Bible, family, My Story


Educational Sabbatical & Homeschooling…

Well, we did it. After much thought and consideration, we decided to take an ‘Educational Sabbatical’ this year in our children’s schooling. All this means is that we pulled them out of school for this year and are… homeschooling!

Yup, it’s a pandemic trend that many are doing and there are so many individual reasons for each family who’s doing this. We ultimately chose to homeschool for the consistency of our schedule. Even up to and past the school registration date, our district still didn’t have a solidified plan for what we could expect for our students. Since I am a person who thrives on a schedule, we decided to make our own schedule this year. As much as I have appreciated what the school district has given to our children over the past years, I didn’t want to be at their will when it came to whether my kids would be attending in-person, virtually, or a mix of both and then, even more-so, to have those plans changed as the system continued to learn all that it means to school while in a pandemic.

A friend of mine said very clearly to me, “You know, you’re lucky to have the option to make this choice.” To which I replied, “Yes! That is not lost on me. I realize that not everyone can make this choice, and I’m very thankful that I can.” As I continued to converse with him, I found myself hoping that an outcome of keeping my kids out of the public schools this year might mean an opportunity for other kids to be in school – if they ended up meeting in-person. I hoped that the burden on the school system would be that much lighter because they’d have a few less children to have to think of what to do with during the pandemic – like one less desk per class to move 6 feet apart. I hope it ends up being helpful for all parties involved.

How it Looks so Far…

So, how’s it going so far you might ask? How am I doing at being a new homeschool parent? How in the world am I fitting this into my already full schedule of working 2 part-time jobs, taking care of the house, and attending to my own self-care? Well, I’m still working all that out! Honestly, it’s been 2 weeks and neither of those two weeks have been the same yet. We are still waiting on some of our curriculum to arrive which means we’re doubling up on some subjects while not even looking at other ones. We’re making use of every situation to be a learning opportunity, right down to a recent doctor’s visit!


It can be challenging for a scheduler like me NOT to have the same expectations day after day and week after week. It can be challenging to teach three different lessons all at once with constant requests for more help. It can be challenging when I worry that I’m not getting enough ‘school learning’ into them. It can be challenging to actually fit in all the education that I want to because I just love learning and teaching! It can be challenging when I face bad attitudes – both my children’s and my own. 


But amidst those challenges are many opportunities. I’ve had the opportunity to wrap Biblical history into non-Biblical history – to which my child happily exclaimed, “We get to learn Bible history along with our regular history?!?” I’ve had the opportunity to create a field trip out of getting my son’s cast removed at the Orthopedists office. We read books on bones and saw how X-rays are done and how to read them. We asked our PA why he chose to do this job. I even had a kind woman say to me in the waiting room, “Way to go for taking the opportunity to teach your children through this visit.” She saw (and probably heard) me reading a book about bones to the kids while we waited for our appointment.

‘Field Trip’ to the Orthopedist’s office to learn about bones.

I’ve had the opportunity (and now time) to weave cooking lessons and cleaning lessons into our daily lives. These were things that I didn’t feel like I had the time to do before, but now there’s time and space to teach these life skills. I’ve had the opportunity to invite our parents into the learning process. My mom taught sewing to one child and my mother-in-law taught the kids about different ways we learn while challenging them to try new things at a Horse Ranch!

Perhaps the best thing is that I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about my kids. In just two weeks I’ve learned about what they like to read, how they read, and what I can do to increase that interest in them. I’ve learned how to tell when they need a break and trust that they’ll come back to learning after they take some quick time away or get a snack to re-energize them. I’ve loved seeing my oldest child help her younger sister when I’m working with the middle one. So far, I’ve seen more independence come out in my children and I feel way more empowered to really make sure each of my children are grasping the concepts we’re putting before them.

The Honeymoon Stage…

I know, I know… some might say this is just the experience of the ‘honeymoon’ stage of homeschooling. And, maybe it is. But the benefits I’m experiencing so far are so good that I’m super hopeful they’ll propel me to continue on and persevere through even the hard times this year. 

Also, I love having control of my daily schedule and even though I don’t have as much time to myself, when I do take time for myself, I feel less guilty. After all, I spend a lot more time with the kids and they know and understand that. In fact, when school is done, the kids actively choose to be away from me. They are so excited to play together and run around outside or build their newest creations. It’s great! So, I’m learning the rhythm of our days and what times are open for me to take a few moments to myself or grab a walk (when my husband’s at home) or read a book with the sun shining on my face (or wrapped up in a blanket as the cool weather approaches). I think I’ll be okay with self-care, but it’ll just take some time to find that new rhythm. I’ll give myself some leeway on all this.

Working and Homeschooling…

One thing that has been a surprise is working and homeschooling at the same time. My work schedule actually gives me enough structure to my week that even when our school schedule has a last minute change (like a ‘field trip’ opportunity arises), I’m not thrown off balance too much. My schedule is not wide-open. (Although, let’s be real. No homeschool family’s schedule is actually that open. It’s mostly a perception from those of us who don’t homeschool. I’m guilty of this one.) The schedule is made up of blocks of work, school, and free time. This gives just enough structure and just enough flexibility to actually create balance! Here I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to have a balance in my schedule, but I think I might have more of one now. That was and still is a surprise. 

Gauging Capacity and Interest…

So, all in all. I’m feeling positive about homeschool. I felt positive about public and private education too. For any person making a decision about schooling, I think the important thing is to assess what your capacity is at any given time and also your interest. This year, I have the capacity to homeschool and take the necessary time to plan for it along with the usual other parts of my schedule. This year, I’m very interested in learning along with my kids and getting supplemental books from the library to encourage further understanding. It’s been great so far and I’m looking forward with hope and expectation for the remainder of this year. And you know? Next summer I’ll reassess and decide if I’ll be sending them back to the public schools or continue on with homeschool – because next year will be a different year from this year. 

God, My Story


Whore. That’s what she called me. I can remember the class I was in at the time. I remember the row of seats I was in. I remember the desk I sat in. And, I remember the look on her face when she turned her head towards me and called me a whore.

Welcome Back to School!…

It’s back to school time! Of course, this year school isn’t quite like it was in the past years due to the pandemic, but the social system probably changed much. The beginning of school is a time to get excited to see friends on a regular basis again. It’s a time to get out the crisp new school supplies and don freshly bought school clothes. That first day back, especially as a high schooler, is full of expectation for the year ahead, but also fraught with worry and anxiety over how we’ll be perceived. It’s an exciting day and also a terrifying one. 

I was no exception to this rule. Being an extrovert, I LOVED seeing so many people on a daily basis. I knew that going to school, especially choir, would get me my quota of hugs for the day! Having so many people surrounding me also gave me the chance to use up most of my words each day and thereby allowed me to give my family a break from what could have been (and sometimes was) constant talking. I really enjoyed the social part of school and the friendships and acquaintances I made there.

Since I was fairly personable, I didn’t really have people that outright didn’t like me. And the inverse was true too, I liked most people. I had the ability to see the good in people and the fun in people. I’d latch onto those things when interacting with them instead of the more negative hangups. This was great because I could easily interface with most people I came into contact with. It also came in handy with my many moves over my childhood. Actually, I bet it was part personality and in part, a learned survival skill! It was a lot easier to make friends when I wasn’t afraid to approach new and different people. 


