A WARRIOR will rise….

When I was younger, my cousins and I all got under-roos for Christmas one year. It was either that or at one of our joint birthday parties. Because when you have 18 cousins, you have one party a year not 18 million. Because really, who has that kind of time or strength for that much piñata hitting?

My mom still has a picture of me with my siblings in the fantastic underwear that somehow transformed us into superheroes. Because nothing quite says “save the day” like red and gold undergarments.

I look at that picture now though and realize that little girl had no idea of how strong she really was.

Last week I had someone ask me when I started to believe that I  really was strong. I wish I could have said about the same time that the infamous under-roos picture was taken. That then, is when I believed that who I was included the word strong. But if I am honest, it wasn’t until my late 30’s. It wasn’t until then, that I started to understand what strong was.

I had returned from my third trip to Africa years ago more broken than I had ever been. My mind had shifted and it was in fight or flight mode. I really did not know how to function. I thought it was the hardest battle I would ever have to face.

I think the first time that I believed I was strong, was actually walking into that emergency room and asking for help. Splayed out with nothing between my dignity and a paper gown I had to start believing then that I was something else. That I was a warrior.

They say that you become who you surround yourself with. So if you want to be a strong person you need to find strong people. If you want to be brave, find the broken.

I found the people that I wanted to be more like and spent time with them. I signed up for a personal trainer and realized that my body was stronger than I ever thought it could be. I also marched my ass back into therapy. Well, one because I couldn’t make sense of what was going on and two because I am a feeler. I feel everything all the time. I am basically a walking kitten, well maybe a tiger. A walking tiger who likes ice cream.

Knowing I was strong did not come overnight. I did not wake up one morning and ka-boom I was a warrior.

I was warrior all along. I just didn’t know I was.

We all are. We are all warriors. We have all  had battles that have left us tasting dirt. And we have had battles that have left scars that tell more stories than we had wanted. We have run through battles unscathed and some have taken parts of us with them. We have fought armies of those in front of us and some of us it is the battles of our past that keep us chained. Some of our battles are on the public front and everyone’s cousin knows our business, while other battles, sometimes the hardest battles, are those we can barely whisper about. Some of us battle alone because we fear that others will view us as weak.

Whatever the battle we face, we become a WARRIOR when we realize we were never meant to go to war alone.

The battles that have left us bloody and raw have only made us stronger because of those around us who carried us to healing.

It is then that we are strong.

 

I realized that I do not want my daughters to know that they are strong, that they are brave, that they are warriors when they are thirty seven.

I need to them to begin to hear it now.

As I hug my middle one before she goes to bed, I have started to whisper into her ear

 You are brave. You are strong. You are a WARRIOR. And I adore you.

It is a small thing.  A simple thing. One thing I know I can do. I can tell her who she forgot she was. Who I never knew I was.

And yet who we were born to be.

I have to hope that they will start to believe it before they are my age.

It is time. It is time to start believing that you are a warrior. And reminding the women around us who they are. Who they were born to be.

A warrior asks for help. She takes her medicine. She takes that class she was afraid of. She forgives. She encourages. She delights in others accomplishments. She makes room at the table. She feeds herself well. She tells the truth. She walks towards healing. She doesn’t create drama. She is a listener. She lifts other up without looking for any credit. She lets others go. She is loyal. She is strong. She takes care of herself. She is a servant. She comes closer to the pain. She speaks life into others. She takes responsibility. She sits with the sorrow. She grieves for as long as it takes. She feels all the feels. She celebrates the movement of her body. She delights in the sunshine on her face. She welcomes the quiet. She waits for God to whisper. She follows what sets her heart on fire. She lets others love her.

And most importantly…..she WILL RISE.

A warrior will rise.

I remember one morning, months after I had been home from Africa. I was doing all of the right things. I was taking my medication. I was going to therapy. I was eating only whole foods. I had given up the nectar of the gods, caffeine and I was exercising my butt off. But I still could barely move from the couch some days. I felt like life was happening around me and I would never participate fully again.

