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Perseverance

I am a mother today, finally, because Josh and I were given an amazing opportunity to adopt a beautiful girl from a beautiful young woman.

So many of us are going through so much – putting our bodies through so much – stretching the limits of our sanity.

My message to you today is don’t stop. Don’t give up.

But more importantly – don’t close your mind to opportunity. Listen to your heart. Listen to the world around you.

If you think Yoga will help – do Yoga.

If you think acupuncture might be a solution – do acupuncture.

If you have an opportunity and the means – do it.

Chase it.

Do it.

Just never close your mind. Never close your heart.

Nothing is worth shutting the door on your dream of loving a child.

Nothing.

Read it again – Nothing.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2-4

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A Smile and Some Change

What would a day be like without someone offering a smile and a hello?

Several years ago, I was at a low point in my life. I was in a very bad relationship that had damaged some of my family relations and a few friendships along the way. I was working full time at a job I hated and taking night classes three hours a night, four nights a week. I was completely broke, financially and literally – every credit agency under the moon was after me, I had broken my ever so useful right hand and was in a cast up to my elbow, and when I was at home, I was completely miserable because of the jerk waiting to break my heart and my spirit at any given opportunity.

I remember one day, I had to run by the junior college bookstore during my lunch hour to buy scan-trons for a final I was to take that night. I only had one five dollar bill with me and my checking account was drained. I had been having a particularly bad day, I won’t go into details, but I felt like it had been a really long time since I’d even smiled. It was a hot day, no a/c in the car…I think you get the picture.

As I was pulling up to the last stoplight just before the school, I saw a man standing in the median, holding a cardboard sign and asking for money. He was standing right where I would be pulling up to stop. As I came to a stop, he began walking toward the car. I stared down, doing my best to avoid making eye contact with him. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him walk right in front of my car, holding his sign out in front of him. He stopped directly in front of me and stood there. I lifted my eyes. He held my gaze for just a moment and then he flipped over his cardboard sign. On the back of the sign, he had drawn a big smiley face with a purple marker. He smiled at me and made a funny face.

I melted.

A huge smile slowly spread across my face. He gleamed. As the light turned green and the traffic started up again, he took one step aside, leaned in toward my window and said, “You’re going to be okay.”

I continued the drive to the school in sort of a daze – I couldn’t stop smiling. I was almost giggling. For the first time in a long time, I felt an internal warming of my soul. For the first time in a long time, I felt the slightest twinge of excitement about my future. I had been given a message. I had been given hope!

At the bookstore, I found the pack of scan-trons I needed and took them to the purchase counter. The clerk was a fellow student who said that a girl had come in just a few minutes before and bought a pack of scan-trons, but only needed a few. She’d left the remainder of the pack at the counter and said to give them out to anyone who only needed a few. I only needed one. So the clerk gave me three.

And I still had my five dollars.

I left the store and drove back around the block to the intersection. With tears streaming down my face, I pulled up to the man and told him that he was the first person who’d made me smile in a very long time. I thanked God for him for giving me a glimpse of hope, and I gave him my last five dollars.

I think too often we are in such a hurry to live our own lives, that we forget the warmth and peace that can be offered just by taking a moment to acknowledge the people rushing by us. Maybe they need to slow down and remember to smile. Maybe they need someone to give them a reason to smile. Maybe we need to make more of an effort to become that reason to smile – that reason to have hope and to make a change in someone’s life.

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Setting Aside Self Doubt Today

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” ~Song of Songs 4:7

Making videos is new and a little scary for me because I can’t just pick out the best frame in the best light and honestly I get nervous watching myself talk. But this ministry is about faith in the purpose God has for me which means pushing aside my doubts! I happened to come across this scripture at the perfect time today that stopped me from deleting this video.

I pray you overcome all doubts and just love your beautiful self. There is no flaw in you. Read it again: THERE IS NO FLAW IN YOU.

Now go read Matthew 17:20, then pick up your mountain of whatever is standing in your way and chunk it! Nothing is impossible for you if you have faith.

❤️❤️❤️🌻🌻🌻❤️❤️❤️

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I’m gonna jump when the Spirit says jump…

It’s so hard to act against fear. Fear wants to keep you backed into a corner of suffocating silence and isolation.

