Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating Esther's life

It was 3 years ago today that we experienced the most painful day.....ever.  Losing our little girl.  It was a time that really made me think about life, and the value and preciousness of it.  One little life.  Whether it ends in utero, or at 90 years old, ALL life matters, and was made for a purpose.  Esther was created by God for a specific purpose.  I need to remember and know that.  Most days I know that, but some days I need to remember that. 

I think I just needed to ponder this for myself, to know that Esther was here.  That she was not just a figment of my imagination.  For those mommas who have lost little ones before actually giving birth, it is hard, you want so badly for their life to matter, for people to remember!  As most people continue on with life, those hard days fade away, and can be forgotten.  But not for us.  There is not a single day that goes by that I don't think of her, remember her and love her.  I don't cry, hardly ever, but I did today.  I need that.  Most people get to celebrate their children with a cake, and gifts.  I want to celebrate Esther even though she is not here.  She changed who I am.  God used her in my life and so many others, and that is such a gift.  To me.  To know that she mattered and made a difference by being on this earth even if she never walked it......

And so i feel sad, to not have her here........and YET, I am so thankful she is with Jesus.  She is not in pain. She is in the best possible place she could be, other than with us. :)  Because of her life, I have experienced Jesus in ways I never would have.  In this Christmas season, I am struck again by Emmanuel, God with us. We sang this song recently, and it hit me in a new way.....

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
His name is called, Emmanuel
God is with us, revealed in us.

And I paused during the song..........When we go through painful trials, God shows up!  He is with us and he walks us through unimaginable times.  I was talking to a friend yesterday who lost her husband recently, and we both said, its the grace of other explanation for how we make it through unimaginable pain.  we get to the other side, and can't explain how we got there.....God's grace.  But then the next line hit me in a new way.......revealed in us.......He reveals himself in us.  Look at the first definition of revealed that I found when I googled it........ 

revealed - make (previously unknown or secret information) known to others.

isn't that awesome!?

God wants to make himself known to others, through us!!  And that is what life is all about.  He is with us always, in the good and bad, and he wants to reveal himself to others through us.  Because what happens???  As I experience God, and his with-ness, I want to tell everybody the secret!!!  He will be with you too!  Put your trust in him.  He will not fail you!  He will never let you down!  All you have to do is trust him!!!  In the best of times, AND in the worst of times. God came down to earth in a bod, Jesus Christ, he was with us, because he wanted to be with us forever!!!  He wants us to know Him from now, into eternity!

And so when unimaginable painful things happen, and they do, we tend to ask, God where are you??  Did you forget about me?  How could this happen??  And there are days I ask those questions......but Jesus continually brings me back to, "Oh Monica, yes I am here!  I am WITH you, remember how I was WITH you on that day, December 20th, 2010?  You felt my presence, you experienced my personal comfort.  You knew that I was with you.  Don't forget!  But I know you will, and so I reveal myself to you again, because I love you."  In this beautiful dusting of fresh white snow!  Oh, the peace and the calm he shows me today.........."See dear Monica, this is for you!"  (You may think it's for you today, but it's for me.  hehe  :) oh wait, it can be for ALL of us!)

As I ponder today, I am reminded of a time of prayer I had with a woman shortly after Esther's death.  As she prayed for me, she said that Esther could see the making of her brothers and sisters.  I have remembered this over the years as we have struggled to get pregnant again, and I wonder if she ever will have siblings.  I fear, and I wonder if this is true.  God has walked us on a journey for the past 5 years as we have talked about adoption and timing, as both Brian and I have had a heart to adopt, and for all kids, any age.  Do we adopt now before we try to have biological kids, do we wait and have bio kids first??  Oh the questions, and no clear answers for many years.  Get pregnant, lose Esther, grieve.  Meet with different people, explore our options, not clear timing.  One answer is a no.  One answer seems to be a not yet.  And so we wait.  I trust in the Lord and his wonderful plan for our life.  Matthew 6:33 - "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."  We continue to serve the Lord and do what he has called us to do.  And whatever "all these things" are, we will wait. 

