Tuesday, December 27, 2011

16 years ago...

Dear Ones:

Sixteen years ago today Eric and I were given the gift of Elijah. On that day my dream of motherhood came true and it was above and beyond what I could have ever asked or imagined. From day one Elijah has simply been a delight. I love having a front row seat to the amazing adventure of watching God's plan unfold in his life. Our family is blessed beyond measure because Elijah is a part of it.  So I praise God today that he chose me to be his mother. 

Happy Birthday Elijah you are so worth celebrating!!!!!

Elijah and his brother Noah just left last night. The two of them are on their way to Nicaragua to serve God and others. They spent months since they got back from Mexico this past summer working their way to get to Nicaragua. They took every job they could and worked really hard. Through all their hard work and some loving donations, once again God provided everything they needed. 

I have mixed emotions as a Mama sending them off. It is hard letting your babies out of your grasp isn't it?  The truth is though they are just on loan to me. They are His. They know their heavenly father and serve him with willing hearts. Even when it is not easy. I know they will come back closer to Him and richer spiritually, with their world view broadened because of it. So even though I miss them so much my heart could bust. I rejoice in who they are and who they will become because they follow hard after Jesus. What more could a mother want really?


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fog

Dear Ones:

This will probably be the most vulnerable post I have ever written. Recently I have been hit by a major faith wound. A wave of weariness has almost drowned me. I have felt so beaten that all that I am sure was visible was my white flag of surrender to the enemy. 
I was hit so hard that I decided that is it. I am DONE! I will not fight anymore. I refused to pray. Yep I did. I know that probably sounds absurd but I did not want to hear forgive again. I didn't want to feel like the only one fighting so I made my mind up. I told God I was DONE! 

Certainly not my finest hours over the past week. I have been in a major slump. So bad I could not even cry and for me that is BAD! 

I finally read a devotional. I don't know what made me do it. Maybe someone was praying for me because I certainly was not praying for myself. The devotional came from Max Lucaodo's book Facing Your Giants. Which made me go back and read the chapter the segment came from. Here are some quotes:

"Slumps: are the petri dish for bad decisions, the incubator for wrong turns, the assembly line for regretful moves. How we handle our tough times stays with us for a long time."

That stopped me in my tracks because I had a whole slew of bad thoughts and decisions on my mind. 

I know I need to stop "talking to myself and start talking to Christ again. I'll be honest it is a struggle. I am so hurt right now.  

I am glad though that "God who is never downcast, never tires of my down days"

Here is the rest of the devotion that is too good not to share:

"Don't make the mistake of Florence Chadwick. In 1952 she attempted to swim the chilly ocean waters between Catalina Island and the California shore. She swam through foggy weather and choppy seas for fifteen hours. Her muscles began to cramp, and her resolve weakened. She begged to be taken out of the water, but her mother riding in a boat alongside, urged her to not give up. She kept trying but grew exhausted and stopped swimming. Aides lifted her out of the water and into theboat. They paddled a few more minutes, the mist broke, and she discovered the shore was less than a half mile away."All I could see was the fog." She explained at a news conference. "I think if I could have seen the shore I would have made it."

"Take a long look at the shore that awaits you. Don't be fooled by the fog of your slump. The finish may be only a few strokes away. God may be at this moment, lifting his hand to signal Gabriel to grab the trumpet. Angels may be assembling, saints gathering, demons trembling. Stay at it! Stay in the water. Stay in the race. Stay in the fight. Give grace, one more time. Be generous, one more time. Teach one more class, encourage one more soul. swim one more stroke.

So I'm going to pray again. I ask that you please pray for me because I feel like I have more struggle than strength. I have desperately wanted to quit. Please pray that I will see the shore...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Finding the Piece that has Brought Peace

Dear Ones:

I have been on a lifelong journey. A seeking journey. Recently, I have finally been catching a glimpse of what my heart has desperately sought over the years. It has made me extra weepy in the emotions department if you can believe that is even possible. 

I'll do my best to explain. I've shared recently about my new dream of writing. As I have spent time in prayer and reflection I am simply overcome. I feel like this new dream really isn't new at all. The love affair with writing has been there all along. The encouragement in that direction has also been there. The problem was it was always laced with fear, doubt, insecurity and unbelief. 

I can remember reading books on self discovery and there would be questions like "What are you good at?" I also remember my blood just boiling at that point because I always felt at a loss when it came to having an answer. I would always compare myself to others and end up feeling worthless. 

My eyes have been opening up over the past few months. I have had some really supportive feedback and encouragement when it comes to things I have written. More than that I have realized how much I just enjoy the process. How I love to get my thoughts rolling and hope my fingers can keep up as I put the thoughts into words.

