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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From Horrible to Good Friday

It’s Good Friday for us. But it had to have been Horrible Friday for them.

This year, my heart goes out more than ever to Jesus’ original followers on that “not-so-Good Friday.” If you read last week’s post you know that my husband and I had been waiting to become parents for what feels like a really long time—about 10 years. Finally, last week our hopes and dreams were fulfilled when little foster son Benjamin was placed into our care. And then, just 23 hours later, our parenting hopes were gone, and our dreams were crushed as the judge said we had to give him to his great grandparents.

What timing.

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday. On that first Palm Sunday, the people of Israel (God’s chosen) had been waiting for a Messiah for a very long time. I mean, a really really long time.

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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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The Perfectionism Wheel part 1

In the past, I’ve called Facebook the “Envy Ignitor.” This week I’d like to give it yet another name. (Drumroll, please…) Facebook, the “Perfectionist Pointer-Outer!”

Yeah, thanks a lot, FB.

I thought I had completely overcome my life-squashing addiction to perfectionism. That’s right. I had “perfectly” overcome perfectionism, which is right up there with Moses claiming to be the most humble man on the earth. (Numbers 12:3)

Just how did Facebook do it?

It all started on Tuesday. They announced the birthday of one of my besties early that morning. I sincerely wanted to write her a birthday poem that would clearly communicate that I love her to pieces and think she’s amazing. A simple “Happy Birthday!” just wouldn’t do. But Tuesday was crazy, and it never got done.

“Okay,” I thought as I went to bed that night. “Tomorrow I’ll write her an even BETTER belated birthday poem.”

On Wednesday morning, Facebook announced that it was the birthday of yet another one of my besties. This friend is near and dear to my heart as well, so now the goal was an even better belated birthday poem, PLUS today’s friend’s birthday poem. The poems never got written.

Then Thursday’s announcements brought ANOTHER sweet and dear friend’s birthday to my attention. Well, SHE deserves a poem too!!! So now the pressure was on to write one really good poem and two even better (to make up for them being belated) poems.

I still “owe” 3 birthday poems, and the longer I wait, well of course, the better they’re gonna need to be. 😉

Lately, I’ve been desperately asking God to speak to me. I just never imagined He’d do it through Facebook.

So what exactly is perfectionism? A guy named David Seamands describes it like this:

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Better.

Luke 10:38-42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

This story of Mary and Martha is one of my absolute favorites, and I find myself needing to go back to it often. I did a fun post about it two years ago when I started this blog. If you find yourself worried or upset about the details of your life, I encourage you to check it out here.

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What really is BEST?

There’s an old story in Eastern folklore that goes something like this:

A man had a really nice horse, but it ran away.

The man’s neighbor came and said, “Oh, that’s really bad!”

The man answered him, “What do I know about these things?”

A few days later, his horse returned with 20 other beautiful wild horses.

The neighbor came again and said, “Wow! That’s really good!”

The man answered him, “What do I know about these things?”

A few days later, the man’s son was training one of the wild horses, and the horse kicked him so hard it broke the son’s leg.

The neighbor came again and said, “Oh, that’s really bad!”

The man answered him, “What do I know about these things?”

A few days later a rough and evil group of thugs came by to force-recruit able young men into their gang. They came for the man’s son, but since his leg was broken, they left him alone and moved on.

The neighbor came again and said, “Wow! That’s really good!”

The man answered him, “What do I know about these things?”

In one short series of circumstances, we see that what seems best could be bad, and what seems bad could be good. In wisdom, the man responded, “What do I know about these things?”

I want to cling to the only One who does know about the circumstances in our lives—the One who does know about the future, and trust that He not only knows, but is working out His perfect plan for those who submit to His will.

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Hope-Squashing Thoughts to Avoid

I made it home from my two-month trip to Chile just 5 days ago. It was a family “missions trip” of sorts, and I find myself filtering through the same feelings I see first-time missions trippers coming back with – you know, those strong feelings that they want to convince you to share:

#1 A renewed appreciation for all we have here.

Yes, my bed has been cozier than ever this week, and the espresso machine is back to delivering caffeine masterpieces.

#2 A heightened awareness for those who are suffering.

This time for me, it’s not just awareness of those who are suffering in poverty. More so, it’s for those suffering with things like anxiety, illnesses, loss of loved ones, or relationship heartaches.

The guy who suffered for 38 years

I was reminded of a story in the Bible this week of a guy who had suffered far longer and far more intensely than I hope I ever have to. In John chapter 5, Jesus was at a festival in Jerusalem, and while there, he went to the famous Pool of Bethesda where a great number of disabled people (the blind, lame, and paralyzed) used to lie. At this particular pool, when the water stirred, the first one in the water was the one to get healed.

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I’m going home tomorrow.

I’m going home tomorrow.

Tomorrow marks two whole months of living in this foreign land of Santiago, Chile.

My last five posts have been about “living for Jesus lessons” that this trip has stirred up in my heart. I have a few more lessons I could share from this trip that may come later, but the thought I just can’t release from my mind today is, “I’m going home tomorrow.”

My how time flies.

Speaking of flies, there are 4 questions that have been buzzing around my heart like flies in light of this “I’m going home tomorrow” truth:

#1 Am I ready to go?

#2 What do I look forward to the most?

#3 What was my purpose for being here?

#4 Do I have any regrets?

You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? I hope it’s not too cliché, and I hope it’s not too forced. It’s actually a truth I call upon frequently, and now it’s calling me out even louder.

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Diving Deeper

He did it again. He got me way outside my comfort zone. “He” is my husband. “He” and Jesus both seem to love to ask me to do things that are scary and uncomfortable at first. Do they enjoy watching me freak out a bit? Probably. But I’m convinced they prod me because they know better than I do what’s best for me.

This past week’s DIScomfort zone for me? Bodyboarding. You know, that sport for thrill seekers who want to be lying down on the ocean waves instead of standing up on them like the surfers do.

As if rock climbing wasn’t enough. (Insert sigh and pitiful grin.)

I invite you to consider my story, along with the apostle Peter’s story found in Luke chapter 5, and to ask Jesus what fears are holding you back from the adventures He has in store for you.

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