We found hope in surrendering.

In the Old testament it says that Abraham had been given a promise of a son. For Twenty-five years he waited for God to keep that promise. God kept his word and gave Abraham a son named Isaac. And then this happened in Genesis 22:2

“Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’”

Can you imagine what Abraham must have felt. He begged God for this son, he waited so long for this child and he finally had his boy, and now God was asking Abraham to give this child back to him?!  And somehow Abraham mustered up the faith to do just that. 

The Bible says it was a three-day journey that Abraham and Isaac took together. I wonder how many times during their journey, Abraham looked over at his son with tears streaming down his face knowing what was to come. 

For the last year we have cried, more like sobbed, with many of you, but to one person in particular, it has happened more often. I would tell her that I couldn’t do what the Lord was asking of us, that it was going to shatter me, shatter us and change everything and I desperately did not want it to change. Every time this conversation would come up between her and I, she would respond to me with, “I see a vision in my head of Abraham and Isaac and the faith it took for him to obey God.” And each time she would say this to me,  I would respond back with, “I do not have that kind of faith, I am not that strong. I can’t do this.”   I wonder if Abraham said something like that internally to God during his three-day Journey with his son to the top of the Mt. 

But still Abraham and Isaac eventually did reach the top of the mountain and In Genesis 22:9-12 it says, 

“He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham! Do not lay a hand on the boy.”

A few Monday nights ago, Ben and I reach the top of our mountain. I was laying on our bed and Ben was on his knees next to the bed. With a pen in his hand and a document between us that we both knew once signed would change everything forever. The grief was unbearable. I started sobbing in ways I have never cried in my entire life. Ben was also crying and he didn’t know what else to do, so he prayed. He asked the Lord to give us strength to hand our son over to him and that we both knew that He loved our son more than we did and to help us to trust that.  Then Ben stopped praying and said, “I feel that the Lord is asking us to dedicate little man’s life over to him at church this coming Sunday.” So after talking for a while together and with others people we decided that we would take that week and on that Sunday we would dedicate him and his life to the Lord. We went to bed that night smiling and something was lifted from us for that moment because, we knew we had a few more days with him, a few more days before our hearts shattered in ways we can’t describe. But three days later on that past Wednesday, we woke up like any other day and seemly out of the blue things came to light and transpired quickly regarding him and about where he was staying. Everything got flipped upside down and by 4 o’clock that afternoon he was home, in our house for the first time in 18 months. We still do not know what the future holds for him or for us as a family. But we did find hope in surrendering. 

God didn’t ask Abraham to surrender because he wanted to punish him, but because He wanted to bless him. And God did exactly that. When Abraham surrendered to God, God blessed him above and beyond. When we surrender, God blesses us and in our case he blessed us with hope. This doesn’t lesson the pain or struggles of this journey but it does give us hope and a trust that we needed in order to continue on. So no matter what God does in all of this, we are learning to trust and believe it will be good and perfect because God really does love him more. 

So in this moment and for the last 12 days, we are a whole family, under one roof and my heart is more at peace than it has been the last four years combined.IMG_2611

