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Getting back to the basics…

A few days ago, I felt worn out. Okay–even yesterday I still felt that way. I had been “holding it together” for awhile and even the added craziness to our lives I had chosen to be excited about…the therapies and helping our little man achieve new goals. Then, one thing followed another…fevers, ER visits, UTIs, ear infections, tubes, xrays, ultrasounds, pokes, prodes and lots of tears. Finally, David’s words in Psalm 6:6 rang true to me last weekend and the past few days…”I’m worn out…I drench my couch with tears”. I was trying to balance so much with older ones and a new one that requires so much extra care. I thought I could do it all on my own–and I truly need to rely more on His strength and provision. I’m getting back to the basics…

You really learn A LOT when you go through a hard time. I’m learning that He can strengthen me. I’m learning who my sisters (and brothers, too, for that matter) in Christ are. I’m learning to accept and receive help. I’m learning what matters and what really doesn’t matter. And what matters most–is being in communion with my Savior and trusting in His unfailing love.

I read this tonight and it ministered to my soul…Psalm 15:

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from His heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends money without usery
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent
He who does these things
will never be shaken.

The past few days–I had let doubt and fear seep in. We are at a stopping place in physical therapy (in a rut with a stubborn little man who just can’t get over the next hump!) and with the respiratory problems he seems so much weaker in his upper body…not wanting to do anything. Then, I realized how hard I am pushing him. Maybe he isn’t at a stopping place–just a resting place…where I also now find myself.

Then…I catch myself listening too closely to the world…I hear therapists say, “Well, he’ll always have a harder time physically…” and I catch myself wondering before even going to a neurologist what his underlying cause of his hypotonia might be. I keep asking, “It COULD be NOTHING–right? I mean, you can JUST have this right with no underlying cause?” NOW…REWIND WITH ME TO THAT PLANE RIDE BACK IN APRIL

One thing I didn’t share in our referral post was the fears we confessed and decided to take on. I remember holding Richard’s hand and asking, “What if he never walks?” He looked at me and said it didn’t matter. That he was our son. And life was too short to not trust the Lord completely and follow Him…and to love this little one God had brought to us. To be in the air (already my biggest fear is flying) and to just declare our trust. It was perfect–and it was powerful. NOW FAST FORWARD five months later and having had our son home for just over 2 months (can you believe we’ve only been home for a little over TWO months…doesn’t it seem like forever?!)…fast forward to the REALITY of the day in and day out. Isn’t it SO MUCH EASIER to look into the future and say with just faith and confidence…life is too short not to follow the Lord in this and to trust in Him every step of the way

BUT my friends…that is just the BEGINNING of faith. Faith is seeing a MOUNTAIN and believing it can be moved. Faith some times has to face the hard stuff first before taking it’s first steps—you no longer are stepping forward blindly–but choosing to pick up all the obstacles…put them in a sack—the temptation will be to CARRY them YOURSELF…but I have to leave them at the cross and TRUST HIM with the outcome.

NOW–my hope…for my friends, family and dear blog readers who have already fallen in love with our son…my hope is that he will progress…there will be NO underlying neurological and nervous system disorders…that he will play soccer and have no delays developmentally after he “catches up”. Wouldn’t that be a MIRACLE TO WATCH?! For this–I hope and pray!!!

BUT–I have also felt the Lord calling me to let those things go and to trust in HIM alone. And that is where my heartache the past few days has come from. Of course it came easier because I was tired and weary from doctor visits galore. BUT I also needed to confess A LOT of sin on my heart. I had become jealous of families who have come home and not had to go to doctor visit after doctor visit…they were getting to “bond” and “cocoon”. I had to take a break from peering into their lives (aka: LOOKING to the RIGHT or the LEFT!) and daydreaming what THAT must be like…to be able to write about fun and bonding…all things I imagined our first 3 months home would be sacredly full of. And then I needed to just have a good cry on the couch…and TODAY was a new day…

My voice was more cheerful as I cheered a little man on during physcial therapy today…because I think it wasn’t my strength cheering. As I drove to our SECOND doctor’s appointment after therapy, I smiled when things didn’t go quite our way. I even laughed when I coasted into the gas station after praying the Holy Spirit would coast us there with that light on…to only realize I left my wallet at home—and SOME HOW I made it all the way BACK home and BACK to the gas station…and in time for noon carpool for my older kids. I made some changes on our calendar…scaled back on my “to do” list…accepted my sister’s offer to let Frank spend the night…and joyfully received a meal from a dear friend (thank you Tricia!!!) Refocusing on the things that matter…and getting back to the basics!

I smiled this morning thinking about how much Isaac has already been used by God to change my heart and life. I realize just a handful of faithful friends is all this mommy needs. I realize it doesn’t matter what I look like or wear (not that I ever cared about what I wore…but I really don’t now—and I’m not in the LEAST intimidated by fancy mommies with lots of matching jewelry on…I’m impressed however they have the skills and time to pull that off…and I’m THANKFUL God has given me 4 beautiful distractions to keep me from caring…1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self,, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight”). I realize that my house no longer has to be together (not that it EVER was!)…I’m not here to impress man–but to live each day to it’s fullest…to love my children…and know Him deeper. I realize that it’s OKAY if my children don’t do everything your children do…they don’t even have to run–although I hope they will. Their running is not my goal here—instead it is to teach them to run to Him with the feet of their hearts.

