Friday, March 28, 2014

The Heartbreak and the Healing

It has been seven months y'all...

seven months since Maggie and Lucy came home...


and while we are celebrating the fact that Lucy can now walk for more than 2 steps before falling and cutting her head open or the fact that Maggie can now walk without knee pads as she gains more control over her precious body...

there are things at this seven month mark that we are not celebrating...

things that we are grieving over and things that have brought us to our knees.

You see, the girls are feeling safer, they are feeling more secure with us and while we do definitely celebrate that awesome fact...

with that security comes revelations and with these revelations come heart break...

heartbreak for what our daughters have begun to tell us of their pasts, their realities, their day in and day out, and their experiences, some of which were immensely and sadly traumatic...

and it – is – hard.

Doing the work that I do and being so involved in the adoption community, you would think that I would have been ready, ready for this knowledge, ready for this sadness, ready to hear their pain...

but my heart was so not ready.

These are my kids, my girls and they suffered y'all, really suffered.

These are all things that I knew could happen to every single waiting child out there but when you are hearing it come out of the mouths of your children...

it suddenly becomes so very real and so very close and so very, hard to process.

My girls have stories, real live stories and those stories are ripping this Momma's heart in two.

We saw where Lucy came from and if you followed our journey, I think you could tell how disturbed we were to experience where our daughter had lived for 4 years of her young life.


Our trip there affected us in a way that I was not prepared for but because of that visit, we did feel somewhat prepared for Lucy's challenges and ready for what she would later tell us of her “Ch*na reality” but when Maggie's story began to be told...

again...

we – were – brought – to – our – knees.

Her story is one of extreme trauma and pain and loss and fear and far too much for anyone, especially a precious little girl, to carry around...

and yet she does and still manages to love and to laugh and to live.

Is she burying the hurt?

yes

Is she masking the tears with laughter?

yes

Is she going to be ok...

YES

You see, in the midst of all this “hard”, there is peace, the kind of supernatural peace that can only come from the Lord.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:27

We know He is equipping us, we can feel it everyday and while it might be the hardest thing we have ever done...

there is His constant, reassuring peace, “peace that passes all understanding.”

The day we met Maggie, she noticed my cross. She told us that day in those first few precious moments of knowing her that she had Jesus in her heart – this beautiful, wounded child had already begun to feel His healing, experience His love and through her loving, compassionate, trusting heart, she has shown us just how powerful this is!

video

We see how He lifts her up and in the process, we are all lifted!

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

Maggie will be an “overcomer”!

It will take time and patience and hard work and love but she will overcome and I suspect that her victory will inspire and enlighten and sometimes convict us but always, always glorify Him and all that He has done within her heart and her spirit.

Last week Maggie wanted to make a card for Jesus


She wanted Him to know how much she loved Him and that He was in her heart!


She asked if she could put it in the collection plate at church...

so we did...

and she was so excited.

It is hard to be around Maggie and not be excited.


He is removing the pain and suffering from her heart and filling it with JOY!

How can we not feel completely and totally blessed to be allowed to witness this transformation first hand!

Do we still have struggles?

Do we still have challenges?

Are some days harder than others?

Yes...

Their needs are great and some days I don't feel great enough to meet those needs but I know things are easier now than they were 7 months ago.

I also know that they will continue to get easier and perhaps more “normal”, although I have long ago given up on the image of “normal” for our family and that's OK...

cause I don't really think I want our family to be what our society considers “normal” anymore.

Thanks to the path the Lord has placed us on...

we are different...


we stand out...

we create a ruckus where ever we go and I am totally cool with that cause I think this world needs a bit more “Holy Ruckus”...

because these kids need us and...

we need them!

My sweet girls have come a long way...

but the learning and the growing and the bonding and the healing continues...

and it is hard...

their stories are hard...

but trusting the Lord to heal their hearts is easy!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

The hurt is real

The loss runs deep

and the pain is always just below the surface...

for all three of our precious daughters from Ch*na.


However, God is real-er and deeper and so much more than “just below the surface”!

So as we trudge through our sweet Maggie's needs, both emotional and physical, and walk this path of healing with her, I am often “brought to my knees” but many times, not just in anguish...

but in awe.

Childlike faith y'all!

Maggie, who is full of frightening, horrendous memories, has it and she knows...

despite it all, she knows that Jesus loves her and boy does she love Him!

 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1 John 5:4

My Maggie is loved and cherished and safe but so many more are not...

so many more are suffering and scared and alone.

