Tuesday, February 23, 2016

blessings overflow


It's written on a sticky note, tucked away in the back of my Bible, this little gem. A quote I've loved for years. Back when I was in college, I had the privilege of hearing Elisabeth Elliot speak, and those words, scribbled on that yellow post-it, have remained in my Bible and stored in my heart ever since.

It is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself.  

Elisabeth Elliot


I smile when I think back on how simple and carefree my life was back then. It makes me giggle to try to remember what I was "accepting" during that particular season in my life. Surely there must have been something that seemed hard or overwhelming or unusually challenging, something that made me hear those words and hold on to them for so many years. 

Or maybe the Lord just knew that those words needed to be planted in my heart, knowing how the years would unfold, how my story would turn out.


That college girl had no earthly idea. The same person who {briefly} considered majoring in special education but quickly realized she wasn't cut out for that... 






The same one who also considered getting her degree in elementary education, but decided she wasn't patient enough for that either...


That girl, I'm pretty sure, she never could have dreamed up a life for herself that looks even remotely similar to this picture.



The past few months have been a bit of a whirlwind! 

It included the last trimester of a very challenging pregnancy and an especially hard stretch where I was on the verge of being hospitalized. I can't even begin to tell you how overjoyed and relieved we were to welcome into the world our healthy and beautiful Georgi girl. 



Christmas, this year, was wild and wonderful. It was one that I will most certainly always remember. It's not often you get to bring a new baby home on Christmas Day!


All of the kids love Georgi and can't keep their little {and big} hands off of her! It melts my heart to watch them with her. 




Pretty much, my heart just melts every time I look at her. She is such a precious picture of the Lord's mercy and grace. The Lord is using this little girl in such big, redemptive, and powerful ways. 


December and January brought birthdays for Faith Ana (8), Barrett (5), and Haddon (2). Thankfully, I have a houseful of party-lovers {and cake-lovers}!  






We had the opportunity to sneak away to the beach for a few days. I'm so thankful for my mom and her willingness to keep Sophi and Faith Ana so that I could have a bit of respite from caring for them. Who knew a few days at the beach with seven kids including a five week old could be so relaxing, but it certainly was! I came home refreshed and recharged, and for this I am so, so grateful!




True to Your word, You let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction...
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.

Psalms 23, The Message

Another big adjustment we've made this winter has been bringing Sophi and Faith Ana home from the public school they were attending. Within days of writing this post back in October, we began seeing an increase in some of the old orphanage behaviors {especially in Sophi} that we haven't seen in quite a while. And while it was a very difficult decision, one that has certainly impacted our days, it has proved to be the best thing for both of our girls. Their routine at home consists of doing simple and structured activities. Puzzles, picture books, Elmo, Barney, and afternoons on the trampoline are mainstays here at our house, and for the most part, Sophi and Faith Ana are both happy and doing well. We are still trying to figure out just exactly what "school" should look like for each of them, but the longer they've been home (and the more we accept their disabilities), the more we realize that we need to continue focusing on basic life skills. Any academic gains are just icing on the cake.


It's most certainly been a full season. Full of long, lively days and baby-filled nights. Full of more grace and mercy than I could ever possibly begin to express. Full of constant reminders of the Lord's faithfulness, as He carried me through one of the roughest patches I've ever walked through. 


And in the midst of it all, all my wrestlings and wanderings, all these changes and challenges, this truth, these words, have ministered to my heart and encouraged me in so many ways.

It is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself. 

As I accept myself (my weaknesses, my shortcomings, my mistakes, the places I downright fail), the Lord gives Himself. He tells me His heart, for me, and He speaks kind and gentle words. He reminds me that I am His child. He pours out His grace and mercy. He gives His forgiveness and offers fresh starts. Lots of lots of fresh starts.


As I accept my children (their struggles, their unique personalities, their early morning wake-up calls), and especially as I learn how to accept Sophi and Faith Ana with all of their unique and often challenging needs (their limitations, their disabilities, their attachment issues, their difficult pasts), as I accept them just as they are (yet not giving up hope for all they can become), the Lord gives Himself. He gives me the patience {His patience} that young twenty-something could never have dreamed of. 


As we accept our callings, the Kingdom Work the Lord has for each of us to do, as we accept this, He gives Himself, far exceeding anything we could ever dream of. 





