Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Though You slay
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song
To One 
Who is all I need.

Life is hard.

If you follow Jen Hatmaker, she just wrote this and it was beautiful. And all very true and relevant for me the last several days.

This year, in particular, has been very very hard for me. Bringing two kids home who didn't speak English. Wading through the mess of trauma and loss with them. Learning how to be a momma to children that were years beyond my expertise. Eric being away from home for months. Attempting to understand and survive an entire world of specialists, surgeons, pharmacies, medications, hearing devices, special education programs and services, educational plans for ELL and hearing impairment, just to name a few. And then moving.

Moving across the country, to a place where we knew virtually no one. Starting over. Completely over and feeling so alone.

And then last week, we found out we lost our baby.

I was 10 weeks pregnant, and at our very first appointment, when she told us she couldn't see a heartbeat.

I know this happens often. I know I'm not unique. I know many women who have suffered the heavy loss of children they never met.

But, oh my goodness, the grief is so intense.

You just don't know until you experience it.

You don't know what its like, to know that LIFE is in you... only to be told that it is death, that resides in your womb.

There a million other things I could share in how I've had to process the grief of losing an unborn child. But thats really not the point.

You see, its these moments in life, that show with such clarity how you view your Savior. That show a true reflection of your heart.

And the moment of collapsing in the hallway, sobs wrenching from my chest, I just thought, "What have I done to deserve this??? I just don't understand."

And, oh sweet ones, how wrong I was. I still don't understand why God does a lot of things, but I have seen and chosen to cling to the Goodness He says He is, the Love He says I'm wrapped in, and the Grace that carries me.

I still don't understand why some things happen. I don't know why He chose for us to walk through this with no family or community nearby. But I am seeing, and slowly learning to Trust Him, even when life doesn't make any sense at all.

One of my best friend sent me this song, and if today you are asking the questions I have had to ask this last week, watch this. It ministered to my soul in the deepest way. This Truth, altered the state of my heart, for it gave me such hope. To know it is not worthless. That there is MEANING in my pain, even though I don't understand it.

"Not only is your affliction momentary, and not only is your affliction light, in comparison to eternity, but all of it is TOTALLY meaningful.  Every millisecond of your pain of your misery, in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that. It is not meaningless. It is DOING SOMETHING... Do not look to what is seen... Its is working for you an eternal weight of glory. Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths, and day by day, focus on them. Preach them to yourselves every morning. Get alone with God and preach His word into your mind. Until your heart sings with CONFIDENCE that you are new and cared for."


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

One year.