Well, apparently, not everyone thought well of me, as I alluded to in the opening paragraph. Every girl, I suspect, goes through the struggle of how to dress each day. What does this particular outfit say about me today? If I changed up my usual clothing style what would the reaction be? Would it be too obvious or would it go unnoticed? Do I need to really be concerned about what others think? Is it brave to just do what I want without thinking of how others perceive me? I swear, these thoughts were constant (and sometimes still are) when I was picking out my clothes from day to day. I had my go-to outfits, but one time, I decided to shift the status quo.

That particular day, I wanted to wear a dress. I had seen other girls wear dresses to school and it seemed cute and fun. I didn’t tend to spend a lot of money on clothes, so my selection was slim and not the most up-to-date styles. But one thing I definitely cared about was modesty. I always wanted to wear clothes that were attractive, but not ones that would draw unwanted or negative attention to myself. I didn’t wear deep cut shirts, mid-riffs, or too short pants/skirts. It was really important to me to honor myself and God with my clothing choices.

Me in my dress

Well, the day that I changed it up and wore a dress, I was unprepared for what was about to come my way. I knew I was choosing to wear something a little more dressed up than the usual jeans or khaki’s, but I didn’t expect that it would be noticed by people who weren’t in my inner circle of friends. I liked my dress and I felt good about myself by wearing something a bit ‘fancy’ to a regular ol’ day at school. Sure, I felt a bit tentative about the different look, but it was only for a day. So, I hung out with my friends and we talked about clothes and ate our lunches and went to class.

Chemistry and the Mean Girl…

Class. Yup, it was chemistry class. I don’t remember what happened before, but I do know how I felt afterwards. We came into class, probably talked with friends and got to our seat when the bell rang. Then it happened. What felt like an out-of-nowhere, unprovoked comment came from the girl in the next row a few seats up. She turned to me and called me a whore. I was seriously shocked. “WHAT?!? She couldn’t be talking to me. I’m nowhere near the definition of a whore. What was this all about? Why did she say that? Why was she being mean to me? I don’t even usually talk to her! Why was she saying this to me?”

I was so hurt, confused and ashamed. I don’t remember responding to her. She probably turned around right away and class began. I was left to wonder why this had just happened. Did I do something wrong? Why would anyone call me a whore? I was a devout Christian who regularly attended Sunday church, Sunday school, Wednesday night youth group, and morning Bible study/worship at school. In middle school I made a commitment to stay a virgin until my wedding night. I mean, I attended the True Love Waits conference and signed the card! I lived out this commitment and I thought it was pretty obvious that this was who I was – the good little Christian girl.

My True Love Waits Commitment Card

I could only deduce that my sudden change to dressing a bit fancier that day, which included a skirt that ended slightly above the knee and wearing strappy shoes prompted this uncalled for name calling. As an adult, I could say, ‘Maybe she was jealous. Maybe she was confused. Maybe she was having a bad day.’ But honestly, I really don’t know why she said it.

What I do know is the feelings it brought up in me. Along with being hurt, confused and ashamed, I was also angry and filled with self-doubt. These feelings stuck with me throughout the rest of the day and I’m sure I talked with my Mom about it that evening. There was no rhyme or reason to this mean-spirited speaking. It just was what it was. Luckily, the word ‘whore’ is so far from who I was and who I ever planned to be that I didn’t internalize it. I knew it wasn’t a label that would stick, but the sting of it did.

Do You Know Who You Are?…

You know, high school is a hard place to be. Middle school and elementary school are hard too! Even being out in public and on social media, we run into hard things. We get called names by people who don’t know who we are. We get teased, bullied, and misunderstood on any given day. I guess the question is, ‘Do we know who we are? Do we have an assurance of our identity? Do we know the road we are committed to following? Have we made up our minds to point our life towards something and continue on even when others question it or come against us?’ 

As I reflect on this story from my school days, I can see how my identity as a Christ-follower kept me stable when the winds shifted. I am thankful that as a child and teen, I could make my own choice to follow Jesus and His Word. I chose to be loving, kind, modest and moral. Because I made those choices for myself, when they were brought into question, I knew where I stood. I knew that wearing a dress and having someone call me a whore didn’t mean that I was heading down some dark life path. The word spoken to me didn’t overtake me. And this feels important to repeat.

The word spoken over me – ‘whore’ – didn’t overtake me. When I could have drowned in the misery of someone thinking so lowly of me, I knew where I stood. I knew the choice that I had made. I was a committed daughter of God and virgin for my future husband. When I could have worried that there was one person out there that didn’t think highly of me, I knew who did. Not only had God given me so many friends, happy acquaintances and good family around me, but I knew how God thought of me. I was His special creation, a masterpiece made to be just how I was and He was proud of me. He loved me. 

Do Your Friends Know Who You Are?…

You know, l knew that God didn’t think of me as a whore and I knew that my family didn’t think of me like that either. But, what about friends? Those are pretty important and special people in the lives of teens. At least, I thought so. For me, when I approached my friends with this story, they stood next to me and encouraged me. They knew that wasn’t who I was and they could reaffirm me when I was down and hurting. 

I’m so thankful that God gives us so many different types of relationships. We always need Him. But sometimes we need family and friends too. Even other times it’s enough to have a friendly acquaintance or the person passing by me at the store give some sort of positive affirmation of the person I am. These interactions help me remember who I am. And when I know who I am, I can walk forward with my head held high with quiet confidence that I am the person I am meant to be.

You know, perhaps the most surprising thing to tie this all together is a note I received from one of my friends (who didn’t have the same value for purity) towards the end of our high school career. It said,

I have always respected you as a classmate and a good friend, but one thing stands out that I really respect. I have always looked up to you for this fact, … you still have your virginity and your morals. … Your morals are pretty much exactly the same as when I first met you. I will even admit that you had a great impact on my life in more ways than one. And I would just like to say, thank you’

Labels. They impact us, but we get to choose which ones stick. We are in the driver’s seat of our lives, not our friends, not our family, not the random mean kids at school. We are. We make the choices that last. We choose our paths. When we know the power of choice, we realize how very special and important this is. We can let life happen to us, or we can choose the way we want life to happen. I’m so thankful for the mentors in my life who encouraged me to make choices that lasted. They truly empowered me to take control of my life and steer it where I wanted it to go. I knew my destination – virgin on my wedding day, and I wasn’t getting off of that road for anything!

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Adoption, God, My Story

Adoption Update: Early August 2020 – Meeting #2

I know it was our decision, but it’s still hard sometimes.

It was Tuesday afternoon and I got a text from our adoption agency caseworker. She wanted to talk with us about a potential adoption match! I called her as soon as I could. The first question that comes in my mind is, “Could this be it?!?” I was eager to find out more about this baby.


I called our caseworker and after a short time I knew all the stats about the baby and birth parents, the reason why they were making an adoption plan and the timeline for having our first meeting. I was completely overwhelmed. I wasn’t feeling my best physically, I was already stressed about other life decisions, AND there were a few things that were uncertain about this particular match.

At the time, my husband was out of town and so, I had to wait to discuss this all with him. But after patiently waiting, we were able to connect by phone. We had a few more questions about this particular match and texted some initial questions to our caseworker. The next morning, Putty took over the discussions with her while I was working. Teamwork for the win! After going over a few more things and getting better clarity, we decided to go ahead and meet with them!

To my delight, the birth parents needed to postpone the meeting until the following week. This gave me plenty of time to wrap my mind around what was coming next and took off some of the pressure I felt at first. We still weren’t 100% sure if we felt like this would be our match or not, but we did know that we were supposed to move forward with meeting them. 