Until I did.

Until I let my body heal. Until I let my mind heal. Until I let those around me carry me out of the battle.

And then I would rise.

So sweet one, today if it feels like the weight of fear has you breathless. If the battle you face is too painful to utter off your lips. If your scars have been reopened for the world to see. Remember this…

You are. You always have been, a warrior.

And a warrior WILL rise.

Paper gowns and other realities of post-adoption depression

This is where it had all landed me. The months of torture I had endured all boiled over me that Sunday morning. And by Sunday evening I was being watched by a police officer. Not even a police officer. I think he was a security guard who had just graduated. So here I was all of my womanhood on display for someone still going through puberty who was probably more interested in twitter than keeping me safe. I was being monitored one on one so that I wouldn’t harm myself. My purse was taken away. My clothes gone.  I was left laying with a paper gown trying to plead with the doctor to not lock me up. I hadn’t shaved my legs or worn pretty underwear. My mother always told me to do these things. Although I am sure my mother never thought her daughter would be laid out on a gurney being evaluated by a psychiatrist that December morning. These are things that you think about and cry over when you realize that this may be the beginning to the end. My biggest fear was coming true. I was entering into a world I thought I would never return from.

I had had a “breakdown” years before when my car caught on fire with two of my kids in it. I was in a Starbucks drive thru and my toddler at the time started yelling “ MOMMY FIRE!” I turned around to the back seat to see flames coming up the side of the door at his feet. While the fire department came and put the fire out I sat and watched while holding my little ones. I had been alone for days as my husband was trying to piece his family back together in Ohio after his baby brother died suddenly. Nothing had made sense and I was losing it. After almost losing my children to dealing with the stress of a loss we could not comprehend I lost it. For two days I lie in bed heavily medicated and watched. My mother came to stay with me to make sure I remembered how to take care of myself and others. She made lists of things for me to follow. Brush your teeth. Make the bed. Pick up kids. The smallest things accomplished made me feel useful and needed.

But this is what grief and postpartum depression do. They take hold of your neck like a stranglehold and they continuously pull you down. They try to convince you that you will stay there forever. That your truth is the disease and not the overcomer. And here I was seven years later.

 I wanted to drown into the bed. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare. “Please” I am pleading with him just don’t lock me up. This doctor who looks like someone I know. Someone I would be friends with if I were not naked and covered in paper. In my head I am going over the possible scenarios.

I know what it’s like.

I do.

I know how they over medicate. I know that they will put me in a room and give me pills that make me forget who I am. I know they will feed me with sporks and my children will never look me in the eyes again. I know that people at church will find out. I know they say that church is a place for the broken. But only broken enough that a conversation will fix. Messy is not even the beginning to describe what is going on. They say that they will look past this and forgive me. But they won’t. I know.  I know when they find out the truth or the truth they want to believe and start gossip prayer chains. It will be so far removed from what happened that I will never know whose knife I have in my back. I  know that  I  will be looked at as the “crazy mom who had to be locked up”  “ The mom who couldn’t handle it” “ The one who fell off the deep end”  I  know how I  will never be the same. I will never be who I was meant to be. This is how you think when you haven’t slept in days and are naked on a gurney.

I lie staring at the blue wall pleading to God to show up. Of any moment in my life this would be the time for him to reveal himself. I was willing to take a vision. In middle school some of my classmates said they saw the virgin Mary at a sleepover I was at. They swore they saw her on the living room wall. Although we also believed we could turn potato chips into communion during lunch hour and serve each other as a priest who talked with a lisp.

But in this moment. I needed God himself to be real. I didn’t need the truth of a disillusioned catholic school girl I needed the faith of a girl who literally was at her rock bottom. I lie there crying, shaking.  Begging Him to be real. In this moment of all moments in my life I needed to feel Him. To hear His voice. To feel His arms wrap around me. I pictured myself at His feet barely able to lift my head clinging to His ankles. Begging for mercy to be tangible. For this one moment all I ached for was hope.

