What Kind of Day Has it Been

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So, what kind of day did you have. Was it fabulous? Did every single thing go your way? Did you take on Goliath and win with one stone? Did Prince Charming meet you with a hot cup of coffee (or as I would like, cold Diet Pepsi) first thing this morning?

Or…

Was your day more like mine? Did you feel like you were running on a treadmill and you couldn’t get off? Getting hammered from every side, while trying to finish the obstacle course with some dignity intact? Did you run a marathon of appointments, no-shows, hurt, sickness, crying kids, messy house and exhausted mom?

I have some good news. Even if it WAS the day that tested your limits, beat you up and left you crawling across the finish line, guess what. It’s over. You made it! Put your feet up and have some chocolate. You did it! We all have days that take every ounce of our strength. Days that are emotionally, physically, mentally exhausting. Give yourself a break. Read a book, zone out in front of the tv, go to bed early. You deserve it.

Many moms have the tendency to burn the candle at both ends. I think single moms are especially prone to this as there is no one to pick up the slack.

But tonight, I am giving you permission. Leave the dirty dishes. The laundry can wait. Relax. Tomorrow is another day. A brighter day, perhaps. A day that holds all the promise of a fresh start. A day we get to try again. And fight again for the best life for our little ones.

So if today didn’t go as planned. Don’t worry. You have another chance.

Now. Get some sleep!


Five Minute Friday – She

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People all over the world blogging on the same topic on the same day for just five minutes and linking up at Lisa Jo’s place. Today’s topic: She.

Five Minute Friday

GO.

She is…

Loved

Wanted

Prayed over

Thought of

Missed

Constantly on our hearts.

Usually, several times a day, my daughter asks about her sister in Ethiopia. When will she get here? Is this dollar she puts in the orphan fund enough? Can we bring her home now? Why do we have to wait?

And she prays over her sister. Prays for enough food. Prays that she won’t be scared when she gets here. Prays that Jesus will take care of her today.

We can’t wait for the day She knows she is loved, wanted, cherished. A part of a family. She is waiting for us and we are waiting for her. When you have had adoption on your heart for as long as I have, the wait seems like it will never end. It looks to the world as if we are just starting this process. In reality, it started 35 years ago with a longing God put in my heart. I can’t wait until I can hold her in my arms, tell her how loved she is.

 

STOP.


Belonging

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As a divorced single mom, it is so easy to feel out of place in church. Yes, there are tons of us in the world. But many churches still judge. After we moved, I tried many churches, looking for the right fit. Several of them were almost all married couples. Not even many singles, just families. It’s wonderful to be around families and I really want my daughter to see Godly Christian men, but we stuck out like a sore thumb.

And I think that many American churches today are like that. You are welcomed with open arms if you look a certain way, wear the “right” clothes, say the “right” things. But that doesn’t even begin to get at a person’s heart. A lot of us could fake it if we had to. And I think a lot of people do fake it. Who wants everyone to know when things are falling apart? Who wants to admit when life isn’t rosy? We seem to think we are the only ones who struggle and if we were “better” Christians, we wouldn’t have so much trouble. So we put on a really good front.

WRONG.

Really wrong. Not even close to the truth.

Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

We don’t need to be ashamed of our trouble. Jesus knew we would have trouble. And He knew we would make mistakes. Who did He spend the most time with? Who did he heal? He didn’t come to heal the healthy, but the sick. (Matthew 9:12) He came because He knew we would need Him. He isn’t surprised that my marriage fell apart. He isn’t surprised that I am a single mom. He came for me. If I never struggled, I wouldn’t get to see His provision and mercy.

Which I saw once again at church on Sunday.

It was a sermon on marriage and divorce. The sermon every single mom dreads. Why go? Why sit through it again and be made to feel like a failure because my marriage ended. I struggle to understand why my husband left. Why he didn’t want our family anymore. I will probably never be able to come to terms with it completely. And I don’t need to be reminded of what I am not. I am not a wife. I am not the woman who gets to be married to her first love for her whole life. I am not the mom who can say “Just wait til your father gets home.”

So there I sat. Waiting for the condemnation. The condemnation that never came.

I should probably have started by telling you that our pastor loves us. I think he is one of those rare pastors who loves his congregation really well, while still telling the truth from the Bible every Sunday. He doesn’t mince words. And he gave a good strong sermon on choosing the right person to marry. On staying pure until you are married. On honoring God in that 2nd biggest decision you will ever make.

