Tuesday, July 6, 2021

What it’s all about

 


At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”

Two weeks ago, these three little guys answered the Lord’s call to surrender their lives to Christ! Their citizenship has been changed once before, but now they are eternally citizens of heaven!

It’s been such a joy watching them become “new” in Christ and hearing their understanding of what Jesus has done for them. 

Keagan


Kohlby 

Kaison

The boys wanted to proclaim their faith, demonstrating through the washing of water, the cleansing that Jesus has done in their hearts ♥️ 

We are so thankful for the servants who share and teach the gospel! If you haven’t surrendered your life to Christ, friend, I urge you to do so. After all, that’s what it’s all about!

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 

John 14:18

*Photo cred: Amanda Rappa* 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Get Off the Fence

 Yesterday I made a social media post that really got me thinking. Funny how that happens: we post a thing and then reflect. 

*An oldie but goody because these beautiful people right here taught me so much*♥️


Anyway, as I was saying, the summary of the post was an {empty} room filled with all the people who have the right to discourage, challenge, hurt and even mock you.

 Unless they pay your bills, love your family more than you, are in control of your destiny, have inspired your dreams and ambitions, given you specific gifts and talents (thank YOU, Father!), they don’t have the right to influence you. 

Easier said than done, I know! Yes, I really know! Our flesh longs for approval. We tend to want to go with the flow rather than swim upstream. 

I’m not talking about becoming abrasive and unwavering in our stance all the time, because who likes a know-it-all?!?  I’m also not talking about having the last word or vindicating yourself. Time will tell your story, and God is just.

I’m encouraging you to live out your God-given purposes in confidence! The confidence given you because you are a child of God, because you commune with Him, because you read and meditate on His Word, because you hear His voice and because He equips you for every good work He has called you to! 

Most of us, when uncertain or lacking confidence, will seek approval and applause as a sign that we’re moving in the right direction and we can carry on. 

A few thoughts:

*The mainstream isn’t always the way.

*Some people don’t want you to win 🀷‍♀️ 

          -Are they jealous?

          -Are they comparing?

          -Are they naturally critical/negative?

          -Are they afraid of how your moving forward will affect them?

          -Are they stuck?

          -Are they lost?

*Some people just won’t cheer for you. 

*Some people won’t understand. 

*Some people have all the answers πŸ˜‰

*Some people just aren’t your people. 

As believers, we must remember that the gate is narrow, which should be our clue that we’ll be swimming upstream, that as we strive to show humanity love and truth, many won’t understand or follow. 

BUT that doesn’t diminish the passion or purpose God has given us to do what He’s called us to!

I used to tell our youth group all the time: Know what you believe and why you believe it! 

If you know that πŸ‘†, stand for it! 

Personally, I’m a recovering people pleaser, and there are lots of things I’ve been riding the fence on, for fear of criticism, doubt, being misunderstood, lack of confidence, imperfection…you name it! Everybody has an opinion on my passions:

*Missions

*Adoption

*Health 

*Raising a million kids 

Upon reflection, I realize I’ve tiptoed around these things. But this is the life God has given me, and I am accountable to HIM.

What has God made you passionate about that you’re holding back?

You don’t need my permission, but I’m encouraging you to GO FOR IT!

He’s given you one amazing life this side of heaven! Nobody gains by your fear, friend. 

In the end, MORE OF HIM, less of me!

Monday, May 17, 2021

Beginnings and Endings

 The last week of school is always crazy, isn’t it?  But this year was next level with baccalaureate on Wednesday, Kaeleb’s 8th graduation Thursday and Kayden’s senior graduation Friday!

We survived!!  In fact, we thrived!  

I’m especially grateful this year for the Lord awakening dry bones in me and that I could have clean pressed clothes for 12 people for 3 nights in a row, plan a party and enjoy every minute of it. 

How about some pics!

Congratulations, Kaeleb Jon! You are now a 9th grader, and we are so proud of you!

