Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The good news of the Gospel is that God came down and made my problems His. How do I reconcile walking out the Gospel if I don't make the problems of others mine? 

We belong to each other. We all belong to Him. It is what the Kingdom of God was designed for. Bearing one another's burdens. People tell me ALL. THE. TIME: "You cannot save them all!" Damn right. Actually, not a single one; but that's not what I was designed for anyways. What I can do is lighten the load. I can come along side. I can feed, clothe, and shelter. I can defend and educate. If I am not using that with which I am blessed to bless others and if I do not use my position to lift others, then what is it for? 

A life spent on yourself is a wasted life. 

This week I was trying to help a young pregnant woman find housing. I called one of the local mega churches and received an 82 page document referring other local resources that could help. That was all they could offer. They have a huge campus with a coffee shop, and tons of other amenities.

We have the opportunity to be the hands and feet and we blow it all the time. We have the opportunity to make the Gospel real and we cannot be bothered. 

We long for revival and the words of Isaiah still ring true...

 If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

I used to think that feeding the homeless or clothing the naked or visiting the sick made me a "good Christian" - whatever that is - but really, that just made me a decent human. Christ calls us to something bigger and more final. Death. When we settle for this lukewarm brand of Christianity, this self-insulated life, we are doing something worse than selling ourselves short. We are selling The Gospel short.

The good news is that when you die to yourself, your plans and your comforts, you truly do find life. I can say with every one of my deaths I have found so much more life, so full it is bursting at the seams. Dizzy and pulsing. More gut-wrenching and more spirit-filling. Life harder than I could have imagined yet better than I would have ever expected, because it is so out of left field and miraculous I would have NEVER dreamed it.  

He is using me. I see it all around me now. Not because I am good, but because He is Good. He is weaving my story, my insignificant thread, into the stories and lives of others in this incredible master tapestry of redemption. He is bringing revival in my dead heart.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

On Missing Out and Miracles

Today, I was in the room where a baby was born.
I was honored to witness a mama push her baby out into the world. A miracle, no doubt.
I have never wanted biological children. And I don't know all the reasons. I can't name them. Birthing just doesn't appeal to me. Not the way that adoption and foster care do. Sometimes, I wonder if there's something wrong with me. People say things to me like: "But it's what you were created to do." Or they say: "Don't you want to experience the miracle of creating a life?" And then: "Aren't you worried you're missing out?"
So when my path crossed with that of the young pregnant girl six months ago, I would never have thought I would be standing in the room while she labored and pushed for her baby. Honestly, during the last three months of going to classes and sonograms and preparing for today, I wondered in the back of my mind if all this would start a certain itch or scratch or I'd hear something biological tick or whatever.
Welp, it didn't. But I did come out of that room certain about some things. Maybe I was created to do this. Exactly what I'm doing. I shudder at the thought of missing out on this right here. On what we get to be a part of creating.
And maybe that young mama, just maybe, she is my miracle.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Let's Be Clear

Many people say to me: "I could never do what you do." They mean they couldn't foster or adopt or, more recently, move in a seventeen-year-old who is expecting in 5 days (GULP!) I understand that. This life we have been called to is not for everyone. These last four years have been crazy, exhausting, and emotional.

But, you. You have lifted us and held us. Steadied us and carried us. You have done room makeovers for our foster kids when we were drowning. When we were so underwater with being new parents and learning the system, you swooped in with curtains, diapers, formula, and meals. When we were talking down a terrified kid on his first night here, you dropped off bananas and Cars pull-ups because those were the only words he could choke out. You showed up with a bottle of wine and sympathy. You brought bikes and helmets. You have thrown us about ten showers in the last four years. You have supplied us with probably about $5000 in gift cards. You have bought our kids beds. You threw our new "roomie" an amazing baby shower and have helped supply her every need. You've handed us envelopes full of cash over dinner because you "want to help" and it's "no big deal." You heard about our car window being smashed and you cut a check for the whole amount to replace it. You have provided us roughly 150 meals. You email, text, and call. You ask: "What do you need?" and then go to work supplying paint to make a room feel like their own, plus double strollers, cribs, and groceries. You buy my kids Halloween costumes when I am too busy going to meetings for a placement transition. You babysit FOR FREE! BLESS YOU! You buy bus tickets and hotel rooms so our girl can have family at the birth. You drop off bags of clothes on our porch. You replace our radiator for free! FOR FREE! You PRAY for us endlessly. You celebrate with us. You grieve with us. You welcome our kiddos so well. You send them off so well. You send us scripture and encouragement.

