The Empty Nursery

When beginning the adoption process, one of the things I was most fearful of was the home study, afraid that no matter how great we thought we were, the social worker wouldn’t approve us. The fate of our parenthood  rested solely in the hands of a stranger, and that idea fanned the flames of my insecurities.

Being clueless about home studies, insecure, and a perfectionist, I needed to know what to expect. So I dedicated an entire “secret board” on Pinterest to adoption and tips for the home study. I looked for adoptive parent message boards and forums. I obsessively read everything I could get my hands on.
On one message board, a certain post caught my eye. A woman asked the question, “Should I have the baby’s room set up before the home study or not?
The majority of people answered that it wasn’t necessary to have a fully furnished nursery. The social worker only wants to see that you have adequate and appropriate space for the child. Then some people answered that they would never have a nursery ready for fear of seeming too desperate. Still others said that it would be far too painful to have their nursery complete and sitting empty. The comments that followed were the stories of so many childless women, sharing – some for the first time- their heartache and their sorrow, agreeing that there is nothing so painful as an empty nursery.

As I sat staring at my computer screen, I couldn’t help but feel as though I had just stared straight into the dark and bleeding heart of so many women struggling with infertility. We are afraid to seem too desperate for a child, afraid to face another day with empty arms, afraid that motherhood is a dream that will never come true. We are just… afraid.

David and I – mostly I – decided to go ahead and prep for baby as much as we can, because we want to be prepared when the day comes. So I made a baby registry on Amazon, and we have slowly been purchasing items for our nursery. We have all of the essentials – a crib, changing table, dresser, and a glider I got on Facebook marketplace for $50!
And when I sit in the nursery, as I so often do, I am not filled with sadness nor stricken by grief. Instead, my heart quickens with excitement and anticipation for what I know is coming.
I sit in the floor and I pray. I sit in the corner and imagine all of the memories we will make in that room. Our empty crib is not a bleeding heart for me, but I can see how it can be for so many others.

When I think of all of the women who try for years in vain to get pregnant, my heart breaks for them. I know many of them personally. Too many. Good, faithful Christian women whose deepest desire is to become a mother.

It seems so wrong. It seems so unfair. And no matter how loudly we cry out, God does not answer us with a pregnancy. We read the story of Hannah in the Bible. We read how she cried out to God and was given a child in return, and we are strengthened. We read of Abraham’s wife Sarah who gave birth at an age that the vast majority of us will never live to see. We read these miracles and we wonder, why not me? If only I pray hard enough. If only I do everything my doctor suggests.
If only, if only

I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I don’t have an answer at all. I asked God those questions too, especially right after David and I were married. People would innocently comment that babies were next for us, and when I shared about our inability to have children people would innocently say, “You never know. It could happen.” I could only smile and agree. Yes, yes it could.

And so my silent struggle began.
I knew in my heart that God was calling me to adoption. I had known it for years. But every month, I would wait with eager anticipation. And if I was a few days late, my heart would drop into my stomach and my imagination would run wild.
One time, I was over 30 days late, and though I was told at the age of 17 that I was close to menopause, and my period has never been regular, I stood on the “family planning” aisle at the pharmacy staring at pregnancy tests for 10 minutes before finally walking away empty handed.
After 60 days, I did go back and buy a test. You see, I had to know. And the next morning I experienced for the first time what so many women have experienced before me: The heartbreaking disappointment of a negative pregnancy test.

This same scenario has happened two more times in the 2 1/2 years David and I have been married. Each time, I have stared into the bathroom mirror, telling myself over and over that it would be negative, all the while hoping that it wasn’t.
But it was.

And that’s okay, because I am completely dedicated and in love with my call to adoption. God has been sowing the seed of adoption into my heart since I was 17 years old. And what my womb lacks in fertility, the soil of my heart more than makes up for. Jesus has nurtured those seeds planted so that I would be ready to embrace with joy the path set before me. I thank God for preparing me for this journey from a young age so that now I am able to face it with a heart that is whole and is held in Jesus’ hands.

