The Wake Up

Standard

Take a deep breath, I know it seems impossible but Nora’s arrival is only two and a half months away!  I wonder sometimes how close we actually are to the end of days, the bible makes mention of how fast time will fly in those last days and it certainly seems to be winging on by anymore, where did 2011 go?

As I was sitting and chatting with my ole pal Jesus the other day my heart was just fluttering away, skipping little beats here and there as He filled my mind with images and my soul with long lost emotions, all those remembered flashes of having a snuggly little baby around, MY baby.  As I sat on my couch I stole some of that fleeting time to indulge my imagination….will Nora look like Noble, will she have the same funny sneeze he did, or love a bath as much as he did, will their cries sound the same, will she have a temper like he did, will she have short fat toes like mine or long skinny toes like Adam and Noble?  This pregnancy has been so different from Noble’s that I already know she is laughably different in so many ways!

And so I sat, imagining and daydreaming when I started feeling little tingles in my chest, little nigglings and heard the Holy Spirit whispering “it’s time to wake up”.  I saw myself, standing in a meadow in a great pool of light, I had tears streaming down my face as I reached up to my chest and took hold of my rib cage in the middle and pried it open, exposing it to the light.  I could see my soul, it was made up of different compartments that make me who I am, all bright and active and working together, all except one.  One large compartment was still as the night and had a fine layer of dust within it.  As I peered into the compartment I could see scroll work across the back, I stepped closer to myself and gently blew the dust away to read the single word.  In gentle, elegant black letters it simply said “Mommy”.  And as the most infinite of sighs escaped my lungs I heard the Holy Spirit say with a little more gumption, “it’s time to wake up.”

I remember the day I packed up Noble’s room, carefully wrapped all his belongings and stored them away in the garage.  I didnt just pack away all his earthly belongings that day, as I gently wrapped his few possessions I was also wrapping a part of myself.  I packed away the part of me that was “mommy”, it wasnt needed anymore and seemed too painful to keep active.  So without even stopping to think on it I winterized that part of my soul, sealed it up to safely wait for the Spring.  Except winter didnt just last one season, it lasted several, and just like my earthly possessions it had remained packed up and dormant for so long I forgot I had it in storage.

And so here comes the great Wake Up, stirring to life in a slow, lumbering sort of way.  I can feel the Holy Spirit oiling all the joints and wheels in my Mommy compartment, speaking His life giving words over all the parts and calling them to motion again.  It’s not painful like I thought it would be, it’s quite pleasant actually, like the first languorous stretch of the morning as your body wills itself out of dormancy.  I am ready, I’m ready to be fully me again, to have the fullness of my soul restored so that my heart can be emptied out into my little one, ready to be mommy again.

Song of Solomon 2: 11-12

“See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.  Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.”

Birthday Wishes

Standard

It seems as though time is something that we humans are forever hounded by, aware of, striving against.  One minute we are terribly late to this event and at the same time wishing another event would get here sooner.  It is a constant ebb and flow of seconds and minutes, hours and days, weeks and months.  Some days I find myself wishing we had never invented this concept of time, of tracking our progress through life with dates and months.

Noble’s birthday is quickly approaching, a day on the calendar that holds such meaning, so many emotions.  I remember calling Adam and telling him my water broke, the anticipation of finally meeting our son, finally looking into his eyes and feeling his skin.  The day did not go as we planned but Adam and I had long ago learned that little in life does.  And when I finally held him in my arms, shooshed his cries and smoothed away his tears I thought my heart would never be as full.

November 18th is coming, just as February 9th is, the day I had to say goodbye to Noble.  Two days, two dates on the calendar that will always carry heavy emotions.  And as this year rolled on into November I found myself feeling a new emotion….resentment.  I dont want these dates, I dont want to have to look on the calendar every year and know that I have these days looming before me, I dont want to carry them or the emotions they will always bring with them.

“What I want is my son! I want to eat cake with him on his birthday, I want to see him walking and talking.  I want to kiss his face and hold his chubby hands, I want to look into his 2 year old eyes and hold him safe in my arms.”