One year ago this happened and my life and my blood pressure changed for forever. Well, just my life, but it took a long time for my blood pressure to come down. I remember that day so clearly. I remember where I was sitting, what I was doing, and what my heart felt like when I picked up LuLu's phone call, that even though our paperwork hadn't even made it to Ethiopia yet and we had only been DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) for 5 days, I just knew. I knew why she was calling.
These faces. These were the faces, toes and fingers, little warm bodies, and BIG personalities that He had chosen to be in our family. Their stories are still being discovered by us, but oh what a gift that I am the mother of them and I get the privilege of discovering them. I missed 4 and 8 years, which at times feels like decades, but Jesus willing, I will have the rest of their lives.
I remembering studying each picture for any detail that might tell me something. Anything. I was dying to hear their voices and watch them play. I said their names over and over, wanting them to be ingrained on my tongue as if I had named them myself.
I remember weeping, knowing they had endured so much pain and heartache already, feeling the weight that their pain meant they needed to come into my life. That the reason for receiving pictures of their sweet faces that day meant they were without parents to care and love them in the way they should be.
 I wanted to know them so badly. I couldn't wait. And here I am, 365 days later and I have still so much to learn. So so much. But I can tell you that Fiyori has the most beautiful hair ever. She is the first to share with Britt and Kobe, the first to offer to help me, and the first to bring up memories of Ethiopia. She would eat all day long if I let her. She is a perfectionist. She is curious about evvvvverrrythinnnnng. She loves to hoard save every scrape of everything that might have some significance to her or anyone else. She hates fish and loves pasta with marinara sauce. She is smart, really funny, and has moves on the dance floor that scare me to death. She is my shadow, and my first born. She is a JOY. Her heart is so sensitive to Jesus and I pray every day He has destined her heart for His kingdom.
 Kobe. Kobe is hilarious. He is 4 1/2 in age and yet has the mannerisms of a 16 year old. He cracks me up every day. His eyelashes are the longest I've ever seen on a boy and his little swagger makes me smile. He runs out of his room in the mornings, no shirt on, comes to a stance and flexes his muscles, asking me to tell him how big his muscles are. He asks a million questions every day. He is Britt's best friend and the one who broke her of her massive personal bubble. He thinks he's awesome and he's right. He is tender hearted. He is the first to tell me that the "Miller family is AWE-SUM Mom!!" We are son, we are.
 Oh, what a year this has been. As I was running today at the gym, I reflected that there are still memories that I recall with fear and trembling, remembering the intense sadness, anger, fear and anxiety that we have gone through. Adoption is not a pretty thing. And neither was the Cross. It's the most horrid example of pain and suffering, placed on a perfect Man who deserved none of it. But as I continued to run, He brought to mind the moments of redemption, the moments where His presence was undeniable and how He continues to provide, knit our hearts and souls together as a family and draw us closer to Him because of our brokenness. He is KIND. He is ABLE. And He is WORTHY. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What do you do when your home, your place of rest, feels like a battlefield?

Every morning when the stupid alarm goes off at 6:15am, and all I can do is whisper prayers of desperate pleas for help. Help for patience. Help for peace. Help for love when there feels like there is none.

Is your home ever like that? Because I often feel completely alone, completely and utterly alone in that. My house is not a Pinterest-filled, cookie making, dance party house. Sometimes it is, and yes, we do tend to have quite a bit of dancing in our home, but sometimes it feels like it that has more to do with how much Usher and Beyonce we listen to rather than true healed happiness that has overflowed into a freedom to let go.

I know I'm feeling the way I am because Eric is gone and the kids are still sad and adjusting. I know I feel this way because being a mom is a thankless job 95% of the time and when you don't have your spouse by your side to constantly cheer you on or tell the kids to say thank you, or give you a hug, you end up going all day, begging for hugs and kisses and trying so hard to enjoy the sweet moments you can find in the hardness, just surviving the day with no real time spent with them.

I'm tired of the complaining. I'm so so tired of the fighting. I wish Britt would stop snatching toys, books, crayons out of her siblings hands. I wish Fiyori would stop whining about something at every mealtime, or use some small scrape or bump on her face or arm as an avenue to get attention by whining for hours about it. I am tired of being told "no" when I ask the Kobe to do something. I'm tired of asking for hugs instead of getting them willingly. I am so so very tired. And we are only on week one.

I spent 20 minutes listening Fiyori scream at me because she didn't want to do our regular quiet time. She threw herself on the floor, kicked and thrashed. And as I watched, I begged for mercy. I spoke outloud and prayed for patience by faith. For love by faith. Because I had none. We had already had a verrrry long morning, full of whining, complaining, begging for things at the mall, unkindness towards siblings. And I was tired. I was so worn through.

But there is redemption. I know a Hope that is greater.

When she finally came to me on her own accord and told me she was so sorry. That she was sorry for screaming and that she is sorry she made me sad. She wrapped her long skinny arms around my neck and told me Jesus loved me. And that was when I burst into tears.

I know He is here in our chaos. Which is my calm. My rock. But in reality, its not pretty people. Its more ugly than pretty right now.

I know you see our family on Facebook or Instagram and we look like a happy family that has done the unusual. We have been called heros, celebrities, rescuers. I have shown you highlights, the awesome fun moments, but in reality, redemption is so full of ugly, so full of sweat and tear-filled days. We are broken and in need of so much grace. Our children are socially awkward a lot, they don't know personal space or physical boundaries. Britt is selfish, needy and angry a lot. I lose my patience over and over. I often drag my feet or pout my way through serving them. We aren't a pretty picture.

