Invited to walk on water

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

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

 

Merry Christmas!
๐ŸŽ„

Our precious kids helped us to taste this:
He came to be broken and give all to adopt us while we were broken and before we even knew of Him. 

True love. 

He pursues, and loves me and you incredibly- in our brokenness. 

"When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman…that we might receive adoption as His children." Galatians 4:4

#christmasisaboutadoption, 
#helovesme, #youareloved, #nogreaterlove, #iloveadoption, #thecatislying,

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Look back through tears of discouragement. Hope.

This is hard.
No. It feels impossible.  
Tears fall.

My sobs are ugly and pathetic in this hiding place.  

Parenting beloved children who seem to resist connection 
with all-their-might is deeply painful.  
How!!?  How do we keep on keeping on!!!??  

How can I endure two hour tantrums, hateful glares, raging loud screaming fits that seem unending
when and my heart is broken and discouragement floods into those cracks like liquid steel, making it hard to breathe under the weight?  

This time I'm crying in the car- hiding and writing these words on my iPhone just to re-group before jumping back in.  I cry loud, ugly, broken out to the One who Shepherds my heart- begging for wisdom on how to shepherd my lamb's heart when mine is horribly weary.  And I beg Him to redeem my frustrated words.  Again. 

Through this heavy cloud, I sense my Shepherd's voice soft and clear:

"But look back..."



My sobs stop as one of our other children approaches my hiding place (how do they always find me?) with an iced drink she made to give-  While I've been sobbing out here, hiding in our van, this one sought to give love by making a drink.  She has been in the kitchen washing dishes out of love for me- this child who now daily strives to let me and others see her love- 
once resisted my love with a powerful vengeance. 

"Look back."  

She's a miracle- this one offering me a cold, diet soda on ice.  She's a living miracle and her beautiful, sweet attachment to me, her dad and now 6 siblings, is a gift I once was too discouraged to imagine.

Back then, I struggled to hope.  In that five year season as we stumbled along learning to parent her precious, broken, unattached heart- trying clumsily to build trust and connection, 
discouragement had suffocated hope.

How many times did I seriously mess up?
Clearly, He redeemed.

How many buckets of discouraged, hopeless tears did I cry for our treasured daughter?
Only He knows- He who holds every tear.  

But now- She loves BIG like a shining, warm light.
Love pours from her with beauty that literally changes many who meet her-

(She is worth every tear- even if she were not yet able to love.
But she does love and Oh what a gift it is to be a recipient of her love.)


"Look back..."

Glancing back, my minds eye sees another one of our children who raged daily tantrums- 
Intense-beyond-description- as I'd struggle exhausted with trembling arms to hold his powerful body for hours each morning. 
He would scream and fight as my tears would flow-
My heart of love for him would ache for him to find peace-
Discouragement, isolation, and despair felt suffocating in that season.
And I was so afraid-
Fear for what his future could hold.
Fear for our future too because fear is one of my biggest weaknesses. 

 Now daily, instead of raging, frighteningly intense tantrums, he runs to my arms just to be held.
"I love mama" are words he says often while touching my face with his little hands.  Then he collapses his head into my chest and holds tight with smiles that reveal darling dimples in his precious cheeks.  My arms have become his favorite place.  His attached and regulated and loving behavior is crazy beyond my wildest hopes only weeks ago-   This one who stole my heart before we even knew his name has not had a single tantrum in 2 entire months!  

I'd never dreamed we'd make it this far this this year!


"Look back..."

I hear His voice. I know His gentle touch. He redeems all.  

Taking a deep breath, it's time to get back in there and painfully love our powerful little world changer through the hard while remembering this truth:

His kindness, when I'm a mess, is what changes my heart and life. 

By His grace I'll go back in there and show His love in that same way this evening- 
Because a connected heart longs to listen to the one who she's connected to.  

His love for us is gentle, kind, unimaginably patient and 
long suffering. 


Mamas who are in the trenches too- aching with steel-weighted, discouraged hearts- 
"Look back" 
at His faithfulness.

Friends who have stepped out into what HE placed into YOUR heart
and you find yourself within 
The Valley of Hard
where discouragement suffocates hope-

"Look back" 

 If you are new to the journey where Discouragement or fear sucks life from your heart and you see nothing hopeful behind you to look back on,
then let me assure you- 

He's now writing the story you 
will look back on.  