Not long ago, someone left a comment asking me how we handle the criticism or concern that people sometimes express about our large and growing family. Maybe one day I will share more about our convictions and how the Lord impressed them and continues to impress them on mine and Will's hearts. But the short and simplified message is this, these words yet again.

It is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself. 


We believe that children are a gift, given by an all-wise, all-seeing, all-knowing Father. We trust Him as the Gift-Giver, accepting and believing that He knows best what our family should look like. We accept with grateful and thankful (and, yes, sometimes with scared and overwhelmed hearts) these gifts that He sends. The ones from my womb and the ones from the other side of the world. And as we accept this as our calling and our ministry, what we have found (and I'm convinced we will continue to find) is that He gives Himself. He gives His patience and His love. He gives His wisdom and His guidance. He gives His provision and His resources. In small ways, like boxes of diapers and wipes mysteriously showing up at our back gate, He provides. And in big ways, like the car and house we've outgrown, we can trust Him to continue to provide and keep giving us just what we need.


God does not open paths for us before we come to them, or provide help before help is needed. He does not remove obstacles out of our way before we reach them. Yet when we are at our point of need, God's hand is outstretched...

Streams in the Desert

I tend to over complicate things and over think things. I like to have a game plan, a contingency plan, and an emergency back-up plan. I've been known to go to great (and ridiculous) lengths to feel like I am in control. I like to know in advance just exactly how things are going to turn out. But when I remember this truth {and choose to believe it}, everything is simplified. I might not understand the whys. I might not see the how's (how is this all going to work out? How are we going to afford a bigger vehicle? How are we going to fit everybody in this house that feels like it's shrinking?) 


But I can trust the Who behind it all.


I accept what He's given (and what He might or might not give in the future), and no matter what that is, I can trust Him that He will always give Himself. 

He has given in the past, He is giving just now, and He will give in the days ahead. Regardless of what the days ahead may bring, they will most assuredly bring more of Him with all the help, strength, power, love, patience, and energy that I could ever possibly need. 


And as sure as the sun finally does go down and all these nine little people finally settle in for the night, He faithfully gives. He gives His energy. He gives Himself. He sees me through. One day at a time. One step at a time.

He gives everything we could possibly need and then just keeps on giving. 
Blessings overflow!


This is the blessed life - not anxious to see far down the road nor overly concerned about the next step, not eager to choose the path nor weighted down with the heavy responsibilities of the future, but quietly following the Shepherd one step at a time.

Streams in the Desert


Over the past few months I've been studying different translations of the 23rd Psalm, and it relates so well to this truth. I've especially spent a lot of time pondering and praying over one particular little phrase:

You set a table for me
    right in front of my enemies...


Psalms 23, Common English Bible



I love this image of Him setting our table. During this season, I've done my fair share of wrestling and questioning His particular taste and style, sometimes wondering what He was thinking when He was choosing my place settings. But what I'm learning more and more is that I really can trust Him to choose best. It might not be the crystal and fine china that I pictured for myself. {This is certainly not the family I envisioned I would have twenty years ago.} It's not what I thought I wanted, but I know now, most assuredly, that what He chooses is good. Breathtakingly beautiful, and so very, very good. 


In the same way, I can trust Him to know just the perfect table and the right combination of chairs that we will need. I used to think I wanted a small(ish) table with decorative chairs {maybe four, and definitely no more than five} I never dreamed I would need such a large table with so many chairs, and chairs that looked quite like these. {One that is sparkly hot pink and with wheels??? }Yet, still, He's the One who sets my table, and He's the One who knows best. I can trust Him. 

I can trust Him in the presence of enemies and Enemy attacks. I can trust Him when I feel overwhelmed and uncertain. I can trust Him in the face of criticism, fear, and doubt. I can trust Him with my future and with theirs. And as learn to trust Him more fully, embracing and accepting what He gives, you know what I'm finding? I'm finding that He always gives Himself, which means we always have a feast.



Here's a few other bits and pieces of things the Lord has been impressing on my heart that I wanted to pass along. 

First, this blog post. All you adoptive mamas (or anybody really who feels like they're in a bit over their head), can I encourage you to take five minutes to read this? It encouraged me, and I think it might do the same for you.

Second, this family. I love how when God calls us to do a hard thing (and we accept that calling), we get a front row seat to watch the miraculous ways that He works. I can't wait to see how God pours out His blessings and provides for this sweet family. 