And I constantly battle with how to tell you that we need grace because even though there is so much beauty happening, there is so much messiness. And we are not heros, or awesome people who have rescued children. But in reality, we have been rescued from the pit and filth of our sin and only long to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel. And as hard as the past 5 months have been, and wonder at times what the heck were we thinking, I know I would do it all over again in a second. Because being obedient to Him and walking in His will for your life is the most liberating, the most perfect, the most glorious thing. For He is worth it all.

A sweet (and wise) fellow adoptive mom wrote this to me and it spoke my heart exactly:

"I think nothing makes you SO aware of your sin as having children. Add to it they are hurt kiddos and we are starting now in the middle of parenting them, really apart from Christ it all spells disaster. I always say why can't I just respond in grace why am I one gigantic ball of sin but it's a process and he is sanctifying us. Because of that even the worst days are deemed worth it. I want to stand before him and know that I choose serving him over an easy comfortable life. 

Please pray for us. Please pray for healing for the kids. For grace, patience and wisdom for me. We are broken vessels longing for the healing and redemption of heaven. He is present, and enough, and our joy and peace even when it feels like a battlefield.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I haven't written in so long because there is too much to write. Too many emotions felt, too many mistakes made, so many joys and triumphs seen. Every day feels packed full of so much and in reality, we do very little on a daily basis.

But I know people are praying. And wanting to hear. Hear how they can pray more. Hear how their prayers have been answered. So this is an update on us and how God has used you MIGHTILY in the past 7 weeks since we arrived home.

I have three toddlers at home. Two of which break down at any moment and scream, throw a fit, make something HUGE out of the smallest things. I comfort and calm screaming over a fly landing on their chair, a small doll shoe lost, milk spilled, hair they don't like, change of plans, a stubbed toe.  And like most toddlers, emotions are extreme, the ENTIRE world is about them and everything stops until the need is met, the boo-boo is forgotten, or they realize they won't get what they want and resign to moving on. My other toddler, well, the other one doesn't scream unless disciplined. And then the anger that is bottled inside is mustered with all his strength to an ear piercing level which is directed AT YOU. He is most definitely screaming directly at you and wants you to know it. But overall, he stays aloof, happy, independent, with an air that says, "I don't need you. I can do it all myself and am fine without you."

