To the Momma-in-Waiting on Mother’s Day

 

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To the Momma-in-Waiting for Mother’s Day,

This is a tough time, isn’t it?  Your Facebook feed is filled with pictures of smiling moms with their little ones adorning them with cards, pictures, and gifts. You “like” the pictures but in your heart, you have grown to despise them a little bit.  Not the people, of course, but the pictures.

Here’s a little glimpse of what your Mother’s Day (which always falls on a Sunday) may look like:

You grab some coffee and choke down your breakfast but you are not hungry. There’s a lump in your throat and you know why.  After trying on what seems like a bazillion different outfits, you settle on one but it still isn’t good enough.  It’s not that you look bad.  You’re just uncomfortable and the clothes have nothing to do with it.

Your husband walks in, compliments you and you sort of shrug it off.  He knows something is wrong and suggests that maybe skipping church would be okay for today.  You say, “No, it’s fine”.  In your heart, you know it’s not fine, yet you don’t want to be THAT person who skips church just because it’s Mother’s Day.

Off you go, heading towards what you know will be a less than desirable time. On the way there, you beat yourself up over the self-pity that has taken over.  At the front door, greeters welcome you with, “Happy Mother’s Day!” You nod…thinking, “Don’t they know I’m not a mother.”

The sermon, yeah, this is where it gets sticky.  Pastor goes on and on about children and motherhood.  He delivers an enthusiastic message about how God created women to be unique and that childbirth is a miracle.  You listen, sort of.

You fake a good smile when the congregation gives an ovation to the Moms in the room.  You even muster up the strength to slap your hands together but not too enthusiastically and certainly without passion.  You feel ridiculous for being bitter, especially in a church of all places.  All the time, you sink further and further into your skin.

Sweet friend, you are a Momma-in-Waiting and this day is really hard, isn’t it?

It just doesn’t make sense anymore, does it?  You are strong.  You are faithful. You’ve done everything right to prepare for having a family to call your own, but now, you’re just adrift in a lifeless sea.  People tell you, “Just trust God.”  The problem with this is you have always trusted God.  This is not a matter of trusting Him any more or any less.  It’s a matter of heartbreak, loss, and confusion.

It’s not that Mother’s Day is the only one out of the year that reminds you of a life without children.  You are reminded daily through social media, walking by the maternity sections of stores, negative pregnancy tests, grim news from the doctors, financial bills from IVF treatments, getting invitations in the mail to baby showers, and hearing that another person (among many) is expecting.  This is what is hard about infertility and what is most misunderstood about it.

You have become a captive to the bones that carry you around.  Your body is a stranger to you; betrayal of the greatest kind.  Your heart beats and blood flows but it feels like an empty vessel; a shell of what it once was.  Your thoughts won’t let you escape the narrow road that you are walking, even though you try. All this nonsense has awakened a level of sorrow that you never knew existed. Truth be told, you wouldn’t wish this upon anyone.  You never wished it upon yourself.

There’s a special place in your imagination that you frequently visit.  It has visions of pregnancy, childbirth, picking names and holding on to the living witness of love that has come into your life.  It is filled with birthdays, family pictures, giggles, and grins.  You visit if often and even though it brings you pain, it also brings you hope.  Hang on to it.

Survive for the sake of that special place.

No one else should or could tell you how to get through Mother’s Day.  Just do what you need to do.  I’m not even going to tell you what will make this day easier because I know the only thing that would make it better is for a child to look at you, wrap his little arms around you, and call you, “Mommy”.  This is a truth that churns up both devastation and fortitude.  This is something that you know all too well.

Above anything else I’ve said,

Momma-in-Waiting, on this Mother’s Day, I’m thinking of you. 

Magnificent Treasure

Call it odd, call it mysterious, or call it incredible, but the times when I feel the least valued by others are the moments when I feel the most treasured by our Heavenly Father. May you feel His presence today, and feel that you are a magnificent treasure….because you are. 

