Wednesday, May 30, 2012


This post is all about girls!  :)  

First, the E family, who is adopting little Avalyn, is having a raffle to give away an AMERICAN GIRL DOLL!  Raffle tickets are $10 each, or 3 for $25.  If you are a fan of American Girl dolls, you will know that is a great ticket price!  And the best part is that all the proceeds go towards the E family's adoption.  So hop on over to their blog and buy a ticket or 2 or 3.

Now, let's talk about a certain Latvian princess.  Remember her?
We will be hosting Sandija this summer for 5 weeks.  I will be blogging during our hosting experience, so check back often during the month of July.  In the meantime, we're preparing for her visit.  We talk about her endlessly, and the children have a countdown going.  29 days until Sandija arrives...  

I'll answer the biggie question:  No, we don't have any specific plans to adopt.  But, yes, we are open to adoption if God opens that door and leads us through it.  It's literally a step-by-step obedience issue for us.  We have no idea where this roads leads, but we have determined that we will follow God wherever He leads.

Generally speaking, some of the host children get adopted (approximately 65%).  Some, though, are not available for adoption.  Others who are available for adoption sometimes choose not to be adopted for a variety of reasons.  So, this is not a clear-cut thing.  To be honest, when it comes to my role in orphans' lives, I prefer it to be clear-cut.  I prefer a plan.  I want to know what my heart is getting into.  I like to see at least a tad bit further down the road.  But that is not the journey we have agreed to this time.  This time, we can only see about 10 feet in front of us, and then the road bends up ahead.  

All we know at this point is that we are hosting Sandija.  And, God has blessed me with peace in not knowing any more than that.  It's a faith walk, and we've agreed to enter into Sandija's life for whatever purpose and plan God has.  We've agreed to say yes to His plan, whatever it may be.  For now, all we see is the very next step.  There's great freedom in that...freedom to look forward to this hosting experience without worry of what lies beyond.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Quiet Deep Waters

I'm a raging foaming river, churning with every photo of an heart rushing into the torrents again and again.  Passionately pleading for families, praying persistently, crying tears for the ones that get left behind.

You're the quiet deep waters.  At times, your silence has been misread as lack of concern.  At times I wondered if you were truly hearing Him...wondering if "the least of these" occupied any recesses in your heart. 

I've learned to never doubt the still waters of your soul.

...because it was you who said James 1:27 should be one of the most central verses for every church.
...because it was you who said Jesus is all you aspire to be.
...because it was you who looked into an orphan's eyes and saw the brokenness and remembered the lines to a song: "Surely we can change something."
...because it was you who heard God calling you to enter again into an orphan's life...
...because it is you who willingly offered to give up the money saved for the mission trip you've been looking forward to for months because "hosting Sandija is much more important."

You're the quiet deep waters.  I was wrong to think quiet equaled inactive.  I've learned that quiet means wisdom.  Quiet means contemplation. Quiet means the gelling of many pieces of Scriptures, prayers, and thoughts into profound steps.  Quiet means less talk and more walk.  It's the acta non verba of bygone academy days...rising steadily. 

And when those deep waters begin to overflow, I'm awash in the peace.  You balance out my raging river currents.  I take your hand, and we walk into the unknown together...because you aspire to be all that Jesus I follow you following Him.  And the adventure on this path has been truly amazing.

To the man I adore: I love you!  I'm glad we've chosen the road less traveled.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Our New Adventure!

I will write more soon, but for now I wanted to let you see a face that has become dear to my heart.  I've never met her, but I have prayed for her for weeks.  And, at the end of June, she will be coming to our home for 5 weeks.  We will be hosting this treasure from Latvia!

Elijah's birthday was indeed beautiful this year, as we signed up for the orphan hosting program today!  God is good, and He is faithful to make beauty of our ashes and joy of our mourning.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Elijah

This photo was taken the day before I learned that our baby had no heartbeat.

Holding Elijah wrapped up in a blanket at the funeral home

Five years ago today, I headed to my OB appointment in high hopes of seeing our baby for the first time via sonogram.  I was 20 weeks pregnant in my 4th pregnancy.

