Tuesday, January 19, 2016

To: My Girl—The Day I Adopted You & My Hope For Your Future

Oh, My Girl, I cannot believe you are a senior this year and nearing graduation. I can't even think about it or write these words without tears gathering.

I will never forget the day you burst forth into my life and the day I ran with open arms into yours.

You, little thing, were my heart's desire.

This road of adoption is something I wouldn't trade for anything. It's something I'd do overagain and again and againin a heartbeat. But it's something I wouldn't wish on anyone. Because it was the hardest thing I've ever done. The most agonizing. Gut-wrenching. I didn't know if I'd get to take you home. I didn't know if you'd be mine. I felt so out of place in that hospital. I felt like an invited and welcomed thief. I felt like an invited and welcomed intruder. Internal anguish. And I cried a hidden ocean in that hospital restroom before you breathed your first breath.

My very first glimpse of you. My hands on you. Little baby, were you praying?

I wouldn't wish it on anyone because you know your momma ... when I fall, I fall hard. And the day I held you in my arms, I fell hard.

You were mine.

And all through your baby years, you and I were joined at the hip. A permanent mark wrinkled my clothes from you backing up and plopping down in my lap with your book to read. You'd just begin backing up, and my lap had better be there.

But adoption was hard because I had to deal with internal struggles like

~What if she doesn't love me when she finds out?
~What if she is disappointed in me?
~What if she is disappointed in life?
~What if she longs for another?

And I've had to deal with issues and tell you things over the years that I wasn't sure I'd survive ...


~You didn't grow in my tummy because my tummy was broken.
~You grew in someone else's tummy.
~I believe God gave you to me because I prayed for you for so many years.
~You might hear that I'm not your real mother.
~Someone might ask you who your real mother is. 

Until someone experiences adoption, they never know how much pain the word "real" can cause. 

But I did survive because I had no idea at the time of your birth that God would do such sweet things ...


~Let you favor me, just a little.
~Give you a freckle on your arm in the same spot as mine on my arm.
~Give you a heart to love the broken.
~Give you a heart that says I'm real.
~Give you a heart that trusts God.

And I remember the first time we talked about adoption, and I was scared to death. And you acted like you didn't even care. You wanted to keep playing with your toys. You made it so easy for me, and I sighed a huge breath of relief. And you still loved me. I couldn't believe ityou still loved me.

My Girl, through all the uncertainties, the thing I'm certain of is that I love you as though I'd given you life. I couldn't love you any more. You were never my second choice, you'll always be my first. I choose you.

You are joy. You are beautiful. You make me laugh. I love shopping with you, dancing with you while I'm shopping with you, singing out loud in the car with you. I love that you talk to me, that you share your heart's secrets with me. I love watching you walk away from me when we arrive at church to go work with the children. I love watching you walk into the hospital to volunteer your love to premature babies and whatever else they need you to do. I love your sentimental soul, that tears can prick your eyes instantly. I love that your fierce strength can surface in 60 seconds, including your protectiveness over me and your little sister.

I want you for my BFF for the rest of my life.

Because you say back to me"You were never my second choice, you will always be my first. I choose you."

And you have no idea the joy that brings to me, the tightness that gathers in my chest, the feeling that my heart could just 4th-of-July-explode with happiness and love and relief.

Oh, My Girl, with all that I know and have experienced ... I wish adoption for you. I do. Because God has given you a heart for children. And when you tell me that you'll adopt one day, I fully believe you will. And I can't help but smile over the fact that you've redefined generational bondage. And I wish adoption for you because when you fall, you fall hard ... just like your momma. And every child needs someone to fall for them, to fall hard for them.

I couldn't be more proud of you, proud that God let me be a part of your lifeyour little days and your big days. 

I am blessed, and I know it.

You are my girl ... my real girl.

And I love you ... I really love you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Pressing Through One of my Greatest Fears

Fog greeted me this morning. So happy to see me. As I stood on my front porch, I cringed at the sight of his uninvited visit. For he is one of my greatest fears. Because he steals my vision. And he's treated me miserably in the past, and I have not forgotten. I may be unforgiving.

And I took pictures of him. Why would I do that?

This is one of those days I plant myself home until visibility is high. But I had to drive my daughter into town for her volunteer job at our church. My shoulders slump.

I can do this. I have to do this. I will do this.

Fog has gained a little weight since I left home, gotten thicker around the middle, and he sticks by me like the most faithful dog, following me all the way into town.

I can see more than two feet in front of my vehicle, thank goodness ... more like three car lengths in front of me. But beyond that, all blurred, like God had used whiteout on His beautiful spoken creation.

Panic begins to rise inside. I remember that time all those people were killed in Florida because fog and smoke filled the early morning air ... and we barely missed it. And I remember that time in Spokane, Washington, when my truck got stuck in a wheat field, the fog so thick, and the dog and I had to walk home some two miles in the drizzling rain and darkness.