Lately, it's been like searching for a missing piece of a puzzle and then finding it and seeing the pieces all come together.  For soooo long I have been trying to cram the wrong puzzle piece into the empty spot. Desperate to feel like a void has been filled. All the cramming just left me frustrated and beaten. 

It has FINALLY become very evident to me that I am not a consultant. I am not a sales person. I am not a coach. Trying these things has been like fitting a square peg in a round hole. It never fit. I am a writer. It is part of the me I am meant to be. It always has been. God in his wonderful patience and love has helped me to acknowledge it.  This realization has brought me such joy, excitement, passion and peace. Peace that passes all understanding.

Here is an excerpt from a devotional by one of my all time favorite Authors Max Lucado:

"As a young man I felt the call to preach, unsure if I was correct in my reading of God's will for me, I sought the counsel of a minister I admired. His counsel still rings true."Don't preach he said, unless you have to."As I pondered His words I found my answer."I have to." If I don't the fire will consume me."

If I don't write, the fire will consume me. I simply have to!

Will I ever have more than 51 followers of this blog? Will I ever have published work? Will I ever be a bona fide author? Those are questions that I can't answer. But won't it be cool to find out? Even if the answer is no to each question I am still a writer and I have sweet peace.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Character ~~ Elijah

Dear Ones:

I just have to share with you today about something that just delighted this mother's heart.

It is about my eldest son Elijah.

I really can't say enough good about this boy. Something specific about him came to mind this morning as I was getting my makeup on. This special MOMent came to me because he is actually home today because of a plumbing issue at school. 

As I was getting ready I could hear him loading the dishwasher. This is his week. I thought to myself, how nice I didn't have to remind him to do that. Then I heard his still feverish little sister Mercy calling to him from the living room. She had a book in her hand and she wanted him to read it to her. He sweetly sat down with her and so lovingly read to her. He helped her put her hood on her head because, well, she likes hats and asked for help and he so sweetly obliged. He then went back to his morning chore. I thought I have to praise this kid. He is showing good character.

I have heard character defined once  as being "who you are when no one else is looking."

He was completely unaware of what I overheard. As I went to praise him and before I could even get a single word out of my mouth, he began to tell me about his book time with Mercy. That is when my eyes just welled up. He then came over to me to hug me and then I got to tell him. I got to share what I had heard, unbeknownst to him. Also, how there is nothing more glorious to a parent then to see their child know and serve the Lord genuinely, and how proud I was of his good character. 

I'm just so thankful I get to be his Mama. He truly is an amazing gift to this whole family and I am sure to everyone who really knows him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

God's Favor

Dear Ones:

I am not sure about the coherency of this post. So in advance forgive me. I am literally weeping right now. You know how it is when God just floods your dry soul. 

I don't think I will ever cease to be amazed at how God is so faithful and how incredible He is. I am so thankful that He shows up.

I guess I will start with yesterday. Big time parenting fail. Which spiraled into just being down in the dumps. You know how Paul said "I do not understand what I do, for what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Romans 7:15

Well, that perfectly describes my day yesterday. I was tired, drained, impatient, short, mean, jealous, weary... you name it. I'm sorry if some of my emotions are repetitive, I don't intend to annoy or bore you. I just want to be authentic in my struggles and victories on this journey of faith. 

All for His glory! All for His glory!

I spent last night in prayer and devotion but still went to bed in a bad spot. I even texted another Mom with a special needs child to lift me up in prayer because there is just something about someone who understands the difficulties standing in the gap for you. Still I was left wanting.

This morning again I went to another online sermon by Steven Furtik. It was on God's favor. It was particularly timely...I just love how God does that. 

One of the things I put in my journal last night to God was "why did you choose us for this?" Why FAS? Some hurtful words from a family member came back to haunt me? "That our family was foolish to do this." I began to wonder. Were we? 

Then I listened to TRUTH! His word! It really does set you free Dear Ones! We need to feast on it all the time! 

Some of the things from the message I am just going to have to share from my notes. Just amazing!

"When you understand God's favor  it gives you a new way to see how God see's you. When you understand God's disposition towards you it changes your disposition towards EVERYTHING you face in your life. God gives you a new outlook."

He brought up how when life gets hard we doubt. Then he shared how "God's favor shows up when God is doing something through you that only He can take credit for. It is all for your good and for His glory."

Here was his definition of favor:

The guarantee of His presence and the provision of His power to accomplish His special purpose in and through our lives." "With His favor we have the divine ability to seize opportunity and overcome opposition because JESUS IS FIGHTING FOR US." "God is with me and for me."

"Favor with God is not favors from God"

"Favor isn't fair and you don't want it to be."

"Favor shows the world who God is through your life."

"The devil doesn't stand a chance against a child of God."