I told God all of these things, told Him about my resentment, how I wanted to lasso time with a rope, dig my heals in and keep these dates from approaching.  And as I poured my aching heart out other memories, other dates began clicking through my mind.  My first date with Adam and how my heart pounded when he took my hand.  Our wedding day and looking into his eyes.  The day God healed me of cancer and the overwhelming Joy of no more needles.  So many days spent with the Holy Spirit, feeling Him healing my heart and changing my mind.  All dates and times in my life that I wouldnt want to forget or give up.  And so I challenged God….”here’s these two dates, they’re hard, they weigh on me and I dont want them to anymore.  So I’m giving them to you, on these two days specifically I’m asking you to show me something new, challenging you to blow my mind.  Show me a new side of you that I’ve never seen, a way that you love me or a new passion for me to tackle, anything at all God, just freak my brain out.”  He heard me and He smiled at me and He said “Challenge accepted.”

So here comes November 18th, charging on down the chutes towards me, only now instead of having my lasso out wishing I could rope it into submission, I’m running towards it.  Because there’s a new emotion I’m carrying, it’s excitement.  O the old ones will still be there, they always will be, but they have competition now, they can’t monopolize my heart any more.  Because once God accepts a challenge He doesn’t back down, I know for a fact He’ll come through….. and my heart is ready, I’m ready.

Happy Birthday my sweet yummy munchkin, Mommy misses you.

Isaiah 43:19

“See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

Hello Sweetcheeks

Standard

“This isn’t real, this can’t be real life.” As I sat in my bathroom a fear of astronomical proportions seemed to fill the room and suck all the air out.  “This wasn’t the plan, I’m not ready, it’s too soon, this CAN’T be happening, we’ve been careful, we’ve been preventing, God what are you doing to me!”

You see, after several days of puzzling bodily symptoms I woke up very early one Saturday morning with a hunch, but not fully expecting it to be true.  After several minutes of tossing and turning I marched into the bathroom and pulled out an unused pregnancy test I had left over from several years ago, deciding to hurry up and pee on the thing so it could tell me NO and I could go back to bed.  Except it didn’t say no (neither did the other 3 I took over the course of the weekend).  As I slowly carried the little stick back to bed with me and layed down next to a peacefully sleeping Adam I proceeded to cry myself sick.

All I could see was overwhelming fear, I was breathing it, choking on it, it was clogging my lungs and crushing my spirit.  The thought of having another baby, of trying to lay it down to sleep was overwhelming.  How could I do it?  Not to mention the fact that insurance wont cover this pregnancy, we were going to have to pay cash for everything.  The enemy kept reminding me of past dollar signs “what if its cancer again Kara, that cost over $200,000 or what if something goes wrong with the birth again, Noble’s NICU stay was over $80,000, you don’t have insurance to foot the bill this time.”  And on top of it all was the tangible knowledge of pain, after all we’ve been through, I wasnt ready for more.  I was like a fresh spring tree, tentatively sprouting out, stubbornly putting out signs of life but still so weak should a late frost sweep over my limbs.  In those first few days all I could think about was the frost, how would I survive the devastating, bitter cold if it came sweeping through?

But O my soul, isnt He good?  Over the next several weeks as I spent more and more time telling Him all my fears and pouring my heart out He rewarded me with more and more of His presence, the Holy Spirit has been hanging around me like a delicious little storm cloud.  I am enveloped with His calm and there’s just no more room for fear.  I am reminded of who my God is, of His sovereignty, of the sheer power of His nearness and my faith is nearly leaping out of my chest!  This only makes room for a dawning Hope.  Suddenly I want to stand in my front yard with my underwear on the outside of my pants, my homemade cape flapping in the wind, my hands firmly planted on my hips and shout “I am a child of God, I am His chosen one, and now O neighbors staring at me, watch as I slay this beast called Fear in the name of the Lord, KAPOW!”

And all the while the Lord is speaking over me: “Sadness is NOT your portion, grief is not your permanent path.  Like the shedding of old skin, you will step out of sadness, it no longer fits you.  Step out of it and see that your new skin is Joy.  Do you hear me?  My promise over this child is Joy.”

A dear friend told me the story of another family who had lost a child.  One night the dad was crying out to the Lord and found himself saying “God my heart is just blown up with pain.” And the Lord responded “your heart is like a balloon, every time it is blown up it is stretched a little more. Right now your heart might be blown up with pain but that pain is stretching you so that next time, when I blow it up with Joy it will have the capacity to hold and experience more.” 