He's got this. Breathe.
and cry out to
the One who walks close to the broken.

He's there, unfolding beauty...


Psalm 77:1-3, 11
I cry out to God; yes, I shout.
Oh, that God would listen to me!
When I was in deep trouble,
I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
but my soul was not comforted.
I think of God, and I moan,
overwhelmed with longing for his help.

11 But then I recall (Look back on) all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Go change the world- not your uniqueness.

You are uniquely wonderfully made.
This hurting world aches for those willing to let His love shine through our redeemed brokenness-
And through our unique and beautifully diverse differences.

"You are ugly." 

I heard that often as a child.

 "RBU," short for "Redhead Bucked-tooth Ugly,
became my childhood nick name at school. 

Now I'm a 49 year old mom of my own 7 children-
Each uniquely designed by the Master of Creation.

 

Yesterday was "Red Head Day" and our precious oldest two- who have red hair- playfully posted this photo to instagram on behalf of kids who feel different. 

As a mom, I long for our 7 kids to be grateful for how they are each unique
 in a world that idolizes sameness.

Actually, I long for all to embrace the
beauty of diversity that weaves us into a work of His art. 

As a child, some peers were mean. Some were cruel.
In that season, I'd accepted that belief that I was ugly.
I was a white, Christian girl in a culture where Islam was the mandated religion and most had beautiful olive skin.
It often felt "normal" to be on the outside.
My coloring was different and stood out loud.
My love for Jesus was different too- dangerously different.  I knew that others had died and many were severely punished in that beloved land because they believed an illegal religion.

Yet,
because of being different, my eyes were refocused-
I still recall those healing words:

"Stop seeking Love. Because you are already loved beyond measure by the One who gave all for you, 
instead, 

seek to give love."

These words changed my life!

I do not need human approval. 
Neither do you. 

His love for you
AS you ARE
is perfect-

Therefore,
we are free to

seek opportunities to give this love away-
with no strings attached. 

Seek to give His love to others in a hurting world.
With His love of you as you are, let Him turn your pain into purpose and then

Rock your differences- all of them- no matter the shade, shape or design or challenge or scar you have been gifted with. 

Don't fall for shame or fear or striving to please people- not peers, not professors, not pastors, not the public, not even parents. 

Don't compare.  

Instead, 
look up and know you are
Loved beyond your capacity by the One who designed your unique DNA.   

Through awareness of His LOVE for you,
 you will come to understand that different is an incredible gift.  

Don't miss out on the unimaginable gift wrapped inside your differences.  

Don't miss out because of what you think others want you to be.  

Rock who you really are.  

 
(Mohale's first trick-or-treat- they had a blast)

You are God's beloved gift

There's someone out there with a hurting, cast-off, heart who needs you to be different. 

 Go change the world- not your differences. 
Rock your differences.  They are beautiful in His hands. 

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14, 17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

And because you are so deeply, perfectly loved as you are,
YOU can be real,
broken,
and unafraid.

Let's take our unique gifts and run towards Him- the One
who runs towards the hurting.

Because we are so loved, we can now give His love away...

And I've got to say,
fear not a broken heart.


We can walk after Him into places where others suffer...
We can be willing to walk into places where our hearts will hurt because of the suffering of vulnerable others.  

BROKENNESS, IN HIS HANDS, IS A GIFT!

It is only through our cracks, that HIS hope shines out for desperate others-  
Light cannot shine out of unbroken vessels.

You are radiant when His radiance is pouring through those cracks-
shining hope into the hearts of hurting others.

Dare to walk after the One Who walks into the places where hearts are broken.
He will be close.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Alyssa's Birthday!


October 27, 2016

Happy Birthday Alyssa!

You are a beloved miracle...






You are a miracle-
A TREASURED GIFT

And we are deeply in love with you.



Someone got into the glitter<3

I love adoption. Children are worth a shattered heart. She was placed into our hearts and arms 6 years ago this week.
She came to us through the avenue of the Foster-adopt system. 

We do not deserve the absolute honor of being her parents. 

Adoption, from any source, 
 is most often a gift born from 
tragedy and a broken heart-

Never will we take lightly the pain of loss experienced by those who loved her first.

She is a priceless gift.

