At the Feet

IMG_2402I have been thinking about Jesus’s feet lately.  I know that sounds odd, but I keep thinking about His feet as He grew from infancy through the time of His death.  I visualize Him as a precious baby.  I see Mary as the doting mother who kisses them.  She must have washed them, played with His toes, and made sure he was wearing garments to protect them.  The pitter-patter His feet made when he was toddling around must have been sweet sounds to her ears.

Those tiny, and seemingly insignificant feet, were soft and beautiful in the sight of His Earthly parents.

They were the feet of an innocent babe.

As a young boy, His feet must have traversed mighty adventures.  They carried Him swiftly as He explored the terrain and discovered the world around Him.  Those feet were small, and seemingly insignificant, yet tough and capable of keeping up with a boy’s curious life.

They were the feet of a boy whose Earthly life was the fulfillment of a Promise.

As an adolescent and young man, those feet walked Him into places of worship. They carried Him throughout His time of learning.  Those feet were average, and seemingly insignificant, yet they carried a Savior who would soon declare Himself to the world.

They were the feet of a Sovereign and Wise young man.

As an adult, those feet; the ones who were kissed by His mother, whisked Him through times of play, and walked Him into places where His knowledge grew, were the same ones that held His tired body up as He achingly marched His way up to the hill where He bled out.

They were the feet of Sacrifice.

Those beautiful, torn, and weary feet were pierced and nailed to a tree.  They were ripped for us all.  They were witnesses to the most tragic, yet significant moment in time.

They were the feet of the Messiah.

Three days later, those same feet picked His body up, walked Him down a road, and held Him up as He fulfilled the promise of Resurrection.

Those eternal feet are the feet of the Risen Savior.

We are asked to be the feet of Jesus.  We are told to go to places where the least of these dwell.  We are directed to walk into the lands of strangers, and to carry our brothers who are fallen.  We are asked to walk in humility and service to others.

Yet, our feet will not be torn.  They will not be nailed.  They will not have redemptive blood trickling down them.  They will not witness the wail of a Savior’s cry, the tears of His mother, and the agony of pain felt.

Our feet will never leave the kind of print on the world that His did.  If we say we are the hands and feet of Jesus, what are we saying?  Do we fully understand the undertaking that is?

At the feet of Jesus, we find love that lasts, and grace that resonates deep within. Do others find that in us?

His feet.  His glorious and beautiful feet were nailed.  They were broken for us.  They paid it all.  

He paid it all.

His feet.  His weary and worn feet never lost sight of His vision.

His feet.  His glorious and broken feet walked Wisdom into this world.  They carried the breathing embodiment of  compassion that this world thirsts for.   

His feet took Him to strangers, met them where they were at, and impacted them in a miraculous way.

They were the feet of Salvation.

We are the feet of Jesus.  That is both an honor and a challenge.  Are we able to show compassion?  Do we desire to impact others in a way that feels miraculous to them?  

Will others find us at the feet of Jesus?

Related Post:  my scar, His Scars

Feisty and Five {Happy Birthday, Daughter}

Daughter, my sweet and feisty daughter, you turned five today.  Do you want to know something?  I always wanted a daughter.  In my vision of a future family (as limited and skeptical as that was at times), I pictured a daughter.  I imagined a little girl who was dainty, a little on the shy side, and a Princess in the making.

photo (54)Do you want to know something else?  You are not dainty, you are mighty.  You are not shy, you are feisty (although you do get embarrassed sometimes), and you once told me, “I am not a Princess” (except when it comes to your Papa).

There is not a single thread of doubt in my soul that you were meant to be my daughter.

My mighty, mysterious, smart, and beautiful daughter, I love you.

You, my girl, are a God-orchestrated, God-created, and God-filling vessel of love. You are a walking miracle.  Your value is worth more than anything, and your life is one of opportunity.

I caught you looking up to the sky one day last spring.  As big and fluffy snowflakes made their way to the ground, you looked up to the Heavens with the biggest smile, as if you and the Lord Himself were agreeing that snow in the springtime is the best thing ever.