Third, this little girl. I haven't done a lot of advocating here in quite a while, but this little girl??? Last year at Christmas, each of my four big boys picked out a child from Reece's Rainbow that they wanted to specifically pray for. We cut out their pictures, put them on the Christmas tree, and then eventually stuck them on the refrigerator. All but one have been adopted. 

Meet Mary Ellen.

This was Web's little girl and bless that sweet boy of mine. He still remembers to pray for her. I checked Reece's Rainbow recently, and her bio and picture have been updated. She reminds me so much of both Sophi and Faith Ana. 

I know how overwhelming and daunting it feels to even consider adopting a child with so many physical and mental disabilities, but I can't help but look at this little face and think about her future if she is never chosen. When I'm up in the middle of the night with my littlest girl, I find myself thinking about her. Praying for her. For a family to step up and accept her and accept their calling to be this little one's momma and daddy. 

I wouldn't even begin to tell you that it would be easy. 








In fact, I can only imagine how this little one would rock your world and turn your life upside down, that she would expose every single one of your inadequacies and weaknesses, but this, this, I can guarantee:

It is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself. 

God giving Himself. That's an offer hard to turn down!

Fourth and finally, here's a few more translations of the 23rd Psalm that I've loved. (The last one is my favorite!)

The Lord is my shepherd.
    I have everything I need.
He gives me rest in green pastures.
    He leads me to calm water.
He gives me new strength.
For the good of his name,
    he leads me on paths that are right.
Even if I walk
    through a very dark valley,
I will not be afraid
    because you are with me.
Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me.
You prepare a meal for me
    in front of my enemies.
You pour oil of blessing on my head.

    You give me more than I can hold.

Surely your goodness and love will be with me
    all my life.
And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalms 23, International Children's Bible

Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!
He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He gives me new strength. He helps me do what honors him the most. Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way. You provide delicious food for me in the presence of my enemies. You have welcomed me as your guest; 

blessings overflow!

Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with you forever in your home.

Psalms 23, Living Bible

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always.
He provides me rest in rich, green fields
    beside streams of refreshing water.
    He soothes my fears;
He makes me whole again,
    steering me off worn, hard paths
    to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.
Even in the unending shadows of death’s darkness,
    I am not overcome by fear.
Because You are with me in those dark moments,
    near with Your protection and guidance,
    I am comforted.
You spread out a table before me,
    provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies;
You care for all my needs, 
anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil,

    filling my cup again and again with Your grace.

Certainly Your faithful protection and loving provision will pursue me where I go, always, everywhere.
I will always be with the Eternal,
    in Your house forever.

Psalms 23, The VOICE


That's all for now, faithful friends! Thank you for following along and for praying for our family!

XOXO,

Melanie

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

the wonders of His love

But when the kindness of God our Savior
and His love for mankind appeared,
He saved us,
not on the basis of deeds 
which we have done in righteousness,
but according to His mercy...
whom He poured out upon us
richly through Jesus Christ our Savior...

Titus 3:4-6

Georgia Caroline Blackmon

"Georgi"


December 23, 2015
11:42 a.m.

5 pounds, 15 ounces
19 inches


Take the hardest thing in your life -
The place of difficulty,
outward or inward,
and expect God to triumph gloriously
in that very spot.
Just there,
He can bring your soul into blossom.

Lilias Trotter


The very trials that threatened to overcome you with
discouragement and disaster
will become God's opportunity
to reveal His grace and glory in your life,
in ways you have never known before.

Streams in the Desesrt


God wins His greatest victories through apparent defeats.
Very often the Enemy seems to triumph for a season,
and God allows it.
But then He comes in
and upsets the work of the Enemy,
overthrows the apparent victory...

Consequently, He gives us a much greater victory
than we would have known had He allowed the Enemy
seemingly to triumph in the first place.

May we learn that in all the difficult places God takes us,
He is giving us opportunities to exercise our faith in Him
that will bring about blessed results
and greatly glorify His name.

Sorrows come to stretch out spaces in the heart for joy.

Springs in the Valley



But as for me,
I shall sing of Thy strength;
Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Thy lovingkindness in the morning.
For Thou hast been my stronghold,
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my strength, I will sing praises to Thee;
for God is my stronghold,
the God who shows me lovingkindness.

