Prayer Request

On Christmas, we shared the news that we were pursuing expanding our family through adoption. The news elated our family and friends and our hearts were filled with so much joy and hope. At the time of sharing the news we had a local agency lined up that we thought we wanted to work with. After meeting with them, we learned that they primarily do foster placement and the chance to adopt through them was very small, almost nonexistent. So we regrouped and decided to start meeting with agencies that specialize only in adoptive placements.

We took the time and have emailed with, spoken with, and met with numerous agencies. We took the information from our meetings back and talked about all the options that laid before. We prayed continuously and met with our closest family members in seeking their advice and opinions.

I don’t feel it is necessary at this time to lay out all of the back and forth that the last month has been. What I can tell you is this; my heart is weary and I am exhausted. We are exhausted. The bottom line is this: the cost of the adoption process is something we are not comfortable with. We have gone back and forth and talked and prayed and while there are options, we are so afraid that we will put ourselves too far in financial restraints that we cannot give the child the best lifestyle that he or she so deserves. It is heartbreaking to me that the cost prevents so many families, just like mine from having or expanding a family.

I wish there was a way to look into a crystal ball to be able to see that in a few years and having spent so much money, that it would be worth it. Don’t assume that I don’t believe the money would be worth it. I sure do – every single penny. Regardless, I still wish I could gaze into the future and know that all this will play out and I will have a child. But that’s just silly, isn’t it – life certainly doesn’t work that way. For as much as I have been wishing that very circumstance, I’ve been praying on it twice as much. As we have talked between ourselves, family and friends, we have said that this is what we feel like we are supposed to do in order to grow our family. With full disclosure, I can tell you that I am at a place of wanting to make some sort of decision and move forward with the next step, or begin to seek closure with this and begin to heal. We are at that place. We are doing everything in our power to follow God’s will for our lives – including this and I believe that our hearts remain in the best possible place continuing to try and do just that.  But friends, can I tell you how emotionally exhausting this last month has been?

I tell you all of that to ask you for a favor. Would you consider praying for us? Pray that we begin to see some answers regarding our next steps. Pray that we trust His provision whether it’s financially with adoption or for peace in our hearts if in fact, our family is rounded out with us and our spoiled furkids.  Please pray for significant answers to prayers for us.

 

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A Merry Christmas, Indeed

Wowzers! I don’t know how I let it happen – again! My last post was nearly three months ago. I promise to make a better effort to write more frequently – especially now that we have something to write about…

We are very excited to announce that we are choosing to grow our family through adoption. In no way is this a ‘backup plan’ to an otherwise failed attempt to have a family, but rather, following in the direction that we believe God is leading. There’s no denying that my blog grew quiet over the last year, and while it wasn’t intentional, it definitely allowed us the time to step back and listen.. and how we listened. I find it so incredibly amazing that we are doing this. If you knew me at the very beginning of our journey, you would know how callused my heart was to the idea of adoption.  At the very mention of it, I immediately dismissed the notion. I didn’t want someone else’s failed attempt at parenting to be my band-aid to an incredibly deep wound in my heart and soul.

I’ll never forget something I heard last Christmas from a pastor of our church – “one of the greatest miracles Jesus still performs is the transformation of the human heart” – and how that resonated in my heart. I prayed over that very sentiment day in and day out.. week in and week out. Truth be told, I can’t pinpoint an exact date on the calendar, but what I can tell you is that He has answered my plea.

The first several conversations that we had back and forth were awkward, and a feeble attempt at trying to figure out if this was the right move for us or not. Many (many) nights, I laid awake asking God to let me know if this was what we were meant to do. My husband has received more obvious signs that would only pinpoint something in our hearts to keep us pressing onward. For me though,  it’s quite the opposite; my prayer over this entire journey is that if the path that we are pursuing is not what God wants over our lives, He simply needs to redirect us. We will go where He follows – and for me, I know we are on the right path because of the undeniable peace that fills my heart. For the first time in nearly six years, I can envision our spare bedroom being transformed into a room where a child can play, learn, grow, and never once question if he or she is loved. I can’t tell you how much I already love the child that will hopefully one day {soon} occupy that room.

I am sure that over time along this next step that I will get scared, I will get frustrated, and maybe hurt – but the desire that we have to follow God’s will in growing our family is greater than that.

It was an absolute joy sharing the news with our family today. We don’t have specifics on a potential match yet, but we have selected our agency, our dates are set for classes and our home studies start soon. We are so thankful that God has spoken to us so vividly surrounding this portion of our journey and can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and all the very best this upcoming New Year has to offer!