But faith…the exhilaration of even that first tiny step of faith is enough to jolt you out of the grip fear and remove the weight of doubt. Take that step, make that leap, jump when the Spirit says jump! You have the faith, you have the desire, push aside the doubt. There have been times in my life when I have fought against doubt daily, even hourly. You can do it too! You are worth it! Your story, your life, your truth is worth your fight to overcome doubt and walk by faith!

Pray for strength. Pray for guidance to move in the direction of God’s will for your life and He will provide it. He WILL provide it. It’s your time. Right now is your time to love yourself enough to pray for yourself. I’m praying for you!

Get ready to jump!

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Untamable Peace

Untamable – Unable to be controlled; savage, unbroken, wild

Peace – Freedom from disturbance; tranquility, harmony, good will, serenity

When I think of something wild and untamable, I think of wild horses running fast with no fences and no one able to reign them in or stop them; I think of a raging river, flowing rapidly, unbothered by any attempts to stop it.

What about peace?

Have you ever thought of peace as being untamable?

What if you could pray for and accept Untamable Peace into your heart? What if the Untamable Peace made your heart so full of peace that the fullness of it flowed from your heart and began coursing, racing, through your veins? What if every breath you took allowed the Untamable Peace within you to gain more life, to run wild, until the fullness of it made your body so exhilarated with the freedom peace brings that the Untamable Peace shot from your fingers and toes and began swirling around you until it completely enveloped you with the living protection of God’s Untamable Peace – surrounding you in life giving freedom from pain, from anger, from bitterness? What if the Untamable Peace that now races through your heart and your body and surrounds you in life giving freedom from pain and anger and bitterness now fills the room you’re sitting in? What if the Untamable Peace now races through your home, covering every surface, surrounding every living being, and now swells and grows and reaches outside your home, in brilliant streams of glorious Untamable Peace that reach out and envelope your family, your friends, the cashier, the stranger you just walked by, your co-workers, and even that one person that makes you miserable – come on push through it – pray for them to have peace – don’t let them stop you anymore – you have the Untamable Peace you prayed for and that gift from God – that Untamable Peace – gives you authority to absolutely barrel over and smother negativity and bash those blocks of bitterness in your heart, in your home, in your life, in the lives of those around you – with Peace.

Breathe. Peace.

Peace is dynamic. Peace always flows. Peace cannot be still – it wants too much to live. I look out my window across a field of tall grass. On a still, stagnant day, there is no change or movement. But then the wind begins to blow, and suddenly not just the grass, but the entire field comes to life with the movement of the wind. There’s comfort in knowing that peace is always flowing. When you feel like you’ve lost your peace, or you’ve allowed it to become stagnant – pray for it – breathe it in. It will come back to you. The peace you long for will flow untamed into your heart, and bring life giving movement back to your lost and stagnant world.

Wild, untamable peace gives movement and life and blows away the dust and clutter – but what happens when it hits a barrier – something that your heart is too bitter to allow peace to overcome? Who or what is that barrier? When you close your eyes and imagine joyous, freeing, untamable peace coursing through your life – what makes you stop and open your eyes and tell yourself that you just can’t go any further than that? Why not? Who or what has power over your own inner peace?

It’s yours. It is your peace to unleash. It is your gift from GOD. And it is up to you to give life to that Untamable Peace – with no fences, no restraints, completely unbothered by attempts to stop it.

It isn’t easy. But maybe that’s why it’s so freeing.

We have to pray for it, and accept it, and then give it away – give it life.

Give Peace Life.

About Me, Blog

Delivered

Delivered

The following story describes the moment of my deliverance from infertility to motherhood.

On Saturday April 30, 2011, I had a phone conversation that would forever change my life. I wrote this blog post shortly after that day.

Josh and I had been trying to get pregnant for quite some time. So when we were approached with the opportunity to adopt, especially considering the amazing family we were approached by, there was no question that God had beautifully orchestrated our circumstances and so purposefully intertwined our lives with the family that was destined to become an extension of our own.

To try and fit our entire experience over the past 6 months into one post would be impossible – and wouldn’t do justice to the lives involved. It was just too precious a journey with such incredible emotional ranges to try and summarize. I hardly know where to begin.

So for now, I think I’ll begin at the exact moment our old lives ended, and our new lives began – Phoebe’s birthday.

