A Meaningful Easter

Can you believe Easter is just two weeks away?! This year is just flying by. As we prepare for Easter at our house, I am excited to start our second year of A Sense of the Resurrection.

A Sense of the Resurrection

Last year we completed all 12 days and it was such a fun and rich experience. A Sense of the Resurrection is an ebook that has 12 easy but meaningful lessons that take you through a sensory experience of the death and resurrection of Jesus. You’ll have an opportunity to make an oil diffuser to remind you to thank Jesus for dying on the cross for your sins…
A Sense of the Resurrection | Motherhood in the Trenches
you’ll wash each other’s feet to remember how Jesus came to serve and how He washed the disciples’ feet…

A Sense of the Resurrection | Motherhood in the Trenches

 you’ll taste vinegar as you remember the bitterness of sin, and so much more. If you’re trying to find a way to teach your children the true meaning of Easter, this is the resource for you! You can also check out this post for some of our favorite Easter resources. If you have any favorite Easter resources not listed there, I’d love to hear about them!

When God Says, “No.”

I didn’t anticipate this, I didn’t anticipate the struggle, I have never gone through this. God is growing me and it hurts. I feel like spiritually I have been prepared for God’s yeses. As I have attended church my whole life and walked with God for most of my life, I have so many times heard about the dangers of telling God no. Don’t be like Jonah, when God tells you to go, you go. I have often prayed for God to tell me to go, proclaiming with Isaiah, “Here I am, send me!” This past year has been a time of living through that “Go!” and obeying and being nervous in the obedience but so excited and trusting Him fully. It has been a rich season.

As a new season comes, He has told us no for something and it’s hard. I wasn’t prepared for this, “What do I do now Lord?” His answer has been, “Be still and know that I am God.” I don’t like to be still, I want to GO! Our pastor has often said, “Sometimes God says,”Go!” Sometimes God says,”No!”Sometimes God says,”Slow!” And sometimes, God says ”GROW!” I thought I understood that, but I guess I always envisioned God’s, “No” to be when it was something not right like, “Don’t buy that house” or “Don’t take that job” I never thought that God’s, “No” would be, “Don’t do that good work, it’s not what I have for you.” It is much harder for me to step back and obey in this “no” than it ever has been to obey to His, “Go.”

To be still, to wait, to obey in this quiet season, it’s not easy. I trust He has a plan, not just for us but for all who are affected by God’s, “No.” And as difficult as it is, I will be still and as He has shown me, I will meditate on these words, “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

The Loss of Hosting

She’s gone. Our spunky, sassy, fireball of a girl is headed back to her home. There were a few rough days but there were some really great days, especially toward the end, as she started opening up and sharing with us her life, most of it just random stories, but it was a glimpse into who she is. And just as we all started settling in, she’s gone.

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There’s an empty place at our dinner table, one cup of coffee to make instead of two. No more ridicule from her as I leave the house with my hair in a top knot and she laughs saying, “Alicia, your hair, you go to shops? Your hair!” No more telling her to be nice to Makenzie or hugging her goodnight, no more hearing her ask Eisley over and over if she is her best friend, no more belly laughing from the hilarious things she says or smiling as she mocks Americans, “My car is nice. I am nice. Take my pee-ture.” I miss her accent and her contagious smile that she often tries to hide.

I have had quite a few people say to me, “I could never do this because I would love the kid too much to send them back.” I’m not one to get offended easily but that offends me. First of all, that statement is flawed because you assume that every child wants to be adopted, that every child wants to stay in America with a loving family. You may be surprised to know that you are wrong. International adoption is so great and I am not downplaying it by any means, it is amazing, but it’s not for everyone, not for every family and not for every orphan, especially these older ones. In this hosting I have learned that orphans do not need “saving” they need unconditional love, they need family, they need Jesus. Sometimes an orphan is willing to leave everything that they know and love to come to live with a loving family in America but here is where hosting is so amazing…sometimes an older orphan does not want to be adopted in America, they love their culture and their friends, their school and their lives. American culture does not save orphans. Through hosting we had the opportunity to show L the love of a family, to love her unconditionally and now we get to support her from afar, pouring into her and loving her the best we can from this distance.