Neutral Feelings…

As we went through the week and shared with a few people about what was to come, we got some feedback that was less than positive. I felt disappointed by that. It seems that some people were having a feeling of caution and warning inside for us. I didn’t really like hearing this. After all, I am ready for our next baby! But, when I asked what were some reasons for caution, I had to admit that those same thoughts went through my mind. I mean, I quickly dismissed them and tried to focus only on the positive, but I knew that I needed to weigh all this very carefully.

After a week of waiting to meet the birth family, I expected that I’d be MORE than ready to meet them. I expected to be anxious and excited, but the morning of our meeting, I was mostly not even thinking about it. I had to work that morning and so that kept my mind focused, but even as the hours approached to have our meeting, I was feeling very neutral about the whole thing. This is actually representative of what I had been feeling the entire week about this particular potential match situation. That felt odd.

So, as we prepared to meet with the birth parents over video, Putty and I prayed that God would give us very good discernment during the meeting and make it much more clear to us about whether or not we should move forward with this birth family. Of course, the first step is completely up to the birth parents. They are the ones who choose between us and in this case, the other potential family. But, we wanted to be ready to accept this match if they chose us.


The meeting began. We interfaced mostly with the birth father who was pretty outgoing. The birth mother was a bit more shy and so we heard from her now and then, but not as much. The adoption caseworker was there too and she helped move things along when the conversation died down. Then it was time to be done and we ended the video call.

Putty and I looked at each other. We seemed to silently ask each other, ‘What did you think?’ So, we talked about how we felt and ultimately… we didn’t feel that we had any more clarity about this situation than we had before! Another round of disappointment and confusion. I really wanted and hoped that seeing these parents and talking with them would give us the answer we were looking for – an easy decision. Nope, it wasn’t going to be that way.

As you can imagine, we had more conversations with more people about how the call went, how we were feeling about the situation, and when we’d know more. Not only was it hard for me not to know the answer, but I couldn’t even articulate to our friends and family if we wanted them to be excited and hopeful with us, or remain cautious and ready to disconnect. It was so weird!

Further Clarity

That evening, as we continued to contemplate, we realized something. Maybe God wasn’t going to tell us, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for this particular child. Maybe it could work either way and God was okay with that. Maybe God was as neutral about this situation as my feelings were. But in our hearts we wanted God to be totally making it clear who would be our next child(ren). We don’t want to just say, ‘Yes’ because we can. As Putty said, ‘We didn’t want to pick our own spouses, we wanted God to do that. Why would we want anything less for the children in our family? We want God to pick our kids.‘ We really want to know that God has brought us our next child(ren) and not leave it up to natural reasoning. We want to be excited and know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this is our child.

So, we made a choice. Even with a possible resolution to our adoption dream just in front of us, we made the hard choice to withdraw our names from consideration for this child. I think our caseworker was a bit shocked. How many prospective adoptive parents say ‘No’ to an adoption placement at this stage? I don’t really know. But just as quickly as she was sad for us, she was suddenly overcome with tearful joy for the other family! She knew that their dreams were about to be fulfilled and this was good. It was so precious to hear her emotions of joy for this other family. I knew that our ‘No’ meant ‘Yes’ for someone else! That’s really cool to think about.

The following morning, the morning that the birth parents were supposed to make their decision, I found myself thinking about how the other family would be feeling. They have been waiting for an adoption match too and they were going to find out that they got it! I smiled, inwardly happy for this other couple and the future in front of them.

Still Processing…

Even now, I am still happy for this other couple, but I find myself feeling sad. It’s a lot to process and luckily, writing helps with that. I’m sad that we felt we had to pass on this baby. I’m sad that I don’t know when the next opportunity for adoption will present itself. I’m frustrated that I have to wait again – even though it was our decision. I fear that I missed out on something. I worry that I won’t have another chance. As I catch myself descending into these negative thoughts, I must stop and remember the truth.

God is on our side. We have asked him to write our story and we trust him fully with the details. We aren’t sitting lazily by just waiting around for our life to get moving. No, we are still praying, learning, and preparing for when we get to meet our next child! We are not missing out. There will be another chance. I am waiting again, but I wait with hope and expectation. In the waiting He will lift us up and be our strength and peace. This is good news! This is good truth to hold onto.

A friend sent me this song recently and as I write the ending of this post, I can tell this is very fitting for the place we find ourselves in at this moment.

“We Rise” by Cageless Birds & Jonathan David Helser

We rise by bowing
We live by dying
When we give what we could never keep
We gain what we will never lose

Like beauty from ashes
And joy from mourning
Only You can take brokenness
And make it something beautiful

From glory to glory
You tell our story
We will overcome
We’ll walk on the water
With our eyes on the Father
Nothing is impossible

Rest is our weapon
Joy is our strength
We wait upon the Lord and find
Strength to spread our wings and fly

(If you know someone who would find this story helpful or encouraging, please feel free to share it! Thanks for reading my post!)

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Bible, God, My Story

Immediately on the Shore

Have you ever noticed the surprising verse of John 6:21 before? I hadn’t. Right now, I am reading through the Bible chronologically and that means that I sometimes get to read the same story three of four times in a row! Well, recently I was reading about Jesus walking on the water towards his disciples in the midst of rough waters and strong winds. The book of Matthew, Mark and John recount this story.

So, the story in a nutshell is: 1) Jesus sends his disciples to cross the sea without him while he finishes up with the crowds. 2) Jesus goes up on a mountain and prays on his own. 3) The wind picks up on the lake, but Jesus isn’t bothered by that and heads out to sea (on top of the water) to meet up with the boat. 4) The disciples see Jesus and think he’s a ghost! They are afraid. 5) Jesus tells them not to be afraid and they recognize him and the wind dies down. 6) According to Matthew only, in the midst of this Jesus invites Peter to come to him on the water. Peter does. Peter gets afraid. Peter starts to sink and immediately, Jesus reaches out his hand to save him. 7) John 6:21 gives one more very interesting part to the story…

Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

John 6:21 (ESV)

When I read this, I had to take a double, maybe triple read through it. Did it just say that they immediately reached the shore where they were heading? Like, immediately, immediately? Well, I’m not going to propose that I’m a studied theologian or make a doctrine out of what I’m about to say, BUT God brought something to mind and I just had to share it with you!

Before I went too far into the analogy that God was forming in my mind, I wanted to look up the word ‘immediately’ in the Greek to be sure that I understood it’s meaning. The word is eutheos and means directly, at once or soon, forthwith, immediately, shortly, and straightaway. When I compared multiple translations of this verse, most of them used immediately, and many others used straightaway, or at once. So, I feel comfortable assuming the translation is ‘immediately.’ Well, if that’s so, then are we saying that the boat went from 3-4 miles out to sea (probably from the Sea of Tiberias) and then was all of a sudden (immediately) at the opposite shore? (They were heading to Capernaum and it’s a more than 6 miles trip by boat!)  It really got me thinking about the miracle of a boat, disciples and Jesus instantly going from where they were to be at the place they were going, skipping the rest of the travel in-between. Fascinating!

But what does that have to do with the analogy that God was showing me? Because I read it so many times, a different part of the story ended up standing out to me and that was the beginning of God’s gentle speaking to my heart.

Then they were glad to take him into the boat”  The book of John addresses the heart posture of the disciples in this moment. They were GLAD to take Jesus into their boat! Let’s look further into what their day had been like leading up to all this because I think it would have been hard to be ‘glad’. 

