Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Humbled Awe

I am sitting on our back porch in humbled awe. We serve a great and powerful God.

Each morning, I come out hear to drink my cup (or two) of coffee and pray. As you probably know, most of my prayers center around a little boy on the other side of the world. I sit right here and ask God to protect him, love him and bring him home to us. I ask God to move our case forward so that our son can live with his family and know the deep love of his mom and dad.

And over the weekend, I asked you to join me in those same prayers. So many of you responded with emails, texts, Facebook massages. You shared that post with your friends. And then I believe hundreds of you linked arms with us on Sunday night to pray for Ethiopia, adoptive families and our case specifically.

Adam and I sat in Bradley's room and prayed these same things, too.

Dear friends, I received a message this morning that our preliminary hearing has been scheduled. And it is SOON.

I can't share the date here, but if you are just dying to know God's goodness, just send me an email. I'd love to tell you.

This isn't the hearing for which Adam and I will travel, but it is the next (and last) step to get to that point.

I don't have words. So many of you prayed with us and for us. You went to God on our behalf. And He answered in a POWERFUL way. All I can tell you is THANK YOU. Thank you for being part of his story. Thank you for giving of your time and your prayers for our family.

I would ask that you keep praying for Ethiopia as a nation and for our case specifically, that we will travel soon and have Bradley home by June 27.

It is impossible to ignore God's hand in this. Time and again in Scripture He tells us to call on Him, to cast our burdens on Him, to seek Him, to ask great things of Him. And He tells us to do these things so that He can be magnified and glorified. It can be tough to hang in there sometimes; I am a walking testament to that fact. But He can be trusted. He is good, and He loves us, even when (maybe especially when) life is looks impossible. That is Him setting the stage to do something incredible.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
Malachi 3:10


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Please Pray with Me

As I have done so many, many times before, I am going to ask every person this post reaches to pray with me, with us. There is a group of adoptive parents who pray together on Sunday nights at 9:30 CST. We pray for all different things: families waiting on a referral, families waiting on paperwork, families waiting on court dates, families waiting to go get their children. Each of those things is so important, but you will notice an obviously common thread.


That is what SO much of the adoption process is about. And as you know, that is where we are right now, too. We are waiting on a preliminary hearing so that we can be in line for our own court appearance. So many steps to get to our boy.

So I want to ask you to join with us tomorrow {Sunday} night at 9:30 CST. I want to ask you to pray some VERY specific things, not just for us, but for all families and for Ethiopia.

-Last week, Ethiopia experienced a terrible tragedy when 30 Ethiopian Christians were killed by ISIS in the Middle East. Please pray for comfort for the people of Ethiopia, especially for the families of those who lost their lives for their faith. Pray that the Lord would use this event in a powerful way in Ethiopia, to open eyes and hearts to His truth and His redemption.

-Please pray for a deep sense of urgency in the government officials who process adoption paperwork. Ask God to lay it on their hearts that each piece of paper represents a child who is away from his/her family. And pray that that reality will spur these workers into swift action.

-Pray for the families who are waiting on all kinds of things: referrals, paperwork, hearings, travel. Ask God to give their hearts rest and peace.

-Please pray for our family specifically. We are struggling right now. Please pray that Bradley is safe and being well loved and cared for (all of our photo updates indicate that this is happening!). Pray for our family's case specifically, that we would be issued a preliminary court date this coming week. We are also praying (begging) that Bradley will be home with us by June 27, the day my brother-in-law gets married.

I have been praying and pleading, and I am asking you to join me. If you are on social media of any kind, please feel free to share this post with anyone you think will join us. We need every last prayer we can get. And if you can join us tomorrow night, please let me know somehow. Leave a comment, send me an email, anything. I need to pray and thank God for you.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 
Jeremiah 29:12-13

Many of us are familiar with Jeremiah 29:11, and these verses follows right on its heels. A dear friend put this chapter and these verses in context for me a few weeks ago. At the time that the Lord spoke these words through Jeremiah, Israel had been in captivity for decades, crying out for deliverance. And this was God's assurance to them. I can identify so much with that idea. I have felt like a captive to this process, to this time of waiting to be a mother for so many years. Crying out to God for deliverance all the while. I am praying, and I know He will listen. 


Friday, April 24, 2015

I'm {not} Fine.

