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Thanks for Visiting!

This is the post excerpt.

Thank You for visiting my page. It is my prayer that you can somehow find hope and comfort as you read the entries that are posted. My life is far from perfect but every ounce of pain has been with a purpose and every test has led me to a beautiful testimony.  Find peace in knowing that you are not alone in your struggles and know that you are loved without fail by a heavenly father. His grace is sufficient and it is never too late to turn your life around and live for Him. All that I am and all that I do, I do to the glory of God because He is the one that I desire to please. Please take a look at the “About Me” section for a glimpse into my “why” behind this blog.

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The Strength of Womanhood

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 Philippians 4:13 (NK]V) 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

This scripture is so simple, yet so profound. It has encouraged many of us during our trials in life. As I sit here and ponder what I should share several things come to mind: I could share my past hurts, I could share how I overcame being wronged, I could share how I found strength to forgive, I could even share how God is giving me strength to endure my walk with infertility. 

All of these are worthy to share and they all show that I only overcame these trials by the power of God in me. Yet, I find myself wanting to share something much deeper, my fear. A fear that I have carried for a long time, something that I don’t share with anyone because the fear of rejection is paralyzing. 

I don’t think any of us like rejection, however, some of us can handle it better than others. I for one have let the fear of rejection keep me from doing so many things in my life. I look back and think of all the opportunities I have missed because I just didn’t take that step. I’ve been my own worst enemy for a long time. I know that God has a calling on my life and I know that He has a purpose for me. Unfortunately, I have let myself get in the way of stepping out into the places that He wants to take me. I am a dreamer and I have big dreams, yet I haven’t done anything to make them happen. Why, you ask? Well, because I am afraid. Afraid to minister to someone, afraid to write that book, afraid to teach others because my past will eventually catch up to me and tarnish any good that I’ve done. Afraid that those who knew me in the past will rise up against who I have become in Christ and cause people to question who I am today. 

I have spent so many years just being friendly and cordial to people, but never really seeking a relationship with anyone outside of my husband, family and children. I’ve loved on others, prayed for them, blessed them and done all the right things, but I’ve never encountered that unconditional love from a friend. I’ve never allowed anyone to even get close enough to test those limits, that is until recently. Over the past couple of months a few people have been brought into my life to challenge me and grow me. I began this class not really knowing what to expect, because I didn’t really know anyone, but in this short amount of time my heart has been touched so deeply. I’ve met some of the most amazing people and connected on such a deep level with a few of these individuals. I genuinely cherish these women who have been brought into my life because it is such an honor to be able to do life with them. 

I’m sure by now you are asking the question: what does this have to do ,with any kind of fear? Right? Well, the closer I got to these women, the more I loved them and knew that I wanted to be completely transparent with them. I wanted them to know me, all of me, the good, the bad and the ugly. We’ve cried together, we’ve laughed together, we’ve prayed together, but I needed to know that they would love and accept me in spite of who I was. It’s easy to love people that seem so put together on the outside, so shiny, so confident (as long as you don’t get too close), but what about those that are broken and hurting? Will they still love me if they knew my past? There was only one way to find out, be honest, share my story and see where it goes. So with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I shared something that I’ve not shared with anyone. Only people in my family and from my past know this about me because it isn’t something that I share with others. I don’t share it because I am ashamed and I don’t want to be judged or looked down on. 

My fear of rejection always takes over my wanting to be transparent, so I’ve just always kept my distance. This time was different though, I wanted to be who I was, I wanted them to know me, the whole me. So there we stood in the parking lot and I spilled the beans that I had been married before which I’m pretty sure they already knew that part. The part they didn’t know was that I’d been married several times, I am a three time divorcee. I can give excuses as to why I made the decisions that I did and maybe even convince some that I was right to make the choices that I did, but the truth is, there is no good excuse or reason. I just made poor decisions, and now I carry the burden of those poor choices. It has hindered me from being who God called me to be because I let my mind convince me that I’m not worthy to lead others. I’m not worthy to be an inspiration to others, I’m damaged goods and no one will ever take me seriously. I watched their faces as I spoke, but I seen nothing but love and compassion and the only response they both gave was: “Let it go, God has forgiven you, Stop living in a defeated state of mind”. My heart was overcome with joy, you mean they didn’t sprint to the car with an abrupt “we’ve got to go”. They didn’t look at me as if I was some leper. They helped me see that I was the only one crippled by this truth. They helped me see that in God’s eyes I was worthy and in their eyes nothing had changed. I was no different, then I was five minutes before I told them. I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off of my shoulders. I knew then that I finally felt the true, genuine love of christian women who will forever, be a part of my life. With this new sense of freedom I was able to share with my life group leader this truth, and the response I received yet again was, “Let it go, stop holding on to that”. I was remirided that we all have a past, some are just more intense than others: So with my friendships still intact and no rejection to this point, I came to church on Saturday with a lighter heart. I came with a heart of gratitude and was able to surrender it all to God. After service I was approached by someone that I did not know who said she felt led to come over and pray for me. After she prayed over me and my husband, with several others standing in agreement with us, she told me that she felt like God was telling her to have me read the Book of John, there was something He was trying to reveal to me. That evening we got into bed and I picked up my Bible and did just that, I read the entire Book of John Saturday night earnestly searching for what God was trying to tell me. I read all of the miracles that Jesus performed and I was reminded that the same God that performed those miracles is the very same God that I serve today. I also know that the miracles He performed in the Bible are still miracles that He can and will perform today for those that seek Him. As excited as I was to read all of these miracles, I was sure there was something more and sure enough there was.