So here I am, with my balloon of a heart.  It’s been blown up so many times I can’t hardly comprehend the amount of Joy it can hold, but it’s slowly starting to dawn on me.  As more and more days pass I can’t help but fall to my knees in gratitude as an unearthly Joy washes over me, fills my balloon and tugs it toward the heavens.  Listening to that precious little heart beat, seeing that tiny little flutter on the ultrasound monitor brought a restoration that I didnt know was possible.  Now we are waiting for several little sweetcheeks, the toddler the Lord is bringing to us through our adoption and the little munchkin He is growing. 

How do you bring earthly words to unearthly elation?

 

Psalm 126: When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

 

The “NeverFinished” Girl

Standard

I recently had a series of books recommended to me and since I started the first sentence of the first book I have been immersed in the ancient world of Judah, following the reign of King Hezekiah.  Again and again God’s message to Hezekiah is “trust me, wait on me, I will deliver you, I will provide”.  But again and again Hezekiah doubts God’s abilities and takes matters in to his own hands, even after witnessing miracle after miracle.  The further I get into the books I find myself wanting to yell at him, “Are you kidding me?! God literally just moved the sun backward in the sky before your eyes and you still have issues trusting Him?!”  It’s real easy to manage someone else’s life isn’t it?

So now back to my life, in the past month we have received set back after set back in our adoption process.  Our fingerprints are lost at the FBI office (seriously?) and now they’re telling us there are no children under the age of 7 available for adoption and probably won’t be for a long time.  Translation: WAITING, WAITING, and more WAITING.  And isn’t it interesting how waiting can bring out all kinds of little tidbits about yourself?  All these negative reports started churning up all kinds of “yummy” emotions in my chest and in turn, the conversations with God took all kinds of twists and turns.

At first a heavy weariness started creeping in.  The dream to have a child has been a battle Adam and I have been fighting for 5 years.  We’ve survived miscarriage, cancer, the death of Noble and countless days of grief and tears.  The thought of more waiting, more fighting seemed like an exhausting, daunting process.  But the more I settled into His presence the more at peace I felt, I could take a break for a while.  It felt liberating to think that this mythical “family” I had been trying to obtain didn’t have to be my #1 priority; it didn’t have to occupy the top of my To Do list.  In this waiting I could just sit back and watch while God put all the pieces into place.  And God was speaking too, moving around me in our quiet times, putting my heart at rest, reminding me that…… “just because things look like they are at a standstill in the “natural” realm doesn’t mean I’m not working in the “spiritual” realm.  I’m working on getting your munchkin to you and I’m working on you too, digging out some pesky little thorns.”

“O, ok, you’re working on it, got it……..Wait, What?  You’re working on ME?  Are you serious?  Haven’t I been “worked” on enough?  What could possibly be left?!  I have been broken, humbled, my faith has been run through the ringer.  I’ve had hundreds of thorns plucked out by now and you’re telling me there’s more!  I’m fully surrendered, following YOU’RE plan, heading where YOU told me to go!”

Yup, that was me, in the middle of an all-out tantrum, not pretty huh?  Like I said, it’s interesting how the simple art of waiting can turn a grown woman into a pouty 2 year old.  I know He had to have been laughing at me, I mean I was pretty much rolling around on the ground kicking and screaming in front of the God of the Universe.  Really Kara!

He graciously let me finish my tirade, let me get it all out, then waited while I cleaned all the snot and mascara runs off my face.  And when I was finally ready to talk about it (a number of days later) we had a humbling little chat about the thorns still festering away.  See that’s the tricky thing about old wounds, they’re so old we forget they’re even there; they get a nice protective scar layer around them.  In my case it was an idea, a picture of my life that I was stubbornly holding on to.  I had drawn this picture so long ago I forgot I even had it, but for something forgotten it held an incredible amount of influence in my life.  And until I take it out and throw it away I will never be FULLY surrendered to God’s plan.  I have been taking God’s plans, pouring over them with Joy  and loving them but then without realizing it, tweaking them ever so slightly to make it match up to my picture.  It’s like Picasso showing up at my door with a one of a kind painting, made just for me, worth more than I can imagine.  But when he hangs it on my wall I run and get a paint brush and draw a stupid smiley face right in the middle of it and then have the nerve to say, “There, now it’s perfect!”