I will be honest and tell you I am SO in over my head. In every way possible. Going from one child to three overnight is ferociously hard for me. The amount of time it takes to care for all them, the energy that is required to calm the screams, kiss the boo-boo's, tie the shoes, and most of all, love love love and minister at every moment is exhausting.
Britt is grieving the loss of being the only Kid. Anytime my arms are full of Fiyori or Kobe, she stands and looks at me, and slowly falls apart, whimpering, "Mommy? Mommy?" She loves her siblings, although she does hit them alot, but what she does not love, is when she has to share me. She is a screamer, hitter and drama queen by nature (ehem, sounds all too familiar). And so now, when these two people come into her world who force her to share her toys, books, space, Mommy's arms and attention, she's left reeling. Its been hard to watch, and harder to remember that her world just got rocked, when she is screaming and punching Fiyori for the 8th time in the past two hours. (That is NOT an exaggeration).
Fiyori is the one I've seen the most progress from. From the 2-3 hour rages she would have, where a stubbed toe would send her under for hours, she is now able to better control her emotions, engage with us when we are trying to comfort her and respond more quickly to discipline rather than fight and fight and fight against us. She is an incredible big sister to Britt, extremely patient and so so caring. She is the first to share with Kobe and Britt, the first to ask for a kiss or hug. But she's my whiner. My complainer. The child that requires some of the most attention to draw her out of her bad moods with love and silliness. The playfulness that is required, the energy I have to muster from within to remind her that being miserable is actually miserable, is so exhausting. She is so tender, in so much need of affirmation and BEGS for it with her over-acting dramatic need for attention. Good or bad, she wants the limelight.
Kobe. Kobe is laid back, happy and silly 80% of the time, and very easy-going. But the more I come to know this little person, I see wounds beyond my ability to heal. The little man has put up walls only the God of the Universe will bring down. He has a way of shutting you out without even talking. We don't speak the same language, but I know when he's gone into his fortress of "safety". And its a battle to pursue his heart, to run after him when he acts like he doesn't want you. The true battle is not of just convincing him that he will fall in love with me but convincing myself of that as well. Its easy to give love when the child wants it. Its a whole other ballgame when the child wants/needs your love but sends you the exact opposite message. Reminding him time and time again that he can shut me out, attempt to distance himself from me, or hold his grief alone, but that I am here, I'm going nowhere and that he is unashamedly unconditionally LOVED.  Believing the Truth rather than the emotions. That we are FAMILY. That we belong to one another. That one day we will smell the same and I will know what he is thinking or feeling by the look in his eyes, the way I can with Britt. I KNOW that day will come but I don't feel it yet. It is battle I was completely unprepared for and often feel lost on how to fight. But every time I see his face, his heart turn inward, grasping for the safety of his solitude, I pursue. Just as Christ pursues me every day. Kobe and I... we are so similar. We shut out the ones who love us the most and lie to ourselves that we are fine alone.
 But through it all God has spoken. Sweetly. Firmly. Gently. He has told me in the wee hours before they wake up that He is with me. That He is guiding me in my confusion on how in the world do you mother a 8 year old who acts three one moment and then fifteen another. How to disciple in a Godly, loving, gentler manner without having the blessing on language to explain the why's or the heart beyond why they are being disciplined. How to show your insecure, attention seeking daughter that she is loved, valued, beautiful, even when her tactics to get attention are so. stinkin. annoying. How to convince a boy who lost his first mother, that you do and will love him for forever and its okay to be sad, hurt and angry but that God is healer and those wounds will leave scars but will be heal. How to comfort Britt in her grieving yet teach her the appropriate ways to express that grief. I hear the Holy Spirit speak and He continue to confirm that He is working. Healing. Giving wisdom to Eric and I in the craziness.
He has shown me how to face the depth and ugliness of my sin because there I have the choice to see His beauty and depth of His grace. And honestly, I am realizing, this is the biggest thing He has in mind with this whole adoption thing. Making me more into His image. Drawing me into His likeness so I can enjoy more deeply His character, presence and fullness of life. Yes, He gave orphans a home. Yes, He will use our family to heal and restore their brokenness. But in return, He will use them to sanctify and call me to a greater understanding of grace because the depth of which I need it, I am finally seeing, is SO much deeper.
He has reminded me that the moments of screaming, chaos and frustration are just as much Him as are ones filled with laughter and giggles. He is in the painful moments as He is in the beautiful ones. And often, He is making beauty out of the pain. Don Miller put it perfectly in his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, "Somehow we realize that great stories are told in conflict, but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust, rather than a master storyteller."I am learning to embrace the hard. To embrace the pain because I know there I will find much of Him.
Thank you for praying. You have made this woman see, smell, feel and taste Jesus in a deeper new way. You may be praying for the healing and transition of my children, but alongside you have lifted this tired momma to the Cross so I can be made anew.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I saw myself in Fiyori so clearly this afternoon.

We went to Target to return some clothes that we had gotten from some in-laws (Thanks Danielle, Chris, Em and Kai!!!) I wanted to get some of the same items, just a size or two up, so I went to the clothes sections while Eric went to the grocery side to get a couple items. He took all the kids in the cart. I got a couple shirts for K and got the nightgown F had gotten, but just in a large instead of a small.

