Tuesday, June 16, 2015

He restores my soul

Being a mother has been, without a doubt, the avenue God has used most in my life to teach me about Himself. He continually gives me more than I can seemingly handle and then gently leads me to give my burden to Him as He carries me.
I became a mother five years ago to the sweetest twin girls. Their adoption was beautiful, but it was a whirlwind! We had planned to adopt a toddler boy from overseas, but as He does, God changed our plans when He led us to adopt our twin preemie girls from the U.S. Throw in a move to a new state less than a year later and we found ourselves a family of four in an apartment in a new city.
Our girls were a total delight… during the day. But for whatever reason, these sweet girls refused to sleep. We tried everything from cry-it-out to co-sleeping and nothing would work to teach our girls to sleep. They would keep each other going long into the night. So there was a lot of crying from all of us – every nap was a battle and nights felt so incredibly long. I had truly reached the end of my rope that January and was worried I might just lose my mind.... (continue reading my guest post over here...)

Monday, March 16, 2015

the leaving

My heart felt like a heavy weight the days leading up to our move.
Knowing God was in the lead gave me peace about the going,
But the leaving hurt nonetheless.

She came over and packed up all our dishes and small appliances
encouraging this too-sore and pregnant momma the whole time.
More dear friends came to scrub the windows and get those carpet stains up...
the red in the dining room from our kids painting pumpkins last Halloween,
the grease I spilled while serving breakfast to out of town friends.
I took the pictures off the walls, the ones I sat up pinpointing their positions
long into the night while she laughed beside me.

The guys took our bed apart and loaded it into the moving truck.
That bed that I slept alone on most nights and he alone most days.
That room held so many emotional nights and days,
awake with my newborn, learning to nurse,
answering the too-many middle of the night cries from our preschoolers across the hall.

The blue walls that Mom painted.
The stencil that Emily helped with.
The white cabinets Katy and I stayed up so late trying to finish,
laughing the whole time
while all of our 5 combined children tried to sleep downstairs.

That house was such a home.
I even grieved the flowers long dead out back,
that I'd never watch bloom again this spring.
Those flowers were sent from my grandma's garden,
the hard work of my mom.
The back deck where so many dinners were shared, parties celebrated,
the boards that were replaced for us in a time of crisis, real love.

We went to church, our last time as members there.
The tears just wouldn't stop.
How do you thank a church family that taught you so much
about Christ and His love,
my sinfulness and my salvation?

We walked into our best friends' house, the place we'd spent so many of our days.
A safe haven for us and so many more.
And how do you put into words the gratitude you have
for those who have laid down their lives for you and your family?
How to you end a chapter of your life that God grew your family from 4 to almost 6
and in a hundred other ways too?
How do you have a girls' night and laugh with the friends you know you're leaving?

I hated it. The leaving.
Because I've done this before.
I told myself before that things wouldn't be so different, we would all stay in touch.
But then life marches forward,
life gets lived in your absence.
And while the love and friendships certainly remain,
the state of your relationships are forever changed.
The season ends, autumn comes.

And then I find myself in a new place.
A place that God put me, no doubt.
But it always starts out as a lonely place.
You're inconspicuous and unknown.
Because friendship takes time to grow,
community takes life lived to bloom.

He gently whispers over me that this world is not my home.
And while He gave us the gifts of a brick and mortar house,
flowers in the back yard,
the true gifts He gave were the love that was shared through it.
The memories made, the relationships forged.
And those things... the sweetest things?
They simply won't end.

I ache today for a heavenly home that He is surely preparing.
A place we won't have to say goodbyes
and where relationships will be rich and whole.
And until then, I'm storing up the joy of friendship, the love of family
that spans time and distance once again.
Life in His love is always good,
even when it stings.

But if it didn't hurt, it would mean we didn't invest.
I praise God for walking in richness of life,
in walking along with others on these roads.
Life is most abundant when you give it away.
I'm  so thankful for the life He's led this far
And I know deep in my heart and this new season will bring more abundance with it.