And the panic rises more. But I have to be calm because I'm a mother. And my two kids are in the backseat.

What if a car is stalled on the road?

And I stumble on it. 

And I don't see it.

And I plow in to it.

I don't want to die yet. 

I don't want to get us all killed.

"I can't see. I should have texted the church to tell them we weren't coming, but we're already on the way ..."

"I'll help you, Mom." My daughter is my second set of eyes, and her youthful eyes are way sharper than mine.

A truck passes me. 

"Was that a man?"

"Yes," says my daughter.

I'll follow the truck. I'll stay close so that he can light the way for me. My daughter chimes in with the same advice from the backseat. She's a good backseat driver. 

"He's going so fast. I wish he'd slow down a bit. Can't he just slow down? If I'm in a car accident, I don't want to be driving 75 miles-per-hour." Oops. My fear slipped out.

He slams on his brakes and heads into the shoulder. He didn't see the cars stopped at the stoplight until it was almost too late. Thank goodness, I had plenty of time to stop, because I had kept my distance without losing sight of his tail-lights. My prayer rose up that the people behind me would see me stopped. They did.

We finally reach a busier area, getting closer to town. There are more vehicles. Traffic is going slower, with higher visibility. My heart is settling down. 

We make it to the church. 

I thank God. I thank Him for bringing leaders into my life, to light the way, even if they aren't perfect examples. I thank Him for the people He brings into my life to help me, to keep watch of the path ahead, to encourage me to keep putting one foot out in front of the other, to help me focus on the beauty before me and not the bad. So many reasons to be thankful.

As we pass the youth building, my daughter says, "Mom, did you see the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Trailer?"

And I remember our pastor saying relief workers were camping out at our church during the tornado disaster clean-up. And I thank God for the precious people who came alongside those hurt by the recent tornado. 

I thank God for all those who've come alongside me, to help clean up my life's disasters. Who've loved me in spite of me, who've loved me through it, when life's path seemed foggy. Who've shown me love, love, love, more than words ... anyway, anytime, anywhere.

Father, thank you that because of you, we can press forward even it it's moving slowly and behind the backs of others. 


Do you ever feel crippled by fear, like me? Do you have those in your life who help you move past your fears? If you could thank one person, who would you thank?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

When Your Heart Longs for a 5-Star

The book starts slow. Not what I'd expected. My lips stretch with a yawn. Maybe this book is a 3-star.

In a world that craves action, I close my eyes, slip down into the covers, and sleep overcomes me.


For the moment.

The next night, I see the book on the bedside table. The simple glance begins to grow my heart's curiosity. Maybe I should give it another chance. I reach out and take hold. 

The speed increases slowly, along with my heart-rate. The characters and hope spring alive. I can't put the book down. It has my heart wrapped around its shortest page. My heart is so happy as I read "The End" ... I can't wait to rate it a 5-star and tell the author how wonderful it is. 

That bookthose wordswill remain in my heart forevermore, and I'll share it with others. I want everyone to know how much it meant to me, what it did for me, how it helped me, how it grew me, maybe how much it made me laugh or cry. It ends up being the best book I've ever read. 

O Soul Within, do you see the reflection of your life in that mirror? Not everyone has a Pollyanna beginning. And yeah, it's okay to mourn the lossthe loss of sound mind, good judgement, wisdom, blessing. 

But just because you started out a 3-star doesn't mean you are destined to end there. God will never reject you for that slow start. Don't give up on yourself. The expanse of sky is immeasurable. Because our God is brilliant. Those stars are right before you. Sometimes you have to wait for the clouds to part. But they're there. Dangling there. Reach out and take hold of the remainder. Pluck them right out, claim them, and cling to them. The 5-star belongs to you. 

God has plans for you to end well. Even after despair, in the midst of despair, you will remember. He's taught you well. You can be the best He has to use. The best He has to offer. You can spring alive with hope.

Be the one your Heavenly Father just can't put down. Be the one wrapped around His tiniest finger. Be the one that makes His chest puff with heavenly pride. Be the one that He can't wait to use, can't wait to share ... His prize pupil. Be the one He can count on to help others, to show others we can rise above. 

Your Heavenly Father has faith in you. He's the God of second chances. The God of heavenly glances. And He uses our 3-star as a heavenly staircase to reach our 5. He uses it. He wastes not so you can want not. Can you envision the climb? One step after another ... put one foot in front of the other ... higher and higher ... stepping through the darkness of the 3 and into the bright light of the 5, where you can see ... really see ...

See what He's done for you, through you, in spite of you.

For this new year, new you.

Reach out and take hold of His gentle fingers, beckoning you ...

Be the one.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7


Do you ever feel stuck as a 3-star? Does it loom over you? Do you receive daily reminders? What helps you reach that 5-star? And aren't you thankful God sticks it out with us?