Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Whoever loses his life....

John 12:25
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

I woke up reading a post by my favorite online pastor about this passage this morning....It was so timely.
We have been back in New York for about 2 1/2 weeks.

Medically I have struggled to hold alignment...I've done enough healing and stayed in alignment long enough that none of it really makes sense. I'm finding that to be right on par though with everything else going on in our life. The Holy Spirit has been moving....whispering.

Do you truly believe that I am soveriegn over ever detail of your life. 

Yes. Where I don't, help my unbelief.  (love Job 12:10....in His hand are EVERY living thing and the breath of all mankind)

Do you truly want to live for My glory only?

Hmmmmm. Can I get back to you on that? Define "only"....

I've said I do want to live only for His glory for the last 5 years but now He is actually calling me out on it.
The last couple years have been wracked with hardship. Emotional/relational pain. Physical degeneration. An elusive adoption. The inability to mother the way I would want (schooling my kids from the laying down position and telling my mom what to make for dinner is not my idea of mothering....) Moving to New York for months and leaving family and friends and church and school and comfortability and and and....
I'm literally watching us lose our life....back to John 12....

You ok with this Kristen? I want you in New York right now. 

Let me back pedal. I held alignment for six weeks and was doing very well. We lost the house we were renting in NY bc it was rented by someone else for the summer. It seemed an appropriate time to go home...realizing I may come out of alignment again and we would probably have to come back for short stints....SHORT stints....we packed up to head home.

The day we were going to leave in late April,  Max and Ty were on a large wooden bench swing. Long story short, it flipped over and fell ON Max's head. Major injury. We took him to my Doc....sure enough, his atlas was out dramatically....probably also had a mild concussion.
We delayed coming home a day. Doc had to realign Max as well.

After taking a few days to get home, we finally arrived. The next morning my mom woke up violently sick, followed by Ty and Max getting it shortly after. I, of course had to avoid them like the plague. Throwing up would definitely throw me out of alignment.
Well, the stress of all of it threw me out anyway. Because I hadn't been out of align. for over a month and a half....I didn't recognize the symptoms at first. But sure enough....nerves firing, feet and knees in horrific pain due to spinal cord damage, numbness....etc. The pain got so intense we had to head back about five days later. (Just Brian, Nyah and me at first...the boys and my mom joined us about 10 days later. )

It took me several days to hold alignment again...but after a few tries, I got in a grove again. After about a week, when we were starting to contemplate coming home, we hear from my mom in ohio...Max is not doing well....complaining about his neck a lot. sigh....

Ok. No sense going home when I don't feel quite ready to travel back yet and now my little man needs to see my Dr. again.

So....mom packs up the car and meets us here. Max was way out again...He too is struggling. Wearing a neck brace just like his mommy...since their arrival I have come back out again. I have found that it is extremely hard to heal a neck injury as a mother of young children. I spend considerable amount of time telling them no...I can't...I wish I could....I know I heard you did that!...I'm so glad it went well buddy...No I can't be there....
It rips my heart out. But sometimes...I take a walk with them when I shouldn't. Or read a book with them just a little too long. Or eat dinner with my family when I already feel taxed....because I am already missing so much of their lives and they need me there...and I need to be there. So, if it takes me an extra 6 months to heal because I ate dinner with my family then that's what it will be. But most of the time...I have to say "no"....back to John 12....I ask the Lord...Is this good? Is all of this important for my salvation?  Is it important for my husband's salvation to run his family and job from a hotel room?  Is it important for my children's salvation? (which is the ONLY thing I pray for for my children.....If they are following the Lord, I need not worry what their job is or who they marry...the Holy Spirit can direct them :) )

The answer is Yes. It is.

I believe Romans 8:28 with ALL MY HEART. All things work together for the good of those who love Him for those who are called....(paraphrase....from memory so may not be perfect)
That is not Him working things out for my earthly good....that is Him working things out for my ETERNAL good.

And Brian and I are watching the fruit grow in our kids. It's so painful to be squeezed by the Lord....but what comes out, when its the work of the spirit, is oh so sweet!

