she wanted a sister

josh and i have always said we didn’t want our story to end with our infertility and adoption.  we wanted the story to continue after our kiddos came home.

we also have continued to tell the Lord we know our lives aren’t ours, but that they belong to Him.  we want Him to use them how He sees fit.  we want Him to break our hearts for what breaks His heart.

we have a daughter who has always wanted a sister.  always.  she’s casually mentioned it for years now.  i’ve always told her to pray about it,  to ask the Lord to make mommy’s body be able to have a baby or to call us to adopt again.  a few months ago i wondered if He was using her desire for a sister to prompt us to pursue another adoption. i asked Him,  “Lord, would You give her this desire to prompt us to this?  to pull our hearts this way?  would You use the heart of our little girl to lead us?”  after much prayer and conversation with josh and as a family, it turns out we are again being called to adopt.

our hearts continue to be broken for orphans.  we cannot look at our three children without recognizing there are more children out there just like them.  children that need a home. children that need a family.   we have a home.  we are a family.  that’s what’s needed, and we have it.

we are in the very beginning stages of the process having recently made contact with children’s services.  an information packet arrived in the mail today!  at some point over the next couple of days i will have read every word in it several times.  we are excited!

and honestly, we’re also scared.  we have no idea what is to come.  we’ve become comfortable here with the five us.  it works.  most of the time it  works really well.  there’s part of us that doesn’t want things to become uncomfortable.  but we believe following Jesus isn’t about comfort.

i’ll be writing about our journey regularly.  we’d love to have you join us by reading along.   and will you consider praying for us and whatever is to come?

in Jesus’ name…

because Jesus really is the answer

friday was horrifying.  it happened.  yet, it’s unimaginable.

i’m behind on my Christmas decorating.  it took us two and a half weeks to get the tree fully ornamented.  i can’t find our stockings.  i just put up the nativity saturday night.

i turned on the news right before i went down to the basement to gather my garland and nativity set.  people say to turn off the news.  us tuning in sensationalizes what happened.  it’ll make other people want to do the same thing.  well, the media will report it whether we watch it or not.  it’s what they do.

i left the news on.  i could hear the stories, the speculations.  there was mention of emilie parker.  i jumped online to find a short video of emilie’s dad.  he’s hurting, i’m guessing the depth of pain he doesn’t even know yet.  but, he’s kind.  he’s loving.  he’s gracious.  he speaks of his daughter, acknowledging that the way she lived wasn’t because of anything special he or his wife had done, but because of their Heavenly Father.

i continued to work on our nativity.  i paused every few minutes to get a glimpse of the heartbreaking images.  the crying parents.  the running children.  the confused law enforcement officials. was there reporting about the massacre?  yes.  does it deserve my attention?  no.  but do you know what else was reported?  love.  hope.  Christ.  God.  those are things i don’t want to miss.  those are the things the world needs to see.

where are people going for comfort?  to church.  and who meets them there?  Jesus.

i unwrap the shepherd.

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i unwrap the wisemen.

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i unwrap joseph.

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i unwrap mary.

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i unwrap the donkey.

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i unwrap the manger.

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i unwrap Jesus.

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He was promised.

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord—
 and He will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes,
or decide by what He hears with His ears;
but with righteousness He will judge the needy,
with justice He will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth;
with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be His belt
and faithfulness the sash around His waist.”
~Isaiah 11:1-5

“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future He will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan—
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before You
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as men rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
You have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a Son is given,
and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over His kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.”
~Isaiah 9:1-7

He came.

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,because He will save His people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
~Matthew 1:18-25

He’s here.

Emmanuel, God with us.  the Word, made flesh.

only Jesus can bring peace, true peace.  only Jesus can administer justice, true justice.

turning off the tv won’t keep bad things from happening.

there is evil in this world.  we are in this world.  Jesus came to save this world.  Jesus came to save us.

Jesus really is the answer.

no advent last night

we didn’t do advent last night.

we live real here.  and josh and i had a real argument.  in the kitchen.  and two kiddos were in the dining room making comics and the other kiddo was on the couch.

it started during dinner, when i started reading for advent.  i felt like i was the only one in, the only one focusing.  i asked every one to join me, to try to pay attention to the words.  they’re important, what we’re doing is important.

i mix up my words sometimes, combining the first few letters of one word with the last few letters of the next word.  or vice versa.  sometimes it’s funny.  sometimes it scares me.  sometimes it’s like i’ve created a new word.  a sort of compound.  and honestly, life could possibly be easier with this new word because it will eliminate the need for the original two words.

so, i mixed up my words.  i caught myself before they came out completely, but it was a funny mix-up so i had to explain.  i was trying to say this, “God’s heart for His people never changes”.  but what almost came out was this, “God’s fart”.  see that, the combining of heart and for = fart.

we all laughed.  (and i always think it’s good to point out my word mishaps to my guy who sometimes has some word struggles of his own.)  then we calmed back down and i continued to read.

the boys just couldn’t seem to fully regroup after that.  there were lots of giggles.  lots of me feeling like i was on my own in this advent thing.  so i behaved in a really mature way, and i left the table.

a few minutes later, josh and i started a conversation about what happened.  the discussion turned into an argument.  i shed some tears(of course i did, i always do.  i’m super emotional.).  and about thirty minutes later, we were done.  we apologized.  we hugged.  we emerged from the kitchen, two of our kiddos still making comics, our 7 year old asking why we can argue but he can’t.  he thinks it’s not fair.

and our kiddo on the couch was crying. josh picked him up to hold him and found out he didn’t like that we were arguing.  he couldn’t say why he didn’t like it, just that he didn’t.  mind you, we weren’t yelling.  we weren’t saying mean things.  we were just hashing things out.

after josh held him for a few minutes, i pulled him into my arms.  we sat on the couch and i rocked him and rubbed his back.  he told me he’d tell me why he was so upset but that he didn’t want anyone else to hear.  he was so upset because he was afraid josh and i wouldn’t like each other anymore.

i assured him that wasn’t the case.  that we like each other and love each other very much.  that we made a promise to God that we’d always be together until He takes one of us Home.  and then i showed him our wedding video, the part where we made our vows to one another.  the part where when josh said for richer or for poorer, i laughed because i thought about him saying for richard porter at our wedding rehearsal the night before. his eyes lit up, seeing us holding hands and sharing our love.

since the Christmas tree has been up for a week, we decided to do a little decorating.  tears went away and smiles returned.

so we’re one reading behind.  but, we’re a little ahead in the loving and learning department.  in living real life and working it out.  in fighting for this marriage and family created by the One whose birth we celebrate during the season of advent.

 

the beginning of advent

advent |ˈadˌvent|
noun [in sing. ]
the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event

we started our advent readings tonight.  stopping to take a closer look at the notable arrival of the Christ child.  as the house begins to glow with Christmas lights, our jesse tree sits in a corner of our dining room, waiting to be adorned.  last year we started using ann voskamp’s jesse tree advent devotional.

i forgot it starts november 29th so we had three readings tonight.  i forgot how much i love it.  i forgot how much it sweeps me into the story of our Savior’s birth. of how He came.  of why He came.  i forgot how much it touches my heart.  of how it brings tears to my eyes and a quake to my voice.

each of our children took a turn reading.  each bringing us closer to the day of Jesus’ arrival.  Jesus, our salvation, with skin.  and flesh.  and bones.  Emmanuel, here with us.

we anticipate the celebration of Your arrival, Jesus.  we make room in our hearts for You.