Through this process, I have prayed for open doors.  That God would show us what he wants, when he wants in his PERFECT timing.  Oh that is so so hard!  I want what I want, now.  And there are days I want a child to hold and love so badly, I ache.......But I am grateful for God's process and his timing, because now, I don't need a baby.  I don't need a child to make me happy.  God is enough.  He has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams with an amazing husband, and family and life and job with Young Life!  I would LOVE a child to raise, and well LOVE the socks off of.  God brought Brian and I to a place of unity recently, and so....

the adoption process has begun!!! 

We feel adoption just fits who we are.  I already feel like we have a ton of spiritual children!!  We would love your prayers as we grind through paperwork and home study, oh yeah, and we are building a new house as well!!  We are so excited!  We are adopting domestically, through an agency some friends went through in Georgia.  It was a great experience, and now I not only am looking forward to adopting a baby, but am looking forward to how God will reveal himself in and through us, throughout this process!  To see how God would use us in the life of the birthparents, if he so desires, and that God would be glorified and made known!!! 

So we celebrate the life of our sweet Esther today, and in this season, and we are excited for the next season as we look forward to meeting Esther's sibling(s) in God's completely PERFECT timing.

Merry Christmas!  Mo and BZ

Saturday, September 7, 2013

It is weird to come back and post after almost a year!  But nevertheless I have had some things on my heart and got the feeling that it was time to write.  It's not that I haven't had other things on my heart over the past year, haha.  But when i get this urge, i believe i need to write because there is someone out there who may be sharing in my struggles, so here we go! 

I just got done reading a book called Kisses from Katie.  I picked it up at the airport a few weeks ago because I had forgotten to take a book with me on our quick girls trip to Vegas to see Celine Dion.  Amazing show, but that is another story.  (Funny too, because in this book, Katie references Celine. lol)  I didn't even read it a ton while there, but since I have gotten back, I have read it just chunks at a time.  And it wasn't until I closed the book, that I realized how much it had impacted me, and a GLARING point that hit me soon after.  I have been bitter toward God, and unthankful.  There I said it.  I didn't realize this until I read the Afterword of this book, and she shared her perspective on a very gutwrenching situation that she had gone through.  I read the whole book, but i feel like it was the Afterword that God wanted me to see. To point out the attitude of my heart that I have been fighting and telling myself its okay that I feel the way I do.  Or pretending that I don't in fact feel the way....... that I really do feel. 

The real life story of Katie is that she is a 22 year old girl from Tennessee who moved to Uganda because she felt a call on her life from God.  People didn't understand it, but she went right out of high school.  She lives there, trusts God with everything, has adopted 14 girls, and goes wherever God tells her to go, and to help whoever he brings into her path.  So inspiring!!  I want to live like that.  And yet I don't.  I think I have gotten so focused on what i don't have (children), and my view has gotten VERY narrow! She has courage in Jesus, and knows that He will meet her every need.  How else could you adopt 14 children, take in anyone who is sick, and feed and school hundreds of other children in the villages around her!?  This is so familiar to me, because of my experience with Starfish Ministries and the amazing work that Bernie and Sheryl Bovenkamp and their team in Haiti do for the people of Haiti!!  God just meets their needs!  I have seen this kind of poverty in Haiti, that Katie talks about in Uganda.  So overwhelming, and yet God just tells her to take care of the ones he places in front of her!  What an amazing way to look at life.  To not get overwhelmed by the need, but to do what is in front of us.  To help those that God brings in our lives.  Who are our neighbors?  our friends? Our co-workers?  We can do the same thing here too!  So besides wanting to adopt a dozen kids from Africa after reading this book, I needed to ask God for forgiveness for my bitter heart. I have felt stuck, and stagnant and I think that my bitterness is why I have felt that way.  How can bitterness and love thrive in the same place?  Bitterness is like a weed, weeds take over!! 