 

 

 

 

I’m Back

When I sat down at my computer several nights ago, I opened an email from someone asking “Where have you been? Your blog has grown SO quiet!” And in truth, I hadn’t realized that it’s been just over half a year since my last post.  What?! How did I let that happen?! A lot has transpired over the summer months but I am glad that I took some time  ( ok – a lot of time) to recharge. Summer yielded many great camping trips with my better half and pups. Last week we enjoyed a week together in the Outer Banks – and that’s when I sat down and finally had time to open up my email to the above question. I sat there on the beach listening to the waves crashing looking back over the last 6 months wondering where they went and where in the world the time went to. I knew that that when I posted my last entry that I was nearing the end of my limits. I was stretched way too thin and things in my life were starting to suffer. I spent the summer transitioning into a new job and refocused myself to the important things.

As I mentioned before we had stepped back in seeking infertility treatments to regroup, and in all honesty, it’s been nice spending the last several months without worrying about ‘what’s next.’ We have learned to focus on the ‘what’s now’ instead, and I think in doing that, you cultivate a greater ability to focus on the everyday good instead of dwelling on a dormant disappointment waiting on or even dreading the ‘what’s next.’  Last night, I started a Small Group at our church based on the book “The Grave Robber” by Mark Batterson.  It is based on seven miracles of Jesus found in the Gospel of John, showing how they are not simply something Jesus did in the past but also something He wants to do now – for you and for me.  Let that sink in for a minute.. because I am still dwelling on it too; God can do now, what He did then.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that God is listening to me when things keep going the way I think they shouldn’t. I have prayed for our miracle for over five years now, and it has been met with disappointment after disappointment. But here is the truth: it is a mistake to allow a single disappointment – or even 5 years worth of disappointments – to cause you to pull back on the reigns of faith so as to avoid the sting of disappointment again because God can do now, what he did then.

I’m the type of person who wants immediate results. But God has shown me time and again that He has His own time. He knows better than me. So even when I may not feel like He is listening, He is always working.  I know that our journey has unfolded for us more miracles that we have opened our eyes to at the time they were playing out, and this ties back into being able to focus on the ‘what’s now’ – the ‘what’ good’ – the ‘miracle along the way to our greatest miracle’ instead of fearing the sting of disappointment, because God can do now what He did then.

{ I strongly encourage you to check out the book – you can read more about it here: The Grave Robber. ]

Overwhelmed.

I am a wife. I am married to a man who puts his family before himself and who leads his family courageously. Since I met him nearly eight years ago, I knew he was someone I needed in my life. I want to love him more. I want to show him how much I love and care for him. But there are days where I am just so overwhelmed.

I am a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law, and an aunt. I have an amazing family whom I love dearly. I always wanted to be a part of a big family growing up, but my family remained pretty small compared to most – so I cherish each of these titles. I want to make them proud. But I’m overwhelmed.

I work full time, evenings and weekends too, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. However, I love my job and I thoroughly enjoy what I do. But I’m overwhelmed.

I am a church volunteer. I have always wanted to serve. I love ministry. I love walking beside my husband and serving our God. I want to love people. I want to lead people. I want to minister to people. I don’t want to let them down. But I can’t do it all. I’m so overwhelmed.

I am a writer. I have always loved writing. Since I was a young child I knew I wanted to write. Short stories, blog posts, poems … it didn’t matter unless I was writing. Here I am – and I haven’t written in a long time. Why? Not because I don’t want to anymore, or because I have nothing to say. I’m overwhelmed.

I am a child of the King. I study His Word, pray to Him, live for Him. But I keep failing. I keep breaking my promises. I keep running. I’m so overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. The word that plagues my mind everyday. The word that knocks on the door of my heart, longing to come in and take control. The word that leaves me feeling like a failure, empty, useless, broken for all the world to see.

In amongst all of these burdens lately, I had the absolute joy of seeing Elevation Worship at our church last week. “The King is Among Us” is undoubtedly my favorite song off of their new cd. I feel like these words are in my soul right now:

We need Your revival
Holy Spirit fire
Burning ever brighter
In our souls
Kings and kingdoms falling
Hear your people calling
King of Kings we need a miracle

And so, it happened this morning. I just couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. I sat on the side of the bathtub and just cried. That’s when I laid everything at the foot of His throne once again – all of my messes, my failures, my worries. All I could do was look up. To the One who picks me up, cleans my messes, and restores. The One who will remind me once again when I cannot see past the bumps in the road who He is. What He has done. And what He will do again in my life. I am His, and I am overwhelmed by His mercy, His grace, His love, His promises.

