Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dear Teenage Me,

Dear Lindsey,

First of all,
  • let the eyebrows grow a little. Thinner isn't always better.
  • buy a size'll start looking back at pictures wondering why you ever wore clothes so tight
  • keep running, your future self will thank you one day... once you're outta shape it's a lot harder to get back there!
  • get in the Word, make it priority. This is often the means God will use to draw you closer to Himself
  • keep journaling, you'll get a big kick out of those journals one day!
You're 29 now and let me tell you, your life is more beautiful than you can even imagine right now. God has taken you down some awesome roads and pulled you away from many wrong ones. Dream bigger, Linds, than what you see in front of you. Dream bigger.

There are times now when I open my eyes and see the life I'm in and think of you. I think you'd be proud and excited about all the Lord has given you. And though there are times life is harder than you ever expected,  it's even in the midst of the hard that the real beauty is found. 

Oh 16 year old me. You think you have things figured out, but the truth is, even at 29, you still don't have them figured out. And honestly, that's the way you're gonna start to prefer it. So I don't know much these days, but here are some very important things that I wish you knew right now...

Be kinder to your mom and listen when she talks. She'll become your best friend and she'll fight for you when no else can. In fact, you'll want to be just like her one day. So tighten your lips and lose the attitude, show her the love she deserves. Give your dad more hugs and tell him how awesome he is. Bask in being his little girl, for soon you'll be grown up and in another man's care.

And ease up a little on your little brother. I know he's young now, but allow him to enjoy you while you're still home for him to enjoy. Teach him about life as you know it, let him ride along with you now and then. It'll mean so much to him. At 29, your siblings are your dearest friends. Make these days memorable with them. (They all 3 grow up to be the most incredible people you'll know.)

Lindsey, I want so badly to steer you away from the sin you're dabbling with. Away from the company you keep and they way you people please. You see, God gave you a gift of relating to a lot of different people. He did that so that you can use it to glorify Him, not so that everyone will like you. And guess what? Those people that you try so hard to please? They will have no influence or bearing on your life in even 5 years. Let em go.

I want to go into specifics and tell you who to stand up to, who to stay away from all together, and who you should try harder to befriend. But the truth is, I wouldn't be me if you weren't who you are now. I wouldn't be able to look back 13 years ago and praise the Lord for the ways He protected me and kept me from falling too far. It's only Him, dear Lindsey, who keeps you. So I won't tell you specifics, but I will tell you to look closer to Jesus. Yes, you've known of Him all your life and your parents know Him deeply... but that won't carry you, sweetie. Open up your blue eyes to the sin in your heart and gaze upon the only One who can carry it away.

In a couple of years, God is going to allow your world to be shaken up a little when He allows illness to strike you. Cling to Him when all your strength is gone, He will be the One to lift you up. He'll use that illness to draw you closer to His heart.

Your husband is wonderful, the kindest man with the biggest heart. You know those lists you're making now about the perfect husband? He's better. Open your heart up wider. Don't stay so narrow-minded.

Appreciate those little streets of Centerburg and remember that things don't stay the same for long. Live fully where you are, and love the people around you. Remember how alive you felt on that trip to Honduras? That's how it feels to do what God has called you to do. You'll have more of it, so much more!

So stand up for yourself and who you know you are deep inside. Stand up and cling to Jesus. He's with you every step of the way, even when you kinda wish He weren't. He'll never let you go.

Invest in those good friends you have. It's pretty awesome the friends that stick. You will still have about 3 of them dear to your heart and involved in your life by 29. Love them the right way now.

So I'll see you in the mirror in a few years, and I'll look back at pictures from your life now with fond memories. Dream bigger and follow where the Spirit leads, He'll give you the ride of a lifetime.

you in 13 years

Friday, August 22, 2014

My 30th Birthday Request....

It was 2003.

I was fresh into my first year of college, first year 7 hours away from home, first semester of trying to catch a glimpse of who it was that God was shaping me to be as an adult.

I wasn't sure where I fit in that year. I felt conspicuous and out of place. I felt unknown. And so He drew me closer. He had put a love in my heart for missions and big urge to just GO... anywhere, everywhere. And so I found myself at the Lipscomb University Missions Fair, perusing the tables of upcoming trips and opportunities. The world truly felt at my fingertips.. every continent and dozens of countries were represented. But my heart had always been pulled toward Africa. And I came upon a small table, manned by one freshmen who was a little younger than me, starting up a trip for the first time to Ghana, West Africa. The Spirit leapt in my heart. I was pulled there.

Our team in 2004.
 Forgive the poor quality of these pics... they are pics of non-digital pics from 10 years ago! :)
Looking back, I can't hardly believe my parents went along with this trip. On the team were 7 college students, led by a freshmen who had been to Ghana a time or two. We had 3 native Africans on the team as well, which made it feel safer and definitely made it more fun. So I raised the $2000 and went to a few team meetings and off we went to Ghana, over the Ocean, through London, over the Sahara desert and to the place that has drawn my heart back over and over again.