I don’t know if anyone is still reading this—but it’s really for me and my heart more than anyone else…and I am just amazed once again how He transforms our hearts and how HE IS OUR HELP. I lift my eyes up…unto the heavens…where does my help come from? From Him. From Him. From HIM.

As I read Psalm 18, I felt like I was getting ready for battle. I am getting geared up–and I feel renewed–ready to take on what comes our way. There is this one exercise we are doing with Isaac right now in therapy to force him to put weight on his knees–he does NOT want to do it!!! I have to make sure his legs won’t turn–and he HATES it. It is really hard for him–and it breaks his heart that I’m holding his ankles and not letting go–YET I’m cheering him on–SO confusing I’m sure!!! BUT–aren’t WE like that? God is ALWAYS faithful to those who are faithful to Him. YET–we cry out…because some times it’s hard, some times it hurts…and WHY does it feel like He holding us down AND cheering us on too?? How could that BE?! Because HE SEES THE BIG PICTURE!!! Because HE KNOWS WHAT IS BEST FOR US!!! Because HE LOVES US!!! Trust Him!!! Even when it doesn’t make sense…He really can be trusted!!!

To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
with your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.

As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hand for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.”

Elle J - September 15, 2010 - 10:53 pm

I kept reading to the end (smiles) and I am so very honored to know you and walk beside you. I am learning by you, and I don’t have similar situations in my life right now … but I see you. Praising God for answered prayers of a renewed heart, Andrea. =)

Betsy - September 15, 2010 - 10:55 pm

You all have been in my prayers today! Love you and your heart!

Lauren Koontz - September 15, 2010 - 11:02 pm

I am a friend of April’s and have followed your blog. I have been so touched by your family and your story – as it continues to unfold. Thank you for offering so many people the gift of perspective, the story of kindness and grace, and the realization that all of us can make an impact on others through our faith.

Thank you for sharing the ups, downs and joy that your days bring.
Lauren Koontz

Jenny - September 15, 2010 - 11:08 pm

Love it! Love you and praying for strength to pour over your family!!! Praise God for little Isaac!!!

Dawn - September 15, 2010 - 11:08 pm

AMEN! Sometimes the world creeps in stealing our joys. Sometimes things go wrong…or seem impossible- HOLD ONTO FAITH & HOPE!!!! God is still moving those mountains!

JEnny Hanson - September 15, 2010 - 11:09 pm

Thank you for your amazing, beautiful, and faith filled honesty!
Thank you for accepting help…God calls all of us to the orphan, for some that is adopting, for some that is feeding the bodies of the new family, for some that is feeding the souls of the new family with prayer…you will bring glory and honor to God by letting these people serve you!

One day at time and remember those beautiful words from Phillipians…I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS WHO STRENGTHENS ME!

Jenny - September 15, 2010 - 11:54 pm

I have SO lived these feelings, Andrea…and my heart is burdended for you. It is hard, hard, hard when the Lord brings situations to us that are not what the world sees as “typical” but HE is truly most glorified in these times. I am praying for your weary soul, for sweet Isaac, and rejoicing that God gave you some bright spots today! Love to you!

kristi johnson - September 16, 2010 - 12:12 am

go look at my post and look at LL one year ago and one of my girls are using their feet to hold her up so she doesn’t fall over…she was supposedly 10 months old…but my dr. says now that he thinks she was 15 months old and couldn’t even sit up…look how far she’s come and we didn’t even know to worry about it…he just says now that he’s always thought she was older…so…he’ll be driving you crazy and running around yourhouse destrying it in ONE YEAR toO 🙂 kj

Asher Collie - September 16, 2010 - 12:21 am

I just love you, Andrea! The end.

missy - September 16, 2010 - 12:49 am

“Their running is not my goal here—instead it is to teach them to run to Him with the feet of their hearts”…my own heart ran to god when i read this. i may have never read a more beautiful sentence in my life. what a beautiful sentiment of what we really want as parents. not that we will for one second stop believing that this boy will run like forrest and it will be all over this blog. but that in all things, we will trust in god’s goodness no matter the outcome.

“Maybe he isn’t at a stopping place–just a resting place…where I also now find myself”… YES. not stopping. not giving up. not giving in. just resting. resting in His goodness and love. wetting the couch with your tears. shamelessly letting others serve you. and turning to god’s word for your strength (you are a champion to me in this).

Anne - September 16, 2010 - 12:52 am

I am a friend of Kristin Burleigh (adopted Markos through AGCI) and am mom to three girls, one adopted, two biological (4, 3 and 1). We live in Seattle, WA. I have been following your blog for quite some time and gain so much strength from your posts. You are so honest and it is truly a gift to me. Thank you! As you share, you are helping prepare my heart for the future. We are not sure what is in store for us as we consider growing our family through another adoption, but I know I will go forward, very prepared. Thank you for sharing your soul and your family. It is not a coincidence that I read your blog daily.