I am in need of a revival in my heart & soul so that I can be less overwhelmed and more of who I am meant to be.

God is Faithful.

This morning on my way into work I streamed a podcast from Judah Smith. I had the privilege of watching him speak live at my church last November. I’ve been in church for a long time, but I never knew Jesus like he talked about Him. So. Good.

My drive is about 35 minutes long – perfect length to stream a message and listen in. I hit shuffle and a podcast played at random. I will admit that I zoned out here and there to pay attention to the icy patches on the road and maneuver the snowdrifts but that I tuned back in when I heard him say “God is faithful.”

I didn’t hear what he said after that, and I can’t really remember what he was saying before that. Because I stopped on God. Is. Faithful.

There is little that makes sense to me about our infertility struggle. There is zero doubt in my heart and mind that we wouldn’t make good parents .. no – great parents .. appreciative parents. That we wouldn’t do anything for the sake of our child. There is just so much that resonates unfairness to what we’ve been dealt.

But in the middle of that space, I found myself uttering softy, slowly, reverently, almost like a prayer I finally found the words to, “God is faithful. God is faithful. God. is. faithful.” Like if I said it enough times, my heart would believe it to be true.

There’s something that shifts when we just lift our chin a little. Our perspective is altered because our eyes tip just slightly upward. And that slight shift from downcast to uplifted redirects the heart. And that changes everything.

God is faithful. He is faithful when I am not. He is faithful when others hurt me or when I hurt others. He is faithful in my mistakes. He is faithful to be unshakeable when all my world is in upheaval. He is faithful.

He does not let me down. He does not make promises and not keep them. He does not disappoint. He does not keep records of my wrongs. He does not lead me down roads and then abandon me. He does not allow hard things without giving me what I need to move forward. He does not leave us to wander aimlessly in our hurt or in our grief. He is faithful.

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“And in all that faithfulness, lay ribbons of hope we can cling to and rivers of grace we can drink from and oceans of mercy we can swim in.”

Today, He is faithful to give me what I need to traverse the hard and rocky road I seem to be on today.

Today, God asks that I trust him one step, one moment, one day at a time. And trust that tomorrow will take care of tomorrow.

Why?

Because God is faithful. Always.

{ If you are interested in listening to podcasts from Judah Smith – check him out here: http://thecity.org/media }

Closing 2014 With My 2015 Miracle List

“Nothing is impossible with God.”
{Luke 1:37}

Since all of our prayers for miracles this past year were answered, it is time to make a new list for the new year. We serve a powerful God, who asks that we approach His throne boldly. Every good gift comes from Him {James 1:17} – we simply must ask in faith and understand that His answer is best.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
{Mark 11:24}

So, here is my list for 2015:

•For Baby Bear – we prayed for this last year too, but God’s answer is for us to continue to wait and press onward. Always onward. Nothing teaches us that more than the start of a new year. Yes, this struggle is tough. But to me, the thought of not starting a family is even more difficult and heartbreaking. It is our prayer that God continues to prepare our hearts { even as we wait, and yes – even in during the hardest of times } for what will undoubtedly be the greatest miracle in our lives.

•For a repaired relationship with my Mom. Details aren’t necessary however I assure you that there is room for improvement from both parties, although I need to make the effort.

•To stay faithful to the Word. I pray that in each circumstance I am faced with that I seek out the direction I should travel and make an effort to study the Bible more.

I also want to say that I often pray for others. I just do not include specific miracles for them on my list. Sometimes I do not know their situations or circumstances well enough to pray such specific things over their lives, and even when we do, I would never post them here. Oftentimes, we pray for our parents, family and friends when specific requests are asked.

I am praying confidently, believing in a God who can do far greater things than I could ever ask for. I am praying especially hard for #1 on our list, as I hoped that would have happened in 2014, however I continue to trust God that His answer is best.

I can’t believe 2014 is hours away from being nothing but lessons and memories. I am thankful for the stillness that filled my heart as the days went by during the Christmas season and know that it was nothing short of His presence that made the joy possible.

