Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Day!

We had a great day, today, with family!

This year it was really special helping the boys understand why we celebrate Easter. We started talking about it a few weeks ago and then their wonderful preschool teacher emphasized what we were already going over at home.

One day Ty came home and said, "Mom, why did that man Judas want to see Jesus hurt?" It opened up a window of conversation about the evil  that exists in the world (especially greed).

The boys seemed to really grasp the purpose of our celebration, as much as their four year old minds would allow. At church, they made these special resurrection treats, for the purpose of symbolism. Jesus was representative of the marshmallow tucked inside the folds of crescent roll (his tomb garments). They put "Jesus" in the oven (tomb) and, later, when the checked the rolls for Jesus, he was gone...

The teacher had led me through the activity. When we left the classroom, I said, "Boys, what a cool way to tell the story of Jesus' resurrection. Where did Jesus go when you checked the tomb cloth?"

Ty looked at me, wittingly, and said an exaggerated, "Moooom....that marshmallow melted. It wasn't Jesus!"

Smarty pants.

It is such a privilege to watch my boys discover faith. Of all the things Ben and I do with them, teaching them to love the Lord with all their heart, mind, and strength is the most important.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I want to give a HUGE thank you to all of you that filled out my Facebook survey; I had nearly a hundred responses! Your feedback is extremely important to me, as I sit down to write my book. I have always wanted to write a book, but I have this "thing" about writing. I only write when my heart is burdened to write. This urge will come over me, almost like an unquenchable thirst...and it doesn't leave until I've pounded my thoughts out on my keyboard.

I told God I would write our story, in book form, when he gave me an urgency. Right after Ty was born, I thought my heart would explode with words, but the urgency was never present. I felt it for the first time, however, last November. Since that time God has opened the door and flooded me with thoughts and contacts and people willing to edit.

I am really excited!

This survey was important because it helped give me a taste of why my readers connect with our story...and what they want to read. The open-text box answers were the most fun to read through and although not all the questions will make it in my book, many of them will! Eventually, I will add the rest to the FAQ section of this blog.

Thank you for standing with me over the last five years and allowing me to share our story and struggles, so openly. My life wouldn't be the same without you....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fresh Perspective

I'm back, friends!

I had an incredible week with the Lord. I wanted to blog through my fast so that I wouldn't forget any details, but I stayed committed to my word and settled for writing in a paper journal. I went into the week with five burdens. The first night, I opened in prayer and laid out the cries of my heart, asking God to direct my time. Interestingly enough, I ended up spending all of my time on two areas, trusting God to take care of the other three!

There is too much to share in one night, but I want to start with LJ.

In the last couple of months we have really struggled in parenting LJ and I went to the Lord with great expectation. I was desperate for revelation.

Out of the blue (well before our trip to Colorado), LJ started acting up at school. Every week were getting consistent reports. He was extremely defiant with his teachers and was spending a lot of time outside his classroom. Ben and I were shocked because LJ is never defiant with us (no exaggeration).

When we left for Colorado, LJ was staying with our best friends. He did great, but fell right in sync with his friends and started calling his Aunt Meme, "Mom". My heart wept. I wasn't upset on a personal level, I was broken over the fact that even after a year of living with us, he still harbored so much insecurity.

A couple of weeks ago, I came home from work and could tell that LJ was battling inside. I got down on my knees, cupped his face in my hands, and said, " you know that Mama will always come home to you? Do you know that I am your Mom forever?" Tears streamed down his face and we sobbed, silently, together. I held him tight for a long time and smothered him with kisses.

I had been praying about what to do, with no definitive answers. One night, Ben and I were laying in bed and Ben poured out his heart to me and shared what God was doing in his prayer time. It was one of those conversations that left me in awe of God's goodness in bringing me such a good man. We decided that night to change our parenting approach. At the crux of it, we understood that our boys were different, but in times of challenge, we seemed to slip into our experiences - using tools that worked for Ty.

But, they weren't working for LJ...

We are big on the love languages theory by Dr. Gary Chapman. LJ's love language is, unmistakably, touch. A close second is words of affirmation.

Ben led our decision to flip our discipline style and smother LJ in love. Oozing, over the top, genuine, heart-on-our-sleeves, love. It's not that we weren't loving before, but we made a plan to be more intentional.

On my first night with the Lord, I prayed for creative solutions in reaching LJ. The more I prayed, in the weeks leading up to my fast, the stronger I felt that I was the missing piece to LJ's full security. Our relationship has grown so much over the last several months, but there is still a disjointed link...I can feel it at the gut level. I represent failure in his life. Every mother, before me, failed him.

After a wonderful night in prayer, I woke up with a song on my heart...encouraged that my time of fasting was feeding my soul. I dropped the boys off at preschool and on my way out a woman asked if I had a minute to talk. I knew her as the grandmother to one of the girls in my boys' class. I had told her some pieces of our story at one of the school parties and found that her and her husband had fostered many kids over the years.

I must have told her that LJ is still struggling with insecurity and bonding to me. She said she had been thinking about it a lot and invited us out to her horse farm. She went on to explain how healing horseback riding can be for children and talked about the significance of having me walk alongside the horse as LJ's spotter. I was mesmerized listening to her talk about the trust and companionship that is created between the horse, child, and spotter. We agreed to get together as soon as the cold weather breaks.

