In Michigan

Ben, Mikayla, and I arrived in Michigan on June 2.

It's been quite a time here, filled with new experiences for Ben,

getting dental work redone because what had been done in our host country was not done well,

visiting with friends and family.

Ben loves how easy it is to find things at stores, the cooler climate, the better internet speed.....

Mikayla is learning to drive, has a cell phone, will continue college in the fall, and is looking for a job....

We are blessed and thankful to be here.

5 years

Five years ago today my visitor from Heaven returned to Heaven.

I often mention that Jerard taught me so much. He was a vessel of grace God used in my life to teach me many truths. Let me share a few with you....

The night we got James and Jerard scared me. I was afraid to hold Jerard due to his big head. When he was placed in my arms it was a weird sensation. His head so heavy, his body so light. Like a tweety bird. I was concerned if I held him wrongly his neck would snap. Innocence and vulnerability lay in my arms. Tiny body, large, heavy head beckoned my heart to love this little boy and do what I could to heal him, to relieve the pressure of fluid build up in his cranium. Love ensconced this innocent, hurting boy and wrapped it's tendrils around my heart for my little son.

As I think back to that night of first holding my son, Jerard, I ponder: His heavy head and little body symbolized my spiritual life at that time. I had a heavy head of knowledge that my Heavenly Dad, God, loved me. I knew Bible truths and doctrines. But was my life living out what my head knew and believed? Had the depth of His love for me sunk from head knowledge to heart? Not then.

Only through the caring for and loving on Jerard with all the turmoil, uncertainties, anxieties, joys and duties did that knowledge drain from head to heart.

Like Jerard needing shunts to drain cranium fluid from head to abdomen, I needed surgery of soul to release knowledge of head to heart felt believing-settled deep-truth and knowing.

Early on in the care of Jerard this song by Twila Paris became a background theme song in my head for our Jerard.

A visitor from Heaven If only for a while A gift of love to be returned We think of you and smile

Jerard had a great laugh. A wonderful smile. His smile and laugh could brighten up my day so well.

A visitor from Heaven Accompanied by grace Reminding of a better love And of a better place

Jerard's life has reminded me of a better love...the deep, deep, love of my Saviour. Jerard could be messy. I changed diapers on him all his life. He drooled. He liked to bite and pinch. He'd throw up, get sick, be messy....and isn't that how each of us are? A mess? And yet Jesus continues to love each of us just as we are, no matter what mess we are in.

Learning to give thanks in the mundane and dailyness of life, to see each moment as worship to Him is something I learned to practice in caring for Jerard.

With aching hearts and empty arms We send you with a name It hurts so much to let you go But we're so glad you came We're so glad you came

Not a day goes by that I do not think about and thank God for my son, Jerard.

With breaking hearts and open hands We send you with a name It hurts so much to let you go But we're so glad you came We're so glad you came

Jerard has been precious to me. Jesus made him just the way he was just as Jesus made me and my other children the way we are.

Jerard's special needs have been irons of fire Christ has used to mold me more into His likeness.

Jerard's blindness taught me to see the depth of love Christ has for me and for each of His children.

Jerard's weakness helped me discover more deeply the truth in God's word that when I am weak, He is strong.

Jerard's inability to balance taught me the need to lean into my Saviour always.

I loved the way Jerard just seemed to melt into me when I'd hold him.

It was a perfect reminder to me of my own need to lean into my Saviour, resting ever in His arms no matter what storm is raging around me.

I thank God for Jerard.

The road our family traveled in caring for Jerard was hard I do not regret the road:

It's been a road full of mercy a road leading me closer to my FATHER's love And all I know is that all is grace And my FATHER knew what He was doing when He created Jerard, When He brought him to our family. I rest in HIS loving arms Thanking HIM for HIS gift, Thanking Him for Jerard.

Jerard didn't do anything. He just was. His life was used by God to teach me His love for me just as I am. And I pray each of us spend time in quiet reflection on the depth of radical , passionate love God has for each of us, just as we are!

Mother's Day 2017

It may seem a bit sappy, but Mother's Day is a time I reflect on how each of my children has enriched my life. I am so thankful for each of my kids.

