Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I've been singing this song lately. Here are the words:

by Watermark

You repair all that we have torn apart
And you unveil a new beginning in our hearts
And we stand grateful for all that has been left behind
And all that goes before us

You've got all things suspended
All things connected
Nothing was forgotten
Cause your love is perfect
You are our healer
And you know what's broken
And we're not a mystery to You
To you, O Lord, to you

We will dance as you restore the wasted years
And you will sing over all our coming fears
And we'll stand grateful for all that has been left behind
And all that goes before us

Lord you mend the bridge
And you break every fetter
You give us your best
For what we thought was better
And you are to be praised
You are to be praised!

Amen and Amen!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Great Sadness

So, what do you do when it all falls apart? This is a little of what life has felt like in the past couple of weeks. An unimaginable situation brought on by careless decisions have reeked havoc in our carefully constructed little worlds. And, the truth is, so many of us around it, not even directly involved, have struggled under the weight of it all. We have taken up this mantle of profound sadness and it threatens daily to take over.

I desperately do not want to make this about me or about those of us that have come around the entire situation. It’s just not…at all, except in that we are so interconnected, in a good way, a way that I think glorifies God, and so it has effectively devastated us all. I’m not sure there is a more appropriate response. The thing is, even though we are devastated, we are aware of a greater reality. We are aware of God in the midst of this chaos. The devastation has been a way to clear out our complicated perspectives and perceptions and has made room for him to remind us of simpler truths…that he desires to be known, that we are meant to live in realtionship with each other, that he is sovereign, that his love always wins. (I said simple, not simplisitic!)

It’s kind of like a tornado. No one wants a tornado to hit and destroy everything in its path. It is heart wrenching, when that happens, to see all that people have lost, seemingly their entire worlds flattened with no regard for sentiment. But, though a tornado can destroy an entire lifetime’s worth of building walls, the land stripped bare is always more beautiful in that raw and ravaged state. Underneath the rubble, the original beauty lurks, waiting to be remembered, and the truth about what is left is, surprisingly, enough to sustain you.

This morning our brave pastor stood and spoke about what you do with all the brokenness, all the pain and weariness, the shambles, and my thirsty soul drank in every word. He so beautifully said that you take all of it and offer it up to God, a precious sacrifice of suffering. It gave me an image I will be forever grateful for. It was the image of me offering all that has fallen apart…it continuing to fall apart even as I offer it, and him gathering up those pieces with great gentleness. Taking them with a great understanding of all it costs to let go of the notion that you can keep it together somehow. I offer it to him, “in whom all things hold together” and walk forward in gratefulness that he has always used this kind of messy sacrifice to build his church.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I Wanna Go Barefoot More Often

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes his shoes off;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries .

~Elizabeth Barret Browning

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hope Springs Forth

Something has happened to my little Hopie in the last few days. It started when she ran out on the soccer field (after a couple of minutes of tears, of course) and began to actually have fun. Her demeanor was completely different than before. She was smiling more and she seemed freer somehow. Like she had finally let go of her anxiety and of her need to do everything right and just decided to have fun.

Not only that, halfway through the practice, they played an actual game. As a side note, those of you who know about peewee soccer know that they never really play an actual game. They are still learning what that means and so they go through all the motions of a game but it is a lot of stopping and starting and a lot of yelling, "the other way, go the other way!" Regardless, we parents sit on the sidelines and cheer and try to keep ourselves from yelling out things like, "way to go...way to run that other kid down and steal the ball away from him!" You can't say things like that in peewee soccer. But I digress.

Halfway though practice they played an actual game and, apparently, Hope decided she wasn't just gonna run around that field all day with no ball action. So, she jumped right in the middle of the scramble for the ball and, several times, took off running down the field kicking that ball (the right way, I might add) and leaving her little teammates in the the dust. It was quite a sight to behold! Then, we had one of those moments you always wish you could get on camera, but never can. She looked right over at me, with a huge grin on her face, and raised both her little fists in the air in victory. She proceeded to do that every time she ran away with the ball, and, every time, it was precious! As she told me later, she "never got to score a goal but she helped a lot." I asked her what happened out there and why she was so bold all of the sudden. She told me her friend, Caden, taught her how to just stay out there and have fun. Of course, we have been saying this for weeks but apparently Caden is a more reliable source for these things. I have no idea what he said but I am sure that I owe that boy a debt of gratitude. We all need friends like Caden in our lives.

Then, yesterday we went to watch Hope's good friend, Ali, get her ears pierced. Hope and I have talked about this a time or two because she wanted "big girl earrings." Each time I have been pretty honest and told her that it hurts but only for a minute or so. Each time she has decided it was not worth the pain. Fine with me. After watching Ali, who was very brave and only cried for about thirty seconds (which made Hope cry, too, in sympathy for her friend, I guess), Hope decided that she wanted to do it, too. I told her we would think about it for a day and then see how she felt. When she woke up this morning it was all she could talk about and she was absolutely convinced that, even though it was gonna hurt, she wanted to do it. So, we headed to the store. I have to confess that I was fairly certain she would back out at the last minute, which I was fully prepared to let her do. To my great surprise, she sat there, very still, through all the prep, and then she let those two lovely women poke holes in her ears. She cried for a minute and then looked at herself in the mirror and smiled. I told her how proud I was of her and how brave I thought she was. Then, she whispered all tickly in my ear, "I am so proud of myself." Here is a picture of one of her pretty pink earrings.

