Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Broken

There are precious moments when my sweet seven year old comes up to me and hugs me and looks up at me with his deep brown eyes and says, "I love you mama." He then, already grasping around my belly, spoke directly to his sister and shared the same sentiment, "I love you, Violet." Those are the moments I cherish, the moments I cling to. The moments that make parenting worthwhile and remind us that what we're doing is rewarding. That was this morning.

It's not a secret, and this is certainly not a complaint, but Eli can be a challenging child. By far not the most challenging, and I count my many blessings knowing I was hand selected to be his mom.

This evening we enjoyed a wonderful meal where this usually hyperactive child of mine demonstrated just how obedient and well mannered he could be. It was a scene to make any mother proud and no doubt I must have been beaming at the sight of my angelic son. We decided to stop in a gift shop that was just down from the restaurant and I gave my well behaved son $2 to spend. He immediately found a basket full of trinkets, $1.99, and now he had to decide. My son is a hoarder, a collector of all things junk so this was like finding a treasure chest at the end of a rainbow where he could pick a pet made from seashells. 
This is the turtle he chose. Only this one was broken. He had only 3 shell legs instead of 4 and the glue was exposed on top where it used to be connected to a now missing hat. I pulled several other complete turtle shell pets out of the basket trying to convince him another one was what we needed. He was determined. Strong willed, yes, but with deep conviction he would not be convinced.

"No, mom, I promised this guy I would take him home."

"But son, he's broken," I reasoned.

"But I can't leave him behind. This is the one I want."

The clerk realized the obvious predicament and even opened a new box to reveal more shiny, unbroken, in-tact turtle shell pets. My son was not going to be convinced. We were now experiencing a full blown meltdown with me arguing and him crying in the floor. (Thank goodness we're on vacation and no one knows us here.) 

We walked out of the store, he with the broken turtle and me with a broken spirit. I was exasperated at his determination and confused in this moment of parenting about whether I should have stuck to my guns and remained firm to get MY way or let him keep his broken and incomplete pet. The clerk realized my predicament and had pity, handing one of the new and complete shell pets to my mom. I showed it to Eli and explained the man wanted him to have a complete one. His answer to me was simple but profound. 

"He's cute too...but not as cute as the one I picked." 

I asked him later why he wanted that turtle so much and he explained, "Because mama, I chose him and I promised him I would pick him. He was the only one without a hat and no other kid would have gotten him that way." My son doesn't usually fit into the "mold" and rarely is he the model kid while dining out but how could I deny that after both experiences this evening what makes me the proudest is knowing how he sees the world. 

In his mind that broken little turtle shell pet was beautiful. And even as I type I cannot contain the tears at how this simple yet challenging moment has so challenged me. Catching a glimpse of beauty through his eyes and realizing that Father God must look upon our brokenness and see the same. 

Here they are. Both turtle pets, one broken and one complete. I'm kind of fond of the 3-legged guy myself! 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Claim Your Prize

I heard an interesting story in the news today. Today is the day. It's the final deadline for one person to come forward. New York authorities are looking for the person who purchased a lottery ticket that happens to be a winner. The prize? A mere $7 million. For almost a year this ticket holder has gone completly unaware of his or her winnings. And now the day has come when, if he or she doesn't step forward, there won't be any prize to claim. The ticket will be null and void. 

Something that seems worthless, a little piece of paper, holds value beyond what most of us will ever have to claim. What now holds such high value is still worthless considering it may go completely unnoticed and without ever being cashed in. Who knows where this ticket holder is, let alone the actual winning ticket. Without it being turned in, without this person coming forward, the prize will go unclaimed. The winnings will be worthless. The opportunity may truly never come again. 

And yet, you know it, there's a lesson here. An incomparable prize that is ours to claim, and yet we so often let it go unnoticed and untouched. We ignore it, seemingly unaware, and often we completely miss the opportunity. 