What a Day!…

So, we know that Jesus had been going about healing sick people during the day and that he and his disciples left at some point to presumably be on their own. However that didn’t work. As they were sitting together, they saw that the crowd of people had followed them! Instead of ignoring them or sending them away, Jesus took care of their present need – food. He had his disciples gather all the available food from the crowd (5 loaves of bread and 2 fish) and then he blessed it and sent them to distribute the food to 5000+ people! The amazing thing is that it worked! All were fed and they even had tons of food left over! 

5,000 people! (

After this, Jesus went away to be on his own and when he was finished, he returned to his disciples. It was evening by this point and he sent them over the sea to Capernaum without him. As they made their way across the sea, the weather changed and they found themselves rowing against rough waters and strong winds. Then they see something coming walking towards them ON THE WATER! They were afraid, but when Jesus spoke, “It is I; do not be afraid,” they realized it was him and felt better. They gladly took him into their boat and then immediately they were on the shore! Phew! What a day!

Emotional Roller Coaster…

Can you imagine how the disciples must have felt after a day like that? It sounds like it was a day full of excitement with miracles abounding and mixed with tons of uncertainty. I mean, how did they feel when they saw the crowd following them? Did they get a sinking feeling in their stomachs? What about when Jesus asked them to distribute the meager amount of food? I can imagine they might have felt embarrassed, and been full of disbelief, uncertainty, and frustration! That was probably quickly followed by awe and relief when the miracle of multiplication happened! What a rollercoaster of emotions in just that one gathering!

Or what about when Jesus sent them across the sea without him and the going got tough? Again, human feelings of tiredness, uncertainty, fear, and doubt probably crept in. They might have been complaining that Jesus wasn’t doing this hard work with them. They might have been coming up with their own ideas for why Jesus didn’t come along with them in the boat. They might have been questioning if they heard Jesus correctly, because the way sure wasn’t easy! 

But then they saw something on the water! I bet fear added to their already physically tired feelings of rowing with strong winds. Then Jesus speaks what he always says to his friends during uncertain situations, ‘It is I; do not be afraid!’ RELIEF! They knew that voice. They see their Teacher! ‘Then they were glad to take him into the boat and immediately they were at the land to which they were going.’ They weren’t alone anymore. They were suddenly done with the choppy seas. They got to their destination, safely and quickly! In a non-literal way, this story feels like a parable for our own lives!

Obeying the Voice of God

There are times when Jesus sends us out or calls us to obey him in seasons when we’re already overwhelmed, uncertain, tired, and spent or even cranky. God says, ‘Go there.’ ‘Do this.’ and we have a choice. We can say, ‘Nah, we’ll just wait here on this shore,’ until Jesus is practically the one pushing the boat out to sea or we can obey and take the risk that we heard him correctly even if we’re not sure why it feels like we’re alone at times. 

I think it’s important for me to take a moment to say that Jesus ‘never leaves us nor forsakes us.’ But in our feelings, we can often assume we’re heading out alone or that he somehow disappeared in the middle of our obedience. When our hearts don’t see him anymore and our circumstances change and get tough, it can cause us to question if we heard Jesus correctly. We could just give up and let the figurative wind and waves crash into us again and again. We could just wait and give up and have life happen to us while we wait for our rescuer.

However, I propose a different option. What if we continue to move forward in the direction that God gave us? We will have to be powerful and full of faith, but we will be continuing on course. It does require much strength to push through the ‘winds of life’ and we might find ourselves with a lot of worry and doubt, but… and this is what we need to be looking for… Jesus comes. When we’re in the midst of obedience to God and our circumstances change, we need to look for Jesus. When we see him, our faith rises. When we see him our hearts are lightened. We are reassured. We might even be more excited than when we started, but so much hinges on our attitude. 

Will we gladly take Jesus into our boat? Will we put aside the hurt and frustration of the moment, to fully accept him into our situation, even if we feel like he’s the one who ‘got us into this situation in the first place’? Will we trust again? Will we gladly take Jesus into our boat? I hope I will! I hope we all will and that we’ll see our circumstances immediately change. I hope we’ll see our perspectives shift to a focus on him and that everything around fades away and we land where he first sent us. When we openly partner with Jesus, anything is possible. 

What will we do?

So, how about you? Are you in the midst of obeying God right now but it feels like everything’s turned upside down? Does it seem like Jesus isn’t with you in your present moment? What will you do? Will you passively wait until Jesus ‘shows up’ or will you continue on with action to the destination that you were sent by Jesus? When you see him again in your present moment, will you gladly take him into your boat? 

It seems like it’s worth a try at least! I pray that Jesus is with you wherever you go and that you experience him always by your side. But, if you’re at a place where it’s hard to see him, I pray that he comes to you ‘on the water’ and your heart, mind and spirit are buoyed up! I pray that you will gladly take him into your boat and immediately be at your shore.

Adoption, God, My Story

Emotions… Good/Bad?

Emotions…Feelings…These have been flooding my psyche for the past few months. Sometimes I barely notice them. Then there are other times when they feel like they are overwhelming me. They cascade over my head like waves on an ocean beach. I have a love-hate relationship with my feelings. When they’re positive, I love them. When they’re negative, I don’t. I seem to believe that positive emotions are good and negative emotions are bad. But are they really? Do emotions really need a good/bad assignment to them?

The Never-Ending Change…

Very recently, the constant changes and uncertainty in the atmosphere of our world has gotten to me, and not in a good way. The simmering emotions of the ever-changing fabric of my life (I know, a bit melodramatic maybe), have been on the ‘back-burner’ but they still boil over every once in a while. Although these feelings are not forefront in my mind, they are still in the background, waiting for the heat to get turned up and a simmer to turn to a boil. On and on it goes. A good day, a good week, a bad day, a hard week, then back to center again for a while. Can anyone relate? As I scan the news articles and social media, it seems like it’s not just me, but the whole country and world who’s caught up in the chaos of the unknown future.

Along with the unknown in the world, each of us has our own unknowns in life too. I don’t know about you, but my life is still going. It didn’t stop when the stay-at-home orders started. Sure, it slowed down for a short time, but now it’s speeding up again. Specifically, I’m feeling the pressure in regards to adoption and schooling. 

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

…or to quote from the movie Girls Just Want to Have Fun, “Decisions are the worst!” I am at a decision point. What do I do with my kids during this next school year? Do I send them back to school with all the unknowns, the constant changes, new guidelines and all the underlying stress of worry that being in proximity to potentially COVID-contagious people is causing? Or do I put them on a sabbatical from their school for this year in an effort to create at least some consistency? (It is not lost on me that I actually have the ability to entertain this choice since I am at home for both work and homelife. For this, I am thankful.) 

Well, we decided to homeschool. It was a very BIG decision for us. We hadn’t ever really planned to homeschool the kids. We were glad to send them to school and have them learn in that way, but this past year has made us rethink things. At the same time, I guess tt wasn’t totally out of the question for us to consider homeschool either. I mean, so many of my friends and family homeschool that if I just started to lean a little towards it, I knew I’d be well supported and have a community of people for the kids and I to be around. So… we’re homeschooling, but then there’s the curriculum. Choosing what to use, how intense to be, trying to keep up with the school system, etc. There’s no one right answer! Each child’s schooling can be as unique as each child! This is both great and also overwhelming. 