I posted the above status on my Facebook page this morning.  I woke up with it on my heart and felt the need to share.  Funny thing is that it later came in handy when encouraging a person who is of great closeness to me. Or, maybe it is not funny at all.  Maybe it is the way that the Lord works; the confirmation of His presence in my life, and in the one I encouraged today.

I fear that we miss the boat when it comes to seeking and searching the strengths of each other.  Sometimes, we remain stuck in our own tunnel-vision lens of how we think things should be, or how others should be, that we miss incredible opportunities to build each other, challenge each other, and seek the potential that is there.

The awesome thing about faith in our Creator is that a believer can take the feeling of being devalued, and give it right to God.  We were not created to be measured up to the standards of others.  We were all designed with incredible strengths, weaknesses, insights, talents, and gifts.

A life lived in Christ is the only standard that we should seek to be measured by.

So, my friend, if someone has made you feel less than worthy, or devalued today, hold your head up.  It is not the vision of others that you should hang your worth on.  Your worth has already been determined by the One who sacrificed it all…for you.

YOU are a magnificent treasure.

 We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us.  We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up.  In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.  We face death every day because of Jesus. Our bodies show what his death was like, so that his life can also be seen in us.  This means that death is working in us, but life is working in you.  -2 Corinthians 4:7-12

 

Momma-in-Waiting (Part 2)

Pssst….Hey Momma-in-Waiting.  Yes, you…. You look in the mirror and do not recognize the girl staring back at you.  That girl, the one who radiantly wore your skin, now looks worn, tired, and plagued by a silent war.

Pssst….Hey Momma-in-Waiting.  Yes, you….You are surrounded by a crowd of many, and yet, you feel alone, isolated, and slightly misunderstood.  You hear the squeals of delights when others announce their impending motherhood, and all you hear is, “It’s not me.”  

All you think is, “It may never be me.”

Pssst….Hey Momma-in-Waiting.  Yes, you….At one time, you believed in happy endings.  Oh, you were not naive to the hardships of this world.  You knew that not all of life’s wishes are granted.  You understand that the Lord doesn’t give you more than you can handle, but this….this battle….is one you never imagined facing.

Instead, you thought, “One of these days, I will be this kind of mommy.”  Or, “I cannot wait to see my child for the first time.”  Here you are now, waiting to be the kind of mommy you promised yourself you would be.  Here you are now, waiting to see your child for the first time.

And yet, that first time has not happened.  You are a momma-in-waiting.

Pssst….Hey Momma-in-Waiting.  Yes, you….You have felt as though the Lord is not listening to you.  You have pleaded, begged, and cried out, but all you get is silence in return, and doors closed, and negative tests, and doctors giving bad news.  You nod your head, close your eyes, stare in the mirror at the girl you no longer recognize, and weep.

You feel lost in the midst of a million prayers.  You might just be questioning your faith, or perhaps, your faith in His plan for your life.  You do not know which one is worse – to doubt the Lord’s plan, or to doubt your faith in Him.  Both cut like a knife.  Both break your heart.  Both do not resolve your struggle.

Pssst….Hey Momma-in-Waiting.  Yes, you….I was once like you.  I knew I could not get pregnant, but I wondered, and waited.  I stared at the mirror, and did not recognize the girl staring back at me.  I felt forced into a war that I did not start.  I felt like the loneliest person on Earth; even though, I was surrounded by many.

I too felt lost in the midst of a million prayers.  I questioned my faith, doubted His plan, and wondered if either really mattered at all.  I did not want to raise my white flag to surrender and give up, but I was sick of fighting.  I was tired from carrying the burden of it all.

Pssst….Hey Momma-in-Waiting.  Yes, you….Do you want to know something? Sometimes, I still do not recognize that girl standing in front of the mirror.  That girl, the one whose scars seemed more powerful than life, does not even see her scars anymore.

That girl, the one who doubted her faith in a redemptive and loving Lord, feels Him in the slightest of breezes, sees Him in the wonders of her children, and hears Him in the quiet moments of reflection.  The girl, the one who used to believe that being a mommy was not in her plans, understands that her plans were so very small and narrow compared to the promises of God.