Then he talked to us singles. He told the well-meaning married people to stop trying to set us all up. That it’s okay to be single. That it’s great to be single. And great to be married. Whatever God has for us, being in the center of His will is what matters.

And he ended by telling us all that we singles are not second-class citizens. And we divorced are not second-class citizens. That we matter to the church. That we belong. And I sat there with tears streaming down my face. We belong. We are loved and accepted and wanted at my church. I know this. I see this every Sunday. But hearing it at the end of what is normally the dreaded marriage sermon blew me away.

And I wonder if he will ever know how much good that did for the hearts of so many of us sitting in the pews.


Persistant Prayer

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Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him. Then the one inside answers, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.” I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of his boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:5-10

Those last two verses are pretty popular in the church. I have heard them many times, seen them on many plaques and posters over the years. This is the first time I have had teaching specifically on the first verses in this section.

Now I am not saying that when we pray, God is telling us to go away until morning or that He is too busy or comfortable to listen to us. Not ever. Not even a little. But in this parable, Jesus is teaching us about prayer. Earlier in Luke 11, He taught us the Lord’s Prayer; how to pray. Now, He is teaching us WHEN to pray.

And it goes something like this.

Always. Every day. Every minute. Without fail. Without ceasing. Without giving up. If something is on your heart, share it with God. If it’s on your heart every single minute of every single day, tell Him that.

I used to worry that God would get sick of me. That He was tired of hearing me ask something again and again. Seriously? How small is that love? It’s not the huge, never-ending, overflowing kind of love that would make someone sacrifice their only child for someone else. His answer might be no and it might be not yet. But He wants us to keep asking until He tells us “no”. If it’s on our hearts, He wants us to share it with Him. Continually. Maybe our persistence will pay off by our prayer being answered with a “yes”.

And maybe the more important outcome of our persistence will be our continual conversation with God, regardless of the answer.


Hold on, Baby

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Has God ever broken your heart for someone you’ve never met?

Have you ever felt an ache that wouldn’t go away, that reminded you day after day of a matching ache thousands of miles away?

I have.

There’s a little girl sitting in Africa. She’s in an orphanage. Today, she won’t get enough food. Or clean water. Or medicine. Or love. Or attention.

Not that the nannies in the orphanage don’t try. I am sure there are some wonderful women doing everything they can to care for the multitude of kids they are responsible for. But there are so many children, and only so many caring hands. Only so much food to go around. And it’s never enough.

They must be strong women. I can’t imagine day after day, knowing I don’t have enough to give these precious little ones. Knowing there is so much more for them, if only. If only there was more food. If only there were more helpers. If only a mom would show up to love them and give them a home and family of their own.

That little girl sitting in the orphanage. She’s waiting for me. She’s waiting for me to come for her. And she doesn’t know that I am sitting here loving her already, waiting to hold her in my arms and feed her and get her to the doctor and introduce her to the sister that cannot WAIT for her to come home.

Waiting for me to come for her. She doesn’t know it yet. But I do.

And I pray for her. Every day. Many times a day. I pray that the orphanage will have enough food today. That she will get all the attention she needs. That she will somehow know, deep in her heart that I am coming. I want her to have that hope.

Hold on, baby. I’m coming for you.


My God-Sized Dream

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DSC_4730bMy daughter and I are in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia.

And yes, I feel I might burst with joy and wonder when I write that. You see, it’s completely amazing to me that this dream that started 35 years ago is finally happening.

When I was a little girl, I played orphanage. I would line up all my baby dolls and take care of my “orphans”. My mom says she knew then that is wasn’t just regular imagination. Something more was going on. God put this calling in my heart. It’s one of the things He created me for. I was made to be a mom.

When my husband left 4 years ago, I thought my dream of adoption was gone, too. In my admittedly short-sighted view, kids must have a mom and a dad. And yes, that would be ideal. A loving family that remains together forever? Every kid deserves that. Every grown up deserves that. But that’s not the way it is in this world. My mom’s dad died when she was 2. My husband left. Life doesn’t usually work out the way we plan.

A year and a half ago, I was talking to a friend about the loss of my dream, and she responded by asking me why a single woman couldn’t adopt. I had no answer for her. And our conversation stuck with me and wouldn’t let go. Slowly the light came on. And I believe this with all my heart:

One parent who will love a child unconditionally, help them become who God created them to be and point them to Jesus every single day is immeasurably better than no parent at all. No contest.

So here I am. Filling out piles of paperwork. Going through interviews and medical checkups. Looking at major fundraising to bring our little girl home. And completely amazed by God.