As I was scrolling through Instagram this morning, I found a photo, courtesy of @momastery, that perfectly encapsulates how I am feeling about our adoption right now.

{photo credit: @momastery} 

I mean. Seriously. How perfect is that? 

And that is basically it. 

There is so much about the way this process has been going lately that has left me feeling completely helpless and exhausted. Kind of like a woman who has collapsed in the middle of the street while still chanting, "I'm fine." 

But the reality is, I am the exact opposite of fine. 

I don't feel fine. I feel lost, hurt, scared, exhausted, panicked. I feel like the road in front of us keeps getting longer, not shorter. I feel like our boy will never really be home. 

And yet, when people ask me how I'm doing, my response is still, "I'm fine." 

Why in the world do I do that? 

I don't know if I want people to think I am fine or if I just can't handle unloading everything on every person who asks. 

But whatever it is, I can assure that I am not actually fine. 

This past week has been a real struggle for me. All of our final paperwork has been in Ethiopia for over six weeks, and we have yet to move to the next step of bringing our boy home. And I am powerless to do anything about it. It is maddening. To love a little life so much and be unable to show him that or keep him safe. There have been so many moments when I have felt the wave of panic rising up inside me. So much so that I can't keep the tears back. I look at his precious face, and I can't believe that we have had to spend so many days apart. 

At each step of this whole journey, I have felt myself being tested and stretched beyond anything I ever thought possible. And as we have progressed, it has only gotten harder. This week, especially, I have struggled deeply with reconciling who I KNOW God is and who He APPEARS to be in my life right now. I know that is something I should not be struggling with. Because I know God, and I know He is good. But when I look around at the state of our life and where our son is, I am left feeling mystified, even hurt. I was watching an adoption story today, and the wife of the couple said that during their long, long struggle to become parents she often felt that what God was doing was mean. Oh, that resonated with me. I have felt that way often, and it is a terrible thing to feel. I know God is not mean; He is loving and good. 

And so right now, on a daily basis, I am having to remind myself that my feelings are not a true indicator of who God is. I can feel them (and I think I should), but I cannot stop there. I have to continue believing that God is good and that He is at work, even in the middle of this terrible situation.

So if you are here, too, in the middle of something tough, I want to invite you to be OK with the fact that you are not perfectly fine. I don't believe that God asks us to ignore our feelings. I believe He asks us to trust Him in the midst of them. 

So, while I am not "fine," I am trying to remain steadfast in faith. 


Friday, April 17, 2015

Prisoners of Hope

The time between seeing our sweet boy's face for the first time and our trip to meet him seems to be growing ever longer. It has been almost five months since we first laid eyes on our beautiful boy, and we are still uncertain as to when we will actually be able to travel to meet him. Adam and I have begun to grow {understandably} weary in the wait. I was venting some of my frustration to my mom on the phone earlier this week -- she is sharing in our sentiments these days -- and I just told her that I did not get it any more. Plain and simple.

In the adoption world, all those months and years leading up to your referral, you can hang on to the reality that you are not waiting for A child, but you are waiting for YOUR child. So you can remind yourself as the days pass by that God is at work preparing YOUR child to be brought into YOUR family. But now, here we are, five months removed from seeing the child God has gifted our family with, and we are still waiting. Waiting. Waiting...

After we got off the phone, my mom sent me a text with a Scripture reference in it.

Zechariah 9:12

I was not immediately familiar with it, but some quick Googling left me without too many words.

I need to do more research to figure out the exact context of this verse, but this one sentence was enough to basically halt me in my tracks. I so identify with the idea of being a prisoner of hope, being held captive by God and His infinite goodness. So much of this journey to our boy has been heartbreakingly awful. I have had more hard days than good ones, and I have shed far too many tears for me to ever count. I have hurt. I have begged God for favor. I have prayed for the safety and health of our boy. I have asked God for mercy. And in all of that, I have not received many of the answers I wanted. Our adoption has taken YEARS longer than we were told it would. The emotional and spiritual toll has been steep. It is true that there has been one brilliant and beautiful YES to our prayers, but we have gotten so many NOS or NOT NOWS.

And at many points along the way I have felt bereft of all hope. I have felt alone and forgotten. I have felt {in very real ways} that the Lord was far from me. But then I read Zechariah 9:12, and I am reminded WHO my fortress really is. You see, the problem with me wanting to abandon all hope is that I simply can't do it. I know who God is, and I know that He is good. So even though I have found myself, countless times, in places where I begin to doubt and lose hope, there is this foundation of truth beneath my feet that refuses to give in.