I found myself right there in the Book of John … I was the samaritan woman at the well who hung her head in shame because of the decisions I had made. I was the adulteress woman whose life was spared because Jesus reminded her accusers that they themselves were not free of sin. I was both of these women whom Jesus extended His grace, His mercy and His salvation and then told them to: “Go and Sin No More”. He already forgave my sin the minute I gave my life to Him. He not only forgave it, He forgot it. I was the one holding onto it, I was the one letting it hinder my ability to live freely in the grace and forgiveness that He extended to me. I was the one living in fear that no one would accept me, I was still hung up on the shame of these decisions. I kept people at bay not wanting them to get too close because of my fear of rejection. This isn’t God’s plan for our lives, He created us to have relationships with each other. Real relationships with real stuff so that we can grow and learn from each other. So after several confirmations and a word from God himself, I am now free of the bondage of this sin. He has given me the strength to overcome the stronghold that was over my mind. I realize that I am an overcomer only by the power that He places in me. 

A saying very near and dear to my heart is: “My flesh is weak, but He is strong· and His mercies endure forever.” I love this because it is so true, my flesh will fail, but His strength in me allows me to overcome these times and keep on going. God didn’t create us to live a defeated life. He gives us strength to overcome obstacles so that we can be warriors in His Kingdom. We have to be strong in Him in order to fight the enemy and press on even when our flesh is weak and tired. 

God’s word says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV) And He said to me, ”My grace is sufficient for you, for mstrength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power qf Christ may rest upon me. I stand on the promise of this word because His strength is made perfect in my weakness. In my weakness He was able to renew my mind as to who I am. I am a daughter of the King of Kings, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He loves me and has surrounded me with people for such a time as this to lift me up and help me overcome my demons. 

 

 

NOTE: This entry was actually written a few years ago back in 2016. I came across this particular piece today by accident actually and felt led to share it. I do pray that it blesses someone because when this was written, it was during my time of struggling to become a mom.

 

First Day of School Blues

boy in brown hoodie carrying red backpack while walking on dirt road near tall trees
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

So it finally happened. My girl is old enough to start her first school program. After we relocated back to Georgia this spring I found out that a local church offered a program for 3 year olds. I was really excited to find out more about the program because our baby  girl is always talking about going to school and seeing her friends. I had always had every intention of homeschooling; because it just fit our lifestyle better with my husband’s line of work. However, when she was approximately one and half we found the tv show, “Sid the Science Kid” and this little girl has been in love with going to school ever since. She loves to make friends and every child she sees is her “friend”. I kid you not, we were walking through the airport one day and she seen this little boy and said “hey that’s my friend”, this little boy looked up at his mom in a state of confusion. We passed them again and she repeated her previous statement about him being her friend. This time he asked his mom “do I know her?”. My husband overhead him and just smiled at him and said, no sir you don’t, she just calls every kid she sees her friend.

To see her so free spirited truly does warm my heart, because she has processed so much in the three short years that she has been on this earth. Most people don’t know her story and those that do, don’t really understand it. Very few people in her life really appreciate where she is right now socially. What you see now is a rambunctious, outspoken little girl who seems fearless and fierce. However, this hasn’t always been the case. There was a time that she would shy away from anyone that looked at her, let alone tried to talk to her. She didn’t want any part of anyone holding her and had zero intentions of unlatching herself from mine or her daddy’s leg when she encountered new people. Even people that she knew and was familiar with were kept at a distance. Leaving her with anyone was not even an option because she would throw an absolute fit if we ever tried to. For the first year of her life, she went into the sanctuary with us at church because we could not leave her in the nursery. We could sometimes get her in there, but one of us would always have to leave service because she would eventually start crying and would not stop until one of us came and got her. We finally learned to just take her after praise and worship because she really enjoyed that and it shortened her time in the nursery.

As she got older she began to get really fidgety in service so we had to figure out a way to get her in the nursery so that we could worship and get filled ourselves. After discovering her new favorite show that made school look fun and exciting, we thought we had found a solution. So Sunday mornings became a place where we could see our friends. Although she was still skeptical, she was making progress and we could see the growth that began to take place.

We decided to start going to a church that was close to our home because the one we had been attending was a good 45 minutes away. That drive made it difficult to get connected  several times a week to be involved in various ministries. The first visit to the new church was tough because she just did not want to let us go. I reluctantly left her in the hands of the ladies in the nursery and stood outside in the hallway waiting for her cries of fear to go away. Eventually, they subsided and I was able to go into service knowing that she wasn’t freaking out any longer. I know what you’re thinking “good gracious lady, get a grip, let her grow, she will be fine yada yada yada”. Sure, that is easy to say when you are standing on the outside not knowing her full story. I eventually learned that the ladies in the nursery thought I was just an overbearing mom who couldn’t let her kid go. When the truth is, I knew the reason she was crying and it had absolutely nothing at all to do with being spoiled or being some kind of momma/daddy’s girl. Her cries came from a place that most of us have never known.

It’s no secret that all of my babies are adopted and that I have no children biologically. I get asked all the time to explain our family dynamics, which is kind the reason for this blog honestly. Anyway, when our beautiful girl came to us, it was through foster care. She was 3 weeks old and the most precious thing I had ever had ever seen. I immediately fell in love with everything about her. She was so curious always looking around with her big ole eyes that seemed so full of questions. We wanted nothing more than to protect her from ever being hurt again. She was loved, taken care of, had her needs consistently met and had a routine and structure that she was accustomed to. We had been told over and over by our Social Workers to settle in for the long haul because she would be in our care for a long time if not permanently. We heeded that advice and made sure we were planning accordingly and preparing ourselves for the journey. Only to have it come to an abrupt halt when the judge closed the case unexpectedly and ordered her back to her birth parents.