Pssst….Hey Momma-in-Waiting.  Yes, you….tell that girl in the mirror who you are. Remind her of who you once were.  Tell her that she is not going to give up so easily.  Tell her to be brave, to seek answers, to keep trying, and to take risks.  Tell her to listen to the Lord….

….listen to Him.

Pssst….Hey Momma-in-Waiting.  Yes, you….greater things are coming.  Soon, your skin, the one once worn with radiance, will be radiant again.  Soon, you will not recognize that war-torn girl staring back at you in the mirror.

Soon…yes, soon….you will no longer be a Momma-in-Waiting.

Related Articles:  Momma-in-Waiting 

Dear Infertility (Part 3)

Dear infertility,

I ran into you the other day.  You’ve changed.  I hardly recognize you anymore. I’m sure you could say the same thing about me.

Do you remember the first time we met?  I was young and sick.  I was vulnerable, and innocent in so many ways.  I didn’t understand you at all, and you did nothing to help me understand you.  Instead, you covered me like tar.  I tried to shake you off, but you stuck.  Even worse, as I grew up, you became harder to remove from my skin, my thoughts, and my heart.

You stalked me.  You ridiculed me, and you made me believe false things about myself, and about my future.  I was forced to wear you like some uncomfortable skin.  Everywhere I looked, I saw you.  I could not look at a child, and not think of you.  I heard you hissing painful reminders to me, and I felt you pound on my heart each time I tried to picture myself as a mother.

Oh, you met me where I was at alright.  You confronted me in each vulnerable moment of my life.  You chose to mix me up.  You twisted my thoughts, and tore at me.  You even tried to make me believe that I was half the female my friends were. You made me question my design, my worth, and my purpose.  You did your very best to take me down….didn’t you?

Infertility…you are not bigger than you think you are.  You have claimed power in so many people’s lives, but, you are only powerful when preying on people’s weaknesses and insecurities.

Infertility…you are despicable. 

Can I tell you something?  I felt you tremble a little when I was confronted with the love and the hope of Christ.  My Father met me where I was at, but unlike you, He wrapped a blanket of hope, forgiveness, and shelter for the future.  My regrets slid off of my skin when I encountered Him.

One day, I will stand before my Father in Heaven, and you will not be standing there next to me.  You will not be my sidekick, my story, or my painful moment of life.  You will be gone…gone…gone!  

I used to think that when I got to Heaven, I would ask about you.  I wanted to have a deep discussion about why you came at me like you did.  I do not need this conversation anymore.  I have my answer….I HAVE MY ANSWER.  My answer is a blue-eyed, Tomboy who loves her daddy, a blonde-haired charmer who is always one step ahead of me, and a little brown-eyed babe who loves to cuddle.

My answer is the redemption I found in the unstoppable, unfailing love of Christ, and in the unfolding chapters that have been written for my life.  You did not write my future out.  You did not dictate how my life would go, even though you thought you would. You were wrong.  You were so very wrong.

Dear infertility, I ran into you the other day.  You look different from what you used to look like.  I hardly recognize you anymore, and you feel so different now.  You are lighter…barely even noticeable.  You seem so small and weak compared to how you used to be.

Funny thing is….I must look different too….I must feel different to you.

Truth is….I AM different from the person I used to be, and, praise God for that.

2 Corinthians 5:17-Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Related Posts:

Dear Infertility

Dear Infertility (Part 2)

Bikes, Blackbirds, and Corn

photo (80)Last weekend, over 1,000 cyclists converged onto the small farming community of East Prairie, MO (population 3,176) for the annual Tour de Corn cycling event. This was my first time riding in this tour.  I’ve been told that if I wanted to complete a century ride (100 miles in one day), then this was the one to start with.  The landscape is flat and the ride is well supported.

The town of East Prairie is about 4 1/2 hours away from where I live.  My friend and I enjoyed coming up on a bus loaded down with bicycles and cyclists.photo (76)

This group of riders happens to be from where I live.  They travel together, camp out, and ride in the various cycling events.  As you can see from the picture, they appeared to be having a very good time on that bus!

photo (77)

The night before the ride, it seems all of the townsfolk were celebrating on the main street with food, music, vendor booths, and carnival games for kids.