When I met up with them next to the toilet paper, I showed Kobe his shirts and he was all excited and completely stoked.  Fiyori, on the other day, curled her lip, shrugged her shoulder and tossed the night gown in the cart. And in that moment, Eric said exactly what I was thinking.

"You need to learn how to be grateful for a gift, honey."


Yes. Yes I do.

I immediately saw me. All the countless times my loving Heavenly Father has bestowed a beautiful blessing on my life and I curl my lip or toss it aside like its not big deal.

Up until 2 weeks ago, Fiyori had absolutely nothing in terms of possessions. No clothes, shoes, dolls, coloring books, blanket, nothing. She had her name, and a picture album of our family that we sent to her. And that was it. And here she is, 15 days later, snarling at a brand new pink and purple night gown that she DOESN'T EVEN NEED, because she already has 3 pairs of pjs. It made me SO angry watching her, for a whole two seconds, until I heard the Lord whispered into my soul, "You see her? You see that reaction? It is often your hearts reaction when I give you something beautiful. Something you don't NEED. And there is grace and mercy and unending love even when your lip turns up and you snarl at My gifts. For without Me you have nothing. So love her. Love her into gratefulness, for one day she will know and understand how much you love her, how much her family loves her, and ultimately, how much I love her."

I have nothing apart from Him. He chose me. He bestows grace, love, and bountiful gifts over my life. And even though my reaction is often entitlement, ungratefulness and disdain to His goodness over my life, I cling to the fact that I am washed clean in His blood, made new in His resurrection and that He is not done with me, transforming my heart into a soul who sings praises and thanksgiving. My prayer is I can show the same to Fiyori as well.

For her and I are one and the same.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

So this post.....

I watched it happened two days ago. And I thought my body was going to crumble to the floor and that my heart was going to rip in two. I have never seen or experienced anything like it. I have lost close relatives, I have experienced severe depression and anxiety, I watched loved ones suffer immensely but the suffering that I witnessed on Tuesday was the worst experience of my life and the most horrible thing I've ever been apart of.

The typical procedure for Ethiopian adoption, is for a remaining family member to be interviewed by the United States Embassy prior to the release of passports and visas for the adopted child(ren). Its a way of making sure with the birth family that the adoption is in fact what they want, to ensure that the adoption agency treated them with respect and integrity, and to ensure there are no signs of child-trafficking, aka a family in the States paying them to give them their child.

Our birth mother lives far away from Addis, far enough that she has to fly. She flew in during her court date, to release her legal rights for the children and when she was here for that, she was told that she would be able to come back to the Transition Home, (TH) where our children were staying to say goodbye.

But when the time came, the Embassy did NOT request an interview from her. She was ill, and they knew it would be very hard for her to travel. So when she got word that she would not be returning to Addis, she asked our agency to contact us directly to see if we would be willing to pay for her travel to come to say goodbye to the kids.

When I got that call, my heart leapt and then dropped in my stomach. This request, was in fact an answer to an unspoken prayer of mine. I had longed to see Fiyori and Kobe with their mother, to see them as a family, to be able to spend more time with her. My heart broke for her, imagining what she must be feeling, thinking she might not see them one last time and I quickly told our travel coordinator that yes, we would definitely pay for her to come. My stomach immediately tightened with thoughts of what that meeting would look like. I knew it would be hard. I knew it was the one thing I didn't want to witness, but I knew that the Lord had made it possible for her to come and we longed more than anything to honor her and love her in this way by allowing her to say goodbye.

The day she came with be forever etched in my memory. I would give anything to forget it, but there is no possible way to have the images in my brain erased. Images of her sobbing... kissing their cheeks over and over... Fiyori's stone cold face, with no emotion, no reaction. I will always wonder how in the world she had the strength to walk out that door. She is a much much stronger woman than I.

My sister wrote me and reminded me of this: "I don't know how God holds it all, but He does. He's holding their mom and all her pain right now. And He's going to hold you and all your childrens' suffering as well. I am praying He gives over abundant grace and help in this deep time of need to you and to the kids and to their mother."