Today, all of social media is filled with posts about people being ready for the year to be over with. Yes, it was a tough year. But without it, I wouldn’t be who I am at the end of 2014. I wouldn’t know what I was capable of and I would have missed out on many laughs and special moments. I know the new year brings people new hope – hope of a better year, perhaps a new relationship or a pregnancy, maybe it’s a new job or a fresh start at something – but the truth is, you don’t need a digit to change on the calendar for that to happen. As these last hours of 2014 play out, I wonder how we would each live today if we were told we would never live a day in 2015. I guarantee they would be hours of accomplishments and heartfelt conversations, of joy and fulfillment. The time would not spent wanting to fast forward. We have the opportunity each day to wake up with renewed hope, joy and a fresh start. To make today count. To make it matter to someone other than ourselves. Every new morning gives us a chance to smile at a stranger. To compliment a co-worker who seems to be having a hard day. To pay for the coffee of someone behind us in line or spend some extra time on the phone with Mom, listening to her stories. Don’t try to rush through the rest of what is left of 2014, because I am sure that 2015 will have its own trials as well. All we can do is live in this moment, because our future is not guaranteed. Our relationships will change and if we don’t have our prioritized set correctly, we will somehow blaze through another year feeling unfilled and empty.

I do love how each year seems to hold a new lesson for me. 2013 was a year spent renewing my faith and trust in God – applying Proverbs 3:5 to my life and ‘leaning not on my own understanding.’ 2014 was spent learning more about hope and being reminded that “my only Hope is in Him.” So what will 2015 be about? Joy. I can already feel Him beginning to teach me on a deeper level that my joy needs to come solely from Him. Not from circumstances or earthy things, but simply rooted in Him. I can’t wait to explore this even more in 2015.

2014 Miracle List Recap

I realized when I sat down to my laptop this evening that it’s been well over a month since I last wrote. It wasn’t intentional, but I fell victim to the hustle and bustle that the Christmas Season brings – even after I said to myself that I wouldn’t. On December 31st last year, I sat down and wrote an entry entitled “2014 Miracle List” which detailed what I would be trusting God for in the past year. As I sit here this evening typing, I am grateful to be able to say that all of our prayers this past year were answered.

Here’s what I prayed for on my 2014 Miracle List:

• For God to bring an outlet of ministry into my life so that I can be effective for His Kingdom

We’ve attended our church for awhile now and I’ve gone back and forth on what I wanted to be a part of there. For a long time I wanted to try out for our worship team, but I never quite gathered the courage to do it. Christopher and I served for the last year or so as greeters before and after the services. I knew that I wanted to be involved on a deeper level, I just couldn’t figure out where. On October 30th I was given the opportunity to take the position of Director of Photography at our church, Amplify. This encompasses two things I love very much: photography, but more importantly – serving Jesus. I am beyond humbled to have received this opportunity and excited to build my team to further spread His name.

• For Christopher & I to continue to maintain our health

Earlier this year, I had a repeat MRI to check on the prominence of my pituitary adenoma. The results showed that there continues to be no growth or additional critical effects. We’ve continued to monitor the tumor and thanks to the Almighty Father there continues to be no negative news to report. In June we attempted to get Christopher a new insulin pump but were declined from our insurance carrier. For us to buy the new pump outright it would’ve been approximately $7400.00 and at that time, there wasn’t any type of payment plan available. Let’s face it – we didn’t have a spare seven thousand laying around. In the middle November, I received a call from a number that I didn’t know, nor have saved to my phone. I wasn’t going to answer it, but something in my gut told me to. It was the manufacturer for Chris’s insulin pump and supplies telling me that with the tiers that we have recently surpassed in our plan that Chris would be eligible to try again with our insurance plan to obtain this new pump and monitoring system. To spare you the rest of the month and a half long details, his new pump arrived last Tuesday and while there was some out of pocket cost for it, we are fortunate enough to have been able to afford it and I am excited to see more of an improvement in his lifestyle with this new pump and continuous monitoring feature.

• For Baby Bear

We have prayed for this Miracle for the last several years and God’s answer to us continues to be for us to wait. God has sure tested our faith and strengthened our hearts in this past year, but we believe faith in Him includes faith in His timing. I haven’t been to the RE in nearly 6 months and we are eager to get back to formulating a plan at our visit in January. I believe that good things are in store for the upcoming year.

As I sit here reflecting on everything that we have been blessed with this year, I am reminded of God’s miracle working power. If I was writing this post more than 2 years ago, and you would have told me that our prayers would be answered with still no Baby Bear, then I would have scoffed and said that wouldn’t be the answer of a God who hears me. However, I’ve grown enough in my faith to realize that the answers that we’ve been given may not be what we want – but I am certain they are the answers that we need.

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