 

 

Eggs and Rice- living the truth of who you are

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When I was younger I remember my mom making scrambled eggs and rice with cinnamon on it a few times a month. It was usually when my dad was late at work or out of town. At least that is what I told myself. Yet as I have gotten older and become a mom to five hungry mouths every night I realize that may have not been the truth. The truth of which I believed is not the truth at that dinner table. The truth was more likely that these items were all that was left in the cupboards by the end of the pay period. The truth was is that it was easy to make and quite filling for a table full of athletes. The truth was is that she may have been so exhausted from working third shift as a nurse, driving all of us to school, sleeping a few hours every day and then picking us all up from school and to our events later that this was the best she could do. The truth was is that we were excited when it was “eggs and rice night” because we thought it was a treat.

Lately I have had this memory in my head and continually poking at my heart. What is my eggs and rice? What is my truth?

When is the moment when we decide to live truth filled lives? To embrace and stand in who or what we are?

I can count many times that I was asked out for coffee or a meal with someone and the whole time there my stomach would be turning because I couldn’t afford to be there. I had no right to even except the invitation. I knew that I would have to make the last fifty dollars in our bank account last until the end of the week not knowing how that was going to happen. Yet I was more concerned about saying no and looking foolish then living the truth of where I was financially.

This is an issue that comes up many times for me. I have friends who are let’s say a “bit better off in their bank accounts” than we are. My pride seems to creep in when I see them asking how they should decorate their houses on Facebook when all I can think about it how we are ever going to pay the heating bill or put food on the table next week. Yet when I choose to live and claim my “eggs and rice” and am honest with God. He shows up. In countless stories of “this could only be God” in our lives.

My “eggs and rice” weaves its way into every area of my life. For example my kids conferences at school were not Facebook worthy. In fact they were hard. To sit across from the teacher trying to figure out how we can intervene and help my sweet girls. I left in tears and called my best friend feeling defeated. My truth is that my child is not perfect and will never measure up to yours. My “ eggs and rice “ is that my teenagers are hard. I mess up with them all the time. I have given them more reasons to go to therapy than not to. My truth is that marriage is more than I can handle most days. I like to be alone and hate to be touched. My truth is that I made the mistake of loving my friends more and better than my husband for years. My truth is that I have an ugly jealous heart that needs to apologize regularly for not leading with grace. My truth is that I feared my father more than God in my life. My truth is that I went for years not apologizing to my sister and lost so many moments of memories because of my justified self- righteous attitude. My truth is that asking for forgiveness is so hard for me. My truth is that my PTSD kept me in bondage of fears that I could never utter out loud. My truth is that I feel overwhelmed with my daughter’s future. My truth is that I have a difficult time forgiving myself for my past that plays in my head all the time. My truth is that I sometimes hide when my kids come home from school because it’s just so hard. My truth is that I live in fear of my eating disorder rearing its ugly head again. My truth is that I don’t talk about international adoption because of the horrible things that I saw. My truth is I grieve daily that I can’t have any more kids because of my post-partum depression.

My truth is that my “eggs and rice” are messy. Yet I know this. God can take my “eggs and rice” and weave them into something beautiful and redemptive. He always does.

when Christmas sucked.

When all I could do was breathe. And breathing even hurt.

Last Christmas sucked. Just sucked. From the outside I am sure I gave the impression that everything was amazing. I had just returned home from Uganda with our newest son and we were one happy, send out Christmas cards to pretend we were, happy family. We lied. I lied. It was me. I lied to save myself. To save myself from all of you knowing that we were falling apart. And by we, I mean me. I was falling apart. I couldn’t breathe. It hurt too much. I cancelled Christmas. I literally cancelled going home for the holiday. I could not imagine being in a room full of people that wanted to love me. When I could not even stand the thought of a person hugging me much less wanting to talk to me. I could barely get dressed. I felt like if I brushed my hair and my teeth it was a productive day. People wanted to visit. It was torture. Torture to pretend that life inside our house wasn’t falling apart. Torture to pretend that I wasn’t broken. A broken mess of a mom not even trying to be a wife. I could not tolerate who I was or who I was pretending to be. It felt like my skin was crawling and I wanted to run away. But I was too afraid to even leave my own home. I became obsessed that something horrible was going to happen to me and my kids. And I thought that if I just removed myself from the equation that everyone would be better.

