I used to love the saying, "All because two people fell in love..."
Our story, however, is better illustrated - "Because He first loved..."
Because God first loved us, I have an amazing, strong, faithful, tender husband who responds to the stirring of the Holy Spirit and has been able to look past our inabilities and trust God for his better plan.
Because God first loved us, I have two ever-present symbols of his faithfulness and redemption in my life.
Growing up I had a very acute relationship with God and prayed over and over again for God to use me in BIG ways. I wanted to live an extraordinary life. Time and time again, I received words from the Lord (directly and from others) that I would affect the Kingdom of God. One of the coolest visions spoken over my life when I was young was followed up with a picture I saw in a magazine several weeks later. I still have it taped to my Bible, today. This dark haired girl is holding a basket of gently-picked flowers to heaven. The preceding vision was that God gave me a new basket to fill every time I handed my harvest to him.
For most of my young adult life I thought my purpose and mission was to reach God's people in Africa. I had no idea that the true intent was children within reach.
Missions work was so much a part of my focus that when I, finally, convinced Ben to date me, I told him God's plans for my life and asked him how he felt. He continuously responded with, "I'll carry the suitcases."
[Love that man!]
When we were made aware of our infertility, a few years in to our marriage, we were broadsided. It didn't align with the extraordinary that I knew God has set me apart for. We prayed and screamed and begged God to do what my body seemed so resistant to do.
When the clinics and drugs didn't work, Ben and I closed the door to treatments and fell into a valley darker than I could ever describe. For months we cried and questioned and watched everyone around us have babies. Barrenness is a monster.
It's unpredictable and menacing and grips your heart so tight it nearly takes your breath.
As it turns out, I was not born to have babies...but I was born to be a mother.
Today, I am fully confident that God is able to heal my body to produce life...but, I understand why he doesn't. He needs us.
God needs families to say, "yes" when others can't...or won't.
In 2009, we adopted our sweet Tyrus through domestic adoption and have a wide-open relationship with his mom, Rebekah. He is my ever-present symbol of the faithfulness of God. His story is sweet and miraculous and easy to celebrate.
We were only a few months into parenting, when God started stirring our hearts toward foster care adoption. The statistics are heart-breaking and the sheer volume of children waiting for homes is crippling. We knew from the beginning that God was asking us to adopt state wards - children declared "orphans" by the state...children that all too often spend their entire lives spinning in a system that strives to do good, but produces devastating results.
In 2012, we brought a near-twin brother home for Ty and declared LJ the newest member of our family. His eyes were sad and cries haunting. He didn't smile or laugh or give in to tickles. Due to no fault of his own, our little boy had been robbed of the past that every child deserves. He is my picture of redemption. God has given him a new name and stamped REDEEMED over his life and file.
If you read through my years of posting, you'll find that our walk has not been easy, nor our hearts faithful. We are real people, facing real challenges, trying to trust God as we go.
When I look back and see all that has been in our life up to now...I see the extraordinary.
It's an incredible story and even better life... Thank you for reading.