Invited to walk on water

Invited to walk on water
sisters and brothers waiting on one more

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


April 28, 2015

Our son's adoption is dissolved.  Upside down emotions? Let's celebrate! I never imagined wanting to celebrate the dissolution of our son's adoption. Typing it actually makes me feel nauseous.  

However, last December, the USCIS required, per HAGUE protocol, that our adoption of Mohale be dissolved and redone in a different order.  Finally, today we learned it has been dissolved.   

Please pray with us that necessary forms are filed, accepted and our re-adoption of him be completed expediently and in the order the satisfies both governments and HAGUE.
Part of my heart is crazy happy over this obstacle being loosened up today...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The time God replaced loneliness with purpose

I have struggled often with loneliness.

  As we wait and wait and wait and wait some more for news regarding precious, beloved, Mohale, I'll share this story in hopes that God's strength in my weakness will encourage another.

A long time ago....

A season of loneliness changed my life.  I was 19 years old, new to the United States, and a new transfer student at the University of Arizona in Tuscon.  Weeks before, my parents had helped me move into an apartment several miles from the campus.  Although they lived only 2 hours away, my heart felt desperately homesick and horribly LONELY.  The loneliness felt thick. 

One morning was filled with a grey fog as I sat in my white Ford Tempo, parked outside of the Chemistry building.  That little car was a sanctuary from the chaos of unfamiliarity that often comes with a new move.

My heart was aching from dread of stepping out from the familiarity of my car into another day surrounded by strangeness and strangers.  Desperately, I agonized to God through tears "God, WHY don't you provide me some friends!!  I am SO lonely!!" Through the painful, grey atmosphere, in clear silence, unexpected words struck my heart:

Stop seeking love.  Seek to give love.  

Through the silence, I pondered these words right there in my familiar Ford Tempo.   Purposeful truth began to gently dissipate some loneliness.  Reality came into focus...  I'd already been given more love than the universe could contain.  Now God was asking me to SEEK for ways to give His love away.  

SEEK to GIVE Love.  It was not about me- yet everything to do with loving the One who already loved me.  Matthew 25:40

In the days that followed,  I began to seek for ways to give love to strangers, acquaintances, friends, professors...through a smile, a note, a "thank you", an encouraging word, a voicemail.  With purposeful love, fear of rejection was disarmed.  I could give love without caring how it was perceived or if it was received or rejected because seeking to give love has nothing to do with getting anything in return.

Weeks later I stumbled across this bible verse:  

Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38

Awestruck.  This old, stale passage had proven true and suddenly radiated with new life and hope!   

My life was FULL of people who He loved---People from countless cultures and backgrounds, beliefs and histories...People I never would have imagined even knowing!  I'd stopped seeking to get and instead sought to give.  The result was an overflow of beauty!

Seasons change.  Now, as a mom in my late 40's, I can say there still are days where loneliness and insecurity threaten to come in.  However, this truth is as powerful now as it was over 25 years ago.  When I remember to use it,  purposeful love powerfully drives fear away.  I've sought to give love on job interviews, social worker visits, with clients, at Dr's visits, with grouchy personnel, in classes, in waiting rooms, at new churches, when being asked to tell our story, when sitting in an airport....

EVERYONE is in need of at least a smile or an encouraging word or even a grateful "thank you."   

Although my experience years ago resulted in a lot of amazing people in my life, sometimes the overflow of giving love away is a season of aloneness...especially if you are daring to risk.  Yet, those times now are precious.  It's ok to be alone.  Such time alone with Him is a treasure. You are loved beyond comprehension.

How about you?  Are you lonely sometimes too?  Can I encourage you to Seek to give love away today?  It will change your life.  

Perfect love has no fear- You are loved perfectly, unconditionally, unchangeably by Love, Himself. You are free to risk.

Live to Give

Saturday, April 18, 2015

ComPASSION shrinks Fear Monsters and Francis Chan made us Laugh out Loud

No news yet on precious Mohale.  As we waaaaiiiit, circumstances recently have me pondering...