That is just the tip of the Christmas package of pain last year. Under many more months and layers of therapy we uncovered deep fears and anxiety that suffocated who I was for months.

So sweet one….I get it. I get that Christmas may be excruciating for you. That you just want to wake up and it all be gone. The expectations that others place on you or worse yet, those that you put on yourself will never be met. And it’s ok. It’s ok to be in pain. It’s ok to be lonely. It’s ok to say out loud that it sucks. That is hurts. That you can’t find the joy. That it hurts to breathe.

Just know that you are not alone. I get it. And I am sure if we were all more honest and didn’t send out “everything is sunshine and my life looks like Pinterest” Christmas cards, we could all start to breathe. We could all start to heal. And give each other grace that where you are this Christmas is enough.

The emptiness that screams….

There is this void inside of me. I think if we are honest with ourselves, we all have this.

I think I’ve always known mine was there. An emptiness that screams. Like me. Need me. Invite me. Laugh at me. Hold me. Notice me. Love me. Listen to me. Hear me. Believe in me. Trust me. Walk with me. Dance with me. Pick me. Don’t leave me. Want me. Fight for me.

When I returned from Uganda a year ago I came home with a chasm of emptiness. I am sure all that were there noticed it when I walked through the gates at O’Hare. Although I am sure it was masked by the fact that I was looking just so ravishing after traveling 26 hours straight with a child that was bighting me .

After being in Uganda for over eleven weeks and only released from the country because a certain large organization was called in, you could say I came home with some “issues”. One of the biggest issues was my overwhelming sense that I didn’t belong. I didn’t know how to fit back into my own family. I had left that role for so many months that my family didn’t even know where I belonged. And I had this devastating ache that I would not be able to ever reconnect with my friends. That we would never see things in the same light again.

It wasn’t until recently that I could voice exactly what that need was, I wanted to be heard. Really heard. But I couldn’t. I wanted others to understand the depth of what I had been through. I wanted them to see international adoption in the same revealing way that I now am understanding it. I wanted someone to tell me that they understood the deep pain that suffocated me. I wanted someone to realize that I missed out on three months of all of their lives and felt like I never caught up. I wanted someone to see that I was struggling to know what my role was in the home. The older kids had to be in charge so many times that they had a difficult time letting me be mom again. And here I was scared to be mom because I carried so much guilt around for being gone. I wanted someone to know that I needed to reconnect. And I didn’t know how.

In retrospect I know this wasn’t fair. To them. To me.

I wanted others to fill a deep longing. A deep pain. A deep fear that only Christ himself could heal.

This morning it was apparent I still have parts of the emptiness that are still exposed. I was feeling so alone and disconnected from others. I was drawn into the lie again that they will fill the emptiness that only He can fill.

So in the emptiness I will cling. In the emptiness I will heal.

In the emptiness He will make me whole again.

an open letter to those thinking about adoption…

If there is one piece of advice I would give to those thinking about adopting it is this.

YOU NEED COMMUNITY.

You need a group, a group, not an individual that will walk with you through this. And not walk away.

You need people in your life that will stand in your kitchen after you have returned home after being gone for three months and say “you’re wondering why you did this, right?”.  And loving you in the answer.

You need people that you can lay on their couch and cry knowing that you don’t need to say a word you need to just be.

You need people that will bring you meals and not try to hold your child or give your child anything. They understand that attachment is holding on by a thread.

You need people who get what the trenches look like. They are an ugly dark place filled with loss and grief.

You need people who give you space to feel what you need to feel.

You need people who will fight for justice for the orphan not their happiness.

You need people who will cover your house with prayer and pray the darkness away from you.

