Thursday, December 22, 2016

Peace Will Come

In my last post I said that "we" had moved.  That was sort of true, but I also kind of glossed over this one giant piece of information.
My dad, the girls, and I moved to North Carolina.
Chris still has a permanent address in McDonough...for now.
We talked this idea of moving very nearly to death and felt like this really was the right time to move, but Chris is still in school.  He's too close to the end to switch to another school.  He'll finish his program in the spring, and then be able to move here full time.
Until then that equals a lot of driving for him, and more time apart than we'd like.  If someone had asked me if we'd ever be the people to do this, I would've laughed at that foolishness.
All the same, here we are.  What that means is really soaking up our time together and being as intentional as we can with every moment.

During the months before we actually decided to go ahead and move, I'm just not sure that you can imagine the worry/doubt/freakoutishness that went on with trying to make such a big life decision (unless you've done it too). Since God knows who I am and how my brain works, he extended an amazing kindness to me.
On one of the days Chris and I had to be in court, Chris was coming from the station and I was coming from home, so we were going to have to meet there.  We were going to be a little early and decided to meet at a coffee shop across the street from the courthouse.  When I got there and found Chris, he told me that the shop wasn't actually open and that he had walked in on a prayer meeting.  He introduced me to a few of the guys he'd met and we chatted for a few minutes about the coffee shop. Before we left, this one guy said his name was Micah and he really felt like he needed to tell us something.  It was getting a little weird and I was getting a little nervous, but there was no polite way out.
He said he thought we were going through a difficult time, and maybe that's why we were in the coffee shop that day.  Chris and I looked an each other and leaned in to hear what this dude had to say.  He looked at me and said that God had given me a big, bold vision for our family and that Chris was supporting me in it; that he wasn't sure if we had kids or not, but that he thought we were going to be leading in some way...maybe leading children.  The whole conversation lasted maybe a minute or two.  Chris and I were teary-eyed and almost speechless.  We left there and just walked down the sidewalk in silence until I was like, "hey, so maybe we should talk about what just happened!?!"  It was sort of surreal.  I'm not a person who asks God to give me a sign, but man- I needed that one!
After that, it was easier to go ahead.  Make no mistake- every step has not been easy, but it has been doable.  Even when it's been difficult, there's been peace.
One night last week I was reading Audrey's Bible to her before bed and laughed out loud at what I saw.  She asked me what was funny.  I just told her that God has a sense of humor.

Even when I'm overwhelmed (which happens more than I'd like), I'm thankful.
I know that we're in exactly this season because this is where we're supposed to be.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Season of Change

Just to say that our family has been in a season of change feels like a gross understatement. 
In the last six months, the way our family looks and operates has undergone some construction. 
Between February and September we had six court dates for Christian. In each of those we continued to do as we were asked, while trying to help others see the severity of his needs. During the last of those court dates our parental rights to Christian were terminated. This was simultaneously a blow to our family and a relief to know that now he can get the services he needs through the state. It costs approximately $700 per day for Christian to remain in the program he's been in for the last year and a half. That's an astronomical amount of money, but it means 24-hour care. We are still able to see him and talk to him as we were before, and he's completely aware of what's going on. Chris and I made a decision along time ago to be as upfront as possible with him. 
Our family doesn't match the textbook definition, and we're ok with that. This has been a really difficult situation...but sometimes that's the way life goes. In the last year I listened to a sermon series titled Brand: New by Andy Stanley. Maybe it sounds silly, but I felt like my eyes were opened to this idea that our love for Jesus is authenticated in our love for other people. That felt so concrete and easy for me to understand. At the same time I started to feel ashamed that while I love Christian very much, I can't meet his needs. What does that say about my love for Jesus? I'm still wrestling with that regularly. I can only take comfort in knowing that God knew all of this before we met our boy. I believe that somehow all this will work together for our good and God's glory. 
It's our prayer that we'll be able to remain in contact with Christian and that at some point our family will be able to come back together. 
In case that wasn't enough change, we also moved out of state at the end of August and I've gone back into teaching. 
So. Much. Change. 
Some exciting, some scary, some both.

