Friday, May 22, 2015

This Isn't About Sin

This isn't about sin. It's not about forgiveness. It's not about grace. It's not even about innocence or guilt. It's not about what I've heard or what's been reported. It's not about the version of truth you choose to believe, because, let's be honest, how much can you really trust the multiple versions in the media? It's not about who you know that's been affected by something similar. I know them too. I just don't know anything other than varying degrees of reports that seem to make assumptions and cast judgments on something that we simply can't know the full details. Quite frankly it's about the simple fact that who am I to judge? 

certainly am thankful my sins and my family aren't being cast into the media and portrayed for all to see and judge. Heaven help me if that were the case. I deserve punishment. I deserve judgment. I deserve the repercussions of my sins. I've received overwhelming mercy and undeserved favor and gracious redemption. I've begged God and family and others for forgiveness. I've pleaded for privacy and been gripped with fear over the thought of my sins being revealed. The very plastering of my life across social media, news feeds and media outlets would be nothing short of horrifying. Don't get me wrong - I would deserve it all. And I'm also well aware of the judgment, mostly from those who guessed or assumed without knowing all the facts. My sin is different than his, yours, but my sin is not beyond redemption and neither is anyone else's. 

I hear you with the legal obligation to be held responsible. I understand the level in which our legal system treats crime and the punishment that follows. God's forgiveness does not negate man's laws. I hear you talk about the forgotten innocent victims. I cannot know anymore about these victims, their perspectives, their counseling and recovery than I can know about what truly happened. The only thing I can do is pray. Pray for the victims involved who are now having to relive a painful part of their past, for the haunting memories only they can know details of. Pray for the family reeling from backlash and the falling out of a very private and personal family matter. Pray for the accused and the slandering barrage of judgment and the ensuing repercussions that are yet to be fully known. Pray for God's mercy and grace to be seen and understood, especially to those who cannot comprehend who He is. Pray. That somehow we would stop the critical judgment and mud slinging and quit making this a divisive issue of Christianity at its worst. God help us. 

I don't want you to think that because of my own faith in God that I believe there should be no consequences. Or that just because God forgives it should all be forgotten. People are affected by sin. Too often innocent lives are involved without their knowledge or consent. Sin hurts. None of it is pretty. But what I do cling to because of my faith is the knowledge that God's forgiveness is for all. His sacrifice of His Son covers ALL sins. Every single one. His forgiveness does not excuse us from the fallout that may still come, or the consequences we may face but He is ultimately a redeeming God. What does that mean? It means He is the God of a second, a third, a fiftieth chance, and oh how grateful I am for this! 

I'm not trying to divide sides, quite the opposite. You've heard me say it before: this blog is my own. These opinions are purely mine and I'm not asking you to agree. I am praying you will somehow see that being a Christian does not make sin excusable, but it is never unforgiveable. In this broken fallen world, good people make bad choices and fall victim to sometimes the unthinkable. Wholesome lives fall apart and while the fallout may require us to answer to man's laws and consequences here on earth, thank God we have a Heavenly Father who can pick up the pieces of our broken lives and shattered reputations. Whatever your opinion, you're entitled. All I ask is that you see God for who He is, not man for who we can sometimes disappointingly be. An all-knowing God who sorts out the unknown and confusion. A Sovereign God who sees and knows all, even when we act outside of His perfect will. A Healer to the broken lives and the hurting. An Almighty God who loves us in spite of ourselves and our sin. A Redeemer who rescues us in our time of deepest need. This is about God. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Always Good

"You look pregnant!" my husband exclaimed. I laughed and thanked him. It's a compliment these days. I feel I've successfully escaped the awkward "has she gained weight/is she pregnant?" guessing stage. Every week is a momentous milestone we stop and give thanks for. I count each day as a blessing.

Today is May 20. It's a beautiful, warm sunny day. On this day I'm mindful of the original due date I was given back in the fall when we first learned we were expecting. It's not a day full of sadness, although I'm very well aware that it could be. Circumstances have obviously changed and what I'm more aware of is how my own plan isn't necessarily God's plan. And that's okay. I can't be quite certain as to why and I certainly don't have all the answers. I can't even grasp His calendar or the infinite time table He has and how (or when) He chooses to work. I simply trust in His sovereignty and His promise to work ALL things for my good. Don't just skip over that.

All things for our good. It's one of those biblical truths we have become so familiar with we nearly gloss over it. Yet it should be running through our marrow. It should be the anthem we cry out in times of seeking and longing. It should be the truth we cling to in our time of desperation, holding firmly that He is at work.

I fully believe it becomes easier for me to trust this promise when I sense the changes of this new life inside me. Were I not pregnant right now would I still be able to proclaim His goodness? Yes, I have to say yes. Because God is good. All the time. The circumstance may not be ideal, it may not be what I expected, or maybe even what I hoped and prayed for, but no matter what the situation or even the outcome, the goodness of Almighty God never changes. He does not waiver. He does not falter. He does not fail. My flesh and my heart my fail, but He is my strength, my portion.