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So while you may think that you could never love a child and then let them go, ponder this… God enabled our family to love L so much that we were willing to pour into her day in and day out and then say goodbye. He enabled us to love her so much that we are willing to continue to give her our all, knowing that we may get nothing in return. He enabled us to love her enough to watch our four year old sob as her “big sister” walked away from her, not sure if we will have an opportunity to see her again. He enabled us to love her enough that we “volunteered” for this heartache. We loved her BIG and we will continue to. We did all of this, knowing that she cannot be adopted and knowing now that she loves her home and right now doesn’t necessarily want to live in America forever. This wasn’t of us, this was of God, it was God’s love working in us. God taught us so much through this process and I know that as we take time to process this and to seek Him for our “next steps” that I will have more to share.
If you are thinking that you would like to host and are thinking that you couldn’t say goodbye, then I would encourage you to pray about where your heart is and ask God what He would have for you, because maybe you are the one who needs to learn a lesson in big love, just as we did. Today has been a rough day, and our hearts ache for L, not knowing what her future is and wanting the absolute best for her, but every heartache, every tired day, every dollar spent was so worth it!

Heavy Love

I am feeling the weight of this love, this deep and heavy love. It is not a burden, it is a privilege, but it is heavy. It comes with great responsibility and concern. To know that we have not had long enough to pour into her what she needs for the life that awaits her. To worry that she may doubt our love, our faithfulness and in turn doubt God’s love and God’s faithfulness. To know that while she returns to a “home” where there are people who love her and support her, that she’s left to navigate this world alone. Hoping that our arms can reach across the thousands of miles to hold her hand as she navigates this world. Praying that we will continue to have opportunities to pour into her.

This crazy love. Love that goes beyond blood, and beyond what the world has said, a love that not even I can fully comprehend. It’s a love I’ve never experienced before. It wasn’t instant like it was with my babies, it’s not full of emotion like it was when I first met Dirk, it wasn’t as natural as loving my parents or siblings. It was fairly slow coming but it is deep and it makes my heart heavy like it never has been before.

This road hasn’t been smooth and easy, it’s not all Disneyland and happy days, in fact, most days were pretty mundane and sometimes overwhelming but the deep moments and the moments of connection were great. As I say goodbye I will turn my back with a heavy heart, a piece of me flying across the oceans, unsure of what the future holds and uncertain if we will see her again but knowing that in all things God works for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose and I trust that for both us and her. I pray that we have helped strengthened her wings enough in these four weeks that she can return home and fly with strength.

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Here’s to you our spunky girl. May you never forget the love of the Savior and the family here in America that loves you so.

 

 

Hosting L – An Update

It’s been almost 2 weeks now that L has been with us. I had every intention of updating the blog at least once a week but with the holidays and trying to be extra present for all three girls, it just hasn’t happened.

We picked up L from the airport on December 14th. It was such a nerve wracking day. I was SO excited and SO nervous. She walked out of the elevator as a stranger, someone we knew only by face but already loved so much. It’s amazing how God can give you love for someone you don’t even know. We awkwardly hugged and she looked us in the eye and said, “Hello, my name is L (except that she really said her name, heh)” It was like she had rehearsed it over and over during her 24 hour trip to get to America. We all looked at her and said, “Hi! You know some English!” She smiled big and said, “Yes, I know a little English.” We were thrilled! When we later asked her what she was thinking that day she said that she was surprised to see us so excited and with a big welcome sign and she thought we looked like teenagers…haha! I’ll take that compliment sweet girl.

Hosting L - Week One | Motherhood in the Trenches

L is so bright and can be so bubbly. Her English is good and is getting better every day. The constant charades in our house are quite funny but we’ve found that it is a great bonding experience, I mean charades 24/7 how can you not love that, ha! Big Sis often forgets that L doesn’t understand all that we say so she just talks and talks and talks. Poor L gets so weary after awhile but luckily L has headphones and an Mp3 player to help her tune out for a bit when she needs to.

