Thursday, January 2, 2014

Well, dear hearts...2013 is behind us. 

 It leaves me with such a mix of emotions.  On one hand, I'm not sure there has ever been a year that I was so thankful to watch disappear in the rear view window!

 And yet, there is a part of me that doesn't want to let it go. 

Trials and treasures were so intricately woven into the fibers of the past 12 months.

 If only I could preserve the details under glass and set it upon a mantel.

  Seeing it fade behind me, I fear that it will be shortly lost to memory as well.

  But I have both hope and a terrible dread that there will be years to rival it, in the future.

The lessons learned through the trials of this past year fly in the face of fear...

There are no mistakes-

We are the ones that have been chosen to face what we face at this very time, for a perfect purpose.  So stand tall and look up!  God wants YOU on the frontline of THIS battle.

We don't have to know why-

Asking why the challenges exist, or why we are the ones that have to face them, waste energy and make us bitter.  What we need to ask is, what am I suppose to learn through this?  We already know why they are here...because YOU are the person GOD WANTED in this PLACE at this TIME!

Look up-

You can't fight a battle, when you are staring at your belly button!  Who has God placed around you, others that are struggling, people who want to help, a beautiful creation to lift your spirits and give you hope, a sunrise to remind you that its a new day...the best remedy for emotional exhaustion is to give thanks and to give to others.  Sitting in the corner licking our wounds only leads to infection- get up and give to others!

What challenges are you facing, how do you get through each day?

Share with us, so we can encourage each other.

Leave a comment...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

"You Are A Fine Fellow!"

Between sleep and the wretched affects of chemo, Jack musters the energy to obey the Physical Therapists requests to exercise by riding a pedal powered go cart around the unit. 

Like a young, black Mr. Rogers, he animatedly smiles and waves at his neighbors that are too sick to leave their rooms, bringing faint but appreciative responses. 

"Pete", his "pet IV pump" ever trailing at his heals, Jack pauses at the end of the hall and declares to a doctor working away at a computer, "You are a fine fellow!"

YOU are a 'Fine Fellow', Jack!

Day Zero, Minus 3.....aka-transplant in 3 days....

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day Zero Minus Six-no turning back now!

Chemo started today:
 It feels like either we embarked on a journey to Forever... or the beginning of the end. 
 I tried so many times to imagine what this day would feel like, but couldn't. 
 Now I know why; its surreal!
They just pumped two different types of toxic chemicals into his body, in an attempt to save his life! 

Over the next few weeks, my beautiful boy will feel the effects of the poison in his body while I sit by and helplessly watch.
We could debate about the medical alternatives, the pros and cons of traditional vs. alternative forms of treatment, but that's each families decision.  For us, it was clear, this was the road laid before us and the one we chose to take.
Ultimately, we trust in a God that leads, directs, and is the one that heals.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

May the road rise up to meet you...

Today I realized that all my children will be home for Easter-Hurray!!!!

 A year ago, I never would have guessed at the enormity of that statement.  The last 12 months have seen changes that I could not have imagined.  God is good, life is temperamental.

I have learned that it is difficult to avoid looking forward without some element of fear.  Knowing there will be joys along the way isn't enough to calm a nervous soul; even though reminders of the sort are a favorite form of comfort from well-meaning friends.  The reality is that we are weak and vulnerable, and we know it.  Look at the animal world and you will see how the meek react in the face of danger.  They don't face it bravely, they run and hide-a very natural reaction.

If the turmoil in my life has taught me anything, its that I am living in a broken world.  I cannot change that and all the good thoughts I can think, don't make me any more prepared to face the hardships.  Good times are a band aid; they cover the wound and help keep out the infection of bitterness.  They don't prevent hurts, prepare you for them, or even make them heal any faster.

My life is filled with joys, I am thankful for them.  But my comfort comes from the fact that I don't walk alone.  That my Savior walks with me through the only Hell that I will ever know.  My comfort is in the knowledge that I don't have to like my circumstance; I can cry, weep, wail (which I am getting VERY good at, by the way), struggle, tear my clothes, and pull my hair out. But at the end of the day, I realize that I am the one that He has chosen to walk this path and by His grace, walk it I will!

The real danger in hardship is in working so hard to handle it 'correctly', we continue to look inward.
                                          (Please read that sentence again.)
 Focusing on every detail of our emotional state that we forget to look look UP!
If God thought we could go through our challenges the 'right' way (whatever that is),

 He never would have given them to us!


That's right.

 He knew we would kick, scream, get angry, be selfish, thrash around...and then, look UP.  Like a toddler that finally decides to quiet their fit and listen, we take a breath and do the same.  Then we listen, and we learn. 

We pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off,
                                  feel a little better for having gotten it all out,
                                                                                    take His hand ...

                                                              and keep walking!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Beautifully Broken

I recently began reading the book WRECKED by Jeff Goins, in it, he talks about how it isn't until you are truly broken or 'wrecked' by something, that you really start living.
David and I had just been talking about that same concept a few weeks ago. There is so much going on in our lives, enough to destroy us if we let it. And yet, we feel more alive than ever. Is that wrong? Is is a sick love of the dramatic or painful? Why is it then, that when one son is facing bone marrow transplant, another one is going through drug addiction, another is trying to graduate from high school, we are struggling to get our daughter with mental issues to live independently, we suddenly feel like we can taste and feel life in its most amazing sense?
Please dont get me wrong, these things are hard-EXTREMELY HARD. My heart aches with brokenness. There is NOTHING more difficult that watching your child struggle physically and/or emotionally. I have had more sleepless nights and shed more tears in the last year than probably my whole life combined.
Yet, even when I feel my heart stop in fear of the future, there is breath moving through me. I am breathing...or God is breathing into me. Sometimes, its all I have. The world seems to turn, while I stand still. Suspended. Separated. Alone with my pain. All I can hear is my breath. I listen, really listen, amazed at the wonder of it. Comforted by the rhythm of it. So very thankful for it. And know that it is not my own. That even the very thing that gives me life, is not my own.
This life, with all its storms and crashing waves can thrash and tear at me, but I will rise above it all, carried on the breath of the One who holds it all in His hands.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Commit To Claim

