Sunday, March 22, 2015

Is it worth it?

Fostering littles the way we do and saying goodbye when they are so young, no matter the amount of time they are here, the harsh reality is that they will not remember us.  They won't remember the middle of the night feedings, the first steps that we rejoiced over, the silly songs we sing to make them laugh, the books we read, the birthdays we celebrated.
They will hopefully remember their siblings, Maris, Kruse and Hope but they never even know our names.  We are mom and dad, we define those names for them: love, protection, provision, laughter, hugs, bedtime kisses, and hopefully, most of all, their Heavenly Father's love.  They have a piece of our hearts forever and a year from now will not remember us.  In a few weeks Mom will have a new face, a different laugh, same love in another form.  Dad will still be protector, provider and fun, but not the same.  Selfishly sometimes I wish they would remember their years in our home, that they would just have a small memory of the joy and laughter and love we shared.  But deep down I know this is the best way, that this is why we are here in this season, to form attachments and bonding that will give them the ability to love and be loved for the rest of their lives....but the pain of loss is still so real...the hurt of being unknown when they were so known by us.  Every goodbye leaves me asking is this worth it? Is this ache in our hearts, the tears and sorrow worth it?  The soberness that seeps into all of life, the protecting of our hearts outside of foster care.  Is it all worth it?  All I really know is He is worth it.  The One who formed me in my mothers womb, who made me love big, who all my life prepared me for this calling, He is worth it.  And so we prepare to walk this road, reading and re-reading the verses that He used to call us here, it's lonely and heavy and sometimes feels like more than we can bare but it's also good and right and beautiful and holy and the most sacred moments of my life.  And so, we will grieve and heal and we will say yes again because He is worth it....and so are they.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

We are the walking wounded

We are the walking wounded.  We are everywhere, behind you in the checkout line, 3 seats over in church, our kids go to school with your kids, we grew up together and laughed and loved before life became hard.  Our wounds don’t all look the same.  Some of us are innocent, some of us guilty.  Some of us have scars from this broken world, what was done to us, against us.  Some of us battle depression, an assault in our heart and mind.  Some of us the wounds come from words like, cancer, heart attack, death.  Some of us the scars are from other words like affair and divorce.  Some of us have followed a calling on our lives, taking us away from family, friends, and country, where days can be long and tiresome and results less than we hoped.  Some of us the call is in our own homes, pain so close you can touch it every day.  Some of us are mothers who have held our babies only in our hearts; we wonder who they would have looked like, the sound of their laugh.  Our wounds are different but the same.  They keep us up at night, they make Christmas hard.  Memories are our best friends and worst enemies, they sneak up on us, bring us to tears in a moment.  They make worship a holy experience.  They make us hold others at a distance.  They bring judgment, condemnation.  They make us who we are, how we see the world. 

There are some who share my wounds; their children have known me as mom.  Theirs, like some of ours, are wounds of choice.  They have chosen to satisfy their flesh, they are addicts of drugs, men, self.  Some of us have chosen to deny self, to satisfy Him who called, though it cost our hearts we follow.  Our wounds are shared.  We will miss the same children, the same smiles, the same sticky fingers.  We will whisper their names out loud in the night to not forget the sound of it on our tongue.  We will carry these scars our entire lives, we will always be mom and yet never be mom again. 

I pray He is with those who share my wounds….those that miss the same children I miss.  I pray they look up and find Him close, because He is.  He shares our wounds and loves the same children we love. 

We are the walking wounded and we are everywhere….but so is He.  He has overcome this broken world; He brings words of hope and peace.  For some of us He brings healing in this life, for some just the promise of it in the next.  For some of us He is found in the middle of the pain, when we can’t go on on our own, He is there, He binds are wounds and whispers His love.  He renews, He restores, He redeems.  For some of us comfort is in visions of babies being held by a Man with scars in His hands.  He is there in the night, He is Emmanuel.  He dries our tears.  He makes worship holy.  He brings others to our side.  He condemns every tongue that rises against us in judgment, for our righteousness is from Him. 