So here I am, smack dab in the middle of waiting, except I’m only waiting in the natural now.  In the spiritual I’m working.  I went and got a 50 gallon barrel and started a fire in it, I’m standing in front of it watching the flames and holding my little picture.  I’ve been holding it for so long that it’s a little hard to think about it not being in my back pocket any more.  But as more and more of His presence washes over me my hands move closer and closer to the all-consuming flames.  I remember the elation and freedom when those other thorns were dug out and it spurs my determination on.  Suddenly it’s not just a stifling, stagnant time of waiting; it’s a second honey moon, a time of intimacy regained, a time of restored laughter.  I am my beloveds and He is mine.

 

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.  There I will return her vineyards to her, and will make the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of Hope.  There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.  In that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master’.” Hosea 2: 14-16

 

A New Creature

Standard

One of my greatest joys in life these days is writing, but not just writing, I call it “writing in the Spirit”.  Sometimes the Lord will overwhelm me with His presence and I will feel my finger tips itch to hold a pen, to put on paper what the Spirit is laying on my soul.  So out comes my journal, the pen begins to move and before I know it I have covered several pages.  I know it wasn’t me that wrote these words, I always have to go back and read what was written.  They are letters to me from my lover and Savior and I treasure them, savor them.  This past Sunday, while the Ugandan Pastor spoke with passion God decided to write me a letter, and today He asked me to share it……….

I feel you moving, Lord what are you doing?  I feel hemmed in, are you placing me in a walled garden?  Asking me to stop for a bit and take time to breathe, or is there something I’m missing that you would have me see?  I know you are working to take the wall down, one brick at a time.  I feel you moving and working but it is different than ever before.  You move slowly and quietly, I feel you patiently observing me and softly speaking.  I see a vision of you in a forest, a forest thick and quiet, pine needles cover the ground where you wait, sitting back on your haunches across from me, as comfortable as ever, you could sit forever.  Your face is peaceful, your eyes full of love and so calming.  Your hand is outstretched to me, beckoning me closer, your voice almost a whisper.  Everything about your posture and countenance speaks that I am a wounded animal, I am overcome by fear and pain.  One move too quickly, one word spoken too harshly and I will run for my burrow or strike out violently.  So you inch ever closer, patiently waiting for me to let my guard back down, a little at a time.  You wait for me to be the one to come fully to you, to step into your arms again.  There is healing waiting for me there but bones must be broken again to be set properly.  Wounds must be opened and cleaned out to heal fully.  There is a fresh pain in that process, a new pain that my heart and soul must be ready for. So until then…… we stare at each other across the forest floor; you waiting, me discerning.  Quietly learning to be in each other’s presence again, learning who these new creatures are.  Remembering the old ways, contemplating the new ways.  We shall move at our own pace and no one else’s.

He continues to speak to me of His healing, showing it to me in new and different lights.  Just when I feel I have a grasp on how things will go, He gently pries open my hands and asks me to step outside of my mind.  He speaks to me in intimate ways, with visions that stir and melt my heart.  Nature has always captivated me, I will escape to the woods whenever possible, my soul is at rest when surrounded by trees and the majesty of His creation.  He knew the weight this vision would carry with me, how very intimately it would speak to me.  So I ask you to open your heart, quiet your mind and let the visions come, allow the Spirit to overwhelm you.  He will speak to you as only you would hear.

Thoughts, Visions, and Really Tall Walls

Standard

I’m discovering that grief is a sneaky little critter.  I was just beginning to think I’d won, I did it, 2010 is over and so is all that grieving.  I was back home with all my friends and family, starting the adoption process and chugging right along like the little engine that could.  So imagine my surprise as January and February ticked on by and all I felt was a clawing anxiety, thickening sadness, and an anger that smouldered and flared like coals in my chest.  And along with all these snuggly warm feelings came a growing frustration that drove me to ask “What the heck is going on here God, it’s been a year, why am I not healing?”.  Then, one perfectly normal Tuesday morning I was sitting on my couch praying with one of my “musketeers” when God gently began to pour light and revelation into my soul.

My first instinct is to fight, be the blazing warrior, draw my sword and screech my battle cry, “I will survive this, I will win the war!”  So last year, on February 9th I walked out of that ER with my armor on and my sword drawn, slashing and hacking my way through the year.  And I did it, I won the fight, I survived the year.  But we can’t fight forever, can we?  It’s hard for someone to treat your battle wounds when you’re still wearing your armor.  