As you can imagine we were devastated and just could not seem to wrap our heads around any of it. I called my husband, who was working out of town, to give him the news. He didn’t even get to tell her goodbye. I broken heartedly packed up our sweet baby girl and took her to the CPS office to meet with her birth mom and Social Worker. I cried for days, I just didn’t understand what had happened. We had been told by so many people that this case would take a while and would most likely end up being a permanent placement. So we began to believe that and allowed ourselves to see her in our future. After the unexpected call to return her, I needed to get away because everything in my house reminded me of her. I decided to go and stay out of town with my husband for a few days to get my head and thoughts together. Needless to say it was the hardest week I have ever walked through. On the other side of that pain though, God had so much more for me.

The following weekend we had a barbecue at our home and invited several friends over, including birth parents and our sweet girl. They came and we all enjoyed the fellowship and tried to keep our emotions in check as we laid eyes on our baby girl after a week of her being gone. Something about her was different, she cried the entire time and nothing anyone did would console her. The little light that shined in her eyes seemed to be gone and she didn’t look as curious and inquisitive as she did the week prior. She seemed sad and lost, and this broke our hearts. We were allowed to love on her and care for her while they were in our home, so we did everything we knew to do just to get a smile out of her.

After everyone had departed we were left with just our baby and her birth parents. We were trying to give them some pointers on how to care for her. We just wanted her to be happy and loved so we were giving advice and offering our help in any way. This is where God begins to show us just how powerful He is in every situation of our lives. When we were so confused about the ruling and could not wrap our minds and hearts around the situation God comes in and blows us away. They say to us that they want us to take her back for a while because they needed to get themselves straightened out and get their living situation in order before they could properly take care of her. WHAT?!?!? Did I just hear you correctly? You are asking us to take her back into our care. Without a moments hesitation we agreed and worked out all of the details. It was eventually decided that they wanted her to just stay with us so we began the adoption process once they asked us to do so.

So what does all of this have to do with starting school?

When our little girl came back to us, she was very different. She was distant and untrusting. We had to regain her trust and the bond that we had made with her, You see, she had grown accustomed to her life with us, the routine, the sounds, the smells, the schedule, the love and consistency. She was safe and secure and care free. In a moment all of that changed for her and her world was completely turned upside down and thrown into chaos. The people that was meeting all of her needs were no longer there, there was someone new. The people she had a bond with were no where to be found. She was lost in a world that she was unfamiliar with and she didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t talk to ask any questions to help her understand, all she could do was cry.

We worked extremely hard to regain that trust and build that bond back with her. We were constantly reassuring her that she was safe, but she still had that look of distrust in her eyes. Anytime someone new came around she would hide her face, she would not let anyone hold her, hug her and if you tried to touch her she would pull away. We simply could not get out of her sight without her having an absolute melt down. Which is why we could not get her in the nursery unless her sister was on the schedule. She had to have familiarity in everything she did. Even people in our lives couldn’t get close to her, she limited herself to only those that lived in our home. We began to understand that she had a very real fear that we were going to leave her again. She was terrified of being abandoned again by the only people that she knew and trusted,

It probably took us a good two years to even get her to a place of acknowledging people in our life. I remember taking her to Six Flags and she was playing on the playground area just having a ball. I was standing off to the side never once taking my eyes off of her when all of a sudden she stops in the middle of the playground and just started calling “mommy, mommy, mommy” because she had lost sight of me. It was like she was frozen and would not move until she seen me, the fear in her eyes broke my heart. I wondered if we’d ever get her to trust us again to not leave her. We had several incidents where we’d try to encourage her to allow others in without any success. Then all of a sudden it happened, she gave someone hug, she let someone get close to her, she actually acknowledged someone speaking to her and didn’t shy away from them. This healing process for her began not quite a year ago, but the past 6 months or so she has really began to come out of her shell.

We have loved watching her grow so much that we wanted to help encourage that by getting her into a school setting; where she would be able to make friends and sit under the guidance of others. This is where the title and purpose of this entire blog entry comes from. We had our very first day of school this week and she was so excited. This day is all she has talked about since I enrolled her. I was excited for her because I have seen her growth and knew that this would be good for her.

Our first day of school began super early. I got her up so that we could get her hair done, get breakfast eaten and go potty before we left home. We get to her school extra early, because Momma wanted to get pictures. We spent our extra time walking the pathway just talking and praying over her day. She wanted to talk about the trees and the flowers, but we had some good quality time together before it was time for her to go in. As we approached her classroom, her little body could hardly contain the excitement. She ran into that classroom without a moments hesitation and never once looked back. I didn’t even get a hug or a goodbye :(. I didn’t cry though, I checked to make sure I didn’t need to do anything and walked back to my truck. I sat there a minute before I drove home just trying to process driving off and leaving her for the first time since regaining her trust.

Believe it or not I did not shed one tear. I got home and began to prepare dinner as my other two babies played under my feet in the kitchen. It hit me all of a sudden, should I be sad that she didn’t say goodbye? Does she not care that I left her? Does she not love me? Y’all know how the enemy likes to play mind games. Just then in His still small voice, God spoke right to my heart. He said “my child, do you remember where she was last year? Do you recall the scared little girl that wouldn’t let anyone touch her? Have you forgotten how far she has come in her journey of healing? She is happy and carefree, she is no longer afraid of you leaving her. Of course she loves you, you are her mother and the first one she cries for when she is scared”. In that moment tears sprang to my eyes because I did know her journey and I do know what a victory it was for her to overcome that fear that was so crippling for a toddler. God reminded me in that moment that even when I feel like I am failing, I am part of her journey of healing. He helped me see that we are doing something right because she is growing in the right direction. He allowed me to feel His presence right there at my kitchen sink as He touched my heart as if to say, you are doing a good job daughter, stop being so hard on yourself.