"Claiming"  as defined by Jojo, our 14 year old daughter (adopted 2 years ago from a disruption)-

"When a parent says in their heart that this kid is MINE no matter what, it makes the ground stop shaking under the kids' feet so they can feel safe again"

In all my attempts to define what it means to "claim", I could never describe it better than that.  "When a parent says in their heart that this kid is MINE no matter what..." Thats exactly it!
'Claiming' is heart work...hard work...but definitely HEART work!
Constantly choosing to believe that the Almighty, Sovereign God designed before the beginning of the world that this child would be placed in your family.  That no matter what happens He will provide everything you need to deal with it.
Psalm 37:23-24 has comforted me through some of our most trying times with our children.  It says, "The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; because the Lord is the One who holds his hand"
I love that verse because it reminds me that the Lord is the one that led us to this place and that even when we are tired and stumble on the way, we will never be 'hurled headlong' because He is still holding on to our hands.  Think of it, what can overwhelm us if the God of all creation is holding our hand??
Let me just take a moment and remind you, adoption is messy!  We are inviting a child that has at least, a broken heart and at most, a scarred, traumatized, bruised and beaten soul, to share our lives with us.  What part of that seems like an easy task?  If we allow ourselves to fully comprehend what we are asking of them (and ourselves) we wouldn't wonder why we are all so stressed!
Truly, the only way that we can hope to navigate the garbage that is strewn along our path in this journey, is by determining that WE are the ones that God has asked to walk this very path with these very people at this very time! That is 'claiming'.
'Claiming' is choosing to accept all that this child is, all they came from, all their hurts, joys and hopes, all their wonderful qualities, all their ugliness, all the history that played a part in who they have become, all they will become and all they will fail to accomplish, and COMBINE it with who your family is to make a new family.
Did you hear that??  This is an extremely important point, so let me say it one more time, in a little different way...
'Claiming' means that whatever defined your family will now be different because you have invited a new person to be a part of it.  Adoption is not the same as birth.  When you give birth to a child, you are bringing another one of YOU into the family.  With adoption, you are bringing an entirely different element into the picture that changes everything.  It re-defines you.
Picture for a moment, what your family looked like before...what did you do together, what did you stand for, what was important/unimportant to you, what was the flavor, color, smell, essence of your family?  Now picture your new child...what was their life like before they came to you...their history, culture, family, what was important/unimportant, the look, feel, design and definition of who they are?  This doesn't just go away when they become a part of your family.
When a child comes into your family with a set of ideas and experiences that have defined their perspective on life and themselves, as wonderful as your family may be, simply being a part of a new family will not miraculously transform them into another one of 'you'.  If it was that simple, if love alone or a family alone, could do that mighty work, then it belittles their experiences (good and bad) and the person God has made them to be, or what their history was allowed to do in their hearts.
Change is painful, difficult work and I dont know many people that actually like it.  Adoption will, and should, shake the family tree to the roots.  Everyone will have to shift and adjust to find their new place.  For some, this is an easier process than others, probably a combination of the personality of the family and that of the new child.  As the family members feel the roots shaking and the image of what they knew before begin to take on a new look, it can create a lot of insecurity.  Its more important than ever to hold onto the belief ('claim") that this child was predestined before the beginning of time to be in this place at this time.  And to speak words that reflect that belief, to your family members and even to yourself!
When you 'claim' this new family member with resolve and determination then, as Jojo said, "...the ground stops shaking under the kids' feet so they feel safe again." When the ground stops shaking and they begin to feel safe, they begin to trust and hope again.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

holding it all together..or not!

Reading one of my favorite books of all time, "The Christians Secret To A Happy Life" by Hannah Whitall Smith. 
I thought I would share a quote that touches me every time I read it...

The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self. The most difficult thing we have to manage is self. Our own daikon living, our frames and feelings, our especial weaknesses and temptations, and our peculiar temperaments, our inward affairs of every kind, these are the things that perplex and worry us more Than anything else,and that bring us oftenest into bondage and darkness. In laying off your burdens, therefore, the first one you must get rid of is yourself. You must hand yourself and all your inward experiences, your temptations, your temperament, your frames and feelings, all over into the care and keeping of your God, and leave them there.  He made you, and therefore He understands you and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it. say to zhim, "Here, Lord, I abandon myself to thee. I have tried in every way I could think of to manage myself, and to make myself what I knowI ought to be, but have always failed. Now I give it up to thee. Do thou take entire possession of me. Work in me all the good pleasure of thy will. Mould and fashion me into sucha vessel as seemeth good to thee. I leave myself in thy hands, and I believe thou wilt, according to thy promise, make me into a vessel unto thy honor, 'sanctified', and meet for the Master's good work" and here you must rest,trusting yourself thus to Him continually and absolutely. 

I love the freedom this passage suggests. I see the parts and pieces of my life flying in the wind and I try to pull them back together with bungee cords of my own making. Pretending that I am the person that I am suppose to be, hoping nobody sees the dangling sins and inconsistencies. It's too hard, I can't manage myself. I can't hold it all together!  But as Hannah Smith suggests...I don't need to!