But why are there so many good Christian couples who struggle to conceive or carry to term? I have pondered this for years, and my take-away is probably going to step on some toes. I do not want to offend anyone, I simply wish to share my thoughts.
James 1 tells us that “Religion our Father accepts as pure and faultless is to look after widows and orphans in their distress…”.
There are so many children in need of a home, in need of a family. But the majority of God’s people have turned a blind eye. And those who are unable to conceive often seek treatment and medical interventions of all kinds, exhausting resources and every other option, only turning to adoption as a last resort.

Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t judge couples who choose this route. Quite the opposite. Some of the most godly couples I know have sought medical intervention for infertility. Some of the most precious children I know were born as a result. I rejoice with them when pregnancy is achieved. I grieve with them when it is not.

But what if one of the reasons there are so many Christians struggling through this same trial is that we have failed to carry out his command? God is trying to wake us up from our slumber, from our pursuit of the American dream. God is trying to make us break out of this box of conventional thinking. He is trying to show us the sad reality that we have failed the poor and the broken, the orphan and the widow, and we have left them to be the responsibility of our government.

Now, I don’t believe that the loving God I serve made me unable to bear children. No, the sinful, broken world in which I live brought about my disease. I do believe that my loving God works all things to the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). He allows circumstances in our lives that either make or break us.  My loving, all knowing, all powerful God uses the good and especially the bad to further His kingdom.

So what if we, instead of seeking to further our own bloodlines, chose to further the kingdom God? What if we stepped up and took in the orphan? What if we opened our hearts and our homes to children we did not bear? What if we made ourselves available to the kids who need mentors, mothers and father figures to look up to? What if we stopped seeking what we think is best for us and instead began to seek after God’s heart? What if we prayed for God’s kingdom to come here on earth, and what if we were willing to do what it takes to make that happen?

I have felt the hurt of being told I will never bear children. But I have also felt the healing that comes from letting go of my desires and embracing whatever it is God has planned for me.

To the woman who is hurting, to the man who is aching at the thought of never having a son, to the couple that is struggling with the decisions that are ahead of you: You are not alone. Whatever you decide, there is no shame. There is no judgment here, only love. I pray that God will guard your heart during such a painful time as this. I pray that you are protected. I pray that your heart will become a fertile garden, ready to receive the seeds that God wants to sow in your life.

And above all, I pray for God’s kingdom to come.

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Piece By Piece Puzzle fundraiser

***Update! You have claimed over $4,000 in puzzle pieces! We are so excited!

David and I are doing a fundraiser right now on Facebook to help with the cost of our adoption. I know that not everyone has Facebook, so I’d like to share it with you here as well. 
To help with the cost of our adoption, I designed a 252 piece puzzle that will be assembled, framed and hung in our future child’s nursery. We are asking you to “sponsor” a piece (or several pieces!) of the puzzle. 

We will write your name on the back of the piece/pieces that you sponsor so that our child will always know who helped bring him or her into our family. 
Instead of selling each piece for a set amount, we’ve decided the way this will work is that each piece will be “numbered” 1, 2, 3, 4…..all the way to 252, and each piece will cost the numerical value that it is assigned. So piece #1 will cost $1, piece #10 will cost $10, piece #150 will cost $150….and so on. 
Once a piece has sold, we will cross that value off the list. In the end, if we sell every piece, we will have raised over $31,000!!! (Which is exactly how far we are from our overall fundraising goal!)
The person who sponsors the $1 piece is no less important than the person who sponsors the $100 one or the $252 one. In the end, it takes every piece for the puzzle to be complete. 
I have been praying about this fundraiser for several weeks. I am excited to share this opportunity with you and I hope that you will come alongside us to help build our family piece by piece. 

***To claim your piece, please choose from the photo of the remaining numbers and comment on this post with the  number you’d like to sponsor and your method of payment (PayPal or mail). At the end of each day, I will delete and repost the picture after I have erased the numbers claimed for that day. Hopefully this will minimize confusion about which pieces are still available to be sponsored. 

***Payment information: We are offering two ways to pay. You can pay via PayPal, sending the amount to dsiler82@gmail.com

OR

You can mail the amount to our address 

18 Sullivan Dr. 

Granby, CT 06035

Obviously, if you are able to pay in person that is also another option. 

Any questions can be emailed to ambersue2248@gmail.com.

The Story So Far – Part 3

This is the third and final installment of our story so far. If you haven’t yet, check out parts 1&2 before reading.