So. Here we are. In NY. Another crossroads. I was out of alignment again this morning. Can't go home. Whole family is devastated. And I get to be the bearer of bad news.
This last week I have heard loud and clear the Spirit working on me with more questions.... One of which has to do with the fact that there is a huge Jewish population here.
Both Brian and I have prayed fervently to be on mission for the Lord. We kept thinking it was going to be Haiti...where our daughter waits on the Lord to come home....

Maybe it still will be.  Although He has to heal me....

Maybe it's NY right now? I don't know....I would love nothing more than to hold align.and go home.
But that's my flesh.
What do you want Lord?

I have been reading articles about witnessing to the Jewish people like an addict during the last week. Not because I necessarily want too...but because He is provoking me! He truly does counsel you in the way you should go...

What will tomorrow bring?

Those of you who have walked closely with us know that I am completely unable to answer questions about anything.
When are you coming home? Are the boys going to finish up school? Are you going to Haiti? When is your mom heading back with your dad? Have you found a house...again?? Do you hope to be home next month...? When is Mercy coming home? Do you think you will be ready to mother her?
Even the question..."are you in alignment" seems daunting.

I used to try and answer these with great consideration.
Nothing ever pans out the way I answer.

So, if you ask me any of these questions...I will tell you I don't know.

God has truly taught us to rely on Him alone and that He plans our days.
Yes, we still try. But really....ask my kids. It's almost funny. It NEVER happens how we say.

I have listened to my youngest son recite Psalm 139 to me the last month...

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.....

It's not an accident that I can't hold again. This is Your plan for my family right now.

I listen to my oldest recite the catechism....the very first one...The cheif end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

My job is to glorify Him...to LOSE my life. My hopes. My dreams. ( I love it when God uses my kids to preach to me.)

Die to my flesh...pick up my cross. And do what you set before me. AND THEN- I will enjoy YOU forever!!
I asked my mom the other day if she thought the suffering and trials would stop.
No. You are united to Christ now Kristen. The Bible says that those who are His will suffer with Him.

Thank you, Mom.

Praying He shows us what to do tomorrow...that He will help us endure...and that we will glorify Him. Maybe we stay in NY and learn to do life here and witness to whom He calls us to witness... or maybe He will allow us to come home.
Your will O Lord.

Monday, March 24, 2014

quick update

Thank you for taking the time to read this and continue to pray for us.

Here is an update on my health, our adoption and our living situation.

I have currently been in alignment for a week. I made it through this past weekend in alignment....It was the first weekend in 6 weeks. It was clear to us that God protected me this weekend....several things happened that normally would have taken me out of alignment. I felt His shield around me and I believe healing is progressing. That being said, I am currently in a lot of pain. I've been flaring for several days in a row now despite being in alignment....We are praying that my symptoms would settle.

As a family, we spent last night crying and praying together on my bed. We are so thankful for all that God has done in our family, but we long to go home. Brian and I are praising God for the work we have seen in our children....It's a beautiful thing to see children begin to run to God. I've recently read an artice on the necessity of learning how to suffer as Christians...and what a blessing it is for children to learn this at a young age. God promises hardships and trials....and He promises to draw near to us as we draw near to Him. It is refreshing to continually tell our kids that we know nothing about the future. The promises that we can give them are found in God's word. Those are the ones that Brian and I cling too....and the ones we give to our kids as well.

Haiti has approved Brian to travel alone. I am overwhelmed that God granted that provision....and yet my heart is in anguish to not being going as well. The adoption road for us has gotten harder with each child. I know this is the gentleness of God....Had we gone through what we are going through now for Ty....not sure we would've done it again! But God gives us trials as we are spiritually ready to walk through them...and with Him.

So, we are in need of a lot of prayer.

