My Dreams Are Not My Own

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As a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a mama when I was older. I’ve always had a passion for children, but after marriage, we quickly learned it was not going to be easy to make my dream of motherhood come to fruition.

“As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” Psalm 127:4

We soon began to experience miscarriage after miscarriage and surgery after surgery, and I began to lose hope. I started to experience a truth firsthand that I already knew in my head. God’s ways are not my own. (Isaiah 55:8) My life is God’s to do with as He sees fit. After seeing specialists and crying out to God on behalf of our hearts’ desires we were blessed with a boy miracle and, 19 months later, with another boy miracle.

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It wasn’t until we were blessed with our girl miracle and later lost her that I began to say…” I can’t believe this is my life!” You see, I was still in my 20’s. I had my dreams and my life planned out perfectly. Probably the same way you do. But when I held my newborn in my arms while listening to burial instructions, I knew my dreams were exactly that. They were mine. And mine alone. I hadn’t been praying for God’s will and for God to align my dreams with His. Rather, I tried to explain to the Lord that I had a pretty good set of plans and I felt He should consider them.  I now know and acknowledge His plans for me far exceed my dreams for myself.

“For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26

This past week we received an adoption case. Case 22 to be exact.  This case, well, it seemed perfect. We were excited to put our yes on the table, and we waited to hear if we had been chosen. There were only two families being presented to this particular birth-mom, and we were one of them. I was to the point I wanted a baby so much I felt confident our time had come, and we would be the family chosen. Sam and I both spoke to the social worker who was handling the case, and we sent in all of the necessary pictures and information. We both felt “good” about it. Let’s be serious a second: who wouldn’t want us to be their child’s family? (That’s rhetorical. Don’t answer!) As the hours ticked away and we continued to wait for a decision, my confidence quickly faded away. The Lord was giving me the peace I needed to know I would be okay if we weren’t chosen. A day passed. It seemed like an eternity waiting to hear the birth-mom’s decision. Another day passed… It was the morning of day 3 that I received word that we were NOT chosen. It was a hard text to wake up to. I needed Jesus, some deep breaths, a glass of SunDrop, and to call the hubs. He was out of town for work, and he took the news much better than I did  well. He was at peace.

“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart”. Psalm 37:4

I sent my beautiful friend and adoption consultant this image and an accompanying text…

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“I just read this and smiled. I feel like I wrote it.

I never dreamed this… That this brokenness would be my lot in life. But when I got your text that we weren’t chosen, my heart was at peace. I was so happy for the other couple. I didn’t want to hurt them by us being chosen and so I had prayed they would be. It hurts still, and tears stream my cheeks as my (secondary) infertility is more real than ever before, but it’s in the Savior’s hands. He has given me peace, grace and strength to walk another mile of this journey. Molding my dreams into His plans for me, and it was a beautiful glimpse of what’s to come!”

“But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” Romans 8:25

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I’m not tooting my own horn by sharing this with you. Rather, I hope you’ll see that I’m tooting the horn of my Lord and Savior. A year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to pray for that other couple we were “competing” against. But I am living in a rainy season of brokenness, and just like the ground, my heart is soft. Humble. Raw.  Just at the right stage for Christ to mold me and make me more like Him. He has given me such a deep passion for adoption. A passion that goes further than just wanting to adopt a child of my own.

I’ve been praying for months that God would give me a glimpse that He is working and moving in our joy journey, and even though we weren’t chosen in this case, He showed me how my own heart had changed.  No, this wasn’t how I saw my life going. But no one ever thinks they will have to bury a child or a spouse. Rebuild a house or sign divorce papers. We don’t dream of the rainy seasons; we only dream of the sunshiny ones. Rainy seasons are a must to get us to grow into the people God intended us to be. His plans for us are perfect.  So, with all things considered…it was a beautiful glimpse! Have you ever found yourself like me, dreaming? It may be of a future spouse, a baby, a job, a house, etc. when all of a sudden those dreams are wrecked? Here are the words God would say to us.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 “His thoughts towards us are peace and not evil.” Jer. 29:11 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. Hang in there, friend. I’m with you, saying, “I can’t believe this is my life!”  But I do know that in a split second He can (and will) give beauty for ashes. So let’s leave it in the Savior’s hands. His dreams are always better!

“…to give unto them, beauty for ashes, the oil of  joy for mourning,

the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;” Isaiah 61:3

Facing The Giant

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We all have giants that come into our lives from time to time, and I can almost guarantee you your giant looks completely different than mine. Your giant may be your job, your spouse, your kids, a relationship, a medical condition, etc.  In the Bible, whenever the Israelites went into battle, they always knew God was with them. He led His chosen people out of the desert, through the parted sea, and He used little David to fight the Giant Goliath. Why wouldn’t He use little ol’ me?

Last week, I was faced with the “Giant” that I knew was coming.  I just didn’t realize it was coming so soon!  When I heard the giant was coming, I wanted to run and hide.  I wanted to climb into my bed and pull the covers up over my head and hide out until the giant had passed.  Avoiding it seemed best. The first night I went to bed in hopes that the giant would go away.  Disappear!  But the next morning, the giant was still there, staring me in the face. It hadn’t gone away like I had hoped.  And as much as I wanted to thump the giant in the throat and run, I went to the scriptures instead. I read my first devotional and nothing…I picked up the second and nothing.   “Okay, Lord,” I prayed.  “I really need You to speak to me.  These feelings needed to be laid down, but how?  How do I do that when I am on tilt, and this scary giant is staring me in the face? Speak to me, Lord!  Please!”

“God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1

And just like that, the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear something I once heard a preacher say: “Christ didn’t endure the cat of nine tails so that I could be comfortable!”

