06.05.15All day long

I was journaling during my quiet time this morning—something my sweet Dad has been doing for a while now and encouraged me to try. Somehow I decided that my first day journaling would also be my first day giving up coffee…yeah, maybe not so smart. But, I’m now eight days coffee-free and feeling slightly less foggy each day.

Hope

This morning, I was reading the first part of Psalm 25 where David talks about hope.

“Ha! that’s something I’m so good at,” I thought bitterly.

Before I knew it, I was journaling these words:

Isn’t hope just lofty expectations waiting to be dashed—isn’t hope just asking for disappointment?

I had barely finished scratching them down with my mechanical pencil when I heard the Lord say, “Not when you hope in Me.”

The tears began to roll as it hit me—when I place my hope in other things or other people, they’ll inevitably let me down. But when I place my hope in the Almighty, Sovereign God—He won’t.

David says, “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame.” (Psalm 25:3)

Let’s be real here though—placing your hope in God doesn’t mean all of your expectations will be met. It doesn’t mean your life will go the way you planned. It doesn’t mean you’ll get everything you want. But I suspect that has more to do with our own limited understanding of goodness and God than with Him, along with the fact that we live in a fallen, broken world.

David continues, “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

Did you catch that last part? David’s hope was in God all day long. So, in the morning, when I rise, my hope is in the Lord. When the evening comes, my hope is in the Lord. And through everything in between, my hope is in the Lord.

I was reminded of the words to Great Is Thy Faithfulness, “…strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow…”

And I realized that, while those words are true, we don’t have to face each day with gritted teeth, just asking the Lord for strength to make it through—all the while deferring our hope for tomorrow, for that bright future we’re promised with Jesus. He gives us hope and joy in the here and now—amidst the pain and the sorrow, amidst those unmet expectations, amidst those broken dreams. That’s the beauty of walking with Him each day.

This week, I’m purposing to hope in the Lord all day long. Will you join me?

05.08.15Me, too…

It’s been three years, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I woke up to the happy sounds of my precious baby boy in the next room. I smiled, heading into his nursery to pick him up. I carried him to the changing table, pausing to grab a cute outfit from the dresser drawers below. I made goofy faces as I talked to him; he laughed and cooed back.

As if on cue, my guy walked in with a bottle and grabbed my little man from my arms.

“You go get ready,” he said. “I’ve got this.”

I paused in the doorway, looking back at the now-familiar sight of my two favorite guys swaying gently in the rocker. I blinked back tears.

“If only this could last,” I thought.

You see, we had found out that week that our little man wouldn’t be ours to care for much longer. A judge had reviewed his case, and had decided it’d be best for that precious baby to live with one of his family members. We knew these early mornings of diapers and bottles were numbered.

We walked out the door ahead of schedule that day—a minor miracle in and of itself. My guy drove the few miles to church slowly, both of us tearing up as we heard our little man chatting away in the backseat.

We headed for the side entrance, neither of us sure we could hold it together long enough to say hello to anyone. The music started, and with it came the tears I had fought back all morning.

“Lord, I don’t understand,” I prayed. “This is my first Mother’s Day—it’s what I’ve longed for and dreamed of—why does it have to hurt so badly?”

The rest of the service—and that whole day, really—were a blur. I’d forget for a moment that we were losing our foster son, only to have the pain wash over me again and again.

Nine days later, our little guy was gone.

And each day since, I’ve felt stuck in limbo. In my heart, I am a mother. But I have no child of my own. As the weeks and months have slipped by, I’ve prayed, “Lord, let this be the year I can celebrate Mother’s Day again. Let this be the year you bring us a baby.” And then, May arrives, and with it a flurry of celebrations. Every year, it’s almost enough to make me forget my pain. Almost.

But I know I’m not the only one who feels this pain.

For some of you, you’ve prayed for years, asking God to give you a child of your own. But every month brings with it a cruel reminder that your womb is still empty.

Others of you read the positive test with utter joy, as your dream of growing your family became a reality. Then that dream shattered mere days or weeks later, leaving you hollow and broken.