You need people who will stop and actually want to know how things are.

You need people who know what to do with hair, skin, rashes etc.

You need people who are in your corner no matter what.

You need people to shower you with grace when make a decision that you stand alone in.

You need people who understand that the health department and the social worker coming on the same day deserves a good cry and a latte, if not a bottle of wine.

You need people who are not afraid of the truth. You need people who fight for your family.

You need people who know what it’s like to try and collect bodily fluids out of your child is draining every last ounce of sanity you think you have.

You need people who understand that you cannot spank your child when he misbehaves. Knowing and respecting that this just sends them into a tale spin of shame.

You need people who realize that adoption can bring out the ugliest part of you. Parts that even scare you.

You need people who love you through your own tantrums.

You need people who understand that at least the first year you are in your own bubble of adjustment.

You need people who understand not to take things personally when you don’t return phone calls, much less remember your birthday.

You need people who except that your family looks different. You need people who celebrate that.

You need people who continually lead you to the great Healer.

You need people who want nothing but healing for all of you.

This is my prayer for you. That before you decide to bring another child filled with trauma into your home that you would have these honest conversations with yourself and those you love. That you would ask God to begin to heal the hearts and lives of those around you so they can be your people.

more elmo less emailing.-things I am learning from just being present.

Last night while riding in the car with my oldest she asked how she could be praying for me. Now before you go all “my kid never asked me that before! I can’t even get a full sentence out of my teenager!” You need to know that the youth pastor just minutes before had given all the kids an assignment that night to ask their parents the same question. And if they were too nervous or weren’t on the same spiritual walk as their parental unit that they could ask God to bless their household.

It wasn’t long after she asked that I knew what had been on my heart for a while now.

“To be present. With you. With all of you.”

I have a close friend who has five little bambinos. She has told me on numerous occasions that she does not volunteer for any projects outside of her home at this time in her life. And without even questioning it I completely agree with her. This sweet one has her hands full and then some. I have never viewed her as selfish or self -centered. She is basically the opposite. She pours her heart and soul into what is before her. That happens to be five precious blessings at her feet. In fact I would never think of asking her to head up a project or expect her to ever be on a team for anything.

A few days ago though the thought came to my head as I was dropping off my fifth child at school for 2.5 hours. I have five kids! No it’s not a surprise to me. I know how many kids I have. And although they are not all little they are still a lot of work. At times I think that having teenagers and toddlers at the same time is the ultimate parental test. Although the needs are different they still need me, the needs just come in hormonal waves. When I had one child I went to play dates, story times, watched Elmo, read book after book after book, and took naps. I did not volunteer to be any more than who I was. Yet now with five I seem to think that I can do all of that and take on any and every project that comes my way. While the projects may be good. I am learning again it is not good for my soul.And its not good for my families soul.

I have come face to face with the reality that I have limitations. I need breathing room. I need quiet time. I need to exercise. I need to lay my face on the floor before my God. I need to talk to my husband. And this is hard to do with the phone ringing, email sending, text answering life I have been trying to keep up with. I do not thrive on this. Others might. I don’t.

I need to do laundry. I need to clean the house. I need to prepare meals. Grocery shop. Make and go to doctor’s appointments. Sporting events. Concerts ( and yes that included the infamous recorder concert, don’t be jealous). Sporting awards. Mowing the lawn. Shoveling the snow. And try to catch the stupid dog that ran away again. Somewhere in there bring all the kids to school and remember to pick them back up again.

I need to be present. I crave it. To be all there. If I am not there and I am everywhere else I start to fall apart. I start to get anxious. I start to catch my breath. I start to get really ugly with myself and with others. I start to lose sleep. I start to forget things. I start to think that these other things are more important that the five little (some not so little) at my feet. So why is it ok for me to give grace to others who have multiple children and forget to look in the mirror and breathe grace in for myself?