We hold fast that life begins at conception. As the Master and Creator of the Universe, He's now fashioning and forming this precious one inside me. I've heard the heartbeat (quite regularly thanks to the fetal doppler monitor we have at home - it's one of Eli's most favorite things). I've not felt this child move inside me, yet, but I've read the updates telling me this little one is actively squirming and moving about. There is also a soul in heaven. A life cut short, before it really began. One called home to eternity before ever realizing an earthly home. The one I didn't hold but who forever holds a piece of my heart. I had no idea I could love someone I never met and yet I feel another part of my heart grow more each day even as my waistline continues to expand. I'm mindful of God's plan - one I could have never known or guessed for myself. Yet, one that has drawn me close to Him in surrender and trust.

The lesson for me is remembering God's goodness. His sovereign and perfect plan no matter how I feel, no matter what disappointment I've faced, no matter what I may not understand. He is good. Always. He works all things for my good according to His plan, not mine. Always. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Titles

This is one of my most favorite weekends of the entire year! Oh yes, there's always a fun countdown to my February Birthday and it goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoy all the festivities of the Christmas season. But I cannot deny my love for what has become such a sacred and blessed weekend to me.

Tomorrow is Elijah's 7th birthday and Sunday is Mother's Day. It always falls on or around the holiday that he gave me the most treasured gift of all, becoming a mother. This year his birthday falls on the day that is known as Birthmother's Day. I would be remiss not to give thanks to his birthmom for the gift of life and this gift of love she's given. I tend to get sentimental as I recall how many previous Mother's Days I wasn't able to celebrate. I remember vividly the journey that led to his adoption. I wear the title of mother along with the memories and altars I've built to never forget the many different emotions and experiences that brought me here.

This month of May is a treasure for so many reasons. Originally I thought we'd be welcoming another baby into our family this month so I cannot forget to mention our angel that never made it to this earth. And yet I'm also well aware of the way God works things out for our good even as I see my growing belly that is carrying our miracle.

May is also the month we celebrate Elijah's "Gotcha Day" - the day he was first placed in my arms at just 3 1/2 weeks old. I cannot forget the plaque I bought and hung long before I ever held the title "mother." It simply stated, "However motherhood comes, it's a miracle." There could not be any truer words. I am always sensitive of the ones who are still without that title, still with empty arms, still with burdened hearts full of desires yet to be fulfilled. Hold on, dear one. Hold on. He hasn't left you, nor forsaken you.

It's also a special time for me to be evermore aware of the great presence and strength my own mother has played in my life. She bears many admonishments, wears so many hats, but none could be truer than the well-deserved title she wears. She is the epitome of the biblical example of a godly woman whose children rise up and called her blessed. Truly we do, mom.

It's a time of celebration. It's a time of remembering. It's a time to recall the journeys, the memories, the tears and the faithfulness of God in ALL things. I wear the title of mom, adoptive mom, expecting mom, daughter and wife, among others. This isn't about labels - it's about the moments in life that bear meaning and the titles attached to them to serve as reminders of the blessedness of Almighty God at work. Whatever titles you wear, your life bears witness. You represent a masterpiece of divine creation.

I bear witness of His perfect plan at work in my life even when I didn't understand, calling me to become a mother, blessing me with my boy and giving us the miracle of this child that I now carry. The most blessed title I could ever bear is simply being called His.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

When Tragedy Strikes

It's not that I'm trying to forget. It's simply that this doesn't define me. At least not now in my present state. For awhile it became a joke. "Oh, I don't have (fill in the blank) because it got burned up in the fire." How could that ever be a joke, you might wonder, but at times you learn to find humor in the things that may be most tragic. Otherwise you may crumble. 

The reality is four years ago today a house fire destroyed a home and all its contents. In many ways I had already detached myself for more than a year from what had previously been my home. 

Oh yes, there are still memories from that house. The place where my knees wore a spot in the carpet pressed down in prayer daily as I wept tears pleading with the Lord. So many desires of my heart. So many moments just Him and me. 

It housed the room that would become a nursery, themed with Noah's ark representing the faithfulness of God. There was a hallway where my son took his first steps. I find the memories seem to be attached to special moments and people rather than a structure and an address. 

I couldn't see at the time in the midst of the ashes and mess how this would all work out, but I have said it before and will continue to make it publicly known that God does work everything - every single thing - for our good. The tragedy I was in was mich bigger than a house fire, and even that, even the heartache and heart break He saw fit to redeem and restore. 

I know someone right now trying to pick up the pieces of their lives after their own house fire. I know someone else struggling to know if their marriage will even survive. I know another fighting and clawing for every single ounce of hope in what seems like a desperate situation. I know what it's like to walk through tragedy. I also know what it's like to live with uncertainty, fear and anxiety. I also know what it's like to experience the mighty and sovereign hand of God working and holding you in the midst of your tragedy. I am living proof. You've seen it and read it and watched my story unfold. This blog was born out of that very fire four years ago for the sole purpose of proclaiming the goodness of a redemptive God. 