Keep looking to the Heavens, my girl.  

Keep looking up with the hope that is found in the gracious love of God.Snow

My hope for you, little one, is that you never forget how deeply cherished you are. We love you so much, but Mommy and Daddy could never love you as deeply as your Father in Heaven does. You are His.  We are just charged with bringing you up in the crazy, mixed-up; yet, incredible world.

My mighty, mysterious, smart, and beautiful daughter, I love you.

Happy 5th Birthday, Daughter.  You are one of the most strong-willed, independent, and outspoken little girls I think I have ever known.  But, do you want to know something?  You are also loving and protective of the ones you love.  You became an instant big sister to a little one that came into our lives suddenly.  Yet, you took it all in stride.

You quickly learned that babies need lots of attention.  They cry a lot, eat a lot, and learn to giggle pretty quickly.  You have thoroughly enjoyed watching him grow, change, and become one with our family.

SisI caught you crying softly one night.  When asked why, you simply and sweetly stated, “I miss him as a baby.”  You were referring to the fact that your new little brother is walking, growing, and getting bigger right in front of your eyes.

You are wonderful big sister.

Simply wonderful.

You are a blessing to the babe who found his way to our home.

You also give away your gifts and items freely to others.  You comfort your big brother when he’s having a bad day.  You check on your Daddy when he’s not feeling so well, and you tell me that I’m beautiful.

My daughter, beauty shines from you when I witness the softness of your touch, the care you give for others, and the simple, yet sweet, acts of generosity.

Five years have gone by so quickly, and yet, I look to many more years of watching you grow into a strong, beautiful woman.  I hope you stay feisty, stay mighty, and stay yourself.  Stay the girl who prefers blue jeans and t-shirts over frilly dresses, or would rather be outside playing “camp out”, digging up bugs, and chasing her big brother around the yard.

I hope you never lose the thought that it is perfectly fine to wear a mask and cape a good majority of places that you go.BatgirlAfter all, the world could use a few superheroes.

You are a mighty, mysterious, smart, and beautiful daughter.  You are a wonderfully made daughter.  

In this month of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for you.  I am thankful for the unique little girl that you are.

Orange

I am thankful that you are feisty, and five.

I am thankful that YOU are my daughter.  

Happy 5th birthday.  Love You, Forever.

Barren Path {I AM}

I walk along this barren path with bitter, heavy steps.

My skin feels parched from this dry walk.  My tongue lay thick in my mouth.

“Where, oh where, are you my Lord?” my voice screams without a sound.  “You are not here.  You do not care.  You are nowhere to be found.”

This painful walk.  This mournful way.  This path does not seem right.

I am forgotten, misunderstood, and full of dread for the night.

With each step, my bones crack, and my heart lays deep in my chest.

I am weary, tired, and painfully torn.  I desperately long for some rest.

“Where, oh where, are you my Lord?” my voice screams without a sound.  “You are not here.  You do not care.  You are nowhere to be found.”

The ground beneath laughs at me.  It scorches me to the bone.

This barren ground.  This painful walk.  I am completely alone.

 “Where, oh where, are you my Lord?” my voice screams without a sound.  “You are not here.  You do not care.  You are nowhere to be found.”

And then, at once, I look up. The light is far too bright.

I squint my eyes, cover myself, and wonder.  “Where is the night?”

“Where is the night that envelopes me?  Where is the darkness that won’t leave?”

This barren path.  This mournful walk.  It clings to me so tight.

“I AM.”  I hear you say.  “I AM.”  

You say again.

This is the sound that chased after me; the one that would not leave.

This voice.  This gentle, but intense one, that stirred my heart to believe.

“I AM in the sunrise, wind, and rain.  I AM in the sunset, joy, and pain.”

“I AM the One who first knew you, and the One who wrote your days.”

“I AM the Weaver, Storm Creator, and Calmer of the Seas.”

“I AM the One who set your feet upon this barren path.  Yet, I AM the One who will avenge you, my child, with great wrath.”

