Friday, July 31, 2015

I can't keep silent.

Like many of you, my heart is absolutely broken over the recent news of Planned Parenthood.

I have watched each awfully-worse-than-the-previous-one video and felt like the air was being sucked out from my lungs as I did.

Oh...how far the mighty have fallen.  The once great nation who's motto was "in God we trust" has so quickly become "God have mercy on us!"

Right. Before. Our. Eyes.

To watch the fourth video of top Planned Parenthood officials discuss their dissection of human fetuses for sale of their individual parts has left me...broken.

Hearing the crack of a tiny skull and the laughter in the room as each limb was pulled one by one...even the exclamation of "its a baby!!!" and "another boy!!!" contradicting their own supposed belief that it's not a baby and nothing but tissue, yet she all but named him in her witch hunt.

I've been thinking a lot about this.  Do I boycott the businesses that support such a genocide? Do my purchases really have an impact? Is that merely a response in anger that I'm not strong enough to really carry out and stick with? I mean...Starbucks???

A friend and I were just talking about children being bullied. In her and my family if your non-bullied children stand by silently as one is bullied and does not tell an adult...they get disciplined.

I picture myself standing before God and as if with a smile on my face that I didn't support that...and being reminded that I did. I knowingly supported those businesses (as to not inconvenience myself...) that I knew were avid supporters of Planned Parenthood.

Yes...I know they do good things.  But their free pregnancy tests offered and other services to women does not wash their hands of the blood of millions of babies.  It's kind of like a defense attorney standing in court, saying how this serial killer and rapist serves the homeless every Saturday. That would leave me scratching my head...but would not leave me with one consideration that indeed his actions were justifiable because he does some good things.

I have lost 3 children.  When I say something about our ten children, one of our kids will say "13 you mean..." and every time I look at them confused until they remind me there are 3 waiting for us in Heaven. Oh...the veil between here and there is so thin for them.  They talk about it like they can see it.  Oh to have faith like a child.

The first pregnancy I was 5 weeks pregnant.  The grief was so extreme that Dean took a week off work. There were many days he helped scoop me off the floor and got me into the car and we just drove.  To try to find beauty again.  The hopes the dreams that died with that precious child.

After Azahria, before going to Africa the first time, we lost another baby.  I was over 7 weeks.  I will never ever forget waking in the night so many times that I started to cry. And every time I woke, I noticed I was singing "Heaven is the face of a little girl..." by Stephen Curtis Chapman.  Finally I begged God to tell me in the morning so I could sleep. I was just stepping into the shower and I collapsed to the floor in sobs. I remembered the night before. And I knew. I knew two things.  I was having a little girl. And she was about to see Jesus.

Two days later, with no physical warning at all, I miscarried our baby.

I went to Africa, came home, and prayed, sought medical help etc and was so excited that we were expecting again.  I had so many ultrasounds where we saw that strong heart beating. I went to Africa this time for 28 days to adopt our boys and the very first night...I delivered an intact little bubble of a sac with a perfect, tiny, formed 8wk3day fetus inside.  Numb.  I held that baby for so long. I can still feel the too-bright florescent light in that tiled bathroom in the heart of Africa.  I didn't sleep until the sun came up. I laid there numb.  And for the next 28 days every night I'd put a pillow in my mouth to dull the sobs as my heart broke more and more about the loss of our child.

The fetus I watched get pulled from limb to limb on the Planned Parenthood video was 11.5 weeks.

Absolutely horrific.

I don't comment on politically charged topics. And oh...there are many these days where I simply am quiet.  But this is one...I can't.  We believe life starts at conception.  We fight for life.  And I believe this fight goes all the way. It's not enough to shout your beliefs and let someone else pick up the pieces...because let's be honest...if you really believe abortion is a genocide...do you have any idea how many babies would be up for adoption if it ended...? Are you going to step up to the plate and do something?

Courage. Oh how it's missing today. We give awards for courage...to people who simply have not earned them.  Yes. I said that.  When we named our son's middle name Courage...it had the meaning of standing up. Standing up when it's not easy. Fighting for those who lack a voice. Putting yourself at risk if you must but you do not...sit by silently.  When the feelings are gone...you still act.  You act because you believe.  Courage.  Where is it today? Where is mine? I battled with even writing this because I know the backlash! You can unfriend me if you must...at least you know where I stand. I cannot sit by and watch these babies being slaughtered. I will inconvenience myself.  I'll support local businesses who fund wounded veterans and foster children's summer camps.

