I hope you will visit my ministry website: http://ajourneyoffaith.net .
Monday, June 29, 2009
God knows our pain ...
God hears our prayers ...
God sends his angels ...
Even though we haven't yet found "the answer" that we are looking for, we know that God is holding us in His arms ... and He is sending His angels to lift us up when we are down.
A few days ago, an anonymous friend had a vase of flowers delivered to us, to brighten our day.
The same day, a friend who hadn't read my blog in awhile started to read my first post about "The Crisis" and before even finishing the post, she called to say, "How can I help?"
Yesterday, a bloggy friend emailed to ask if she could bring dinner tonight. It was so cute when she arrived. Our kids asked, "Who is she? Is she coming for dinner? Why is she bringing us pizza?" My answer, "Because she wants us to know that she loves us, and she wanted to bless us today." Thanks sweet bloggy friend!
Yesterday, I felt led to send an email to a friend that had moved to Texas in January, to tell her what was going on. (She had experienced an adoption nightmare a couple of years ago.) Right when she got my email, she was about to book a plane flight to WA for her husband, and she was trying to decide whether or not to come up with him. When she got my email, she had her answer, and booked her flight immediately. She came right over today, to give me a hug.
Last night, I chatted on the phone with a bloggy friend from 9:45 - midnight ... a precious friend that I had never actually talked to before. Oh what a blessing that was!
Tonight, a very busy adoptive mama who doesn't get the chance to read blogs very often, emailed because her teenage daughter had checked my blog and gone straight to her mama with concern. She emailed to let me know that she's there for me, if I need anything.
Tonight, at 11:50, I got a quick email from a friend, saying, "Do you need to talk? I'm here for you. I'm praying for you."
Thank you Lord ...
... for anonymous friends
... for bloggy friends
... for local friends
... for far-away friends
... for each and every angel
that you have sent to care for us
in our time of crisis.
My emotions seem to have stabilized ...
I'm just numbly walking through each day ...
I spend my days ...
... searching for answers
... following all leads
... researching, researching, researching
... making phone calls
... praying for wisdom
Yet ... all I have found so far are dead ends.
Every morning I wake up, thinking
that I know what needs to be done.
Then, I will get another email,
sending me off in another direction.
I am very thankful that so many
people have stepped forward with
Yet, none of them have opened the right
door. Every door I have knocked on,
has shut in my face. I haven't even made
it past the threshold.
No extra "drama" today.
But, that doesn't mean
that things are "okay".
We still need help.
We still need answers.
We are ...
Saturday, June 27, 2009
1 child ...
+ past experiences in Africa
+ lack of understanding of right and wrong
= Serious Behavior Issues in America
Serious Behavior Issues in America ...
+ social workers
+ police officers
+ police detectives
+ complete disregard for right and wrong
+ no remorse or repentance
+ escalated Serious Behavior Issues
+ failure to obey warnings of police detective
= Child Protective Services
First of all ... THANK you for all of your prayers. Despite being in the midst of our crisis ... we all had a good day at the wedding. Papa and I were able to celebrate with our friends, and with 11 of our 13 children. Cassie drove 200 miles North, while we drove 200 miles South ... and we were able to meet in the middle for the wedding. Hosanna (12) spent the last 3 weeks at big sister's house, and we got to bring her home tonight.
Secondly, in the midst of all of the WONDERFUL and supportive comments from last night's post, was a rather negative/accusatory comment, posted by someone that I do not believe has ever commented before. Whether you are that person ("adopted1"), or whether you read the questioning comment ... I hope you will pop back onto last night's comments to read my answer/explanation. I can shrug off a lot of negative comments ... but felt that this one needed a response.
Thanks again for all of your love and support during this difficult time.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Thank you for all of the comments
you left on last night's post.
Thank you for all of your prayers,
going up to the Father on our behalf.
Thank you to the anonymous friend
that just had flowers delivered to us.
What a sweet surprise!
We know that God is faithful!
We know that He will work in us and through us!
We know that He has an amazing plan for each of us!
We are not in despair.
We are crying out to God in faith ... not failure.
We are strong ... yet only in His strength.
Yes, there is comfort in knowing that God
is not surprised by any of the situations.
Yet, "surprise" does not even begin to describe
how shocked we are by the unimaginable situation.
Yes, we know that God turns beauty from ashes.
Yet, it is so very difficult when all of the options
that we see, only bring more ashes.
We want to see that there could be a light
at the end of the tunnel, yet all we see
is the pain that must come before the light.
... I am walking in God's power and strength.
... I am getting done what needs to get done.
(Today is Hair Day ... I get to spend many hours
doing yarn braids for my precious girls.)
... I am looking excitedly at the possibilities of Situation #3.
Yet, some days in the past 2 weeks ...