I don’t live in a small town, and not even sure I would enjoy it all of the time, but there’s something special about these tiny communities. photo (81)Everyone seemed to know each other.  They all were happy, laughing, and socializing.  I could tell how excited they were to have so many riders from various places in their tiny town.  The town water tower was quite a neat site against the backdrop of the setting sun.

One vendor I met takes bicycle chains and makes jewelry out of it.  Her idea came from the Tour de Corn.  She saw a sign stating, “Thank you for the $1,600”.  The sign was being held by a woman alongside the road cheering on the riders.  She stopped and asked the woman about the sign she was holding, and  learned that the $1600 was a portion of the funds raised from the ride, and it helped out children in the community.

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She went home  with the desire to earn money and donate part of her proceeds to promoting healthy living.  She was retired, kids were out of the house, and she had the time and ability to help.  While watching her friend take apart a bicycle chain, she thought, “I could make jewelry out of that!”  Soon after, she created Chainspirations.  The link to her website is www.chainspirations.com   Check it out!

The next morning we got up early, and headed out on the ride.  I started off with a quick pace,and felt really good.  At the first rest stop, there was even fresh corn to eat, and some live music. photo (88)

The terrain is quite different from my usual rides.  I’m used to hills, valleys, and lots of trees.  I enjoy the sights around my area of the state, but I gotta say, this part of Missouri was pretty as well.  I especially enjoyed the corn fields, sunflower fields, and a field with buffalo on it!  photo (82)

those are Buffalo - little hard to see though
those are Buffalo – little hard to see though

The first sixty miles felt great. My pace was faster than usual, and I was staying very well hydrated.  This all changed as I was entering the last forty miles or so of the ride.  The route turned us back towards East Prairie, and straight into a strong headwind.  With the high heat index (I later learned that another rider’s Garmin showed it as 102), and the strong wind, I felt as though I had hit a wall.

It was all I could do to keep pedaling.  It was during this time that I realized my battle to finish was not about the wind, the heat, loss of feeling in toes, and numb hand, but more about the sheer willpower it took for me to stay on the bike.  I’ve never faced that kind of wall before.  I’ve gotten frustrated on the bike, but not to the point of wanting to cry, quit, and get off the bike.

photo (84)During this time, the endless fields of green and yellow that I admired earlier became my annoyance.  All I could see were fields; fields upon fields.  There was no end in sight.  I kept telling myself, “You can do this.  You can do this.”  My legs felt good, but the rest of my body wanted so badly to stop.  Each mile seem to be longer than the one before.  Huge trucks would pass me which created wind gusts full of dust, which would in turn just make me mad.

I felt the emotion of anger while out there.  I had never felt anger to this level while on the bike, and it was hard work to pull myself out of it.  I had to force myself to keep downing the fluids as I knew that at this point in the ride, it was crucial for me to stay hydrated.  To say I was miserable is an understatement.

It was also during this time that I began to think about my kids.  I would not want them to give up something they have worked for; especially right at the finish line, and they would not want me to do the same.  I also thought about Jesus carrying the Cross, and how He did not put it down and walk away.  I thought about His strength and began reciting the following verse:

I can do all things in Christ who gives me strength. Philipians 4:13

Soon after reciting this, I started noticing that on every section of electrical wiring between poles above the road, a single Red-winged Blackbird would land and start calling out.  It felt as if these birds were cheering me on; as if the Lord sent them to meet me at each section of the road.  I thought about how He cares for birds of the air, His eye is on the sparrow, and surely, He cares for His children.