And so we walk into the new season with heavy hearts,
yet filled with such hope at what lies ahead.

Monday, February 16, 2015

To the woman who's waiting....

I cried with you that night a few months after your 30th birthday. My best friend. You were tired of waiting, tired of trusting God would provide for the longing He'd placed in your heart. Everyone's best bridesmaid, you never failed in happiness for your girlfriends as one by one we fell in love and tied the knot. Then started having babies. You had an exciting life, I thought. Traveling wherever the wind took you, mission work in central America as your full-time profession. And you never complained about the beautiful life you found yourself in, you excelled at it, the singleness. But we prayed and cried and held each other as you bore your heart's deepest longings, deepest questions of God's ultimate faithfulness. Why would He give the desire and giftings to be a wife and bear children and then withold it from you? Isn't He a good God?

I watched the tears you cried as a foreign government put yet another hold on his adoption. Your child - left in a cruel orphanage on the other side of the world... without you. Your fervent prayers feel hallow, as day after long day goes by without a word. Isn't He Father to the fatherless? Why does it feel like He isn't pleading this fatherless child's cause? The powers of this world seem to be calling the shots over his small life. You ache and scream in the quiet of your bedroom closet, it's out of your hands. Where is the One who can do something?

Another failed fertility treatment. You feel like God just sucker punched you. You guess He just doesn't think you'd make a very good mother. So your dreams of being up all night with your crying infant, the baby showers, the first steps, all of it... it feels to have slipped out of reach, or more like it's been violently torn from your grasp and you're left bleeding. You plead with the Lord to just show you He cares. Your arms ache with emptiness and your tears feel as though they go unnoticed by the One who says He knows them all. It feels like every woman you see is pregnant - and complaining about it - while you long to trade this hurt for the aches and pains of child-bearing. Your prayers are getting shorter, you're not sure you have anything left to say to the One who continues to say, "no."

Every night I prayed through tears that He would allow the symptoms to ease up. I pled that He would only take away the fog that MS is notorious for. "Is it too much to ask to just think clearly?" I ask Him. And every morning, I woke with the fatigue more unbearable, the fog more intense and the numbness ever increasing around my body. I hate needing help from others, I say I'm feeling fine when the truth is the room is spinning and my feet feel like I'm walking on needles with every step I take and I can barely make sense of what you're saying because this makes me feel like I'm somewhere else. Jesus, you've healed so many others, I know you're capable. But why does it feel like you're so late?


You feel stuck and alone, in this place of waiting, of uncertainty, of pain. Whatever heartache you are facing today, please know that He sees you. And while your circumstances and suffering feel so harsh that you can't make sense of a loving God, know that God Himself was broken in two. He knows. He was broken straight in half at the cross to conquer the brokenness where you have found yourself. He loves you and He hears you.

Each of the true stories above have a "rest of the story." My best friend... she's planning her wedding with an awesome man. Yes, it feels late and maybe she will never understand why her wait was so long and painful, but I know she'd tell you that Jesus found her there in the loneliness. And that even if He never brought her this good man - that He is still faithful. The child in an institution all the way around that world, he is home with his family tonight. The battle was long and excruciating, but small and huge miracles brought him home. The woman whose heart was shattered at another closed door to motherhood now has a house full of children that God led her to through a back door.. though He has yet to open her womb, He has made her mother of many. The MS may not be fully healed, but it's the biggest avenue in my life that God has made His presence and power known to me.

You feel forgotten, shut out, abandoned.

He says you are honored, treasured, accepted.
He sees you and He will meet you there.

Believe the Truth, sweet friends.
I pray that we learn to suffer well.


Interested in reading more truth about finding God's goodness in the midst of suffering? This book has been such a blessing to my soul as Sara pointed me to Jesus' arms and His sweet presence that is so available to each of us. Every Bitter Thing is Sweet  by Sara Hagerty

"The hungry are the ones who find loss, waiting and dissapointed expectations to be the place of life changing God-encounters."