... I wanted to stay in bed and pull the covers up over my head.
(I never actually took that option, but certainly wanted to.)
... I could hardly breathe from the "punch in the gut" feelings
of being truly overwhelmed by the situation.
(Something that I have actually never experienced before.)
... I just put one foot in front of the other,
almost as an out-of-body experience.
... I have been completely numb,
unable to even feel the pain.
I do have a couple of close friends walking through each situation with me. One of these dear friends emailed me one day and said, "You shared all of your specific prayer requests ... but what about YOU? How are YOU doing?"
I realized that I had put myself in Crisis Mode. I'm good at taking care of crisis situations. I am the one that many people have called when they are in crisis. I jump in, assess the situation, and do what needs to be done. So, that is exactly how I responded to my own situation. I looked at it as if I was standing on the outside, looking in.
I thank the Lord that He has shown me how to respond in crisis. I thank Him that he helped me to see things clearly so that I could take the necessary steps to deal with the crisis.
Yet, this dear friend also pointed out that I need to be able to fall into the arms of our Father. I need to let down my guard. I need to feel the pain that I am walking through. While I am a strong woman; I also need to allow myself to be weak, so that my Heavenly Father can carry me through each day.
Today, I am strong ...
... walking in God's strength
through each difficult situation.
Yet, at the same time, I want to be weak ...
... I want to rest in God's arms as He carries me.
... I want to release control of each situation.
... I want to allow Him to take the lead,
and not complain about the journey that I am on.
Thank you Lord, for showing me how to put into words the journey that our family is on, without sacrificing the confidentiality that needs to be in place.
Thank you Lord, for giving me words to break the silence that was deafening.
Thank you Lord, for the amazing group of friends that You have brought, to walk this journey of life with me.
Thank you Lord, that each of these friends can trust me and can pray for me, without demanding to know the details of each situation.
Thank you Lord, for carrying me in Your arms today.
... on the blogging front.
I don't like silence.
... a people person.
... a word person.
... a talkative person.
... a writer.
... a speaker.
Yet ... day after day ... my blog continues to sit in silence.
... silence is due to busyness.
... silence is due to things too difficult to discuss.
... silence is due to things that just cannot be discussed.
... things cannot be discussed because they would give
too much personal information about someone else.
... things cannot be discussed because you have been
sworn to confidentiality.
... things cannot be discussed because the time isn't right, yet.
Yes, I could easily claim ... "I've been busy.", which I have.
What mother of 13 isn't busy every day of her life?
Yet, my busyness is not the cause of my current silence.
The silence on my blog the past few weeks
has been caused by the collision of several
unrelated events and situations ...
some good ... some bad ... and some very very bad.
The silence on my blog has been caused by ...
... an absolute lack of words to explain the emotional
rollercoaster that I am riding all day every day.
... the physical inability to even breathe at times,
because of unimaginable pain over a situation.
(The re-occurring feeling of being
kicked in the stomach by a horse.)
... a time of crying out to God for strength and wisdom.
The silence on my blog has been caused by a combination
of recent situations that happened to hit our family all in
the same week.
Situation #1 ... has us humbly seeking wisdom for an
unimaginable parenting situation.
Situation #2 ... has us praying earnestly for a work situation.
Situation #3 ... has us seeking God for exciting changes that
may be headed in our direction.
While #1 and #2 are VERY difficult situations, either one of which could and have shaken us to the core ... #3 has been able to give us hope amidst the darkness.
When #1 and #2 are bringing us spiraling down ... all we need to do is talk about #3 to re-focus. Obviously, #1 and #2 are things that Jim and I must talk about (but only with each other); however, we are so very thankful that the Lord has given us #3 to talk about at the same time.
I'm so sorry that this note seems cryptic.
I wish I could share more details,
and hope to share #3 with you in the near future.
However, in the meantime, I want to ask for your prayers.
#1 Please pray for the Parenting Situation ...
... for wisdom from the Lord for each step that must be taken.
... for people/resources to help us navigate this new journey.
... for understanding for all of our children.
(Remember the poem I wrote last week? This is what it was about.)
#2 Please pray for the Work Situation ...
... for the truth to be unveiled.
... for honesty on all sides.
... for people to take responsibility for what they've done.
#3 Please pray for the possible Changes
that might be headed our way.
... for continued guidance from the Lord.
... for open doors as we walk into unchartered territory.
... for peace for every family member.
Dear Bloggy Friends,
Thank you ...
... for being there for me,
even when I can't share every detail.
... for faithfully praying for me and my family,
even though many of us have never met.
... for following my blog,
even when it is silent.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Hi ... I'm back ... sorry I've been gone for a bit.
