Before the years are gone and I've lost my nerve...

'Cause this is what I've waited for..

Monday, September 8, 2008

Autumn hair smells like my childhood~

Yesterday I took Jeremiah down the sidewalk in his new buggy. That brilliant design let him grab a hold of the rear end and escort it along the path. The air was cool, crisp and left my mouth watering for anything apple and gingery. I absolutely love this time of year and think it's the greatest thing that Jeremiah is a fall baby. I, too, have a Fall birthday and believe it to be the most magical of seasons to celebrate. Forgive me, you who were birthed in other seasons, but I love that my son and I will get to share similar memories of autumn colored birthdays. So yesterday when we spent some time walking, I scooped him up for a smooch on his cold cheek and got the most amazing whiff that transported me back to years upon years ago. Time stood still for a moment and every memory of apple orchards and raked leaves washed over me with the breeze that had penetrated his hair. I couldn't get enough of it. I also couldn't get enough of this last year, one that has gone by so incredibly fast, too fast. One year ago, last week was when I met Marisol for the first time.

On Labor Day as we swam in my sister's pool my mom looked at me, saying, "Can you believe it? One year ago today we met her for dinner. Now look at us!" I don't remember not knowing Jeremiah and I can't grasp who I was back then, but I know how very much I love right now. I've never lived in the present before, not until Jeremiah came. I tried, sure, but spent most of my time trying to imagine the future with whatever hope I could muster. All of this became even more evident to me as I read The Shack, a book I'm completely absorbed in right now.

"Such a powerful ability, the imagination! That power alone makes you so like us. But without wisdom, imagination is a cruel task-master. If I may prove my case, do you think humans were designed to live in the present or the past or the future?"
"Well," said Mack, hesitating, "I think the most obvious answer is that we were designed to live in the present. Is that wrong?"
Jesus chuckled. "Relax, Mack; this is not a test, it's a conversation. You are exactly correct, by the way. But now tell me, where do you spend most of your time in your mind, in your imagination, in the present, in the past, or in the future?"
Mack thought about it for a moment before answering. "I suppose I would have to say that I spend very little time in the present. For me, I spend a big piece in the past, but most of the rest of the time, I am trying to figure out the future."
"Not unlike most people. When I dwell with you, I do so in the present- I live in the present. Not the past, although much can be remembered and learned by looking back, but only for a visit, not an extended stay. And for sure, I do not dwell in the future you visualize or imagine......"

Right now is most definitely not the future I visualized or's even cooler. God is speaking into my life at this moment, reminding me briefly of where I have been and what He has done, all with a little help from the autumn breeze.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I've got this crazy mask on my face, one that I should've washed off a while ago, but am forgoing my much-needed rinse for a chance to sit undisturbed on the computer. Lee is out of town, Jeremiah's asleep upstairs and I have this moment; and it's one I don't want to lose.

My little boy crawled today for the first time. Sure, there's been movement prior to this and at points I wondered if he would ever get the forward motion rather than continue to scoot himself backward until he was bent in half underneath the coffee table. I am raising a boy, therefore I LET him scoot under the coffee table and give him a second to realize his situation before I run to his rescue. He's figured it out now and as I watched him stretch out his legs until only his toes were touching the floor, palms flat in front of him on the carpet I couldn't help but tear up. I've been WAITING for him to finally put the pieces together and it was the coolest thing to see it happen. Even though I had been showing him exactly what he needed to do with his arms and legs, set countless enticements in front of him, he didn't move forward until he realized that going backwards wasn't getting him where he wanted to go. Could that be any more applicable to my life?? It's amazing how much I'm learning about following God through parenting my 9 month old son.

It's been a very busy summer, starting with our finalization hearing on June 2nd! Jeremiah is legally a GEAR and I now have his birth certificate to prove it! It was a bit of a melancholy day for me, bittersweet almost. As great as it was, it almost felt unnecessary- like I was finalizing something that was already done. It was interesting to sit behind the big wooden desk and respond to questions from the judge sitting miles away from us in her lofty roost. She was incredibly sweet, an adoptive parent herself, and was genuinely happy to officiate the adoption. None of the information she spoke of was new to me (except for sharing the name Marisol gave to Jeremiah), but somehow when she was talking I began to feel morose. It was the strangest thing. Both Lee and I talked about it afterward because we left the courthouse going, "Okay- that's done." No particular extreme significance was attached to the process because Jeremiah was ALWAYS ours, officially, since he was placed in our arms at 6 minutes old. I didn't expect to feel that way that day, since it was special, but nothing changed for me on June 2nd other than to complete the process. We probably will celebrate it every year, however, just to have another reason to rejoice over Jeremiah. And who doesn't want another reason to party and engorge themselves on ice cream?