….no mountain unturned


Would we still say yes to being our little boy’s parents knowing all that was in store for our family?  
Goodness that is such a loaded question. One I have sat and thought about, on some really hard days. On one hand, if I never met him I would never have fallen in love with him. So maybe not saying yes might have been much easier at the time. On the other hand, if I never met him, I would never have been able to love him and that is equally as devastating to think about. But I did meet him and I did fall completely in love in love with him. So here we are and this much I know, I will never regret loving him but loving him is the easy part. The darkest and most painful days of our lives have came with bringing trauma into our lives and home. We have second hand trauma from living in the chaos mental illness brings. It’s not our son’s fault, not even close. Which makes some of the choices we have to make even harder. My childhood of abuse doesn’t hold a flame to the anguish of the last couple years has brought our family. As a women, your identity to a degree is wrapped up in being a mother, at least it is for me. The nurturer, the safe place, the person that fixes the boo-boos, the one her child runs to when they’ve had a bad dream. But I can’t be that for him and it’s so dang painfully hard. As his mom, my arms should be his safest place and they are actually his scariest place. No matter how much it is explained to him, his basic instinct kick in and his soul screams, ‘moms can’t be trusted.’ Which is ass nine backwards for most of us to comprehend, but his early years taught him it was true at a primal level. So each day; I wake up and still choose him, I choose him over my own selfish needs and wants. I choose to do the hard things over the comfortable things for him. I choose my other children too and place our family as a priority above all else right now. I choose to put on thick skin and fight the clueless people trying to hold us back as we are trying to push forward. Daily I still choose him. We have to leave no stone or mountain unturned in the fight to save our son and hopefully I will have a heart that is at peace of knowing we have done everything within us to give him the life he always deserved and hopefully that life will be something beyond what we ever could have hoped for him. IMG_1391

Victories and Struggles

Your child’s story is his to share….

It is and much of it is also our story.  Trust me only those closest to us know the deepest and darkest parts of our story. There are valleys of sadness that aren’t shared, mountains of victories left unsaid, days of desperation that only a few have held us through. Moments of great grief that I was literally carried, like, physically held and carried by family and friends, because I Just couldn’t. There are things ahead of us that most know nothing about. But I strongly believe our lives are meant to be shared and I hope I always share our story with dignity and truth, without compromising anyone’s own story. Sharing the hard parts comes with sharing the good. Isn’t it deceiving just a little to only share the victories and blessing, while leaving out the valleys and the storms? I have shared very openly of my childhood of abuse but I also left out a million pieces to the story and yet, what I did share, helped many, healed myself deeper and led me to a healthier and better version of me. A book came from it, a non profit was started and friends were made that will hopefully last a life time. All because I chose to share my heart. We live in a world of secrecy, privacy and where we only share what is safest with those that are safest. But what if our stories have bigger purposes than just for ourselves to learn from? What if what we walk through can help another person? Would you share differently if you knew it would? I know for me personally I am drawn to people that let folks into their own struggles and not just their victories. I share our world openly, because that’s me, I enjoy writing, I love what it has done for me personally and I love you all enough to let you in. One day I hope to share more of it and I pray it helps someone that’s also in the trenches of life. So many of your struggles and victories have blessed me and encouraged me to do more, love deeper and be braver than I was the day before and I am thankful you trusted me enough to let me in. Sharing parts of most areas of our life isn’t a bad thing, it’s an okay thing to do, even if it’s a little terrifying. Each and every time I have shared a part of us, I have always been scared with being so vulnerable, but so far, I have never regretted letting folks in.FullSizeRender

Observing the symptoms ~ Treating with love

 