I’m keeping this photo because Keagan’s expression πŸ˜‚
And because 9th grade boys 😎
Hmmm, too cool for the camera. 

You mamas know that once they enter high school times flies, so I’m trying not to blink!

This girl! She’s got a bright future ahead, and she’s launched with a firm foundation in the Lord! We’re so proud of her accomplishment as Valedictorian, and so blessed by all the scholarships she received to attend OSU!  

We snuck in a couple of four gen pics ♥️
🌸Alaina, Kenzie, Mama and Grandma 🌸
πŸ’™Miles, Kuyler, Mama and GrandmaπŸ’™
Cherished memories. 

When Kayden told me she wanted a charcuterie board for her party, I might have panicked for a minute πŸ˜‰ But then I started making lists, went shopping and called in Kenzie and her creativity!  She did a beautiful job πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰




As we begin our summer break, I’m aware that some students never entered the classroom this year. We were very fortunate to finish strong, after a bit of a rough start. 

*Note to self* We will have a graduation every year for the next 9 years, but won’t have double grads till 2024 and beyond 😎

Monday, May 10, 2021

Gratitude!

Y’all, what a week we have ahead of us! 

But I am so very grateful, and I’d love to share with you!
So this week one of our Treasures turns 15; we celebrate an 8th grade graduate and a senior valedictorian graduate! It has occurred to me how quickly time passes and seasons change. Our high school graduate was 14 months old when she joined our family, and I never dreamed I’d blink and we’d be here!

*There will be pictures.  Lots of pictures!πŸ˜‚*

But I digress. I really want to share just how grateful I am for all that God is doing! While you won’t find any unicorns and rainbows here, if you could take a look into my heart, hopefully you could see an amazing work that only our Father could accomplish. I’m going to spare you the recap and instead skip right to the present!

Have you ever found yourself in a space of negativity and criticism, toward yourself and others? Just me???

I know when I’m in that space it’s because I’ve neglected several important disciplines. Some of the things that help me get back on track are:

* Daily intentional time in God’s Word

* Prayer

* Keeping a gratitude journal

* Listening to biblically sound podcasts (currently Stirring Faith) 

* Limiting my free time (that will be happening naturally in 3 days with the end of school!)

* Connecting with godly friends 

* STOP comparing myself to others 

I really want to hone in on the last point - comparison. If this is you, PLEASE STOP IT NOW! 

You are fearfully, wonderfully and uniquely made by a loving Father who has plans for your life that are beyond anything you can even imagine.  (Psalm 139:13-16)

Look, I can’t, for the life of me, take IG worthy photos! But that doesn’t make me less than or less loved by God!

I don’t always prepare the healthy meals I intend for my family, but guess what? No less loved!

I struggle with being an extreme introvert, but I’m loved no less! 

The list goes on and on, as I’m sure yours does too  but friend, I want you to hear this loud and clear: God’s love for you is unconditional!! (1 John 3:1).  We have different gifts, talents and personalities, and we aren’t meant to compare to or be like anyone else!

It’s time we learn to shrug off those things we are struggling in comparison and rejoice in the gifts we have. God is most glorified when we use them for His glory. And when that’s our goal, we don’t have time to compare, and we can enjoy the peace that comes with gratitude ♥️

 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Don’t Go Alone

 

What is God calling you to?

A move? A new job? Adoption? Leaning into Him?

Before I continue, if you’d allow me to pray for you, please leave a comment or send me a message!

Whatever journey you’re on, don’t go alone, friend. 

Let me warn you that when God calls you to something big, not everyone will be encouraging. Some will doubt, some will criticize, some will gossip, some will assume facts, some will call you crazy 😜, some will fall away, some will say nothing to you but plenty to your friends. Speaking from experience as everything I mentioned has happened to us.  I’ve heard that some people think we live in a huge house (πŸ˜†πŸ˜œ 12 people, 2000 sf)! And that the govt pays us to adopt! Just gonna dispel that one right now - *quite the contrary so please read note below.   

