The day I got married, one of my closest friends looked me in the eye and said "God has many wild and wonderful things ahead for you and Jeremy."

Being called mom by 7 kids is definitely wild. Each day I look for the wonder in it all...and give thanks.

Partnering with my husband in life, parenting, work and serving is definitely wonderful. He is my favorite.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Recently I was asked what I would say to someone who has 3 kids and is in the process to adopt a sibling group of four. (Yes, believe it or not, there are other crazies out there).

And the first thing that came to my mind was...

Be prepared to have your family wrecked 
for the glory of God.

Wrecked in a good way.

This friend who asked helped me think about it like this...

My husband is a builder.  He not only does new home construction, but he remodels.  And when you remodel a home, you have to tear down the old.

You wreck it, 
 make a mess of everything
 and sometimes completely gut it out

And meanwhile friends and neighbors nod and say with a smile, "Everything is going well, right? Oh it will be beautiful when you are finished."  And as you live in the mess around you, all you can think about is how much you hate your life.  And how you have ruined everything.  And you wonder if you made a mistake.  And even though you are tearing out walls and old tile or carpet, you remember you once found comfort within those walls and old carpet.

The rebuilding takes time.  It feels like forever.  You are counting down the days and trying to believe it will get better.  Along the way you see some progress.  And your response to well-meaning, inquisitive friends is, "OVERALL, we are doing okay."  BIG EMPHASIS ON THE WORD OVERALL.  Like when you think about what you have done and what all has happened, and how everyone in your walls is having to adjust, be inconvenienced, adapt to making it in a really hard situation--Sometimes you are amazed at how well everybody is doing when you consider E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.  And you look back and do not know how you have come this far.  How you have survived.  And you swear there is no way you could do it again.

So here are some practical thoughts I would share with another mom and dad who currently have children, and plan to add multiple children at one time.  I am not saying your experience will be the same as ours, but these are some things to ponder...
  • A lot of people you encounter will think you are amazing and will tell you so.  And perhaps you think you have done something great for these kids.  But that kind of implies your kids should be grateful.  And then you may get frustrated when they are not acting grateful.  They ARE kids.  They may have a better life, more love, more opportunity, but they may REALLY miss their country, culture, birthfamily, and friends.  They may have the guts to tell you that you do not feel like mom and dad.  Some days, they may really wish they could go back.  And they may not tell you "I love you too" for a REALLY REALLY REALLY LONG TIME.
  • Your weaknesses.  What are they?  What are you afraid to admit about yourself?  What did you not want to talk about on your homestudy?  When you are stressed and exhausted and losing your hair everyday in the shower, your weaknesses come FRONT AND CENTER.  In.Your.Face. (and in the faces of those that live within your walls).  This is the everyday reminder to yourself that you are not amazing.  Know what your weaknesses are or at least begin to recognize them.  And when they seem to overcome you, lean in closer to His Word.  His strength is made perfect in what?  Your weakness.
  • Have low expectations your first year as you go through Holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions.  This is where we found the loss of the old family met our new, bigger family most and it was difficult sometimes to navigate.  For the sake of your old kids, you can't just throw out everything you used to do, but for the sake of your new kids, you need to create new family life experiences for everyone that will become meaningful for everyone.
  • Replace old family photos with new ones--do this quickly.  I regret not taking down photos and putting up new ones fast enough.  Even if your displayed photos were expensive and you created a beautiful arrangement, replace them if they do not include your new kids.  It doesn't matter if you have other places in your home that you create a spot for the new photos.  The old photos can be saved and treasured and remembered one day many years from now, but get them off the wall if you do not have your new kids' photos delightfully displayed in the same manner and with the same care.
  • You and your husband are a team.  You will feel like the losing team most of the time.  However, when you both are sinking at the same time, do not lean on each other.  You will only push the other further under water.  Get outside support--a friend, pastor, counselor.  Even in the craziness, nurture your relationship little by little.  Do those things for each other that make you feel loved and supported.
  • You have not been called to rescue or save your kids.  Your job is to point them to the Rescuer.  To the Savior.
  • When you fail, say you're sorry and remember He is compassionate and slow to anger and abounding in love. YAY for grace.
Some people may tell you it takes special people to adopt large sibling groups or older kids, but I don't think so.  I am not special.  I fail miserably at times.  But GOD is sovereign.  He is our Redeemer.  He equips.  He is enough.  And He has this for me--to mold me, teach me, to conform me to His image.  People asked Jesus in John 6:28 "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" and He answered "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