I am certain, I have many more hurdles to overcome when it comes to this little warrior princess of mine. However, with God’s help and guidance I know we will overcome each of them. As this new journey begins, I am trusting God to cover both me and her as we navigate unfamiliar territories. I am certain that as she continues to grow this Momma’s first day of school blues won’t get any easier. I will always be proud, and my blues won’t be because I’m sad. My blues will just be because the time is passing by so fast and she will be out changing this world before I know it.

Living With a Heart of Grace 

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Photo by Peng Louis on Pexels.com

What do you do when things come against you in life? When disappointments happen, or someone you love hurts or betrays you? Do you get angry? Do you want to lash out or retaliate? For most of us, I imagine our responses being very different and varying in a number of ways. For me personally, I can speak from two different times in my life … Before Jesus and After Jesus! 

Before Jesus, my reaction was anger and hurt feelings. I would close off and shut down from everyone. While I would not confront the issue directly, I would let it seep in and simmer until it was down deep and marinated in my heart. I would move on and keep it buried and never speak of it, just put on a smile until the next offense comes along. The same cycle would take place and finally I am just a walking book of offenses. A book threatening to bust at any moment and recall EVERY SINGLE offense that I had harbored in my heart. As you can imagine, I was bitter, unhappy and not very genuine in my love for others. I purposely kept my distance, careful not to get too close because I didn’t want to feel that sting. 

I think for some of us, maybe even a majority of us, we keep our distance and only put in just enough to keep others at bay. You know, the one that always shows up and plays the part, being kind, loving, generous, helpful and genuine in their efforts to love others. However, they never truly connect on a deeper level. They always leave feeling as empty as they did when they arrived, because they sense the same act being played by others. We have become a world where we just put on the face, play the part and never experience any real change in our hearts or our lives. We stay in the same “safe circles” until strife and division sweep in and tear these circles apart. It is so easy to separate relationships when there is no real substance there. This holds true for our friendships, our marriages, even families are torn apart by a worldly mindset of it being all about “ones self”.  

I can certainly speak to this mindset from a personal standpoint because I was that person. I’d shut down so fast and avoid people who hurt or offended me. If I allowed myself to be back in that same circle, I’d be cordial, kind and even smile, but my heart was guarded and I never truly engaged again. My feelings were hardened and I looked for any reason or excuse to maintain my grasp on the offense that I was carrying. As you can imagine, this lifestyle was extremely lonely because I had not one person that I could truly count on. I had no one that I could vent to and trust that it would go no further. I learned very early in life to guard my tongue when I was frustrated; because the one whom I thought was a confidant and true friend, only used my words against me any time it fit their agenda for personal gain.

As you can imagine, I didn’t trust very easily and even to this day, I don’t. I am extremely guarded with what I share on a personal level with people who can use my pain against me. It has literally taken years of heartache, failed relationships and trusting my own misguided ways to come to a conclusion that I needed something so much more in life than what I had. I needed Jesus and no not the “just go to church on Sunday” kind of Jesus. I needed a real, authentic encounter with Him. I needed to hear His voice, I needed to feel His presence, I needed to see His goodness. Once I got to that point I could finally accept His grace and in return extend it to others. 

Now I am in a place of living life with an “after Jesus” mindset. After I truly encountered Jesus and accepted His love and grace over my own life, was I finally in a place to start extending that same love and grace to others. This was by no means an overnight process and I still get it wrong, but I can quickly recognize the holy spirit prompting me when I feel myself backsliding. Thankfully, my eyes have been opened to see what God wants me to see in my moments of heartache, and I can hear what He is telling me in my spirit. It isn’t always an easy answer or process and sometimes I have to hurt even more to get to a place of healing. However, finding my place of healing, followed by my freedom is worth every heartache that He walks me back through. 

This post is in my spirit today because of something I am currently processing. A hurt that was brought on by a feeling of betrayal by someone I love. It is never easy when those we love hurt us. I know this hurt was not intentional and I even understand that it came from a place of fear. Regardless of the how or why behind it, it hurts non the less and I am left with a decision to make. I can either be angry, bitter and upset with someone that I love dearly and would break my heart to lose. OR, I can extend the same love and grace that God pours into my life daily, always forgiving me graciously with every hurt and heartache that I inflict upon Him. As a christian and woman of God, I choose to be “like Christ” because that is what His word tells me to do. Is it easy? No, but what would be harder to bear is losing someone I love over an honest mistake. 

The thought I want to leave with you guys today is this … love even if it breaks your heart. 

Love others in such a way that you can easily extend the grace needed when those hurts or disappoints come. I no longer desire to hold on to grudges or file away the offenses in my heart. What I desire is to have someone that is there no matter what, that person that I can disagree with, but still stand together in unity. That person that drives me to be the best version of myself that I can be. That is the person that I will always defend, no matter what! That is the person who’s secrets will always be safe with me, regardless of a disagreement. I will never use their hurts or pains against them, because my Father in heaven never uses mine against me. I spent too many years in a very dysfunctional friendship/relationship that wasn’t healthy on either side and I have absolutely no desire to go back to that. I want genuine, I deserve genuine and so do you. Find that person that you can be real with, knowing that they are flawed just like you, understanding that they will disappoint you and let you down, but in the end will be willing to fight tooth and nail to sustain that relationship with you. That is what living with a heart of grace is all about. Being able to love others where they are, being able to disagree but still stand together and cling to the promise of a better future together than apart. 