I've had numerous opportunities this summer to share Jeremiah's story. It's something I've been praying about since October, knowing that it's one to be shared but not knowing how to share it. A few weeks back as I was driving I contemplated about running to a few stores before I headed home, desperately wanting to find a new rug for Jeremiah's room. Friends of ours bought this adorable rug at Shopko which peaked my interest as to what they just might have for me. I don't know why it was something that caused such deliberation in my mind but I went back and forth: Should I go to Shopko? Should I just go home? Should I go to Shopko? Should I just go home? Back and forth, back and forth. It was kind of annoying.

"Go to Shopko."

Umm.....what was that?

"Go to Shopko."

Really? Ok............I'll go to

There have been a few times in my life where it seems like God is speaking audibly, and this strange instruction left me baffled, to be completely honest. I was thinking, 'What rug could possibly be this important that God himself would direct me to it?'

I veered onto the exit that would take me up to the mall area and maneuvered my way into the Shopko parking lot. Jeremiah had fallen asleep during the drive and I thought, 'Great! He'll just snooze while I meander through the store and I won't have to entertain him.' I had no sooner walked inside when Jeremiah opened his eyes and grinned at me. Little squirt. I made a beeline for the rug department and was frustrated to find that there was no rug shining light from Heaven upon me. Deciding to look at shoes I made my way to the other side of the store, found two adorable pairs of shoes for under $17 and decided to kill a little more time before I headed home. I pushed my cart into the lotion aisle and bummed around there for a few minutes until I saw a female employee turn into the same aisle, gathering randomly stashed items from careless, lazy customers (of which I am guiltily included) and placing them in her cart. I smiled the obligatory we-now-occupy-the-same-space-so-I'll-smile-hello at her and continued with my business until I heard her say, "Oh, I've got to come see that baby!" Not a surprise, for Jeremiah creates a following wherever he goes.

"Who's got the cutest little toesies? Hmmm?" And so on and so forth like most women do. Jeremiah just stared at her, and I could tell he was trying to figure out what in the world this woman was doing. He's incredibly observant, studies people almost making them uncomfortable.
"Come on sweetheart," I said, "smile and say hello!"

Say his name.

'What? Why?' I thought.

Say his name.

'Ok, I'll say his name...'

"Say hello, Jeremiah." After which the woman looked up at me, seemingly surprised.

"Jeremiah?!? That's a big, strong name little boy. Are you going to grow up to be a prophet too?" Aha.....a believer. 'Where are you going with this Lord?'

"Maybe." I replied, "He sure does have a story to tell. You've got to hear his story."
I proceeded to tell her the story of Jeremiah, starting with our failed adoptions and then how Marisol met Cristina. When I got to the point in the story where I tell of how Cristina and my mom met, her eyes widened, she gasped "Ohhhhhh......" and started to weep. Right there in the middle of the lotion aisle at Shopko. "We've got to pray over this baby boy right now," she said once she composed herself, and she prayed a beautiful prayer of protection over my son and thanking God for crossing our paths.
"You'll never believe this, " she said. "God has been bringing young women across my path lately that are either dealing with unwanted pregnancies or abortions and I have absolutely no experience in either of those areas, (thank God), but I have had nothing to share with them. Now I do! Now I can share the story of your beautiful family with these women to show them hope. And I heard it in the lotion aisle at Shopko of all places! Wait 'till I share this with my family tonight, they'll all be cryin'."

We hugged, we encouraged each other and I walked away thinking, 'That's why you wanted me to come to Shopko. Thank you Lord for that.' That and two cute pairs of shoes!

So it just went to show me that God has His plan for how this story will all come about (still....duh, Tiffany) and if I would just pay attention to what He's showing me instead of scooting myself backwards under the proverbial coffee table, I might just connect the dots a bit sooner.

Now my face is like the desert sands because I've left this crazy mask on for far too long and I'm realizing that if I don't go to bed straight-away I just might not have energy to face that active little boy at the ridiculous waking hour of 6am. But this time, this moment, was awesome.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What a difference a year makes.

The days could not have been more similar, eerily so, and I kept reminiscing about the events from one year ago. Beautiful sunshine, obvious spring growth and grass that had just stretched into its full greenness. Spring has its own smell-remarkable and refreshing-and I attempted to inhale it into my spirit at every occasion. I couldn't shake the memories from last year however, I almost didn't want to, but couldn't let it damper my day. This was Mother's Day- my first!