It’s not. So I am choosing grace. Just grace.

this is why. (truth about what Christians did in the name of adoption….and why I don’t agree)

I know this topic stirs up controversy in the adoption world. I am not claiming that this is your story. This is our story. But do not think that it doesn’t happen. It happens all the time. And we believe it just makes the problems worse for anyone that comes after you in the adoption process. It only hurts the kids that are left because of our greed and American narcissistic demands. This is our truth.

There have been moments this past year when Jesus so gently has whispered to me ….this is why. This is why you needed to suffer. This is why your family had to be separated for so long. This is why you saw what you saw. This is why you needed to obey.

This past August we began the process of adopting our sweet boy stateside. Because he came from a country that grants guardianship with the intent of adoption, we wanted to begin the next process as soon as we were able to. We handed all of our paperwork and documents over to our lawyer who presented our case to the judge. On a beautiful day in Chicago we stood before a judge as a family of seven and knew without a doubt that this was the final step.

Yet three weeks later we received a phone call from our lawyer. The lawyer that was representing our son in the case was contesting the adoption. During the nine phone calls back and forth that Friday afternoon I felt like the floor was falling out from under me. Tim and I cried and prayed and set up a plan. We knew we could not share this information with our families. The past year had been a year of so much uncertainty and fighting for us, that we could not bear to put another burden on their shoulders. His lawyer was stating that with all of the publicity of child trafficking happening in Uganda our case would not be granted. She was certain that our case was the one that was going to help her “make a name” for herself. Our lawyer was furious. She had done her research . She knew our case backwards and forwards and knew that there was no room for argument. We continued to fall to our knees and just pray protection over our family.

In that moment Jesus again said….this is why.

This is why you were in Uganda for three months. This is why you waited so long for a passport. This is why I let you fall in love with the people of Uganda. This is why you saw others leave the country within weeks and had no idea why. This is why you were at the passport office watching as other “Christians” offered to pay off officials in order to “get out of there”. This is why, when you were asked to pay a significant person in the adoption for documents on your first week there, you immediately walked out of the room and never looked back. This is why you cried yourself to sleep at night after witnessing people tracking down officials and persuading them to do what they wanted, when they wanted. This is why you came home from Uganda knowing that you never gave a cent to anyone to obtain any part of the adoption. This is why you came home so angry and disappointed at what “Christians” will claim and do “ In the name of Christ”. This is why you lay awake at night so disappointed at what you saw unfold before you. This is why this story still brings you to tears and makes your blood boil. This is why when someone accuses you of anything illegal in your adoption you can hold your head high. This is why sweet girl. This moment. This moment is why. You obeyed. You may have had to be apart from the rest of your children for three months but this is why.

This moment when we knew we could go before the judge with a clear conscience and know all we did for Christ was obey.

This past Monday I came home from a weekend away to find a large envelope from our lawyer. In it was the final ruling of our judge. The judge had decided that what his lawyer was presenting held no merit.That our family was a family of seven. Our sweet boy is ours. Officially ours. Forever ours. This is why.

assessments.

This past week Ephraim’s teacher came for a home visit. The program that he is in for early intervention has it as one of their requirements that they visit the homes of their students. There is a higher risk of child abuse and neglect when the child has special needs or is labeled “at risk”. I was looking forward to her seeing how well he has integrated into the home environment. What I wasn’t looking forward to was the acting out that occurred the entire time she was here. He kept covering my mouth telling me to be quiet. He wanted her all to himself. He asked her to move in. It really was a highlight of my mothering career. My two other children home at the time then proceeded to answer the phone and play the bongo drums at the feet of the teacher. It felt like I was being taped for my own reality TV show on a network that no one would watch.

The report from the visit wasn’t what I was expecting. She mentioned several times how she was concerned how far behind he was. His language fluency as well as his social skills in comparison to his age was not measuring up. At first I was a little disturbed by her assessment of our sweet boy. And I wanted to say yes I know he is not at the correct developmental age. However, he is not even close to where he was a year ago. In this mama’s eyes he has come leaps and bounds from where he started from. And to compare him to a child the same age that was born and raised from birth with two parents in a first world country is just unfair.

