Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Let's Go

I’ve always had a wall.  It was constructed in toddler-hood and over the years it has grown thicker, taller, more impenetrable.  While I’m the chief builder and designer, the devil has had his fair share in placing the stones, as well as people who never much liked me.  Even friends who were supposed to help me break though and destroy it have had a hand in its solid foundation.

My wall is stocked full of my insecurities, pride, and fear.  Every sin, every bad thought, every missed opportunity is one more inch, one more foot.  God is on the other side, and I lose sight of Him.  I try to knock down this wall on my own.  I try to be good enough, do the right things, but I fail again and again, ever second of every day. 

Whenever I think about what I should have done, and then what I shouldn’t have done, I place another rock on the pile.  I think about my past and I re-stack stones that had already been there for years.  My tears are the mortar and they obstruct God even more, so I continue to fortify the structure.

When Emmy was born, my deepest desire was for Him to use her to touch the world.  I prayed it before she was born, I’ve prayed it every day since her birth.  I pray it during my quiet time, I pray it as I kiss her at night before putting her to bed, I pray it before I sleep.  Use her, Jesus – use me! 

I’ll pray and I’ll feel Him peeking over the top of my wall.  I want to talk to Him, but even more, I want to hear Him.  His voice sounds muffled, and I get frustrated.  What am I supposed to do?  Where am I supposed to go?  There’s nothing I want more than to do His will.  But I’m such a mess.

Even worse than a mess – I’m a sinner.  The biggest one I know.

In the whirlwind of the media buzz, my God that I love with all my heart, answered my prayer.  He has used my daughter and has grown others closer to Him.  And He used my voice to tell her story. In the midst of it all, I got on my knees and I cried out to Him. I told Him about that wall and how much I hate it.  It’s ugly, it’s painful, it’s filled with bitter memories.

And as I sat there, envisioning the wall in my mind, it disappeared.  Just like that.  It was completely gone.

What I’ve learned is that the only thing that can keep me from being used by God is me.  That wall I can’t get through was torn down and ground to dust the second I asked Jesus into my life.  I continue to try to reconstruct the very thing He died to tear down.  

He’s not on the other side of the wall.  He’s right next to me, taking the rocks from my hands and taking them His own shoulders.  I’m forgiven.  And while I’ll never lead a sinless life, I will strive every day to do better, be obedient, and go where He leads.

Because He will lead.  And when we trust Him with our lives, nothing can get in the way.  The wall's gone!

So let’s go.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thank you

It's been a week of priceless highs with advocating for our Ds babies and seeing our former foster daughter. It's also been a week of tragic lows in our community with the murder of so many fellow Americans and the devastating death of a little boy. It's been tough to process. The common thread that weaves through it all is that Every life is valuable and worthy. And life is fragile.

There are so many people I need to thank for helping us get our message out there that people with Ds are precious and change our world for the best. I need to start with Kat Abianac and Parker Myles for starting this blazing fire!! You are awesome :) Amanda Dickinson, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful piece in The Mighty; Genevieve Shaw Brown, for spreading change so quickly at ABC; and for Jillian C Benfield with your follow up and wonderful advice. And I have to tell Jen Jacob how much DSDN has meant to me for all the support after Emersyn was born. Lastly, thank you to all my Rockin' moms and my amazing friends and family. It's because of all of you that we made a difference. 

In the good and the bad, remember that the the light will always drive out darkness. This sounds like an acceptance speech, which is fitting - I did win an Emmy! I love you all so much!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Perfect Will

I've heard it said that if your heart doesn't break when your foster child leaves, then you're not doing it right. We did it right :) 

 For those who knew us when we had the privilege of loving sweet "Love", I'd like to introduce you to Isabelle. Her mommy has an amazing heart to include us in her life, and I love her for it. This is a picture of how the foster care system can work. And it's a picture of God's perfect will.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

It's Only Just Begun

Dear Mommy,

Oh, how I wish I could sit in front of you right now. I would squeeze you tight and take a hold of your hands. I can see you so clearly and I’m weeping with you. Not because I’m sad for you, but because I know the incredible truth about your life.

It’s only just begun.

In the coming hours and days, you might be stunned, in pain, or completely numb from what you’ve just heard. You might cry, you might sob, you might feel like your heart has shattered. You might try to look into your child’s future and see only a blurry haze. You might be terrified, you might be angry, and you might even feel like your life is over.

But it’s only just begun.

I can promise you that your child has a grand purpose. They will light up what can be a very dark world, and make you happy when all else makes you sad. Your child has an incredible, individual personality with every ability to be smart and stubborn, sweet and hysterically funny, mischievous and dramatic. Your child has the potential to go to college, marry the person of their dreams, and grow others in mighty ways. As deeply as you’re wounded in this moment, your pain will be forgotten and you’ll wonder why you ever felt it in the first place. You will love your baby more than you thought humanly possible, and that love you questioned could exist will be the same love to rebuild your broken heart. And I can promise you - your child will only make your life better.

And it’s only just begun.

It’s only normal to grieve and cry and hurt. But then forget what others might think, forget whatever you might have heard, and know that your child is absolutely perfect. I can tell you these things because I once sat exactly where you are. I heard the negative, but no one told me the positive. No one told me how much brighter my days would be with my daughter in it. No one told me that once she was in my arms, I would smile bigger, laugh louder, love better, and see true beauty in the faces around me. No one told me that my compassion for others would expand my world and reach deeper, higher, broader. No one told me that my friends and family would be changed or that my little girl would bring so much joy into their lives. I wish someone would have told me that my dreams weren’t over, but those dreams were only going to be exponentially bigger, happier, and more fulfilled. I wish someone would have told me truth about my life.

It had only just begun.

So as you process the words of the doctors and specialists, my greatest hope is that you can know the truth and feel that love even now as you child grows within you. Your child’s life has already changed the world.

And it’s only just begun.