Fear.  That has been one of my greatest weaknesses as long as I can remember.
Can anyone relate?  Some are natural risk takers.  Others, like myself, tremble easily and want to stay within the lines of safety.  Yet, at an early age, my parents often took us to places around our planet where we saw unimaginable suffering.

The result was a seed of compassion that began to grow passionately within the lifeless places that fear had left in my heart.

Acrylic by "L.E." age 11

Compassion competed with my fears.  
(FEAR. I had my first ever panic attack on this journey-  Really, Fear roared loudly in the beginning. Yet, Compassion- from the suffering I've seen- gave me strength.)

Perhaps that's one way His love within us casts fear away?
Perhaps?  I do know that each time we've dared to step out in risk, the waves of fear roar loudly.  Yet, the passion for suffering children, coupled with God's closeness and peace that come in the midst of brokenness and pain, have caused fear to shrink-
or at least fueled endurance in spite of it.

(Even though I am a really BIG CHICKEN)

Self portrait 

Every dream will eventually reach obstacles and require endurance.  In addition, doesn't it seem true that voices of fear and discouragement roar loudest of all when we are on a precipice?

Every pregnancy is bound to be met with well meaning others who must tell you of the most tragic birthing story they've heard of or experienced.

Every adoption is peppered by stories from well meaning (or not) others who have a driving need to tell of horrific tales that are adoption related. (That probably happened to their second cousin's neighbor's sister-in-law's friend's brother.)

Every risk...selling a home, taking that job, pursuing a passion, giving up a career, purchasing that one way plane ticket, committing to years of education, starting a business, facing an addiction, speaking up when others strongly disagree, planning that trip to another country and culture....stepping out of the comfortable, "safe" boat in any way shape or form will be met with such waves.

Yet, it's been my experience that when facing our biggest fears, His purposeful passion within my heart truly shrinks the fear monsters.

Treasures found in hard, dark, painful places of loss, grief and brokenness with Him are THE MOST BEAUTIFUL.  (OH how much we would have missed if we'd stayed safe.)

Being brave is not an absence of fear, but moving forward in spite of fear.  True Love required. 

(Baby J is wearing a shirt sold by Rescued and Redeemed)

Recently as I held my treasured son (the brave hero pictured above) who of course is totally worth dying a million, infinity times for, I was approached by a person who did not know me and was implored to inform me that horrible things specifically happen to Christian families (like ours) who adopt children. (My first thought was Is this person actually saying this to me as I hold my son?!  My next thought was:  So, is that considered an excuse to leave children vulnerable?)

This person attempted to add support to their claims with dark scenarios and reference to leaders they respect who teach that often, when Christians adopt (like our family), they are stepping out of God's protective covering.

Just when you think you've heard it all...more leaders who teach their eager followers to place personal first-world safety and comfort above the most vulnerable, exploited and suffering amongst us?  What about the absolute HONOR and gift it is to love another one of God's beloved children?What about the Bible's definition of  True religion- active love for the most vulnerable and voiceless ones James 1:27?  What about grace and freedom that comes from being crazy amazing loved by Him?

Why was I surprised at rising discouragement as I quickly ushered our precious, beloved, little treasures away from this person's unstoppable wave of crashing words while passion within me seemed to force tears to spill from my eyes? Buckets of tears followed once I was alone.  My heart was bolstered by True Love: The cross is not about safety. The cross is about sacrifice. 

In this context, we happened upon a 4 minute You Tube video by Francis Chan that made us all laugh out loud...(perhaps our daughter's years as a little gymnast caused us to laugh all the more.)  He gives an awesome and funny reminder that life is short dare to risk out of True love.

Here's the link: Francis Chan on the Balance Beam

What purpose motivates you towards risk? What purpose is worth suffering for?  What passion is worth dying for?

Somehow, that kind of love/purpose/passion, destroys fear and discouragement.

