38 Years Young

My goal for my 38th year is to quiet the negative self talk and begin to embrace my gifts and my strengths instead of focusing on my weaknesses. With that thought, I decided to write myself a reminder using the same grace I would with a friend.
Happy birthday Elizabeth! I know it is so hard to believe that you are 38 years old. Last year was tough, but in the midst of all the trials you saw so much beauty from ashes. You grew in your faith and your roots deepened as you saw God come through time after time with unfailing faithfulness. I think it is fair to admit that life is difficult right now, considering all of the needs of your 8 children. It would be difficult to manage a family that size without one of them being terminally ill and another with severe attachment issues. You really are doing a good job. I know that you see the faults more than the successes, but you are an inspiration. You encourage others to seek after God first and obey the scary things He asks them to do. You…

Loss, Grief and Reactive Attachment Disorder

2017 has been a rough year for our family. I ended 2016 thinking that the next year would be incredibly hard because Judah would most likely leave us for the arms of Jesus. Glory to God, he is still with us and doing well. I never expected to be grieving the unexpected loss of 3 family members and the future of one of my daughters.

In June of this year, I lost my uncle, my dad's brother, in a tragic car accident. Just a month later, on my mother's side of the family, we lost my cousin and her young son in yet another horrific crash. Four months later, it still seems so surreal. The magnitude of these losses are still so fresh in all of our minds and hearts. My heart is broken for the children and spouses that they left behind and the new reality they are each facing.

I've seen God comfort and provide through all of this, especially when I seek Him through His Word or worship Him through song and prayer, which honestly didn't come easily early on. I've learned tha…

Judah is 2!!

I've been trying to come up with adequate words to describe how I feel about Judah turning 2. I don't think it's possible, so I will share the thoughts that have been running through my head. Judah's birth mom was encouraged to abort him. He wasn't expected to make it through birth. He came to live with us at 6 weeks old after circumstances that no one could deny God's hand on. The first 9 months of his life were filled with anxiety, little sleep and lots of funeral planning. We almost lost him more times than I can count. When he was 9 months old, by the grace of God, a water pipe melted and prevented our house fire from spreading to his room. The room next to his was 400 degrees and full of smoke. He had no smoke inhalation or any issues afterwards at all. After that trial, I begged God for a break and to keep Judah healthy for awhile. For more than a year now, we have only had one close call, where I thought it might be the end. God is so good to have given…

The Lord's Faithfulness is Boundless

As we approached the one year anniversary of losing our home this month, I read this in Lamentations. I am reading through the Old Testament, book by book, for the first time. I have read many books in it before, but never in it's entirety. It has been incredible to hear the Lord so clearly. The following scriptures grabbed my heart and expressed exactly how I felt one year ago. Praise God for His faithfulness!

"The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!' " Lamentations 3:19-24

In His infinite wisdom, all the struggles and delays brought us to the point of laying the foundation for our new house, our dream house, the same week we lost…

Saying goodbye to Kingfisher.

It's been 1 week since we've moved. I've been avoiding saying goodbye to Kingfisher, because I honestly thought it would never happen. I didn't want to process the reality of what was happening. 7 years ago, Seth mentioned that he had driven through Kingfisher and thought it would be a great place to live. Having never lived outside of OKC at the time, I told him that I was never moving to Kingfisher. 2 years later, we moved in.
After the fire, God provided through our community in ways that we never would have imagined. For a month straight, we had people dropping donations off everyday. I told my best friend that I was never leaving Kingfisher. Even just to think about it would bring tears to my eyes. I remember asking her if she thought God was going to ask us to leave. God doesn't allow me to become too attached to anything, He wants me to remember that everything on this earth is temporary. Even though we lived here for only 5 years, we are from Kingfisher …

Deep Waters

I'm reading through the Old Testament right now and I'm in Isaiah. I read it a few years back, but read a scripture yesterday that gave me goosebumps and gratitude once again for God's sovereignty.

A few weeks before the fire last year, I colored a scripture page to hang above Judah's head. It read, "When you go through deep waters, I will be with you..." Isaiah 43:2. I chose this one as a reminder for myself, that when I thought about losing Judah, God would be with me through the deep waters of that trial. So every time I went to get him out of his crib, I would be reminded of this promise. I never thought to look up the scripture in my Bible. I just assumed that was all there was to it. I didn't know how pertinent the second half of that scripture would be to our future.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn yo…

Refined by the fire. Take two.

"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." 1 Peter 1:7
My last post on January 14th ended with what now seems like an invitation to more trials:

"I jotted down a few goals for this next year, but they can all be summed up into one. I pray that at the end of 2017, I will be more like Jesus than I am today. I don't know what trials I will have to joyfully endure to meet that goal, but I know that He will be there with me every step of the way. Happy New Year friends."

On January 26, Seth and I woke up to our phones going crazy with messages and phone calls from friends that our old house was once again on fire, "engulfed in flames" and "burned to the ground." It was…

2016 - Year in Review

I think it's safe to say that 2016 was our most eventful year to date. That's saying a lot looking back at the past 5 years especially.

On January 27, we finalized the adoption of our 8th child. God provided everything we needed and more through our family, friends and church.

The next few months were filled with minimal sleep, buckets of tears and multiple days saying "goodbye" to Judah. He had so many brushes with death. Twice his shunt malfunctioned and we were told that we could lose him within hours. He refused to eat for 3 straight days at one point, had multiple respiratory viruses that we were afraid would turn into pneumonia.

The scariest two days were when we put him on a medication for hypertonia and he reacted horribly to it and began seizing uncontrollably, throwing up almost constantly. I planned his funeral every time we had a scare. By the time June rolled around, I felt like I couldn't take much more of the rollercoaster. Just when I thought l…

Christmas 2016

Except for a few of us being sick, we had a great Christmas. Gingerbread houses were decorated, over 70 presents were wrapped and squeals of joy were had by all. As I edited all the pictures, I had a mixture of feelings. Thankfulness for God's incredible providence, joy from the memories we made in this new, yet temporary house and sadness thinking about how this time next year, we might be somewhere else. We strive to hold onto things loosely, so that if God asks us to give them up, we can do it with minimal hesitation. Admittedly though, it's tough living without a sense of permanence, but it's part of the sanctification process that the Lord is taking us through right now. We are grateful for these trials, because through them, we are becoming more like Him.

"For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come..." Hebrews 13:14
I am proud to share that even before we could mention it on Christmas morning, 3 of our children a…

My First Year as a Special Needs Mom

I've been hesitant to take the title of "Special Needs Mom" this past year. Maybe because we CHOSE to adopt a severely disabled child or because for many months, Judah's behavior was somewhat age-appropriate and it wasn't obvious to anyone else that he was disabled. I haven't walked the path of many mamas who have to constantly fight with their insurance company or advocate for therapy or special equipment or spend weeks in the hospital. I am so thankful for that, because honestly, I don't know how we would have managed with our 7 older children. When God called us to this, I didn't know what it would look like, I just trusted that He would work it all out and He most definitely has.

Currently, Judah is weighing around 13 pounds at 15 months old. He has 4 teeth and working on a few more. His diet will consist solely of formula until he is 2. His new specialty feeding bottles are great and he averages 5-6oz each feeding when he's not teething. His…