In my twenties I'd been told I probably couldn't have kids due to the removal of one ovary and disease in the other. Once Kurt and I married we prayed and asked God, if He wanted us to have kids, to let me get pregnant.

And He did!

Mikayla - she's taught me boldness, confidence, not be fear asking questions.

Kirsten - her infectious smile, joy, and inquisitiveness have taught me creativity and to explore and learn deeper.

Ben - his activity, laughter, fun has taught me not to take myself so seriously, to laugh more.

James - his energy, his smile brighten my days. His adoption and the deep love I have for him has taught me the deep, deep love of the Father.

Jerard - my visitor from Heaven taught me that God loves each of us just as we are, just as I loved him just as he was.

I thank God for each of my children. Words fail to capture all the ways they have blessed me.

Family Update 4-30-17

Well, I thought I'd just give a short blurb about family life events. Mikayla, Ben, and I (Beth) will fly to Michigan June 2.

Mikayla will be transitioning to life in the USA; Ben will be in the USA for the first time since he was seven. He and I will be in the states for eight weeks then return to Davao for his sophmore year of high school.

James' visa application will be filed in January 2018. By then we should have all the documentation needed to satisfy the US government that he's been living with us since we adopted him.

We are thankful for the attorney we've hired who specializes in immigration issues for US citizens obtaining citizenship for adopted children. I don't know a time frame of how long this all will take.

I choose to wait peacefully in God's providence for the completion of James' citizenship and ability to travel to the USA.

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength; By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. –The Book of Common Prayer, prayer “For Quiet Confidence”

We rest in Him and keep running the race He sets before us, looking to Jesus. (Hebrews 12).

Please pray for our family with the many transitions.

Odd Season

I recently turned 57.

It's an odd place in life to be – part of me feels wise and mature, part of me feels very much like a 20 year old.

Sometimes I feel like I'm still trying to figure out “what I want to be when I grow up.”

I have a short bucket list of things I want to accomplish before I pass on to eternal life with my Abba

    • getting a master's degree (almost done!)
    • Hiking the Appalachian trail – all 2000+ miles of it
    • writing a book (well on my way with that)
    • going to NYC to spend a few nights at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, see a Broadway play, and hear a concert in Carnegie Hall.....

What's on your 'bucket list'?

Life is made of choices. I'm thankful one of the choices we made was to move overseas as missionaries.

It's been and continues to be a blessing in many ways, a road of growth and hard times,

and

sometimes it's easier to ignore important issues of life that are not so urgent but are persistent when one silences one's self long enough to listen - – inner issues, questions, thoughts, feelings, longings....such as

  • fears/concerns about health and aging

  • doubts about faith

  • inauthentic patterns of relating

  • unresolved and unaddressed traumas and woundings

  • repressed creativity (I certainly feel that with a lack of a piano)

  • regrets over ways of being contrary to my inner ideal

  • resentment towards commitments, remorse over goals not accomplished (yet)....

What inner issues whisper to you to deal with?

A psychologist, who's blog I enjoy reading states this: Over time, the long-term neglect of inconvenient thoughts and feelings cultivates feelings of exhaustion, deadness, boredom and stagnation. Life slowly becomes a joyless drag. The things we avoid within ourselves don’t go away. Like warning lights on the dashboard of a car, they are signaling that something inside needs attention.(David Clinton)

I call it burnout.

A technical definition is this, “Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place. Burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.”

Yea, that pretty much sums it up.

While I have a few sprigs of new growth, mostly I feel like I don't have much to give or offer at the moment.

It's a time to tend to needs I and my family have, time to heal from many woundings (you'll read about some of them when I finish my book!)

In this later midlife stage I am reevaluating where I am and starting to take more time to listen to those “inconvenient thoughts and feelings” so I can address them and be a channel of His grace to others.

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength; By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. –The Book of Common Prayer, prayer “For Quiet Confidence”

Storms and deserts of life create growth - maturity - and peace - a deep resting no matter what uncertainty. I know I am loved and held in my Father's loving arms. I pray you know this too.