This barren path.  This parched, dry walk.  This journey of which I’ve known.

It does not feel dry anymore. I no longer feel alone.

For my Father,the Great I AM, walks me through the days.  He fills the air, and colors my view with songs of joy and praise.

My steps are light.  My heart leaps up.  I dance on this fruitful land.

For my Father, the Great I AM, holds me in His Heavenly Hand.

“I AM.”  I hear you say.  “I AM.”  

You say again.

Thank you Lord, for guiding me, and setting my soul upon this terrain.

Thank you, Father, the Great I AM, for capturing my  heart once more.  Thank you, Father, the Great I AM, for things that are in store.

You set my feet upon this walk.  This barren path is long.  Yet, You quench each thirst. You pad each step. You caress me with a new song. 

You breathe hope into my lungs.  My heart leaps at Your Great Name.  

Yahweh.  Father.  Loving God.

For You are the Great I AM.

 

Love Changes Lives (Happy Birthday, Son)

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.

The night you were born was beautiful.  Your birth mother wailed in agony of labor pains, while I laid in my bed wallowing in my own kind of labor pains.  There was beauty in both of these moments.  One was painted with strokes of joy, while the other, strokes of despair; and yet, both were beautiful.  I did not know that my tearful prayer that night collided with the birth of you.

Two days later, we were asked to take you in.  Two days later, I held you for the first time.  I cannot think of anything more amazing than that.photo (5)

Love knows no boundaries, no genetic markers, no birthing, and no blood lines.  Love takes hold of opportunities and transforms them into beauty.

Before there was you, it was just me and my infertility.  Before you, my heart was only half-developed. Before there was you, I only knew one layer of love.

Love grabbed a hold of me the first time I saw you…instantly.

In an instant, I was separated from infertility for the first time in more years than I can remember.  For the first time, I felt whole.  For the first time, I also felt complete fear.  I feared loving and losing you.

I wished I would have been there the day you were born.  I wished I could have heard your first cry, held you while you welcomed Earthly air into your lungs, and whispered loving words to both you and your birth mother.  I would have been there had I known your circumstances.  I would have stood by your birth mother as she was told she would leave the hospital without you.  I would have done this because I honor her, and I love you.

I prayed for you the entire time we were fostering you.  I petitioned the Lord on your behalf, and on your birth mother’s.  How could I love you, and not want your birth mother to experience the same kind of love?  How could I look at myself in the mirror everyday knowing that I had been gifted with you, and not for one moment, want the best for her?  How could I allow love to overfill my heart, and not have any leftover for her?

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.  Love took a hold of me the moment I saw you.  

Love still takes hold of us.  It tempers us in our moments of frustration.  It claims us in our times of messes.  It wraps around us in our seasons of sadness.  Love holds us together in our moments of hardship, and it leaps with us in our times of joy.

picture 40Love seizes my heart time and again when thinking of you.  I happen to believe you are one of the most endearing, unique, and important little boys that has ever existed.  You are wonderfully ambitious, loving, spirited, and an incredible child of God.  Please don’t forget how beautiful, and deeply loved you are.

I don’t consider these past seven years to be lucky ones.  They are much more than that.  I consider them to be ones that have proven that nothing compares to the capacity that love has to intervene in our lives.

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.  You’ve given us seven amazingly beautiful years.

Love knows no boundaries.  It does not comprehend genetic markers.  It has no birthing or blood lines necessary.

Love truly takes hold of opportunities and transforms them into beauty.

Love changes lives.

The Road Less Traveled

roadI went for a run the other night, and found myself alone on the path.  I thought, “This isn’t the first time I’ve been on a road alone.”  Growing up with what happened to me, I always felt I was walking down a different path in life.  I was a sojourner discovering a new world all to myself.  No one could relate. No one could understand.  No one could comfort. The chains of barrenness bound me to relive my regrets, my insecurities, and my unfulfilled desires over and over again.

I was on the road less traveled.