I walked to my car with tears in my eyes, thanking God for his faithfulness. The night before, I prayed for a creative solution to help heal the wounds in LJ's heart, and God delivered. I don't believe for a minute that the connection with this woman was coincidence.

During night two, I felt compelled to continue praying for LJ. I spent hours reading my Bible and crying out to God. Half way through, the Holy Spirit led me to the boys bedroom. I spent time on each bed, laying hands on my sweet boys, covering them in protection and peace. I prayed, specific, prayers for each one and focused time on the gifts and talents I see in them, asking God to grow them in Truth. I prayed for their friendships and wives and callings in life.

I went to bed with an ultimate high. We have laid our hands on our kids and prayed for them before...but never like this. Never when they were sleeping, never with such fervor.

The rest of my week didn't disappoint. God met me. Every day. I have a fire burning in my belly. My outlook is fresh, my strength renewed.

And I fell madly in love with my kids. I have always loved them, but this is different. God allowed me a peak at his heart for my family and my heart nearly burst at the discovery.

My sacrifice of time was more fruitful than I could have imagined.

I look forward to sharing more in the weeks to come.

Friday, March 8, 2013


A new chapter is ready to begin.

God has brought me to the edge and asked...are you ready?

A conversation happened in November that sparked a flame in my heart. I'm usually not a "let me chew on it" kind of girl, but, this time, the Holy Spirit quickened my heart to wait...and listen.

Over the past few months, God has, distintcly been pointing out areas of my life that need serious prayer. Not the shotgun to heaven, fast and direct, kind. No. The lay prostrate, gut-driving, tongue-talking, don't-get-up-from-the-ground-without-answers kind.

Because the only time that is truly "mine" is after work and the boys' bedtime, I have had to wait for a period where I could set aside a week to fast. Not a food fast, but a time fast. Next week is that week.

I committed to give every night to the Lord. No TV. No phone. No music. No Internet. I can only give of my time...and I'm going to give it all. With only a Bible and notebook, in hand, I am going to pound on the door of heaven and seek the face of God for my family.

I admit that I am equal parts anticipation and nerves.

I know God will meet me...what will He say? Am I ready?

For months, there has been an offering basket at the altar of my heart and the Holy Spirit has directed me to place items in the basket.

In November, it was publishing our story. In December, it was the sanctuary we are seeking in buying a new house. In February, it was LJ and Ben's career. And, just today, Baby Mia (LJ's sister).

I'll elaborate more on the others, later, but I'll spend a few minutes talking about little Mia and why God's voice on the matter is crucial.

Today, I received two calls from LJ's G-Mama. We haven't talked in months.

The first call was less than 20 seconds. "Rebekah, I don't have time to talk, I just need to know the name of LJ's sister. The one you want to adopt. I need to nose around."

Two hours later, she called back.

If you've spent any time around foster care, you know information is hard to come by and when you have it, it's unreliable at best. The last I heard, Mia's parental rights had yet to be terminated, but would most likely be heading in that direction. I also heard that there were three interested parties, as far as adoption goes. Her foster mom, one of the other adoptive families with two of LJ's siblings, and us. I was told on the day of LJ's finalization that we would be contacted if an adoption family was needed (the case worker would be responsible for choosing the best fit).

G-Mama is fostering a special needs child and has a new case worker in her home. That case worker also happens to have Baby Mia's case. G-Mama nearly pounced on her for information and asked about our place in line for adoption (termination will be determined in April). The case worker had never heard of us.

(I immediately called our case worker who noted that the case worker she had talked to was promoted several months ago to supervisor and then, recently, left the agency. Transferring important information to and from case workers is too much to ask, in our experience).

My heart lept at the phone call, but I forced myself to stay neutral. It would be too easy to assume God's plan at the chances of G-Mama connecting with the very case worker of the little girl that is a mirror image of our son, that we so desperately want to bring home. I've been down that road before and exerienced heartache.

God's ways our not always mine....boy, have we seen that! And as much as I long for all the answers and easy paths, I do not want to step outside of the story God is writing. Mia has a biological family member that is also interested in adopting her. She might be part of their story. There might be a sibling group, right around the corner, that needs to be a part of ours, instead.

I am desperate for the face of God. There is an urgeny in my heart over the offering that I plan to bring next week.

I just finished reading Sarai and Abram's story. They were faithful people - dependent on the Lord's direction. God told Abram that he would make him the father of many nations DECADES before actually doing it. While waiting, they got antsy. They took matters into their own hands and messed with God's plan. We can see the effects of their error, today, through the nation of Islam. Their story is so moving, because what Sarai did was, culturally, acceptable. When a woman was barren and could not produce an heir, it was customary for her to give a handmaiden to her husband for reproduction. Hagar did not go to Abram in scandal. On the contrary, Abram and Sarai talked themselves into believing that God's intention was to be faithful through Hagar. They were wrong.

How, easily, we, too, slip into the routine of life and misinterpret God's plans for us?

I'm eager for this new chapter...I see the dripping ink and unrolled scroll. I don't want to misstep. I pray for my fasting week at every chance. I'm praying that God prepares my heart. That my mind will clear and my soul will listen.

I am ready.