Sunday, April 26, 2015

I recently finished reading the book "Kisses From Katie". Wow. This is the kind of book that lights a fire inside of me and inspires to me to hand my life over to God in a completely new and radical way, allowing Him to use me in ways that are far bigger than myself. It's also the kind of book that drives me to better love the people of this world, especially the least of these. It makes me want to find homes for every child without family so that they don't have to go to sleep another night without having a mom or dad tuck them and kiss them goodnight. It's the kind of book that reminds me that I don't want to live complacently and comfortably. I want to be stretched to live more like Jesus, even when it's scary and hard.

Katie went to Uganda at the age of 18 on a short term missions trip. She decided to follow what she felt God was calling her to do, and return to Uganda long term. By the time she was 22 she was a single mother to 14 daughters whom she was in the process of adopting and serving far more children and families through sponsorship programs that provided money for children to attend school, basic healthcare, hot meals, hot showers and Bible studies. I find her to be truly amazing and inspiring.

I also have to be careful when I read books like this because it gives Satan space to leave my feeling as though what I am doing right now is inadequate. It makes me want to pack up my whole family and return to a developing country even if that is not our calling right now because surely what we are doing here isn't "enough". Even Katie admits that she doesn't feel as though she is doing something extraordinary, but it looks that way for those on the outside looking in.

 I have felt for so long that there was a hole in my heart. Since becoming a mom, I truly feel as though this is what God has been calling me to be my whole life. I may not have 14 daughters, but I have two amazing sons that I have been entrusted with raising. What an honor! I also have been given the opportunity by God to become a massage therapist where I am able to pray that God will use me as His hands when I am working and literally laying hands on my clients. Now I am working at becoming a doula where I have to opportunity to be present for the birth of new life into the world and love and serve women in that important time in their lives. God is using me and I have to remember that what I am doing right now isn't inadequate. In fact, being a mom is the most important job I have ever held and will ever hold and the other jobs can have a profound impact when led by God.

Katie and I in many ways found ourselves at the same crossroads, which is maybe why this book strikes such a cord in my heart. I had the choice to go back to Bolivia or stay in the States and get married. She had the choice to go back to Uganda or return to the States and get married. I chose marriage, she chose Uganda. It's easy to wonder what would have been if I had chose Bolivia, not that I feel that I chose wrong, just to wonder what would have been if I had chose different. The great thing though, is that God can use all of us in any circumstance and any place. Because I chose marriage, God called Elias and I to West Africa, a place that will forever hold a piece of our hearts. And of course, more recently he called us to adopt, not one, but two babies and he opened our hearts to special needs.

I have no idea what the future holds, it may include returning to the international mission field or it may included serving God right here in our little hometown. It may include international or foster care adoption of an older child or it may not. All I know is that I want to be ready and willing to serve God however and whenever He calls and to love others with reckless abandon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My sweet boys turn one

Today I celebrate the bittersweet day that my sweet baby boys turn one.  I can hardly believe that a year has already come and gone. I look at my little boys and I notice that they are starting to look just like that, more like little boys than babies. Lucas is everywhere and into everything, this is little baby-toddler hybrid that is soaking up everything like a sponge. Even though I would never want to see my child struggle, I am in some ways thankful that I get to keep Asher like a baby a little while longer as developmentally he's more like an 8-9 month old. I love watching my boys grown and develop, I celebrate and rejoice in every new milestone. I am so honored to be their mama.

This year hasn't been easy, but unlike most challenging years, the challenges aren't what stick out in my mind. Rather, the joys are what I remember most vividly. If you would have told me that I would feel this way in the first three months of their lives, I would have laughed or maybe even cried. Those days felt so hard! I was more tired than I could have ever imagined being, but I was also so in love with these two helpless little beings that wanted and needed all of my time and energy. But each month got at little easier and presented itself with new unique challenges. And each month I fell more and more hopelessly in love with my sons.

On this day, I am so excited that they are turning one and all they are doing, but I am also sad to know that this may have been my one and only year of being mommy to a baby. Being a mom to a baby is such a sweet time. At the same time, I am so thankful that I got do to it two times over and if I never do it again, the time I had is more than enough and more than some far more deserving than I get to experience. What did I do to deserve such blessings? It's almost mind boggling how fast one year of pure joy can pass when one year of pain and grief can feel like an eternity.

Today I praise the Lord with my whole heart to have been given this gift. I praise Him that he brought Elias and I to Katy and her family. That He changed and softened our hearts to accept the children that He chose us to parent and that He has entrusted us to raise them.

Oh, sweet boys. I cannot put into words my love for you. I am so unworthy of the gifts that you are to my life. I pray that God will lead me to be the best mom that I can be and everything that you deserve. It is truly a privilege and and honor to be called your mom.

"I'll like you forever, I'll love you for always. As long as you're living, my babies you'll be."