We are the walking wounded, different but the same.  We share wounds in this broken world….and by His wounds we are healed.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I used to say we had an adoption miracle, that the Holy Spirit did a miracle in our bonding with Hope, the magic kind of miracle.  I realize now that I was wrong....sorta.  I was selfish and blind and well, a bit ignorant.  Shane and I have always been a little embarrassed at how easy our transition was, like we were the poster children for a successful adoption.  Hope was 15 months when we met her and I'm pretty sure it took all of 6 hours for her to be completely attached, giggling, laughing, and snuggling, it's been over 7 years and we have never looked back.  And for years I have never thought of it as anything other than answered prayer that our transition was so smooth.  I thought only of Hope's birth mom, Emilia, as someone who grieved for her.  We pray for Emilia, we think of her and her heartache in letting go of her beautiful daughter, I wonder at the life she imagined for Hope, the life she knew she couldn't give.  I mourn for her loss and am thankful for her sacrifice, she alone is who I think of in the category of loss.  I take that back, there was one moment where I felt for another, a young lady whose name I may never know, who I have one picture of from Hope's final days at the orphanage.  I remember when we got it, so many years ago, I noticed the way she held Hope, the way her hands gently rested on her head, the look of love and loss in her eyes.  But if I'm honest I looked for a moment and then had eyes only for my daughter, I forgot her as soon as I saw her.  I had been waiting 13 months from our first picture of Hope and we were in the home stretch and all I knew was that she was almost mine. 
But now here I am, with a look of love and loss in my own eyes and the Lord reminded me of that picture from so long ago.  He showed me that He did do a miracle in our adoption with Hope, that the Holy Spirit did indeed allow us to bond with Hope in amazing ways.  He showed me that He used a beautiful young Haitian girl, who was willing to love a child that was not hers as if she was.  He asked her to love with all her heart even though her heart would break when she left, He whispered to her that He needed her help to give Hope a foundation to give and receive love.  He told her no one may ever know or acknowledge her pain, that her sacrifice would be great and she may never see the fruits of her heartache and she said yes.  You see when the Lord reminded me of this I was crying out to Him that He was asking too much of me.  How could He ask me to love so much knowing I would say goodbye?  Most people run from pain and here we are at a dead sprint toward it.  I wanted to close my heart, even a little, to not let these precious children who call me Mommy have any more.  I didn't want to watch Maris be a little mommy, speaking sweetly and reminding them how much Jesus loved them, I didn't want to see Kruse asking me what Soren was wearing so they could match and running around the house giving piggy back rides, I didn't want to see Hope in her new role as big sister, building forts, dancing to the Fresh Beat Band, pushing babies around the house, at break neck speed, on their little cars.  I didn't want to watch the twins jump up at the sound of Shane practicing worship to yell "Daddy, guitar" and dance at his feet, to see Starlea's face light up when he walked in the room.  I didn't want to see it because I didn't want to miss it everyday for the rest of my life.  I was tired, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I was standing in my kitchen telling Him all the reasons I couldn't give any more and then He whispered, in the way He always does when I finally stop talking, I need you on the other side of adoption now.  He opened my eyes to our adoption, He showed me the miracle was that someone was willing to love a little girl with all her heart and that is why she was ready to receive my love.  It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard and the only way that I knew we would get through this pain.  We are doing for someone else what was done for us, we are the miracle....not in an arrogant prideful a broken, beautiful collision of love and redemption and His kingdom coming here and now. 
Everyday I learn more about the cost and sacrifice of foster care, we live in the tension of the beauty and heartache, every moment is sacred.  I know what those precious children looked like when they entered our home, you would never recognize them now.  They are healthy and happy and social and confident and silly and stubborn and they have found their voice, they are loved with every ounce of my being and by every member of this family and they are ready to go home.  I'll never forget the joy of bringing Hope home and in 2 days I will watch another family experience that joy and I have faith that they will also have a miracle, that they will feel like a family in the magic miracle sort of way.  I still don't know how to live in a world where I am not their mom, I still can't imagine not waking up to twin chatter, to never have Soren's chubby fingers on my face, to see Rayah love, to not have Starlea smiling at me at 5am.  The pain is still real and at moments paralyzing, but we endure the pain with our eyes fixed on Jesus.  He promised that when we bring into our house the poor that are cast out that He will guide us continually, He will satisfy our souls in drought, and strengthen our bones and make us like a well watered garden.  I'm clinging to His Word and His promises.  I'm on the other side of adoption now and that is where He needs me and my family and so that is where we will be.  And in case you are wondering there is a new picture hanging in Hope's room, a picture of a beautiful young woman who loved my daughter first.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stop Child Trafficking Now Walk

This was such a great day! My mom, Melissa, Cynthia and I were the representatives walking from our friends and family. I was so blessed that they joined me and I know the more we all learn the more our hearts break for the innocent children enslaved in trafficking and prostitution in our own state.