Loving our daughter is an immeasurable, undeserved, honor.  
Alyssa's story, like many, is one of beauty from ashes- 
and honestly, 
my heart was shattered in the process. 

Yet, I shudder at this thought- 

"What if we had listened to frequent, well intended, counsel that called us to play it safe?" 

She, like every child, is worth a shattered heart.  

What passion and risk is on your heart?  

(What unique desire is within?  Do you know that when you seek Him, He places desires within your heart?  Likely, that desire is there for a purpose...)

I can't help but to challenge again- 

 Turn from voices that call you back to safety and 
Run towards the One Who placed the passion within.   

Fear Not a broken heart.

He shines through our cracks-
Perfect hearts have no cracks for His light to shine from.

***
One year ago, we were in Africa- the final timing of they day we embraced Mohale was a miracle that Alyssa had prayed for-

Alyssa's birthday miracle last year:  Miracle

One year later, Alyssa and Mohale



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mohale! One year later. Beautifully broken. Undeserved honor.

One year with Mohale!


Today as we celebrate one year with Mohale,
My heart flashes back...

"Let's move forward towards adoption"

I recall that moment in 2009 crystal clear-
Tears dripped from my chin as David's gently spoken words sounded like a miracle.

His words felt like a miracle because,
timing was illogical by human standards- on so many levels-
We felt too broken. 
(that's a story for another time.)

Yet, the passion He placed in our hearts
called us trembling and broken out of the boat.

Again.

Today,
looking back,
I again shudder to think
"What if we would have stayed safe?"

TODAY WE CELEBRATE MOHALE:


One year ago today, it felt surreal.
We sat on a sofa at Mohale's orphanage on the opposite side of our world waiting to see his face.

It was a miracle that we were even there.
We'd adopted him 18 months prior.
 After 18 months of hurdles, hoops and red tape, we had been ready to travel to our son.  But our USA government required instead that our adoption of him be legally dissolved and started all over.

It took another full year to dissolve and adopt him from afar for the second time.
 The entire process took three years.

Anxiety?  Absolutely

Depression?  Yes.  Horrible depression.

Financially impossible?
Of course.

 Many told us to give up because
"If it's this hard, it must not be God's will."

But,
One year ago today, we celebrated, in exhilarating victory.
It felt really like a dream coming true- because it was.  

In Daddy's arms.  Oct 26, 2015 (Day 1)

Our boys had known each other barely one day and already were a comfort to each other.
Link: Joseph's adoption

He was placed in my arms one year ago today.  Mohale quietly sat as we gently adored him.  This son of mine was afraid and dazed at what was happening.  Can you imagine from his perspective?  We were strangers to him.  Only 2 1/2 years old, he clearly had no idea who we were as we drove away with him from those he loved and the only "home" he'd ever known.
Our frightened son had no idea of the fight for him that had begun long before he'd been abandoned in that ditch by a hurting and desperate woman struggling to survive-  long before he'd been brought to Beautiful Gate orphanage and loved by them as a priceless treasure.

Yet,
his adjustment has been far easier than most post-adoption adjustments.
Because of others who had also fought for his life- those who loved him at Beautiful Gate Orphanage Mohale's adjustment into our family has been remarkable.

Those who loved him within the orphanage
loved him fully as they prayed he'd someday have a family.
They loved him fully while praying that their own hearts would be broken.
Because of this kind of love, Mohale's young heart had learned how to love.
This kind of attachment in an orphaned child is incredibly rare.

Because of people who allowed their hearts to be shattered, 
Mohale's heart is whole.

Most treasures who have been abandoned and without parents at even an age as young as Mohale, struggle with attachment.

This little one, clinging to Mohale, was Mohale's "best friend" at the orphanage.  It is heart shattering that he could not come home with us.
Most orphans are UNADOPTABLE.
The beloved "Soldiers" at Beautiful Gate orphanage love on, speak for, care for and are family to countless "unadaptable" orphans.
The need is great.
Do u have it in your heart to support or care for unadaptable children?

Liam prayed for 4 years for these two little miracle brothers.

He bonded incredibly fast.  Somehow he knew we were his parents and his heart began to knit into ours within the first month.   This is nearly unheard of.
It speaks volumes about those who loved him passionately in the wait.
It speaks volumes about how they are changing lives of orphans- most of whom are not adoptable.