Please pray for these precious ones and maybe even consider that the Lord may be calling you to help a waiting child to be loved and cherished and safe, whether that is through adoption or by financially helping others bring their children home or simply by supporting those who are home.

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
James 1:27

“unspotted from the world”

My girls are not “unspotted from the world” just as I am not and so many others are not...

however, my girls' “spottings” were thrust upon them and mine, like so many others have “spottings” that were chosen.

I don't expect everyone to understand as I did not for so very long...

until I went to China and brought our Lizzie home.

I saw where she had spent the first two years of life and then dealt with the effects of this existence and it started to become more real, this “spotting”.

Little by little I was giving in to the broken-ness that the Lord had begun laying on my heart as a child...

and after bringing Maggie and Lucy home...

seeing where Lucy came from...

and the beginning truth of Maggie's heartbreak...

it is now deeply and painfully clear, the orphans reality and our “spotting”...

and we are learning that to be “unspotted” requires letting go of the expectations of this world.

We have 3 beautiful wonderful daughters who have deep hurts and real pain and it is not how I envisioned my life as I was growing up but I am certain, it is how the Lord envisioned my life and I am certain He will continue to equip us for this life He planned for us and I am certain that His healing will continue to bless us and I am certain that our 3 beautiful wonderful daughters will be restored.

  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

My girls now have a hope and a future.

Please consider opening your hearts and looking beyond the expectations of this world.

There are children counting on you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Girls Rule!

From my sweet Emmeline yesterday:
My Hero

"My Hero's name is Annie but I call her Mom! I love her so much. She makes me feel really happy! She makes food for me. Annie lives in *****. She is always happy. Mom is 50 years old. She loves dogs. Mom is very good at spelling. Annie loves animals so so much. She likes the color light blue. Her favorite food is salad. Mom is the best in the world! Annie loves kids so so much! My Mom is so so so so so so nice! That is why my Mom is my Hero."

Needless to say that there was some extra ice cream for a certain someone yesterday!

and from my wonderful Lizzie today:


To God and Jesus

"Thank you for everyone and everything in the world. God is the best in the whole world! He is so, so, so powerful and mighty! God is the best. He is awesome. Did you know that? He is the wind of the world and the Holy Spirit. He loves kids. He died on the cross for us. He is the might of everyone. This is what you need to know more about God. The Bible. God and Jesus are the best in the world. I love Him so, so much! God is always with you no matter what, always and for ever. He is up in heaven watching you every where you go. He is always there. I love God!"

Oh darling, would that I had had your heart for the Lord at age 7!  

Y'all, Hubby is still in need of a job and this particular journey is getting hard but oh how He blesses along the way!

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Convicted!

Ok, so the Lord completely convicted me over the weekend!  
You know sometimes I just need a slap in the face!  Gosh you would think I would have it down by now but yep, sometimes I need that divine smack down! 

So it began on Saturday when I told one of our sweet, sweet Lifeline families that I would give them a call to discuss our experience (so far) with cerebral palsy.  

See, I was going to help them.

The Lord had other plans however...

So this sweet friend told me that earlier in the year, she had decided that she was going to commit to posting one thing good about her hubby on FB, everyday...

for 30 days.

She did and had a blast doing it, cause that is just the way He works but one of those days ended up being so incredibly significant for them.

I won't go into details but suffice it to say that the Lord convicted her heart, she listened and they were blessed and not blessed in the way that most people think of but just incredibly, beautifully blessed.

So, I got off the phone with this sweet friend and thought, wow, that was really incredibly cool...

and then did not think about it again until...

Hubby and I were sitting in our Adult Sunday School class at church on Sunday.

The teaching was all about Jesus and servitude and having a servants heart, just as Jesus did.

We talked about leading through serving and loving through serving and serving even when you don't particularly feel like serving...

and then the pastor looked right at me and said, "You have about a bazillion kids , right?"

(feels like it most days - grin) 

"Yet, at the end of the day, you are still supposed to serve your Hubby, you are called to serve even when you don't feel like serving."

Now, he didn't really mean serving Hubby breakfast in bed every morning but serving in the sense of honoring him and respecting him and loving him even when I don't have much left at the end of the day...

cause honestly y'all...

there ain't much left at the end of my day.

However, I feel like the Lord has been whispering this to me for a while now and this weekend that whisper became an all out SHOUT!