The thing about our own "prize" to claim is we don't know when the deadline will be... For the average person, we don't know our final day on earth. We cannot usually predict our death or know the final hour, but we can make each hour and day count by claiming this gift NOW.

The gift of course is eternal salvation, the opportunity to know Christ as our Savior, to be able to claim Him as Lord and to be redeemed as His child. Please understand - this prize is everyone's to claim. You don't have to have a winning lottery ticket - the price was paid with Christ's sacrifice on the cross. The gift of eternal life is free for you and for me, it simply must be accepted. It's not enough to claim you know Him. You must accept Him, His redemption of your sin, and exchange your own worthless dirty rags for His righteousness and eternal security. 

The price to you is free. The prize to you is eternal. Eternal life. Not here on earth, but eternity in heaven with Him. The deadline may not be today - but why wait? Why risk the chance of your gift going unclaimed, unused, your life unredeemed? Today is the day to claim Him as your Lord and Savior, to redeem the gift of eternal life that has been gifted to you, and to allow Him to redeem your life. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Violet Hope


We knew what her name would be even before we truly knew of her. Somehow it just clicked. Blame it on my undying love of purple and the anthem to royalty this princess should be...but Michael was emphatically in love with it just as much as I was and so we had decided: if we have a girl, her name will be Violet.

This wasn't a situation where we would have to wait and see her for the first time. We just KNEW. This was also one of the reasons I was certain I was carrying a boy. We had so wholeheartedly agreed on a girl's name but couldn't be so certain with a boy's name. I felt for this reason it just seemed too perfect...it just fit together so nicely and seemed, quite frankly, too good to be true.

From the time I learned of our first pregnancy in the fall, the Lord kept impressing upon me the word "Hope." It has such deep biblical meaning and it resonated with me throughout our loss. Everywhere I turned, He would encourage me with scriptures filled with messages of hope. I had the word inscribed on a piece of rice (yes, you read this correctly) and placed inside a purple keychain that has hung from my rearview mirror since October. It became more than just hope deferred or something to hope for, rather it became my anthem.

"And now, O Lord, what do I hope for? My hope is in You!" 
Psalm 39:7

"Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him."
Psalm 62:5

I could go on and on, but this journey has become about about finding rest, security and comfort in God alone. It's taken me down the familiar path of whether or not I would trust Him. Whether or not I would wait on Him and how my heart would respond in the process. Would I worry, fear, become anxious, ungrateful or desperate, or would I seek Him, rest, rejoice and praise? I cannot say I've always responded appropriately, but I can say that God has always graciously waited for my heart to turn to Him.

So it simply could not be perfect, but it is simply God's glorious plan. His desire to delight in His wayward children and to abundantly bless. His mercy and goodness to pour out hope and life while answering prayers. His glory being revealed to us in human form. 

And so she shall be called Violet Hope Wright. We've felt her move and kick and we've seen glimpses of her on ultra sound. For now, I continue to be but a vessel where He can move and work and masterfully create our darling daughter. Even before we get to hold you, Violet, we're falling in love with you more each day. 

Today we share her name with you so that you may also join with us in praying for her by name. 




Saturday, June 27, 2015

Love Wins

We are a country divided. I assure you this will not be a political rant, nor will it be a protest. Hear me out if you would.

Shock and outrage should never lead to hate and intolerance. Love and acceptance should be grounded in that of Christ Jesus and biblical truth. This isn't about condemnation or the fall of society. The downfall of man came thousands of years ago when Adam and Eve first disobeyed God and chose their own way and sin entered the world. 

We can quote John 3:16, "For God so loved the world..." But do we understand the reason He came? To pay for our sins. To make a way for us from our sinful, fallen state to reach eternity with a perfect and Holy God. He did not come to condemn the world but to save it, which we find in the very next verse in John 3:17. 

Make no mistake. This earth will pass away, and all that's in it, and the only thing that will matter is what you decided to do with Jesus. Who do you say He is? This isn't about Christianity or what you may call yourself. It has nothing to do with labels or titles or man's rulings. It has everything to do with whether or not you have a personal relationship with Him as your Lord and Savior.