One year later, our "twins" continue to adore each other.
They are seriously double trouble

Costco is chaos- except for the samples.

He's bloomed into a brilliant three year old who loves hugs, laughs incredibly often and takes an interest in others.


7 miracles

Have you noticed that when you have a dream, there are voices that call you back to safety?

Have you noticed that our Jesus asks us to walk towards the broken?

(Fear not being broken- it is exactly where He calls us.)

We were told over and over by well meaning others that adopting was not wise.

"Your hearts are too broken for this. What about your children that you are already responsible for?  What will this do to them?  How will you have time for them all?  You will be too tired! What about the cost?  You will never be able to pay for it.  What about retirement?  Isn't this too much pressure on David?"

7 miracles
These questions, concerns and more were directed towards us often at each adoption.

Yet, instead, our world became deeply rich.
We've watched our childrens hearts grow in faith as miracles unfolded.
We've watched their broken hearts be comforted and impassioned for those close to His heart.

We've watched them embrace a world view beyond our current comfortable culture.

One year later- Emma and our 7 kids.  

Our children (and our young friend Emma,)
have become forever changed by passion for Mohale and Joseph.
Our oldest children were forever changed by passion for their little sisters.

Each is naturally fervent about people in need.
Each is amazed at the Love of One who suffered out of love for us.
They do not want to live comfortable and safe in a world that is not.
They each advocate for risk on behalf of the One who Loves.
Each one is undeterred by the thought of risk.

Mohale,
Our lives are beautiful because of you.
The love I have for you, my son, is beyond description.
I do not deserve this honor and I pray daily that our Shepherd loves you through me.

The love within my heart for you has been there longer than I can remember-

Truly,
the One who created you for a purpose
allowed and prepared me for the undeserved honor of being your mom.
Gratefulness within is vast beyond my ability to describe.


My heart cringes painfully at this horrible thought-

"What if we'd given up as so many suggested?"  

"What if?"  

First Fall together

What risk have you considered stepping out towards?

With all of our adoptions (and risky biological pregnancies)

Storms came.

We sank often.

I sobbed oceans of tears and begged God to explain cruel suffering to me and still have no answers.

Buckets of tears were shed and countless nights of sleep lost.

Yet, the One who pulled Peter up from under the waves
also pulled us up-

We experienced a closeness to our Creator that can only be experienced
after a fall.

Miracles are only experienced when they are needed.  Dare to step out to where miracles were needed.

Because most of us are not rich and feel stressed by finances, Ive got to say-
we had NO MONEY for this adoption.  

The miracles of provision to pay for this have been crazy mind blowing-
unbelievable and only explained by supernatural.
(Ive got to do an updated post on those!)

What passion is within your heart?  

Can I encourage you?
He invites us to walk on water towards Him-
The ONE who carried a cross for our adoption invites us to follow Him back into the valley where His redemption is craved...

Dare to step out of the boat...

What obstacles shout at you to turn back?  
What lies are being spoken to you?  

Can I encourage you?  
Turn from the voices that call you back to safety and continue to walk on water towards the One who placed the passion within.

Be willing to be broken.  
These treasures are worth indescribably more than a shattered heart. 

He was shattered for us.   Let's be willing to be broken.
He will be closer than ever in brokenness:
Phil 3:10
Ps 34:18

Shattered hearts and lives in His hands are the most beautiful kind.  

And we can only experience miracles 
when we step out where miracles are required.

Dare to walk on water-
towards Him.

Link to the post from Lesotho when we met Mohale:  Gotcha

Link from a month later- a few days after we got home:  Thanksgiving

Link to his adjustment process: Post adoption Adjustment

To read through the entire trip click here 2015
At the bottom of each page, to read more, click "older posts"

Link to Joseph's adoption:  Joseph's adoption


Monday, October 3, 2016

Happy Birthday Ianna! How can she be 16?

October 2, 2016

Ianna Rose is 16!  


Sixteen years ago, God's Grace flooded our lives. 

In a season where marital discord had crashed in to our young marriage, leaving us with shredded hearts,
Ianna was born. 

"Ianna" is a Gaelic name that means
"God's Grace."  

Grace was changing who we were and certainly nothing seemed more precious than true 
Grace from God. 

I don't deserve the honor of being her mom-
yet isn't that the way of our Shepherd?    