We took a page out of the Fixer Upper book, and bought the worst house on the best street. 
The first picture is from before we bought it.  There was so much growth, it was difficult to see the whole house.  The color (as lovely as it is) is more true to life in the second shot.  That one is from yesterday.  There's A LOT to be done.  It's slow-going, but getting better all the time. The painters are due out next week and I'm super excited to see the results!

I've been a classroom teacher. I've been a parent. Now I'm both…and that has proven to be pretty overwhelming. It's been six weeks, and I finally feel like that's getting better too.
Finding a balance is no joke

We prayed and talked...and prayed and talked…and then just for fun we prayed and talked some more. After almost a year of that, God shined a light to help us know we were making the right decision. 
More on that next time
For now, please continue to pray for all of us as we find our new normal. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

After a particularly difficult week last week, my sister called to say she and the kids were coming down for a quick weekend visit. I really, really needed that.  


The message series we've been in for the last month has been nothing short of amazing. It has given me a new perspective. 
One of the main takeaways is that our love for God is authenticated in our love for other people. Not a new idea, certainly, but one of which I needed reminding. 
Then, there's this pesky little question that keeps seeping in to so many of my relationships: 
What does love require of me? 
-with my husband
-with my kids
-with my family and friends 
-when I don't get my way 
-when I'm tired
-when people won't just do what I tell them!

I needed this. 
Right now. 
I need this light shining on how I'm loving my people and how my people are loving me...and what that means about our love for Jesus. 
After a couple of days with my sister and a really beautiful Sunday, I'm ready for this week.

I could not possibly do it justice, so if you are interested you should go to and watch. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Once all the issues with Christian's mental health really started to come to light, somewhere in the darkest part of me, I began to question whether or not adopting him had been the right thing. I wish that wasn't true, but it is. I questioned why God would have let our hearts be so heavy to be parents only to give us a child with problems we didn't understand. I remembered all the times we had told the miracle story of how we got our babies; of how I was so filled with happiness and pride at being given the gift of being a mother. On some level it felt like a sick joke. We had boasted over and over of God's goodness only to wind up right in the middle of a mess that we didn't make and didn't know how to fix.  I'm unspeakably thankful that God loves me in the midst of that kind of ugliness.  I've spent an embarrassing amount of time wallowing in why this is happening to our family.  To add insult to injury, my sister moved away so I just slathered on another layer of self pity and have worn it around as though it was an indispensable accessory.  Bleh.
I told Chris that I don't normally make New Year's resolutions.  I heard numerous people talking about how the start of a new year made them feel reflective, and I just thought "nah." 
On the way home from being out of town for the new year, I started to feel like I should do some fasting and praying about a few things.  While I still haven't exactly made resolutions, I feel a bit like I've come up for air.  
My devotion for today talked about the fact that when God wants to give you the confidence to complete the tasks ahead of you, he doesn't tell you how awesome you are.  Moses had been wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years, and then God tells him to go confront Pharaoh.  
He asks God, "who am I that I should go?"  
God answers, "I will be with you."  
Whoa.  I found such clarity in reading this today...and believe me when I tell you I needed it!  God's response to Moses had absolutely nothing to do with Moses and everything to do with God.  
Being chosen for this path I'm on doesn't mean that I have a list of qualifications that make me great for it.  What it means, is that God is with me.  All that I need comes from that.  
The hard times aren't over.  We're still in what feels like a very precarious position.  Just a few weeks ago, Christian's insurance started asking questions about whether or not he really needs this level of care...even though he's still displaying all the same behavior patterns.  We still don't know exactly what comes next.  
We are here.  God is with us.  I have to strive to remember this every day.  
Please continue to pray for our family.

{As an aside, if you are looking for a great devotion app you should try First5.}