As my friend and I turned the last corner and rode the last few miles into town, my exhaustion and anger dissipated.  We even stopped to take a “corny” picture (no pun intended).  It was the end of a long day in the saddle.  It was the completion of my very first century ride.  It was the finale of what ended up being more about mental endurance than physical endurance.  It was also the recognition of how amazing it is to have spiritual endurance.photo (87)

One hundred miles on a bike in one day is hard, but I did it.  It was a day spent in recognition of how blessed I am to be physically able to complete this task.  It was more than about the corn fields, small towns, miles, bikes, and flat roads.  It was one more day of life that I could lean on my God through prayer, recitation of verses, and His sending of some little Red-winged Blackbirds to cheer me on.

Just Be

photo (55)Dear mothers and fathers, you are raising the next generation of mothers and fathers.  You have the most important job in the world, so don’t allow yourself to feel as though your role is invisible or doesn’t matter.  You are the architects of future family systems.

You are the builders laying down the foundation for generations to come.  You are the soil that roots take hold of.  You are artists who painfully work each day sculpting, refining, and creating the masterpiece that your children are.

There is no audience more important than that of children.  They watch you, they listen to you, and they move with you.  If you sway one way, they will follow.  If you give up, they may never try.  If you conquer a mountain, they will climb up after you.  If you finish the race, they will yearn to cross the finish line as well.

If you embrace faith, then let them see you live it out.  If charity makes your heart beat, then be charitable to them and in front of them.  If you value friendships, then teach them to be a good friend.  If humility is something you desire for them, then be humble.  If you know you have been captured and saved by grace, then be gracious.  If hope is all you have, then grab on to it with all of your might so that your children will recognize what it is to have a hopeful heart.

Strength can be spoken in many forms and languages; all of which children can hear, see, and feel.  There’s the strength you find yourself holding on to when holding them in the middle of another sleepless night.  There’s the strength used to put one foot in front of the other, to pick yourself up after you’ve fallen, and to cling on to when striving for a better future.  There’s also the strength needed to admit when you are wrong.

Courage is needed when learning how to let go, so let go, dear mothers and fathers.  Let go of bad habits that ruin your health and your hearts, relationships that are degrading and devaluing, and regrets that have become your bondage.  This bondage you wrap yourself up in has a generational impact, so stop it before it clings to your children, and your children’s children.

Find your voice and speak it loud.  If you favor kindness, then speak kindness loud enough for children to hear.  Speak it into the darkest of places, into the hardest of hearts, and into the lives of those who need it the most.  Soon, your children will speak it as well.

Yearn, dear mothers and fathers, yearn to make this world a better place for your children and your children’s children.  Yearn to be the dad you never had, or the mother you wish you would have had.  Yearn to be the kind of parent your children want to grow up to be.  Yearn to be their example of a life lived well.

Don’t stop believing in yourself and what you mean to the little eyes, beating hearts, and little ears that look up to you.  You don’t have to be a perfect parent, but you must be a present parent.  Don’t ever lose sight of how much you mean to your children.  You mean the world to them.  You are the world to them, so don’t forget that.

Dear mothers and fathers, parenting is the hardest job you will ever have.  It will test your limits, break your hearts, and exhaust your bodies, but don’t give up.  Be the parent you want your children to be.  Be yourself – they love who you are.  Be genuine, authentic, and comfortable with who you are so that they too will feel safe in their own skin.  Be strong and be courageous.  Just be, mothers and fathers, be the architects, builders, soil, and artists of future fathers and mothers.  Just Be.

Stuck in the Middle

vinyl-decal-sticker-8951It was December of 1987 when I received my keys to so-called freedom by turning 16-years-old, and getting my driver’s license.  I drove through the quiet streets of my neighborhood before coming up to a stop sign. I stared at the traffic going back and forth in front of me.  I remember staying there for quite some time in fear of pulling out onto the busy street.  My mind was racing with thoughts like, “What if I hit a car?”, “What if a car hits me?”, and “I can’t do this. I’m too scared.”

I got up the courage, checked for traffic, and then hit the gas pedal.  I made it safely into the center turn lane and let out a big sigh of relief.  There I was, a new driver, sitting in the center lane on one of the busiest streets in my town.  I knew I had to make a decision.  I put my blinker on and waited….and waited….and…..

