Mar 11, 2015

Dancing Through It All

By nature I long for consistency and am typically content with the status quo. For example, I think I've eaten yogurt and granola for breakfast out of the same clear glass tumbler almost every morning for upwards of five months running now… and I love it. When I find a TV show, an artist, an author or band that I enjoy, I am all in. I want to ingest every thing about said program, artist, author or band (thanks IMDB and Pinterest) and I will stick with them to the bitter or disappointing end (I'm talking to you, Veronica Roth). I wear my favorite shoes until they are all together finished, holes through the soles and all. 

Sometimes I marvel at the fact that despite my original operating system that longs for consistency God has called me to a life that revolves around transitions, adjustments and an endless line of changes. I am grateful and humbled to say that my good, good Father has continued to recreate my heart with a willingness to welcome hellos that that will surely end in bittersweet goodbyes. He has given me peace to invest in relationships that automatically have an expiration date of the nearness and proximity I instinctively long for. 

In the last two weeks God has held me tight as I walked through some pretty significant transitions. Last week (after Baby P's adoption) we returned a sweet little princess baby E back to her biological family. Baby E is a little one who was identified in our community as someone who was in desperate need of intervention and TLC. Although she is not a candidate for adoption we invited Baby E to come stay with us for one month in an effort identify her immediate needs, set her on road to health and help support her family to care for her with the proper tools needed for her survival. For the last month we've been able to see her grow and blossom in to a happy and settled baby… she put on over 1 kg and learned some new skills including rolling over and chatting regularly. I was able to work with her parents with a return plan that includes weekly check ins and donations of needed supplies. Although she was only with us for a month it was a difficult goodbye to say. God continues to pull me into deeper waters of obedience where I have to cling to Him more tightly and trust Him more completely. Loving on Baby E and returning her to circumstances that I cannot control has been difficult and honestly I'm still working thorough it. Here are some "before and after" shots of Baby E. 

We also celebrated our 11th adoption just this week! Big girl E was placed into the arms of her patient, loving and ridiculously adorable mommy and daddy on Monday. Big girl E is funny, sweet and reserved little lady who had her Aunties praying fervently for a peaceful and tear-free placement. We were fortunate enough to be able to do her placement at the house and after she said her goodbyes to her Aunties I was able to spend the next hour slowing introducing her to mommy and daddy. As I slowly inched further from our girl her parents slowly moved closer and by the time they climbed into the car to leave she completely herself, chatting and smiling as they drove away. God answered our  worldwide prayers for a contented girl who felt safe enough to leave with her new family without any tears or anxiety! 

My most recent goodbye happened today… I had one last lunch (for now) with my sister and dear friend, Lisa. Lisa and I moved to Johannesburg within days of each other to volunteer at Door of Hope. I was planning being here for a year and she was just going to be here for six months. I persuaded her to stay for a year and then God called us to both stay indefinitely! We served together side by side at Door  of Hope, linking arms and serving through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Words cannot rightly describe the myriad of seasons God has allowed us to walk through together… all the while seeking to see God glorified in each one. She has been a fabulous assistant, a splendid roommate, a faithful friend, a beautiful bride and now she is moving (with her delightful husband) back to the US to work on her Masters Degree in Social Work. She is married to a South African so I know we'll have them back at some point in time but I will miss having my "South African" sister just a 45 minute drive away! 

One of my recently favorite author, Shauna Neiquist shares in her newest devotional "Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are":

“Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially. We can dig in, make plans, write in stone, pretend we're not listening, but the voice of God has a way of being heard. It seeps in like smoke or vapor even when we've barred the door against any last-minute changes, and it moves us to different countries and different emotional territories and different ways of living. It keeps us moving and dancing and watching, and never lets us drop down into a life set on cruise control or a life ruled by remote control. Life with God is a dancing dream, full of flashes and last-minute exits and generally all the things we've said we'll never do. And with the surprises comes great hope.”

Lord, may I see every transition, each and every goodbye as a surprise filled with great hope… as an invitation to dance with You into the colors of each and every dusk you give me! 

Mar 4, 2015


Yesterday was a historic day for our family at El Roi! The first baby we received in our home was placed into the loving arms of his Forever Family! I fetched our little Rockstar at two weeks old after he had been found abandoned in a rubbish bin. His hospital tag read "Baby Unknown"but we know that he was known by his Creator from the moment of his conception! 

From our very first hugs to our very last kisses this little man has been nestled securely into my heart. I was thinking over my time in South Africa thus far and because of his individual needs this little man was the longest time period that I've been able to call a baby "mine". Those of you who know me well know how I've always longed to be a mother… since before I can remember. (When my mom used to take me to the shops when I was small I would carry around a bag of beans pretending it was my baby… talk about divine programing, haha!) And this little man has satisfied my heart's desire to be a mom longer that any of my babies have. 


It has been a privilege to celebrate so many of his "firsts"… first bites, steps, holidays, milestones, friendships, yoga poses, explorations… I am grateful that God gave our family the privilege of caring for such a precious, clever, kind, brave, bold and loving little man. I am convinced that I've held one of this generations brightest stars in my arms. Whispering God's truth into his heart every day that he's been with us. Truths like: "You were made for amazing things" and "You are wanted and loved" and "Listen and obey your Aunties so your heart can learn to obey God" and "Jesus is the One who will always know and love you best"




Yesterday I dressed you for the last time in your skinny blue jeans and new shoes. I gave you last kisses and whispered last sweet words. I watched with a full heart as your older brother took you by the hand lead you into the guesthouse and marveled at God's goodness and provision for you, my precious boy. I smiled brave smiles as I gave final advice and instructions to your loving and attentive parents. I laughed as the four of you sat on the floor playing with newly purchased toy cars, trucks and planes all purchased in duplicate in hopes that you and your brother won't fight over them. My heart broke when I announced my departure and stood to leave because you immediately came to my side and reached up for my hand. But I was proud when you walked me to the gate in your mother's arms, gave me one final kiss and watched me leave, bravely trusting the new arms that held you tight. 


[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart]

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in 
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere 
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done 
by only me is your doing,my darling) 
                                                      i fear 
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want 
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) 
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant 
and whatever a sun will always sing is you 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows 
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud 
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows 
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) 
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart 

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Goodbye, sweet love, I'll see you on the other side!

The Journey of Surrender

It is a pretty spectacular thing: watching a family be born right in front of your eyes. To see years of prayers answered in a moment. ...