Friday, January 30, 2015

My constant.

I woke this morning with this song going over and over and over in my head.  I haven't listened to it in months.  I love how God speaks.

I sat at my desk, kids in school (I'm the teacher) and the phone rang.

Children's Hospital.

Why is this surgery tearing me up inside?  Why is this so hard for me?

I honestly can't articulate the answer.

I don't know. All I know is tears are just a thought away.

The nurse called, told us what time to check in. Procedures.  Then stopped.

"Janice...? Are you ok?"


A quiet "of course, yes I'm ok"

"'s going to be ok."

"Yes, yes. Of course."

I hang up the phone blinking back more tears when I remember how I woke. This song. Yes. I need to go look it up and read the lyrics.

The sun comes up, the sun goes down
We're watching and we're waiting
The wind blows north, the wind blows south
Life is always changing
But You stay the same
God, You, You remain

You're my constant in the change
You are the color that never fades
Every season I go through
Is bringing me closer to You

A newborn cries, we say good-bye
Blink and life it passes
Chasing dreams, we break our wings
But we'll just keep on dancing
And You lead the way

You're my constant in the change
You are the color that never fades
Every season I go through
Is bringing me closer to You

Till everything falls into place
When we're standing face to face
Every healing and heartbreak
Bringing me closer

Then sings my soul out in wonder
Then sings my soul, You are the answer
Then sings my soul, I'm Yours forever
Then sings my soul out in wonder
Then sings my soul, You are the answer
Then sings my soul, I'm Yours forever

You're my constant in the change
You are the color that never fades
Every season I go through
Is bringing me closer to You

Till everything falls into place
When we're standing face to face
Every healing and heartbreak
Bringing me closer to You

And I smile.  Yes this season, too, is bringing me closer to my Savior.  And my favorite, the line I woke singing:

You're my constant in the change
You are the color that never fades
Every season I go through
Is bringing me closer to You

I need a constant.  So do you.  Life is crazy.  We never know what's around the corner.  But I do have a constant in all the unpredictable tomorrows.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


All afternoon and evening when I pause to think at all...the word that comes to mind is "weary".

I'm just like you. I'm emotional.  I'm hopeful.  I love my son more than you can fathom.  And I don't want to go through this hard thing. you...I don't have a choice.

Sometimes you pause and you just think..."I'm...weary."

And in my moment of reflection...I hear a sweet small voice.

"It's ok.  I can handle weary.  Remember...? I know you are weary.  I actually spoke of this..."

I stop.  Think.  Try to think.  And remember.

Yes.  Yes You did.

"Come to me...all you who are weary..."


Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

In an unfamiliar version of the Bible:

Matthew 11:28Amplified Bible (AMP)

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will [a]ease and relieve and [b]refresh [c]your souls.]



Weary and burdened. Needing that 'rest' I know He's talking about.  

In sharing this journey of my heart with so many of you I've seen the reality...that we are all walking through our own journey. Our own, individualized, hard...story.  

Perhaps you...too...feel weary.

Perhaps you...too...need rest.  Peace.  

Come to Me, he says.  Come. 

Then I hear the whisper of this song. I love when He whispers a song to my heart that I don't even remember the lyrics to...and I look it up and sit blinking through the tears. 


Please. Just take 4 minutes and click the link and watch it.  

If you are weary...broken...hurting...

I hope this speaks to your heart as it does mine.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Oh...February 3.

I just received  a phone call from Seattle Children's Hospital.

And somehow this total realist managed to completely block February 3rd out of my mind.

Until the phone rang.  And when the plastic surgery nurse hung up, I sat stunned.

I've been sitting here in an odd silence ever since.  Teary eyes. Stomach in knots.

Whether I count down or not...I can't keep February 3rd away.

Azlan's second bone graft surgery.  Yes he was only supposed to have one. But the first one, despite all of our attempts, had to be removed due to infection.

They will go into his right hip bone this time, take bone out and implant it into his jaw.  His gap is very very wide. Over an inch wide at the base of his nose. It's a lot of bone.  Every plastic surgeon that came in same the same thing with the same expression "we were not prepared for such a huge gap and a huge amount of bone to be used."

How have I pushed this out of my mind?  Was that the best choice?  I'm a realist. I deal with things head on.  Give me the facts. The pros. The cons. And let's go.  But this time...I've willfully chosen to just not think.  Surgery...? What surgery...?

As I was sitting here with teary hit me there have been other February dates I've dreaded.  I decided to look back at Azlan's blog.  February 4, 2008...was the day we found out Azlan was completely totally deaf in his right ear.  That was a day I'll never forget.

Going back the year before...February 6, 2007...was the date they took that perfect face and transformed him.  I will never, ever, ever forget that day. Or any of the emotions surrounding it.

Here we are. Years later.  February 3, 2015.  I'm dreading this day too.

And in my stunned silence...I hear that sweet voice whispering to my heart.

10 fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10.

I am with you.  Don't be afraid.  Hard things...? Oh yes.  I didn't promise otherwise. 