After learning that our unborn baby was a girl, I’d dared to pray she'd have a lot of red hair-
I ached to know He was listening in that painful valley.

Was He smiling as He designed her DNA to her broken mother's prayer- Or perhaps as He directed my heart to desire hair like this for her?  Either way, it was another time where He was saying,
“I’m here- even noticing your shy whispers and timid prayers- I’m here-  Redeeming- teaching you to love the ones who are broken.  Fear not.”  





For 16 years, a day hasn't passed where gratefulness and pleading for His grace to parent His children has evaded us.  Ianna, came into our arms, making us parents, bringing joy and amazement, healing and new awareness of His vast, intimate, powerful, graceful, love.  Becoming a parent has revealed more weaknesses in myself than I'd already seen.  Becoming a mom has been proof to me that God directs and redeems.  
A lot. 

 Ianna, I love you beyond my ability to express.
And now, I'm blown away by the gift of your wise, humble, discerning, business minded, creative, selfless, grateful, compassionate friendship.
 The honor of raising you has been a gift beyond anything I could have dared to dream.  Your life is a brilliant example of beauty from ashes.  Looking at you, and the beauty that has grown around us is a brilliant reminder that not a shard or crack from our mistakes is out of His reach.  He directs and He redeems and He loves to lavish His love upon His children- in good times and in broken times.
Fear not this world.  Fear not making mistakes.
You run towards Him and the dreams He places within your heart and watch Him direct your every step.  He hears every detail of your heart.  He’s going to continue to astound with His love for you. 
Happy Birthday ianna๐Ÿ’• from your grateful, abundantly wealthy-hearted, honored beyond my wildest dreams, mom.

Philippians 1:3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for you with joy…




Sunday, September 25, 2016

Storms are lonely.

I am weak.

Often this bathroom becomes a place to cry, pray and regroup from discouragement. 
Courage is hard. 

And twice in the last few days,
friends have called in tears too-

they've called while hiding in a closet or bathroom-
just so emotion can spill for a quick moment before jumping back into the trenches of painful parenting-

because parenting children with special challenges-
great or small,
is a lonely and often discouraging road.

Gratefulness that He is strong brings hope that breaks into our weary hearts.

I've slipped into despair- even though we've been so abundantly rich with gifts- 7 children, a miracle home, a job, 4 adoptions finalized- which anyone on an adoption journey knows that is a GIFT.  Miracles happen each month so our bills are always paid!  The local public school has been an incredible gift in helping us address learning challenges that were beyond my capacity to manage.   We are grateful and our littles are thriving there in ways we'd not even anticipated.

Also, we've been approved for an autism specialist to come to our home and help with one of our treasures three times per week!  It has been another gift!  Clearly, I should be flying high from gratefulness. The gifts that surround us are abundant!

Yet,
for the last month I've been in a funk-
It started with a phone call making us aware of a specific child who could need a home and then, doors shut preventing that child from being available.

When pain in the life of an innocent child cannot be stopped-
I still don't have a handle on coping.

I scream out ugly, sobbing and angry to our Redeemer
"Why must little children be raped and battered??
Why must wickedness beyond comprehension happen to even children?"

These screams are heard by the One who hung naked, bleeding and scorned to adopt me.

Yet, I still cry out in our cold bathroom for those whose screams are not heard-
He calls us to run to the least of those-
to be a voice for the voiceless-

Yet,
the closed doors to reach them seems to be so tightly shut.

He does miracles.

But today,
I ache as silence hurts.

Our hearts are forever broken over vulnerable, hurting children.
Inside, I scream that somehow, each one could be rescued-
but in this broken world-
so many continue to suffer from indescribable cruelty.

"Christy, they can't all be helped."
I realize this, but seriously,
how can we sit back while children are being wickedly harmed?
Grief.

Then, as we ache for a hurting child who is out of our reach,
 just the crazy business of life and parenting so many treasures-
some with daunting behaviors-
has me slipping my gaze off of the source of our strength.

I've been horribly weary.

Sleep deprived and weary, discouragement and grief resurfaced like
steel  weights on my chest...

Yesterday I got away alone for a few hours just to refocus on the source of our strength.

Driving and praying yesterday, this song came on and It seemed that God was speaking hope, lifting the weight and normalizing the grief I feel from life in this broken world.
Somehow normalizing pain,
helps to refocus it into strength.  