I remember seeing him on the screen as a sweet lady measured his little legs and asked me questions about how far along I thought I was in the pregnancy.  I talked nervously, almost giddy to have a peek at him for the first time.  I had not noticed that the sonogram tech was fairly quiet until she spoke in almost a whisper, "Let me go get your midwife."

Something in her voice made me grab her arm before she left the room, and I asked, "What's wrong?"

In the same quiet whisper, she reluctantly spoke the words that would split my world into a million fragments: "Sweetie, there is no heartbeat."

I turned to see the screen, and there lay a beautifully formed tiny baby...very still.  I stared, with all my heart, wishing he would move.

The next 30 minutes were filled with a blur of double checking the sonogram, making plans for a hospital visit the following morning and discussing options for keeping baby's body for a funeral or having the hospital dispose of him.  There are some things a Mama just cannot imagine thinking about.

Baby had to be delivered very soon because from what they could tell, he seemed to have stopped growing at 16 weeks, meaning that he had not been alive for 4 weeks.  They were concerned for my health. The conversations blurred together, and shock took over every part of my body.  As I stood at the little window waiting to pay, I remember the secretary telling me they would handle the charges later and that I needed to drive safely.  "Okay" was all I could manage to say.  She asked if I knew how to get to the hospital in another town, and I honestly couldn't make sense out of the directions...couldn't understand words she said.  It felt as if I was spinning in a tunnel with no point of reference.  I remember her taking out a piece of paper to write the directions for me.  Looking back, I realize just how badly I must have looked because they were fairly coddling me and ushering me out the door, asking if I was going to be alright.

Back in my van, I called my husband.  As if we were hit by a train and flipped the opposite direction, we found ourselves swimming in words we had not considered: hospital, funeral home, no heartbeat.  I hung up the phone and grasped my swollen belly as if trying somehow to protect my unborn child, and way down deep inside me came a moaning cry.  Tears unleashed right there in the doctor's office parking lot.  NO HEARTBEAT.  The words, "NO!  NO!  NO!" echoed.

The next day, May 11, 2007, found me hooked up to a monitor in a hospital room several miles away from my home and children.  The monitor had 2 for Mama's contractions and one for baby's heartbeat.  They only had the Mama's part of the screen going, and baby's screen was blank.  There was no heartbeat to monitor.  The hours dragged by, with me oddly having to comfort my nurse who hardly knew what to do to help me.  She kept saying, "We don't do this often.  I'm not sure what to do for you.  I'm so very sorry."  I shared my faith with her, hoping for God to bring some purpose to the intense pain I was feeling in my soul.

There are parts of this birth story that I have never quite been able to bring myself to say because it is so hard to relive in my memory.  I pray I never ever have to hear the words, "baby parts" again.  A knife through the chest couldn't have hurt more than those words.  I pray I never have to feel again the sensation of the dropping of that precious bundle from my womb.

He was a BABY.  My baby boy.

Elijah Christopher entered this world that evening, with the most quiet birth ever recorded.  Nurses busily moved all over the room, and I just cried.  No balloons or oohs and ahhhhs.  Just quiet movement of nurses' feet and an even more quiet baby bassinet.  And an empty hole in the depth of my being...gaping, open, intensely vulnerable...a ripping pain like no other I had ever experienced.

Typing this today has dug up pain that I long ago made peace with, so I will wrap this up.  Sometimes it's best to simply grasp the peace and to let the hurt float away into God's Hands again.  Elijah Christopher was born into the arms of Jesus, and one day I will hold him and love on him.  In the meantime, my Heavenly Father has been my ever-present Hope and Joy and LIFE.  He gives and takes away...blessed be His Name!

During the healing process after his birth, God spoke very clearly to my heart, telling me that the hole I felt in my being matched the hole that orphans feel in their beings. the pain did indeed have a purpose!  It gave me a window into the pain that orphans feel when their parents are ripped from their lives.  My pain, placed in God's Hands, would propel me to unleashing His love into orphans releasing His healing into their lives.  Right then and there, I gave my life to be poured out for orphans.  It is my life ministry.  It is Elijah's legacy.

