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1 month in our arms… {and a few other reflections}

It has been a whole MONTH since we first met our newest love! Crazy–how time flies by! And we’ve been home for 3 weeks!

Things here are going well…one day at a time.

I’m still working on figuring out our new normal with 5 little ones–which will be much easier when our new one understands English as the dailies without language can make a normal trip with 5 kids under 8 to Target that much crazier. Anything and everything he sees right now–he reaches for and wants…and I find myself racing down the aisle feeding him a fruit squeeze pouch while throwing in necessities to get us through.

For the record–I can get a lot of necessities in 2 fruit squeeze pouch time.

Bringing home a toddler has been night and day to bringing home a 11 month old. Comparatively in our circumstances–this is so much easier and smoother than I could have imagined. I expected that it would be harder because of age–but I think our older one is more easily able to draw connections with cause and effect–momma will always come…it’s okay to nap because she’s right there in the next room–all things that might be much harder for a younger one to understand. When we have a bump–it has surprised me–and then I remember we have only been home 3 weeks and it makes sense…because for the most part we are where we were after a year. Connections are all different and some take longer–and I’m just so thankful for the connections we are making…how sweet they are.

I read the best book this week “Loving the Little Years“…and it’s been so perfect for where I am right now. This momma has 5 little ones–all small. This book has challenged me to really be watchful of each of my children and where EACH of them are emotionally. I’ve found greater joy in my bed time with each child–reading them their bed time books…and then sneaking in my only girl’s room to curl up with her…turn on a night light and read more of the Penderwicks together. I just love her chapter on “Me Time”–and how to see this differently once you are a mom. “Me time” can now be found in sweet one on one time with my spouse or individual time with children. I do not have to hold on to or go away to find or keep the “old me” because the “old me” is…well–the OLD me. I love being a wife. I love being a mom. And really–these are now intertwined in WHO I am. Honestly, I feel alone without these sweet people the Lord has gifted me with. I do love some by myself time every now and again…but it’s okay that I don’t have to be on a tennis league—part of a girls club—go on yearly girls get aways or beach trips to BE ME. In fact, I think if and when I did those things I would feel less like me at all. And that’s okay. (Totally okay for anyone else who wants and finds joy in doing these things–I’m not at all saying you shouldn’t…but the harm I think is when we HAVE to or NEED to in order to be something.) Am I think I might be homely–or something like that–because I’m finding joy in just being here…in the middle of this crazy–with lots of laundry, lots of day in and day same ole, same ole…playing games, reading books and just being together–for me it is more than enough and I wouldn’t want to miss a moment of it!

This momma has been thinking a lot this week about life–and what really matters. We have a dear friend who was diagnosed with cancer last October. They have 11 beautiful children—4 biological children, 1 child who has gone to be with Jesus, and 7 brought home through special needs adoption. They have been such a source of encouragement for us. Mike is in his last days here on this Earth–and he has run so bravely, boldly and with such honor. He followed the Lord’s call to grow time and time again–and after 8 months of fighting…he is home resting–and spending his last days with his sweet ones. His wife, a dear friend of mine, home schools there children. They live in a small town in Tennessee–and go to church with Rich’s aunt and uncle–and we have grown to love them through the years. They don’t have a blog…for people to read and follow–but trust me…if you could–oh the things you would reap from their witness and life. Day in and day out–they have loved these children. This–this loving our children…the day in and day out…what might seem often as mundane–is truly holy. While I will never understand…why most of their littles had their first parents taken away at a young age and were given these amazing ones…and then to say goodbye this week to their most precious daddy–I do know this…God is good. He is good. And this…this is not our home. Watching this precious family walk in these last days of one of their beloved’s–gives me a new sense of what this life is really all about…and that we were made for so much more. When I live for the Kingdom–because only that matters…that is what we really live for–then everything changes. It really is so worth going to bed completely worn out because I tucked each one in…read books…stayed up late doing this or that for the children.

I read a blog post last week–about Africa. About the church. About the West. I think the motivation behind it was for us to wake up–and start doing something to really make a difference. But what if. What if you already ARE? What if waking up every morning…loving on your babies–right in your home…choosing not to fuss or gripe or yell…but to get on their level and pour love in…what if this was the biggest difference YOU are called to make?? And what if this–in the eyes of our Father–is the greatest of all?? Maybe we aren’t all called to go get dirt under our nails and live in Africa. (However, I’d love it if it were some where in my future!) Honestly–the time I’ve spent in Zambia were some of my easiest, most-fulfilling days of all because I saw change and it made me feel good about myself. (Just being honest.) It’s a little bit hard to feel good when you wiping urine off a toilet seat for the 10th time, starting another load of laundry, breaking up a toddler fight or telling a child to put up the Kindle and please feed the cat. Some times it’s the day in and day out like this…when the enemy sneaks in and says, “You know–you should really be doing more.” So you find yourself picking up your lap top–searching for more…and then you are sucked in…reading about someone else’s more…when really–there is more right in front of you. Sweet ones–right in your home…where you can really make a difference. Prodding their hearts. Talking about their feelings. Sharing with them the love of Christ. Challenging them to think outside of themselves. And I think of this family that we love–that is about to change forever on this Earth as they say goodbye to their daddy…and I know they are thankful. He spent every moment away from work with them…building in, pouring in and even helping with laundry. And most will never know their story–but I have no doubt that the lives of 11 beautiful children are forever changed–and those fortunate enough to know them personally to see the love that was poured in…we are all forever changed. Reminded of what really matters.

Life is precious. Too sacred, sweet and short to compare or live unkindly…no room for even unkind thoughts–instead we should celebrate and love one another…in our different places…no matter how simple or seemingly perfect. I’m learning to be thankful for each new day…each new connection…every moment. Press on sweet mommas. Your job matters! Keep pouring in–and ENJOY every moment! It is sacred!

A few sweet words…

John 11:23-26 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.” -Mother Teresa

“Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet especially your family.” -Mother Teresa

Maureen Werner - July 6, 2013 - 8:58 am

I love that book! It really spoke to my heart at a time when I genuinely needed it. So glad you have read it and it has helped you.

I too think about living somewhere where I could make a difference, and then I remind myself that this is where God has me, and my Mission is my children (For now!). I need to stop trying to peek around the corner to see what is next in my life and stay in the moment that is NOW!

Praying you have the most wonderful summer ever with your Little Ones! Oh and would love an update of your beautiful girl you hosted last summer. Praying that she has settled into her new family and they are loving her BIG!

Blessings to you!

Sara - July 6, 2013 - 10:26 am

I have followed your blog for about a year and I just want to thank you for your honesty. My husband and I are about to bring home our two year old daughter from Congo (excitement mixed with almost overwhelming fear) and we have four boys at home now who we homeschool. In this process I have been so encouraged by what you have chosen to share and this post spoke to me b/c so often I feel that I am not doing nearly enough! Thank you, friend, and God bless you and your family!
BTW, I will definitely be ordering that book! 🙂


Ellie - July 8, 2013 - 9:24 am

Thank you for sharing your heart! I love what you said about the enemy sneaking in and lying to us about how we should be doing more. Wow. I think you are right on target with that. I’ve heard that lie before when I have been taking care of my home and being a wife and a diligent student and feel like I should be doing more…when the life God has called us to is often right in front of us. Thank you for that lovely reminder this morning. God bless!