Brandy, Kim (Brandy’s mom), Josh and I had been to almost every one of Brandy’s appointments together. We heard Phoebe’s heartbeat together, we witnessed her sonograms together, saw Phoebe’s toes on the screen, watched her beating heart and saw her tiny hands together, hugging and holding hands and loving on Brandy together. We began to think of ourselves as the four musketeers – Phoebe’s original crew. From the very beginning, Brandy was so gracious to include Josh and I in every part of her pregnancy. Josh and I were thrilled that Brandy wanted us in the delivery room with her.

Brandy went into labor just a few days shy of being full term. She and Phoebe both had been strong and healthy the entire pregnancy. Brandy’s strength always impressed me – and continues to do so.

On Thursday night (Sept 8th) Josh and I got “the call” and we met at the hospital at around 11pm. It was excruciating watching Brandy, this brave young girl, go through so much pain. She had an epidural in the early hours of the morning (which we were all very glad for her to get), and at about 6:45am the nurses began setting up the room and her bed for the delivery.

It all got really real, really quick.

There were two delivery nurses who were in the room with us to get Brandy started until the doctor was called. The head nurse was a very impressive and take charge woman who said she’d been delivering babies for 40 years and in whom we all had every confidence could deliver a baby without the doctor if it came to it. I think we were all just glad there was an adult in the room because we felt like a bunch of kids who didn’t know what we were doing. Thank God she was there to give us all an activity.

Once the delivery began, Josh and Kim stayed at the top of the bed to hold Brandy’s hands and help her push. Myself and the other nurse (who herself was very new) each held a leg in a stirrup – the most important job of my entire life. The nurse had Brandy push until she saw Phoebe crown, then the doctor came in. We had become acquainted with this doctor over the past months of appointments, so she knew Josh and I too. We really liked her. And I think there was a big collective sigh of relief when we saw her familiar smiling face walk in the door.

I really can’t describe watching the delivery. I had no idea what all goes on “down there” in order for a child to be born. It was incredible. I saw Phoebe’s head. I looked at Brandy and she was looking right at me and I said, “Brandy, she’s coming. She’s almost here. Push sweetie!”

And Brandy pushed.

And suddenly, the world slowed down.

I watched as Phoebe was born into this world. She was here. She was born facing up, and her eyes were wide open. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice, but the doctor freed her immediately. The nurses cleaned around her mouth and she cried out – and so did we.

Brandy had arranged beforehand what she wanted to happen once Phoebe was born. Josh cut the umbilical cord, then one of the nurses laid Phoebe on a small blanket –

and she placed my daughter in my arms.

I began crying like a baby. We all did – the doctor and nurses included, I was later told. Well, everyone except Phoebe. She was just wide eyed and looking around – taking in her new world.

As I held Phoebe, suddenly it seemed the doctor and nurses disappeared, it seemed there was no one else in the room – in the whole world – except for the four of us and Phoebe. God stopped the world – He stopped time – for just a moment, and gave us the most precious moment I have ever experienced in my life. Josh and I held each other, and together we held Phoebe, I kissed Brandy on her forehead and I thanked her and I held onto Kim as she had her arms wrapped around her own precious daughter. And God’s arms were wrapped so tightly around all of us it was as though He physically enveloped us and allowed us to leave the earth behind for a moment.

And in that precious moment that Phoebe was delivered – I was delivered too.

I was delivered from all of my fears, all of my frustrations, all of my doubts. I was delivered from bitterness and anger and countless days spent agonizing over my infertility.

I was delivered from the fear of childlessness – and born into motherhood.

It was so important to me to write about this moment. It is so important to me that you know what an incredible experience this has been. I know there are many couples who have considered adoption but have held back due to fear of the unknown. I want to thank those of you who have been through the adoption process and who offered nonstop encouragement and prayers when my frustrations started getting the better of me. I want to thank the adoption agency for their tireless efforts to keep us on the fast track during the very unbelievably tedious adoption process. I want to thank Kim for her courage and her friendship and her unconditional love for her daughter. I want to thank Josh for being strong for me every single time I was weak. I want to thank Brandy for her bravery and selflessness – and for giving Josh and I the incredible gift of parenthood.

Dear God, Thank you for blessing us with a child.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.~ Matthew 7:7

I believe this.

Four years later, at the age of 40, I became pregnant by surprise and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Stephen.

Dear God, Thank you for blessing us with our children.