Those aren’t your people. 

Your people are the ones who know your journey doesn’t make less of them. They realize love is multiplied, not divided. They’ll hold your hand in the valley and on the mountaintop. They pray for you. They encourage you. They don’t feel the need  to play the devil’s advocate because they know you’ve thought about, prayed about, considered every possible outcome. They’re willing to ask you questions and listen to understand. They will speak life and truth into you. They’ll cry and laugh with you. 

Tighten your circle if you must because life is too short for nonsense. And God is too good to miss! 

I want to talk to my friends who have or are considering adoption.  Don’t go alone! Don’t be surprised by those who scorn you, but know that God has a tribe for you. Let me tell you some of the blessings from our growing tribe as we’ve journeyed through adoption over the last 17 years πŸ’œ

🌸 Other adoptive parents

🌸 Church family

🌸 Friends near and far 

🌸 Educators willing to listen 

🌸 A solid adoption agency 

* Private and international adoption is costly with government, paperwork and immigration fees. Here are some of the ways we’ve funded those fees:

πŸ™ Adoption grants offered by non-profits and individuals

πŸ™ Creating gifts for sale

πŸ™ Garage sales

πŸ™ Online auctions 

πŸ™ Spaghetti dinners (there’s a testimony there!!)

πŸ™ Selling household items 

πŸ™ Praying

πŸ™ Understanding that all we have is only ours to steward and giving back cheerfully 

I know I’ve forgotten a lot, but the point is that when God calls us to something far beyond ourselves, He makes the way!  So step out, even in fear, and follow His lead. 





Thursday, April 15, 2021

Transforming

I wanted to write a post about being transformed ... but that seemed like it was either past tense or already completed. 


 Instead, it seems fitting to speak of the process of transforming. 

First, I want to thank those of you who reached out in encouragement and those of you who dared to be vulnerable with me and share your struggles! It helps so much when we are not only allowed the space of vulnerability, but when we know we are heard and not alone ♥️ Let me say that again:

YOU ARE NOT ALONE, FRIEND!

I’m in a better place than I’ve been in over a year, and I want that for you too if you’re struggling  

The most significant keys to my transforming have been:

🌸 Faith. While mine never waivered , I know some folks struggle or begin to question theirs while in the trenches. My issue was simply not having the ability to look ahead to better days.

🌸 Supportive spouse. My guy is pretty amazing, and I’ve tested him nearly to the breaking point, but he has remained supportive and loving {mostly}. Don’t think it’s been easy or even natural for him, but one thing that’s helped is me being honest and vulnerable with him. When I tried shrugging off my struggles, it broke the lines of communication.

🌸 Doing it afraid! While I flat-out refused to participate in some things, I eventually realized there were things I needed to do to begin healing. Even.though.it.was.hard! I lacked confidence; I feared judgment, and it was super uncomfortable. But sometimes the first step is to stop thinking and start doing.

🌸 Prioritizing. One of my biggest struggles in anxiety and depression has been overwhelm! You know, like waking up in such mental chaos that I didn’t know what to do first. This takes a little planning and a lot of prioritizing. The first thing I need is time alone with the Lord. He is my Rock and Redeemer, my Help in times of trouble, my Sustainer, and He has never left me!

🌸 Seeking help. Especially as mamas, we tend to care for everyone else, which I’m all about, but I’d lost the ability to care for myself or even recognize that I needed help. Please hear me when I tell you that I’m NOT talking about the movement of self-care, self-love, self-gratifying me-ism. That doesn’t work for long! I’m talking about simple but essential things like restful sleep, proper nutrition, movement, laughter, stress management, and even conversation and connection with friends and family. As strange as it sounds, I needed someone to remind me of the importance of these things.

🌸 Having a desire and willingness to do whatever it takes. I’m all in! In truth, I know it’s a marathon and not a sprint, a journey that lasts a lifetime, and I’ve accepted and embraced that. I get to make choices every day, and I’m aware there will be either results or consequences to each one. 

Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable as I’m transforming. And remember, friend, 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

To GOD be all glory!



Monday, April 5, 2021

Healing

 Today I’m reflecting on healing. It seems appropriate as we celebrate Resurrection Day - the day our Savior rose again, conquering death once and for all!  But not before paying the ultimate price for my sin, your sin, all sin, being scorned, beaten and ultimately murdered on the cross, where even the Father had to turn away momentarily at the sight of the sin of the world.



This same Jesus who offers us the one and only way to eternal life with the Father, also gives us the hope to live abundantly on the daily. 


I’m sharing my journey, though embarrassing and humbling, in the hopes that God will give even one of you a flicker of light in the darkness. Disclaimer: I’ve never been a harm to myself or anyone else. If you are there, friend, I urge you to seek help immediately. 


I’ve already shared that in reflection, I can see mid 2017 as the beginning of a depression that would cause us to seek help in December of 2020. 


Why 2017? This part of our story is very sensitive, and many won’t understand.  I’m not even sure it’s related to my depression, but I know it dealt a blow to my spirit. 


In June 2017 we submitted paperwork to adopt a sweet little guy from China, and in July China enforced policies that led to their denial of our request based solely on the size of our family.  In our hearts, he was our son. We tried again in December and again the next year, to no avail. We know that God is sovereign, even when we don’t understand.  


I can look back and see my demeanor change gradually, and my emotions become flat.  By December of 2019 I’d become robotic, doing what needed to be done, but lacking joy and purpose.  Then there was 2020, and I retreated completely. 


Somehow during this season I completely lost confidence, I didn’t want to go anywhere, and I lost who I was, as a wife, a mom, a business owner, and a person. 


Because many of our children and the children we have fostered come from traumatic places, my husband has been following Dr. Daniel Amen for a while, and in December of 2020 he encouraged me to schedule an appointment with the newly opened Amen Clinic in Dallas. 



In desperation, I did! And immediately my anxiety caused me to doubt the decision and the investment, so I almost canceled - but I didn’t. 


In anticipation of the visit, I noticed a spark of hope that hadn’t been there for a few years. It was enough to get me up and back into my Bible every morning, and that was a big deal for me. 


My SPECT scans were on December 28 and 29, 2020, and my labs were drawn December 31. I got the results of all my tests in my first zoom appointment with my amazing Dr. Brush on January 20, 2021, and that’s when things really started moving forward!


Dr. Brush formulated a plan that I could implement immediately. My brain scans were indicative of either head trauma and/or depression, and both were true for me since I’d had 2 falls on my head (involving a horse πŸ˜‚) as a child. 


In a nutshell, my plan includes natural supplements for brain health and to increase DHEA, gradually starting an exercise regime to increase blood flow and build strength, practice prayer and gratitude, establish a good sleep environment to improve restful sleep, remove sugar, decrease caffeine intake, journaling, and start counseling. 


I was so motivated to change that these steps have been fairly easy to implement (except the sugar which I’ve learned is my addiction, but it really messes with my brain and body). 


Now I’m two and a half months into my plan, and I’m so excited about my progress!  There is hope, friend! I wake up motivated (not overwhelmed), ready to tackle the day, serve my husband and family, glorify the Lord, and recognize the triggers I either need to confront or avoid altogether. I’m still working on my physical health because my first priority has been spiritual and mental health. As I’ve gradually started reconnecting with friends and clients, I’ve realized that I really am happiest when I’m helping others. It’s reassuring to me that I’m not as selfish as I’ve felt over the last few years!! 


Looking back, I was in a darker place than I even realized. I don’t ever want to go back, and I’m so thankful I have the tools to move forward. I’m not suggesting everyone who’s looking for a solution needs to follow the same path, but I am so encouraging you to do something because you are worth it! You are valuable. There isn’t another you ♥️


I’m forever grateful for my Father’s grace and love, and for the patience and grace of my husband and all our Krew, big and small. I wasn’t always kind; I wasn’t always interested, but I knew there was a way out! This journey is ongoing and will probably last my lifetime. I have a ways to go, especially in rebuilding confidence, and ultimately that comes through my identity in Christ! 