In that moment, panic came over me.  I was stuck in the middle lane.  I was scared to pull out into traffic to join in the line of cars, but I knew I could not go back the way I came.  The only way out of this situation was to either take my keys out of the ignition, and walk away, or take a deep breath, hit the gas pedal, and go.

Both options had good things about them.  Taking the keys out and walking away would have been a little easier on my nerves.  After all, I only lived a few blocks away, and could have walked home so that my parents could go back with me to get the car.  I would have not had to face this big challenge either.  The other option of hitting the gas pedal and pulling into what I perceived as a dangerous, yet exciting adventure appealed to me, if only I could build up the courage to do so.

After sitting in the center turn lane for what felt like a very long time, I sat straight up, grasped the steering wheel, checked for traffic, looked to the side, and hit the gas pedal.  I made it into the lane of traffic just fine.  Excitement came over me once I knew I had successfully overcome the fear.  I spent the rest of the night driving around and listening to music.  My new adventure of freedom as a teenager had just begun.

I have thought of this experience many times throughout the years.  Often, I have felt stuck in the middle of a difficult decision without knowing which way to go.  On one hand, turning back and continuing with the same direction feels comforting.  On the other hand, taking a leap of faith and beginning a new journey is quite exciting, and could lead to multiple open doors and a growing sense of His presence.

Are you stuck in the middle of some life decisions right now?  What would you accomplish if you were fearless?

Sometimes in life, you just need to get the courage up, hit the gas pedal, and go!  Regardless of what you decide to do, make sure to listen to the Lord’s leading.  He will not lead you into on-coming traffic that is harmful.  It may feel uncomfortable at times, but the same God who formed you in your mother’s womb is the same One who will see you safely to the other side of the road.

Blessings to you on new adventures in life!

Wishing Flowers

photo (60)After playing around in the backyard, my son quietly opened the screen door, placed two “flowers” on the floor, closed the door, and then said, “Mommy, I got you something.”  I pretended I didn’t know that he had done this, and acted surprisingly thankful for his gift.

A few minutes later he said, “Do you know what those are?”  I replied, “Yes, they are dandelions.”  “No, they are not”, he boldly stated.  “Oh, well then what are they?” I asked.

“Mommy, they are wishing flowers!”

I thanked him again, picked up the wishing flowers, and then went about finishing up cleaning the kitchen.  I meant to make a wish with them, but my son and I got distracted, and moved on to other tasks to be done for the day.

My son’s vision about what most of us consider weeds got me to thinking about the perspective often used when looking at events or circumstances in life.  If something difficult comes my way, do I perceive it as having the possibility of hope? I’d like to say I do, but have to admit that there have been times where I’ve thought, “What a bad thing for this to be happening right now.”

In most respects, dandelions can become quite a nuisance when landscaping.  I actually think of them more as a weed than a flower.  Children love to pick them so that they can give them a slight puff of air which in turn sends their seedlings out into the world to create even more dandelions.  My son views them as opportunities for hopes to be fulfilled through unspoken wishes.

Like my son’s view of dandelions, God doesn’t see us as weeds, or nuisances either.  Instead, He sees us as having the great possibility to live meaningful and fulfilling lives.

God picks us up, and gives us fresh, loving air so that we can spread out into the world sharing light, hope, and most important of all, love.

my son making a wishphoto credit: http://sarahcarter.is/
my son making a wish
photo credit: http://sarahcarter.is/

New Year’s Road

Taken with my iphone as I rode my bike in a 150 mile ride.

This past year was one full of discovery for me.  Through blogging, I have been reminded that everyone truly has a story to tell.  We are all story-tellers in our own ways.  Art, in its purest form, also speaks volumes of insight and revelations about the world we are living in.  Some speak through poetic ramblings and short-stories.  For others, the lens of a camera captures images that their eyes first took notice of.  Each photograph tells a story.  Writing really has become my therapeutic release, my story-teller, my window to the world, my humbling remembrance of how blessed I am, and an extension of the yearning to live out my faith in Christ.

