Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Had a Son Named Elisha

Ten years ago today, a 10 month old little boy was placed in my arms.

We named him Elisha.

He was a special needs baby who desperately needed a loving home. He was cross-eyed and had kidney failure. He couldn't turn over or hold his head up. But instantly, I was his mom. For the first time in my adoptive mothering I held him next to my bare chest and attempted to nurse him. I envisioned taking him to therapy, as I had done with some of my other lambs. I knew from experience love could conquer so much and his life would never be the same. His smile lit up his face. He had cute little dimples. His new family did nothing but dote on him from the time we brought him home from South Florida.

But our life was never the same.

On the third day of becoming his family, we received a dreaded phone call. Our attorney called to let us know that his birth mother called and changed her mind. (Florida Law states that if a baby is over 6 months old, she has 3 days to change her decision.)

My world crashed down around me. I held my dear Elisha all night and wept, not understanding why. Some dear friends took our older three children the next day and I said goodbye to my precious son, whom I had already born from my heart. My dear love took him and his possessions and met our attorney at the train station to hand him over to the woman who bore him. Mr. Cartwright had the perspective that I wish I could have had. As he handed my sweet Elisha to her, he spoke to her kindly and compassionately. He told her that there is Someone Who knows her pain. Someone Who gave up His only Son to death.

For Her. For Elisha. For the world.

And then proceeded to give her the Gospel message.

Days passed. The tears were fewer. Until 2 weeks later.

I received a telephone call from a detective. The words pierced my soul. My hands were shaking. "I am calling in reference to the death of an infant that has previously been in your care." WHAT!!!???!

Yes, Elisha was dead. Stories did not add up and there was an investigation of possible foul play. Pain ripped through my heart. The ending and outcome of this part of our story is still unknown. I never heard back as to what occurred.

On the other hand, I became angry. No, not a soul knew, but my own. I wrestled and wrestled. God was patient. I learned so much through this difficult time.

There are times in our lives when there are no answers. There is no understanding as to why. But one thing I learned is God is still to be trusted. Elisha is in a much better place than he would have been for the rest of his young days. I don't know why God chose to take him home. Even if someone else made the human decision to end his life, God still was sovereign over it.

Today as decisions need to be made concerning other things in my life, I can still trust my Creator.  I know pain seems so strong. But God's grace and love is stronger.

Who knows? Maybe the woman who carried Elisha and gave birth came to know my Savior through all of this. Though we will never know, GOD IS TRUSTWORTHY!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Wordless

Lately, I have had few words for this blog. I have had few words for my conversations with my Lord. I have had few words to share with others.

But, yesterday I had a play date with a new friend. Our kids played while we talked. Something that doesn't happen all too often. Just adult convo. She poured out her heart and cried tears and I looked over to my memorial wall. I told her the brief but detailed story of our last 6 years. Some of those memories make my stomach hurt and my throat close up.

But as I continued to relay our life story, I REMEMBERED!

I remembered all the amazing "coincidences" that occurred. I remembered all the mercy. I remembered the grace gifts to my boy-man. I REMEMBERED!

And I needed to.

I so often forget and need a nudge to jog this memory. 

Thank you sweet friend.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Warrior's Faith - A Book Review

God's sovereignty on display.

That would describe the latest book I read. Robert Vera, author of A Warrior's Faith, describes the life events of a Navy SEAL, Ryan Job.  It's a memoir of a friendship that came to be through a series of tragedies in Ryan's young life. 

Many times when you read a biography about someone's life, it is merely that. This book is not. You live beside Ryan Job as he fights in Afghanistan and is severely wounded. You follow him as he perseveres through blindness. And you see him get stronger. But one other thing you see is an endearing friendship that grew each day. Ryan and Robert become that "friend that sticks closer than a brother."

One strong thread that is entwined in this story is the journey of the author himself. I love reading stories of others that cause one to remember. The ways and will of God are seen so clearly. Though not all producing the outcome we as humans would want, nevertheless, we see God's grace, mercy and moving hand. His providence is a key factor as well.

Ryan Job was a man, a fallen man, yet a man willing to be used by God in many other's lives. Robert Vera, is a man, a fallen man, on a journey of redemption, forgiveness, and seeing God for Who He is.

And because, all we as humans, share in suffering, this book will encourage you no matter what station on the road of life you find yourself. Truly, a MUST read!