Thank You, Lord, for making the way!!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

What are you reading?

Hey friend, what are you reading these days? I really miss reading.

I admit, I love audio books and they allow me to read without the luxury of sitting down to read 😜
But I digress. Even with all the audio books I’ve listened to this year, I’ve still read four books, and I love it!

Here’s my current read...

....which I plan to finish tomorrow! This one is a loaner, meaning I plan to loan it out to friends!

If you have a dream in your heart, don’t ‘follow your heart,” rather seek the One who put it there!

So, what are you reading?? Maybe I can add it to my list.

For now, go make Him knownπŸ’œ

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Hola

Friends, it has been foreva!!!!


In fact, today is this beauty’s Gotcha Day❤️ 15 years ago. No way!!

I don’t even know if anyone will read this, but my purpose for blogging has always been Tri-fold: to glorify πŸ™ God, to journal πŸ““ this adventure called life, and to encourage others, especially those in the trenches.

I have a book πŸ“š in my heart πŸ’œ , and Clayton has been encouraging me to write it for years. But I’m convinced that God isn’t finished with its contents yet. Or maybe I’m afraid. Or weary. Or skeptical whether anyone would read it. Take your pick, and on any given day I’m that.

I know for certain, I don’t have the capacity to write a book unless and until I’m faithful to write small snippets first.

Now, I’m not promising a blog post every week. But I am committing to myself. I don’t want to miss anything God has for me, so I’m putting one foot in front of the other to follow His lead.

For now, see ya soon, and go out and make Him knownπŸ’œ

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Eat the Fish...

...and spit out the bones!

What?🀷‍♀️

 O God, how you continue to stretch, grow and call me  beyond the smooth edges of my comfort zone!

 You draw me to jagged edges and out of bounds of anything familiar.

 One day I will get it  … or maybe not.  But my life is yours, and I'm certain that if I understood every step it would require absolutely no faith.

 You have placed so many in my path whose knowledge and wisdom I have rejected... simply because we disagree, sometimes on big matters but oftentimes on things of no consequence.

 You are teaching me that we all have something to offer, and we all certainly have much to learn.

My mentor shared this quote with me yesterday,  "eat the fish, and spit out the bones. "

 ❤You know who you are❤

 You, Father, are teaching me that I can read authors who share different views on theology than I, listen to Podcasts I don't get, enjoy conversation with those who share different views.  Why?

1.  We all have something to offer.
2.  We all have much to learn.
3.  We have the ability to leave every place better then we found it.
4.  We can always choose kindness.
5.  We can always choose joy.
6.  We can choose the lens through which we see others, no matter our upbringing.
7.  Our priorities are evidenced by our actions, not our words.
8.  We were made for community.
9.  Our days are a mere vapor in the scheme of time.
10.  We have one life on this Earth…
So by all means, please take me outside my tidy borders and smooth edges.  Let me have the privilege of partaking of all the fish and the discernment of spitting out the bones.

For Your glory!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Finishing Strong!

School's out in 8 days, 3.5 hours...but who's counting😜

You know the drill: banquets,  concerts, field trips, parties and such. 

Can I just say, I am not finishing strong.  There may be backpacks untouched since Friday, banquet RSVPs forgotten,  camp enrollments incomplete, permission forms lost... and yet, we go on. Thanks to the grace (and reminders) from amazing teachers.

I want to do all things well, I really do! But my flesh fails me. I stumble, fall and pick myself up again...and again. 

Soon, like in 8 days, 3.5 hours, we will be free to toss the backpacks, file the notes, turn off the alarm and sleep till 10.🀣 Who am I kidding?!?!  There will still be life and the events and re-formulated structure that summer break brings. 

