Sunday, September 11, 2016

Orphan care

Several have asked, so here’s our reality of orphan care so far. We started officially pursuing adoption and orphan care in fall 2014. We are now licensed foster parents and have had 5 potential placements at this point. Some we said no to for various reasons. Some we said yes but something fell through with them or they had already been placed by DHR. We pray and wrestle each and every time with each and every case, considering the unique details and the potential impacts on our family. Thinking through the medical concerns, contagious diseases, sexual abuse, and exposure of our children. Each time I am afraid. I have heard some say they admire us for what we are doing. We are not heroic or abnormally courageous. I am not any less afraid than any of you; in fact I am probably more afraid. I am honestly terrified. Afraid of being out of control, afraid of having zero details on what is about to walk through my door, of how long they may be here, of how attached we may become before they are ripped out of our arms, of how attached my children may become and of watching their little hearts break when they leave, of how much they will sleep/not sleep/have disruptive behavior, ect. I am afraid of failing miserably. I am afraid of not being able to handle it. And I am even credentialed, which adds more pressure in my mind. I have a Masters in Counseling, and have been equipped with resources on sexual abuse, trauma, attachment, and the like. The lie is “I should be able to handle this” (even though I coach my clients to throw all ought’s and should’s out the window, the battle to do that is real people;). The truth is, I “should” be on my knees in utter dependency. Faith cannot be exercised apart from risk, and God often puts his people in situations where they absolutely cannot make it unless he comes through. Maybe it’s the leap into the unknown that’s so scary. Maybe it’s the fact that my longing continues to sit gaping like a freshly opened wound that burns with each breath of possibility…. But the reality is as difficult as this has already been, and whatever challenges it continues to bring, I know that it is immensely more difficult for the children being placed into care. My heart breaks at night when I think of the specific cases we have been called on and their environments or how they must feel being taken from all they have ever know. They know a terror I do not know. The call is not a call free of fear or pain or cost. Faith is not devoid of fear, it is trusting in the midst of it. Trusting in the fact that I can’t do it, but I can be dependent on one who can. Perfect love cast out fear. God’s perfect love calms my anxieties when I pause and focus and surrender. And I pray that His love will be on display and calm whatever child he brings to us as well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Infertility is hard. It is painful (literally and physically). It is expensive. It strikes at the core of every women, and impedes on our ability to carry out the very mandate we were created to fulfill; "Be fruitful and multiply…" Sometimes I can look at the way the Lord has written our story and be thankful for what he has given. I can see how he has used many of the painful things in my life and brought good from them, turning the purpose evil had intended on its head. But many times I am not thankful, and I feel the accuser attacking my God and my faith. The blessing of children is one that test my faith because it is something ONLY the Lord can do, and feels as though he blesses many, but is withholding from me. My heart yearns to understand, and longs for core longings to be fulfilled. The last time I went down the road of testing and treatment, I didn't share much with others. Keeping private was a way to protect myself from greater pain when/if nothing happened. However, this time I have decided to share the journey with those who desire to read it. I am sharing because I believe in the power of vulnerability and community. Because I know that my own heart begins to breath when I hear/see others struggling with the same thing. Because I know that healing does not necessarily come in receiving whatever it is we feel we need, instead it comes in living authentically with those who choose to enter into the mess with you to hurt when you hurt and rejoice when you rejoice. In that place of surrender and vulnerability is a gift of intimacy and tranquility I have found no other place. This too is a unique blessing, which only God can give.

Longing are dangerous...

Our longings are dangerous… Anytime we open ourselves up to embrace the depth of our desires, we are in danger of feeling the agonizing pain of never seeing those desires come to fruition. As men and women, we have specific desires woven into the fabric of our being from the beginning of time. Good desires, one's that spring out of our dignity, not our depravity. But when those desires are met with a sin stained world, they are often either silenced out of fear, or idolized and demanded. To maintain the balance of remaining open to our longings without idolizing them, trusting and hoping in what may be to come while continuing to grieve what is not had, is an extremely difficult task. So difficult, in fact, that it cannot be articulated with words. It is far easier to silence desire and protect myself from the ache that never really seems to go away, than to fully face my desire and thus choose to feel painful daily reminders of what I do not have. Often, at least for me, this causes a cyclical oscillation from hope to despair and then back again. It can seem as though the waves of the journey, of allowing myself to lean into little glimmers of hope only then to be dashed again by another major hurdle, will suck so much life out of me that my heart won't survive it. It feels like pieces of me die…but maybe that's a part of the process. That though there is death, there will also be new life on the other side.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

He sees Me...