It was hard, really hard, to fully understand and accept that I would never have children through birth.  I hid my insecurities through a big smile, an adventurous spirit, busy life, and a confident persona.  Yet, beneath that chameleon-like suit, was a girl blindly walking through a tunnel without a light.

I felt forsaken by the Lord.  I had to navigate the road before fully understanding the terrain.  I had heard that the greatest of all gifts are children, and yet, there I was childless, damaged, and forgotten.  The Lord felt thousands of miles away…

Here I am now thirty years after my surgery, and infertility is spoken about, but not often understood.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by how many women, and men, struggle with similar gut-wrenching tugs on their hearts, minds, and spirits.  If only I had a “mentor” growing up, or someone who would have shared with me that barrenness would stay with me for life.  It would get harder the older I got, and it would try to siphon the joy from grand moments in life.  If only, I had someone to walk with me down the road less traveled.

My advice to anyone going through similar issues is quite simple: listen to your heart, cry when you need to, don’t let others negotiate your infertility for you, and never give up hope.

NEVER.GIVE.UP.

I didn’t walk down this road to keep my experience to myself.  Now, as a parent, I certainly don’t want to silence the songs my heart sings about grace, forgiveness, and the gift of children.  Looking back on my journey, I get a sense that it all led to this time in my life where I can speak out loud the twisted thoughts, confusing notions, and painful longings of my youth.

IMG_1517So, here I am.  I’m still walking the road that was carved out during that fateful time in September of 1983.  The difference now is that I’m no longer walking the road less traveled by myself.

I’m sharing it with a host of others who are walking alongside me.  I’m walking side-by-side with my husband who could have chosen a different path.  I’m celebrating it with family members whose lives and love have grown tremendously since the kids entered our lives.  I’m being carried by the strength of the Lord, and, I’m skipping down it holding the hands of my children.

I’m on the road less traveled, but I am no longer alone.

Related Posts:

Momma-in-Waiting

Glass Door

In Heaven

photo (95)We made the sad decision to put our dog, Speedy, down today.  After watching him deteriorate for the past few months, we knew it was time.  His hair was falling out, his skin was en-flamed, his legs shook, and he whimpered at night in an effort to get comfortable.  Speedy was 15 & 1/2 years old, and the last of what I call our “fur baby family before we had a human family”.

I could write so much about what I have learned through loving my dogs and cats. Dogs are especially unique in their love for their human companions, and I believe that they are a special kind of gift to this world.  They keep our secrets, comfort our sadness, and protect us with vicious loyalty.  If only we could treat each other the way our dogs do, perhaps there would be less gossip, less grief, and less victimization in the world.

This morning, I gathered our children and explained to them that when they returned home this evening, Speedy would no longer be living with us, and that we felt it was time for him to be put down so that he would not suffer anymore.  Both paused for a moment, and then spoke some wise words to me:

“Speedy will be in Heaven with Cleo and Baby Kitty now.”

“His skin will get better, and his hair will grow back.”

“God will take care of Speedy.”

After listening to them process their impending loss, I realized that their words brought great comfort to me.  It was a difficult day, but the vision of Heaven that the kids put in my mind infused my thoughts.

In Heaven, there will be great joy, and the grandest of reunions.  In Heaven, sickness and frailness, and all of the things that make us physically and emotionally ill, will be gone.  In Heaven, we will rejoice with our Heavenly Father.

Today was one of remembrance of the sweet little puppy that bounced his way into our lives.  It was one of commemoration about the many years he greeted us at the door, slept next to my feet, and gave us moments of laughter.  I was also reminded that the years may seem long, but time with each other, truly is short.

It was also a day of a grand envisioning of what Heaven will be like, and of the blessed assurance of Eternal life.

Thank you, Lord, for gifting me with Your wisdom and promises through the soft-spoken words of my children.

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)

trust Him more

“I know God would not give me more than I can handle, I just wish He didn’t trust me so much!”  Have you ever felt this way before?  It seems to be a popular thing to say or think when facing hard times.  I sure have said it, thought it, and even cried it out during my life.