I received a free copy of this book as part of the booklook blogging network.

Friday, March 6, 2015

An Anniversary and 2 Birthdays All Rolled Into One

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Cartwright and I sneaked away for a long, much overdue, one on one time. We spent 8 days away. All to ourselves. It was fantabulous! Our destination was Savannah, Georgia. Did I say we were all alone? Life issues, heavy burdens and distractions were put behind us for a time and we were able to focus on each other. It was so wonderful. Something we had never done in 20 years of marriage. Did I say we were all alone?

Savannah is a beautiful city; one of many historical sites. We love history and it definitely was the place for us. The downtown historic district is the largest in the United States. It is a 2 mile by 2 mile square of beauty and wonder. Most of the buildings and structures are the originals from the 1700's and 1800's. There were many sites from battles fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

This is the oldest African Baptist Church in the United States. The first all slave church.



The following pictures are all historical landmarks, though some are museums, some are residences and some are businesses.














The hubby and I took one day to endulge his love of golf. He played 18 holes while I drove him to each hole, crocheted a bit and took in the beautiful scenery.




On Saturday, February 14th, we drove 45 minutes to Hilton Head, South Carolina. It was a beautiful drive and we enjoyed more historical sites.



We couldn't resist seeing the Atlantic Ocean.



We sat on a bench behind the following picture and had to take a snapshot to show our little dog lover.


This silly poodle just watched everybody go by. It was so funny.


We then visited Mitchellville, the first town exclusively for freed slaves.




Where this marsh lays was the place of a very important battle in the Civil War.
The people of Mitchellville helped fight against the confederates with the Union Army.











This is the site of Fort Mitchell.




We then had a beautiful Valentine's Day Dinner at Nick's Steak and Seafood. It was precious. We were the youngest couple there. It was beautiful to see the older love birds doting on each other.


We are so thankful we were able to get away from life. It hit us straight on when we got back to the Ponderosa. We are thanking Jesus for the much needed renewal.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Overwhelming Fear and Grief...But God

If you are feeling as I am today. Fearful. Shaky. Angry. Anxious. Distant from God.

Then please listen to this.

God knew I needed it.

Now my bottle of tears is overflowing again. But God actually knows how many I've cried.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Unveiled Wife - a book review

When I chose this book to be my next read I had not idea how it would profoundly speak to me. As I write my thoughts today, I intend to be straight-forward, yet tactful.

 Jennifer Smith writes The Unveiled Wife with true courage. She tells her journey through tears and fears, but what I appreciate most of all, is her courage to call sin what it is. There is truth to pain and hurt, but how we respond to those things will dictate whether we truly are living for God's glory or just living through the pain. Mrs. Smith's initial love story of how she met her husband and their love for the Lord was beautiful, but it became ugly pretty quickly. In one or two words, I would say idolatry and expectations were what I sensed right away. Probably because I have struggled with those things myself.

She delves right in to their wedding, honeymoon and thereafter, expressing candidly the struggles they had in their intimacy. Physical and real struggles that seem to have no answer. As she describes these times, I think most women can relate...maybe not to the physical pain but to the wedges, no matter how different they are, that are put up between a man and his wife. Jennifer helps the reader to see that these walls are sin and how coming to the cross and understanding the importance of intimacy with the Savior are linked hand in hand.

Every women should pick up this book and read it. Personally I have read the practical books on the journey for a man and a woman after marriage, but to hear this beautiful story and how God used all of it, even the ugliness for growth and change. To be more like Christ.

That's my review on the book, but I would like to add a bit more personally.

To put it bluntly, men and women are very different in their sex drives.  I feel that women need a firm talking to about loving their husbands in this important way. Saying yes, as much as possible. Now, I understand there are times when it is not possible, or even times when the husband is abusive or there are sin issues that need to be confessed and dealt with. But, I am amazed at how infrequently many Christian women love their husbands in this way. With all of the temptations around our guys in this culture, let's lavish them with our love and bodies. And above all else remember this:

1 Corinthians 7:5 "Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

Saturday, February 21, 2015

RISE!... A Book Review

A few years ago, we were introduced to Christian Rap Music. I would never have admitted I liked that genre of music, but after hearing the words of artists such as Shai Linne, Ambassador, Trip Lee, Tedashi, etc, I was taken. Much of what they write is Theology set to beat.