When thinking about and discussing adoption, both David and I felt strongly that we would adopt within the United States. There are so many children within our own borders without families. The numbers and statistics are staggering.

At the CAFO summit we attended in 2015 (see last blog), my eyes and my heart were opened to the idea of adopting waiting children out of foster care.  As I said, the statistics were staggering. I’m not going to go into the specifics, but the heartbreaking number of children in foster care and the bleak outcome for most of their situations stirred my heart. Both David and I walked away from that weekend knowing that we one day wanted to be foster parents.

One of the very encouraging things I learned that weekend was that adopting waiting children out of foster care is extremely affordable – free even! In some cases the state even pays for the child’s college tuition. Because the cost of adoption scared me, I was so drawn to the idea of adopting out of foster care. That isn’t the only reason I felt drawn, but I’ll admit it was a huge part of it.

There was this part of me that was SO afraid of the cost of adopting an infant that I wanted to completely drop that idea and instead pursue adoption through foster care. But I knew that it was God who placed the desire in my heart for a baby. Since I was 17, I have had dreams that I was holding a baby in my arms.

In the state of Alabama, they have a rule that you cannot adopt until you’ve been married for three years. Well, David and I felt that we were ready to start the process long before that deadline! We just celebrated our 2nd anniversary in February, so we would still be waiting if we were still living in Alabama.

God brought us to Connecticut with perfect timing. As we unpacked and got settled into our new home and new community, I started to feel a tug on my heart. I started to hear a whisper that now was the time. And for some reason I ignored it. People would ask if we were planning on starting a family, and we would always answer yes, that we were planning to adopt. But I didn’t take any real steps in that direction. I made excuses as to why I hadn’t: I was too busy, still looking for a job, etc.

In January our church held 21 days of prayer. And during one of the services, those in attendance prayed over us and over our future child. It was such a powerful moment for me as I felt God wrap his arms around me and tell me that I had all the support I needed. Don’t be afraid. Now is the time.

But it wasn’t until February, during one of our small group meetings that I made the decision to start pursuing adoption. We are studying through the book of James using video lessons from Francis Chan. He was talking through James 1:19-27. The bulk of the lesson was focusing on being slow to speak and slow to become angry. Our discussion seemed to be centered around struggling to control our tongues and to be patient with others. But during the entire meeting, I was stuck on the last verse:

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…

Why, after knowing that we wanted to adopt and after waiting to be in a place that we could start the process, was avoiding it? Why was I running from my calling?!

The same day, I saw a video online of a young couple meeting their adopted infant in the hospital for the first time. I cried uncontrollably. The video had been posted by an adoption consulting agency out of Georgia, and after looking into them a little further, I decided to reach out. And now we are officially starting the process with that agency, Faithful Adoption Consultants.

I will tell you, I struggled with our decision to pursue domestic infant adoption. I felt completely selfish for wanting a baby after hearing the stories and statistics of children in foster care. I wrestled to the point of making myself sick. And then every time I thought I was okay with the idea of raising and spending the money, someone would tell me or David a story of how they know people who adopted infants out of foster care; babies that they brought home from the hospital and ended up adopting. Yes…that does happen, but there is no guarantee that it will. You cannot become a foster parent and specify that you are only open to taking infants. And even then, there is no guarantee that you’ll have the opportunity to adopt them.

But again, I let these stories impact me and I let myself slip into the mindset that my desire for an infant was selfish. Oh, how I struggled with this. I cried. I beat myself up. Why should I ask others to help me fund a $45,000 adoption?

After a lot of tears cried in guilt, I prayed for guidance. “God please show me what to do. And if we are not supposed to to have a baby, please take away this desire that I have for one.”

After my pleas to God were met with even more dreams of me holding a baby in my arms, I sought the advice of family and friends. During one conversation, after I’d shared my feelings and poured out my heart, my friend said to me, “Amber…I see what you’re saying, but I don’t think you should feel guilty about wanting a baby. After all, we are asking women to please not have abortions. We ask them to consider life and adoption for their babies. Well, who is going to adopt their babies?”

It was that conversation that settled it in my heart. David and I will adopt a baby whose brave birth mother chooses life. I have peace now that we are making the right decision, even though the cost is still daunting.