Then it hits me again. He didn't promise no hard things. He promised he would be with me IN the hard things.  Storms? Yes.  Pain? Yes. Heart ache...? Yes...Janice.  Yes. I'm sorry but ... yes.  BUT...wait for it...I'll be with you.  I will make you strong.  I will help you.  I'll hold you when you cannot stand.  I am with you.  

Christ alone...Cornerstone!
Weak made strong in the Savior's love...
Through the storm, He is Lord...
Lord of all!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Someone...not something.

January first, Tirzah asked me what my goals were for 2015.  Is this a child after my own heart or what? :)  I told her some of my goals and she smiled and said "that sounds great! I have a big goal this year. A few goals but one big one."  Intrigued, I asked more.  "Oh, I'm going to read my Bible this year. The whole thing. And...I've figured out a plan. I found out if I read four chapters a day, I can do it!".

Our conversation soon moved on and so did the calendar.

Today is January 26.

Each day I've seen her sit down and open her Bible with the horse on the front.  I've asked how it's going and she's smiled. I've heard that some of it is difficult but she's excited she's doing it.

Yesterday we had a little date. Her and I.  We shopped for a bit together but then... we sat.  And we talked over a smoothie.  No phones, no noise...just her and I.  She asked me again how God called us to Africa. And China. She sat there with that sweet, closed mouth smile the entire time.  She knows the story. She just loves hearing it.  

She told she feels God wants her to go to India someday. She said "you know, it's the weirdest thing. I can't shake it. I don't even WANT to go to India. I just can't get it out of my mind. I think a lot of people in India must need Jesus."

I told her I'd love to go to India. I told her my dream of going on a medical trip to help cleft babies with their surgeries.  She smiled.  Then suggested we go together sometime.  

In typical 11 year old fashion she then paused and said "I sure wonder how I'm going to get Marz (her horse) to India with me..." and went off dreaming about that process. And I sat staring.  At the wonder of her.  

And then...tonight, I saw this quote. And I loved it.  

Tirzah Liberty.  
You are a gem. 
 I can't wait to see the impact you have on the world. 
 I will love you forever.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Seeing the beauty in the crazy.

Dean and I were talking last night and saying how we can't imagine Izrael's life without Zihao in it.

She was 18m old when we brought her to China with us to adopt her new brother.  He was 3.5y.  He spoke no English. He was afraid (rightly so...he had just left everything he had ever known). Even then...they had a language that required no words.  They laughed. They played.  They bonded.

In the was just busy.  We had 9 children age 9 and under. Three with special needs. Doctor appointments, therapies, attachment issues...and everyone finding their new normal.

So easy to miss the beauty in the middle of the crazy.

But it was there.  Always.

Walking across the street and seeing Azlan go back and put his arm around Zihao asking how he was doing.

Izrael and Zihao bonding more each day.

Zihao learning what family really is.

Seeing Zihao's eyes filled with wonder at his new baby sister.

The inseparable bond he now has with Izrael.

Life is crazy. It always is.  Yours with one child.  Your friend's life with three children.  Mine with ten.

The beauty is always there...are we seeing it?

Today I took Izrael and Zihao to the pediatrician.  When we got in the elevator, Zihao looked at me and said " are beautiful."  I smiled and told him thank you. He looked at Izrael and said "Ray, you are too. You are very beautiful. I love your hair.".  She grinned.  "Sanks, Zee-ow.  I think you are handsome."  I may or may not have had watery eyes as I stood there smiling.  I leaned down and said "do you love each other?"  They both grinned. Zihao said "oh yes, she's my best friend."  Izrael said "yah. Me too."

I asked if she's his sister or his best friend. He stopped for a moment and said "No, Mommy...she's both!"

Don't wait for the crazy to pass.  See the beauty IN the crazy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Can you stay right behind me, Mama?

Every night when we put the little kids to bed...Izrael, 3 years old, says "can you stay right behind me, Mama?"

Every night, my answer is "of course, I'll be right behind you, baby girl."

She smiles and lays down in her little bed.  Her light goes out.  She doesn't like that. She doesn't really like the dark.  She's only three.  But she's not afraid.  Because...I'm right behind her.

Sometimes 5 minutes later, I hear a little voice call out "mommy...?"

"Yes, Izrael?"

"Are you still right behind me...?"

"yes, baby".


Usually in 5 minutes I can peak in her room and see her peacefully sleeping.

Every night, I smile.

Oh this is just like me.

I can't see Him.  But He's promised to always be there.

"I'll never leave you. I'll never forsake you, Janice"

Right behind me.  By the way...for Izrael, it means I'm sitting outside her room with my back against the wall. She can't see me. She just knows I'm there.  And in just the knowledge of my presence...there's no fear of the dark.

Right there.  But not visible.  Just a voice away.  But not touching her.

In the darkest moments of my life...I can feel my heart speak out "Jesus...? Are you there....? You are still there...right...?"  and in the silence..."yes. I'm right here. Janice...I'm right here." my 3 year old...would prefer to actually feel His arms around me. Not sitting just out of sight.

Could anything bad happen to her with me right around the corner? Not a chance!  No bad guys coming out of the scaries anywhere....nothing. Because I'm right behind her.  And she knows that is good enough.