Understand. He created you. He loves you. He desires to call you His child. It is the sinful nature in which we were all born that separates us from His Holiness. It is why we struggle. It is why there is pain, disappointment, hurt, sickness. It's why we can't often make sense of some of the things that happen. It's also why He sent His Son. It's why He made a way, because there must be a way, for us to bridge the divide of our fallen flesh and His perfect righteousness. 

This is where love wins. This is absolutely about love winning. Love has won. It is winning. It will win once and for all. Because Christ defeated sin and death when He paid for each and everyone of us and made a way for us to gain eternal access to heaven and our Heavenly Father. 

Heaven and Hell are as real as the love and hate we demonstrate. Whether it's race, gender identity, marriage laws, or any other issue that might be prevalent in our present day. We are living and acting as if we're surprised. We should not be caught off guard. Quite frankly we should only be more prepared than ever to make sure our eternity is secure. And rest assured that is really the only issue. 

We cannot expect the world to act as if they know the bible we believe if we simply bang it over their heads. We must fulfill our purpose. Our calling. The original plan - we know this as the Great Commission: to go into all the world and tell the good news. The good news that God is love. The good news that His Son paid the price for our sin. The good news that we can have a personal, redeeming and life changing relationship with Him that will guarantee our salvation and secure our eternal presence with Almighty God. The good news that most certainly we claim: love wins. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

It's a GIRL!

We waited for this day for so long. There we were staring at the screen watching our little one moving all around, mouth opening and closing, hands going up and down. The technician switched over to 3D and there before our eyes was the image of our lovey's little face. I looked over at my husband with tears in my eyes and I could see the astonishment in his expression. This was our baby. The technician warned us when to look away. We weren't going to find out the gender until that night when we would gather with family and friends. 

I delivered the sealed envelope to the baker right after our appointment. And yes, it was still sealed. You have to understand how difficult this was for me. Everyone in my family knows I am the one who simply cannot wait for surprises. Like the one Christmas when I sliced open my gifts while mom and dad were gone...only to have my little sister tattle tale on me. I would always go on scavenger hunts to find hidden gifts or reveal secrets so knowing that envelope held one of the biggest secrets of my life was near torture!!! Even worse was when the cake was delivered and I knew just layers below that icing was the secret I was DYING to know!!

Understand something. I've done EVERYTHING I can to try and guess the gender. My early ultra sound between 6 and 7 weeks produced an unknown result for the Ramzi method. My ultra sounds at 9 and 10 weeks were too early to tell the Nub theory that is usually seen at 12 weeks. I researched (we'll use this term loosely) every Old Wives Tale to try and make an "educated" guess...but this only proved to be a divided line of some boy and other girl signs. The funny thing would be to hear all the guesses, "Oh, you're carrying low - it MUST be a boy!" then another "Yep, it's definitely a girl, I can tell."

This entire time I have been convinced I was carrying a boy. We had our girl name picked out even before this baby was conceived but we just couldn't be as confident and 100% "sold" on the boy names we kept suggesting. This was another reason I was convinced it was a boy. Most of the hints and predictors seemed to point to a boy. The heartbeat has been consistently in the 140's and I felt certain we needed to be prepared to see teal icing in the center of that cake. I tried to prepare everyone, especially my husband and son who have been "Team Girl" from the beginning. The pressure was on with the "majority vote" being for a girl and I didn't want anyone to be disappointed when and if it was a boy.


Our guests kept asking if we were cutting the cake first and somehow we managed to get through sharing a meal together...but not long after that it was time! We got the cake set up and called our out of state family on Facetime so they could watch the reveal. With family and friends gathered around, we prepared to cut the cake. 

I was prepared. Prepared to see teal icing. Prepared for a second boy. Prepared for more dirt and worms and Legos. What I was not prepared for was the overwhelming surprise and my undeniable excitement when we pulled out that slice of cake only to reveal PURPLE icing! "IT'S A GIRL!!!" 