This morning we received from FAC the checklist of things to be completed before we can become active clients waiting to be matched. It’s a lot, but I’m driven and excited to start working through everything. I also have a phone conversation scheduled with them on Friday to ask questions and talk through some things.

We have been able to raise almost $10,000 so far, which is amazing, but it is still just a drop in the bucket. We will be applying for some grants and doing many fundraisers I’m sure in the next several months. I ask you all to please be in prayer for us as we wade through the mounds of paperwork involved and as we try to come up with the remaining funds.

Speaking of funds, my next post will be about the costs associated with adoption. I know many of you have questions as to where this money is going and why it costs so much, so stay tuned!

Any questions or comments are welcome!

The Story So Far – Part 2 (David’s Story)

Amber and I have had a relationship that is very different than most.  From the time we met, we were extremely honest with each other and had pretty in depth conversations about our past, our present, and the goals of our future.  We even talked about marriage and children as early as our first or second date.

Growing up I always questioned whether or not I would be able to have children due to my cancer treatments, but I never worried much about it, because I felt that if I couldn’t, I would adopt a child.  No matter what, I always knew that I wanted to be a father, and I knew that whether my children came biologically or through adoption they would still be my children.  I even saved all of my old GI Joes and collected old Disney movies and cartoons that I watched as a kid, in hopes that one day I could share them with my own kids. It was very exciting for me to find out that Amber wanted children as much as I did, and it was refreshing that she was also open to having children through adoption.

A few months after our wedding we had the opportunity to attend a CAFO (Christian Alliance for Orphans) summit in Nashville, where we were able to hear stories from people who had adopted, fostered children, and even people who had been adopted themselves.  This conference greatly increased my passion for adoption and opened both my eyes and Amber’s to the world of foster care.

There is one story from CAFO that I will never forget.  One of the keynote speakers named Aaron Blake had worked as a guidance counselor at a local high school.  All of his kids had graduated and moved forward into adulthood, but one day a star football player who lived in a local foster home was told he was going to have to move again to a different home across the country. This student came to Aaron and pleaded with him to find a way for him to stay. Aaron Blake and his wife decided to take the student into their home and become his foster parents.  As time went on, they brought in five other foster children on the team who were told they were moving to a new home.  Whenever a new teen came in, Aaron told them, “You are my son. This is your home, and everything in it is yours”.  
The guys didn’t always listen or do what they knew they were supposed to do, especially a young man named Diego Fuller.  One day Diego was goofing off and accidentally set the house on fire and burned up almost half of the house.  The next morning Aaron walked down the stairs and Diego was standing by the door with his bags packed and he asked, “So where am I going now?”
Aaron  said, “What do you mean?”
Diego then replied that he had burned down half the house! He knew that he was going to get kicked out for what he did.
Aaron Blake grabbed him and gave him a big hug and said, “You’re not going anywhere.  You are my son.  It does not matter what you do or what you say.  You are my son and this is your family.”

That story really spoke to me and my passion for adoption grew.  When Amber and I adopt our child, no matter the gender, no matter what race they are, it will be our child. It will be the child that we will raise together, and we will always be able to say, “You are my child. It doesn’t matter what you do or say.  We are your family.”

– David

Baby Steps

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Everyone has probably noticed by now from the many fundraising posts on my Facebook page that we have begun the process of adoption. A part of me – I’ll admit a HUGE part of me – wanted to keep it a secret, even from our families. I am a private person in general. I remember the exhaustion of having to repeatedly answer the same questions from well meaning, loving people regarding my cancer journey. When announcing our plans to adopt, I had to prepare myself for the same with this journey.

But there is also the loss of the element of surprise, the one I wanted to experience when I announced to friends and family that we had been matched. For me, that is the equivalent of surprising people with a pregnancy announcement. I always looked forward to the way I would tell my parents….my friends. And with this journey publicized, it will be much less of a surprise. The joy of the announcement will be just as real though. And that I know.

In reality, I always knew that we would have to open our story up to the public, if for no other reason than to ask for help. Financially, yes. But there is something so much more helpful about having a community supporting us in every way. Lifting us up in prayer. Protecting our sanity (lol). Encouraging us. Reminding us of God’s faithfulness. We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of love and support that we have already experienced, even at the very beginning of this process.