Here is where I broke. When the weeping started:

"Having God's favor in your life doesn't mean your life will get easier, it almost certainly means it will get harder, because how will He show His power over your circumstances if He didn't put you in a battle, so He can fight for you and show how strong He is? Favor is NOT for your convenience, but for His purpose to be accomplished in and through your life."

Some examples:

Noah building and Ark when there had never been a drop of rain.
Abraham having to leave everything to obey God
Mary becoming pregnant and having to convince everyone she was pure and it was God's child.
Jesus found favor and it led Him to the cross!!!!

WOW!!!! Talk about being highly favored yet still facing difficulties.

It just brought me such peace. Difficult does not mean I don't have His favor. It doesn't mean I was foolish. Because I wasn't, I was obedient. 

"God's heart is towards me and His hand is on me no matter what I am facing in life."

I am asking Him to help me change how I see everything. For my eyes to be opened to His favor in my life. For the strength to walk in obedience. For His purpose to be accomplished." For forgiveness when I doubt and fail. For rest when I need it. To be able to be still and know He is God.

So with that my tears have stopped. My heart is calm and peaceful. I am so thankful His mercies are new every morning. 



Friday, November 18, 2011

Behind the Scenes and Highlight Reels

Dear Ones:

We all battle insecurity at one time or another in our lives. So this post isn't anything new. I am sure it is pretty common. But I heard something today that was fresh to me and I wanted to share it. 

My day started with just a flood of insecurity. After my post yesterday I actually shared with a friend of mine about what I have had stirring inside of me. My new dream. Only my husband and 2 other friends had any awareness of whats been going on in my brain. 

I think saying it out loud makes it more real. Puts you in a place of vulnerability.  So what I am about to share is really going to up the ante.

For sometime now I have had people tell me I should write a book. Each time I immediately shied away from any such notion. I mean, I can think of a million reasons why not to. Who am I? I have no education. I can't spell. I stink at grammar. Yadda yadda yadda....

So basically it was a dream that is just too big. Too beyond me and my abilities. I mean failing at being a consultant for whatever company you want to insert in the blank (I could insert several) is one thing, because you represent something besides yourself.

But writing... sharing your thoughts and your heart... well, that is a completely different realm of risk. 

All I can say it it keeps nagging at me. It literally calls me. Now, finding out whether or not this is part of my calling is the question. 

I do love to write, be it "correct" or not. Expressing my self through words simply elates me. There are times that I SIMPLY MUST get to the keyboard and get to my blog.

BUT...
Then the insecurities creep in.  I can think of so many more qualified. 

I felt so bad this morning that I listened to an online sermon on insecurity by Pastor Steven Furtik. I love that guy. His messages always speak to me. He had an illustration today that was an enormous comfort to me. He was saying how we tend to compare ourselves when we feel insecure. (Ahem....totally guilty on my part.) The flaw with that though is we see all our stuff. All we struggle with. "The behind the scenes stuff." But when we look at others we see their "Highlight Reel." I tell you it was so profound to me. We all have our stuff. We all are in desperate need for God to do His work in and through us for His glory. I also thought it was pretty cool too how personal that makes our God. We each have our own story that really is HIStory. 

So what does this all mean. I'm not exactly sure honestly. I don't know when or how, but I'm still dreaming. We will just see where this all goes. Hopefully a Highlight reel.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Simple Blessings

Good Morning Dear Ones:


I just spent some time reflecting and worshiping. I was thinking about the simple blessings in my life. Sometimes as a stay at home Mom life can become very mundane but my God is so magnificent even in the mundane. 

My Mercy each and every single day tells me she wants to snuggle. She is completely irresistible I tell you too. So not only do I enjoy the bonding time with my daughter but I enjoy this sweet quiet time with my heavenly father. The three of us go and sit in our brown rocker and Mercy snuggles into me and she is completely still. I promise you there is no other time she is ever still but during this time. 

I use this time to reflect. I sing worship songs over her. I pray for her. I cry. I pray for my day, my family and my realm of influence. 

This morning as we snuggled. I was just thankful. Thankful for my husband and best friend. He is a treasure. Without him my life would be so empty. He loves me. Me without makeup. Me with PMS. Me with insecurities. Me with hopes and dreams. And he supports me in it all. Then my boys. With my older two, teenage years have been such a joy. They bring my heart so much joy. I am thankful that we communicate. That we have intimate conversations. That I get to sit on the sidelines of them growing up in Jesus. I love and like them so very very much. Then the middle two. I am thankful they they have such tender hearts. That Canaan goes on a date with his Daddy and of his on volition brings Mom home beautiful flowers and you can just see him bursting with joy to give them to me. I am thankful for Zion also growing up and the sweet Big Brother he is to his little sisters. He obviously loves them and they light up like a Christmas tree when he comes around. 