Yet, this is how I compare myself. Daily I compare myself.

I love reading blogs. I am a bit of a blogaholic . There are blogs that I run across that I make a note to read later and then there are blogs that my smarty pants friends post and write that I learn so much from. But then there are the blogs that I follow religiously .They make me laugh and contemplate life and faith. For a long time though I only read adoption and mom blogs. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone in the struggle. But you know what I kept feeling? I am not good enough. I don’t homeschool my kids anymore. I am homeschool dropout. I must not love my kids enough then. I don’t make my own detergent. Therefore I must not care about the environment or the stench of store bought detergent on my children. My children also do not match. Like ever. I shop at thrift stores and clearance racks. That is it. So I must not care if my kids never make the GAP adds. I also am not a size 4. I think I was a size 4 in elementary school for a month or so but I will never be small. So that means I must not care about my health or how attractive I am to my husband anymore. I know this is not true. I do.

But this is what I do, I compare myself to standards that don’t make sense. They are not even in the same ballpark. Making assessments with women I don’t know. Trying to assess where I am today with women that I discovered are at least ten years younger than me. Here I am sitting in my self- examination pity party trying to mirror the lives of people that I have no business holding my worth up against .

I am basically telling God that where I am today is not good enough. That how far He has carried me . Emptied me. Healed me. Transformed me is not enough. And that is just not acceptable. Where I am is not where I’d like to be. But from where I was a year ago is only by His grace. And His grace is enough.

faithful.

Today was the National Day of Prayer. I didn’t stand by the flag pole or go to any ceremony of special significance. I instead went to be with some of those that have been instrumental in these past few years. Women who prayed fervently for me when I didn’t know what to pray. Women who prayed for our sweet youngest before we even saw his face. Women who get all the “adoption issues” and laugh when there is nothing left to do. On this day of prayer though I am reminded while scooping out buttered noodles for all of our little ones to eat, that our God is so faithful. Nothing like buttered noodles and a house full of little children from all over the world to bring the National Day of Prayer to another level.

I was reminded so clearly this past Sunday about how far He has brought me. It was four months ago that I was dreading going to a large gathering at church. I didn’t want to go; I was afraid to go. The people. The questions. The answers I couldn’t give. The eye contact . I would have rather just hidden in the ladies’ room all night and hand out towels than have an adult conversation. I dreaded anyone asking about adoption. Uganda. My life. My heart. All of it made me want to wear a sign on my forehead that said “now an introvert” or “too damaged; stay away”. But I went and made it through and begged God to start healing me.

And then He healed.

Last Sunday as we gathered for our church’s corporate prayer and worship services I stood with arms open wide ready to receive what that Spirit has in store for me. I was no longer crying the whole way there trying to conjure up a story as to why I couldn’t speak with anyone. I still didn’t talk to as many people. And I am ok with that. I know what healing feels like. I don’t know the exact moment it happened. It took weeks, months, and long nights. I do know what it is like to not be afraid to wake up in the morning. I do know what it is like to have God so intimately speak to me and show Himself to me that I only I could see it. I do know that it is like to lay everything down at His feet. I do know what it is like to speak the darkness out loud and it lose its power over me. I do know what it is like to bathe myself in Scripture day after day just to be able to breathe. I do know what it is like to ask for help. I do know what it is like to feel the hand of Jesus lift me from the pit. I do know what it is like to have people I have never met in person before reach out to me and just encourage at just the right time.

I do believe in a healing God. I believe that HE heals. I do also believe that we need to participate in the healing. That we need to be honest with ourselves and others; that we need to die to ourselves every day. I believe that part of healing is realizing that I needed to take better care of myself. I had been separated from my kids for so long and then came back in a depression that I no longer wanted to miss out on life. Part of that is knowing that God gave me this body and mind and I need to take care of it. It honors God when we take care of what He has given us. I do know that He heals. I have felt it. I have seen it. I am a product of it.


 

This song has been my anthem.