Tenth Avenue North, "Worn"


and this one too-



Joy has returned today and I'm reveling in the gift of being the mom to each of our 7 miracle children.

Gratefulness
has a way of providing strength.


LONELY
Loneliness is a familiar companion of mine.

Mom's of children,
Mom's of children with special needs,
Mom's who feel isolated, weary and discouraged,

Do you hide in the closet or bathroom to cry?

Please know-
You are not alone.

 He is in those most excruciating places of brokenness with us drawing closer than ever.

Here are a few of the life supports I've been breathing lately- 
just in case you could use them too.
He's adoring you continually and holding you close.

And can I challenge you today?
Text one of these as encouragement to another mom or friend in a hard place-
chances are, she's been aching for encouragement too...

“There is no one like the God of Israel.  He rides across the heavens to help you,across the skies in majestic splendor.  The eternal God is your refuge,and his everlasting arms are under you.He drives out the enemy before you;he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’  (Deuteronomy 33:26-27)

Isaiah 53:3-4. 
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with much pain. 

Psalm 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.”
Isaiah 40:29 

“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT).”

The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7 

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10

But the LORD stood with me and gave me strength
2 Timothy 4:17

I will be your God throughout your lifetime--until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we ask or think.  Ephesians 3:20

Remember, 
NOTHING is in vain with Him.  
ALL of our brokenness becomes beautiful in HIs hands.  

Because He holds us, we are free to run to the broken in spite of our brokenness.



Sunday, August 7, 2016

Pony love. How a friend's sacrifice and a beloved pony pointed us to our boys and taught us that risk is right.

Pony love

 “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days”  Ecclesiastes 11:1 (RSV). 


Alley the Pony.
She won us over on Christmas morning of 2008.

We'd lost so much-
our business,
our home,
our confidence,

Living in an unfamiliar town, 
we were approached by a kind-hearted new friend named Debbie J.
She wanted to love on our three children- 
(the only three kids we had at the time.)

Quietly, in the dark of night on Christmas Eve, 2008-
Debbie took a step of faith-
She brought over her beloved miniature horse, Alley,
as a gift.

In faith, love and tears, her owner, Debbie J, gave sweet Alley away to our children.

The children awoke early Christmas Morning 
to the sounds of a pony neighing.

Tears in my eyes, we watched as the children peeked outside-
Out they ran and their hearts were smitten.

Christmas 2008




For three years they daily loved on her,
braided her hair,
Bathed and scrubbed her beautiful black and white coat,
took her on hundreds of walks,
and shared their hearts, tears, buckets of laughter, stories, joys and even their pets with her.

Alley and her chickens

Until- 
their young hearts were broken by love for those without a voice.

Precious and beloved Sierra and Alyssa-
each placed into our arms and hearts through San Diego County Foster Adopt program-

Christmas 2009
For two years, 
our first three children were smitten with love for their little sisters as we endured the foster-adopt roller coaster.


They were exposed to other children and foster families.

Children with cruel stories ripped into our children's world view.

In December of 2011 we learned that finally, 
treasured Sierra and Alyssa were cleared for us to adopt!

Our hearts breathed again and celebrated.

That same day, 
The children came to us and pleaded-

Please,
Can we adopt again?  
Because, if we were in foster care or in an orphanage, we'd want to be adopted.

(Liam had a specific request:)  
"I want us to adopt a little brother!  And I'm praying he's black, like my littlest sister!"  
(I've learned that God directs even the details of our heart's desires according to His plans.)

They'd been saving their dollars earned from selling their chickens eggs.
 Two full years of savings towards a desire to purchase another horse- a friend for Alley and one they could ride- had resulted in $2000.

Placing their "pony fund" into my hands, their eyes innocent, resolute and undaunted, 
they pleaded for us to take their savings.

"Take our pony fund and use it to help adopt- 
because children need homes more than we need a pony."

Early the next morning, before the sun arose, I was on my knees.

"GOD! WHAT DO I DO?
they are just kids!
IS it wrong to let them give their pony fund?"

Somehow it seemed best to honor their desire.

My prayer continued-

We desire to adopt again.
Our hearts are broken for children who need a family.
Can you please turn their $2000 into $30,000- because it costs at least that to adopt internationally.