I am thankful for my God giving me new dreams and passions in my life. Even if I am too scared to share them with all of you just yet. I used to fear what will I do after babies. And My God has begun to stir things in my heart that completely scare me but at the same time are completely compelling . It totally humbles and excites me. 


So thankful for my simple blessings.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Let us not Become Weary....

Good Morning Dear Ones:

Can I just start this post by saying how much I love my Jesus? His amazing love for me never ceases, and never fails. 

Have you ever just been hit between the eyes when he speaks to you. I have to say I have. Last night was another one of those times for me. 

I had gone to Bible study after a day I had spent wrestling weariness. And there He got me. One verse and I was nailed. 

"Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time WE WILL reap a harvest. IF we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

The moment those words of truth were spoken I inwardly crumbled. As always I am going to be completely vulnerable here as I share. Raising two little girls with a permanent brain injury I sometimes feel like I am just spinning my wheels in the mud. Tons of therapy appointments, doctor appointments, and never ending parental consistency that rarely ever seems to pay off. I desperately look for books, something...anything... that will offer hope and I tell you every single book on FAS that I pick up I want to throw across the room, rip it to shreds, or burn the thing. Seriously. Why? Because even when they say they are about hope. They really don't offer it. So as a result fear creeps in. I see what is written and I see my circumstances and challenges and my faith weakens and I become weary. I become scared to believe God because in reality I am scared to be disappointed. That this is as good as it gets for them or even worse.

I think about the boys. I think about how they bring Eric and I so much satisfaction in who they are. Who they are becoming. They are just such incredible kids. We are encouraged all the time by people who have such wonderful things to say about them. One pastor recently said from the pulpit how much he loved our boys and I was instantly proud and instantly attacked. I wondered will people say things like that about our girls? Will they enjoy and love them just as much? I don't even know why that is such a concern for me. Maybe it is pride because my boys reflect well on me. 

All I know right now is My God spoke and as always the truth of His word really brought me some freedom. You see, I fear there won't be a harvest with the girls sometimes. But His word says I will reap a harvest. I just need to not give up. The harvest may not be like exactly what I may expect it to look like. It may be turnips instead of corn. But what matters is there will be a harvest. God is in control. His plan is beautiful and perfect. I get to be a part of it. He chose me. Me to be their Mama. He must have a belief in me a confidence in me, a plan for me in all of this that is good and powerful and beautiful. 

 My girls and their needs are challenging and they cause discomfort, but what really matters is we love them. God loves them more than we do. I really think it is time to start believing again. Realizing that God gets to decide the miracles he performs and I have the privilege to be a part of it. 

For now, I am changing my reading material. There is one book that always has HOPE!

On a side note from yesterdays post. A friend of mine that also has adopted 2 special needs girls found a crib tent for me yesterday and is shipping it to me today. Plus some door alarms. She gets it and she lovingly acted on it. How great is my God?

Living Loved,


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Just One FAS Issue

Dear Ones:

Just wondered if you would pray for us today. One of the things we deal with with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is sleep issues with Big Sister. She used to not go to sleep. But a dose of Melatonin has been a God send to get her to sleep but she NEVER stays asleep. Sometimes, being awake for hours at night. All we can do is pray and do our best to keep her in bed. She sleeps in a sleep sack but it failed us last night. Elijah was awakened last night and found her out of her crib and lights were on all over the house. So I am scrambling today for a solution. First trying to find one of these for her crib but so far no one has one in stock.



I recently ordered these special needs tents for both girls but it is on back order and no idea when they will be here. 


I have also talked to someone about building two of these for us maybe someday because the cost to purchase just one is astronomical.

Please be praying for us about this. That God will supply what we need and give us wisdom where we are lacking it. The older the girls get the more what their developmental specialist has said rings true. "It will be a huge challenge to just keep these girls safe."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Celebrations and Hope

Dear Ones:

So last Sunday as I woke up my first thought was "it's here, this day is FINALLY here. We get to CELEBRATE the mountain my God has moved. We get to celebrate that Mercy is forever ours." So I turned to my husband still next to me in bed with teary, joyful eyes and said those exact words to him. along with, "can you believe it is really here???"

The day was beautiful. It started with church and her dedication because, yes she is finally, legally, forever ours but she has always been HIS!

I could not imagine a better way to start celebrating than by dedicating her to Him. I had imagined that moment so often as we waited. I even thought to myself if given the chance to speak about what would I say. When the time came I simply crumbled. All I could get out was a tearful thank you to my heavenly father. She is such a gift. A marvelous, wonderful darling gift. I love how our Pastor called up those who have been with us on the journey to stand with us as we gave her to the Lord. I simply don't know how we would have made it without them and their support and prayers. It was so fitting for them to join us.