Here I was, one year after the greatest devastation in my life, looking down at my beautiful boy playing in the grass and thanking God for the events that came my way. Who in their life has been moved so dramatically by God, however painful? Cool things happen all the time, but to be so beautifully carved, broken and then piece by piece slowly mended is a wonder to me. As much as I hated the pain and doubt and all things 'yuck' associated with disappointment, I loved how extraordinarily attended-to I felt. I long to see that same thing in my days of ordinary, and think I can if I just look closer.

After a day of family activity on Sunday, Lee grabbed my hand, wrapped Jeremiah in a blanket, and walked us out to the hillside where one year ago we had mourned. We stood there, a family formed in the coolest of ways, and prayed. Last year, crumpled to the ground after getting the phone call that the birth mom decided to keep the baby, I screamed at God saying, "I trusted you!!!" But then this year as I held my son close to me in the afternoon sunshine I got a chance to repeat those words, uttered differently this time. I will never get over it- I will never get over what God has done for us.

I planted tulips a few years back in the flowerbed we created alongside our garage wall. The backyard spans the area between the house and the garage and the previous owners were smart enough the build a bay window in the kitchen that overlooks the yard. Every morning I grab my coffee and assess the growth of my plants from that window. The tulips have tripled now- an unexpected surprise! What began as 5 white tulips have become 15 and signify more than just successful gardening to me. I planted them the fall we began our infertility treatments. Each bulb placed in the flowerbed had become a prayer- for freedom from the ache of the last several years of infertility, for understanding why I was unable to be whole, without constant pain... and as I dug down into the dark soil I began preparing my heart for change. A memorial, of sorts, was created and at the risk over over signifying and over spiritualizing things I cannot help but look at those flowers as a symbol of God's faithfulness! He took what I used for peace and closure and tripled it to blow me away. To me, it's just another sign of His desire to bless and a reminder of how He did.

I wonder if every Mother's Day week will evoke this much introspection; I kind of think so- for me at least.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jeremiah's half-birthday cake!!

This ball was the best $1.29 I've ever spent......

Thursday, March 27, 2008

To Conceal a Matter

"It is the glory of God to conceal a matter...."

I've been mulling this verse from Proverbs 25 over and over in my mind and just read a commentary by John MacArthur about it. The supremacy of the mind of God so incredibly supersedes our own capacity that concealing matters from us reveals the Glory of Him, His nature, His power. But I wonder if there might even be more to it than just limitations of wisdom. Could it also be that He delights in surprises? Anticipating the looks on our faces when the answer comes?

I do not possibly have the ability to keep something quiet without extreme discomfort. To hold my tongue against a barrage of questions seems like complete torture, especially when they are asked in earnest and sincerity. But if you've ever tried to keep something secret, a most special surprise, there is almost delight in keeping your mouth shut.

No,'re gonna want to wait for this one.... it's gonna be big.

Here I sit at my computer, coffee next to the keyboard, freshly made hummus and pita bread still on my breath wondering about the hidden things of God....and I love it. I love everything about this moment.

Monday, March 3, 2008

So there.

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who's husband has just recently asked her for a divorce. I'm ill-equipped, but strangely entwined in her story as I feel like I'm the only person she's talking to about all the gory details. How in the world do I encourage someone to rip their heart away from the only man she's loved for the past 12 years? But God had some serious truth to tell her tonight and it was pretty wild to be a part of it. I think it's awesome, completely awesome, to watch the Divine use my clumsy mouth.

It's been a heavy week, and I'm only just beginning to feel like I might very well have a huge target on my back. There's undoubtedly some strange spiritual stuff going on around Duluth right now, and I even hesitate to write that because there's still a part of me that screams, "But I'm Baptist!! We don't talk about spiritual warfare, nonetheless wage against it!" Seriously, I never gave much thought into anything of that nature until I started hearing my name being called in my house at night. Really, I know how it sounds, but it is true. Freaky, but true. So anyways, I was washing my face in the tub last night (I would normally wash it in the sink, but we're having some clog issues that refuse to get flushed and I just don't have the patience to let the water trickle down the drain) and as I bent over to gather water from the faucet I felt like there was someone behind me. Not only was it behind me, but I felt like it was about to grab me by the hair and slam my head into the side of the tub. A little unnerving perhaps? Absolutely- and completely absurd, but I couldn't help but feel like they were back. I had prayed with a friend at church that morning, sharing some of the events and crap from the previous week, when she shared that all across our church people are experiencing similar things. Because of that conversation, my bathroom rendezvous with the dark side seemed a little less intimidating.
"I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken!"
"Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world."
"I'm a child of God, covered by the blood of Jesus Christ- you have no power here, now be gone."