In an attempt to not catch up my blog at all, I wanted to share how the Lord has been showing up in my life lately. I have felt the frustration of the inadequacy of words to capture life- life that is full of images, emotions, moments, and details and thus have hesitant to blog. I was encouraged by a friend to pray for God to “surprise” me with the way He moves in my heart. The last few months have been difficult and dark, as I have wrestled with the apparent silence of God in my past and sometimes in my present. He has taken me on the most magnificent journey as He walks me into deep and hidden crevices of my heart, painful places that have been locked up for years and years. Sometimes that pain and the realities of my story have been absolutely excruciating, threatening to undo me. God is not satisfied with merely breaking us- a broken piece of pottery, though it is shattered, is still very hard. Instead, He has been melting me- leaving me completely surrendered and dependent-and forming me into a clearer reflection of Him. He has put people in my life that have been His face for me- that reflect a picture of His character and of His heart that He is using to soften and mold me.
This week particularly I was longing for the Lord to bring healing to my heart and several friends were praying for me as well. Those prayers were answered in the most incredible ways. However, the most significant moment of my week was an encounter with a woman at my church. This woman has suffered significant injustice and pain, which has led to psychological issues, physical disability, and emotional distress. Many love her out of duty, tolerating the outward displays of her brokenness in the name of Christ. Unfortunately, this has been my response to her as well. Choosing to love because that’s what we are called to do. However, this time I was broken over her story as she shared with me and I believed in her and for her with an unbridled passion. I saw the courage it took for her to continue to live. She often feels hopeless and that her efforts are meaningless, but I saw her God-given dignity. And God gave me the most significant love for her. So much so that I was overwhelmed by the brokenness of her story and despair she often feels. It was in my moment of entering her pain, that I recognized Christ response in me. I would not have seen her before, had it not been for the pain God has allowed in my life. I could identify with her, I knew what it felt like to be overwhelmed by lies, and darkness, and I was flooded with compassion. He is giving me sweet glimpses of redemption as I walk through my story in giving me faith to believe for those who need it. The irony in it is not that He sent me to her, rather He sent her to me. She blessed my heart more than she can imagine, I’m so encouraged by her struggle to believe in a God that sees her, and loves her.
This song captures well my heart this week….(Excuse the brief introduction)
Kari Jobe- You are For Me

Monday, October 3, 2011

Surgery 1 Update

The first surgery is complete and for that we are thankful. Unfortunately, it didn't go quite as well as we had hoped. Not only was there significant bone re-absorption in her root, her body had overcompensated to correct the deterioration and her bone had actually grown around and attached to the root itself. This made for a very difficult extraction and the loss of a lot of bone in the process. Her osteoporosis medication may or may not have attributed to that. Our prayer now is that the bone graft will take (especially since they had to do more than expected) and that her pain will become more managable. It has been nearly incapacitating over the last 5 days and she is going back in tommorrow to see if there is infection in the surgical site or a broken piece of bone.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Update and surgery