How I wish I could bottle of some of that pride, some of that freedom, some of that bravery, and keep it for when she gets a little older and those things seem to fail her. I'd give some to her the first time some awful boy breaks her heart, or the first time her friends cut her deeper than any boy could. I'd save it for when she fails at something she has dared to want badly, or when she needs to take a stand with her peers. I'd bathe her in it when she was weary of following the Lord cause no one else seems to, or when she wasn't feeling so good about who He created her to be. For now, I am ever aware that she is in this process of becoming and so I pray that this process leads her consistently to the Lord. And then, in my own act of bravery, I make the decision not to tuck her away at this age, sure in her knowledge of these few simple truths. Instead, I choose to trust her to Him and then, take great delight in her emerging.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


This girl made me smile so much today. And I so needed it. She is getting so talkative and is such fun! Just thought you might enjoy a couple of pictures of dear, sweet Isabella.

I caught her mid-chuckle here...a very hard picture to get.

This is usually the kind of pictures I get...pre or post chuckle. I hate the delay on my camera! But I love her face here...so serious! And, of course, the pigtails. Pigtails are the best!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Little Altars Everywhere

Yesterday I was thinking about one of the altars I have in my life. You know, the kind Old Testament Jews used to remind them of God’s faithfulness. I have them set up all over, mostly in the form of stories. One of mine is a story I get to tell often about Hope’s birth. Part of that story goes something like this.

I got to spend six weeks getting to know Hope’s birth mom and walking her through that last part of pregnancy. We went to doctor’s appointments together, birthing classes, and we talked a lot about what was going on inside her body. I was to be her birthing coach and, while I was incredibly excited about being there when Hope was born, I was so scared that I would experience some sort of jealousy towards her birth mom, and that my jealousy would rob me of the beautiful moment when my daughter came into this world. The moment came and as we worked together to help bring Hope into this world, the Lord made it clear that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. In the moments after Hope was born and we became an instant family, the Lord said to me, more clearly than I have ever heard him speak, “I put families together and it has very little to do with biology.” This is so clear to an adoptive parent. It is true for all families, biological or adoptive, but it is so glaringly true for adoptive families that it is, thankfully, hard to miss. There is no way that I could have ever misconstrued the situation to believe that I had anything to do with creating my family. God got all the glory….as it should be.

As I camped out at that altar for a while, I started thinking about how much of my life is spent looking for some glory. Sometimes it starts out innocently enough. I have an intense desire to offer something significant to people when I counsel, when I sing, when I parent, etc. This is not a bad thing. I want people to know more of the Lord. I want to be used by Him to speak truth and life to those around me. Oh, but it is so easy to cross over into that dangerous territory where it becomes for my glory and not for his. It sneaks up on you, that kind of sin. The result when this happens is that I always end up offering something that falls far short of what he desires.

Sometimes it makes me want to just quit...quit singing, quit counseling, quit offering. It seems too risky…too easy to make it about me and so God and I discuss quitting. His answer, which I know before I even ask, is no, and, even though I don’t trust myself, I have to trust his no. And I do. I do because I know that just as situations where he so obviously gets all the glory lead me into a deeper understanding of who he is, situations where I struggle with this sneaky sin of glorifying myself lead me into a deeper understanding of who I am. And I find that both of these are necessary to cause me to cling, ever so tightly, to Him. As uncomfortable as it is, the knowledge of my depravity is a blessing. It causes me to seek the Lord more, to know Him better, to hold less tightly to my own causes, my own motivations, my own desires. And when I do that, all of the sudden, there is room for him to be glorified in my life.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dazed and Confused...to the Rescue

I was having a conversation yesterday with some other mothers (that rhymes!) about the almost unbelievable things that we are required to deal with immediately upon waking or, even better, that we are woken up by. I am talking about being awaken from a dead sleep to deal with whatever crisis abounds. No time to clear your head and definitely no time for coffee first. It is quite a skill, actually. I've decided that there should definitely be some sort of pre-parent drill where you can at least practice to prepare yourself for these glorious moments. We had a good laugh about some of those moments, and I thought I would share some of the highlights. Please feel free to add your own little hazy recollections.

-Vomit…can anyone say projectile?
-Poop…unnaturally smelly, disgusting, all over the place poop
-A bed and pajamas entirely soaked with pee (tinkle, teetee, whatever you want to call it)
-Blood curdling screams that possibly accompany night terrors or possibly only exsist to remind you of what it feels like to have a bed and pajamas entirely soaked with pee
-A tapping on the shoulder with the simple request that you tell them a story
-Eyes glued together by green gunk (one of my favorites...see "Pinkitis" a few entries back)

When we have one of these moments in my house I often look at Loren and say, "It's a good thing they're cute!" Am I right?!?