The party was just a delight. We shared a fantastic meal together. We watched a DVD slideshow I made about Mercy and the journey. Then we WORSHIPED!!!! We had a full worship team that led us as we just poured out our hearts in gratitude to the Mountain mover and lover of our souls! It was AWESOME!

The turnout was just so fantastic. We felt so supported and loved. A beautiful day to hold in my heart as we wait for Big Sister to forever join us. I hope you enjoy the pics I am able to share at this time. I wish I had captured more from the day especially of those who joined us but I was literally consumed and soaking in every single delightful moment. Hopefully I will do better about that next time. I should have asked someone to help out with that. 





Finally, I wanted to share some hope. Raising two girls with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome certainly calls for regular doses of it. I really can't describe how difficult it can be raising someone who has no cause and effect in their thinking, feeding and sensory difficulties, impulsiveness, sleep disorders, ADHD, speech and cognitive delays, lack of appropriate social behavior, demanding of parents time, acting out, delayed potty training, difficulty learning in school. Just to mention some of what we experience on a daily basis. FAS has no cure. It is permanent brain damage with lifelong challenges. It is so completely different then how I have ever parented. We spend most of our time being preventive instead of corrective. So I seek out help as we are dealing with new and challenging territory. Sometimes it can be so incredibly discouraging. Every book I have read....or article for that matter brings very little or no hope. So I have been looking up. Looking to the source of my hope. He has made me the mother of these two girls who are innocent victims in all of this. So what he has called me to do, I trust he will equip me to do. At bible study last night my God spoke to me. Oh how I needed to hear from him. You see I can feel so alone in the hard struggles of FAS. My girls look completely normal and I don't think many people even come close to getting it. I know I never did until I started living it. You can feel like you are in the desert desperate for an oasis...hope. Wouldn't you know last night at Bible study the topic included the desert. The place where you want out of so bad but God's activity and plan is often discovered and your life course is revealed a bit more. We heard about Moses. He saw the burning bush and found a new life course in the desert. And the desert equipped him with dedication, direction and destination. How encouraged I was. I am learning dedication more than ever in my life. I am dedicated to help my girls be who God created them to be, in every single aspect of their lives from feeding, to speech, to learning....everything. I am trusting that He will guide me when I have no clue what to do. When I feel like I have no tools in the box. Because they have a destination. They are HIS. So my eyes are open. I am looking for those burning bushes, those supernatural spiritual markers along the way that can be nothing else but His hand. Who knows maybe someday God will use and redeem every single struggle for His glory... if for nothing else other than I can say I've been there. God is faithful and God is good!

Living Loved!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

4 Years, 2 Months, 1 Week and 4 Days


Dear Ones:

The tittle of todays blog is how long we waited for our dream of Mercy to come to fruition.
I think I am actually still a bit stunned that it has arrived.  She has been with us for 2 years and 3 months.  Since the moment we first met her she has always felt like she was ours. Through all the sleepless nights, the constant therapy and Dr. appointments, the feeding struggles, the first words, first steps, and all the tears and smiles along the way she has been permanently woven into the fabric of our hearts.

Our love for her is no different then if I had squeezed her out myself. Her delivery though, was by far the most strenuous one we faced. Oh the stretch marks I have on my heart. I would even dare to say that nothing has even come close in comparison to the faith growth each member of our family has walked through on this journey. 

When I listened to the message the other night my physical body actually shook. I was astonished and my emotions unravelled... my poor boys ran to the garage to get their dad, still unloading chocolate muffins from the car, because as they witnessed my reaction they thought something had gone terribly wrong. I quickly ran out to the garage to replay the message on speaker phone and I watched each face as they also began to process what they were actually hearing....all the struggles, all the prayers , all the trusting and waiting had all led up to this much anticipated, dreamt about moment. 
Elijah put his hands up to his face which was covered in tears. He literally leapt at me with arms wide open and gave me one of the most precious embraces you could ever receive. His heart was joyous, relieved, thankful and full of worship. All of our hearts were at that moment. We were all crying and laughing and hugging. Bonded together through the journey, the battle, and the victory. Honestly to the degree we were stretched you could multiply that by a thousand times and get the degree to which we were blessed.

As my best friend described it...she said "Michelle I am so glad you are not sitting by that window waiting for that dove anymore." Praise God the ark has landed!

I honestly am convinced that there really is no easy road to adoption. Each path requires faith and struggle. Max Lucado talks about adoption and says this: 
As adoptive parents you "hunt, set out on a mission, and take responsibility for a child with a spotted past and a dubious future." Just like what Christ has done for us... "He seeks us, finds us...signs the papers and takes us home. We are His!

That is what we have done during this time span...we feverishly sought Mercy...starting in Guatemala. We eventually found her a half an hour away. We joyously signed the papers and now FINALLY she is FOREVER home and she is OURS!