I believe in Him.  I trust in Him.  That is the work.  

Where are you at?  Are you home with your multiples in the middle of a mess?  Are you just starting your journey or are you waiting for your kids to finally come home?  I am praying for you.  Seriously.  I am.  This is not easy and I'm convinced it never will be, but that's where I am most aware of my need for Him. (love what Jen Hatmaker says about year two)
So back to the remodel analogy.  My friend who is letting me share her remodel pictures said this,
"I thought it was great the way it was before....
I had no idea how good it could be when it was remodeled!"

My family may have been great the way it was before....but I had no idea how much better it could be when we said YES to adoption.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations 
forever and ever. 
Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

the prayers of one

A lot of people are praying for us.  
Thank you!!

Some take the time to remind me.  
For you I am grateful 
and your reminder often comes 
right when I need it.

One does something extraordinary 
to let me know how she is praying for us.
This overwhelms me with gratitude.

She gives me an envelope each week full of seasonal cards.
(yes. cards she....what do you call it....cuts out.  Those are not the words I am looking for but I am not craftsy and can't remember the term.)

And she writes a brief prayer and puts the date.  

She remembers us everyday.

I thought I would share how God is answering some of those prayers...

 God is so good!  It is awesome to see how He is drawing us to Himself and to see Him working in each heart.

Victory--Battles rage for our souls and the enemy wants to devour, but I am seeing my child choose to abide in His Spirit and continue to win.  
Healing--whether I leave for a few hours for a date night or for a weekend retreat, one child greets me with, 
"You came back?"
I am always surprised by his question 
and saddened at why he is asking it.
Yes, I came back.  I'm not leaving you.

This is a continual prayer that God would meet needs I can't meet and fill in all the places that I am not enough.
I saw this happen in a tangible way as we went to Winter camp with church and each of my bigs had godly leaders and new friends pour into them and listen to them.
I love seeing this prayer answered as my man shifts from working so much at night to being present with us--doing dishes, homework, taking to practices, tucking in bed--quite a miracle really.
 Seeing miracles here too.  15 months ago I watched two girls fight, misunderstand one another, despise the other.
Now they share a room by themselves.  They have similar interests, they laugh, play around, and talk.
On days that I am particularly aware that I need grace, I extend it to my kids.  We had a really rough morning recently where one child blew it, I blew it and they left in tears and I fell in tears.
I surprised them with Chick-fil-A at school that day. We all needed grace and to give grace.
(eat mor chikin')
 Surprisingly, we have had more peaceful school mornings since that day. :)

I have noticed little things lately that make me wonder at Him--
the hawk that visits our backyard daily
 light snow (ice)

about this much

not this much

and friendship

I do have hope.  
I don't have enough time or pictures to tell of all the ways God has moved in us.  I wonder about how it will be in Heaven when we hear myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."
Rev 5:11-12
One day all will be told.  

YAY for this one.  Jeremy is my favorite and we want and need time together.  The other night we had a date and he started it off by saying we couldn't talk about kids or work. 

So we didn't talk.
for a while.

Then we had fun "remembering when..." 

These cards I shared with you are just a drop in the bucket.  Revelation 5:8 says there are golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

We probably have taken up a whole bowl for ourselves with the prayers of so many of you.
Thank you.

And thank you, dear friend, for your daily reminders you give me faithfully.