I continue to learn that  parenting is an art form.  Like most artists, parents don’t just figure it out with one stroke of a brush.  Mistakes are made, and often, we are our own worst critics,  Parenting is also something that love and passion is poured into.  I have yet to meet an artist who is not passionate about his or her masterpieces.  Children are the masterpiece that we are always working on, and for that, I am grateful for “do-overs”, grace, and the simplistic forgiveness of children.

Throughout this year,I have been made keenly aware of the tightrope we all walk when it comes to protecting children in our own backyards, and around the world.  Not to sound cliché, but they really are our greatest resource for the future.  Through this blog, I have been able to express my deepest desires for my children, and for others as well.  I have also been able to connect to the child I once was.

I began this road of writing because I felt I had a story to tell.  I felt I needed to speak of infertility.  I knew there were others out there suffering from the sadness that comes when the desire for children is not fulfilled.  I also felt that my story of barrenness includes the incredible journey that is adoptive parenting.  I may stray from time to time from the topic of infertility with the posts I write, but it is never too far from my thoughts and my heart.  I am deeply compassionate about others who continue to search for answers, and who live daily with the unfulfilled longing for children.  I hope my words will encourage each of them to believe in joyful beginnings and happy endings.

I am not sure what the Lord has in store for the road I will walk in 2013.  Will I be inspired to venture into other areas of writing?  Will there be heartbreak and heart-joy in this next year?  Will some doors open while others shut?  There is no way to tell what is destined to happen, but my faith in the Script-Writer of our lives is greater than the unknowns of the future.

May this New Year’s Road lead you all to delightful discoveries, faith-building experiences, and life-affirming moments that bless your sojourn in the world.

Around the Fire

Last night we had the privilege of spending the evening around a bonfire in the country.  Hot dogs, roasted marshmallows, the sound of crackling wood, a gorgeous full moon, the chatter of folks, and gleeful screams of children playing in the field next to us made up our evening.  Fires are so good at catching one’s eye.  I sat and stared for a long time at the majestic wisps of flames as they flickered their way up to the heavens.

With the scent of fall in the air and the comfort of a blanket over me, my thoughts immediately went to the reason why we were all out there under the stars.  Out of the eighteen or so children present last night, around thirteen of them were adopted out of foster care.  Let me say that again….13 out of 18 or so children present last night were adopted out of foster care.  Most of the children were siblings of some sort, but not all.  A handful of families adopted the siblings.  Honestly, it was kind of nice to be at an event where my children were not a minority.  Usually when we go to “get-togethers”, or anywhere in general, my kids are typically the only ones adopted; especially out of protective services.

There is something comforting when being around fellow parents who have experienced the journey of being a foster parent and adopting.  We are able to swap stories of our experiences and compare notes.  We can relate to the challenges sometimes experienced when raising children with histories of abuse, neglect, prenatal exposure, or separation from family of origin.  We can also talk about resources that may come in handy if future issues should arise.

Last night, I took a moment to look out in the field at the children playing.  The image of glow sticks in hands, glow-in-the-dark balloons bouncing up and down, and the sounds of laughing children running freely through the field filled my mind and my heart with gratefulness.  I thought about how their young lives were interrupted by the ways of the world and the poor choices of their  birth parents.  I thought about the losses every single one of them has endured already in life.  I thought about the adults around the fire who took them in.  I thought about the opportunities they have because of permanency in their lives.

I thought about how they get to have a childhood free of abuse.  I also thought about how lucky we are to be a part of this.  Adoption out of foster care is not a second best choice.  It is not reserved for only those who cannot afford private adoption.  It is not just for couples who are unable to have biological children.  It is a blessing to parent a child whose beginning to life automatically put him or her in the category of the “least of these”.

It is a blessing to meet other adults whose lives have also been impacted by the decision to become foster parents.  We are all connected in some way to each other by the children playing in the field.  We are all a part of something bigger, something more eternal, and something better planned for these children.

As I watched the fire burn and looked around, thankfulness filled my heart.  We were all brought together by the one true God who brings light into dark places, hope into hopeless situations, and love into the lives of all of us.