In my later teens/early twenties, I used to wonder why God allowed barrenness to enter my life the way it did.  There were many times when my search for an answer that made sense seemed to end in even more confusion.  People would tell me that God wouldn’t put anything in my life that I wasn’t strong enough to handle.  While these words were meant to be comforting, they were not.  I didn’t want to be strong enough.  I wanted to be a parent.

Who wants to be strong enough to handle infertility anyway?  

I’ve been thinking about the saying referenced above all day, and have come to the conclusion that we may have it backwards.  We may think that God needs to be able to trust us.  I don’t think He does.  I believe He desires for us to trust Him, and to step out in faith during the hardships.  The blessings and the heart-breaks we receive in life are not based on the condition of whether we are worthy of being trusted.

In 2007, while fostering our son, I was overcome by so much doubt about my role as a foster parent, the struggle with not knowing what would happen in the future, and the failure to believe that I could be strong enough to handle the potential heartbreak of losing the precious baby we had come to love so much.  I knew that there were some very important decisions that needed to be made.  I knew that the professional team involved had to carefully consider reunification with the birth parents, and possible placement with a relative; still yet, I longed for an answer that was marred by the juvenile justice system and time.  It was not black and white.  We were living in the gray.

During this time, I went to my pastor, and asked him a question that pastors may cringe when being asked.  “Why does it feel like God is always testing me? Have I not proven to be faithful?”, I asked with tears rolling down my cheeks.  There I was, slumped down in the chair, with tear-stained cheeks, and the look of longing written all over my face.  He sat back in his chair, let out a gentle sigh, put his hands together as if he was about to pray, and then said,

“Caroline, God is who created you.  He is the one who set your limits.  He would never put you in a position that would push you past the limits He has already established for you.”

I sat there for a moment, examining his face and his words.  I allowed them to soak into me.  His words were like lightning to my thoughts.  They broke through the darkness of where my mind had been taking me, and in a flash, I realized that it is not about if God trusts me during hardships, but whether or not I trusted Him.

These words buried themselves into my heart, and I carried them with me for the remainder of my foster care and adoption journey.  Even now, I am reminded of this when facing situations that appear to be pushing me towards an edge that I fear falling off of.  I think of them when exhausted, when worried, and when struggling to make hard decisions.

If you are facing infertility, or hardships right now in your life, picture yourself being molded and shaped by the most loving Hands.  Picture those Hands drawing your world around you, illustrating and scripting each step of your day; and each moment, both big and small, of your life.  Imagine glorified Breath whispering words of hope into the air you breathe in.  Imagine a Father walking in front, beside, and behind you throughout your life.

This Father…THE Father…is not in the business of setting traps.  He does not wish for you to fall off the edge.  The next time you are facing a difficult moment in life, picture God wrapping around you.  You are His blessed creation.  He knows your limits because He is the one who created them.

Maybe during difficult times, we should all practice saying,

“I know God wouldn’t give me more than I can handle, I just need to trust Him more.”

Sounds a bit different, doesn’t it?

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. -Isaiah 40:28-31

Ride through the Storm

Last weekend I went for a ride with the local cycling club.  It was a cool June morning, and although the clouds were a little ominous, they appeared to be far off from where we were.  They were majestic and huge; a fantastic site to look at when riding.  The group I ride with was about 20 miles or so into our ride when the clouds turned ugly, dark, and started to dispense some raindrops on us.

At first, the rain felt refreshing.  I’ve gotten over my fear of riding in the rain, so the fresh cool drops were a welcome guest.  Soon the few sprinkles turned into big drops which in-turn turned into buckets of cold rain.  Thunder started roaring, and ahead of us great big bolts of lightning started to strike the Earth.

Everyone seemed to increase their speed, and pretty soon, I was being passed by a few other cyclists.  I couldn’t help but notice the smiles on the faces of those pedaling by me.  It seems storms tend to give way to an adrenaline rush, a slight fear, and the notion that we are all a little crazy for being out there on the road during thunderstorms.