Olivia - September 16, 2010 - 2:16 am

i think lots of us momma’s find it easy to compare our stories to other momma’s stories and find our own lacking, especially when things get tough. i’ve just also been reminded that my value doesn’t come from anything but HIM alone. i am his creation i was born in God’s thought. i delight his heart because he made me, knit me together for his perfect plan. he made you too and what a beautiful life he has woven together for you! blessings & strenght to you! olivia

Staci - September 16, 2010 - 6:44 am

Another beautiful reflection of the Lord’s work in your life and your obedience to Him. I feel blessed that somehow I didn’t see this post last night. What a great way to start my day!! I got up extra early to prepare for a long day at the hospital for more tests for BA. Yes, the endless appts are part of the journey God has chosen for each of us, but it is indeed a privileged calling to raise a child who requires more care than his/her peers. As you beautifully stated, we mommies are SO blessed with the fruits of our labor and we learn a LOT of patience in the process! Hang in there with the PT… they get stuck and resist and everyone gets frustrated, and then their development spikes and you’re working towards the next goal! Keep persevering my friend… Can’t wait for a playdate! Thanks for blessing me with your heart this morning!

Ashley - September 16, 2010 - 7:33 am

sweet andrea…the Lord has blessed you with such a beautiful heart. your honesty thru these struggles will help so many other mommies and families. i pray the Lord will continue to strengthen you and show you His purpose and grace thru all these hard days. i can picture little isaac running down the soccer field and the tears streaming down your face…what a day that will be!

julie@Flitterbugs - September 16, 2010 - 8:47 am

Thank you for sharing your heart Andrea! My baby brother has lots of special needs, including CP and neurological issues. Doctors said he would never sit up. With prayer and joy, my mom had him sitting up by the time he was 3, and WALKING by the time he was 9. He defied every “hope” his therapists ever had for him! To God be all the glory!!!

Rebecca Harley - September 16, 2010 - 8:54 am

Sweet friend – thank you for the beautiful reminder to keep Him as my focus – definitely needed that today. You are in our prayers, for strength for today, for healing and rest for Isaac, and for His joy to permeate your day – You all are going to soar like eagles!!! (again – my favorite verse:). Also – I must thank you again for your sees cd that you send months ago – Hannah and I have been listening to it every morning – starting our day in the Word:)

Lara - September 16, 2010 - 9:42 am

Very encouraging, Andrea!

Kim - September 16, 2010 - 10:31 am

Yes! I read all the way to the end.
I’ve walked through these very same difficult days.
And the lessons from learning to trust in His promises vs. the doubts of dozens of specialists and therapist are invaluable.
Equally valuable was learning to accept help from others and realizing that what I feared was burdensome was an opportunity for others to participate in the miracle God was doing in our family!
Wishing HK was just around the corner so I could lend a hand!
Love & Blessings,

Rachel Campbell - September 16, 2010 - 10:51 am

Wow, this is so powerful! Your perspective is so insightful and you my friend get the big picture!! I am so proud on you and continually encouraged myself. xoxo-Rachel

Melissa - September 16, 2010 - 11:27 am

I, too, read to the very end. Not sure how I found your blog although I have two children adopted from South Korea so adoption was probably the cause, but this is the first time I’ve commented. I just wanted to say this post was so encouraging and such a good reminder that our trust and faith is in God alone.

Billie Hobbs - September 16, 2010 - 11:39 am

This is a song I take comfort in. I wanted to share it with you.

Faith - September 16, 2010 - 9:02 pm

Your post is beautifully honest! My husband and I have begun the adoption roller coaster, and therefore we searched for blogs in reference to Ethiopian adoptions…God most certainly put your blog in our “path”! I am so thankful to read your blog as your honesty, love for Christ, and love for your children are wonderfully expressed. Thank you for sharing your heart with us blog readers! 🙂

polly - September 16, 2010 - 11:27 pm

Thank you for being so honest and sharing your true heart. So often we want to be an encouragement to others but not at the risk of revealing our “weak moments”. Your honesty is encouragement! Wish I lived near you…. I love to hear your heart. And by the way, your little man is adorable.

Amy - September 17, 2010 - 9:02 am

Thank you, Andrea, for pointing me again to put my trust and faith in God alone. It’s so easy to get distracted by worries and fears and I’m so guilty of putting this adoption process in the Lord’s hands and then taking it right back again. I needed to be reminded to trust my faithful God, knowing He sees the total picture! I’m praying for you and for sweet little Isaac. I can’t wait to see God unfold the good plans He has for that precious little boy!

Jen - September 17, 2010 - 10:49 pm

Just wanted to let you know my son has hypotonia with NO underlying cause. We also had to see a neurologist and all of that just to be sure, but there is no reason. He started walking at age 2. He is now 4 1/2 and his motor skills are about a year behind his peers. He struggles especially with fine motor. Most importantly though….it doesn’t stop him from being a normal, active, crazy 4 year old! It can be hard at times with all the therapy and the frustration…..I just try to remember that Our Father made him just perfect in his eyes. Isaac will be just fine. Thanks for your awesome, funny, inspiring posts. I love them….