We are not sure when to go home. Our hearts would love for me and the kids (and my mom!) to be back in ohio when Brian leaves for Haiti. BUT, we do not want to jeopardize all the work and healing that I've done just because we want to get back home.
Brian will be heading to Haiti on April 6....returning on April 19. You can probably imagine how hard this is going to be on all of us. Being that are our family has been in constant flux and overly emotional for the last 4 months, having the head of our family leave for 2 weeks is daunting. It puts a much heavier burden of work on my mom, and me, before I might be capable.  And it leaves us with out the support system of friends, church and family. If we chance it and come home, and I come out of alignment, I would have to leave the kids and fly back to NY in order to not go too far backwards in healing. We will need to make a decision soon (within a couple days) so that Brian can book travel. Please pray for supernatural discernment on where he should fly out from.

It's funny how God works. He continues to stretch us. Brian strengths lie in the day to day grind...he is a rock for our family. My strengths lie in change, and quite honestly adrenaline type situations. Brian was amazing through our entire adoption for Nyah and I was a mess. When we got to Ethiopia, I handled it very well and Brian was homesick and didn't want to be away from the boys. So of course, God would have me stay home in the daily grind, without my rock of a husband, and attempt to provide stability for the kids....And send Brian to Haiti by himself...to handle the immense culture shock and be two weeks away from us. He is struggling. I am struggling. Not to mention the fact that as a woman whose pregnancy hormones have been up for THREE YEARS, it is just torment to not get to go and meet my daughter with my husband. Having a baby together for our family continues to be anything but normal....But I am grateful that God continues to show us how hard adoption is....I hear you Lord....You became sin for me...He who knew no sin. You made yourself nothing....you died on a tree....That I may be called a child of the most high God.

While in Haiti, Brian will have an embassy appointment on April 8th. This will be for the second half of our immigration approval. Please pray that that goes smoothly. The rest of the time he will be with our daughter...who is now 2 years and 3 months old. Also, it just so happens that there will be a missions trip through our agency going at the exact same time! So Brian will get to be with other adults from the U.S. who will be there working on the orphanage and loving on the children there. Thank you Lord!

Haiti, like our country, does not have the best system in place for caring for children. There are lots of obstacles and hurdles that yet need to be covered by God....Mercy, Lord. Please pray for those as well.
As April gets closer, if you would like to be on an email of updates from our family, please send me your email address and I will add you.

Also, Mercy will NOT be coming home on this trip. Haiti is a minimum of 2 trips for completing an adoption. So this is the first trip. Prayers for our daughters heart as her daddy will have to leave her....and prayers for Brians heart, as her protector and covering, to have to leave her.

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory....


Sunday, February 23, 2014

contentment and spritual battle

I am tired today.
I miss my home today. 
I am struggling to fight today.
I am discontent in my suffering today. 

This week we moved into another new house. 
The last six weeks have looked like this: 
Week one- in Columbus for 4 days away from the kids in a hotel. Went home and realized the Doc there did significant damage to my already messed up neck. 
Week two- Brian, Nyah and I come back to NY to see the Doc here to correct and undo the work from the other doc. We anticipated staying only a few days but realized I would be back shortly if I tried to go home. We moved from a hotel into a little inn....My dad flew in to be with Nyah and I and Brian flew out to go on a business trip. 
Week three- Brian picks up my mom and the boys after his trip and brings them to the inn to stay with us. 
We unpack. 
Week four- we pack up as I am not able to sleep in any beds in the whole inn. We head to a house up on the mountain. I had held 12 days when we headed up the mountain. By the time we got to the house, I had come out of alignment. 
Week five- I move back to the hotel with a few family members while I get adjusted 8 times that week. We attempt to go back and forth. I can't hold and we realize we need to be closer to the dr. and back off the mountain. 
Week six- Brian packs us up yet again, half of our stuff is in the hotel and half up in the mountain house. It takes him two days to get it packed and unloaded in another new house. 

That brings us to today. We are all very tired and weary. Our kids are afraid to sleep alone. Brian is continuing to juggle everything like a clown in a circus. My mom is working tirelessly.

I watch. I lay down. Did I mention I am a type A personality? No wonder God continues to ask stillness from me....

I can't cut up fruit. I can't do more than 20 minutes of school work with the kids because its too taxing to look down (I am only able to type right now because I have come out of alignment.) I can't go to the store. I can't......the list continues. Not only can I not do anything to help....I need them to help me. 
Turn the shower on for me. 
Pour the juice for me (I can't lift anything more than a fork)
Rub the muscles in my back for me. 