And today, I am praying with all my heart that in honor of his life and his birthday tomorrow, there will be more orphans that will be hosted through New Horizons.  The deadline for Latvian orphans is May 11, 2012, my Elijah's 5th birthday.  May his life be remembered by bringing more orphans into their forever families!  It would be my JOY to celebrate his birthday in that way.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Last Friday, after the deadline passed for signing up to host an orphan from Latvia, a friend of mine and I were discussing how saddened we were to see that many Latvian orphans had not been hosted.  Their time had run out.  We expected that their faces would soon be dropped from the New Horizons site, forgotten by most people who had glanced at their photos in the past weeks.  And yet we could not get them off our minds.  To be honest, it really ached my heart over the weekend.

One of the things my friend and I discussed was the definition of compassion.  She sent me something that she had written a couple of weeks ago, and in it she defined compassion as she sees it.  Her definition struck me:

We often feel sorry for numerous people, but what does it mean to “take pity or have compassion”. I believe it means that for an instant we can put ourselves in that person's shoes, feel their pain and loneliness, own it, and make it a part of our soul. That is very different than being sad about something; it takes exchanging a bit of our soul for theirs. 

When we hear of orphans that need families (and I seem to get info almost weekly about more orphans), it is very easy to take a quick look at them, say a quick prayer and hit delete on the screen, delete in our minds...and then go on with our own lives.  It's quite easy to see the wounded man on the ground and walk to the other side of the street like the priest and Levite did.

But do we dare stop, truly see the children, look into their eyes, dip even our big toe into the waters of pain that they live in and let it rip our hearts?  Do we make them part of our heart and soul?

Because when they become a part of us, WE WILL MOVE FORWARD INTO THEIR LIVES.  We will begin to plead in prayer on their behalf.  We will fast for a day so that we can intercede in prayer for them.  We will give up our money to help fund their adoption.  We will begin to say, "God, I'm open to your plan for my life.  I'm open to be used by You for WHATEVER You want.  Do you want me to be the one to step forward for this fatherless child?  Here I am...send me."

Or do we walk to the other side of the street, distancing ourselves from the mess, from anything that might in the least bit intrude upon our familiar routines and comfortable lives?  Are we quick to assume, "God hasn't called me"?

It starts with CHOOSING to SEE really see them through God's eyes of compassion...and in letting our hands and feet move to action, regardless of the inconvenience.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Break our Hearts for What Breaks Yours

I was awakened at 4am by a cat who was ready for me to take her downstairs.  The very first words that were running through my mind were from Casting Crowns new song "Jesus, Friend of Sinners."  Over and over again, I heard these words:

You love every lost cause
You reach for the outcast...

Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors

Jesus, friend of sinners, 
Break our hearts for what breaks Yours

My cat was ready to tackle the new day, but I wasn't.  I crawled back into bed and pulled the covers up over my head.  The minute I awakened, I remembered what day it was.  This is Friday, May 4th.  At midnight tonight the doors of opportunity will close for several Latvian orphans who are on a waiting list for host parents for the summer.  They have no voice of their own to scream out, "I need your help.  I need a family!"  You can see them on the New Horizons page that I spoke about in my last post.  There, you will see picture after picture.

But don't think for a moment that they are merely pictures.  These are real live breathing children.  And we can either turn a deaf ear or stop for the one.  We can be the well respected priest or Levite that walks past the wounded person, or we can choose to be the Samaritan who sees the need and stops.

Why do we insist on having to be "called"?  The need IS the call.

You may be the one who opens your home to one or more of these children for 5 weeks in the summer.  You may be the one who goes the distance to open your home as a forever family.  You may be the one who cannot adopt but can give sacrificially to allow someone else to adopt.  You may be the one who enters into the labor of fasting and praying on behalf of these children, giving up your personal comfort.  WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT STOP SHORT OF SACRIFICE!  We absolutely have to stop trying to keep ourselves comfortable, uninvolved, emotionally removed from the lives and pain of others.  We must follow in the steps of Jesus.

"For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example,  so that you might follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21

You love every lost cause
You reach for the outcast...

Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors

Jesus, friend of sinners, 
Break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And when He answers that prayer...when He does indeed break your heart for what breaks not shrink back from the pain and the putrid smell of it all.  STEP INTO THE NEED HE PLACES BEFORE YOUR EYES.  Be Jesus to the least of us.  Stop for the one.

After all, WE were that outcast...WE were that leper...WE were that lost cause...until He stepped into our lives.  If we are serious about following Him, we will do the same for others.