She is right. He does hold us. And He is Healer and Redeemer. For no other reason that He over-abundant grace you have prayed I have HOPE. Hope in His promises. Hope in His redemption. Hope that the Gospel is big enough, wide enough, strong enough to hold our grief, K and F's grief and their mom's grief. It does. I know He does.

But today.... today, the one way K and F have vocalized their grief and the hardship of transitioning into our family is by complete and utter chaotic playfulness and silliness. I did NOT expect this. After their mother left, they went into a frenzy of crazy and wild play. Eric and I could barely control them. Whether it is a test of authority, an outpouring of grief, a release of emotions, it translates itself to hours of uncontrollable silliness and disobedience. About 50% of the time, they are goofy, fun, immature but obedient children. The other 50% is so exhausting. We spent over two hours with Fiyori today as she whined, sobbed, writhed, dug in her heels over not getting what she wanted. Think about doing this with a child whom you could speak and communicate with. Add a complete language barrier and its practically unbearable.

They are in pain. And they are testing to see how far we will go. How far can they take it for us to quit on them. It is a long long road ahead to show them we are here for good. That we aren't going anywhere. And that we still love them when we say no.

I tell you all of this to communicate a couple things. We still need you greatly. If you want to know how to come alongside us yet again, you can keep reading this CRAZY LONG entry.

#1: Pray. Just because we will have our airport moment in a few days, one that will be filled with joy and tears of happiness, we have a LOT of pain to work through and I know Satan will hit hard. We are doing what he hates most - being the hands and feet of the Gospel. And I know just because the kids will be at home does not mean he will stop. So please, pray for healing and peace for the kids as they arrive in a new country, a new home, a new room, a new language - all which I'm sure will be completely overwhelming and SCARY. Pray for patience and endurance for Eric and I as we have been thrown into a whirlwind of parenting that is entirely new and overwhelming. Pray for our marriage, that we would remember that we are always for eachother and a team, even when the children pit us against one another.

#2. Give us grace. It will take us MONTHS to adjust, so please please be patient with us. We plan to stay close to home for the first couple weeks that we are home and will slowly venture out to our regular outings as we feel the kids are ready. Our priority isTHEM. And that may mean backing out of commitments last minute. It may mean not showing up to church for weeks and weeks. We have no idea what our adjustment will look like or how long it will take. Our kids are scarred and we are definitely imperfect parents. Our parenting may not look like what you would expect or even what we typically have done with Britt, but we are learning and seeking advice and what we need more than anything is your grace and patience.

#3. You responded financially in a way that blew our minds and for that, we are so so SO grateful. We are here in Ethiopia bringing K and F home because of YOU. But Fiyori and Kobe are orphans and they come with nothing. If you have hand-me-downs for clothes, shoes, toys, we will take them.:) We have been given some, (which we are SO thankful for to those who have given!) but overall, have very little in terms of these items. We do NOT need new. If you have items you want to get rid of, just contact me via email and we can chat.:)

#4: Privacy. I know you are curious about Fiyori and Kobe's lives and their stories prior to coming to the US, but even though they are children, they are still privy to their privacy. So we ask that you would give us the grace and freedom to decline any question that you may ask. If you want to learn about adoption, or our process, we would love to answer but ask for grace if we need to decline in answering a particular question. When the time is right and they are ready, Fiyori and Kobe will share with those that they wish to and we will allow them that freedom. And more than anything, we especially ask that you inquire WHEN THEY ARE NOT AROUND. If they are near us, please be sensitive to the fact that many of the questions you may ask will bring up a lot of emotions for them. We do not want them to hear from our lips over and over that they are adopted. Of course, they are, yes, but what we want them to believe and know even more than that, is that they are OUR CHILDREN, loved and seen no differently than Britt. We long to be transparent and open as a family and will strive to tell you anything we can.