It reminds me of a previous blog post I wrote about making our adoption decision. I said, “the child(ren) out there for us will be as unique as our present circumstances that have led us to this decision at this time.” There’s this idea of the uniqueness of time. Never did I think that a global pandemic would force my hand to consider changing up my schooling options for my kids. Yet, it did. And yet, this same pandemic is not causing considerable changes to the other large decision in my life at this time – adopting a child.

We are still waiting and hoping to adopt. During this pandemic we have been contacted about two potential birth families to be matched with. One in the past and one in the present. With each new expectant mother/parent story, we have decisions to make. We have to weigh what we feel God is calling us to do with our family for the future as well as listen in case He’s asking us to make a change. Currently, we’re working through an adoption decision. I can’t go into all the details at this time, but suffice it to say that it’s a big decision! What we say, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to impacts our entire future! They aren’t quite life or death decisions, but they are decisions with weight on them – they are weighty decisions. Please, tell me that some of you have ALSO had your own share of these weighty decisions moments. Sigh…

So, I’m in the middle of some weighty and stressful decisions. They will all work out just fine in the end, but the in-between details can feel overwhelming at time. They can feel almost crushing, like I don’t have what I need to adequately make these decisions! Then the anxiety and worry sets in and you can imagine how the day goes – not so great.

Negative Emotions…

But back to my earlier question, do the negative emotions need to be labeled as bad? In my mind, I know the counselor-correct answer is, ‘No, emotions and feelings are neither good nor bad. They are just what they are. They are almost akin to fact. They are feelings, nothing more, nothing less.’ But that’s hard to keep in mind in the moment of negative feelings. So, I began to journal. I journaled how I was feeling, why I was feeling what I was feeling and realizing that I just plain don’t like the way the negative emotions make me feel. 

My negative emotions make me feel weak – like a weak person, both mentally and physically. I know this is Satan lying to me, but the first step is recognizing that lie. Then in the swirl of the negative, comes a gentle stillness. I remember the Scripture, ‘For when I am weak, then He is strong.’ I think about how that can be applied to me at this very moment. How is God strong when I’m weak in this way? How is He showing up and lifting me up when I can’t do it on my own? And that’s it. It’s that simple. God is strong because he’s lifting me up, above the crashing waves. Or at other times, He comes in and stills the waves that crash until my inner world looks more like a serene, still lake. God’s strength helps me see another side to negative emotions. He encourages me that I don’t have to believe the same old lie that there’s nothing good to negative emotions.

Do you know what He told me recently? What He helped me to see about my emotions? Even in the midst of the snotty crying, or the heaviness in the pit of my stomach… God created feelings. He’s not afraid of my feelings. He’s not out of control. He loves my feelings. He loves my vulnerability. He loves my emotions. 

A Catalyst…

You see, I am learning that my emotions can act as a catalyst in my life.  They are a catalyst to enter into a bit more self-care when I haven’t been doing that lately. They are a catalyst to help me order my priorities and focus on what really matters for that day. They are a catalyst to keep me in the present, but still dreaming of my future. They are a catalyst to spend more time with Jesus so He can speak to me and show me new things, and old things. They are a catalyst to send me into the arms of my Father-God so He can lavish His love and comfort on me. They are a catalyst for me to listen to Holy Spirit for how God is showing His strength in the midst of my weakness. 

When Joy discovers that Sadness is good. (Pixar’s “Inside Out“)

Without this catalyst to move me towards the next thing, I can get stuck in the muck. I can start to live in the depression of weakness and the lies that come with it. I can start to build-up around me the things that seem like comfort, but really just act like a fence to hem me in. The catalyst of emotions on the other hand, moves me. It moves me out of the muck and onto dry ground. It builds up the strength in me and the truth that comes with it. It tears down my self-made walls of protection and instead shows me the steady and safe path of freedom in Christ! If I allow it. If I allow myself to go a bit deeper into the shadows of negative emotions or even a bit higher into the clouds of the positive feelings, I will learn new things with God. I will be moved and I will carry on yet again. I will have direction and peace.

So, even though I still don’t think that I’ll like the feelings of the negative emotions and I will much prefer the positive ones, I won’t shy away. I’ll press in just a little more so that I can learn more of what God has for me. And when the skies clear, I can work on my weighty decisions again and instead of experiencing great stress, I hope and expect that I will experience anticipation and clarity.

Adoption, God, My Story

Adoption Update: Early July 2020 – Almost Ours…

“Would you be ready to accept an adoption placement tomorrow?” I couldn’t believe my ears. A baby was already born who would be ready to go home with us the next day if the birth mother chose us as her child’s adoptive family! It seemed way too good to be true, but here we were, being faced with the dream I had been hoping for! A healthy baby that lined up with our desires in many ways and without anymore waiting! We happily said, ‘YES!’ to meeting with the birth mother the next day.

The Excitement Begins…

As many expecting parents do … we video called/texted our family! It was so fun to see the happy faces and hear the squeals of excitement as we told people one by one about this possible new addition to our family. My hope was buoyed. I immediately started thinking about all the things I’d need to do to prepare for a baby if we were selected as the adoptive parents. This was all so surreal!

Later that evening, my husband, Putty, and I talked more about how crazy-ridiculous (in a good way) this was feeling! We were excited and filled with anticipation. The last step for our evening was to review the birth family information. Our agency rep was getting that typed up so she could send it to us. I checked my inbox repeatedly for that email, but as evening rolled around, we got another text from the agency. My heart sunk a little as I read it, but I still held onto hope.

You see, the birth mother was having second thoughts about making an adoption plan for her baby and it was looking like the process would probably take longer than originally expected. In fact, it was proposed that the baby would go to a non-adoptive family while the birth mother made her decision to parent or not. I felt so strongly that if this was going to be our baby, I’d REALLY like to take care of this child from the beginning. I was ready! I didn’t want to wait, but I didn’t really have a say in these things. It’s all part of the process. The birth mother still planned to meet birth families the next day so she could have them in mind while making her ultimate decision.

Add in a Little Uncertainty..

And so… I went to bed that night not really sure what to expect. Would this chance at adoption really be ended as quickly as it began? Should I retain hope? What are my thoughts and feelings about a birth mother making a choice to parent instead of making an adoption plan? Is one better than the other? Well, I hadn’t met the mother and I didn’t know her situation, so I didn’t really have an answer. I had to leave it in God’s hands. He knew what would be best for this little baby. He knew and I trusted Him. I prayed that God would allow us to take the baby home the next day if it was to be our little one. Then I went to bed.

The next morning came. Our adoption meeting was scheduled for the afternoon, so I had all morning to prepare. Putty was out of the house when I got another call from our agency. It looked like we might actually have a chance at having the baby in our home that night after all! Although the birth mother still wasn’t sure if she would parent or not, she wanted the baby to go home to the prospective adoptive parents just in case she chose that option. Putty and I talked about it when he returned home and we agreed that we felt okay with this plan. We were now in a situation where we might take care of this sweet baby with the possibility of keeping or returning this child home to the birth mother. 

This was not exactly what I pictured when we originally decided to do private domestic adoption, but we felt completely at peace with this decision, and so we continued onward. We only had a few more hours before our meeting with the birth mom. It was my first time ever meeting a birth mom. It was a bit surreal. I mean, how do you prepare to meet a woman who is trying to decide if you should parent her child or not? It’s a bit of a weighty meeting and there’s not really a way to prepare for it. In fact, we realized that the best thing to do was to be ourselves. That’s what this birth mom was really looking for anyway. She wanted to know authentically who these would-be parents are.