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5

Sunday, April 26, 2015

12 Week Update



By the end of this week, I will enter my second trimester. Every single day I praise and thank God for the miracle He's creating. 12 weeks is the typical time when people make their pregnancy announcements. Obviously we haven't followed the general "standard" and neither time do I have any regrets. The outpouring of love and prayers surrounding our family and this baby are too many to overlook and I'm thankful for each one praying for us and Baby Wright.

So here's a little update, in case you were wondering:

12 weeks today, Sunday, April 26. Due (on or around) November 8.

We've had 3 early ultra sounds, one at 6.3 weeks, one at 9.2 weeks, and one at 10.3 weeks. Each one showed baby measuring right on time with a strong heartbeat between 150 and 165. 

Our next ultra sound will be sometime in June (around 20-22 weeks) and yes we WILL be finding out the gender. 

According to the pregnancy apps Baby Wright is now the size of a lime and will reach the size of a plum or apricot by the end of this week (Michael thinks it's hilarious that it always compares to a fruit). In case you need a more specific measurement, about 2.5-3". The most amazing thing is how the apps report a fully formed human-like baby with reflexes and perfectly formed fingers and toes. The astounding miracle of God and His creation is mind blowing. 

As for my size, I've gained 4 lbs and if you saw my earlier Facebook post you'll know the bump I'm sporting is mostly from eating my weight in chips & salsa at La Carreta. Make no mistake, it IS happening. I cannot wear my regular pants, at least without a little rubber band engineering (I also had to convince Michael I didn't just come up with this age-old trick on my own). 

I'm starting to experience less nausea, at least not all day long, but have had to learn the hard way that just because I feel like I have an appetite doesn't mean I can handle a full meal. The changes that happen to the body during pregnancy are also mind blowing. You may have also seen posted that so far I've had two pregnancy cravings: one isolated night when my dear husband went for ice cream at 9:30 at night and the other when I consumed Jersey Mikes four times in a week. 

Eli continues to ask for one of each gender. We have confirmed - 3 times - there's only one! This week he's most recently asked for a brother, although that is going to require a lot of compromise because Michael's boy name contributions are, well, too horrendous to even mention!! 

I promise this blog won't be taken over by all pregnancy updates and baby announcements but for now we appreciate you reading and mostly you praying as we continue to count every day as a blessing. 






Thursday, April 16, 2015

Our Miracle



Even as I lay here I am so nauseated that I can't stand up. Nor could I enjoy any part of the celebratory birthday dinner for my husband tonight. Yet I've never seen anything more beautiful. There's a little white mark that looks as if it might be protruding from its eye. That is my precious baby's little hand that was just waving back and forth as if knowing we were watching. Yes, there were tears. And quite truthfully there was an amazing sense of peace. 

I've struggled with anxiousness and worry and fear. Totally normal after a loss, I suppose, but convincing myself that this wasn't the same story and God is sovereignly in control has often eluded my overwhelming anxiety. The thing is it's all out of my hands and if you've ever read my blog before you know I openly admit my struggle with control. So what does that leave me with? Simply put, trust and faith. If I've learned anything these past weeks it's truly to cherish each moment. Each nauseous moment. Each exhausted moment. Each sign of life. I've witnessed first hand how quickly life can change and I've also seen how the only thing that can get us through any amount of tragedy and heartache is faith in an Almighty God. Gratitude all the time. In all things. No matter what.

And even as I post this photo I know full well the pain it may bring to someone's heart. I've felt that pain. The unfulfilled longing of empty arms, the heart wrenching conflict of trying to find joy for the miracle we're experiencing while experiencing the sting of praying for your own. Please know I don't want this image to hurt you in any way, but rather be a symbol of hope in a God who hears and answers prayer. 

You've watched my journey unfold through the posts of this forth telling blog. If you've missed any of it, let me suffice to say this: My God is good all the time, in all things. He is the Redeemer of despair and the Healer of brokenness. He is Creator and Master over each and every detail of our lives, even when it doesn't make sense. 

I am rejoicing. I am giving Him praise. He alone deserves the glory. He alone has proven His miraculous wonders, even when He moves in ways we cannot understand. He is the Giver of life, but it is up to us to choose how we will spend our breath. Let me live that I may praise You! 

Give Thanks!


Natalie shared this photo this morning. The meaning is so true. No matter what, God is good.

We claimed it. In faith we prayed. We asked God specifically for a miracle. For complete healing and restoration. What has unfolded has been the direct answer to prayer - watching God miraculously work and be Jay's ultimate Healer. We give thanks and praise to Him for His mighty works!!!

Jay's surgery went much quicker than expected - less than 2 hours when they were predicting 3-6 hours long. Jay has begun the long road to recovery. As his family continues to hold, this is a marathon, not a sprint. But already signs of life, of his personality and of the Jay they knew before that fateful Easter night are already being seen. Jay even told his surgeon "Thanks for fixing me." He's making great progress and his family is confident that God has been protecting him and holding him this entire time. 

Thank you for praying. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for asking and trusting God for a miracle. His family is feeling your prayers. His doctors and nurses are too. I couldn't overlook the opportunity to give thanks for the favor that God has truly granted for this precious family. 

On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:10b-11

#StayStrongJay