There will still be appointments, summer school, meals (all.day.long), camps, harvest and lots of family time❤

Fortunately, I don't have to do it alone! Certainly, there are many hands in our home, but the greatest strength comes from my Heavenly Father. See, He promised me (and you!) long ago that He would never leave nor forsake me! His promises aren't dependent upon my circumstances, the seasons, my feelings or even my abilities!

If I begin to look around me and compare myself to others, I can easily lose focus of His promises and who He created me to be. Even when I struggle to get all things done in a day, a week or at the end of the school year, I don't have to beat myself up and stay in the trenches of despair and discouragement! He is an amazing Father, and He is with me always, even when He must carry me!

To HIM be all glory!

Connie J

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Dusting Off the Blog

Admittedly, it's been so long since I've blogged that I don't know where to start. But this I do know: our hearts and lives have been forever changed in recent months.

There have been ashes, and there has been beauty. We are committed to this incredible journey of life, no matter how bumpy.

So, my first post is dedicated to advocating for two precious little boys who are dear to us. These precious boys are waiting for their families, and we desperately hope to find them!

His agency is very happy to get to advocate for sweet Jeremiah once again! Get ready to be mesmerized by this two year old’s adorable chunky little cheeks! Jeremiah is a Special Focus (SF) child listed on the agency's individual list and has been diagnosed with cerebral agenesis. Jeremiah lives with a foster family in a large Asian country. He is a cheerful and active little boy who loves to smile and laugh. Jeremiah is curious about toys that make sounds, he especially loves to listen to music and play the drum. Jeremiah’s favorite toys are the drum, toy car, and rubber ball. Jeremiah has begun walking around and is working on exercising his fine motor skills by manipulating small objects. He can crawl up and down the stairs, and is quick to explore the world around him. He loves interacting with others and being held by his caretakers. Some of Jeremiah’s favorite foods are yogurt, fruit puree, and milk with rice powder. Jeremiah is an expressive boy and can communicate his needs with simple words. He loves attention and affection, especially from his foster mother. Jeremiah needs a family who will give him the attention he’s been craving and care for his medical needs as he grows older. Do you have room in your home and heart for this little boy?

Please contact me for more information!  Feel free to email me. 



This sweet boy lives in Asia and attends kindergarten. He has arthrogryposis. 

This little guy has such a sparkly personality. He would be a beautiful addition to any family. Please contact me for more information.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Time to resurrect the blog

Am I crazy?

You betcha! I've missed blogging so much. And even though we are in one of the busiest seasons of life, I believe that blogging again will be an incredible Outlet for me, and hopefully an encouragement to you!

So hang on tight because it might be a bumpy rideπŸ˜‰

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Beautiful Stephanie

Meet beautiful STEPHANIE!
Age: 9



Stephanie is described as active and optimistic, sensible, cute and she talks a lot. Stephanie gets along well with other children her age and she likes to watch cartoons, and play with Lego's. 

Her favorite snacks are potato chips, jelly, chocolate and cake! She can express her needs well to adults and often helps her teachers and classmates. 

Stephanie’s teachers report that she is a very clever child. They hope a family will be able to give her more love and care.  She has diagnoses of thalassemia, iron deposition.

 Stephanie's video:
Password: stephanie


*Please keep in mind that several families may be reviewing this child’s file at one time. At any given time, this child’s file can go on hold or be taken back to the Shared List by the CCCWA. Please contact your Lifeline social worker or Lisa Kelly at lisa.kelly@lifelinechild.org for more information.*

Handsome JET


Name: JET!
Gender: Male
Age: 10
Country: China
Diagnosis: Congenital left tibial pseudoarthrosis

Jet is outgoing, and all his teachers love him. He is polite to strangers and really likes to be clean. He is also described as energetic and impatient sometimes. 

Jet is talkative, gets along well with others, enjoys playing with toys, is energetic and fond of singing. 

What a precious young man! Will you join me in praying his family finds him soon!