In our house:  We. Fight. For. Life.







Saturday, July 25, 2015

Thy word is a lamp...

Today we spent 4 hours writing some of our favorite Bible verses all over our new house.

It was so special to see the children finding the ones that meant a lot to them personally and writing them.




















Friday, July 24, 2015

ZhenAi.

We are days away from the home study being completed and we were just approved for a cool way to raise money. It's just a donation site but there are no fees at all (gofundme is really high) and all donated dollars are sent right to our adoption agency on our behalf annddddd it's tax deductible!

Here's the link.

Thank you for caring and being a part of ZhenAi Poppy's story and her way home.

http://adoptionbridge.org/families/help-bring-zhenai-poppy-home/

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

But...what about Jeremiah 29:11...?

Last Saturday was gorgeous.  As in...it was finally less than 100 degrees and it was cloudy! It's so rarely cool and cloudy here in the summer. We live in the desert!

Dean decided to go working on the house so we packed up (I got to wear jeans and a sweater!) and met him out at the land.  We stayed out all day...it was wonderful.

A few days ago, I was looking at Dean's pictures of the house and saw this photo. I was so glad he had snapped a pic, without us knowing, of this moment.


I love deep conversations. And this was one of them.  I started it. I started talking about death.  Tirzah spoke up right away and said "Mommy I don't want to talk about this, can we talk about something else?" and I caught something in her voice...her expression so I asked if she would talk about it.  

I firmly believe one of the greatest responsibilities I have as a parent (aside from teaching them about Jesus) is to prepare them for life.  

Talking about the hard things.  

So...I mentioned the unthinkable.  I said "ok...what happens if Nazara was diagnosed with cancer and dies. Then what. What do we believe...?  How do we trust God through that...?"

It was a hard conversation. It's not easy for me to go there...let alone our kids.  It was Tirzah's question that got this conversation going.  She looked at me and said "ok. Ok this is what I'm thinking.  If that happened...then what about Jeremiah 29:11?  Did God not have plans for her? Good plans? I don't get it..."  Ahhh.  So good.

I looked up.  

I saw this amazing, breathtaking view from the main floor of our new, under construction house.  I pointed to a field. A field that in and of itself...is just another field. I asked the kids what they saw. They said "ummm a field." I asked if they were down there, IN the field. What would they see. Someone spoke up "weeds. Bugs. Snakes. Just...a field."  I asked if they would see beauty there. "ummm no, definitely not."  Would they see an incredible view...? "no."

I then looked back at these beautiful little people, all watching my every move. How would I answer this tough question...? Let's be honest...children are amazing. They ask what we all think...and lack the courage to ask.

You know you've wondered the same thing.  Where's the beauty here, Lord?  Where's your "only good" purpose in this loss...? This trial...? This pain...? 

I then pulled their attention to our view.  What do you see from up here? They started "ahhh it's so beautiful. The rolling fields. The yellow, green, brown. The hills. The mountains. The vineyards, orchards...it's just so ... beautiful."  

Would you see any of that if you were sitting down in that field...?

No. 

That's it.  When we are in loss...pain...devestation...that's all we see.  

We can't see this view. Yet, God always does.  This is His view.  He can see what's right ahead. He can see the beauty in the full view.  

We talked about Miss Kara. How is there any good in her death? 38 years old. Wife. Mommy of 4.  Good plans...God...?  I talked to them about how many people have come to Jesus BECAUSE of her cancer journey and death. Because of her faith. 

Full view.  Beauty.

Seeing that click in each child's mind was so incredible.

Yes. Let's talk about Jeremiah 29:11.  

I thought about my friend Nichole.  Her son was born with a rare condition and his life was hard. So much sickness. So much pain. So much hospital.  And then, too short...his precious life ended. Beauty...? Good plans...God...? 

I have had the amazing pleasure of seeing Nichole now years later. Her beautiful son Noah is whole. He's in Heaven and completely whole. Healed. Perfect.  

I can see Jeremiah 29:11 in Nichole. And her children.  They love and serve so many children with special needs.  They are so hands on with Make A Wish foundation.

Why...?

Because of Noah.  

Full view.

While in the pain...in the loss...we only see the field. It's hard. It's full of weeds. And the pain is overwhelming. 