I loved everything about it. I didn't even mind the heat; the lack of showers and electricity just made the experience all the more authentic for me. I taught at a school and was paired with a teacher, Mrs. Kangah in the third grade.

And this is where it all made sense. The reason I was a 19 year-old scaring her parents to death by going on a first-time, no-faculty trip to a small orphanage in West Africa. It was for this teacher and her daughter. It was for me.

Have you ever experienced the Lord just "clicking" your heart together with another? Like in the deepest part of your Spirit, you just know the relationship was meant to be?

This teacher, Ernestina, has become a sister to me over the last 10 years since my first trip to Ghana as a college freshmen. Her daughter, Anna, was in that 3rd grade class I taught for two weeks. They would come to the orphanage every night so we could sneak away and learn more about one another. We laughed together, cried together, wrote letters and exchanged gifts on our final night at the orphanage. They left town the next day so they wouldn't have to say goodbye. My heart loved them, but I wasn't sure how this relationship would continue except through prayer. But God is so much bigger than this little ole world.
Me, Anna and Ernestina in 2004

Over the next 3-4 years, we wrote. These letters from my sister Ernestina have some of the deepest sorrows, greatest joys, hardest heartbreaks, and weathered faith I've ever experienced in my life. This single mother in West Africa shaped me in a deep way over the course of my time in college.

Anna is on the far left
ignore this picture of me, but I love this one of Ernestina!
But then it just kept growing. Every time a friend would go back on this trip, we will send gifts with them. I get packages in the mail with Ghanian clothes and even food and books and pictures of the lives they are living on the other side of the globe. After college, they started calling. On every holiday, birthday, special occasion, loss, celebration, I know that my sisters will be on the other end of the phone. Praying with me, rejoicing with me and sharing their joys and sorrows too.

It is truly a picture of a God-ordained friendship. 

And now that 3rd grader? She's a grown up woman. She not only graduated high school, but has finished near the top of her class and was even honored by the President of Ghana along with 22 other scholars last year. She is brilliant and motivated and mature and loves the Lord.

Anna in 2013
And now. Now she is embarking on a new journey as she plans to begin college early next year. Her plans are to go to medical school and become a pediatrician - something that her nation needs more and more with each passing year. In a land where illness often goes untreated and children die daily from preventable causes, Anna wants to stay and serve the children of Ghana through her knowledge and education.

Anna receiving her award from the First Lady in Ghana last year
And me? Well, I'm not that 19 year-old I once was either. These two beautiful women have been by my side - so to speak - through all the ups and downs of marriage, children, illness and everything in between. And I'm 30 days away from saying goodbye to my twenties - a decade of my life that Ernestina and Anna have touched in so many ways.

Ernestina is a teacher in Ghana, but there are seasons when she won't see a paycheck for months on end. It is not socially acceptable to be a single mother - this is something that Ernestina has fought for years. She longs to send her bright daughter to college but the reality is a hard one for these two hard working women.

And so, in honor of my 30th birthday on September 22, I'm asking that 100 people will donate $30 to fund Anna's first year of college. That's all it will take. $3000 in Ghana will pay for a year of school.

Won't you join me? These women mean more to me than I can fully express to you in words. My favorite story of our friendship is the night in 2011 when they called to pray over my daughters' health before I even knew she was sick. And later that evening, we wound up in the ER with sweet baby G.  I had peace in knowing the Spirit had convicted my sister on the other side of the world to wake up in the middle of her night to lift my daughter up to His throne! These women are the real deal.

Please pray about donating to this cause. For my birthday, this would be the greatest gift I could receive - to take this financial load off the shoulders of my sisters and let them know that we are all behind them, on their team as Anna begins this amazing journey!

Thank you, friends.
(If $30 isn't do-able, I understand! If the Lord prompts you to give more or less, it would be a blessing!)

If you'd like to send a donation via paypal, my email address is, just put that as the recipient and I will receive it! I'll let you know when I get it! You could also send a check if you'd prefer, message me for our address! This means so much to me!!

Grace, Faith and Joy to you,

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Hello out there!

I'm Lindsey. My favorite things in the world are the giggles of my little girls, the warmth of my man, a cup of coffee and good conversation with heart-friends, dance parties in the kitchen, experiencing our great big God in the little mundane of my daily living, and learning and growing in the Word and Truth with other sisters.

I have blogged for about 5 years on a family blog, mostly about the ups and downs and all-around beauty of the adoptions and birth of my 3 little girls. Now that our twins are 4 and little is 1, I felt it was time to make that blog a more private place to share details of our lives. But the Lord keeps prompting me to stay a little more public... and so, this blog space.

My prayer is that this will be a place of encouragement, real-talk and growing together in Christ. I pray that what flows through me to you will be challenging, encouraging and real. You can expect a lot about motherhood and God's grace, and a little bit of everything else- like marriage and adoption and community life and healthy living and probably more of my ramblings that I can't even expect right now. I don't write because I have the answers, I write because I'm learning. Thanks for joining me here. Feel free to link back to this space and use the photos here, but with shout outs, please!

Praying over you today. Thank you for stopping by!