I was SHOCKED!!! Michael later said he couldn't even process what was happening and thought somehow I might have cut myself instead of the cake because of the screaming. We were all screaming in excitement and disbelief. It was the last thing I expected to see. Purple icing. I kept staring at the layers in disbelief then remembered the baker had given us back the gender envelope. I quickly removed the tape and opened it up. Sure enough! This was not a joke! There she was in living proof. OUR GIRL!

I can share this now that we know...but a few weeks ago something came to mind. Something I hadn't thought about in over 7 years. I had always wanted a girl. I have enjoyed the close friendship of my own mother-daughter relationship. I am, as no surprise to anyone, a girly-girl so the thought of all the frills has always been, of course, a desire of mine. During the adoption process that wasn't an option for several reasons, none of which I will truly discuss, but suffice to say it was a desire I buried and put out of my mind. In fact, I was just so elated to become a mother it didn't matter if it was a boy or a girl. Until just a few weeks ago, that desire started to resurface. After 7 years, it caught me off guard. Especially since I was so convinced this baby would be another boy. I kept telling the Lord, "I don't want to be disappointed - and I won't be! Because I love being the mom of a boy and I will love it again!" At the same time, I couldn't figure out if it was the "majority vote" or truly the desire of my heart that seemed to be swaying my affections to "Team Girl." 

Even as I prepared to quiet my mind and heart after such a full evening of joy and celebration, it was all I could do to ask, "How God? How could You see fit to so abundantly bless me? I don't deserve any of this - at all - and yet every single desire and detail You have worked out for my good and my joy." It is humbling to come face-to-face with this reality and yet it causes me to do nothing other than praise and give Him thanks. 

Yes, we are having a girl and we couldn't be more thrilled. But I must stand back and give God ALL the glory for each and every miracle that He alone has worked in our lives. The mere fact Michael and I have the blessing of sharing life together, let alone bringing a baby into this world, to have the desire of our hearts fulfilled on so many levels, is a constant reminder of how much He loves us. How He works everything according to His plan. How what others meant for evil, He will use for good and ultimately His glory. This baby girl is yet another answer to prayer AND a reminder to give Him all the praise and glory He is due. 

We praise You, Lord, for You are fearfully and wonderfully fashioning and forming our Baby Girl. We can't wait to meet her!

Thank you for celebrating with us!


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Secret Place

In 2008 the year of Elijah's birth, 95% of the birthmothers residing in the Liberty Godparent Home were expecting boys. Friends of mine had been placed with what was known to be the expectant sole girl just months before Eli was born. The chances of me becoming the mom of a boy were high. And somehow it never seemed to phase me, despite previous thoughts of wanting a girly girl. It seemed almost fitting that I would become the mother of a son. I hope it's now safe to say I have embraced this title with more dirt, worms, frogs, cars, Legos and outdoor play than I could have ever prepared myself for...and I've loved every single second!

June 23rd has been scheduled for almost 5 weeks so it is with building anticipation that we finally reach this long-awaited day. It's known as the midway anatomy scan and for many, including us, it will also be the big gender reveal! Oh yes, this day is highly anticipated when no longer will it be unknown what gender our baby is. When we get to start buying bows and ribbons and all things purple (because if you know me, you know it must be purple over pink), or if we will keep with the theme of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails. 

I would be lying if I told you a little girl to dress up and spoil, to be my mini me, wouldn't be a dream come true. Yet I simply cannot deny the bond I have with my boy and how much I love being the mom of a son. I only know that would double with another boy. 

What do I think? I keep saying boy. I have tried every old wives tale, studying my previous (way-too-early) ultra sounds and everything has seemingly been divided. Still my thought remains boy. Is it a feeling? Not necessarily. Especially since Michael and Eli have held steadfast with team purple this entire time. 