Jeremiah 29:11...? Not. Quite.

Yes...His plans are good. For you.  He sees the full picture and there IS beauty here.  Yes...for little Noah too. He's whole! He's in Heaven and his little body is healed.

This was a moment I will remember forever. This moment.  Sitting on the main floor of our new house. With children bold and honest enough to ask what many of us have thought...but would never ask.  

Ok. If He's always good...and if Jeremiah 29:11 is true...what about the little children that die of cancer? What about the mom who dies? The dad?  How do you answer that, Mommy?

Full view.  God sees the beauty beyond the hard of this current field.  He sees what becomes of this pain.  



Thursday, July 9, 2015

Heaven.

Ok. Not really.

But...this is something that takes my breath away. I can't quite explain it.  Perhaps it's much more than the view itself...and more the fact that I recognize the gift it is.

The ocean...takes my breath away.

This view...it must be a small glimpse of what Heaven looks like.  Just must be. :)

The bottom floor of our house is done.  Now the stairs and floor of the top floor and tomorrow walls go up. We had to go out tonight to figure out the design of the bathroom...and as the sun set...I was in awe.  The darkness set in and all the lights in the valley lit up.

So very thankful.


Monday, July 6, 2015

The darker the dark...the lighter the light.

I've shared Zunduka's story several times.  Quiet. Astute.  Serious. Book loving, Zunduka.

Looking at him you would never know the trauma of his past.

The marks on his chest evidence just a bit of his story.  Witch doctors.  Voodoo.

Darkness.

Zunduka was home for a few years before he truly experienced freedom.  His quiet nature kept him in a bubble, rarely sharing his pain.

The awful visits he received every single night as he lay in bed, too terrified to move.

"I had a horrible dream...but I was not asleep" he would say.  Never quite understanding what he meant...until it occurred in OUR room.  With us as witnesses.

Maybe it's 'night terrors'. 'Childhood fears'.

Demonic?  Well we prayed over him and his room just in case but "have a good sleep".

Sadly.

Until the darkness so tangible in our room that same night that they all begged to have a sleepover in Mommy and Daddy's room.  I could feel a heaviness. It was so dark.  I could hardly catch my breath.  I screamed when Zunduka screamed.  I've never done that before.  When a child screams, you comfort them.  But that scream was different and as long as I live...I will never ever forget that night.

I knew...beyond the shadow of a doubt when he screamed and pointed to the invisible object in front him...that he was seeing it.  I had never prayed so authoritatively. Demanding the darkness flee though the power of Jesus.

Though we prayed, read and played worship music I was unconvinced it was gone.  And then it happened again.  But when it left...it was gone.  Truly gone.  The screams were so loud in our room that night yet not one of the other children stirred.  Interesting.

Fast forward to today.  He has never ever ever seen the "hand without a body attached" since that night.

Freedom.

The Zunduka of today is extraordinarily attached to the Bible.

Like...probably unlike any child or adult you have ever seen.

I have purchased every youth version I can get my hands on and he reads it cover to cover in less than a week. He's read the Action Bible the most and that's his favorite.  The Picture Bible and many others.

It's over 105 degrees outside, the children are playing with water guns and soccer balls...and Zunduka is sitting in the shade hanging on to every word of the Bible.

My parents were just here visiting and my Dad commented that this abnormal attachment to the Bible ...is likely connected to the darkness he came from.  The hold and power that had on his life for so long...has given him a thirst for the Light.

We have watched every episode of The Bible, A.D and he has many times sat there wiping his eyes.  I know no other way to say it...than simply...Zunduka wholeheartedly loves his Savior.

My dad (an evangelist)'s comment has stayed on my mind for the last week.  And ... it's got me thinking.

Perhaps...the darker the dark...the lighter the light.  When you are in the light...the light is just...well...light.  But in the dark...the light is everything.  Your eyes can't move off that flicker of a flame. It's all you see.  It is, by contrast, so very light.

As a missionary's daughter...someone who accepted Christ very young, this is so amazing to witness.

The hope and peace found in this book.  Not just any book. This Living book.  It has the power to transform ever part of your being.  This book...the Bible.

Zunduka has found a light so bright...he has latched on like nothing I've ever witnessed.

Perhaps we truly comprehend light...once we have seen the darkness.  There's no doubt in my mind...the darker the dark...the lighter the light.