Here are 2 vidoes: 
Password for both: jet





*Please keep in mind that several families may be reviewing this child’s file at one time. At any given time, this child’s file can go on hold or be taken back to the Shared List by the CCCWA. Please contact your Lifeline social worker or Lisa Kelly at lisa.kelly@lifelinechild.org for more information.*

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Day It All Changed ~ July 7th

July 6, 2017 was like any other day.  We worked hard, then played hard with the kids before crashing early.  When my alarm rang at 2:30 a.m. for an early morning surgery check-in for our littlest guy, it was a new day.  Little did we know it was a day that would change our lives.

The China program director of our adoption agency had posted that CCCWA had implemented new policies, effective immediately.  (new policies here)

Something we had shared with only a handful of people is that after much prayer and the reminder that this life is not our own and we want to live it with no regrets, we were adopting again.  July 6 we were praying for PA, pre-approval, from China, to bring our newest treasure home in the coming months.

In the early morning hours of July 7, on the phone with my prayer partner, in the surgical waiting room, I got the call that changed everything.  Since our PA had not yet been issued, we were subject to the new policies, and were no longer eligible to adopt simply because of the size of our family:  we have more than five minor children in our home.

Before I go any further, let me stop to say that God is still on the throne, and He is still good, all the time.  He is not surprised, and He has not left us.  Nor has He left this sweet baby and so many others whose lives will be impacted by the new regulations.

While our hearts are shattered, and we can't stop thinking about the precious child we already love, we take some comfort in knowing we did all we could to give him a family, scrambling our way to the proverbial door before it was slammed shut.  Our hope is in Christ alone, and we take refuge in Him.

My flesh wants to cast blame and ask why.  After all, God moved mountains to get us to this point!  Would He really bring us this far, only to stop us in our tracks?  He very well may!  And He can.  He knows the whole story.  He will be glorified in His plans, not mine.  Maybe it was about the surrender, the commitment to prayer, the simple, "yes, Lord."  Or maybe He has something more in store for us.  I'm reminded of some of my favorite Elisabeth Elliot quotes:
 “Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.”
“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.”
“Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ‘ashes.’"

We have no right to ask why.  Maybe "What next?"  But not why. 

Since July 7th we've spent even more time in prayer.  Where do we go from here?  It would be so easy to simply round the corner and forget.  Forget all the children.  The children in China and around the world who desperately need the love of a family.  But we've seen them.  The images of children in poverty, lacking medical care, nutrition and love, those are forever etched on our hearts.

We don't have a large home, or a large bank account.  We do have a love for Christ that moves us to act, even when it seems foolish in this world to do so.  We are followers of Christ, and by God's grace, He has given us a gift of faith and a desire to live radically for Him.  

While adoption isn't for everyone, as Christians, we are given instruction in God's Word as to how we should treat others.

Matthew 19:21
“Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.”
Zechariah 7:10
“Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.”
Proverbs 14:31
“He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors him has mercy on the needy.”
Luke 14:12-14
“Then He [Jesus] also said to him who invited Him, ‘When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you…”

1 John 3:17-18(ESV)

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

James 1:27 (ESV)

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Psalm 82:3-4(NIV)


Defend the weak and the fatherless;

    uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
 Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
There are many ways to care for the needy.  Hoping they are okay, wishing them well ~ that isn't enough.  Our care is evidenced by our action.
Are we praying?
Are we giving?
Are we sending?
Are we going?
Are we serving?
Are we feeding?
Are we mending?
Are we welcoming?

Many incredible families no longer have the opportunity to care for the orphaned children of China by adoption under the new regulations.  But many families are eligible to adopt!  Are you one of them?

As for the rest of us, unless and until waivers are granted or the policies change, we will find new ways of caring, such as advocacy, fundraising for families, fundraising for life-saving surgeries in country and serving.

Adopting a child with medical special needs can be frightening.  Certainly, for our family, it was a process.  The choice to take on responsibilities we wouldn't have formerly considered, and certainly couldn't handle in our own strength, evolved over time.  It was a matter of prayer and growth.  

