn't lie to my face, right? Not to mention steal from another child!

So I'm sure you know where this is going...we got home and I didn't even have my coat off yet and he pulled the little treasure out of the side pocket of his pants and exclaimed, "Oh, here it is mom!" Yeah, my son is a liar and a thief. I got down to eye level again and asked him if he knew all along that it was in his pocket, of course I already knew the answer but I wanted a confession and some remorse to go along with it. His innocent act almost made me laugh just a little (if you know Joah you understand this) but I held it together and sent him to his room until daddy got home about 3 minutes later. He and dad had a good talk and Justin said he thought Joah understood as much as a 3-year-old boy could. They prayed for forgiveness and Joah also apologized to me.

We knew there had to be a darn good consequence for this, but what? I was reviewing Grace's AWANA lesson with her and flipped to page 70 of her book where my eyes went right to this verse, "He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need." Ephesians 4:28. So we took that as written and had him clean up his room and then pick out two of his toys to give away to another child who doesn't have as many. It made me think again about how much God's Word is truly for our whole lives and how important it is that we actually read it! It is alive and I believe that we can't really know Christ and be free in Him without being in his word. I used to think, "oh I've read that before" or "I just can't pick up the Bible and read it". Let me tell ya, those are lies and I don't believe them anymore.

So now the little motorcycle is sitting on top of the coffeemaker as a reminder not only to return it to Cooper next week with a big apology but as a reminder of how much we need Jesus to save us from our very sinful selves. Even at three years old, we need his mercy and grace because Joah's identity is not a liar and a thief but a beloved child of God. It's also up there so Joah can't reach it, though I'd like to hope he learned his lesson!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Giving this a try

I think I will give this a try. It might be a great way for me to do a better job of keeping a journal for my family. I love being a mother and I have been more blessed than words can describe with four beautiful children. Pressing on my heart now is thoughts of adoption. We have so much love to give in this family and there are so many children who need a family to love them and teach them about the freedom we can have in knowing Christ!

Today is actually my 31st birthday. Grace is 7, Lainey is 5, Joah is 3 and Asher is 15 months. Justin and I have been married for 10 years! What a journey it has been. The most exciting part of the journey is the way God is growing our passion for Him. I will forever be thankful for a husband who delights in the Lord and His word. It makes all the difference in a family. I am learning so much about who He really is. I love to worship and am realizing more and more how much He wants us to walk with others in their journeys. I think about this life in a different way. It's about living for the Kingdom here on earth and not about the things of this world. My prayer is that our family will be set apart for His glory and that we will hold things loosely, knowing it all belongs to Him anyway.