Yesterday I had held for 8 days. The last two days had been decent days for me. I had stopped flaring badly. I was able to be up and moving around for over 6 hours each day. I continue to have less pain in my knees, arches, and other areas that had been damaged due to my neck. Overall, I see progress even though it is so. unbelievably. slow. 

Everytime I verbalize that I have a semi good day or see improvement- I get attacked. EVERY SINGLE TIME. If I mention in passing I'm having a good day or my pain isn't awful, it changes. Almost instantly. Last night it happened again. 
I was sitting up with Brian. The house was quiet. We were discussing the fact that he has to go on a trip tomorrow morning. I was telling him that I was grateful I was holding alignment because I didn't think my mom and I could handle me being out and dealing with another flare while he was gone. 
About two minutes later, I went to lay down in bed, I heard a pop in my neck. I came out of alignment. 

I couldn't believe it. I had even prayed to the Lord before I told Brian I was grateful for a little progress. I had asked Him to keep Satan away from me and protect me as I give a self assessment that was positive. I knew that each time I had done this in the last month it was met with a flare or a change.

He didn't. He heard my prayer. But He said no. 
I am still shaken by the fact that He said no.
Brian leaves tomorrow morning and I am currently out of alignment. My body feels like I have been inside a dryer tumbling around for the last 12 hours. When I get put back in, I usually flare badly. Nerves fire up my head and down my spine, skin hurts, feet and hands go numb, muscles spasm....
So I am assuming that trend will continue tomorrow...

I went to the Lord. God, Why? I know I shouldn't question. I know Your ways are too high. I know I dont understand Your purposes. But I still cry out. How long O Lord? 
Last night was clear to me that I am in a battle. This is not something that if I have enough will power and determination and positive thinking....I will get better. I am doing my part...eating healthy, taking supplements, resting, icing, etc...but I am not in control. 
There is a battle going on for my soul.
There is a battle going on for my children. 

We got the official call this week for Mercy, in Haiti. 
It's no surprise that I had my WORST pain day in months, the day we got that call. Why? because we are in a war. 
2 Corinthians 10:3- For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 
Ephesians 6:12- For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rules, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 

Satan knows his time is short. (Rev. 12:12) 
And he wants to take down anyone he can with him before he gets thrown in the fire for all of eternity. 

Including me. Including you. Including my little girl in Haiti. Anything he can do to stop us from loving God, trusting God, holding fast....he will do it. 

God is still in control though. Satan got permission to afflict Job. God makes the boudaries. Satan can not cross. 

Forgive me Lord for questioning You. I know you will sustain us this week as the circus continues. It won't be pretty. It will be filled with pain. The kids will be upside down as I can't help out...and my mom will do the best she can to take care of me, take care of them, and type up my dad's schoolwork! Brian will have to travel and be conflicted about doing his job well while leaving his family in disarray.
It will be another week of chaos. 

So, we have a choice to make. 
Run to the Lord and be content in the week He has called us too. 
Or Run from Him. 

Each day will be a fight to run to Him. 
I know His Spirit will help us endure. 

We are turning in paperwork this week for our adoption. We were officially matched in Haiti this week. 
We are attaching with our acceptance a personal statement from me as well as a doctors letter. We are hoping that they give us grace. Because, as it stands right now, I would need to get on a plane within the next month for our first trip to meet her. 

God is a God of miracles. 
We are asking Haiti officials to release me of this first trip (Mercy would not come home until a later trip...) 

I don't know what will happen next. We continue to wait on Him. 
Continue to fight for our daughter. Continue to fight for healing. Continue to fight for contentment in this trial that He has called us too.
Continue to fight the good fight of faith....1 Tim. 6:12 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Today is day 16 in New York.
Before I went to bed, I came out of adjustment, again. I haven't been able to hold for the last 4 days, which makes sleeping very difficult as my symptoms are erradic and strong. 
Many have have asked me what my exact diagnosis is. 