Recently, Trip Lee has written a book that will revolutionize your spiritual life if you take to heart all he says. Rise is written to speak especially to the younger generation about all they encounter in the culture around them and how to fight for God's glory in their lives. Trip Lee speaks from his heart and this book is written as if he is sitting down on the couch in your living room and giving a pep talk to your family.

From sex to music to social media, Mr. Lee takes on these issues with great tact and exposes the lies that most of our young people face. This spoke to me as well. He doesn't come out and give standards of obedience or a "do not do" list. He speaks from God's Word and truth about time management, priorities and wisdom.

More than anything, He encourages the reader to develop a relationship with his Creator in order to combat the lies of the world, our flesh and Satan.

This is a must read for our teens and young people, as well as anyone who wants to be challenged in their thinking.

As a part of the Booksneeze blogging network, I received a free copy of this book.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mother: The Definition

(This an extremely honest post of my journaling through this difficult path. For eighteen years I have lifted up and praised the gift givers of my four precious lambs. I will continue to do so. But for today I lay my bare heart open.)

Two mothers means lots of questions and many mixed emotions.

My boy-man is caught up in these emotions.

And so am I.

I keep asking myself, "What makes a mother? A mom? A mommy?"

Giving birth is one aspect but essentially a small part. Eighteen years of being present. Changing diapers. Wiping noses. Mingling tears. Holding hands through the good and hard times. Hearing sweet words whispered in one's ear. Whispering "I love you too". Being there through the difficult, painful years of torn identity. 

Now before some of you misunderstand what I am saying, please let me explain. I have NO idea the immense pain one feels when giving birth then placing that bundle in someone else's arms. I can't even imagine being able to have the strength to do so. 

But I want to speak my heart today. Can one just expect to come back years later and talk about "being mom" and her "child" coming "home"?

These questions are on the tip of my heart all day. Every day.

And there may never be answers.

So as my wise pastor reminded me this week, "You have the opportunity to show forth the second greatest picture of the Gospel. The adoption of God's children. He reached down to save wretched sinners and adopt us not by anything we have done. ONLY BY UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!"

That's the kicker; the hardest thing in life, by far. To keep loving when rejected. 

In reality all the above issues come down to a heart issue. If Christ is central, others would be next. If Christ is Lord in the lives of everyone involved then there would be the ability to have positive resolutions. 

So today I pray for the hearts of those involved. That Christ would be Lord and Master.

I am confident Hoss will at some point truly remember who his "mother" is but until then I look to the cross.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Another Special Trip

As I write this, my precious gift of 18 years ago, is flying hundreds of miles to meet the gift giver. 

I met this gift giver at the same airport that my boy-man flew out of this morning just a short 18 years ago. This beautiful bundle was placed in my arms and the mommy-love flowed immediately. 

And has never stopped. 

And is even more strong. 

This love raised this gift. This love has shed millions of tears over the anguish of adoption. This love desires to understand the pain of my boy. This love has led to this day. Love is honest. So a piece of my heart is in the air as I write this.

I never knew such joy could mingle with such pain. I guess it's like birth. Birthing a piece of me from my heart. 

I am truly grateful and happy my SON will get answers to the pain he has felt for so many years, yet my heart cries out in fear of loss. 

So each breath I take today and tomorrow and the next day will look to my Savior and His Word to remind me of His truth. I will fight through the lies and I will strive to be thankful.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Miracle On Voodoo Mountain - Book Review

Courage. Faith. Determination. How does one twenty-something young woman defy the odds and move to a foreign country to be a rescuer?

Megan Boudreaux is this woman. She has written down this journey in an autobiography titled, Miracle on Voodoo Mountain. Megan grew up like thousands of American children. Good home. Education. Religion. But God got a hold of her heart and set her apart for a specific purpose. To rescue the children slaves in Haiti. 

Her story is one that inspires the reader to desire to be used. Instead of reading her memoir and saying,"That would never happen to me," one can easily see being used in some way in other's lives. 

What holds Megan together in the midst of corruption, loss, pain, disease, loneliness, and unanswered dreams is her faith in Jesus Christ. God miraculously answers her prayers and shows Himself faithful continually. She faces the most horrible forms of evil and the powers of the enemy. She gives God the glory through it all.

Megan has become one of my heroes of the faith.