I’m Back and With Big News!

I love to blog and have missed it so much. Our first year of homeschooling required a lot more from me than I had anticipated, add to that hosting and Eisley’s health issues and unfortunately the blog had to go on the back burner for awhile. I’m back and I have some fun things to share in the coming weeks.

But first…there’s big news in the Dallas family!!!

Baby Announcement with the Help of a Drone! from Dirk Dallas on Vimeo.

That’s right we are officially going to be “Dallas Party of FIVE.” And we’re having another girl! I laugh every time I think of it. I always thought if I didn’t have a mix of boys and girls that I’d definitely be a “boy mom” but alas I am a “girl mom.”  A girl mom who doesn’t know how to French braid or really do much more than pigtails or ponytails, I am horrible at painting nails and have had maybe three pedicures in her entire life. I’m not very girlie but to know that God saw it fit for us to raise three girls in this world is a challenge that I am happily and prayerfully accepting. It’s gonna be a wild ride so stick around. :)

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.