Currently, this is how I see it. 
Apparently, I have had damage to my neck. When did that happen? I'm not really sure. Brian and I were in a car accident about 10 years ago...I never felt at that point that something happened to my neck. About 3 years ago I started to have symptoms that led me to have to go to a chiropractor frequently. Sciatic nerve and hip pain, followed by neck pain. Then about 20 months ago I hurt my knees badly. We couldn't figure out the culprite. I went to countless doctors. Praise the Lord, I did not do anything that they wanted me to do at the time. I didn't feel they could determine the problem so I didn't want to start giving myself cortizone and other therapies knowing that if it didn't work, I just comprised my body a little more. Time went by, my knees never recovered but I was atleast able to walk on them after a couple months....painfully, but still walking. About two months after that, I had a rib pop out. Extremely painful....my chiro was able to put it back in, which he had to do many times over a 2 month period, but it finally healed enough that I could use my upper body somewhat again. By this time though, I was extremely fragile. No exercise, no squatting down, no cleaning floors, and worst of all, no picking up my kids. 
Meanwhile, my front tooth was pulled for various reasons that I will spare you. Then I had a post put in for an implant that was put in sideways...incorrectly. By the time I got it back out of my mouth, I had severe damage and pain. Through countless doctors, both medical and natural, we have come to the conclusion that my palate is out of alignment.... I went to a cranial sacral doctor to try and repair it. She was able to give me relief at first but as the movement progressed in my mouth and head, my neck was not able to handle it. It was extremely painful. After 6 weeks of trying to juggle the pain that the cranial caused, we realized I had a pretty large problem in my neck that had never been diagnosed. By this time though, I couldn't function. The bones in my head are now called "dysfunctional" and let me tell you, I can feel how dysfunctional they are. I had massive pain and ribs began to pop out on each side now and I basically could no longer do anything but lie down.
Around this time, in complete despair, I decided "out of the blue" (ie....God) to go to a family friend who is a doctor/chiro and ask for some wisdom. He had just been to a conference and met a man who does upright MRI's to find info on the neck/head/brain that a traditional MRI could not show. Hugely important since the head weighs 10-14 lbs....kind of essential o see the dynamic of the head sitting on the neck. 
Hence, this doctor is in New York. This man is nothing short of inspired in his field. God has given him a gift that not many have. It has been a pure joy working with this man. 
After the MRI, we did indeed find damage to ligaments and my atlas out of alignment, my spine starting to curve (which of course would cause knees to not work, ribs to pop out, oh and arches in my feet to fall...that also happened in that time span.) 
Praise the Lord, He revealed one of my biggest problems. In addition to my atlas being out, the brain stem had dropped low and the cerebrospinal fluid was blocked....
He was able to fix that issue after one minor adjustment to my atlas. However, I now have to hold said adjustment. When your atlas has been out for some crazy amount of time and your spine and head are messed up, and you have damage to your ligaments... it is not easy to hold an adjustment. 

So, here we are. 2 months later. We have essentially moved to NY because no one can adjust me like this doctor can. We tried to have a doc in Columbus adjust me according to the same vectors/calculations...it did not go well. 

I held the adjustment for 12 days when we initially got here. The last 4 days have been in and out....very painful.  
Woke up pleading with the Lord to let me hold today....just today, Lord? 

Part two of the story goes like this. 

Three years ago this January, I traveled in a blizzard to turn in our homestudy for the adoption that we are still going through. In this blizzard, I had a very intimate experience with the Lord. As I was gripping the wheel, going about 10 MPH, praying that God would protect me up to Cleveland, I heard Him very clearly. He said....Kristen. This blizzard is what your adoption is going to look like. 

What? ok, Lord. I know that that homestudy was brutal. So much so that I though we might be denied...after already had adopting 3 kids! But, I'm taking the study now Lord...that hurdle is done. 

He said it again. By this time there are actually plow trucks spun off the road. NOT KIDDING. I felt the Spirit say...

If you don't keep your eyes on me through this process...you will be off the road too. 

Um, ok. 
Then, I went under a bridge. I could see under the bridge...