Our 2nd fall at covenant seminary has begun. Even though we technically moved here last July, life was so crazy that we don’t count it until August ;) I predicted it would take us about a year to feel settled and I can honestly say that’s true. We have really plugged into our church and feel as though we are truly apart of the community. I’ve been serving on the worship team since Feb and also have the privilege of serving on the women’s ministry team. We are both learning a ton. School is mentally challenging, yet spiritually refreshing. Our marriage has been strengthened as we continue to learn to communicate and value one another better. We have learned some of our pitfalls and we are fighting hard to prevent them. We are truly engaging with our hearts – delighting in the joys of life and embracing better the sorrows. The kids are at such a fun age. They turned 2 on May 1st and they are such a delight to us right now. Their vocabulary expands every day and it’s so fun to see them relate to each other and to others. They have such a special relationship. I’m so thankful the Lord gave them to us. Ben and I read “To Train up a Child” and “Creative Family Times” this summer and both books were so helpful in our approach to them. We have noticed that the more consistent we are, the happier they are. I’m taking them through some character training this semester and we are focusing on one quality a week. We have short training times each day where I am role playing and teaching them to be obedient, kind, ect. when we are NOT in the moment of disobedience. I use a few simple sheets I ordered that have a character quality with a corresponding bible verse. I tweek it a lot but it helps to keep me sharing God’s word with them.
As we sense the Lord’s presence and protection in our lives, we are also keenly aware of Fall and it’s effects on our relationships and our lives. My health has been an ongoing battle for me, and this summer my dentist found some bone reabsorption in an area of my mouth where I had knocked out 3 teeth due to an accident in high school. I will be having oral surgery in a few days and this is a significant due to my osteoporosis. It is a pretty intensive procedure where they will be doing a complete extraction of my previous dental work, bone grafting, and later a metal implant. Their will be a series of surgeries- each a few months apart to allow time for healing- concluding in about a year. There is concern that the bone graft won’t take because of one of the side effects of an osteoporosis medication that I took. Also, this will be a major financial strain for us. I am quite nervous and your prayers would be greatly appreciated.

Masters in Counseling

The Lord continues to take me on a journey of trusting Him, facing my past, repenting of the ways I seek life outside of Him, and truly engaging in the present. This past year there were some extremely difficult months as I wrestled with the Lord in the depth of my heart. Sometimes I wish my journey were over, that I was “healed”, more complete than I am. But the Lord continues to unfold my story as he does pages of a book, as my heart is more and more ready to process the things of my past. Somehow, in my broken humble state the Lord seemingly uses me in the lives of others around me often to my own amazement. Just as we experience the already, not yet in our spiritual journeys, I am not yet finished dealing with the pain and memories of my past. Instead of keeping me from fully engaging and being present in the lives of others, it is what the Lord uses most in my interaction with the broken lives and stories of those around me. In a class I took this summer and a generous compliment from a professor, along with various other things, we have felt the Lord leading me to pursue a degree in counseling. My ability to take classes here is a tremendous blessing and one I do not take for granted. I’m so thankful to Ben for being so supportive of me and sacrificing his time and energy in order to make this desire a possibility. The Lord has also continued to provide neighbors to swap childcare and meet other needs along the way. My approach will be non-traditional as Ben and I seek to juggle our class schedules with caring for the twins. I will be in school all year, taking many classes in January and summers when Ben’s load is lighter. The Lord has made it clear that this is the road He has me on, which is both exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

Class updat 8/1/2011

In the spring semester I took New Testament History and Theology. I loved this class and all the richness and depth it has brought to my understanding of the bible and of Jesus' ministry here on earth, how to interpret the bible and to teach that to others. It was so wonderful to have a framework to hang many of the New Test bible studies I have done previously. There was alot of reading for this class, hence why there was not much time for hobbies (like blogging :)) I've learned that while maximizing on my ability to be in school right now, I have to say no to many other things I enjoy or even "need" to do in order to keep my priorities at the top.
Right after class ended for us both, we packed up and made our "great adventure" down south to see family and friends. After traveling for two weeks with 2 two year olds, we were so glad to be home! Ben started school the next day, and I had a few weeks before my summer intensive class began.
This summer I took Educational Foundations, team taught by two of our professors. This class was so practical on how to educate the people in our churches and in our schools. It was such a wonderful class, I'm so glad I took it! It was basically all day long for two weeks, so Ben really sacrificed alot as well in order to enable me to go. I'm so thankful for his support and encouragement of me to engage in a degree program here. Although it takes my time, I'm learning that I function much better with some level of pressure- the home runs more smoothly, the laundry is all done (because it has to be), we have nutritional meals planned/prepared, and my heart and soul are fed. It gives me a focus and helps me to simplify.

Friday, September 9, 2011

BFF forever!

Playdates :)

Ben (and the kids) always leave me these sweet messages during bathtime on Monday nights when I'm gone to class.

Good friends at the Joe's Place Premier.