God’s Word tells us that the greatest commandment is to Love. You simply cannot have true genuine love for others and not have grace for their mistakes. Not one of us in this life is perfect and we all come with our own set of issues and mishaps. True genuine friendships are so rare so when you find one, fight for it. When someone wrongs you, no matter who they are be willing to extend the same grace and forgiveness that God so readily gives to us. If we all just took a moment to think of the ways we hurt and disappoint God on a daily basis, we might just live our lives with a different mindset. For me I choose to overlook instead of find offense, I will extend grace and not hold a grudge and I will love instead of lose! People that God places in our lives are not disposal, just because of a disagreement or mistake. 

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. Mark 11:25 NLT

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

It’s Just Mom – No Prefix Needed =)

 

 

unspecifiedHello, Beautiful People of the world!! My name is Nikki and I started this blog to share my testimony, both the blessings and the struggles of becoming a mom. You see, it took me 15 years before I became a mother figure, but the reality is I still didn’t see myself as a “Mom”. It was 2012 and after many years of infertility heartache, I married the most incredible man in the world. With this man came his four beautiful children that became “ours”, so this is where my journey with motherhood begins.

In 2016 God opened my heart and home to becoming a foster parent so I added the new title of “Foster Mom” to my journey of motherhood.

In 2017 God gave me the absolute honor of becoming an official “Adoptive Mom”, when we welcomed our beautiful son into this world.

I began 2019 with my second official “Adoptive Mom” title when God closed the final chapter for us to finalize our amazing daughters journey. This particular journey took me through many highs and lows during the 2 years and 8 months that it took for her to finally become “ours” in the legal sense.

The primary purpose of this blog is to share my experiences with each of these instances, as well as, other parts of my life. I am be no means an expert in any of these areas, but I am an expert on my own feelings, struggles and heartaches. I can speak to a variety of situations … step moms, foster moms, adoptive moms, as well as, my sisters who are dealing with infertility and even the heartache of miscarriages and failed adoptions. I endured a lot of pain in each of these areas and can totally empathize with these heartbreaks. I am just a mom who has a story to tell and an abundance of hope and compassion to give. I give every ounce of honor, glory and praise to my Heavenly Father who has brought me through the lowest of lows in my life and held me in my bitter brokeness of disappointments.

If I can pray for you or encourage you in any way,  please don’t hesitate to comment or message me. I would love to connect with other women who are on this same journey. We are better together and I pray that my transparency can help others find peace and hope along their own journey. To my beautiful friends and family that have encouraged me along this road, I am forever thankful and grateful for you! I love you guys!!

 

 

 

 

Open Adoption

 

This blog entry was inspired by a beautiful young lady that reached out to me asking if my husband and I knew the birth parents of our beautiful children. It really is pretty amazing how adoption has added layers to our relationships with others. You never know who may be on the same journey or how someone else in your life may have been affected by adoption. This particular situation just solidifies my strong convictions on why it is so important for adoptions to be open. I completely understand that this isn’t the case in every adopton scenario. I totally get that some adoptions have to be private/closed to protect innocent children and the adoptive families. However, even in these cases, I believe it to be extremely important for birth family information to be obtained and kept for a time that the child is older and begins their own journey to discover “who they are”. Being able to give this information to my children when they become adults or even old enough to begin asking questions is so important to me because I feel like they have a right to know where they came from. However, this has not always been my heart …

To be perfectly honest, when I began visiting the idea of adoption approximately 20 years ago, I had absolutely no desire what so ever to have an open adoption. My entire mind set was “if they don’t love their baby enough to keep them, then why should they deserve to know them throughout their life?”. Man, what a twisted and selfish way to think, I know. Even now typing those words out in black and white, I cringed just a bit because my mindset was so selfish. Let me begin by telling you why my heart was so ugly.

All I’ve ever wanted was to be a mother, so when I got married (at a very young age) in the pursuit to obtain this dream of becoming a mother, I was devastated when it just didn’t happen. With every doctors visit my hopes slowly began to diminish and the reality began to sink in that this dream my never become a reality. My heart began to turn bitter, my tears of sadness became tears of anger. I felt so hopeless and I just couldn’t understand why everyone around me was having babies, while I was suffering all alone in the darkness of my own world. No one understood my pain, so I was all alone on this little island of hopelessness just waiting for my turn to come. I begrudgingly attended baby showers with a very heavy heart trying to smile my way through when all I wanted to do was escape the festivities and cry. I became so angry at God and my heart began to harden with the disappointment and realization that infertility was quickly becoming my reality. Adoption was discussed but not really in great detail or with any hope of pursuing that road. My husband at the time was not really open to that idea and was only interested in natural children (which I was unable to give him). Eventually, my own anger, sadness and frustration began to take over and ultimately ended the marriage.

(My “About Me’ section gives my full testimony so in the interest of staying on point for this particular blog entry I will just focus on the adoption.)

As you can imagine with each year that passed, my heart continued to desire this child, yet my body just couldn’t do what it took to make it happen. When I began exploring the world of adoption we were faced with the different options: closed, open, private, domestic, international etc. There was so many different avenues to choose from, but that only added to the frustrations because there were so many hoops to jump through in order to obtain this dream. First you have the financial aspect, which is beyond ridiculous with the fees that you have to pay. Then you have to prove that you can financially provide for this child, as well as, obtain medical clearances and pass background and credit checks (which are all fees that you have to pay for). Again, I didn’t see any promising options because financially it was impossible at the time.

This is where my mentality came into play when asked about an open adoption. I was very vocal in the area of wanting a closed adoption. I truly felt like anyone who “gave their kid up” (again a very terrible mind set) didn’t deserve to know anything about them. Please keep in mind that my heart was hurting so bad and I was angry at the world for something that I just couldn’t understand. However, after 15 years or so of infertility, God began to do an amazing work in my heart. He began to soften it and gave me a completely new outlook.