To God be the Glory forever and ever!

Now we continue, as we wait for Big Sister ... our Jubilee Hope's ark to land too!






Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mercy Jewel It's Official!!!!!!!!!!



Dear Ones: 

I am overcome with JOY at this moment words can not even describe my emotions right now. We just got home from Elijah's soccer game and noticed a voicemail on the phone. It was from our adoption worker and SHE IS FINALLY FOREVER OURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
More later when I stop crying some of the happiest tears I ever cried!!!!!!!
Praise the name of JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Transforming with Beachbody

Dear Ones,

I just wanted to share something about myself that I am proud of. I am on a determined path to health and fitness. I have come to a point where there is no turning back. I recently became a Independent Team Beachbody Coach. Mostly, because I reached a point in my life, at almost 40, that it was time to make a change. Signing up as a Coach has given me motivation, tools and accountability to keep pushing. Not to mention a nice discount on my fitness programs and supplements. I am approaching this whole new venture completely different than anything else I have ever been involved with. You see I may never make a single dollar with it, and you know what, I am completely OK with that. Why? Because if I succeed in changing my physical health, then there is absolutely no way I can fail. If anyone ever decides to order products from me or join my team then that is just the icing on the cake. I am feeling better and stronger every single day! I just finished my first month of INSANITY and as the last workout of the month was winding down I really think I could have cried because I DID IT! I am just starting month 2 and so excited to see where it is going to take me in my transformation process. If you would like to check out my websites please feel free to. I am here if you would like to join me :)





Saturday, September 3, 2011

Breakthroughs - Thanks Jesus and Elijah





Breakthrough - a significant and dramatic OVERCOMING of a perceived obstacle, allowing the completion of a process.

Oh Glory to God Dear Ones. I have had some breakthroughs and when they come along they must be shared and celebrated. Where to begin, where to begin? I think I will start with the MOST important! In my last post I shared some personal struggles I have battled in my mind. Some issues for many years.

Writing that post, confessing it in a way just really brought my heart to a place of freedom. I think it just opened the door and I was able to just let Jesus come in. I had so many lovely responses too and I am sure your sweet prayers have been a huge reason why I am writing the post I am writing today.

Last night I was able to have a nice long conversation with my oldest son Elijah. He is 15 and I TREASURE our relationship. I LOVE that we can communicate openly and honestly. We both were able to share our hearts and both came away stronger and closer.

It just kind of opened my eyes and heart. I think I have been blinded by circumstances and emotions. God just allowed my confessions and my conversation with Elijah to remind and ground me. I hope I can explain it and the magnitude of it. Out of all the issues I shared in my last post, none bothered me more than feeling like a bad Mom. Or feeling I had no gifts or talents to offer.
 As I sat in my living room last night with my son I realized something. I said to myself, "do you see what is happening here Michelle? You have a RELATIONSHIP with this young man. It is real and true and safe and genuine. You don't just talk about the weather. You talk about things that matter! You have this with your husband of 20 years. You have this with each of your children. You have GOOD relationship!"

It just flooded over me you know. I really am a good Mama. I have done a good job. God has rewarded me for all my hard work and effort. It made me feel silly about other things like makeup and physicality. I was right in the center of what really matters.

I'm not saying there isn't significance to what insecurities can do to you. Judging by the responses I got to my last post. I am certainly not alone. But what "REALLY" is important to me has began once again to seep back into my heart.

Relationship - the way in which two or more people are connected.

That is what matters. That is what counts. That is where my heart's passion is and where I am gifted. That is my PhD as one friend shared with me.

I do feel more comfortable with my makeup on than off. I do feel proud of myself for working out and eating right. I did just recently start a new business venture. But you know what... I have my focus back.

I think feeling bad about myself in so many areas caused me to lose my focus. I think the demands on my life left me in a constant state of saying to myself "I just need a break." and I felt incredible guilt for even feeling like that. What kind of mother are you that you need a break so bad? Well, even Jesus took a Sabbath and rested.

You see I am in a whole new realm of parenting as far as my girls are concerned. One I am sure God will do his work in me and I will be better for. But I am done feeling guilty or bad because things are different. With Him, I will learn. I will take the opportunity's for breaks when they come. I will pray for wisdom and support. Finally I will keep MY FOCUS - relationships.


I will never be perfect. I will mess up and need to seek forgiveness. I will always daily need my savior. But don't we all?  Isn't God so good? Praise Him for His love, mercy, grace and faithfulness!

Living Loved,


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Refute with Truth


Dear Ones:

Yesterday I came across a quote from one of my favorite authors Max Lucado. Here it is:

"God Lets you excel so you can make him known. And you can be sure of one thing: God will make you good at something."


