A growing family

Two short weeks ago, we received a phone call that Amy, Daniel’s sister, wasn’t going to make it through the night.

This wasn’t the first time that we received a phone call like this one. In fact, it had been fourteen months since the first call where we dropped everything and drove through the night to South Carolina. Amy lived. Time passed. Liver transplant. Recovery. Dialysis. Now, she needs to get a kidney transplant.

This roller coaster season left the entire family depleted.

But this time, this phone call, this trip through the night to get to the hospital, this diagnosis, was different.

Amy passed away on Easter Sunday, leaving behind a ten-year old, bright-eyed {brighter personality} son.

As Amy’s passing wasn’t even absorbed yet, so also the reality that Daniel and I were about to become parents. The following weekend, after the funeral, the three of us drove home. With each passing mile, the reality of what had happened, and what was happening, sunk in deeper. Sadness and joy. Excitement and grief.

I think it’s cool how the Lord is giving us this time as we wait for the adoption process. Time for Bright-Eyes to start the grieving process and learn about what his new life looks like. Time for us to catch our breath, grieve, and figure out what being parents looks like. {I mean, what time does a 10 year old even go to bed?} And time for all of our hearts to be knit together, no longer as aunt, uncle and nephew, but as a mom, dad and son.

There are so many fascinating details, so many emotions, so much brokenness, so many points of intersection that fill the last few years… And yet a strong, shining strand of redemption unites each piece. I hope to share more details in the future, but for now I’ll just share this one…

For the past four years Daniel and I have been trying to start a family of our own. Nothing is wrong, we just can’t get pregnant. [For those of you who have walked a similar path, you know what a toll it can take. A journey like this can barely be summed up in one sentence.]

Though God, in His tender sovereignty, knew that Bright-Eyes needed us to not have kids for him to acclimate to his new life. No competition. All attention directed toward him. God also knew that we too needed this bright-eyed boy first. Not sure why, but we’re very grateful.

We are tired from the journey that lead us to this point. Though the joy and hope that we have in knowing that God’s timing and ways are flawless puts wind in our sails and lovingly pushes us on. We are truly thankful for this gift in our growing family.

So, here he is… our first son. And soon, it will be official.


Letting go

A message to myself:

Even if there’s something better out there… It’s hard to let go of what’s in my hand for the unknown.

As I clutch, with white knuckles to what is good enough, I keep my eyes on what is best. I just can’t let it out of my sight. I long for it… I dream about it… Though my inability to let go of good enough feeds my growing discontentment like fertilizer.

I don’t know what you believe… but I believe that you can speak to the living God – and that God speaks back. Not in a crazy way… in a sane way. In a way that really transforms my life.

So, when I pray and ask God for insight and wisdom, I believe (100%) that He gives me those things. He promises that.

I’ve been seeking wisdom regarding a transition for years. (Just ask anyone close to me, I’m sure they’re tired of hearing about it.) So finally, I felt like I knew what I needed to do. It was clear. More than clear actually – uncomfortably clear – the kind of clarity that has to do with obedience. When clarity mixes with obedience, that’s some serious stuff. Seriously good. But serious none the less.

So, that’s where I am… struggling to obey.

Like God has never proven Himself faithful, good, or loving beyond comprehension. So, why can’t I let go of a mediocre dream for something greater? Can I not see that it actually is greater than what’s in my hands? Is it because I know that the next step will be hard? Is it just too risky?

So, I’m at a crossroad… I’m either going to believe that where He leads me is best – or I’m not.

If I can just wrap my mind, a little bit more, around how much God loves me… I would be less fearful, less intimidated and more willing to let go of the known for the unknown… Because if He really does love me, then He is trustworthy – without hesitation.

Sometimes I wonder if I jump, will he be there to catch me? Or, what if I leave what is certain -and obey- and then it all collapses in on itself…. and I end up out on the street – begging for food – without my tweezers (possibly the worst case scenario)… Okay… I know, a bit over the top… But sometimes, before I even get to taking the step of faith, deciding to turn in the direction of obedience is more difficult than anything.

The unknown that I turn toward might fall apart. Then again, the certainty of today might be pulled from underneath me. If I do everything right, things could still end up in a hot mess.

You see the thing is (and excuse me as I tell myself this for the eighteen millionth time)… It’s not up to me to make it right and beautiful and successful. Success doesn’t hinge on my perseverance, intellect or smooth skills (whatever those might be) alone.

What I am responsible for is loving people and loving God. It’s not complicated really (though I tend to over complicate everything). It’s simple… Today, am I being obedient to what God is leading me to do?

Am I willing to let go of my expectations, fears and disappointments and turn toward Him {and trust} in His love? His love that sacrificed, and gave and risked it all… And continues to give so that I might continue to scratch the surface of how deep and how wide and how high is His love.

If I can allow myself to get lost in His great love, then I can more fully see who He really is… In seeing who God really is, you can’t help but fall more in love with Him. Then, all I will want to do is turn and run in the direction that He is calling me.

If you would like to know more about what talking to God looks like – or want to ask any questions about His love for you, email me. We can walk through it together.

 


This is personal…

I really struggle with knowing how much stuff to post on a blog, or any other social media for that matter. I don’t particularly want to post a bunch of personal things that I have created or what I do. I think my personal life is just that, personal. But what is a blog about if you don’t share? (Obviously, I need to do some blog soul searching or get internet therapy.)

None the less, in the attempt to share more personally, I am jumping off the deep end… on my blog – don’t be alarmed. This piece that I painted is personal because it is not only hanging in our home but there is also a personal lesson that accompanies it’s creation.

God had been teaching me (though He always is teaching me about this I must say) that He loves me. Simple sounding? Absolutely. Difficult to accept? Absolutely. To know that the God of the universe loves me, without me winning his love, is not only crazy it’s also countercultural. In the midst of all my shortcomings, in the midst of my successes, no matter what the journey may bring (attitudes and all)… He loves me.

I’ll be honest, if I was treated like I treat the Lord sometimes (ignoring Him or not giving Him the respect He deserves), I would “defriend” me – fast. But thankfully He never gives up on me because – you guessed it – He loves me… and He loves you.

His love is selfless, kind, forgiving and constant. And the kicker, I am called to extend that same crazy love to others… no matter if I like a person or not. (Don’t tell anyone that I just said that.)

Are you starting to see why this lesson is so important for me? 🙂 So, here is why this is so personal… because God is at work in and through my life and He is constantly teaching me about what true love is. This piece that I painted is a link in the chain of that lesson.

Title: Habibti (Arabic: Beloved)

Mixed Media: acrylic, modeling paste, salt, hot glue, contact paper, gouache & masking fluid

Inspiration: 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Size: 20 inches x 20 inches

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One of my favorite things: Love & War & The Sea In Between

If you have a little extra Christmas cash burning a hole through your pocket, and are looking for a good place to spend it, look no further ladies and gentlemen! Josh Garrels album, Love & War & The Sea In Between, is phenomenal!

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Garrels album is packed with authentic and thought-provoking lyrics along with fresh and creative sounds.

I know many of you might not take my word for it, but I will say this much… My husband (who has a much more discriminating ear) loves the album too. Love & War & The Sea In Between is the only album we have found that we both 100% enjoy. Now, if that’s not saying something… I don’t know what is.

Check it out.

And if you’re wondering what song to listen to first, I’d recommend Farther Along, it’s my favorite. 🙂