And I know for others, you experienced the joy of motherhood in all its fullness, only to lose your precious child far, far too soon.

Maybe still others of you are walking the long road to adoption with me. And it’s hard to feel hope amidst the piles of paperwork and years of waiting.

Friends, our Jesus sees each and every one of us. He sees our tears. And He longs to ease these burdens we’re carrying.

I think one of the ways He does that is by giving us each other. He gives us women who can say, 

Me, too

You see, when we share our stories, we give each other hope—hope that we’re not alone in our pain, hope that someone else just might understand our story, and hope that this journey to motherhood isn’t over yet.

If you can relate, would you chime in with your, “Me, too,” in the comments below? Or maybe you know someone who, like me, is bracing herself for Sunday and all its pain. Would you share this with her? Like me, she needs to know she’s not alone.

Praying for all of you mothers this weekend, those with children and especially those without.

Special thanks to fellow waiting mama Amy Lambert at Glimpses of Hope and her words that inspired this post.

04.21.15Will They Want My Jesus?

Sorry for the silence these past few weeks. I’ve been meaning to post, but, life has been crazy—what’s new, huh? I’ve also been trying to carve out more time with my guy and other people, and less time at my computer or on my phone. Post to come about that in the weeks ahead.

My guy asked me the other day if I was planning to blog.

“My thoughts are still brewing,” I told him.

“Oh, okay,” he said. “So when they start boiling over, that’s when you’ll be ready to write?”

“Exactly.”

So here I am, a few weeks later, and my thoughts have finally boiled over.

April has been a very baby-filled month. We attended a super fun gender reveal party for the sweetest friends last week. The week before that, we checked in with our social worker by phone—you know, just to say hi and we’re still alive. And this weekend, we have a baby shower for another of our favorite couples.

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In the midst of it, this heart of mine has been especially tender. It’s been amazing to rejoice with our friends, but it’s hard. Just…hard.

The other week the title of one of my favorite books randomly popped into my head: “On Writing Well.” And I laughed thinking, “Ha, my life is more like ‘On Waiting Well.'”

And a little bell went off in my mind—ding, ding, ding, ding! Hey, you—you just stumbled on something important here!

So I’ve brought that phrase before the Lord during my morning quiet times:

“Lord, help me to wait well. Jesus, I know You’re more than enough—even if we never get a baby. I want to wait on You well.”

And it hit me—this excruciatingly long wait (which will officially hit the 5-year mark this fall)—how I walk through this waiting period speaks volumes about who I say Jesus is.

Me freaking out about the wait says I don’t trust Him to handle this. Me growing bitter says I deserve better—when He’s already given us the greatest gift of salvation through the Cross. Me growing angry when others pass us in the baby line (oh, yes, there’s a baby line, my friends) says I don’t really love them. I don’t really know how to rejoice with them despite my pain. It says my Lord’s love doesn’t conquer all.

Friends, at the end of the day, baby or no baby, I want people to want my Jesus. I want people to look at my life, as crazy and broken as it is, and want the Savior who sustains me. I want people to realize that it shouldn’t be possible for me to be free from bitterness and anger, but that, in Jesus, I am oh-so free.

And everything I do and say either pushes people closer to Jesus or further away. I used to think there was some neutral middle ground where my actions didn’t affect my witness. Yeah—I don’t believe that anymore. I love the way Titus puts it—through our actions, we have the chance to make Gospel attractive.

Years ago, my precious mom jotted down Philippians 2:14–16 on a 3×5 card and put it on our fridge: “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…”

I’m so grateful she tucked it next to our family calendar, because now I can recall those words from memory.

So, when the wait for our baby grows longer—I can shine like the stars as I hold out the good news of Jesus. When my plans fall apart—God gives me His grace to make the Gospel attractive. When I don’t feel like rejoicing with others—Jesus gives me His love for them. And when I’m ready to give up—I can still shine.

So, lately, I’ve been asking myself this on repeat: “Will they see me and want my Jesus?”

I pray the answer is a resounding yes.