HE MOVED MOUNTAINS.

The Miracle.

Later that same morning, 
 my iPhone rang.
It was the Court Adoption Clerk asking us to come in and finalize Sierra and Alyssa's adoption the following week.

What we hadn't realized was that the adoption day we were assigned
was the LAST DAY to finalize adoptions in 2011.

2011 was the only year in USA history that our government gave families $13,500 for each child adopted.  If the adoption day had been even one week after that, we'd not have received this miracle in that way.

That phone call- after our prayer- 
was the equivalent of $27,000 cash.

(Our accountant was initially speechless saying he'd never seen anything like this.)  

We went to the bank and opened an "Adoption Account" that day. 

Seeing their gift turn into $29,000, the children fervently decided to pray that we could 
adopt TWO more children.  
(and of course Liam prayed for two little brothers.)

They decided that if they re-homed all of their pets, then the monthly savings found by not purchasing animal feed and care could be added to the adoption account.

So, tearfully, yet joyfully resolute,
over the next few weeks, they kissed their chickens, their goats and finally,
even their beloved Alley goodbye. 



The day Debbie returned for Alley was deeply sad.

Tears.

It felt like we had foolishly cast precious bread upon the water.

That was in the spring of 2012.
MANY MANY DAYS passed without hope. 

Days turned into years.

OFTEN I fretted that we'd let the children sacrifice their hearts foolishly-
fearing they'd given up their treasured Alley and their pony fund in vain.

Often we received counsel that adopting again was foolish, inconsiderate of our children, taking on too much, too costly, dangerous, and that it was unlikely to even happen.

BUT GOD.
Both boys came-
two crazy miraculous stories involving two countries...


Visiting  Alley this week felt miraculous-

She has had a happy life with her beloved first owner, Debbie J. and several other horse friends.

Watching Sierra and Alyssa braid her main and tail melted my heart- they are the ages our oldest three were when Alley had been placed into our lives- 
(Sierra and Alyssa have heard numerous stories about Alley.)  

Watching our three children who remember and love Alley spoke faith into my heart- 

They've tasted miracles after following their child-like faith that led them to sacrifice.

I could see them tasting bread they had cast upon the waters 
years before.

And as they held their adored little brothers close,

Their hearts re-lived precious, rich memories-
I could see their hearts becoming further impassioned.

God writes beautiful, redemption stories. Seeing Alley the pony yesterday, warmed our hearts and strengthened resolve to live life passionately... Seeing our miracle boys with her seems unreal- 
if only we'd known in that long, frightening, painful wait. 

Truly, He is faithful. 

(And I need to say this- Although our children and we dared to step out towards adoption again because of "the need", 
we NEEDED our boys.  
They have changed our lives deeply, profoundly, richly.
Grateful.
Oh how we desperately needed them.)

 “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days”  Ecclesiastes 11:1 (RSV). 

Throwing bread onto the water.  That sounds wrong- even stupid.  It absolutely is irrational and certainly most would advise against it because-  
Anyone knows the bread cast upon the waters will dissolve and be really gone-  
To ever find it again would clearly require a supernatural act of God.  

A miracle.

Isn’t this what He invites us to do?  Risk comfort for the desires HE has placed into our hearts?

He risked all for us-  This God who LOVES to give good things to HIs children...went naked, torn and massacred to the cross- purposed to pay for our adoption into His family-

He became bread-  
cast upon the waters- 
FOR US. 

This God who asks us to cast our bread upon the waters is the same God who fed thousands with only 5 loaves of bread and two little fish.  This God.  This God who gave all for me,  This God, who died for me,  This God who conquered death and spoke the heavens and earth and life itself into existance-  He’s the one calling us out to cast our bread upon the waters- to give all we have been given to feed the fish around us.  And then watch as He comes through.

He invites us to step out
where miracles are required….
To cast our bread upon the waters. 

The most amazing, life transforming miracles can only happen when they are required.  

Are u waiting after a scary, unsupported, step of faith?  
Take heart.  Eyes on Him- not on the waters- not on the voices of discouragement and fear often even coming from well meaning loved ones.
Place your eyes on Him-
HE will keep you in perfect peace.  
And at the Perfect time,
You will see bread come back to you in ways you could not have imagined...
Because HE IS FAITHFUL.

Habakkuk 2:3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.