That's vital because our world is filled with suffering.  We are commanded to love others as much as ourselves.  Love is our best weapon against the cruelty and suffering that ravages our world.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out all fear. 
1 John 4:18

Love is action- even if we are afraid. Love has skin in the game. True Love is dangerous by human standards. Are you holding back on pursuing a passion that will in any way help someone- even one?

Treasured neighbors in our world need love with skin on.
Often it's even me and you who need a fearless love. 

Sidewalk chalk drawing and photo by Ianna, Leora and friends.  Model is our beloved superhero Baby J.

I love to ponder stories of heroes whose passion spurred them on in the face of resistance...what if they'd stayed safe?

 Dietrich BonhoefferMother TeresaEdward JennerSteve JobsKatie DavisLouis Pasteur, Alexander Graham BellThomas EdisonJoan of ArcHarriet TubmanGeorge Mueller, Alexander Fleming, Oskar Schindler... and thousands more- most unknown.

There's so much to miss out on by listening to voices of fear.  We all die anyway.  Let's allow His unstoppable compassion motivate us to action.

True LOVE truly does cast out fear.

Let's replace fear with passion 
Let's really live!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Happy birthday Leora

April 16, 2015
Today we officially have 2 teens in our home!  Beautiful, Sweet Leora turned 13 today.
She's hoped and hoped and hoped that she and Mohale would celebrate together... 

Hoping for next year!

You are so beautiful hearted and filled with compassion.  The way you care so much for each of your siblings in creative ways they understand amazes my heart. 

I'm honored, humbled, and grateful to be your mom... 
Your dad and I are crazy in love with you all the time.  Happy Burthday!!! 

Celebrating thirteen years with our beloved daughter, Leora! 

"Leora" means "the light"
Our entire pregnancy with Leora was high risk.  I was terrified that she would not make it.  Her neonatologist scheduled me for 3 ultrasounds per week to monitor her during the last trimester. 
The FEAR that gripped my heart that entire 8 months is indescribable.  
DAILY, hourly, I prayed for and tried to surrendered her precious, unborn life to her creator.  
Hourly, as fear crept in, I would hold my large belly and praise God for her life and the light that she already was.
I prayed for a name that would fit her during that scary season.
Leora.  We agreed it was the perfect name.

She was delivered by C-section on April 16, 2003.
(I love C-sections!)

Her neonatal Dr. described her as "Strong."

Leora, tears of gratefulness often come to me when I recall that moment.
You are truly His light and strength to me and many.  You are a calm and gentle person with strength that could only come from Him.  
What a GIFT you are. 
You bring peace and hilarious laughter into the most difficult times. 
You are truly a light! 
And Truly, He holds you close.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Birthday hopes

In a few short hours Mohale will awaken on his second birthday. We want to say "Happy birthday precious, beloved Mohale!"  I am deeply grateful for the honor of loving him through prayers from afar. We are touched and encouraged by the knowledge we have of those who love and have loved him since his arrival at the orphanage. 
We'd hoped last year to be there in time for his first birthday. Today as he turns 2 and we are still jumping through political hoops towards his adoption. I emailed today asking whether our adoption of him has been dissolved. (Ugh. I hate typing those words.). It has not.
Praying that all the USCIS and HAGUE and Lesotho requirements are met with harmony and expediency. Praying we can become his family this year.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Update and request for continued prayers.