I was out of town the past 3 days, working at a homeschool convention. I got home at 9:00 last night, totally exhausted ... went to bed ... and got up at 5:00 this morning ("only" about 3 hours early for me). Jim and I left at 6:00 for a fun day, just the two of us. We drove about an hour and a half, to Anacortes. Then we hopped on a ferry to the San Juan Islands. This is something that we have never done, in our 27 years of marriage, because we can't usually budget the ferry fees into our already stretched budget. However ... Jim has had a couple of good painting jobs (with more lined up), and we needed a day away.
I have always LOVED ferry rides, so that was a special treat. After a 45 minute ferry ride, we landed at Lopez Island. We visited a sweet little church that meets at a grange ... had lunch at a seaside restaurant ... and spent a couple of hours just exploring the island before we headed back to the ferry dock.
It's now time to grab a bite to eat ... put kids to bed ... think about my schedule for this coming week ... etc... But, I wanted to publicly say that I THANK GOD for giving me such an amazing husband, and father to my children.
While I don't have the time, nor the creative energy tonight to write a top-notch blog post for my sweetheart, I must recommend that you read Cassie's tribute to her Papa. Read HERE to hear the thoughts of the eldest daughter of 13 children.
Hope you all had a BLESSED day with your Papas or with the Papas of your children.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Open my eyes ... to see life through the eyes of my beautiful African children. Help me to see the life that they lived before they joined our family. Help me to see what they see. Give me a clear vision of their needs, and help me to meet each of those individual needs.
Open my ears ... to hear what they hear. Help me to hear their fears. Help me to know the secrets that still lie deep inside. Help me to pull them close and know how to comfort them when they are afraid.
Open my heart ... to feel what they feel. Help me to understand what makes their little hearts tick. Help me to feel their pain, and give me wisdom in how to help heal the hurts that they still carry in their little hearts.
Open my mind ... help me to know them more deeply. Help me to know when to speak, and when to keep silent. Help me to know when to encourage them to speak, and when it is okay for them to just sit in silence in my arms.
Help me to see my children, as you see them.
Help me to hear my children, as you hear them.
Help me to understand my children, as you understand them.
Help me to know my children, as you know them.
Thank you for Jacob.
Thank you for Sarah.
Thank you for Rachel.
You see them,
and you love them.
You hear them,
and you know their secrets,
and you love them.
You understand them,
and you know the pain in their hearts,
and you love them.
You know them.
You created them.
You love them.
Thank you Lord.
Monday, June 15, 2009
we headed to one of our little local parks,
to play with the kids.
Just Plain ... Family Fun
At first, all 12 of us were just running around throwing things to each other. It was CRAZY! We had 1 football, 2 frisbees, and a little blue ball flying through the air, while we had a purple soccer ball being kicked around at the same time. It was "Heads Up" for everyone ... as you never knew what was headed in your direction. One really cool thing about playing this way ... when your aim isn't very good, you just throw your object, and as it begins to go towards one of the other 11 people, you just call their name (as if you were aiming for them all along). It worked well.
After awhile, we gradually moved in different directions for different activities. I threw the football and frisbees for awhile, and then grabbed my wonderful camera. Several times, Papa asked if I was okay. He felt bad that I wasn't playing with them. I said, "Oh, no. I am doing exactly what I love: watching my family play together, taking pictures, and planning blog posts." Of course, as I got several things on film (oops ... no ... I don't use a film camera anymore ... how should I say it ... "as I got several things on my Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera ..."?) , the big boys would say, "Mom ... you are NOT putting that on your blog." My response ... just a BIG smile.
We Played Frisbee
How many Papas take the time to really play with their children?
How many fathers have enough sons to play a game of football, without adding any friends?
How many 20-something Big Brothers, would truly enjoy playing football with the Little Guys?
Even when you do find a group of 7 brothers, how often is it true that you find 7 brothers that truly LOVE to spend time with each other?
I was so touched today, while watching the boys play football. I was truly overwhelmed by the blessing of my wonderful husband, and the amazing Papa that he is to all of his children. Papa knows how to work hard to provide for his family. Yet, he also knows how to set work aside ... and play.
I don't know how they came up with their rules for today's game, but they were able to play a hard game of football with the Big Boys, while also fully including the Little Guys, without anyone getting hurt.
Papa ... Playing Football with 6 of His 7 Sons.
(Jacob was playing soccer and frisbee.)
Little Guys ...
fully involved in the game.
(not wanting to risk ripping his new State Track t-shirt,
Ben put on Josiah's little shirt over his new shirt.)
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Yesterday, I had a quiet day at the beach with just Sarah, Rachel, and Josiah.
Elijah had gone to his friend J's house, while all of the big boys (and Papas) had their first paintballing day of the year. So, I thought it would be fun to take these 3 to our favorite beach.
They love to build things in the sand ...