That afternoon, we entered the agency door and there she was, the birth mom! I’m going to go ahead and put out a side note that it’s very weird to be meeting people for the first time during COVID. I mean, do we shake hands or just wave? How do I express warmth towards this woman if I cannot touch her? It was okay to shake hands (PSA: hand sanitizer was available). We walked to the conference room together and sat across the table from each other. Our agency representative took the lead to start the conversation and from there we talked about the birth mom’s experience thus far and what she was looking for in adoptive parents. We talked about the birth mom’s desires for the level of openness in the relationship and even whether or not she wanted the baby to keep the name on the birth certificate. 

As we went through all this, I felt very disengaged. I knew that I had to engage, but I didn’t quite understand why I was having trouble. Then I realized it. I got the feeling that the birth mom would eventually choose to parent. Her requests and even her low levels of engagement were indicators to me. Even so, I found a question to ask her and we had some better back and forth conversation for the last half of the meeting. As we said goodbye, we wished her luck and expressed to her again that we really didn’t want to pressure her on her decision, but rather support her in whatever she chose.

Renewed Hope…

Not long after returning home, I got a call. Our agency rep told us the good news. We had been chosen to care for the baby! We had about 2 hours before the baby would be at our door! My sister and brother-in-law brought over their crib. My daughter and I pulled out the baby clothes and started to get them washed. Putty set up the Pack ‘n’ Play on the main level and we waited. Finally, the baby was here! We talked with the agency rep, signed some papers and then we were on our own with this sweet baby.

Oh the joy! But also mixed in was the feeling and sense that this baby was not going to be ours. I sensed that partly from our birth mom meeting, but also when the agency rep dropped off the baby, more texts had been received from the birth mother indicating that she was gathering things together so she would be ready to parent very soon. We still welcomed this child into our home knowing that it was unlikely we would be the parents. Sure enough, after 36 hours this baby went home to the birth mother. This was a good thing and that baby is doing very well now. I’m so happy that this mother can be with her child. But, it makes me yearn even more for our next child.

A Different Kind of Hope…

This experience was not what I hoped, but also not out of the question for the adoption process. Yes, I am ready for our next child and the idea of a baby coming to us ‘the next day’ is very exciting! My hopes soared high and then little by little glided downwards to the reality that this wasn’t going to be our ‘happy ending.’ It hurts. My heart hurts not because we didn’t get to adopt this specific child, but rather that our journey has to continue. I wanted to settle down with this story as our ending place, but God has something else in mind. If anything, this experience fanned the flame of anticipation for when it’s our turn to welcome our ‘forever child’. Oh, I can’t wait! Even though it’s hard, I am really looking forward to the future.

God, Kingdom, My Story

When We See Each Other Face-to-Face Again

Seeing People Again…

When we see each other again face-to-face, how will it be? I think many of us dream of the time when we will run into each other’s arms and embrace for many minutes as we just linger and make up for lost face-to-face time. And others of us are excited to be in a group where we can feel the energy of people meeting openly together again. We anticipate the positive buzz of the crowd that will energize and re-engage so many of us. Ah, it will be good to see you again! 

As I think about what it will be like to come back together in my different social circles, I usually feel a pretty warm and happy feeling, but just recently God ‘tapped me on the shoulder’ and gave me another perspective. I should take a moment to note that if you aren’t one to struggle with judging people or being offended then this different perspective might not be as poignant for you, but if you’re like me, I think this will be really helpful. Regardless of how it hits you personally, I’m pretty sure there will be some people in your life who might be struggling in this way and I hope this post will help you understand them better too.

So, I had this realization that with all the comments and posts flying around social media lately, our reunion might not be as joyous as we anticipate. There have been a lot of strong statements, emotional statements, pointed statements, well-meaning statements, and ‘advice-giving’ statements. I’d be willing to bet that none of us have felt like we agree 100% with everything we’ve read in the last 3 months. But that’s not abnormal. We often read things that we might not agree with and can easily brush it off. Or, we might question what was really going on beneath the surface of a friend’s comment, but when we see that person again, we talk it out or even just remember how much we love these people and the tension levels off.

But what about now? We’ve had months of reading things without having the ability to ‘bump into each other’ in public. So, many comments that might have been brushed off are actually getting pushed to the bottom of a pile of many comments that are building up higher and higher. Oh man, stop me if I’m wrong, but is someone (or multiple people) coming to your mind who has ruffled your feathers a bit lately? Do you feel a bit of stony-heartedness towards them? Have you thought about what it will be like when you see them again? Perhaps they won’t even know that you feel at odds with them – perhaps they will. What will we do when we see these people again? Will we ignore them and hope no one notices? Will we pretend like nothing’s happened and sweep our feelings under the rug? Will we stone-wall a person and expect them to just ‘know what we’re thinking and feeling’? 

I found this comic through an internet search for ‘giving the cold shoulder’. This illustrates well what it could be like (although outside of the home) for friends/acquaintances to see each other face-to-face again after having been hurt or offended through social media posts and comments without actually talking things out together.

Guys! The thought of all this is a bit scary to me. I mean, we left our normal societal lives to isolate and as the months have gone by so many things have happened and so many words have been spoken that I’m a little anxious about how we’ll re-acclimate to each other! Have you thought about this? I feel like it’s blowing my mind a bit. It feels heavy with the weight of God’s conviction for me. Yup, I said it. I’m guilty. I have judged, been offended, been hurt, been confused, been angry, been sad, been vindicated, and the list goes on. But you know what? I don’t want to live like this. I don’t want to stay like this. What’s the next step?

Search Me O God…

God search my heart and share with me the areas I need to purify. You know my thoughts. Please, lead me in Your ways. Amen

I want God to tell me where I’ve gone off the path of love, righteousness, mercy, and grace. I want God to guide me back to His thoughts, His ways, and to His heart. As I’ve pondered this, the word that keeps coming back to me over and over again is forgiveness. Will I forgive those who have offended me, hurt me, confused me, and even scared me through their posts on social media. Am I willing to do the hard work of forgiveness when no one will see it and might never know about it? Will I extend mercy and love before I head back into face-to-face relationship with people who I feel less than positive towards?

Ugh… that feels hard. It seems like it’ll be a lot of introspection, prayer and work with myself and with God. My heart is already weary and this just seems like it’ll add to that weight. It might. It might make things worse. I might feel even more tension for a while. I might even want to hide all the feelings in a closet and pretend they’re not there after all.

But maybe, all those tough feelings will be momentary. Maybe it won’t be as hard and grueling as I imagine. Actually, I truly believe that putting in this type of hard work will free me and lighten my load. My husband, who’s a pastor, says that often times the feeling of lightening only comes AFTER forgiveness has been extended. So, I expect to find a quickening in my heart and mind to forgive and keep forgiving and even let it spread to other parts of my life. I hope this will be the start of a radical change in me that I can grow in and build on! I know that I will experience JOY and FULLNESS as I partner with God to soften my heart once again. He will come alongside me to help me be free of the shackles of unforgiveness, judgement, and even condemnation. He hasn’t made me for these things. He’s made me to rejoice, love, and give to those around me.

So, yes. I will put in the hard work. When I feel offended, confused, or any other tense feeling, I’ll put it before God. I’ll ask Him what to do with it. I’ll confess any sin or wrongdoing on my own part and ask for forgiveness. And most of all, I’ll choose to forgive others with my own initiative. I expect it’ll be hard and I’ll want to reject it at times. But in the end, it’ll be so good; so much better than I can even imagine because God’s way is best. Yes, people are worth it. God is worth it. My face-to-face relationships are worth it. I’m a people person and I want to stay that way. So, God, search me and know my thoughts…and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.