That being said, I’ve felt God telling me to open up and be transparent throughout our adoption journey. I want to share with you all of the things that have led us to this point. I am well aware that my posts can become rather lengthy sometimes, so my plan is to share our story so far in several posts over the next few days/ weeks. I’ll also include some general facts about domestic infant adoption and try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. And if any of you have questions that you’d like answered or are curious about anything, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments!

Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ll follow our story!

Rough Drafts

From the time I learned my alphabet and could begin to form words, I was a writer. I vividly remember an instance during one of my family’s cross-country moves:

The space under the hotel room desk was the perfect size for little five-year old me. I crawled under with my notebook and pencil and began to write (and even illustrate!) my first full story: Basko and Boppy. It’s a wonderfully nonsensical story of two cars who were brothers. It is complete with rudimentary one-syllable rhyming like “frog” and “log”. It is a story I hold dear to this day, because I see it as the birth of my love for storytelling.

Writing is an intense process for me. I used to hold my pens and pencils so tightly that my hand would cramp up. I still find myself doing this sometimes, and I have the writing callus to prove it. While most of the world prefers to “write” using keyboards, I almost always put pen to paper before transferring it to type script. I like to look at my rough drafts, words crossed out and arrows indicating where phrases or paragraphs should move. There is something so freeing and so beautiful about seeing the work of my hand.

I ususally even keep these rough drafts of the things I pen. I have the “evolution” of most of the songs I’ve written in different notebooks. It’s intriguing to look back and see my thought process and how much I have grown in my ideas and my abilities. It shows me how far I’ve come.

I’ve learned that it takes a lot of refining to produce anything worth sharing. It takes rewording, spell correcting and even removing full paragraphs of text. The writing process can be painstaking – which is probably why it is taking me so long to finish the book I’m writing.

But just as I work hard to write and refine the stories I share, God has been working in my heart to refine me. He knows all of me. He has seen the rough drafts of me and has worked tirelessly in my life to make me into the person I need to be. He doesn’t look at me and see all the scribbles and arrows, He sees my potential. He doesn’t see the crumpled and scattered pages of my life, he sees the beautifully bound finished product.

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 

 

Dry Bones Live Again

While unpacking and organizing my things, I took the time to read through a lot of my old notebooks. I found to-do lists, doodles and scores from card games Mom and I played while I was in the hospital over ten years ago. I found half-written letters to friends, sermon notes and even a dead spider squashed between two pages.

I also came across poems, songs and random journal entries that didn’t make it into my actual journals for some reason or another. I am always amazed at how horrible some of my song lyric ideas were. It’s no wonder I never did anything with them. But I am also amazed at the treasures I sometimes find amidst the junk in these notebooks: God-whispered inspiration that stays covered and hidden in the pages until just the right time.

Members of our church are gathering for the first 21 days of the year to seek God and pray together each morning. This has been such a blessing to me already, and we are only four days in! I have been able to just sit and soak in the presence of God, surrounded by my brothers and sisters in Christ. We have worshipped through song, devotions and scripture readings as we have prayed over our nation this week. One of the scriptures referenced in the last couple of days is Ezekiel 37, when God speaks to the prophet Ezekiel and takes him to a valley filled with dry bones. He asks Ezekiel if the bones can live again and Ezekiel gives the faith-filled answer of “Lord God, only You know.” And God, through Ezekiel, raises up a vast army from the dead.

In Ezekiel 37 the bones represented Israel, dry and without life. God was sending Ezekiel to prophesy to Israel and breathe His breath into them the way he had done with the dry bones.

God brought to my mind a poem I found a few weeks ago in one of my random notebooks. I wrote it in 2014 while I was still single and living in a windowless basement. I was seeking God, His purpose for my life and seeking the man he would give me as a husband. I was desperate for change. I was honestly as dry as they come.

I am dry and hollow
brittle and wasted away.
I have been torn apart,
eaten up
and left to dry out
in this desert.
And the scavengers come to take all the rest
until there is nothing left
but my dry bones.
There is no hope for these remains
No skeleton has ever lived again.
I am scattered around this valley
unable to put the pieces together.
I’m too far gone to be saved,
there’s no marrow to keep me alive
There’s no chance I could ever survive
in this state.
I’m just a heap of time-weathered bones
Just a pile of unwanted parts.
Live again.
Come together.
Put on a covering of flesh and skin.
Live again.
I rattle
I click and I quake
My body takes form once again.
The warmth of this blood in my veins
How am I breathing again?