Yes, at times I will let you see what I am doing. But, most of the time (I come out from under the bridge and can not see anything, back to white knuckeling the wheel) you will be driving blind. You have to trust Me in the this. 

I had this conversation with the Lord ALL the way to Cleveland. 

It's three years later. In addition to what has happened to my body, there have been countless other very big things that caused us to question whether or not we could continue.  
He has been faithful in every single thing. And I am not talking little things like, is our house big enough?  I'm talking earth shattering things. 

So, here we are. Sitting in NY. Wondering what He has in store for us today. We have moved around four different times in the last 2 weeks. Our kids are starting to see their desperate need for Christ as the realize their mommy and daddy have no control over life (Praise Him for that!) 

I have to declare Him faithful.
Every time that there seems to be movement in our adoption...it "somehow" gets delayed.
We asked our agency if just Brian could travel for the first trip so it would take the pressure off me to heal completely and take as much time as was needed....
The answer was no. 
We both have to be there. 

I have no idea how God is going to get me ready to travel to Haiti. 
I can't hold my head up for more than 5 hours in a day!

With God, all things are possible....

This is not just an adoption. 
We have had our little girl's picture for 18 months. She turned 2 in Jan. 
She is part of our family. We love her as we do all our children....and our children love her. 
We talk about her everyday...pray for her everyday...long for her everyday....
I wonder to God...How are you going to do this? 

He gave us a name for her a while back.....I believe it's the answer that I keep asking Him. 


Please pray with us for the seemingly impossible....that is very possible with an all-powerful God. 

Mercy, Lord. 

Monday, January 13, 2014


I am sitting in a hotel in Columbus....
Waiting for doctors to call....waiting....waiting....I told someone earlier that I was at the mercy of the doctors. Not true. I am at the mercy of the Lord.
I am in pain. Awful Pain. When I walk it feels like my feet are broken.

After much cranial work and my atlas being adjusted incorrectly, I am left starting over. The trip to New York was over a month ago. I feel worse than I did when we initially went.

Physically, my body has seen one ailment after another, for about three years.

I don't know the end result. I want to know. But I don't. People keep telling me it will get better. People tell me I will have a nice smile again some day(currently no front tooth.. I wear a fake one. pain 24/7 in my mouth, nose and the jaw...hence, the cranial work)
Why do people think this? I do believe that the Lord is going to heal my neck....in His time. I feel that He has revealed that to me. I do not know this for certain....just a feeling.
I think I have come to the revealation too, as to why people tell me I will have healing and things will get better.
We are Americans. Things, as a whole, come easy to us. We have a headache? We can fix that. We are hungry? We can fix that. We want to buy something for fun? We can usually do that. We need to see the Dr? We can go see a Dr. When we have a problem, we usually can find out how to fix it. Maybe you have seen a different life....but that's the one I know. If I have a problem, I find a solution. It's not an option to stop trying. When I first lost my tooth I had countless people tell me..."there are so many things 'they' can do now...you'll never know you lost a tooth."
Thats true, to a certain extent. But what if it's not in the will of God for me to have another front tooth?
What if it's not in the will of God to heal me? What if it's not in the will of God to bring home my daughter from Haiti?

What if.... God reveals Himself the most in pain? What if God reveals our deepest need...Himself....when we lose the things we think we need? What if what it says in the Bible is true? What if passages like Romans 8:17 (we will only be glorified with Him PROVIDED that we suffer with Him) and 2Tim. 2:3 (share in the sufferings of Christ) changed their meaning and gave us assurance of His love. What if the afflictions of this life truly did pail in comparison to what is waiting for those who love Him?