There is a different kind of love story developing in this journey of ours, that I never expected. When someone goes into fostering, they know there will be children to love, most with severely broken hearts, but at least for me, I didn’t go in thinking God was going to push me and by push, I mean hands on my back, as my stiff legs and feet are dug deep in the dirt kind of push, to love the biological parents to all the children that we will be blessed enough to love on. Often these parents are the ones that have broken the children we are tirelessly trying to help mend back together, often these parents are angry, broken, filled with bitterness and yet I know they each love their children to the absolute best they know how, even if that looks different to how we may give love. God from the day we brought our first little one home, spoke directly to my heart, asking me to love the bio parents, even when almost every fiber of my being wanted to scream at them, lash out at them, or simply wished I wouldn’t have to deal with this side of the story. God spoke, he pushed, he showed, he led and day after day, struggle after struggle I continue to see glimpses of His promises shining through. Then there are set back and I want to quit, to not walk in love, to just be raw, real and say everything that my heart wants to scream. That’s about the time God slips his sweet, gentle, kind, yet firm voice back into my raging heart and whispers how these parents have their own broken story, their own heartaches and their own need for love and understanding. I think it was Oprah Winfrey that said, “The greatest human need is to hear someone say, “ I hear you and I see you.” They need some control, some love and some grace thrown their way just as the rest of us do. They need to see Jesus in us, as desperately as these babies also do and at times that is a hard pill to swallow, because if I am completely honest, they scare me, they have the power to break my heart as deeply as their own hearts are breaking right now, two sets of parents that love the same child to the absolute fullest each knows how. There has been days in this short eight month journey of ours so far that I have genuinely fought with God, saying he couldn’t possible know what he is asking of me. To love the sweet victims, even when they bring ragging fits, broken screams and terrified hearts in to our home has felt like first nature to me, but loving the ones that caused the pain, that is hard, that isn’t natural, but the more I observe the symptoms, the more I see how to treat them, with a large heaping dose of love. Love really does cover a multitude of sins. If ever I have needed to pray for love, peace and understanding it’s now, because one day these children will need this part of their story and my heart needs too know that I have preserved the integrity and love of their ever after. I think this part of the story is were I want to close my eyes to and fast forward, scared of what I may see and what He may ask of me. I guess I just need to keep asking for a little more understanding, a little more grace and a lot more love, because the days I have, have made all the difference in the world. How many of you have been asked to love someone, to sit with them in their brokenness, even when it doesn’t feel natural. Have you started? It’s hard and it sucks at times, but you just might see what I am slowly and often reluctantly learning

A gift to each other

This last year has been so hard at times for me. It’s been filled with many new hurdles, some really big days, many new scary diagnosis, tons of doctors, therapist and maybe I have even lost a little of myself along the way. I miss my head phones and my running shoes so much some days, I miss my husband sometimes when life is so crazy that finding silent time alone seems nearly impossible. I often need to go get ‘milk’ three minutes after Ben gets home from work. For some reason the four walls around any grocery store can bring me such serenity and peace. Funny I know, but for some reasons, us moms can recharge a tired soul with a 30 min trip to grab some random, not really needed grocery item. Being a Mother is so hard, you are raising little adults, that you really really want to grow up to be amazing adults, that do really awesome things. I want more than anything all my kids to grow up to love Jesus so much that the world can not hinder them from what He has in store. I want my boys to be men like their daddy, and my girls to be a tender yet strong world changer. I want to love Ben so much that he never questions if he is appreciated in every way, shape and form and somehow through it all have three healthy, gluten , dairy, egg and taste free meals on the table each day.
That’s a lot for a women to carry. Raise great, God loving adults, love a man completely and somehow keep the home running perfectly all while wearing heels. Now none of these things are put on me by others but I would gather most of us women carry the same strong convictions and set our bars so high we often feel like we can not measure up. What if  we all give ourself the okay, to be okay, with not always being okay. What if we are honest and say Mother hood is not always awesome, worth it, absolutely, but not always awesome. What if we stop comparing out chapter one to someone else chapter 8 or 16. What if we stop for a moment, let the 42 loads of laundry wait, the dishes pile up, let our kids leave the house in whatever crazy, mismatched stained outfit they pulled out of the bottom of the, ‘maybe it’s clean, maybe it’s dirty, pile of questionable clothes’ and enjoy the day and the looks from the others that are doing it perfect, obviously. I was asked by a person this week if I would still do it all again and my answer without question is, YES!! I wouldn’t change our home, kids, or life for any other. They are mine and I am theirs and that is a beautiful place to be. Somehow each day when I just know I am failing completely, I have 8 kids that are clueless to that thought and they just see what each of us saw in our own moms as children, perfect people.
To each of you ladies that think you are failing and yet if you really look into those little eyes staring back at you, I dare you to tell me that they don’t say the complete opposite of that, because they do. You are doing so much better than you think and your kids hugs, cards, smiles, burnt breakfast in bed or simple cuddles are proof of that today! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you! Thanks for walking this road before, with and after me. You guys are awesome.