God, you take these dead and worthless parts of us and you put them to use. You are raising up an army from these once dry bones.Your breath gives us life, and You are breathing life into the lungs of Your Church that we may shout our battle cry against the forces at work in this world.

You command us to live again. And we know that we live with Your very Spirit inside of us! Let us not forget who we are and where we came from.

Amen.

 

A new journey

It has been over two weeks since we moved to Connecticut. In some ways it feels like much longer.  We have been so blessed by different people in the church who have allowed us to stay with them until we close on our house. Our closing date is  supposed to be the 15th, so we are pretty much two weeks away from moving in!

I drive by the house often, stop my car and stare at it. It’s hard to believe that the cute blue house I picked on Zillow many months ago is actually going to be our home. I pull up the pictures on my phone and look at them every day. It’s my way of keeping sane while I wait.

David has his work to occupy his time. Right now I mostly spend my days wandering the town or reading and writing. I am enjoying life here so far and have found people to be a lot more friendly than I expected. We were warned that we would have “culture shock” moving from Alabama to New England, but I haven’t been the slightest bit shocked yet.

We arrived in New England at the perfect time of year. The air was cool and crisp and the leaves were breathtaking. I spent nearly three full days just driving around with wide eyes in awe of the beauty of God’s creation. I am also a sucker for old barns and old houses. Over every hill and around every bend, I discovered some old faded building surrounded by vibrant autumn foliage, so I felt as though I had just arrived in heaven on earth.

Then last Thursday, we experienced a little taste of things to come when we got several inches of snow quite unexpectedly. David and I were at the church, in the middle of painting his office when it started to get dark, so we decided to call it quits and make the drive “home” to the house where we were staying. The prospect of snow, doesn’t scare either of us, but we know that we are inexperienced compared to many of the other drivers around here, so we want to play it safe!

The snow melted the next day and we have had beautiful weather ever since.

I’ve been trying for over a week to write this post. Every time I start, I either get distracted or lose the will to post at all. I am a very emotional writer. I write what I feel. I write what I often times cannot speak aloud. And right now I am overflowing with emotions of all kinds.

I am tired. I am not naturally outgoing and energetic, but when we arrived in Connecticut, we hit the ground running. David obviously has a lot going on with the church and I have tried my best to be the supportive wife he needs right now. I am constantly  meeting new people and trying to remember names and connections within the church. Its good! But exhausting. The members have been so kind and supportive. It is very encouraging to us, having come from a place that had very little support.

I am sad to now be 1,106 miles away from my best friend. But I am thankful that she is coming to see me in 29 days to help me settle in and organize my new house! I miss her and her little girls so much already. Now I’ll have to watch my god-daughters grow up via pictures and Skype. It broke my heart to say goodbye to them. It breaks my heart that they ask about me and that they miss me. But it also give me joy, because I know that the relationships I formed with them are important and unbreakable.

I am so happy to start a new journey with my husband. For most of our marriage so far, we have lived with his parents. We only had a few short months after our wedding that we were in our house before we sold it. Living with my in-laws was actually amazing. They are the best in-laws a girl could ask for. But still, who wants to live with their in-laws? Especially at the beginning of their marriage? I have never lived alone. I’ve always lived with parents of some kind except for those few months David and I had in our little house in South Huntsville.  And I always thought of that house as “David’s house” even after I came in and turned it upside down with cosmetic renovations.

So now we are about 2 weeks away from moving into OUR house. David and Amber’s house that we are buying together! Like I said, I drive by it often. Often enough that I think the people living there right now probably think I’m a creeper. I drive by and I can’t even fathom that it’s going to be mine. I’ll have a house to make my own. A kitchen to cook Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Walls to decorate, closets to fill, bathrooms to clean. It will be mine. And that’s just the beginning….

This house is the house we will bring our kids home to. It’s where I’ll stay up all night with crying babies, potty train them, cut the crust off of their toast and make them sit at the table until they at least TRY the broccoli. It’s where I’ll do endless loads of their dirty laundry, help them with homework that even I don’t understand, and stay up late pacing the floor when they break curfew.