L has shared with us much about her country and the city she lives in. She’s told us of trips to the zoo and museum and what life is like in her country.  She showed us pictures on her Facebook telling us about her friends and family. She relayed visions of a good life in a great place. As days have passed and topics come up that we’ve talked about before, we see the facade begin to crumble and the embellished stories begin to change into something more real, more raw, more painful. Things aren’t as peachy for our kiddo as she was making them seem. When she first arrived she appeared to be a gilr who needed nothing and no one and now as each day passes we see more of her needs and more of her reality.

Hosting L - Week One | Motherhood in the Trenches

The burning question that everyone seems to have is “How’s it going?” I don’t have any grand stories to tell you. I can tell you it’s going really well. We have all fallen in love with this girl and she’s let us know that she’s pretty fond of us too. Each day is just about living life as we normally would. Sharing Christ with her just as we do with Big Sis and Little E. Loving L, letting her know that she is special, speaking words of affirmation to her. She is such a fun girl. She can be so silly and so funny. My favorite times are when she lets her guard down and acts like a young girl should. She’s silly and awkward and likes fun girl things. Sometimes we forget how young she is because she seems to be mature for her age but when she lets her guard down, she’s just a young girl looking for attention, affirmation and a good time.

Hosting L - Week One | Motherhood in the Trenches

We have made great strides in her trust toward us. Her barriers slowly crumble as she watches us interact with Big Sis and Little E. When new people enter the scene, she pulls away from us, testing our loyalty to her. As soon as she sees that our loyalty is always to her (and Big Sis and Little E) first, the headphones go away and she opens up to the new people knowing that she has a special place with us that no one else can take from her.

We started out with an awkwardly aloof goodnight hug but that has now become a warm embrace. Darting eyes now look back at mine and smile a warm smile. Her eyes close as we pray and she says, “Amen” with the rest of us. She jokes with Dirk, loves on Little E and plays so well with Big Sis. Her bedroom door, once closed to go to sleep, now remains open each night. “Iss open, iss good.” A dentist visit full of nerves, her making jokes the whole way there until finally she asks, “You, uh, come dentist?” Yes, sweet girl, I will be there with you. Trust building each minute, love being shown every chance we get, words of encouragement spoken and two little “sisters” who can’t get enough of her. Big strides this girl is making. She is brave, she is strong and she is amazing.

Hosting L - Week One | Motherhood in the Trenches

Everything has gone really smoothly. There were so many fears going into this but they have all been dispelled. As scary as it is, I have been praying for things to go just a bit awry. That probably sounds strange to say but I don’t think that she can truly see how much we love her unless she sees us loving her at her worst. It’s easy to love when things are going well, not as easy when things aren’t going well. I pray that God will give us the opportunity to let her know that we will love her unconditionally through the good and the bad.

For those of you who have been praying for us, thank you! To each of you who have texted us and let us know you’re thinking of us, thank you! I’m sorry if we are slow to respond but please know that we are so thankful and so encouraged by each person who has reached out to us. We are being very mindful of our time and being as present in each moment as we possibly can be. We often do not have our phones on us and by the time we finally sit down for the night we are taking care of as much business as we can before practically falling in bed.  We are having an amazing time but we are also very tired. :)

Some of you have asked for specific ways to pray for us. Here are a few prayer requests:

Pray for health, we are still battling viruses over here and it’s driving me bonkers! I’m ready for everyone to just be healthy. Also pray for us to get sleep. Little E has suddenly decided that sleep is overrated and is waking up at least twice a night and staying up for extended periods of time leaving me exhausted and the rest of the household a bit sleep deprived. Also, please continue to pray that we can make breakthroughs with L and let her know that we love her and MOST importantly that she would learn that God loves her so deeply.

Thank you our dear friends for sharing God’s love with us and supporting us in this journey. We love you!