After check-in we were welcomed and then had a few guest speakers, a representative from the Mayors office, a wonderful, passionate woman from Shared Hope International, Senator Wyden surprised the crowd. Apparently he is in campaign mode because there was a lot of yelling and promises to "crush" someone or something, I'm still not sure....but the best thing he said is that he was able to get $900,000 from the federal government to build a shelter/safe house for girls rescued from being trafficked. This is the most important thing that I have heard and read that is needed in Portland, so praise the Lord for this exciting news!! Melissa and I have decided we want to help in some way with the shelter....but what that looks like we are not sure yet, we will keep you posted:) But the greatest speaker was Jessica Richardson, who was introduced as a survivor of human trafficking, she made sure we understood that she was not merely a survivor but a conqueror! And there was wonderful music by a young man from Rwanda who lived through the Rwandan genocide and 6 years on the street post genocide. His music was beautiful, Enric Sifa is his name and I'm sure you could find him on the Internet and buy his c.d. Thanks so much to all who sponsored our team, we surpassed our goal and raise $430!!!
"He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I will never forget the night I met Renu, I'll never forget her smile or the grace in which she told her story and I will never understand her capacity to forgive. When she was just 14 years old Renu was drugged by a family member and taken out of her home in Nepal and sold to a brothel in India. She literally woke up in captivity, her innocence brutally stolen, her story is one of pain, unimaginable horrors, rescue, love, and forgiveness. Someone dared to rescue Renu, they showed up in her nightmare and told her about a man named Jesus, she listened and fell in love and accepted Him as her Savior, but she was still a slave, her body used by 20 plus men a day. Outside she was dying yet her soul was renewed daily. Through miraculous circumstances Renu escaped and upon returning to her native Nepal she came face to face with the man who stole her childhood, her dreams, her future. She looked at this man and forgave him saying how could I, a sinner forgiven by Christ, not forgive him? Renu changed my life in many ways but perhaps most importantly she put a face on international human trafficking and sex slavery.
And then I read, Renting Lacey, which is about America's prostituted children and I associated a different face with child trafficking, my daughters. Maybe you were like me and did not think this could happen here in our country but the truth is at least 100,000 American juveniles are victimized through prostitution each year!! The book is horrifying in its true stories of girls that Linda has met with personally, stories so horrible you think they could not be true, but they are. I am haunted by what I have read, which is why I am sending you this email. Maybe you are like me and imagine that if you lived in times of slavery that you would have stood against it, I like to think that Angela Grimke and I would have been friends and fought slavery together. And maybe you cannot comprehend that just 50 years we still had legal segregation and again I imagine I would have walked with Dr. King, I would have boycotted and picketed, I would have stood on the lawn beyond the Lincoln Memorial and believed in a dream. And yet here we are, living in a time when, "more people are exploited in slavery today than were forcibly removed from Africa during 400 years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Worldwide the total market value of human trafficking is 32 Billion"-IJM
Why am I telling you all of this? This Saturday, October 2nd thousands of individuals in communities across the United States and Canada will participate in SCTNow Walks to raise funds and bring awareness to the issue of child trafficking. You can join my team, Worship Defined, and come walk with me in Portland or simply make a donation at:

I know in many ways this is just a small step, a small donation against huge statistics, but my Bible says to "seek justice" and this is a tangible way in which to do that.


"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him." Is. 58:6,7

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Today I laid a dream on the altar and walked away. Laying it down, I have learned, is not the same as giving up, there is a difference. I'm not giving up, I'm obeying. The gentle whisper that I love to hear told me what I didn't want to hear. He told me to let go, to let go of what I was sure He wanted for my family, of what over the past few months I thought He was confirming. But I know this voice and it is Him who I do everything for and so today I packed up the last bit tangible hope that I have been holding on to and said, not my will but Yours be done. I gave my dream to the Dream Giver, I gave my desire to the only One who can satisfy, my heart to my True Love. It is not the first time I have placed something so precious into these nail scarred hands and I'm sure it will not be the last. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the mystery when I wish i was just overwhelmed by Him. But my understanding isn't necessary, my obedience is. So Lord I give you my precious Zion because that is what You asked me to do.

Psalm 126

1When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
2Then our mouth was filled with laughter
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
3The LORD has done great things for us;
We are glad.
4Restore our captivity, O LORD,
As the streams in the South.
5Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
6He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Today is my birthday. I'm getting old:) I'm finding myself in a place I never thought I'd be at this age. Ending His Way and our entire focus of life for the past 12 years, searching for a church family, coming home from 3 weeks in Africa, it's been an emotional year for us.
And I'm finding myself knowing that church has nothing to do with a building, when we were walking at the CF walk last Sunday beside the friends that we have come to love as family, I told Shane it was the best church service I have been to in a long time. And I'm finding myself thinking about children a world away, wondering what I can do, little me, to help them go to school, to give them a chance to change their lives and in turn change their country for the glory of God.
And here it is my birthday and today I received gifts from those who I love that have blessed me beyond words. My parents gave me a pair of pajamas, and then they gave me clothes and slippers to send to Korah for my girls, Bakuset and Mesret. Jer and Jen are giving to the Mocha Club in my honor. Shane and the kids are cleaning my car, praise God!! Terry and Cynthia gave me a gift from Hawaii, the place I so love. And then tonight, I went to dessert with my girlfriends and have to share what an incredible present they gave me. I opened the bag to find a beautiful picture of a 19 year old girl and a baby boy. I stared at it knowing they were from Africa and wondering what it was. Well when I turned it over I read this:

"Malia, When you returned home from Ethiopia, you brought with you the heart of Korah and a love for her people- and you have shared it with all of us. And now, that love has settled in all of our hearts as well and so our gift to you on this birthday is the sponsorship of Hiwot Dasalaw, a 19 year old girl living in Korah with her son, who will now have the opportunity to be sent to a technical school that will change her life forever. This is our simple way of showing our love for you by giving it to your honor. Thank you for loving all people the way that Christ calls us to. And thank you for sharing that love with your friends! We love you!!"

Unbelievable! I'm speechless, thanks everyone, I love you!

You can sponsor a young adult from Korah for a one time gift of $600. That's all it takes to change a life forever!! If you want more info just let me know.