This house is one more checked box on the list. Now I am so much closer to realizing my dream of being a mom.

I am so, so close.
God has a way of surprising me with the best things.

He is working so clearly in our lives and I am amazed each day at what he has done. I look around and literally ask, “Is this my life?” I have to remind myself that it’s real. We have been waiting for what seems like forever for something like this, and now here we are!

Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we get settled and acclimate to things around here. We appreciate it!

 

 

 

 

National Confession of Sin

   ​I have been slowly reading through the Old Testament. Very slowly. Today I was reading in Nehemiah and came to a passage subtitled “National Confession of Sin” (Nehemiah 9)

   My first thought was, “What a concept!”

   After Jerusalem’s walls had been rebuilt and the exiles returned to the city, they held a festival. It says that it was a celebration like none they’d ever seen in their lifetime. There was tremendous joy!

   And in their joy, they assembled to recognize where they’d come from and to repent from the ways of their ancestors. 

   I read the passage and found myself feeling more and more broken. The nation of Israel turned its back on God any chance they got.

  “They refused to listen and did not remember Your wonders…Even after they had cast an image of a calf… and said ‘This is your God who brought you out of Egypt’….You did not abandon them because of your great compassion… You sent your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. You provided for them in the wilderness 40 years and they lacked nothing….” (vs 17-21)

   I can’t help but picture America in place of Israel. A nation blessed by God. A nation that is disobedient and rebellious. 

   “So You handed them over to their enemies, who oppressed them. In their time of distress, they cried out to You, and You heard from heaven. In your abundant compassion You gave them deliverers who rescued them from the power of their enemies. But as soon as they had relief, they again did what was evil in Your sight….You were patient with them for many years, and Your Spirit warned them through Your prophets, but they would not listen…” (vs 26-30)

   Probably the most impactful thing I read was near the end of the chapter:

   ” You are righteous concerning all that has come on us, because You have acted faithfully, while we have acted wickedly. Our kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors did not obey Your law or listen to Your commands and warnings You gave them. When they were in Your kingdom, with Your abundant goodness that You gave them, and in the spacious and fertile land you set before them, they would not serve You or turn from their wicked ways.

    Here we are today, slaves in the land You gave our ancestors so that they could enjoy its fruit and its goodness. Here we are — slaves in it! Its abundant harvest goes to the kings You have set over us, because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and our livestock as they please. We are in great distress.” (vs 33-37)

We are in great distress. 

Breaking News

In my last post I explained that David was losing his job and that we would soon be without a real substantial income. Over the last few months, I have been blessed to be a part-time nanny to a beautiful baby girl. It has been a good thing for me to feel like I’ve been contributing to our finances, but most of all it has been a blessing to enjoy sweet baby cuddles!

David has been looking for a job for over a year. We put our house on the market and sold it almost a year ago. We have been living with his parents ever since. We continued serving at Pulaski while he searched. It seemed as though every door that opened was quick to close. We were anxious to know when we were supposed to move on. And we were curious where God would call us. But at the time, it seemed He was telling us to wait. So wait we did. 
At the time David was told his position was being cut, he had been talking to a couple of churches in the New England area. He was a few steps into the process with both, but we had been this far and further before…so we had no reason to be overly hopeful or excited. But we both felt peace! We both knew that this was the time God had ordained for us to move on. The when was answered. The where was yet to be seen. 

Things progressed quickly with one church and I felt the Spirit speaking peace into my heart: The time is now. Do not fear. I will not leave you hopeless.

As I write this, I am sitting in the airport. We are on our way home from Granby, Connecticut, the place that God is calling us to next. We have spent the last five days visiting a church family that has welcomed us with open arms. We are so excited to see what God will do in and through us at Valley Brook Community Church. 

It has been such a long road. But God is ALWAYS on time. Waiting is never fun. It’s never easy. But it’s worth it!

Please continue to pray for us as we make this transition. We have a lot of moving details to figure out. We also had the opportunity to look at houses while we were there and are hoping to put an offer in on one ASAP. Pray that we get pre-approved for the loan and that God will continue to clear the way for us. 

We are humbled at the power and love of our great God. He knows all things. He only gives us good things. Praise Him!