Thank you for loving us. You have done it so well.  We love you dearly and know you have prayed and pleaded to the Father for grace and strength on our behalf. We could not have done our adoption journey without you and continue to ask our Heavenly Father to raise up His Bride to walk alongside us.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The hard hasn't even begun.

We will leave Britt behind yet again to go to Ethiopia. We will fly across the ocean to the two strangers who are my children.

We leave in 1 week and I'm scared out of my mind.

I am petrified I won't love them. I grow weak at the knees wondering if they will annoy me and just feel like other peoples children playing with Britt's toys. How do you love someone you don't know?? I'm so scared of what the moment with feel like when they walk into my house. Because it won't be my house anymore. It will be OUR home. I'm so scared because there are moments when that all I feel like I'm doing in adopting two older children, is welcoming complete chaos and pain into my life. Not because they will bring ME pain but because they will have pain, which will in turn, be my pain. I feel utterly unprepared and inadequate.

I wasn't scared when the time for Britt to be born came. I definitely thought a lot of the unknowns, wondering what life would look like and how Eric and I would still be Eric and I.  But there are millions of moms to ask advice. To hear their stories. To know that even if things are hard, and things don't flow, that you're normal. You're not the only one experiencing that emotion, experience, or moment. There are millions of books on what to do with babies. How to feed, swaddle, shush, change diapers, create a schedule, what to buy, how to put together a crib, how they communicate and what their little eyes and body are trying to tell you. 

But there is no book on Fiyori and Kobe.

There is no book to tell me how fall in love with a seven year old and three year old. Who look nothing like me. Who have experienced pain and suffering beyond what I ever will. There is no one to show me what healing a broken heart looks likes in daily practical ways. I don't know how to love two children who were not meant to be mine. They are mine, and God ordained them to become mine, but the reality is, is that it's this fallen world that has led them to me. They were born to their birth mom, and the sin that has corrupted this world makes life imperfect. Praise Jesus for His redemption over our lives. But if their world was perfect, they would be with their mother. The one who loved them enough to give them to me.

I wept during the service this past Sunday because I'm fearful. And because we sang a song with the lyrics that said this:

I will bless the Lord forever,
And I will trust Him at all times.
He has delivered me from all things,
And He has set my feet upon the Rock.

I will not be moved, and I'll say of the Lord:
You are my Shield, my Strength, my Portion, Deliverer,
My Shelter, Strong Tower, my very present help in time of need.

My very present help in time of need. He is the help for NOW. For THIS moment. For the moment of Britt waking up for the 8th time lastnight because we moved into a new house this past weekend and she's scared. For the moment of when I look at our home, the one that is to welcome two new children so soon and its in complete chaos, therefore my heart feels like its in complete chaos. He is my help in the moment of when we bring K and F home and I have no idea what to do with them and I don't have the emotions to back up what I'm SUPPOSE to feel. He will give me the strength and help for the now.

My sweet Savior has pressed one thing into me time and time again when I allow the fear to overtake me and all I can do is bow my head with tears falling down my face and say is, "I can't do it, Lord. I can't do it."

He says one thing.

"Yes. Yes, you are right, My child. You cannot, and you never will.... But I CAN. For it is I, not you, that will heal their hearts. I will be the Strength for the 10th meltdown of the day. I will be the Peace for the storm that rages inside the hearts of your children because of their pain. I will be Redemption for the moments you never had with them as infants. I will be the one to whisper Love over their shattered souls..... I have just chosen you to witness My power."

The bands of fear that wrap their ugliness around my heart wither away when I rest in that. Because the fact is, is that yes, the hard is about to begin. Life is going to change so drastically and all will feel wrecked in moments. But Fiyori and Kobe will bring unsurpassed amounts of joy, love and fullness to my heart. Because it is Jesus who will make them new. It is Jesus who will make them apart of our family. And it is He who will show my doubtful and fearful heart that He can grow love for strangers even when I question.

He IS and will be my very present help in time of need.

Aren't they the most precious faces you've ever seen???:) Gah, I cannot wait to hug their little bodies again.