God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways.

Psalm 139: 23-24 (TPT)
Adoption, God, My Story, Voice

A Letter to my Future Child(ren) of Color

My Dear Little One,

You’ve been on my mind a lot recently. Over the past year I have been preparing for you to join our family, but I could not have foreseen how much of that preparation I’d be using before you came. You see, our country is in the middle of some great turmoil and unrest. This year has been a year of ‘Chaos!’ – That’s the word that God gave to your daddy for this year. We didn’t know that it would be so true and so turbulent.

The things that seemed like chaos in January and February have faded to the background as the more recent chaotic events of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic and the untimely and unjust deaths of African-Americans, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd at the hands of white people/police officers. These deaths sparked a lot of non-violent, peaceful protests as well as violent rioting and looting. I have never seen this in my time. I’ve heard about these types of things from history, but I never actually think that history will repeat itself. What’s done in the past, stays in the past, right? Well, not always, and certainly not in these cases. True, they are not exact replicas of past physical diseases and racial clashes, but they certainly carry some of the same elements with them.

My heart is feeling so many things right now. I feel angry, scared, confused, misunderstood, sad, worried, uncertain, and other feelings too. I also have so many other voices and opinions going through my head. I have the media, the Church, my black friends, my white friends, my not black/white friends, the voices of ‘leaders’ – both in the Christian sector and not, and so many more. When I’ve felt tugged to choose between these voices, it’s created a lot of chaos within me. It seems so easy to just make a social media post that echoes what others are saying, but God is showing me MY voice as He teaches me. He’s been showing me how I can be true to the voice that He’s given me.

God has been teaching me to wait. As I wait for you, I’ve learned patience and listening. Now in this current chaotic season, I am using this skill of waiting to check my heart, mind, and spirit before I speak. It’s something I highly recommend, little one. A big part of what God has been teaching me even before the waiting was how to respond instead of reacting. It’s so easy to get filled with strong emotions and want to fire out a rapid reaction to a social media post or something I’ve heard on the news or even a video from someone I trust. But, I’ve already been cultivating how to feel when my emotions are taking over and then I stop and take a break. This really empowers me to feel secure in what I say publicly and not have regret a hurried retort.

To create a true response, I’ve found I must wait. I must hear the voices around me. Then, I must listen for God’s voice and allow my own voice to come out. The waiting might seem like a lack of action, but God is working on something within me. If I wait, then when I respond, it will be in love and not from pain. 

Oh child, I so hope you only know love in your life, but I know the reality of humanity. There will be pain too. I’m so sorry. I realize that because of the color of your skin, history predicts that you will be mistreated, misrepresented, undervalued, disrespected, and more. I wish I could protect you from all the pain. I wish it would be as easy as kissing your boo-boo and then having you run back out to play. I wish I could fix it for you, but I won’t be able to. I will be with you though. I will be on your side. I will keep loving you no matter what. I’m sorry it’s like this. It makes me sad for you and for so many of our friends ‘like you’. I’d like to see injustice and disease wiped off this earth!  But, I wait. 

You know what God’s been doing in me as I wait? I hope it’ll help you too, little one, as you grow and learn and wait and respond. God has shown me that I can enter in more fully to someone’s pain by speaking with them directly – whether face-to-face, on the phone, or in a direct message. The back and forth of a conversation is so much more meaningful and helpful in working through my thoughts and feelings on tough topics and events. I’ve allowed God to lead me to speak with those He puts on my heart and mind. It’s been fruitful and I’m so thankful for my many brothers and sisters of all colors who have been willing to enter into personal dialogue with me.

In doing this we have been able to share what’s helping and hurting us through these situations. We can show love and understanding to one another. We can humbly ask for forgiveness for where we’ve been wrong and we can courageously give forgiveness to those who have hurt us. I’ve had to do both! And I can say, it’s been so freeing to my heart. I only wish our society could truly understand that power of asking for and receiving forgiveness. There’s a reason why God calls us to do this. It’s another piece in freedom and justice for all!

As for a public response, God has shown me that the best way I can respond publicly is through music. Would you believe it? I didn’t know about this until a very sweet cousin of mine lost her husband to death and all I could do was sing for her! Now, in the moments of disease and death, I have found that singing helps to calm and clear my mind. I found that as God led me to practice and sing songs, I actually entered more fully into the emotions of the moment. I wouldn’t call myself an activist, but I am a person who will journey with someone (or even a group of people) through pain and joy. God wrote a song in my heart and I had the honor to create this video with my friend Amber.

‘As I Am’ written and sung by Brittany Putman and performed by Amber Kaufman
There’s a growing unrest in our souls
It’s crying see me, hear me
Touch me, I’m real
Don’t you see me, hear me
Feel me? I’m real
I’m crying out! But no one hears me
I’m torn apart! But no one sees
My voice in anger, anguish lifted
But who will see me, as I am?

Sweet child, your journey is your own! It won’t be mine, it won’t be Daddy’s, it won’t be your brothers’ or sisters’. You will discover your own journey and while you’re making that discovery, I will be with you. I will be in the pain, grief, joy and excitement. I will cheer with you and cry with you. I will help you find your voice and together we will grow into all that God made us to be.

I have so much hope for you and your future. Even in the painful, chaotic times that you might be born into, I choose you! You have been my dream since I was a child, and I wait with hopeful expectation for you. I love you with a deep love that words cannot express, but I’m so excited for when I get to SHOW you that love!

So, while we wait to meet… I love you.

Your Momma

Adoption, My Story

Adoption Update: May 2020 – Feeling the Ache


Photo by Jake Ryan on

My arms feel the weight of his body. I can feel his warmth as he nestles close to me. The scent of his skin and hair is so sweet. The ache for my next baby is real. Every once in a while, I get a wave of longing for my next baby. I feel the anticipation of being a mother once again very keenly. And in all this, I must wait. This is where we’re at in the adoption process. This is the stage where I have to keep my dreams fresh, keep my hope alive, and practice patience. 

It’s been 6 months since we were approved to adopt (and so much longer since we started the process and first dreamed of adopting). In that time we’ve had one opportunity to be shown to a birth mom, another one ‘in the works’ and a time or two when a friend has mentioned a potential adoptable baby and the ‘Would we be interested if it all worked out?’ question. Unfortunately, none of these have worked out so far, yet I still keep my hope alive and remind myself that God has a plan for our family and the next precious addition. 

Adoption Attorney…

This month we took the next step of contacting an adoption attorney to find out what she offers for prospective adoptive parents as they wait for an adoption match. She was very kind and full of information gained through years, even decades of experience. We found out that our state does not allow attorneys to ‘match’ expectant mothers with prospective adoptive parents. However, she can show our adoption profile book to interested expectant mothers and she can answer questions for us and help us to ascertain whether a possible adoption match is real vs. unreal (or likely vs. unlikely to bring adoption through to finalization). 

One thing she mentioned was that she doesn’t consider adoptive parents to be really and truly in the full-swing of the adoption process until they’ve done three things: 1) contacted an attorney, 2) contacted an agency, and 3) started personal networking. This was really interesting to hear. I guess we’re on the right track since we’ve got two out of three done! Step three is the networking piece. And this is just to put a little bug in your ear, but would you keep us in mind if you hear of anyone who needs to make an adoption plan? We’re not asking you to ‘find our next child’ but rather to keep in the back of your mind that we’re looking to adopt.

