Happy Mothers’ Day

Happy Mothers’ Day! 44 days ago, I became a foster mom to a sweet little guy we’ve nicknamed “Diego.” This week he turned 14 months old, and my old life turned upside-down. Here’s a quick update:

A few things I never expected:

  • That I would ever clean his face with my spit. I wiped the dried food off his face with my spit before walking into church the first Sunday he was with us.
  • That I would be so willing to strangle ANYONE who would make noise that wakes him up before it’s time for him to get up.
  • That I would learn 40 different verses to the “Wheels on the Bus” song, and melodiously ask my husband to do things or to bring things to me by using that tune while rocking Diego to sleep.
  • I figured laundry would increase by a third – not triple, and I never imagined I’d spend so much time chopping food into tiny choke-free bites.

A few things I’m much more grateful for now:

  • An uninterrupted cup of coffee, meal, conversation, and night’s sleep.
  • My mom who worked 3rd shift full-time when I was a baby, and had to use cloth diapers and rectal thermometers.
  • The daily spiritual lessons this guy brings my way, like, the incredible patience of our loving Heavenly Father who truly is slow to anger and abounding in love.

Dear Lord, help me to be that kind of mom. Help me to be as patient and abounding in love with him as You have been with me and all of Your kids. Amen.

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“The story was no way near over…”

To catch you up, two weeks ago, I wrote about the wild celebration turned huge disappointment in our lives – wanting to have kids for over ten years, being licensed foster parents for over two years and receiving no calls, then the call came, and we thought we were bringing home the son (7-day-old Benjamin) we had dreamed of for so long. Then came another call, and we had to return him, and our hearts were crushed.

In last week’s post, while still healing from the disappointment, I wrote this in my prayer at the very end:

Lord, Thank You for showing me that even in the midst of that first Good Friday, the story was no way near over, and the best was yet to come. Amen.

I hit “publish” on that post, grabbed a snack and headed off to Walmart. Like I have done for the past 23 years of marriage, I filled the cart with goodies that we like, with no need to think about what anyone else likes.

I put our cart-full of stuff on the belt in the checkout line.

And then.

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Lord, if only you had been here!!

Well, today’s post was supposed to be part 2 of a series on perfectionism, but because of the events of the last 48 hours, I’d like to put that on hold until next week.

Today I want to tell you how grateful I am for God’s Word, and specifically for two ladies in it. Yes, once again, it’s Mary and Martha.

Here’s why.

As many of you know, my husband and I have been married for almost 24 years, and for no reason that doctors have been able to pinpoint, we have not been able to conceive.

Two years ago, we became licensed foster parents with the intent to adopt. In the past two years, we only received two calls to take in kids “just for the weekend” while their parents were away.

Then, out of the blue, came the call on Wednesday afternoon of this week. “Would you be interested in a seven-day old, healthy baby boy?”

“OF COURSE!!! I know I shouldn’t ask you this, but what do you think the chances are of us being able to eventually adopt him?”

“Of course you know that the goal is always to reunite the child with the biological parent, but this situation really looks like it’s not going to end up that way, but still, try not to get your hopes up.”

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Would you have chosen us?

I have often wondered how it must feel for a couple who wasn’t even “planning it” to find out they’re pregnant. I imagine the emotions are intense in all directions.

“SURPRISE! WE’RE PREGNANT!!”

“Oh NO! I have two years of school left!”

“Oh YAY! I always wanted to be a mom!”

“Oh crud! How are we going to afford this?”

“Oh sweet! I’ve always wondered what it feels like to be pregnant!”

The one thing I imagine they all have in common—assuming they firmly believe that abortion is not an option—is that they didn’t spend a whole lot of time making the choice, “Hmmm, should we have this kid or not?” No, the kid is on it’s way.

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The Love of a Mom

This Mother’s Day was a special one for me. In Mother’s Days past, not being a mom (but really wishing I was) has made for some tough times for me.

There was the getting out the boxing gloves to fight off the envy while scrolling through loads of mom-with-kids photos on Facebook.

Then there was the “Suck it up and be grateful!” drill sergeant voice I would hear in my head, crashing my pity party and reminding me that at least I have the gift of having a wonderful mom – something many others have never had, or had and wish she was still with them.

But this year was different. There was peace.

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My Grandma Made Me Think

This past Saturday, my mom’s side of the family celebrated the life of the woman I’ve always known as “Grandma Toe”, who passed away at the age of 98 the week before.

There are a handful of thoughts and questions that always come to mind when I’m at a funeral that always make me think, “Wow, I should really think of this every day, and not just at funerals.”

In honor of Grandma, who is probably holding a dog in one hand and a cat in the other while gazing at the beauty of our Savior right at this moment, I’d like to share these six thoughts.

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What do you love the most about ___?

What do you love the most about God?

What do you love the most about the people in your life?

What do you love the most about your daily circumstances?

Currently, I have the joy of taking a theology class every Wednesday night for 7 weeks at my church. This past Wednesday, after teaching about the attributes and character of God, our pastor asked us to discuss in our groups which attribute we loved the most about God.

Little did he know how much that question would stick with me.

Little did I know how much it would beg to be asked about everyone and everything.

What would happen if we all began to ask the “what do I love most” question about God, the people in our life, and our daily circumstances?

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Do you love your “neighbor”?

“THROW AWAY YOUR LIFE.” …Shari Tvrdik

This past weekend was quite inspirational to say the least.

On Saturday night, I attended a missions banquet put on by Cup of Cold Water Ministries. There were highlights of missionaries serving around the world, and my dear friend (whose family just returned from eight years of service in Mongolia) spoke about throwing your life away for the sake of the Gospel. She communicated with such assurance that denying ourselves to follow God’s lead is the only way to truly live.

Even if.

Even if God’s lead takes you and your four kids from rural Happytown U.S.A. to the slums of Mongolia with no indoor plumbing and negative fifty-degree weather.

And I believe her. I listened to her and remembered the “welt belt” of flea bites I wore around my waist for weeks at a time in the winter when I lived in Chile. The only way to ease the pain and swelling was to put ice cubes directly on the bites to numb them, while the air inside our house averaged 40-45 degrees at night. And I still look back on those years in Chile as the best years of my life.

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Love that Endures

Last week, I shared some practical ideas to improve our “loving like Jesus” skills. One practical idea was to look over the list of the 15 descriptions of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7…

(patient, kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, not rude, doesn’t demand it’s own way, not irritable, keeps no record of wrongs, doesn’t rejoice with injustice, rejoices when truth wins out, never gives up, never loses faith, always hopeful, perseveres)

…and then decide which one of the 15 you need the most work on, and ask God to help you grow to love like He does in that area.

Today, I wanted to dial it in on one – the one appropriately placed at the very end of the list – love endures all things.

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5 Ways to Love Like Jesus

“Now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34 NLT)

I confess that I don’t love others like Jesus does.

I really want to, but I don’t.

I really want others to experience the love of Jesus and be drawn to Him by my words and actions, but I fall short.

Here are five ways I would tell someone else to get started in loving like Jesus. I’m going to intentionally live out these five this week:

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