Let's be clear. We could never do this without you. I look around at this life that I get to have. This life that you help me have. And while some days I wanna yank my hair out, there is some point EVERY DAY where I am overcome with gratitude. It might be when we are all sitting around the dinner table. Or when Matt and our new big kid are killing flies together in the kitchen at midnight. Or when I look through pictures of the last four years of ALL my kids. Or when I write a blog, detailing all the ways God used all of you to provide for and care for us. I am thankful every day.
So, thank you.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


I get tired of so many things in this life. Tired of the drama . Tired of the failures. Tired of the suspense and the not knowing. I tire of the trauma. I tire of the transition. I tire of case workers. Standards. Countless appointments. Of training's. Of the burden to educate others. Of the constant need. The tension. Heartache. Frustration. The feeling of running up hill through rapidly drying concrete. The stigma. The misunderstanding. The alienation that comes with being a different kind of family. But I doubt that I will ever tire of watching God chase after his children. I doubt I will ever bore of getting a front row seat to God ransoming his children and using our extra bedrooms and places at the dinner table to do it. I will never tire of watching in total surprise as the Creator of the Universe takes our brokenness and produces fruit with it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


"I am just ready to know, ya know?" said Kiki, my fellow trauma mama. She was referring to the status of her current foster kids' case. I laughed and responded and said, "Yeah, I know. I've been waiting to know for about three and a half years."
We both laughed and joked that maybe we were living the wrong kind of lives for that, for knowing. Because our families have been called into this ministry where we never really know. We never know who is coming or who is going. Or if, after they are gone, they are safe. Or if they are okay. And by "okay" I don't just mean fed and clothed and what not.
But these babies we love and send back out, are they gonna really be okay? In their souls, their hearts, in their spirits? Will they know Jesus? Will they know love? Will they finish school? Will they be loved? Will someone help them with math? Will someone teach them to tie their shoes? Will someone tell them how valuable they are every day? Or will they carry on a cycle of poverty, of drug addiction, abuse, or prostitution? But will they somehow rise above it? Will their parents rise above it?
Questions, mountains of questions.
Then, as soon as you know the answer to one, as soon as you know that one is staying or this one is going, you don't know something else.
Who is on their way to you? What are they going through right now? Have they even been born yet? Are they safe? Are they being neglected? Are they being abused? Are they living in a hotel? Are they living in a car? Are they hungry? Are they scared? Is there someone watching who knows something is wrong? Will they report?
Questions pulling trailers of questions.
I have been thinking lately and maybe foster care answers only one question for me. And that is: Is God or Is He not? I can say for certain since we followed Him down this road years ago that He is. So if He IS, which I believe, then He is also loving, caring, faithful, a conqueror, a savior, a friend, a redeemer, and a Father. HE IS.
Maybe that is the only question I need to be answered. I am not saying this from a place of being worry-free about Supreme Court appeals, the kids coming my way next, or the kids who have moved on, or the impact of all this on my sons. My flesh can spiral into the whirlpool of questions.
Something in my spirit says HE IS, and because HE IS, all of the other questions - no matter their answers or how they turn out, will be redeemed. I don't know much, but I know that HE IS...HE IS... And maybe that is the only answer I need.
At least for today.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Foster Care is My Haiti

I read this blog back in November and it so resonated with me. I think back to the girl I was, waiting by the window in August of 2009 for my first placement. I think if she had known where it was all gonna lead, she would have locked the door and lowered the blinds. I think if she had known just how tied her heart would become to a system that would pulverize it over and over again, she would have run. If she had known that she would learn more than she ever wanted to know about despair and brokenness, both her own and that of humanity, she would have made up an excuse or been too busy to answer the phone that day. If she had known how much sleep she would lose or how many breaths she would hold, she would have never agreed.

My plan was never to be a trauma-mama, or a mother-of-many. My plan was to adopt, preferably a baby or two -- I couldn't for the life of me figure out why God said foster care and not Uganda, or Haiti, or the Philippines. But it was loud and it was clear, and honestly, once we started down the road, we didn't look back, question, or consider much else. If that girl had known, she would have never agreed. 

I am so glad she didn't know. See, she was OK with the idea of laying down her life when she didn't know what it meant. She prayed: "Your will, not mine" without really counting the cost.

I hate foster care and I say that with deep affection for it. 

The grief and loss I carry from it is so heavy, but I wouldn't trade it. You see, the only way to trade it is to have never known or parented those six children who came through our home. To trade it is to not have my boys. The other night I was praying and talking to God about the waiting. I said: "God, I feel like I have been in transition for three-and-a-half years. Waiting. Waiting to hear about a placement, a permanency plan, a selection staffing, a hearing, a trial, an appeal. I have been waiting three-and-a-half years to move on with my life." 

Very clearly, I heard: "Beloved, this is your life."