Well, it pricked something inside of me. I guess because most of the time I don't really feel like I have anything that I am particularly GOOD at. Now bear with me this is not a pity party blog post. In fact It is actually combative. I want to refute the enemies lies. I want to walk in truth and in freedom. Why is that so hard? I am a person who HATES lies! Lying in our household is in no way shape or form tolerated. So why do I fall so easily for the enemy's lies?

I think a part of me wants to be humble. I don't want to puff myself up. But do some of the things I believe about myself equate with humility or are they simply not true? Then I ask myself are they really true and I simply have a lot of myself to work on? I think the answer has to be somewhere in the middle. There has to be some healthy balance. Because, yes I am flesh and a work in progress to become more like Christ.

I sat down yesterday and started to look at all the thoughts I think about myself on a regular basis and it was scary how much I have not been holding my thoughts captive. I am going to be vulnerable here for the sake of maybe someone else will read this some day and be like "hey I can see myself in that situation." I know one of the greatest ways the Lord ministers to me is when I see those in the faith I admire and I see where the Lord has brought them from. Vulnerability with victory is very encouraging don't you think?

So with that I will give you my list that came to mind yesterday and then my refutals. I am sure it is not a complete list, I mean a lot of thoughts run through a girls mind, but it is a great start. Some I admit are embarrassing to even share but I wanted to be honest so if you leave a comment please be kind.

  1. I am ugly without my makeup. This one has plagued me for YEARS. I won't even go to my mailbox, or answer the door if the paint is not on. The truth is I have really nice skin and pretty eye color. Honestly I am struggling to refute this one but trying my best. It also made me just think about how good I actually am at makeup application but I digress.
  2. Physically unattractive. This really became a struggle after I gave birth to 4 boys. My body image just went in the dumps post pregnancy. The truth is I am almost 40 and gave birth 4 times and I'm really not to shabby considering. Am I airbrushed perfect? Heavens no. But I am real and I work daily to be the best physical me I can be and I think that is something to be proud of.
  3. Stupid/Uneducated. This one also has been a doozy. You see I never furthered my education beyond high school. I really did not have the desire to. But so many times in life I feel inferior because I didn't. My best friend has her doctorate degree and for such a long time I did not even get to know her because of thoughts like what could I possibly have to offer. But the truth is when it comes to relationships, degree's don't matter. I may not have a lot of book learning. But I work on my relationships and have learned plenty over the years. You can have wisdom without education. I am not discounting education just the lie that I am stupid.
  4. I am not a good Mom. This is a new one for me. You see growing up all I dreamed of being was a good wife and mom. We have 4 biological sons and they are simply INCREDIBLE human beings. I love them and I like them. They are something to be proud of for sure. So why has this been a struggle lately? Well, you see I think our boys really gave me a lot of confidence in my parenting. Then we brought 2 special needs girls into our home. I initially thought "I got this!" You know, it has been like starting from scratch. Everything that "worked" for our boys does not work for them. From everything from simple grooming to feeding to learning & discipline. I have had to seriously grieve the loss of what had worked so well for us in the past. Does this mean I am a bad mom? The truth is no. I still love the same. I just have to parent differently. I am still learning and am sure I will be for quite some time now but to God be the Glory because he has brought me to something that is completely beyond me and myself. Any progress, any success is all due to him. Praise His holy name!
  5. The last one I am going to share is this, I have no gifts or talents and I fail at whatever I try. Where does this one come from? Well maybe it is the billion home business ventures I have tried with little to no success. Maybe it is I have no musical or serious crafty abilities. Maybe it is because I know my photography is just a hobby and I really don't know what I am doing. So what's the truth? The truth is yes I have tried more things than I care to remember, but you know what at least I tried. So what if I am musically challenged. I still can worship God with all my heart and I am sure to Him it is a beautiful noise. So what if my photography is just a hobby. I have captured memories for people and our family that I am sure will be treasured and always will.
So there it is, a taste of how easy it is to give the enemy a foothold. I am getting sick of it. The truth really does set you free. Thank God for truth! You Know God's works are rarely easy and sometimes not even pretty. But May God be known in me and in my life. May truth rule and reign in my heart and mind. May I see where he has created me unique and where I, because of Him, succeed at being who he made me to be. So I will end with this truth:

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Feel like I have been kicked

Dear Ones:

Just go t this e mail from our case worker:

.mom has appealed the circuit court's decision....sorry folks.....what this means is that all of the attorney's must write briefs and have them submitted to the Court of Appeals. Once the briefs are submitted the judges review and make a decision.....unfortunately this takes as long as it takes...the attorneys all have deadlines but the judges do not.....i will keep you posted as i find out information....
I am so sad and disappointed right now and I really really do need your prayers right now. I am so over this system and now God only knows how much longer we will be in it. I know I have to trust him for the outcome whatever it is but this seriously is emotional turmoil.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Could not Agree More

Dear Ones:

A friend of mine posted this on facebook this evening and I had to share it, because I love when there is something, even if it is a simple paragraph that resonates. I so GET THIS!