I can’t tell you when it happened or how, I just know that at some point God spoke to my spirit and gently reminded me that without the sacrifice of birth parents, I might not ever have the opportunity to be a mom. WHOA!!! What an amazing revelation that was for my heart?!?!? I then began to see what a blessing birth parents were and how selfless they have to be in order to place their child for adoption. Choosing adoption for them is about choosing their baby over their own happiness. It was at this moment that I began to see birth parents in a whole now way, they weren’t “giving their kid up”, they were choosing to give their baby a better life than what they could give them in that moment. I began to have a new respect for women who openly chose adoption for their babies.

This journey has taken me on all kinds of highs and lows, but I’ve been connected to some pretty incredible people along the way. Some who fight the same battle with infertility, some who have been adopted, some who have adopted themselves. However, the most incredible people I’ve gotten to know on this journey is our birth parents. Both of our children came to us in completely different ways, one came to us through foster care and another through a family friend. One we picked up at the Child Protective Services building and the other I had the great honor and pleasure of being in the delivery room at the time of birth. I don’t discredit either parent because the choice of adoption is still a very difficult choice to make, regardless of the circumstances that brought them to that decision. In the end they both chose to give their children a better life than they could provide in that moment. Regardless of their own pain and sacrifice, they chose the well being of the life that they created and carried, over their own happiness.

My friends this is where I applaud these selfless people whom God gave the strength to carry a child and then allow someone else to raise and love them into adulthood. Their decisions didn’t come easy as they let go of their own flesh and blood, allowing them to be adopted into another family. I seen first hand the emotional toll that it took and my heart hurt so bad during the process. On the day we finalized our son’s adoption his birth mom was so strong and courageous. She stood in the chambers with us as he was officially being given to us, and I can not imagine the thoughts that must have been going through her mind. She held herself together throughout the entire process, but when we got to the parking lot and she and I embraced, we both broke into a fit of tears together. My tears where a mixture of happy, relief and sadness and I imagine hers were probably about the same. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look at our son and see her, not just in physical features, but her loving and kind spirit. She is one of the strongest women I have the pleasure of knowing and I love her dearly. She made the choice to make me a mom and I am forever grateful for that most precious gift.

Our daughter’s adoption was a little different. While I am not as close to her birth parents, I am equally thankful for their sacrifice. Every adoption is different with different dynamics since we all process things differently. Each relationship we have with our birth parents is unique, but we take nothing away from their sacrifice and choice to allow us into their lives as “mom and dad” to their birth children.

After many years of infertiltiy, God was using my pain to soften my heart to the pain of someone else making a sacrifice in order for my dreams to become a reality. This is why I am adomant about our children knowing “who they are and where they came from”. I personally think it would be unfair of me to deny them that right of knowing that they have more people that love them and care for them. Both of our kids have extended family members that I hope they will someday get to know. This is why having an open adoption is so important to us because we welcome their extended family into our lives to love them and to see that they are happy and healthy.

Has this journey been an easy one? Absolutely not, but it has taught me so much along the way. It has taught me to love beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It has tested me on every level and has at times frustrated me to no end. There never seems to be an end to the paperwork, or the social workers, or the probing into our lives, but in the end it was worth every obstacle, every tear, and every frustration. Being able to hold our sweet babies and knowing that this was God’s plan for me all along is a beautiful realization. I wouldn’t change a thing, because without the struggle, I wouldn’t understand the magnitude of the blessing!

On a personal note, this blog entry comes from a desire within to know my own biological father. I myself was adopted by a step parent and I have no idea who my birth father is. I’ve gone through stages in my life where I’ve wondered “who he was, does he know about me, do I even want to know him etc”. I have thought about that side of my family, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. I’ve wondered do I have medical issues that come from that side of my dna? I was told that he knew I was born and knew where to find me, but no attempt was made to see me. I obviously only have one side of the story so it makes it a bit difficult to be angry with him on some aspects. However, this only strengthens my desire for our kids to at least have the ability to know who their birth parents are. We will leave that decision up to them as to when they are ready, but at least we will have the information to give them in order for them to make that contact.

In closing, I want to encourage any one who is on this journey to keep going. I know it’s hard, but it is so worth it! For those that have been on this journey, thank you for blazing a path for others to follow. For those that are searching and seeking answers, I pray that you can find what you are looking for. Adoptions today are so different than what they were in previous generations, now with social media and the willingness for people to be open, adoption isn’t so taboo any more. Adoption has been such a beautiful blessing in our lives and it has taught me so much in the process. Thank You all for taking the time to read, I hope this has brought some encouragement into your heart.

 

​Faith Over Fertility

PicMonkey ImageGoogle defines Infertility as the inability to conceive children or young. I find this to be a rather simple definition of a very complex condition. To those that infertility has never affected, this simple definition would be sufficient to describe it. However, if you ask anyone who has been personally affected by infertility, you will get a very different answer and description. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 18% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 are either unable to conceive or have difficulty getting pregnant. With that being said, someone in your inner circle may be suffering and you don’t even know it.

I was that person in the circle that struggled. I was the quiet one in the corner trying not to cry when someone announced a pregnancy. I was the one trying to avoid being invited to baby showers, but fighting the feeling of rejection when I wasn’t included. It really was a double edge sword that cut deep either way. I was the one crying every month when “my monthly friend” came to visit. I was the one that tried so hard not be angry at everyone else having kids with no effort what so ever. I wish I could say that I was genuinely happy for my loved ones as their families grew, but I was resentful. As my own heart broke over and over again, I began to build this wall around myself, I learned how to smile in front of everyone else while dying on the inside. Ultimately, I became bitter and disconnected.