Psalm 59:16-17



MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR

As this wild and crazy year is drawing to a close, I wanted to take a moment to let you know how much I appreciate the many prayers that have been lifted up for me, this sweet baby girl, and for our entire family. The Lord has been so faithful to see me through some hard and difficult stretches, and I know, without a doubt, that your prayers made a difference. I am eternally grateful!


XOXO,
Melanie



It was so bad we didn't think we were going to make it...
As it turned out, 
it was the best thing that could have happened.
Instead of trusting in our own strength 
or wits to get out of it,
we were forced to trust God totally - 
not a bad idea since He's the God who raises the dead!

And He did it, rescued us from certain doom.

And He'll do it again,
rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.

You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation -

I don't want you in the dark about that either.
I can see your faces even now,
lifted in praise for God's deliverance of us,
a rescue in which your prayers played such a critical part.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ups and Downs

And He said to me,
"My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is perfected in weakness."

Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses,
that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, for Christ's sake;

for when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10


Each of our kids, at least, the last three that make up our little crew, have gone through what I fondly call a Daddy Stage. Most of the time, I don't doubt that they still love me, and there are times that they do indeed want me, but it's not often, especially when they are upset. Their safe place, their secure place, the place they need to be when their world is not right, is up. 

Up in their Daddy's arms.

I can't pinpoint exactly when this phase begins. It's probably been a tad bit different for each one, but there's definitely a common denominator:


Growing a baby is hard work. At least it is for this momma. I've done it a bunch of times, and you'd think it would get easier each time. But, the truth is that it hasn't. In fact, each time I've been blessed to carry a child, it has gotten harder and harder. 

In most areas of my life over these last few years, I have been learning (sometimes slowly) to accept the hard things God sends. Even to welcome them. To see them as opportunities for growth. Precursors to blessings yet to unfold. Gifts from a gracious and merciful Father to gently teach me to quit relying on my own strength and determination and to learn to lean on Him. 

When I look into the big brown eyes of Sophi and Faith Ana, this is what I see. Good, good gifts wrapped in unexpected (and sometimes unattractive) packages. Hard things. Sometimes, very, very hard things, but good things. Things that have humbled me and revealed my weaknesses, yet things that have drawn me closer to Him. 


But this thing, this particular pregnancy, this growing a little life inside of me - this has been a hard thing unlike anything I have ever before experienced. Physically, this pregnancy has been difficult, especially coupled with anemia, headaches, varicose veins, insomnia, and exhaustion. Emotionally, many days and in many ways that perhaps one day I will find the words to share, this pregnancy has been a roller-coaster ride. And mentally, well, words just simply fail to describe how challenging these last nine months have been for me. There have been some dark, dark days. 

So, really, it's not a surprise that Haddon has certainly hit that Daddy Stage and has probably stayed in that stage longer than any of our other kids. He's definitely a daddy's boy. I'm not sure who is more anxious and excited to see Will when he walks in the door from work: me or Haddon. I think my memory of Haddon (at least during this second year of his little life) will be of him, climbing on my feet, wedging himself between me and the kitchen counter while I am trying to cook supper, pulling on my clothes, all the while repeatedly saying "up, up, up."



With tired arms, achy feet, a hurting back, and some days, a troubled and distracted mind, I don't always feel like picking him up or, quite honestly, I don't even want to pick him up. Tell me I am not alone. Some days, I distract him. {Hello iPad and snacks.} Some days, I give in, if only for a minute, hoping it will appease him, only to put him down a few seconds later when something on the stove starts bubbling over and looks and smells like an erupting, burning volcano. Some days (as much as I hate to admit it), I simply ignore him or I tell him he's ok and to go find his brothers or Evie. Thankfully, this kid loves his big brothers and sisters, and they love him and for the most part are great helpers! But it's a short-term fix, and for this boy, there's only one thing that makes all things right.

His daddy. 

The moment Will walks in the door, all is well in Haddon's little world. The tears stop. The fussing subsides. Even the full-blown, kicking, thrashing, and screaming tantrum of an almost two year old (sound familiar, anyone?) - it stops as soon as he walks in the door and scoops him up.