April 9, 2015
Obstacles are loosening up.  Thank you for prayers!
We learned on December 2 that the USCIS required Mohale's adoption by us be dissolved and redone in the order required by the new HAGUE criteria.  As of this week, his adoption had yet to be dissolved.  So, we have prayed that someone would advocate.  Last week as our agency director was visiting Lesotho, a judge in Lesotho told him that David and I can sign the dissolution affidavit and he could then dissolve it.  We signed original papers this week, had them notarized and they are in route to Lesotho.
We also received a phone call from the USCIS Department of Children's Affairs Adoptions division in Washington D.C. asking the status on our adoption. We are learning that people from every angle of the journey are caring and want this to happen for Mohale, and other children as well.  We knew going into this that it would likely have roadblocks.  We've still been deeply disheartened by some big obstacles and the time it takes for forms and papers to get processed.  Yet, we are continually amazed at how many people on each side of this truly care about children.  Praying that necessary obstacles are removed and that countless children flow into loving arms.  Praying that this all begins to happen crazy, amazingly fast and smooth.
So many orphaned children need love.  So many people want to love them in countless ways.  Praying for obstacles to move.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Butterflies for Easter and the princess who understands true love...

Butterflies came to my attention this month and ohh what a delightful illustration they are of Easter!  

Recently we learned that when a caterpillar goes through metamorphosis in its pupae, literally it becomes a new creature with entirely different DNA.  Of course it's amazing that the caterpillar becomes a butterfly- but the DNA isn't even the same!  It's not just a caterpillar that grew wings but an entirely new creature with it's own DNA...

The slow, squishy, sluggish and stuck caterpillar gets turned into an entirely different creation- one that flies beautifully free.  What an exquisite example of hope.  He came to die.  A caterpillar essentially dies within a cocoon.  He rose again victorious over death and all that destroys.
When we accept His forgiveness all that we were that was awful-- the brokenness, victimization, mistakes, cruelty, ugliness dies. And then He makes us into new creature!  ALL BRAND NEW!  We become HIS CHILDREN.  He takes all that was- squishy, broken, stuck... and uses it ALL for beautiful purpose....No regrets.  He turns regrets into purpose- That's awesome, new "DNA!"

There is Jesus, a Friend who sticks closer that a brother...a King who conquered death and depravity...A Father who perfectly loves you and me and longs for us to accept His forgiveness and become HIS very own brand new child. Easter is the day we celebrate our adoption finalization by our Heavenly Father.   It's the day that reminds us of a Redeemer who came to set us be loved by Him.  Have you ever been loved as you are?  Have you ever dreamed that even your darkest regrets and scars that keep you back could be turned into beauty?  

Our youngest daughter, Alyssa, said to us this morning just as she was about to run off to find Easter eggs..."Mom, I love Easter because Jesus loves us so much that He adopted us."

Precious already get it more than most ever will.  You've been loved deeply in countless ways...first by the one who carried you...then by we who were honored to adopt you...and now by the One who created you and paid the highest price of all to adopt you- the King of Kings- and You are His princess.  (Yea, she KNOWS it- she is one strong-willed and confident princess:)

Hunting for eggs was an adventure this morning:

Six priceless treasures enjoying the rewards:

Next year I am already planning to hide eggs with paper butterflies in them. Hoping painfully with all our hearts that treasured Mohale will celebrating with us:)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Beautiful in the wait

As we wait, I want to share excitement with two other mom's who have seen beautiful light in their wait...

Bea: We prayed for little Bea's open heart surgery.  She's home and is healing beautifully!!!  Here's the painfully miraculous story on her mom's blog:  Bea's surgery

DRC:  Recently we also have prayed and continue to pray for the adopted children of 350 families.  These children have been waiting for the DRC to lift the suspension so they can be united with their families.  Specifically, Kathy and her family have been trying to bring home their precious Benny and Shiloh for three years.  Kathy, texted me this week that they were told to get their visa's ready to travel!  Rumor has it that the suspension in the DRC is going to lift!
praying with countless families and children today that they can be united and brought home!

Regarding Mohale:  The director of our adoption agency returned home this week.  They were not able to get back with us via email or phone yesterday.  We will be calling again early monday morning.

Hoping Easter is filled with beautiful awareness of His love for you this year.  YOU ARE SO LOVED by the ONE who gave ALL to ADOPT YOU and ME.

John 15:13
There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.

Galatians 4:5
 God sent him to pay for the freedom of those who were controlled by these laws so that we would be adopted as his children.