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Adorning the gospel

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We pulled out the Christmas tree today- it’s time for the annual work of decking the halls.

If I’m honest, it feels like a hassle sometimes. Dragging a fake tree up from the basement and finding burned out lightbulbs and covering it with shiny objects our toddler can’t touch... why????
But it’s worth it. And not just for the beauty of ol’ tannenbaum or to have a nice place to put the presents.  Celebrating Christmas is worth it because the incarnation is such astonishingly good news!
Jesus really did come. He really did become human. He really did walk among us and die for us so His Spirit could live in us! And that news is worth at least putting some effort into marking the season with beauty.
This week my mom and I were talking about what it means to adorn the gospel. To hold the gospel up to the light, so to speak, and let it sparkle. Jesus coming to save us is remarkable news and my fake evergreen definitely doesn’t make it more so- but my effort (done in the right spirit with the rig…

Kingdom amnesia

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In Matthew 20, we find an ironic juxtaposition of Jesus' call and our ever-present desire for our own greatness.
And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them,“See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to deathand deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” (20:17-19) In the very next verse, look at what happens.
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something.And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” (20:20-22) It's ironic to say…

He weeps with us

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This week in my reading through the Bible, I arrived at John 11 - the story of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. This has become a treasured passage for me over the years as I walk through seasons of loss and grief and confusion.  Some observations: Jesus said Lazarus' sickness "is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." (11:4) - which echoes of 9:3 when Jesus said the man was born blind not because of sin, but so that "the works of God might be displayed in him."11:5-6 - "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. SO, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was." (Isn't that "so" intriguing??)Martha and Mary both independently say the exact same thing to Jesus, word for word. "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." (11:21, 11:32)The Jews who are there echo this statement in 11:37 - "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man…

Pushcart rides and the walk of faith

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This is one of those pictures that captures such a poignant moment in time, far beyond what you see in the image. Three years ago, my husband and I were at a pumpkin farm with our family. And we were having fun. He was pushing me as fast as he could around the pushcart track and it was ridiculous and it made me laugh and still does.

This also was a momentous day. We went to that pumpkin farm specifically to meet two children who needed a forever family.

It had started that July. We had seen their picture. They were far outside of our “age range” we had told the county we would consider taking, and there were two (not the one we thought we could handle), but we had prayed and both had felt stirred to look into their case.

I pulled up the email thread this morning - 49 emails back and forth with our worker over three months. So. Much. Waiting. We were waiting for information and for next steps with the county - and the kids were waiting. These kids who had experienced loss after loss.

At th…

Sometimes you need to put the baby down.

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Recently in a Facebook group I am a part of, I saw a young mom ask for help. She said she was battling with laziness and needed encouragement and truth to be spoken into her life. She could no longer use holding her sleeping baby as an excuse and needed to get some things done.
Cue the “just hold your baby. They don’t stay little” comments.
It’s true. They grow up fast.
But can I gingerly tread out on this social media thin ice and say something with a hesitant catch in my voice?
Yes hold your baby. There is a time to hold your baby. But sometimes we need to do the dishes or cook our families dinner or do some laundry. We do fellow moms no favors by making one another feel guilty for NOT holding our babies 24 hours a day.  I say this as a bio and foster mom of eight tiny babies over the years. Eight sweet and precious little ones who needed to be held to bond and learn to attach and feel safe.
Holding that wee babe is holy work. And so is serving my family and making our home a haven…

But for the grace of God

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This morning I encountered a comment about foster care and adoption and biological families that I had not yet heard.

“I don’t know how they could do that to their children. I guess they’re just a different kind of people than we are – they just have no conscience.“

This is so very very untrue on several levels.

Biological parents of these children are no different than we are. I mean this in two ways-first, the majority of the parents we have encountered in foster care truly do love their children. This sweeping assumption that they don’t love their kids is simply not true, nor is the assumption that the babies we have cared for have been abandoned or unwanted.

Second, these parents have made a series of terrible and damaging choices that have crippled their ability to care for their children or even for themselves. And yes, the human conscience can be utterly seared and numbed by patterns of sin. But that does not mean that they are “a different kind person“ than me. We did not foster o…

Loved

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TE had back-to-back specialty appointments today. Thankfully they were in the same building. But 2+ hours is a long time - a really long time - for a toddler in waiting rooms and exam rooms. Let’s just say we made our presence known.

We arrived at the second appointment, which I was totally (naively) expecting to be super fast. We had one major meltdown in the first exam room, got it together, and the nurse came back to take us to the second room for the exam with the doctor. Well, that’s what I thought. She was there to dilate T’s eyes after which we would go to a dark waiting room for a half hour.

Oh a half hour in a dark room with an already tired and cranky toddler? Super great. This is great.

What did I have in the diaper bag for such a time as this? I had diapers. And wipes. And a cup she had already drained dry. Two other moms were there with their children, who I have to say were intimidatingly quiet.

The selection of books in this dark waiting room was sad. After the second …

Stretch those wings

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Here I sit. Waiting for my daughter. As a homeschooling parent I have to admit I’m not as practiced at this as many of my peers. It still sometimes feels a bit foreign that she is growing into a life outside of our home.

Hear me- it’s a good and wonderful thing and I’m thankful for it. It sometimes just feels foreign.

Tonight we planned to end our summer break at a local lakeside beach. We had a picnic dinner packed, suits on, sand toys stashed in bags. We were halfway there when the promised “20% chance of rain” turned into a severe thunderstorm warning. We continued on in hopes that it would blow over. It did not. And so we were ending our summer with an unexpectedly pointless road trip in swim wear.

We were all so disappointed... everyone but our 13 year old daughter. Going to the beach meant not going to meet with her small group of 8th grade girls. While the rest of the family fought disappointment about the beach, hopeful tears brimmed in her eyes as she asked if she could stil…

Exhaling praise

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On Monday our dreams came true.

After nearly twenty years of talking and dreaming of adoption with my husband, after a five year fostering journey full of plot twists and joy and grief, after a year of riding a crazy ride of a case including such clear leading from the Lord and reassurance that she is our daughter and unexpected complications and even hiring a private attorney to fight for herand nothing (NOTHING) seeming to go as planned...

The gavel dropped. And it was done.

People keep asking me how I feel.

How do I feel? I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for five years holding on for dear life as this roller coaster ride threatened to tear me apart. I feel like if I really sit down and think about it all I might cry for three days out of relief and joy. But right now I’m still holding my breath out of habit.

I told my big kids tonight how I was feeling- and oddly enough they get it even more than any adult I’ve talked to. They’ve walked it. “It’s like you forgot how to exhale!” …

A planning peptalk

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Planning for the fall homeschool term. Feeling the same feelings I do every year and maybe I’m not the only one who needs a peptalk.
You’re looking at this list and feeling overwhelmed. You’re thinking about how your plans never seem as pretty or picturesque or complete as those other moms. You’re wondering if you can do it.
And you know what? You can’t. You cannot do this on your own. And the good news is that you don’t have to.
God has given you everything you need to do what He has called you to do. You aren’t called to be that family on Instagram. You are called to be you- you, just obeying, empowered by the Holy Spirit, getting up every day and drinking all the coffee and doing the next thing and finding Him faithful.
There is no perfect mom. No perfect education. But we have such a good and perfect God and He has not changed. So stop listening to the lies.
He has entrusted you to mother and teach these kids in this season in this way. Trust Him. And do it.