The more we rode, the closer the storm seemed to come.  It was all around us.  We had to ride into it in order to navigate our way out of it.  I know that might not make much sense, but we knew if we turned back, the storm would eventually find us again.

As we drew closer to the flashing lightning, the rush I had been feeling turned to fear.  I began to pray, “Lord, we need a hedge of protection around us.”  I repeated this prayer for the next six or seven miles.  In that moment of darkening skies, rolling thunder, blasting lightning strikes, and pounding cold rain, I realized that without my prayers and the God I believe in, I was nothing.  I was nothing but a speck in the middle of a mighty storm.  I was vulnerable.  I was small.  I was clipped onto a bike and all I could do was pedal on until I found shelter or a way out of the storm.

I was at the storm’s mercy, and trust me, it was not a merciful storm.

After figuring out where we believed the storm was heading, we were able to cut out about ten miles of road and head back to where we started.  Once out of the storm, I began to relax.  The smile came back on my face, and I realized that we were going to be okay.  Riding through the storm was frightening, but a little exhilarating.  Once back in the cycling group, we began to swap storm stories, and all seemed very thankful to be off the bike.

I needed to ride through that storm.  I needed to feel vulnerable, fearful, and in need of mercy.  I needed to call out to Him for protection.  I needed the reminder that I am very small in context to this mighty world we live in.

I also needed the reminder that storms of life come up suddenly, and without much warning.  When in the middle of the crashing sounds of fear, and the strong waves of pain, I need to hang on, ride through it, and call to the Lord in prayer.

When the storms of life are merciless, and bigger than what we feel we can handle, may we embrace the peace that comes from knowing the One who carries us through them.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. -Nahum 1:7
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. -Nahum 1:7

Courageous Love Photo Gallery

Courageous Love Gallery at Big Momma's Coffee House (Missouri)
Courageous Love Gallery at Big Momma’s Coffee House (Missouri)

May is National Foster Care Month in the United States, so I thought I would share briefly with you about a project I have been involved in.  I was asked to write the adoption stories of a handful of foster families for a local exhibit put on by a photography studio.  The exhibit, titled Courageous Love, was dreamed up by the owners of Freedom Photography.  They too are foster/adoptive parents and live each day knowing the eternal difference that families make when bringing foster children into their home.  You can read their story here:  Colors Don’t Matter.

The gallery is going to be a traveling one and will be hanging on the walls of various businesses and community centers around the area that we live.  The hope is that it will draw attention to the needs of children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted, and to encourage people to consider becoming foster/adoptive parents.  My family was also featured in the gallery, and we were really blessed to be a part of it.

Here is the one of my family:

photo (69)

As I spent each night writing out the stories of how God has used these families to open their homes to children, I could not help but be reminded of the importance of obedience in faith.  The choice to step out in blind faith, cling to the hope of a living God, and prayerfully care for His children, were themes that jumped out at me while I wrote the stories of families.  It was amazing to see how the separate journeys of the children and the adoptive families crossed paths to unite and become a part of each other’s lives forever.

The photographers thanked me immensely for helping them out with this project, but to be honest, I count it a blessing to be a part of it.  Getting glimpses into the lives of some special children, and special parents, reminded me that a life lived within the full measure of His presence and the hope that lies within, is a life well-lived.  Story after story spoke of the prayerful desire to fill their homes with children while also meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.

If you would like to take a peek at the photos, click on the link below to be taken to the website.  The stories of each family are found next to their images in a black thumbnail with white writing.  Click on it to enlarge so that you can read it!

Freedom Photography Courageous Love Gallery

If you are a photographer or know someone who is, here are some ways that you can help out foster families and kids in the system:

  • Offer to take senior pictures for free for teenagers in foster care
  • Offer discounted photo sessions for foster families and foster children
  • Suggest to other photographers to get involved with galleries such as the one described in this blog post
  • Put brochures up in your studio about the needs of foster children
  • Offer to take pictures at community events that feature foster families

Above all, let’s all pray without ceasing for the over 400,000 children and youth in foster care in the United States.  Nearly 115,000 of them are eligible and in need of adoptive families.