Consider for just a moment that you are in the prime of your life and everything is moving along just as you had planned. You have married the perfect spouse, you both have great careers, you have purchased a home, you have done everything that you have dreamed of doing and now you are ready to become parents. This sounds like the typical scenario for most people as they progress through life; only for some this is where the “typical” journey takes an unexpected turn into unchartered and unwanted territory.

The intimacy that you once enjoyed has now become a job that is scheduled to maximize times of ovulation. Monthly doctors appointments and medical bills become a part of your budget. Instead of picking out cute baby clothes and furniture, you may be looking at taking out a loan for fertility treatments. Depending on the route of treatment that you take, pills and injections become a part of your daily life at home. Emotions run high, feelings of helplessness begin to sneak in and you find yourself feeling all alone in the world. You don’t know where to turn or who to talk to because no one in your inner circle understands what you are going through.

Sure your friends and family are sympathetic to your struggle, but they don’t really understand it. They don’t know what it’s like to feel completely worthless and broken. For me personally, I felt like less of a woman, I was so angry and frustrated. I just could not understand why I was unable to do the most natural thing in the world for women to do, conceive! I decided against any fertility medical procedures due to the cost of these treatments. However, I read every book there was, I sought medical advice and tried every solution suggested to me all without any success of conceiving a child.

As the years ticked by and everyone around me had babies and increased the size of their families, I grew more and more frustrated. I was angry with God and cried almost nightly because I just did not understand. What was wrong with me? What did I do that was so terrible that I didn’t deserve the children that my heart so desperately desired? I just didn’t get it, my world seemed so hopeless. Mother’s Day was a very emotional and dreaded day for me, baby showers were completely avoided and any time I was around babies, I distanced myself. My struggle with infertility began to affect more than just myself, it began to affect my relationship with others that I was once so close to. During 18 years of heartache, I endured divorce, lost friendships, miscarriage and two failed adoption attempts.

I was literally at my wits end and was really at a place of hopelessness.

It wasn’t until 2005 when I was invited to church by a co-worker that I began to understand that I needed help. Not help in the physical, but spiritually speaking I was dead and had no sense of hope. I spent most days crying behind closed doors, trying to make sense of the “why” behind my pain. Why God have you denied me the one and only thing that I have asked You for? Why God does everyone else around me deserve this gift but me? What did I ever do to deserve this pain and heartache? The more I asked these questions, the more bitter I became. I began to look for reasons in the natural, and began asking other questions. Was my infertility caused by things that were done to me as a child? Did the abuse I suffered as a scared 12 year old girl contribute to the pain that I am facing now? The bitterness then turned into anger at the person who could have possibly caused this inability for me to now be unable to conceive a child.

I am going to park right here and interject some wisdom that I didn’t have during this particular season of my life. In the natural we are always looking for someone or something to blame for our circumstances. When in reality, it isn’t up to any of us anyway. Yes, we have to be accountable for ourselves and our actions and we have to take responsibility for our choices, but there is always a much greater power in control. I say that to say this … I was putting all of my energy and effort into the wrong things. Yes, I was “crying out to God, why? why me?”, but I didn’t have a relationship of any kind to hear Him speak back to me. If I had of, then I would have found peace and comfort during my times of prayer; instead of more agonizing pain with my tears and cries of why in my moments of weakness.

What I have learned in the years since 2005, and still continue to learn today; is that I have to be willing to relinquish control of my life and circumstances and give them fully over to God. By doing this I have found peace in my journey of infertility. I have learned that God had much bigger plans for my life. Had I not walked through this pain and heartache I could not do what He has called me to do. While I still do not have biological children, I am a mom in the most beautiful way. I am forever grateful for God trusting me with this calling and this journey. Adoption was not my first choice, but it was God’s first choice for me and my life has been forever changed because of it.

I titled this particular entry “Faith Over Fertility”, because when I let my faith grow and mature, my “infertility” was no longer my focus. I began to focus on my own healing from within that allowed me to forgive some of the deepest hurts that I had. I gave myself the freedom to love others and allowed God to use me in ways that I wasn’t so sure about. He trusted me when I didn’t trust myself. He held my hand and my heart as He walked me through even more pain. This time though, I had peace in knowing that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

His purpose for me was to allow me to endure certain pains and heartaches so that I could help others find the same peace and healing that I now have. I am 1 in 4 women who have suffered from sexual assault and abuse. I am also 1 in 8 that suffered from infertility. You see I use the past tense “ed”, because I no longer suffer. I am victorious and have been given victory over what the devil meant for harm. I understand now the calling that I have on my life, but the enemy knew about it long before I did. You see he tried to take me out early as a warrior for God’s kingdom. However, what he didn’t anticipate was for me to connect with spiritual warriors that walked me out of that brokeness into a place of freedom and purpose.

So here I stand now completely free from the bondage that once held me in captivity to spread hope and healing to others who have suffered this same heartache. God has given me a purpose to reach out and bring others out of this same bondage. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I know the One that does. I can’t make the pain and heartache go away, but I know how to pray for peace and comfort. I know that my own hurts and heartaches have made me stronger in Christ and I will forever give Him all the honor, praise and glory for what He has brought me through.

Prayer:

Father God, I thank You for this calling and for the pain in my life that has given me purpose. I lift up every woman who has ever suffered from either of these pains and ask that You give them peace in the moment, let them feel Your presence as You wrap them in Your arms and pull them close. Allow them a moment to become completely broken so that they can look up and see You as their Lord and Savior. Help them to understand that You don’t allow any pain in our lives without it having a purpose and every tear we cry is followed by a testimony of  Your goodness. Continue to give them strength to fight the good fight knowing that their help comes from You. I surrender all I am to You God, to use as You see fit to further Your kingdom. Thank You for trusting me with this pain that will be used for Your glory! In the Precious Name of Jesus I pray,

Amen

 

 

What Do Women Want?!?