So, starting tomorrow, I am committing to posting something wonderful about my sweet Hubby on FB every single day from now until Easter Sunday, along with just honoring him and respecting him in our day in and day out so that he not only just knows that I love him and respect him but that he sees that I love him and respect him.


It is tangible and clear instead of unspoken and just understood.

I am not expecting incredible blessings from this commitment to rectify this particular conviction...

other than the beautiful blessings that come from serving through love and humility.

After all, we are supposed to live it out, not just preach it and I am very good at preaching to my kids to "treat others as you want to be treated" and yet I was not living that out nearly enough with the person in my life who always makes sure I have my own chocolate candy stash in the house, who fixes everything of mine that I break, who encourages me to take time to myself, who does the grocery shopping (with coupons), who does his own ironing cause he knows that I hate it, who loves me even when I am not acting so lovable and who weeps with me over our own children's pain and the pain of all of God's precious orphaned children.

There are just so many beautiful scriptures on love but for the season that Hubby and I find ourselves in, this one seems most comforting.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18-19 

We have had fear but the Lord is defeating that fear with faith and I am learning to trust and to listen and to act because I know He loves us and wants us to love Him and each other!

Love

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8 

AMEN!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Fall

Lucy fell

Lucy always falls

but this was a bad one

this one was down our stairs

like all - the - way - down!
 
She hit hard
 
and so did I...
 
For you adoptive Mamas out there, you know the moment when you have that kick in your heart, the moment you have that "oh my gosh, I REALLY DO LOVE this child" moment?

Well today was that moment.

Not that I have not loved sweet Lucy, cause I have.

I loved her before we brought her home and I loved her when we met her and all the days after and the day we stepped foot into the R Hospital where she lived for 4 years, I knew that we would be ok cause this was so not ok.

Know what I mean?

Today though...

today was my kick in the heart moment when I realized just how strong, how deep, how real my love for this precious child is.

As I watched Lucy plummet down the stairs and land in a heap in the floor...

my world stopped

and I was terrified.

As I held her and comforted her and kissed away her tears and wiped away the blood on her lip and told her that she was ok and that I loved her and cried with her...
 
I knew...

I also knew that, even though she seemed ok, she needed to stay home from school...

I needed her to stay home from school... 
 
 
 and as she rested all tucked in on the sofa with a blanket and a doggie or two, her heart began to open up and she began to tell me a bit more of her story and I got my second kick of the day.
 
 
What Lucy told me did not shock me as I have heard many stories, heartbreaking stories, from other older adopted children and I saw first hand what I thought her life had been in China, so I was not shocked but still completely heartbroken for this beautiful child - my child.
 
 
Lucy told me that she would fall down all the time and that no one would help her.  She shared that she would fall in the bathroom a lot (here my heart broke as I saw what this bathroom looked like) and that she called for help and no - one - would - come.  
 
(heart shattered)

I asked her if her sweet BFF at the hospital would help her and she said yes.  This sweet boy, who is now home with his family (praise God), told his Mom that he would help Lucy up and down the stairs and pick her up when she would fall.

Sigh...

Again, heartbreak for my sweet girl and for her BFF as he was just a child too.  They apparently just decided one day that they were going to be big brother and little sister.  He took care of my girl!

Lucy told me that she would get scared in her bed at night and that she would cry but no - one - would - come...

She said that when she fell down and hurt herself, no one would kiss her and make it better and that they would be angry with her, always angry with her.

Oh sweet Lucy, would that I could have come to you...
 
 I know, however, that I cannot stay "there"
 
I know I have to be here for her - now
 
so we talked and we hugged and we cried and then we watched "I Spy" 
 
I know there is more to come and Maggie's story has really turned us inside out (more to come on that later) but for now, we just keep on coming when she calls and kissing her when she falls and loving her through it all!
 
This is why we have 3 more children than most people thought we should have had.
 
I cannot and I will not ignore their plight or His call.
 
Praying more will begin to hear this call and not just to adopt but maybe to help others who are adopting or sponsor a child or at least be supportive of those who do hear the call and choose to answer!

My heart is heavy for my daughters but I know they will be ok

My heart is heavier for those who will never have a Mom or a Dad to come to them when they call or kiss them when they fall.

Please pray for all of these precious ones who wait and all of the families who step out in faith and ignore the promptings of this world to follow the promptings of our heavenly Father.
 