Even as I laid down to sleep, Baby Wright was ever so softly tapping on me from the inside. I placed my hand on my stomach. 

Hello Lovey. I love you so much. Tomorrow night when I lay down to sleep I will be able to call you son or daughter. For now, this one last night I rest knowing only God Himself knows. He has known you from the very beginning of time, even before you came to be. He's had His hand on you, fashioning and forming you in the secret place where only He could see. He's been lovingly shaping you, planning your days, as I simply dream of you and the day we will finally meet face to face. He and He alone has already laid eyes on you as He's knit you together in my womb. Only He knows, and the truth is, no matter what is revealed it won't matter...because you will still be mine and your daddy's, sibling to Eli and our precious gift from God. I love you, but I hope that isn't a secret. I tell you all the time. I am so excited for what will be revealed but I'm even more excited with what I already know: I am your mommy. You may already know my voice. And we are preparing for you whether that means purple or blue, girl or boy. You are ours, hand-crafted by God and places in my womb to forever be a part of our Family. 

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

Thursday, June 11, 2015

He Loves Us

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane
I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory 
And I realize just how beautiful You are 
And how great Your affection is for me 

Oh, how He loves us so

was simply brought to tears as we sang this song in choir last night. I have heard it before but all of a sudden the words were sinking in. There I sat as the music played, my voice lifted in unison with the rest of the choir, and I could feel what felt like a little fish flopping around inside me. My little sweet potato, at least that's how big the baby is this week, and he/she had been moving around all day. It was one of the first days I was fully aware of constant movement and now as the words of this song resonated with how great His affection is for me, I couldn't help but be overcome with emotion. Just thinking about the ways He loves us and the very obvious ways He reveals His love and Himself to ust overwhelms me. 

I came home with the song still playing in my head and wasn't even aware I was still singing it out loud when all of a sudden Eli asked me, "Who is jealous?" It caught me off guard and then I realized he was listening to my song. I tried to find a way to explain what I had been singing. 

"God is jealous for us - He doesn't want anything in our lives to take our attention or love away from Him." 

He seemed satisfied with that answer but I could see on his face he was still processing the idea.

"Mama, what about my Legos? Would God be jealous of those?" He had an entire Lego city in his hands. It seemed only fitting he would wonder about this. 

"Yes. He would be jealous if those Legos were more important to you than He is." 

Now he was understanding. The precious colored blocks he takes everywhere, he incessantly plays with all day long, the creations he won't even part with at bed time, even these inanimate objects could be "the thing" that diverts attention from our Heavenly Father. 

I could tell he was conflicted. He loves those Legos so much. So I offered further explanation. 

"You know how much mommy loves you? I love you almost more than anything...but I love God even more. But you know something? He loves me, and you, even more than we could ever love anything in this whole world." 

"Does God want to have my Legos?" The pained look on his face revealed it was certainly something he hoped wouldn't be true. 

"No, bud, God doesn't want you to give up your Legos. But He does want to make sure you always put Him first." 

I couldn't help but think about what "Legos" exist in my own life. What am I so enamored with, what can't I live without, what is it that captures my attention and affection, even taking the rightful place of Almighty God? Certainly when I stop and realize how great His love is for me, does it not cause everything and everyone else to pale in comparison? Even as I feel this little one moving inside me I know full well I am but a steward of the children God chooses to bless me with. When I stop and realize just how much control I don't have over all the little things I attempt to cling to and hold onto, it causes me to understand the magnitude of His sovereignty and how He is at work in my life. When I'm in the middle of affliction or trial, it is easy to be consumed with the storms blowing around me. But if I would truly stop and see Him for who He is and how He is at work in my life then I would get to glimpse His power and glory. 

Oh how He loves us so. So very much. So much more than we can comprehend. So far beyond what words can express. So infinite. So perfect. When I truly let this sink in, there's nothing I should hold onto so tightly that it causes me to lose my grip on Him and His love. 

He Loves Us