The Lord is my fortress, and I am a prisoner of hope. He will provide. He will, as Zechariah says, restore twice as much to us. I don't know what that twice as much will be, but I have a feeling there will be a LOT of joy surrounding it.

A few weeks ago, one of our pastors preached on hope and how the hope of Christ follower is different. Hope in our English language is something we wish for, something we desire to happen. Hope in God's economy is an assurance. It is not something we hope happens; it is something Jesus has already done. Beth Moore said it well: Hope is the knowledge that God is going to show up.

I like that. I love it, actually. Because I do, way down deep, know that God is going to show up. I know that He is going to do this incredible thing. I just have to continue to trust Him.

And maybe you are there, too. Maybe, like me, you are battle scarred and so tired of fighting. Can I tell you, from very lengthy personal experience, that God is still good in your trial? I pray that He is your fortress, too.


Saturday, April 11, 2015


I should have sat down to write this yesterday, but I didn't. I didn't want to acknowledge it, much less deal with it.

Yesterday, April 10, 2015, marked THREE YEARS in the adoption process for us.

Part of me is really struggling with the reality of that kind of passage of time. And the other part of me is so over keeping track of how long everything has taken that I just can't even bear to think about it anymore. When we started out this process, we were given a TOTAL timeframe of 12-15 months. That is long gone.

And yet we are in the home stretch (or os it seems), and so we are trying more than every to keep our chins up as the days roll on. I haven't been writing much lately, and there are a few reasons why. The foremost is that I have grown so weary in this process. I am so very tired of my son living on the other side of the world, of not being the one to care for him, of being disappointed over and over again. My heart is really hurting these days as we watch our son grow up and change in pictures, wondering when it will finally be our turn to be there for him. My soul is aching all the time as I wonder (virtually nonstop) what he is doing, whether he is being held, when we will be able to meet him. So many things.

But right now, I am trying to really refocus my heart and put all my trust in God. Man will let us down, but our Lord will not. So I am trying even harder to look at Jesus and not at this hot mess around me. I am trying to remind myself that He knows exactly when we will meet our boy and that His plan is best. You would think that I would be really good at this by now, but, honestly, it just gets harder and harder as the days go by, as timeframes shift and as expectations are not met.

I would, yet again, humbly ask for your prayer. I would ask that you pray for the government workers handling adoption cases in Ethiopia to be filled with a deep sense of urgency about their work, that they would move swiftly and efficiently to get these little ones to their families. And very specifically, I ask that you would pray that we have our feet on the African continent on or before Mother's Day. I'm just not sure how my heart will handle another empty armed Mother's Day, so I am asking that God would move in a powerful way.

Thank you for hanging in there with us. I realize this is not my most eloquent post, but my heart is just too tired today.


Sunday, April 5, 2015


It is one of my life's dreams to travel to the Holy Land. There is something about walking where Jesus' feet fell that stirs my heart to the core. To sit on the Mount of Olives. To wade in the Sea of Galilee. To stand on the banks of the Jordan. I'm getting weepy just thinking about it.

But there is one thing I want to do most.

I want to visit the tomb where my Savior was laid to rest on a Friday over two thousand years ago. I want to stand outside of it and wonder what Mary must have been thinking when she went to perform the burial rights on Jesus on Sunday morning.

And then I want to walk inside because I know what I will find.



I love that I serve a Savior who is not dead. I can't go worship and ask for favor at his tomb or grave marker. BECAUSE HE DOES NOT HAVE ONE. Jesus is the true and living God. And when He left His throne on high to come down here and walk with men, He did it to redeem us unto Himself.

He offered His life on the cross to bridge our path to God. And then He conquered death to afford us a place at His side for all eternity.

He did that for you and for me and for every other human who would ever walk the earth. So the all-important question is this: Do you know Him?

Do you know this great and glorious God who would humble Himself into the likeness of man, take on man's sins and die in our place--knowing all the while that most of us would never believe Him? Do you know Him? He is worth knowing, so much more so than any other man in history.

If you do know Him, I rejoice with you. If you don't, I pray that you would seek Him out. He is easily found, and He is already waiting.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him."
Mark 16:6

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