For the parents who had to wait longer to hear a first word, who spent more time in doctors offices with their child than on play dates, who endure countless bad days and the stares from other people. For the parents whose child's first friend was their therapist. For the parents who face special needs everyday.. I SALUTE YOU ALL.

AMEN!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Big Monday Coming Up ~ Rejoice


Dear Ones:

Well, I have to write this post now. Things are pretty busy around here getting ready for our "second honeymoon" of sorts. So much packing to get ready to go in 3 different directions. I am not complaining. I am literally close to bursting with excitement. Monday morning we fly out and will be back to pick up our 6 pack on Friday evening. Elijah and Noah will be back from Mexico by then. I can not wait to see their beautiful faces and hear all about what the Lord has done in and through them.

We also found out this morning that before we get to the airport Monday morning we will stop by our agency and SIGN OUR ADOPTION PLACEMENT AGREEMENT!!!!!!! For Baby Girl.

That's right, once that is done, we just wait for a judge to FINALIZE!!!!!!! Which will hopefully be by October.

I can not think of a better way to kick off some alone/celebration time with my best friend on this earth!

REJOICE

Finally some news. Our girls have a new baby sister that was born earlier this week. She is in the NICU in rough shape. Please be praying for this little one. She is not well enough to even go home with her new foster family yet. It is sad what has been inflicted upon her, so please be praying for her healing, health and development.

Living loved!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Most fav e mail

Dear Ones:

We received an e mail from our adoption worker last night that our adoption placement was approved by our agency director.Now the paperwork will be written for us to sign our agreement. I have to say one of my most favorite e mails ever received!!!! Oh happy day!!!!!

We meet with our Guardian ad Litem today at 11:30. This will be for Big Sisters upcoming appeal hearing. This is the lawyer that recommended termination for Baby Girl but not for the siblings. It makes no sense to me but I would love to have the prayer cover for today and for the hearing coming up on August 10th.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Looking forward to being refreshed!


Dear Ones:

Just to bring you up to speed on a few exciting things. First, I am leaving on Thursday. My friend and neighbor invited me on a little beach getaway. This will be the first time ever leaving my chocolate muffins. I am so looking forward to getting away and being refreshed. I even bought some SPF 100 sunscreen. No joke. I am as white as they come....practically glow in the dark. You can be praying for my man who will be home with our 4 youngest kiddos. Why only four? Well, our two oldest sons leave on the 9th for Mexico. They have worked so hard to pay for their trip. We did not have 1 cent of the money but God has provided by loving donations and a lot of hard work on their parts. I'm simply amazed by it really. Thank you to all who have given or who have provided jobs! I am sure going to miss those amazing boys, but I know my amazing God is going to do amazing things in and through them. Also, Happy Birthday to my Noah who will turn 14 on the trip!

Our other exciting news is. My hubby has a business trip to New Orleans at the end of the month that spouses can come on. Well, we can only leave our girls with a certified family and I just could not leave our girls with complete strangers. We tried working on several scenarios with families in our church and just when it looked like nothing was going to pan out something did. So my hubby and I will get to celebrate our 20th anniversary (1 month early) in style and ALONE! Just the two of us. We have not been away together just the two of us in about 4 years or so. I can hardly stand it!!!

On a side note, July 9th marks 4 years since we started our adoption journey. Just knowing it is within reach has brought so much peace and joy. So this four year anniversary brings anticipation and excitement rather than frustration and sadness.

Much much much to celebrate!

Friday, July 1, 2011

I can See the Light


Dear Ones:
We met with our adoption worker this morning working on our adoption placement agreement. It went so well. We should sign the agreement in a few weeks. Once it is signed she can't be taken away from us. Then we wait for a judge to sign for finalization. This could POSSIBLY be by October.

I am beside myself, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Soon we will have one down and one to go. Praising the Lord for His dream and for His bringing it to fruition. We are going to have one rocking celebration party believe me!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Big News

Dear Ones:

I am now the mother of a son with his drivers permit. Elijah has waited with much anticipation for this day. He was so bummed out because when he went yesterday to take his test and the computers were down all day. But we went back today and he passed! He even got some practice driving on the way home. A little terrifying to say the least, but he did a good job. He is such a good responsible young man that I have no doubt he will be a good responsible driver. I do think my prayer life is going to jump up a notch though, something about my baby behind the wheel brings me to my knees.

Congratulations Liggy we are very proud of you and happy for you too!








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