Some days, I find myself welcoming Will home with my own version of a two-year old tantrum, complete with tears and fussing. Maybe it's coming from a place of insecurity or feeling inadequate as a momma (the Enemy has been on the warpath lately) or maybe it's pregnancy hormones or maybe I'm just extra tired by the end of the day, but I'll find myself criticizing Will for picking Haddon up the second he walks in the door. I'll complain about Haddon's incessant fussing during the afternoon, griping about how he got woken up early from his nap by his loud brothers, and recounting the mischief that he and Evie got into and the disasters they created during the hours Will was away. I'll interject that he really shouldn't always pick Haddon up every time he asks. I don't. He shouldn't either. He's spoiling him and teaching him that this is how to get what he wants. And while there is some wisdom in this, generally, all it takes is about 15 seconds of me looking at this brown-eyed boy of mine held in his daddy's strong arms, and I rethink my position. His tears stop. His fussing turns into smiling. His demeanor changes. Mine does too, and the whole mood of the house shifts. I start breathing again, and Will reminds me that it's ok. It's going to be ok. He won't always need to be picked up or want to be picked up. Will points to the other four boys that are growing bigger (and stinkier) by the day, and I know he's right. Some days, they are so busy and distracted that they hardly notice when he walks in the door. He tells me that Haddon won't be the baby much longer (three more days to be exact!!!), and it really is ok. And, most importantly, he tells me that he doesn't mind, and I know he's telling me the truth! I love this guy's heart!


So when I read these words this morning, a post from a while back from a blog I haven't checked in months, I could relate on so many different levels. Maybe you can too! Can I encourage you to take the time to read the whole post

Here's a little excerp from it that I've been pondering throughout the day:

“Up, please” is dangerous for the child who’s not been tethered.

And for you. And for me.

Because somewhere in that grafting, when we said “yes” to Jesus — at seven or sixteen or twenty-three —  the inertia of humanity and life has taught us that “up, please” is for babies and we don’t know how to be babies to God.

I’d rather not be like a child. I don’t want to fumble over my words in a crowd or have my daughter’s wounds get triggered in public, for others to see. I don’t want to be the medical conundrum...I don’t want to be pushing forty and needing to ask the question: what broke at fifteen to make me still.keep.struggling. with that same issue? I don’t want to bleed, for too long at least...

I don’t want to need.

I’ll say it again: if I’m honest — I don’t really want to need Him.

I want to crawl out of weak skin and learn the five points on how to grow my passion for God — ’cause wouldn’t we all rather learn it in a sermon than with our lives? Yet He keeps inviting me to be bare with Him — to literally, sit before Him and let down my heart and ask the questions and wait on His answers. Be vulnerable and stay vulnerable is quite the invitation in a world where efficient mastery and polished appearances are praised...

The dozen moments in a day that I resent because they remind me that I’m weak are the ones when He wants to hear my faltering voice: “up, please.”

Needy tears have become a treasure here. When pain isn’t shoved back into submission through self-flagellation or masked underneath layers of “I’m fine!” but instead spills out through eight and ten and eleven year-old versions of “up, please,” we celebrate. We give long cuddles, just to re-affirm them that hearts that are bleeding raw before God are the ones on their way to coming alive. 


When I read these words, I thought about all the things that have happened this year. All the hard things. All the struggles. Mainly, all of my struggles. The mistakes I've made. The things I wish I could do differently. The ways I've failed. This year, more so than any other, I know what it means for a heart to bleed raw. As I look back and remember it all, my heart, bloody and messy as it is, is a heart overwhelmed with the faithfulness and gentle mercies of my own Heavenly Father. Time and time and time again, He just keeps pouring His blessings down on me. No matter how fussy I am. No matter how disagreeable I've been. No matter how the day has gone. No matter how badly I have blown it. As many times as I ask and even when I don't, His arms are always available. Today, He met me with these priceless and precious words that my heart so desperately needed as He patiently reminded me that His strong arms - my Daddy's arms - were made for this very thing. For reaching down and scooping me up. For holding me close. For not letting go. A year that started off with a miscarriage, followed by several months of feeling very, very badly but not knowing why, finding out I was severely anemic, then pregnant again, and then finally nine of the hardest, most challenging months of carrying a little person inside of me that I've ever experienced. It's been quite a year, but here's the thing: He has lifted me up and carried me through every bit of it. 

The great God wants our conspicuous crises to be occasions of conspicuous testimony;
our seasons of darkness to be opportunities for the unveiling of the Divine...

Make a pulpit of every circumstance...