See we are all complex beings, each walking different paths, fighting our own battles, and when the war is over we each have a different journey to healing.  For me, that journey is surrender, surrender of my inmost being.  When I walked through cancer the most precious experience for me was the way God worked so patiently to deconstruct the intricate system of walls I had built around my heart.  I can’t begin to describe the feeling of complete freedom when that last, ugly wall came tumbling down and my heart felt the first full breath of the Holy Spirit sweep over it.  But when my lips brushed Noble’s forehead for the last time something inside clicked, my heart was pierced and my soul cried out “this is too much!”.  And while I was distracted by the battle those towering walls were once again constructed.   

What a picture I must have been, standing before God, swaying with fatigue but with my sword still drawn, still wearing the filth of battle and all the while confused about my lack of healing.  But His yearning for us is fierce and passionate, He waits for us patiently and when we finally turn to Him with confusion wrinkling our brow He is ever joyous to bring forth revelations.  Isaiah 49:16 says “See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”  He is fierce enough to carve my name into His skin,the walls around my heart are always on His mind.  And when that overwhelming passion washes over my soul I can finally give into the fatigue, drop my sword, tear off my armor and sag to my knees before Him.  In that place I am protected, sheltered, my heart doesn’t need a wall anymore.

So here we are, me and God, working together to tear the wall down.  It’s a big one, and He told me it has to come down a little at a time because all at once would only cause more damage.  Another long journey, where priceless intimacy and trust is gained.  And as we journey together I’m humming “take me down and bury me beneath the weight of suffering, I’m gonna give you what I cannot keep. When you raise me up from this grave I will never lose what I have gained”.

 

For my precious friend L.E. 

What am I humming?  Kate Hurley’s “Take Me Down And Bury Me”

Nothing Mindblowing, Just An Update

Standard

Well it’s been a little more than a month since we journeyed back to our little abode here in Springdale and I wanted to do a little update about where we’re at in life.  Adam is back to work, he never likes to be idle for longer than an hour!  I am slowly adjusting to being a housewife, I love cooking and cleaning now that I don’t hit the front door at 5:30pm completely frazzled from a day of work!  I have also decided to take a part-time job as a barista in a new coffee shop opening in February.  The coffee shop itself has an incredible story and is going to do amazing things here in Fayetteville and all over the world.  They have a page on Facebook (Mama Carmen’s Espresso Cafe) and are located just South of Fiesta Square on the East side of College, I’ll be working Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 5:30am-Noon so you’ll have to swing by and let me know if my barista skills are any good!  I have been in barista training all week and I can tell you that the coffee is amazing, it comes straight from a little farm in Guatemala to Mama Carmen’s where it’s roasted right in the Cafe, my taste buds sigh every time I walk in!

We’re also in the middle of the adoption process, up to our eyeballs in paperwork and home improvements!  We have currently put our Haitian adoption on hold.  The process is extremely complicated and tedious even without a political uprising going on.  So after months of fighting the system we felt God calling us to “wait, be still”.  I don’t have to understand God’s plan to believe He has one, so once again I find myself waiting for His plan to unfold in His timing and not mine.  In the mean time we felt Him calling us to pursue a domestic adoption, laying it on our hearts that He has a child for us here too.  An organization called The Call has recently opened offices in Washington and Benton county, they are a non-profit organization that comes along side the Church to make the process of adoption and foster care easy.  They are an amazing group so check them out at www.thecallinarkansas.org.  We started the paperwork this month and have three crazy months of classes and homestudies ahead of us so please pray for our sanity!  Since we are feeling called to a toddler and not an infant our wait may be relatively short, I can only imagine what God has in store for us now!

So while we pursue our adoption we will be residing in the United States only traveling abroad for 3-4 weeks at a time as God calls us.  While I was in Haiti I felt God calling me to travel to Africa, specifically Uganda, with my best friend Genessa Newberry and her husband Tim.  They are adopting two children from there, a little warrior of a boy named Benjamin and a petite little snuggle bug named Izzy, both 2 years old.  My heart can hardly wait for my Africa trip, to wrap my arms around those precious little tots who have already filled me with so much joy just through their pictures.  You can read about Tim and Genessa’s journey on their blog, just click the “Freedom Justice Love” link in my blogroll. 

In the mean time I have a few posts in the works, but I always have to mull them over for a time before I’m ready to post them.  Most of my posts are extremely personal and I usually need a good long conversation with God before I’m ready to write them.  So I do apologize for my long intermissions, but I warned from the beginning I wouldn’t be the typical blogger!

Thank you for all the prayers and support, I can hardly believe how God has blessed me.