God is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. So the God that I read about in the old testament, is the same living God today. That God was pretty serious. My God is pretty serious.
What if I started to care about what He truly cares about? Yes, I believe God cares about my pain. However, pain is ALL over sciptures and is clearly part of the Christian walk so He will not remove it if He wants to accomplish something with it.
So what does God truly care about? What if I looked at my sin the same way God does? Those that say God does not bring on natural disasters because He is a God of love? I don't really understand that. Yes, He is a God of love. He is also a God of wrath. He killed His Son in order to satisfy His wrath (on believers) And He has appointed a time that all men will die (or see Christ in the clouds) and He chooses that event. For some reason we are ok if someone dies of old age because "they've lived a good life" but it is unthinkable that God would choose someone to go in a tornado or earth quake? The bottom line is whether we go at 20 or 90, it's all a vapor. And we still will stand before a Holy God.
So what does a Holy God care about? Holiness, for one.
At what cost do I want to share in the glory of Christ? The cost is death. When you are born again you die to yourself....your desires...the American dream....comfort....security....
What if I cared about the sin I committed yesterday or the sin that I constantly struggle with as much as I cared about the pain I am in?
When Jesus said blessed are those who mourn....I believe He meant mourn over their sin. (feel free to check me on that....I remember reading that in my ESV notes I think)

God has been so gracious to me. I have these temper tantrums when I have to lie down all day. When I have to watch my family go to an event without me. When they play outside and I watch from the window. I lose my faith....how are You going to make this good God? How do we proceed in this adoption when I can't walk right now Lord? How?
When I have these tantrums...I tell Him. I need you to come down here and get me. Save me. Help me. Pick me up. Love me. Show me that You haven't left me.
He always does. He cares about my pain. But He is not willing to stop it until He has taught me what He wants to teach  me through it. He is not willing to stop it until I trust Him alone and not the 20 doctors, dentists, oral surgeons, Atlas Orthagonals that I have seen.
I wait on Him alone. At what point did He designate that I will not have pain in my mouth anymore? That my neck will hold an adjustment? That I can walk without pain? That I can play with my kids? That I can travel to Haiti? That I can get my daughter?

I don't know. How long, O Lord? David lamented....I lament.

I have listened/watched a couple things on suffering lately that have been to great comfort to me.

One is the biography of John Bunyan by John Piper. (this is long...set aside some time..this is one of my dad's favorites)

The other is a video clip by Bob Sorge called "God could have left Job alone" (only 5 min)

If you are dealing with any kind of hurt, affliction or trial that is causing you to question God or just need encouragement, those are great resources (in addition to the Bible of course.)

I am still waiting....Hoping to see the dr. before the day is up.
I pray the Lord has that in mind for me today.

Psalm 51:1...
Have mercy on me O God according to your steadfast love....

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


This will be the second year since making our family Christmas decree- no presents under the tree. (although we have learned that we can't stop grandma...:) 
Two years ago, the day after Christmas, Brian and I felt let down. We struggled to keep our hearts on Christ on Christmas day and if it was hard for us, imagine how it was for our kids. We had scaled down Christmas a lot over the years. Only a few gifts per child and a stocking. We ditched Santa several years before that so that he wouldn't be attempting to steal the spotlight from Christ. (Of Course, Santa or anyone for that matter can't take anything from Christ...)
I don't think gift giving is wrong- I actually love when people show love to one another through a heart felt gift.  It's just that I realized we busy ourselves with so much cultural agenda that it becomes challenging to focus on what we truly need. Him. And what I really want to celebrate on Christmas is Christ....not stuff. 
On Christmas day last year, I honestly thought there was going to be a void. Christmas with no presents?  But something else, unexpected happened. For the first time in my life, and my husbands, we experienced our real gift, Christ, in a way we never had. And let's be honest. I don't need anything....material, that is. What I need more of, daily, hourly, minute by minute, is Christ. What I don't need is more distractions away from Him. 
So we filled the day with other, life giving things. Baking, singing, fire making, praying for others, giving gifts to those who truly need it, reading, playing games....hopefully when the kids are older we can add serving to that. 
Sure, our kids had a struggle adjusting....as did we. But at the end of the day, our oldest told us he was thankful that we did that. Um, ok. That's not normal. And you know what buddy, only God can do that. Only God. 

I'm thankful to be freed to enjoy Christ as the season approaches. I was one of the hyper moms that wanted to have everything just right. Sparkly packages with the most fun surprises inside. Running around like a lunatic to make everyone happy but actually wanting to just stop and breathe. So, Lord willing, we will add the Jesse tree (thank you Ann Voskamp!) to our tradition this year, try to focus on those in true need and bask in the love of our beautiful gift, Jesus. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I went to the mall yesterday. I don't like the mall. I used to like it.