So, we are trying our very best to only take next steps as we feel led by God. We feel like we’re being led to take steps that appear to be quite slow in the adoption world. Often people smatter their adoption portfolio onto every available online matching site, list with multiple agencies, and really ‘work’ to find an adoption match. But, that’s not the way we’ve felt God tell us to do it for now. So, we started with a small local agency. Then we let people know we were adopting and waited. After some time it became clear that our next step was to contact an attorney and from that conversation, we knew it was time to get more bold in our networking. 


In some ways, moving through this process a little more slowly has been good for me, personally. (I’m not making a statement that every person should do things exactly as we are doing, only sharing the journey that God’s taking me on.) It’s given me a lot of time to think about the changes that are coming. It’s given me time to research and pray and ponder and discuss so many different facets of adoption. It’s helped me to slow down and enjoy the dream of my next child instead of taking constant action and being on the wheel of go-go-go, that in my case, often takes my mind off of the emotional and reflective side of things. 

But I must admit… I’m getting weary of only having reflection and emotion in this time. I’m ready for some action! I’m sure many of you can relate. We’ve all waited for something at some point in our lives. 🙂 The longing that’s been hitting me recently is also a push to talk about it with everyone who’s following along. Many of you have asked us what’s going on with our adoption journey. Thank you for asking. It’s good for me to talk about it. With that prompting, I knew I was ready to write this post, even when I feel like I don’t have anything new to share. I know there’s still value in sharing the process as it continues on.

Because this is part of the process of adoption… The Wait. The Anticipation. The Dream. There is a part of me that wants to focus on the ‘the wait’ in a negative light. I want to complain and whine and say, ‘Why is this taking so long?’ I want to ask the question, ‘When will this happen for us?’ But there’s that other part of me that’s fighting for patience and HOPE! The other side focuses on the anticipation of what’s to come with positivity and JOY! The dream of my next child brings up feelings of warmth and excitement.

While I Wait…

The question I’ve had to wrestle with is, ‘Which side of the spectrum do I want to focus on? The annoying waiting or the anticipation of a dream actualized?’ I’m not sure the answer is to focus solely on either of these. As I think about it, I don’t want to stop dreaming, but I also don’t want to miss the ‘now.’ In the meantime, in the waiting, I still have a life to live now. God is still doing something with me now! He’s not waiting for this new family addition before He sets my purpose into motion. No, there are many things that God is growing in me, teaching me, moving my heart on, and using me to be a change in my sphere of influence.

Ironically, I don’t have to wait. I don’t have to wait to be the person right now today that God so wonderfully purposed me to be. I don’t have to wait for the next big step in my life to come to fruition before I step out, speak out, live out what God has for me. I want to be a person of the PRESENT, not one living in the past or the future only.

Thank you, God, for the dreams you’ve put in my heart. They are truly wonderful! I ask that you help me to live in the present moment… while I wait.

family, God, Kingdom, My Story

Partnering with God

Remember Last Fall When…

Last Fall I shared a reminiscent story of how God cares about little children’s desires. The blog post was about the time our neighbor found a lost Siamese kitten and they said we could have it. I was so excited because I had wanted one really badly and my mom had even prayed that we’d somehow get one and then we did! Well, a few weeks after publishing that blog post, two Siamese kittens came up as available for adoption at our local humane society. I wouldn’t usually know about new kitten arrivals, but because my mom was volunteering at the time, and just happened to be doing a different volunteer task that day, she noticed them. She let me know about these kitties immediately and many things came into alignment which allowed my family to adopt them! I felt like God was confirming again that He loves me just as much as an adult as He did when I was a child. It was so uplifting to my heart.

Well, it’s happened again! I wanted to take the time to share about it with you and I think the larger lesson that comes from this is…When we’re obedient to do the things God asks us to do, His subsequent gifts bring us more joy and gratitude because of our partnership and obedience.

And Now This Spring…

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post on the Spiritual Discipline of Simplicity. Through my research on this topic, I discovered more about my family’s history and heritage of simplicity and how it also has been working out in my own adult life. Then I got to share some of my thoughts on this subject during a Facebook Q&A through our church. It was a lot of fun and I was reminded yet again about how much I love to share the things that God is teaching me with other people!

Two Extra Large Totes Full of Clothes!

This all came back to mind recently when my neighbors dropped off two HUGE bins of girls’ clothing for my daughters and some of my nieces in our neighborhood. You see, re-using material goods is one of the outward actions of living simply. To me, I can be a wise steward of my money when I buy clothing second-hand. So many clothes can be worn over and over again and still have plenty of life in them. So, I love to find great deals on used clothes for my kids and the kids don’t really know the difference between brand-new, thrift-store-bought, or hand-me down clothes. They’re excited about them no matter what – because it’s still new to them!

This came about because, while working in my front yard a few weeks ago, these neighbors walked by and I stopped them to ask them if they’d be willing to allow me to buy their daughter’s clothes since there wouldn’t be garage sales this year due to the stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines. I knew from past years that they have great clothes and they’re just the right size for my daughter! So, I suggested that either I could pay a lump sum for the clothes, or I could go through the items and choose what I’d like to buy and pay them separately for each one. I also mentioned that I’m not the only who has benefited from their garage sales in the past, but that my sister and two of her girls have as well! 

One week ago these neighbors came to my door with two large totes FULL of girls’ clothes, shoes, and accessories. In addition to the excitement of having so many new items to look through, I was doubly excited when they told me that we could ‘just have’ all the clothes at no cost!!! I was floored. I mean, it’s not like we have a close relationship with these people outside of the usual pleasant conversations and friendly waving that happens from time to time. But, they chose to gift us with enough clothes to last for years! This gift basically clothed three girls for this summer and into the winter. The clothes will be passed down to girl after girl until either they’re not wearable any longer or we run out of girls! I am overwhelmed with joy by this gift and so thankful.

The Lesson I’ve Learned and Keep Learning…

God’s faithfulness is nothing to dismiss. He is faithful every time. He loves to give gifts to His children – of all ages. He will give to us regardless of our actions, but there is something so precious when we cooperate with Him and see a reward too! In this case, it was writing and talking on my experience of Simplicity. Then God brought a gift from others to us in the realm of this topic and we are blessed to continue to live out this spiritual discipline.

Over this past year, God has asked me to share my experiences, to be open with my ideas, and to transparently be available to those around me. It’s not always easy to ‘go out on a limb’ in the social media space and so when He confirms our partnership in ways I’m not expecting (Siamese kittens and donated kids’ clothes) I’m filled with the warmth of His love and overflowing with gratitude to My Father who never leaves me and always provides for me.

Writing this post leads me to wonder, “How can this story help others?” I enjoy sharing the story, but what is the bigger value for those reading/hearing it? Well, I want others to be filled with hope that God is a faithful Father. I want people (my blog friends for instance) to think about times that God has asked us to partner with Him and what was the outcome? Was it encouraging? Was there fruit from your actions, or in some cases, inaction? Do you feel more inspired to jump into the partnership that God is asking you to join?

Oh, I hope you do! It’s so totally worth it, always. It might not always be easy or pretty. You might not even see the ‘happy results’ immediately or even soon after, but I know that God is always working good from our obedience and He will reveal all that in the perfect time. So, I say… Go in peace and confidence that the God who calls us also takes care of us.