Springs in the Valley

Is it just me or is it hard to be vulnerable and even harder to stay vulnerable once you drop the pretense and lose the pride? To quit pushing so hard, trying so hard, working so hard and simply to accept what is hard? To be weak, raw, messy, bloody, and exposed? To be like a child? To be like Haddon? This is exactly the place where the Lord has had me these past 12 months. And while in many ways, I'm still in the thick of it and still find myself struggling with the same things that I did yesterday and the day before, I'm just now slowly starting to see. I'm finally starting to see those little arms reaching up and those big eyes looking up, and I'm hearing that precious little voice, often sobbing, asking for up. 

If only I would always do the same. Every day. As many times a day as I needed to. If I would just look up and lift my arms up and whisper that simple, little word. Up.

To live in the wisdom of accepted tenderness is to let go of cares and concerns, to stop organizing means to ends and simply be in each moment of awareness as an end in itself...We can embrace our whole life story in the knowledge that we have been graced and made beautiful by the providence of our past history. All the wrong turns in the past, the detours, mistakes, moral lapses, everything that is irrevocably ugly or painful, melts and dissolves in the warm glow of accepted tenderness.

Brennan Manning
Ruthless Trust

My instinct, my modus operandi, the typical, learned way I respond to my Heavenly Father  is nothing like the way Haddon responds to his earthly father. When I'm sad, angry, hurting, scared, depressed, or simply when I'm just down and don't even really know why, I don't always look up. In the past, I might beat myself up. I might pull myself up by my own bootstraps and sheer determination (better known as stubbornness). I might tell myself to toughen up. More recently, I might just give up. 

Some days, I'm like Sophi and Faith Ana. I think deep down they both know and are learning to trust that the strong arms of a daddy are a good thing, but because of how they were wounded during those first six years of their life, there are still times when they bristle and push away from their daddy's embrace. They simply don't know what it means to be held, even when that's what their hurting, little hearts are crying out for. Other days, I'm more like my other brown-eyed boy. The one that is growing up so fast. The one who is passionate and wears his emotions on his sleeve, this one who is strong-willed and like his momma in so many ways. He's been on his own roller coaster this year and has had his own share of struggles. Adjusting to  homeschool and having his daddy for his teacher hasn't always been easy, and he and Will have certainly had some clashes, conflicts, and less than memorable moments. I cannot tell you how many times the Lord has given me a glimpse of my own heart as I've stood back and watched these moments play out. Like him, I've fought my Father. I've not liked what He's asked me to do. I've wrestled, and I've resisted. And, you know what? As I look back and reflect on this year - all the craziness, all my struggles, all the messes and disasters that I have found myself in - in all of it, His arms have always been reaching down, inviting me up. No matter how hard I put up a fight (or don't fight and simply give up - I'm not sure which reaction is worse, and I've done both many times lately), no matter how many times I push away, no matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, He's always there to pick me up. 

Dear friend, you do not have to understand all God's ways of dealing with you. He does not expect you to understand them. You do not expect your children to understand everything you do - you simply want them to trust you.

And someday you too will see the glory of God in the things you do not understand.

Streams in the Desert


This year, these hard things, all of this, it's helping me to learn how to see God just as Haddon sees his own daddy. Today, I'm safely and securely scooped up in His strong and faithful arms. Tomorrow, I might be wrestling and pushing away. Ups and downs are very much a part of the landscape of my heart right now. Like I said, it's been a roller coaster around here, and, yes, I still have so much to learn. Actually, I have even more to unlearn. I'm unlearning old ways and old patterns of thinking, and this has been hard. For me, it's been a painstakingly slow and unsteady process. One step forward. Many steps back. Thankfully, I have an unbelievably patient Daddy and kind Teacher who is helping me to unlearn the wrong ways of seeing Him and of seeing myself. And through this process of replacing the lies with the unchanging and timeless truth of His grace and acceptance and unconditional love, I've found myself clinging to Him as I've never done before. I've found that up in His arms is the very, very best place to be. 

God never wastes His children's pain! God loves much those whom He trusts with sorrow, and designs some precious soul enrichment which comes only through the channel of suffering.

There are things which even God cannot do for us unless He allows us to suffer.

He cannot have the result of the process without the process.

Streams in the Desert

XOXO, 
Melanie

P.S. Three more days, Lord-willing, until our arms have one more little person to scoop up! Will you join us in praying for a smooth (and quick!!!!) induction on Wednesday morning and for this newest little one to be healthy, strong, and ready to come home to a loud and lively house?