About a year and a half  ago I began a battle. Just me and the Lord. He decided some of the idols in my heart needed to go even though I was quite comfortable with them. In fact, I'm not sure I would have even called them idols.
But now I see them for what they were. God has weeded out many things in the past year. Trials that I'm not sure I will share with anyone other than my family. But this battle I feel I should share.

The battle is my identity. Even more specifically, my appearance and how that plays into my identity.
So, in God's sovreignty, I lost the normal use of my knees/feet (I can walk although I can no longer exercise rigourously or squat down, or mop up my kitchen floor on my knees....) And I lost one of my front teeth.
Let's start with the knees. When I injured my knees, I was in complete denial. And I immediately began to freak out about not getting in my normal workouts after just a couple of days. As the days progressed into weeks, I panicked about losing all of my muscle and hardwork....since after all, it takes forever to get in shape and about 2 weeks to get out of shape. Not to mention, part of my identity with my husband was in our working out together and staying fit together. Would he still find me attractive if I am not toned and in shape? This sounds so shallow as I write this. I mean really, how pathetic. BUT, I'm going to go out on a limb here as I look at american culture and other women and say I am not the only one who found identity in my body or how I fit into my clothes. Oh how crafty Satan is and how easily I am tempted. anyway, weeks turned into months and now it is 15 months later- gone through m any doctors and acupuncture, and taking herbs for inflammation and blah blah blah and I am still not able to exercise. Prior to this injury, I was addicted to exercise. ADDICTED. Now, I feel set free. I still pray God will heal my knees completely (I have since had my arches fall in my feet and now deal with pain there as well) but if He chooses not too- He has given me something soo much better than healthy knees. It's Him. More of Him. He makes up that part of my identity now that I used to fill with my body.
Now, the even more painful part of this idol. 18 months ago I had a root canal done on one of my front teeth. long story short, the tooth never healed and I had to...GASP....have it pulled out. Listen. This darn near sent me to therapy. Walking into the oral surgeon that day knowing I was walking out with not front tooth....WHAT????? what 34 year old woman in America wants to do that?
So. God gave me perfect peace that day. PERFECT PEACE.
Now, if you think I was concerned that my husband wouldn't find me attractive from not working out....how do you think I thought about him seeing me without a front tooth? Can I just say here- My husband is so freaking amazing. He tells me that I'm beautiful when I am walking around without my fake tooth in. Again, WHAT??? What man in america wants a wife without a front tooth? Nevermind tells her she is beautiful? and I know what you are thinking....He is just saying that because it's loving and because he wants to make me feel better (which, even if that was the case- that is total love) But its not. My husband's view of beauty has changed. He actually thinks I'm beautiful. I certainly don't and fight the lies from satan every day but my husband speaks truth into me.
So,  incidentally, the saga continued after my tooth was pulled because after six months I went to get a post put in for an implant and the oral surgeon placed it wrong....he put it in over top of my other front tooth- the "good" one. I have no idea what is going to happen now. I have constant pain in my other front tooth now. I have had second and third opinions on what to do next. At this point, prayer is it. (which is more than enough).  So the battle continues on....I pray that I can keep my other front tooth.

So, I don't like the mall. The mall represents what America thinks is beautiful. Blown up Victoria Secret ads that sell something that isn't real...or good....or righteous. Something that at one point I wanted to attain in my own way (yes, I know I am not model material but I wanted to look my personal best) Even the most dedicated followers of Christ struggle in the mall. Temptation everywhere....and don't get me started on wanting to shield my kids from this stuff.

In His mercy, God saved me from those idols. It has been, and will continue to be a very painful process- physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I have struggled to submit to Him what He wanted- all of me. All of my heart. All of my desires. This is just part of what He has taught me this past 18 months. Dare I say that it was good? Romans 8:28 says that He works all things out for the good of those who love Him....
It was good. He is good. He has called me to deny myself in this....in return- more of Him.