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27

It is not easy but we were not promised easy and nothing that comes easy is treasured nearly as much as that which comes out of true hard work and challenge and we are so incredibly blessed by our challenges right now.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
 James 1:2-4 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Micro No More!

So my 10th grader is playing varsity soccer this year!


Thank goodness it is varsity soccer and not varsity football!

I know, I know, I like watching football but not when it is my son getting tackled!

Yikes!

Once he decided that soccer was his sport....


 he worked hard...


and was determined to play varsity ball and this year, he finally got his chance.  He is playing for our local high school and still participating when he can with the wonderful club team that he has played with for so long.


This kiddo actually gets upset when his practices are cancelled or if he can't get to his 2nd practice of the night because his 1st practice runs over!


Yep, he is MY child!


Shhh, don't tell anyone but I am one of those strange people who actually likes to exercise, so I totally get him!

*grin*

He has not had his first official game yet as a varsity player but will next week and I will be there, camera in hand and heart in throat! 

Micro Soccer seems like just yesterday...


and now he drives himself to practice!

So varsity soccer, here we come!

I think I am ready...
 
 
I know he is!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Snapshot - Puppy Love

Lizzie is a girl after her Momma's heart...


She is my doggie lover and I have a feeling...


when she is just a bit older...


she and I are gonna get into a lot of trouble together.
 
 
 Like Mother - Like Daughter
 
To see more awesome Sunday Snapshots, go to Stefanie's wonderful blog here
 
Ni Hao Yall




Saturday, March 8, 2014

Here Comes the Sun


and after one of the coldest winters we have had in a long while...


and a full week of rain...
 

we - went - outside!


It was wonderful y'all

We played soccer


 We threw a huge frisbee


We played chase



 We walked the dogs


 and we jumped rope.



 I even taught Maggie and Lucy how to make a wish with a Dandelion and blow the petals away.


I remember doing that as a kid and it was good OT for them both as they struggled to blow hard enough to make the petals fly away.


As we were getting ready to go in, Maggie told me that her wish was for Jesus to come and visit...


oh my sweet child...


I told her that Jesus is here and is always here and when I asked her where Jesus is...


she replied "in our hearts."

Yes baby girl - in our hearts!


A few minutes later, she found another Dandelion and told me that she wanted to wish this for her foster mom and she wanted me to blow it so the petals would be sure to fly away.

I made certain each and every petal was gone.

After all that this precious child has been through, the love of Jesus brings this beautiful heart out of the dark of her former life...

She is being restored and what a blessing to be able to walk this with her!

HARD?

YES...

but here comes the sun Son and the Light and Maggie is being lifted up out of the darkness.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Friday, March 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Emmeline

My heart gets hammered this time of year as Charlie, Caleb, Em, now Lucy and Lizzie all turn another year older...

one right after the other and while I enjoy each and every year and each and every stage (well just about each and every stage)...

I do find myself missing the years that I could pull them on to my lap (without a struggle and in mutual agreement - hehe) and have them melt into my arms with a sigh, making everything in their world right again...


besides, every year gets us one more year closer to having 4 teenage girls in this house...

oh my...

staying in my "happy place" today though...
as Em turned 8 years old on Monday...

not 13!

Whew

I remember the joy when sweet Em arrived.


I also remember checking for "boy parts" as soon as they handed her to me!


Hey, after 3 boys, you would check too!

*snicker*

Sure enough, there were no "boy parts" and beautiful Em has lived up to her girl status but girl status with 3 big brothers...


which makes for a rough and tumble girlie girl who likes to have her nails done...


for her soccer games!

Gotta love it!

Em stole my heart from the very beginning and bringing her sister, Lizzie, home began to shape her's.

video

Even at a very young age, she got it and she is teaching me, y'all

video

Her constant and steady love and tireless care for her newest sisters has convicted my heart on more than one occasion.  I know you all remember the beach pictures


when my sweet Em went back to get Lucy, who had been left behind!


Yep...


convicted!


This was not a burden to my precious girl


just a privilege and a joy!

The Lord is already using you, Em, in mighty ways and I just cannot wait to see where He leads you.


Em, you are sweet and sassy, strong but soft, nurturing and kind and we are oh so proud of you.


 Your teacher told us on Monday, on your birthday, that you were voted student of the month for kindness and one of the reasons given by a fellow classmate is that, "you play with me when I am lonely!"


Oh my heart!

Happy Birthday my sweet inspiration.


Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12


Your light is shining my sweet love...

Happy Birthday!