11541920_1027298953947841_4218516204155560804_nThe age-old question of what women want? This question has been asked over and over by men all over the world for decades. This particular topic was brought to me by a follower on my Facebook page, so my friend here is my not so easy answer …

There really is no answer to this question because what we should all want is what God wants for us. Unfortunately, we get so caught up in the noise of our life we never stop to consider what our creator wants for us. Scripture tells us that God knew us before he created us in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5, paraphrased). It also tells us that He has plans to prosper us and not harm us, to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11, paraphrased). I would take both of these scriptures to mean that God already has our lives planned out for us, after all, He is the author of our lives. However, as carnal minded (not spiritual; merely human; temporal; worldly) people we tend to follow our own rules and do what we want instead of seeking God or His perfect will for us. This is where confusion enters our lives, while we are trying to figure “life” out God patiently waits for us to just turn to Him.

When we study scripture we can find in Genesis 2:18 that God said it was not good for man to be alone so he decided to make a suitable helper for Adam. I looked at several different translations of this scripture (NIV, NLT, NKJV, AMP, ESV, and The Message Bible), and they all used the word “helper”. The word helper is defined as a person who helps someone else. This was God’s original plan for women when he created them, to be helpers to men and not to be ruled over or made to feel inferior. Sadly a world full of sin turns a blind eye to what God’s intentions were when mankind was created.

In the essence of time, let’s just acknowledge how different today’s women are compared to the women in the Bible. Women in the Bible rarely had any say in who they dated or married as most marriages were arranged by the father. In today’s society it’s actually pretty uncommon for a man to ask for the daughter’s hand in marriage any more. Times have certainly changed and with that so has the integrity of marriage and relationships.

Marriage used to be a sacred bond between two people who pledge their lives to each other until death do them part. You didn’t live together until you were married, sex out of wedlock was completely unaccepted. Now marriage is viewed as a piece of paper and really nothing more. The divorce rate in today’s society is alarmingly high because it is so easy and accepted. Being a divorcee I can honestly say, that even I, myself entered into marriage with the mindset of “well if it doesn’t work out, divorce is always an option”. It really is sad that vows literally mean nothing when standing before God and entering into holy matrimony with someone. I am ashamed and even embarrassed that I didn’t take my vows seriously, because I had no remorse for going against the Word of God. The truth is, I didn’t even know what the Word said. Sure, I believed in God, but did I acknowledge Him as the Lord over my life? Absolutely not, because if I had, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to figure out I was completely off base with my sinful nature and ways.

I said all of that to say this … maybe we are asking the wrong question … If you ask 100 women what they want, you will most likely get 100 different answers. There is no one size fits all answer to this question. Should we instead be asking What does God want for my life? Who does God want me to build a life with? Who has God prepared for me?

When we are completely surrendered to God and His will for our lives then He will put the right people in our lives that He created just for us. The biggest thing to look for when considering someone to share your life is: Are you equally yoked? Do you believe the same things? Are you both believers or non believers? If you are believers, then do you both follow the same religion and religious practices?

You have to be looking for more than just a pretty face, because looks will fade. When all you have is looks and sex, then you will have nothing left when the inevitable signs of aging begin to take its toll as the years pass by. For most women having a baby will completely change the perfect body that you were once so proud of. If your love is contingent on a dress or jean size and a pretty face then maybe you should just stay single.

Truth be told, the kind of woman you attract will depend largely on the type of man you are. I know it is cliche to say that the good girl always falls for the bad boy, but is there really any substance there? Also, there’s the “you only want what you can’t have” type, that only looks for challenges but never has any real feelings or attachment to the other person. In both of these examples one could argue that the parties represented are lacking something in their life. That could be happiness, security, love, the feeling of acceptance, self esteem, self worth, it could be any number of things that leaves one feeling empty, unloved and unwanted. Therefore, they seek out the attention that they desire from other people and mistake the relationship for something that it isn’t. Two broken people can not have a healthy and full relationship until they both deal with whatever it is that broke them.

When we allow the baggage from our past to be brought into our current relationship and not fully unpack it and put it away, it will eventually cause problems. Don’t allow what hurt you to keep you from something great that God wants to give you. Focus on what He wants for your life and He will send something great to you. Good relationships don’t just happen … they are work! You will get out of it what you put into it. Put God first and the rest will fall into place.

There are several resources that are great for relationships, maybe check out some books and evaluate who you are first before you try to be something to someone else =)

Here are a few recommendations:

The Five Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman

The Love Dare by Alex and Stephen Kendrick

Maximized Manhood by Edwin Louis Cole

Note: This blog is a place where I will always do my best to glorify God and His Word. As a wife and mother and servant to God, my goal is to base my writing on the Word of God and not solely on just my opinion. My opinions expressed in this entry are just that, my opinions, and not based on anything outside of my own personal beliefs and convictions. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, because we can always agree to disagree with absolutely no hard feelings. My job is to love and encourage in spite of our differences. Regardless of where you are spiritually, know that I love you and I am praying for you. I pass no judgement because I am in no position or place to judge. God has shown me such grace and mercy from my past that I live my life to please Him and only Him. 

Father God, I ask that you take these words that You have given me and let them be received in a loving manner, free of judgment. I pray that Your Word will resonate in the hearts of those who read this post. Soften the hearts of your children so that they can readily accept the love that You so freely give to us. Help us all recognize our worth in Your eyes, You created each and every one of us on purpose with a purpose.

Romans 5:8 New King James Version (NKJV)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Photo Credit: Lynda Lane ~ Ooh Soo Glamorous Photography