One of the girls Katie adopted was a little girl named Jane.  She had been brought to Katie, and she needed help.  They nursed her back to health, and after looking for her bio-mom and not finding her, moved forward to adopt her.  Well, a year later, the mom showed up on Katie's doorstep and wanted Jane back.  She fought for her, but legally there was nothing she could do.  Jane went back to live with her mom.   Katie was so heartbroken, having loved this child as her own for a year, and then having to give her back.  I know a similar pain!  But her response was incredible as she reflected on the hardest thing she had ever had to do up until that point in her life.  She says, 'For a brief moment I wonder how God can be good when babies starve and people die cold and alone and children are ripped from their mothers.  But only for a moment.  Because then i look around and I know that I am nothing without Him.  That none of this, none of this life I have, would exist without Him. "Surely just as I have intended so it has happened and just as I have planned so it will stand," He says in Isaiah 14:24.  My good God gives only good things; He planned this and He will use this.  In Him, even sorrow is Joy.'  That hit me.  Even in her deep pain, and not understanding of why Jane was taken away, she trusted God.  And was so quickly able to say, that we would have NONE of this life without Christ!  Oh that is so beautiful.  So what I needed to hear.  Who do I think I am??? And who am i living for?  Myself, or Jesus? She mentioned in a prayer over a dear friend who was dying, that God had not forgotten her, and that she would be with him soon, and then I realized..... I do feel forgotten.  I never realized that i felt that way before.  I know it is not true, but it made me almost cry today as I was telling my running partners that.  When it appears that EVERYONE else around me is getting pregnant and having babies, that is an easy LIE to believe, and it also appears that I have believed it.  I know that is not true, as I know people who are struggling just as we are.  But I have let the enemy take that and narrow my focus to only be looking at myself and what I DON'T have, rather than on Jesus and His plan, and not only what I DO have, but on what He has for us to do in this life.  I have to remind myself of the truth.  I know He has good plans for us.  I know he is good, and loves us, and I am His favorite!  That was another thing Katie talked about, knowing in her spirit that she is one of God's favorites.  And in my spirit i thought to myself, I don't really feel like one of his favorites........

So there are my raw true feelings, and that is where I need to stop.  I took a Freedom in Christ class earlier this year.  And the truth is I have not been living Free.  I have been focused on my feelings, (which are not THE truth) instead of on Jesus and what He says is true.  Man it is a battle!  I think I just got tired of fighting.  Tired of not knowing how to pray, or what to pray for.  Maybe I shouldn't pray for a child?  Maybe that is not what God wants?  So then why ask for it?  Then I think I just stopped praying and in turn stopped believing??  I didn't stop believing in Jesus, but I think i stopped asking, and there for it jaded my hope in Jesus.  Weird as that sounds, I thought why pray???  Oh that is a scary and slippery slope, where the enemy wants me to be, and I am sick of being there.  I want to pray for anything and believe in the power of Jesus, to answer whatever it is!!  And know that He has the power to do it.  I know he does, but I was in a fog.  I am praying that fog has lifted!  I want to focus on being grateful!  And thanking Him for every little thing.  I am nothing without Him!  I trust Him and I love Him so much, I am sorry I have wasted so much time being in a bitter pit!  God has brought Romans 12:1-2 back into my life as I have prayed for my high school girls this year.  I realize that the Lord wants to use that verse in my life too this year, as I trust Him to renew my mind.  I am done conforming to the patterns of this world, and will trust Jesus to transform me!!!!  So while I'm at it, I will thank Jesus for the MANY spiritual daughters the Lord has given me over 10 years, through the amazing ministry of Young Life, and the 21 year old Asian daughter He has given Brian and I to encourage and love and support, as she journeys through life.  We are her Caucasion parents, and she is our Asian daughter.  haha, what a gift. Definitely a God-ordained relationship.  I can tell you more about her another time:)

Romans 12:1-2 says "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worshipDo not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."  Amen to this truth right?!

So if you read this, i would covet your prayers!  If you need an inspirational read, I highly recommend Katie Davis' book, Kisses from Katie.  She also has a blog,

In His Grip!!