"You leave my son alone......."

That last one surprised me as it came out of my lips. It wasn't my first mother bear experience, as just a few weeks prior I about tackled some poor middle aged lady as she got a little too close to Jeremiah's car seat while we were grocery shopping. I really was about to take her was pretty comical as I attempted to compose myself in the coffee and tea aisle all the while in my brain seeing the possible events unfold......beans spilling onto the floor, tea boxes in the air.

The sensation that someone was in my house disappeared as suddenly as I felt it come on, and I simply finished up in the bathroom and went to bed. There was no room for fear and I actually felt incredibly empowered as I made my way across the hall to my bedroom. A strange story, no doubt, but what this boils down to is this- boldness has come with motherhood that I didn't expect, and all this time that I've been trying to authenticate my role as a mother showed me that when it comes down to it, my God-given mother bear instincts have kicked in. I've been validated. I've listened long enough to lies telling me I'm not a real mom, that I won't be enough for Jeremiah, that other moms see me as unequal, etc. It's time for the lies to stop affecting me- God has made that clear. I've got better things to do with my time and a little boy that is craving my attention; a husband that adores me and needs my liberated heart; friends that need an extra boost of encouragement and a good dose of truth. I cannot do and be any of these things if I listen to the lies that have been tailored just to harm me. They hold no power and I refuse to listen anymore. So there.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Maybe I should've just gone to bed....

It seems the most inspired time for me to write is either in the early morning or at night when the house is quiet. Jeremiah's been asleep for a few hours already and I'm slowly learning to appreciate these hours of solitude, but still not sure if it's better for me to just go to bed. It has been a pretty introspective day and I'm both exhausted and inspired by it. I was talking with a friend today about the concept of what is 'enough'. As I mentioned in an earlier entry, I experienced a number of nightmares about feeling authentic in my new role, and I've been surprised by my sensitivity to new situations. Before Jeremiah came I would wince when people talked about how fertile they were (that still kinda hurts), how they weren't even trying to get pregnant, etc. But now, when all I want to do is prevent anything from diminishing how I'm feeling as a new mom, I find myself hearing words and phrases that stinkin' hurt! If anyone else asks me about Jeremiah's 'mom' in reference to the birth mother, I don't know what I'll do. I usually smile and continue in the conversation, as though I didn't skip a beat, all the while wanting to scream at them and say, "I'M his mom, you jerk!"

I was sitting in a group of young moms the other day, not actively engaged in the conversation, but included by default because I was in the room. The moms were talking about who their children resembled the most, them or their husbands, when one of the moms said, "Isn't is great when your child looks like YOU?" Of course she had no idea that I was wincing inside, nor was her comment even directed at me, but it still hurt like hades. I KNEW these conversations would happen someday, but I still felt completely unprepared for how to handle my emotions in response. I don't know how to stop looking at my friend's beautiful pregnant belly and not ache that I didn't get to carry Jeremiah that way. I do not dwell on it, (for what good would that do?) but I do still tend to grieve it now and again. So I choose not to start preparing my heart for the what-ifs down the road. I could.......oh, I could.....the idea of Jeremiah needing more of a mother than what he will get from me is terrifying. What if he wants to track down his birth mother someday because he feels something is missing, that I wasn't enough? I know that it might be a reality, and that I have years before it could potentially happen, and yes, that God will provide the ability to not only endure it, but support Jeremiah in that pursuit. But I can tell you right now that I do not like it, and never will. So there is a prime example of why I do not allow myself to go down the what-if road. Our life has finally seemed to settle down from all the events of last year, so why do I feel the need to stir up more stuff?

I hate to admit it, but I think I thrive in drama, as draining as it can be. But you know what's really cool? The phrase "in the meantime" no longer exists in this household. I spent years of my life "in the meantime" waiting for my purpose to begin. Not that having Jeremiah defines me, but God's given me purpose with one of the most important roles in this sweet boy's life. I knew I was made for more than what I was doing, but the wait was driving me insane. Hindsight, incredibly irritating in it's deferred arrival, changes everything. My wait is not just my story, but Jeremiah's. God still wants this story told and I'm just trying to figure out how He wants me to tell it. So in the meantime (haha), I just get to enjoy every single second of this incredible baby boy.

Jeremiah giggled for the first time a few weeks ago, and both Lee and I were there to hear it. Neither of us wants to miss a single thing when Jeremiah is changing so much. I've been singing a few silly songs we've created, and wonder as I sing them if they'll be ones he'll think back on someday.
I just love him, just absolutely love him. I hope that's enough.