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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hearts Toward Haiti

The day of the election, while our country moved on in its history, I stood at one end of my dining room table, Micah at the other, and we took another step in ours. We looked into each other's eyes and while we used different words, we spoke in unison. For the first time in a long time, I was vulnerable and open. He was resolute and firm. In the quiet spaces, hearts had shifted. Clay was being quietly, firmly molded and pressed, given over to the thought that maybe, just maybe, there may be more. ~ This seems a dramatic scene, but I assure you, it is this vivid in my mind. And sometimes I feel like I live in a novel. ~

We had prayed for a large family. God granted what we asked--- not in a way we could have dreamed or imagined but in a way that has and continues to direct our faces toward His love and grace. Micah and I have had the honor to love our five. They remind us every day that life is precious and in it, God writes beautiful stories that sing His love. They teach us more and more about His Fatherly affection, the forgiveness offered by the Son, and the nearness of the Spirit. We have had the opportunity to love more little ones beyond the five we see, even for such a short time. I am so thankful I got to know of them. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to love them with a motherly love. I am thankful to have the hope of meeting them again, when we all are whole. Until then, I find myself in the thick of it. There are dance parties, struggles, schoolwork, housework, conflicts, resolutions, tears, smiles, running, resting, failure, success, quiet, loud, and all that happens between. It seemed we had encountered a likely bookend to this season. Yet, there was always another thought. What if God would bring children once orphaned in different ways into this home? Our home?

Over the last few years, Micah and I have talked about adopting again.

((I am going to give you just a minute to gasp, or laugh, or whatever emotion that last sentence might evoke))

Until the last several months, we might mention it and laugh too, often with an eye roll. There always seems to be a little crazy in calling. I can't say I know what exactly has changed but something most certainly has. As the country was watching election results either reeling or rejoicing, he and I spent the majority of the evening reorienting our thoughts around what was happening much closer home. We were and are all in.

Adoption. Yes. International. Yes. Where would we be both geographically and circumstantially approved? Most importantly, where might a child or children live as orphans who we might call by our name? In just a few days, reckoning information, thoughts, feelings, desires, it was clear to us. The answer was Haiti.



As of right now, our home study has been approved. The piles of paperwork have aligned (with the help of an awesome social worker).

Since last November, God has given us hearts for Haiti; for its beauty, for its struggle. Micah had the privilege of visiting for a few days with an old Seminary friend of his. Many of the people there have great needs, as do we, but markedly and variably different. They also have great resilience. I try to follow the landscape of need, and am aware that there exists, sometimes in whole countries, a kind of desperation I do not know living here.

I am thankful that in the last few years, Haiti has come under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. It seeks to make children the priority and serve their best interests, limiting corruption and the exploitation of children. It addresses trafficking--- which is utterly evil. It affirms children given for adoption are true orphans.

We are praying for a child or two siblings--- opening our hearts for who might be on the other end of this. Part of our preparation has been learning as much as we can about the Haitian culture. We'd love to learn the language. It is our desire to honor their heritage and learn from them.

One thing I want to make clear, we are neither saving children or being saved by them. They will be a precious gift to us, as we hope we are to them. If there would be a child or children who would benefit leaving the home they have always known to come and live with us, we are available. We want to be their forever family. I know the people who live with me and they (as do I) have a lot of love to give, as we have been so loved first.

I am still struck by the gravity of what adoption means. It would be desirable for children to be raised by one or both birth parents and I am grateful to groups who help hold families together by helping provide the means for steady income. These orphan prevention programs are such a blessing to many families, particularly in countries where extreme poverty and the effects of major natural disasters are constants. Regardless of those efforts, and as I know well, there will still remain orphans because we live in the land of broken things. In recent past or even as I type, a mother and/or father are feeling the weight of caring for a child or children they cannot. The resources provided them aren't enough. Or, death separates. Whatever the circumstances, hearts are breaking. Lives have been or are being torn apart. This is where the need for adoption begins. The weight is necessary. It cannot be glossed over. It cannot be denied. We look to honor it and corporately remember the One who brings family together and promises to redeem broken things, us included.


So--- this is an invitation. We ask your prayers; for Micah and me, for our children, and for "Haiti babies" (as our triplets call them) who will, God willing, one day come to be with us.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

It Is Well

When law and life press in, I find the words I have sung so boldly meet the question, “Is this still true?” The gift of faith through grace affirms, yes. The theologian in me asks, “How can this be?” The Spirit leads again to Gospel, to the old road, to the Good News. It is the thing I quickly forget when flesh and heart fail. It is the most fleeting thought when I am sinking in sin or circumstance.

Day by day, new mercy by new mercy, the Lord continues to teach me. By word, sacrament, sermon, suffering, in holy community, my Father continues to gently remind that He is the One singing to me, in the person and work of Christ Jesus.

When peace like a river, attendeth your way.
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever your lot, I continue to say
It is well, it is well with your soul. 

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded your helpless estate,
And hath shed his own blood for your soul. 

Your sin, oh, the bliss, of this glorious thought
Your sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and you bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o your soul With your soul

It is well, it is well
With your soul. 

It is well, it is well
With my soul. 

Original lyrics: Horatio Spafford

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Year So Far in (Very) Quick Review

This has been quite the year so far. We traveled out-of-state twice in December, one in January, twice in February, Micah out of the country in March, and then he and I celebrated our anniversary this past weekend in east Tennessee. Writing has been something I have been planning in my head, as the days continue to roll along, amid the bustle of moving around constantly. I can't wait to share some of what has been ruminating on paper! I shall soon. I did want to give a quick, mostly-pictorial, update and share some of my favorite moments over the past three months. Enjoy!

Andrew--- strong, intentional, kind, competitive, intelligent.
Elijah--- passionate, reflective, compassionate, hilarious, imaginative.
Isaac --- curious, energetic, joyful, creative, agile.
Eliana--- affectionate, nurturing, observant, determined, tender.
Isabella--- independent, fun-loving, comedian, helper, genuine.

Elijah, the adventurer


This is why I can't get through my email...
The cat that we thought was Lexie, but is actually Leo! The vet made a gender mistake!
Five-year-old cuties
The triplets birthday celebration in Gatlinburg


With GG in Gatlinburg
With Parker and Chelsea, before braving the Alpine Coaster in Pigeon Forge
Home base, best rest
In Dallas, TX at Chick-fil-a Seminar
Enjoying a warmer day
Maple Syrup Festival, Salem, IN
Our outside pet, who visits every morning around 7
Cardinals vs Pittsburg
13th Birthday for Andrew (and one little girl who loves him very much)
Lake Tahoe under many feet of snow

Boy, have I been feeling the winter this year. The frozen ground, colors-sleeping, bone-piercing cold makes things more difficult for me. It makes my soul still and draws out the longing, the desperation, the unmistakable humanity. So much hard here. So much pain. Even my body has been determined to force the acknowledgment of weakness. Lent is the culmination of a season of feeling deeply my limitations. Then comes Spring. We have had a few, warm, teaser days but I feel so much anticipation as I keep peeking around the corner for the first hints of the bright display of intricate, interconnected art in Creation. I need the visceral reminders that what I experience today, while real and true, is not all there is. The hope of resurrection in Easter speaks into my still soul in a way that reminds me that in Christ, all things will be new. I wait to see it in my favorite flowers, taste it from the garden, emerge in soft grass, be whispered in warm wind, and all the while, pray to be encouraged by it once again.

It is also a change in season for our family. More to come;)