Reality hit home like a punch in the gut!  Yes, Lord.  You’re right!  I hear You loud and clear!  This world is not my home.  I was created to bring Glory to my Heavenly Father.  And here I am acting like a spoiled brat. Avoiding a situation (a giant) that God had already strengthened me to stand up against.. So you know what I did?  I sucked it up!  I put on my big girl undies and the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-11).  I applied my makeup and picked out the cutest outfit and was off to face my giant!  No more ignoring the giant and trying to get away from it.  It was time to face it.  I got into my car and began praying.  Praying Heaven down.  Lord, meet with me again.  And I kid you not this song came on the radio…

“Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a Sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again, “Boy, you’ll never win!”
“You’ll never win”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
And the voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me 
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.”

Casting Crowns

Sometimes God has to put us in uncomfortable situations.  He uses someone as small, weak and feeble as I am so that I can see just how BIG He is! Christ didn’t endure being crucified for you and me to be comfortable. Stand up, friend, and go fight that giant. Give God the glory for the victory that is to come.

Matthew 27:29:  “A crown of thorns was placed upon His head.”

Verse 30: They spit on Him. 

Verse 31: They mocked Him.

The Crucifixion of Christ

Matthew 27: 32-38, 48, 50

Mark 15: 21-26, 36, 37

Luke 23: 26-33, 38, 46

Christ died NOT so that we could live a life of comfort. Rather, He died so that we could be SAVED and we can live eternally with Him in Heaven one day. Face your giant no matter how painful. Pray for strength from God, and cast your tiny stone that it might slay the giant and that Christ would be glorified through your obedience.

Romans 10:9-10, 13:  9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”


Adoption Update

There is NO update!  No news.  Please feel free to spread the word about our hearts’ desire to adopt.  And share the blog!  You never know if baby Joy’s birth mom will be reading it because you shared!  Have you ever been a part of a miracle?  Share this post and see how God uses you 😉

Potty Expectations

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As we drove home from the beach, we passed a billboard sign that read “Cleanest bathrooms on I-20”. I was so intrigued that I read the sign out loud. The boys were sleeping soundly in the back seat when Sam and I both felt the urge to “go”. We decided to take our chances and pull off the exit towards the BP that professed to have the “cleanest bathrooms on I-20”. We stopped and “went”, and once we were back into the van, I said “Well, the bathroom wasn’t the worst I’ve been in, but it sure wasn’t the “cleanest!” Then my husband chimed in…

“I didn’t think they were that bad. I have been in a lot of gas station restrooms, and I feel like I have a good grasp on what they look like. Most of the restrooms seem to be an afterthought when constructing the interior of the gas station. I can almost visualize the planning:  “Oh yeah, we’re going to need a restroom… uh, we’ll just section off that closet in the corner and use it. Yeah, this will work. Put the toilet right here in front of the door, which swings into the bathroom dangerously close to the point where it may hit the person using the facility. But that’s OK; put a lock on it and a doorknob that rattles.  Oh, and also make sure there is a crack just large enough between the door and the jam that from just the right angle, the person using the toilet can get enough of a view back into the gas station that they will see someone coming before they burst through the door. Good, now back to the toilet. Cram it in the corner, and take one of the bolts out of the bottom so that it rocks just a little bit if someone gets too aggressive. Also take one of the screws out of the plastic seat so that there’s about 2″ of slide to either side of the bowl, not to the point that someone may fall off, but enough that nobody gets too comfortable. Put a toilet paper dispenser on the wall beside the toilet, but it doesn’t have to work.  Just put a 10” roll of toilet paper on top of the dispenser, but make sure about 24″ of paper is unrolled hanging down to the floor, slowly absorbing “floor liquid”.  Now, in the other corner, put the sink. No, we don’t need a mirror or hot water. But yes, put a soap dispenser on the wall, but set it up so the first six pumps produce absolutely no soap. Finally, have an employee come in each morning and pour a bucket of water in the restroom floor, just to slick it up good and to keep people guessing!”

You see, we both had an idea or expectation of what we thought this restroom would be like. I read “cleanest” and was hopeful- expecting the best. Sam read “cleanest” and was expecting average. I was disappointed and felt like they had over-exaggerated the billboard sign.  But, truth be told, this store probably did have the cleanest restrooms…I know that is a skanky thought, but let’s be real. Public restrooms are the pit!

We still had a long drive ahead of us, and I began to think about expectations. Ann Voskamp wrote in her book One Thousand Gifts, “Expectations kill relationships.” “Expectations kill relationships-especially with God.” Wow! That is so powerful I highlighted it! She is so right! How many times do we pray for something or someone, and our prayers are not answered quickly enough (ex. read Our Adoption Timeline). Or our prayers are not answered the way we had expected them to be answered (ex. read Allie’s Story). We become angry idealists and think, “What’s the use of praying if God isn’t going to answer me, OR He’s going to do what He wants to anyway?  What’s the point in prayer?”  Isaiah 53:5:  “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  He doesn’t owe us anything!  He died a horrible death so that I may have eternal life in Heaven.  I am the one who is in debt to Him, yet we complain when our prayers, our” expectations” fall short… “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9 We can choose to be bitter and let our expectations ruin our relationship with our Heavenly Father, OR we can seek out scriptures from the living word of God and continue to pray. Trusting and knowing that God created us, loves us, and wants what is best for us, and He will answer in His time! “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:14.

Nahum 1:7:  “The Lord is good. A stronghold in the day of trouble. He knows them that trust in him.”

The restrooms of this particular BP gas station did not live up to my expectations! I could have been bitter and written ugly comments with a Sharpie marker on the bathroom wall, but instead I sucked it up like a big girl and complained to my husband! 😉