As God continues to reveal Himself by His faithfulness and sufficiency, our weaknesses become irrelevant.

I put a quote on Facebook that we strive to live by:

It seems that self, comfort and convenience are the going thing.  But are we most content when living for ourselves?  Don't we find more fulfillment in loving and serving others?  Will it be uncomfortable?  Maybe.  Will it be inconvenient?  Most likely.  Will it be worth it?  Absolutely!

The thing is, we don't all have to adopt.  According to this source, if only 6 to 7% of born-again Christians would adopt, there would be no orphan crisis!  Church, we will have to answer for what we've done, and for what we haven't done.

If the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever (source), brothers and sisters, let's ask ourselves if that is indeed evidenced in our lives.

Will you join us in praying for the children who, on July 6, 2017 had a family, and then did not on July 7.  Let's pray for all the waiting children.  Pray for the families who are willing but are no longer able to give these children a family.  Let's pray for the families allowed to continue the process, that their children will come home.  And let's pray that the Father would touch the hearts of His people and raise them up to move on behalf of the orphan.

To Him be all glory!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Trust Your Mama Gut

If you're a mama to a cutie with spina bifida, you know their unique bodies are a complete mystery, and they keep us on our toes!

Add club foot to the mix, and it can make Mama a hot mess trying to keep up.  Or maybe that's just me.
We've had miraculous experience with SB, and we've had a crash course in both neurological issues over the past year.

I can't say enough how grateful we are for families who have paved the way and are a priceless resource and encouragement to us!

You know those times you think your kiddo might be sick enough to go to the ER in the middle of the night?  And then you begin to doubt your judgment.  And finally you decide to go. Then punkin' seems to improve on the way and you really start to question yourself.  You been there?

It's kind of like that every time I see changes in my kiddos' skin or in their gait, especially when they have limited to no sensation.  So far my gut has served me well, but not without the help of my mama friends who get it.  I'm texting pictures, wondering if I'm overreacting.  Self doubt? Yep. Second guessing? Yep. Even parenting for 28+ years doesn't change that.

But then for a split second I think, what if I can trust my gut. Because on this we don't want to be wrong!

I'm blogging as we are home bound .

One week ago, as in only 7 days, Kaison had what appeared to be a blister on his right heel.  We've dealt with sores on these tiny tootsies before, but this was new. So that very day we asked his physical therapist to take a look and give us direction. She wasn't concerned, so we stayed the course of daytime AFOs and boots and bar at night.

A few days later the blister opened so I didn't put BnB on at night in case that was the problem.  I was so proud of myself when I realized that little man's right foot was slipping out of his orthotic, but my gloating didn't last long after asking his PT to look again and she didn't agree. She didn't recommend any changes.

The very next morning our little treasure's heel looked like this:
We were shocked! Thank goodness I was able to text a photo to our nurse, just to determine if he needed to be seen. That day he was prescribed antibiotics and a follow-up.  Our orthopedic surgeon in St. Louis, Dr. Dobbs, wanted to see Kaison as well after seeing photos, but his staff knee it was a long trip for wound care.

Meanwhile, a good friend we met in the club foot world shared contact information for her kiddos' PT who is an expert in wound care. She happens to be in Wichita and doesn't take our insurance, but her years of experience and concern for the state of Kaison's wound after seeing photos warranted a trip. She could see us at 8 pm Thursday. 

At 5 pm we left home, drove into an ominous storm with lots of lightening and hail, and arrived at her clinic at 8:05 pm. 

Within two minutes of arriving, we knew we'd made the right decision.

Kaison has a stage 3 or 4 pressure sore, and will not be back in his orthotics for m.o.n.t.h.s!
We always worry about relapse when he's out of his orthotics, but healing this wound is most important. 

I am so thankful for friends who have experience, friends who are nurses, and friends who pray! And I praise God that He never loses sight of us!
Mamas, trust your gut. And your tribeπŸ’œ

You Might Also Like...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...