Letting People Come and Go

Letting People Come and Go

I find that change takes a big toll on me whether I know it or not, especially with goodbyes. Even when I mentally know it is a for-the-better kind of goodbye, internally, I can get all out of sorts. Such has been the case as we have been transitioning little Rell out of our home. In a few weeks, he will be reunited with his family, and while I KNOW that him going back to his family is best, even as I sit here and write about it, I can feel little alarms going off inside that are crying out to hold on as tight as I can—the war between my mind and heart is real and rumbles constantly regarding his soon departure.

I didn’t know it would be so hard for me to let go. I also didn’t know it would be so hard for my kids to let go as well. 

I started telling my oldest son a couple weeks ago that Rell would be going back to his home. At first, he didn’t say much and only asked a few questions.

“Will we see him again? Is he leaving forever?”

 “Well, I hope we can still see him from time to time. But yes, he will be living with his family forever.” Then after a long pause and with the most convincing smile I could manage, “Isn’t that great?!” 

Seeing my unexpected enthusiasm, he searched my eyes to look for the traces of sadness and hurt he suspected were there. How did he know? Maybe it’s because he is the child who grew in my womb just inches away from my beating heart, and he knows it too well. Whether beating or bleeding, he knows it, and in this moment, it was bleeding.

 Nonetheless, because I was determined to only be happy about this situation, he let it go and accepted my pretense while forcing a smile of his own. He said he was happy because he could play with all his toys again and have his bed back. “Hooray,” he said under his breath. 

But then a week went by, and it didn’t take long for me to see there was a war going on inside of my son as well. At first, I noticed little things like a little more bickering between the two. Soon bickering turned to insult which turned to what felt like a fierce cold war. And it was entirely one-sided coming from my son’s end. What was going on? For months, I saw no such hostility from any of my children toward Rell, but now it was all coming out full force.

Then I realized—my son is trying to disconnect. He knows his “brother” is leaving, and it’s hard for him too. 

Because each of us in our own unique ways has been going through this same process and acting in ways we don’t mean to act. While on the outside, we all wildly celebrate the victory for Rell’s family, we also grieve the loss of a child we have come to accept as part of our own and don’t know what to do with ourselves. Will he even remember us?? And all the while, our hearts have been alerted to defend themselves at all costs and to detach from this one we’ve all come to deeply love. 

I, for one, found myself feeling jealous, insecure, sad, unsure, and scared. Sure, I praised God for the good news, but I was also jealous of his family who would get to enjoy seeing the rest of his life, insecure that he’d forget all about us, sad that I may not have done my best for him, unsure what life would be like when he’s gone, and scared I would never be able to open myself up to another child again. What’s worse was that all of this quickly translated into irritability, impatience, and an overall grouchiness that I could not shake off. I wished I could return the boy without a second thought, like a robot, but that was obviously not possible—I was so human it hurt. 

I, too, was disconnecting. 

But once I realized what was happening and that poor Rell was getting the brunt of my selfish defenses, I stopped myself. One day after seeing how cold I had been, I held him close and told him, “I’m so sorry. I’m not mad at you… I promise. But I’m going to miss you a lot.” He didn’t know why I was apologizing, but being the compassionate boy he is, he gently responded, “I miss you too momma…love you,” and hugged me tight before running off to play. 
He has no idea, really, what is going on inside me, but without knowing it, he is also teaching me a great deal about saying goodbye.   

For the last five+ months, Rell has taken in another whole family into his heart and has traveled back and forth between us and his biological family every few weeks. In the times he has been at our home, he has FULLY been with us and has given us his all, loving us and allowing us to love him in return. He calls us umma and appa (mom and dad in Korean) and knows he has a place in our arms anytime he wants. Yet at the same time, it was always evident how much he still loved his family back at home whom he said goodbye to for the week. By the way he always talked about them,  we knew for certain they were always in his heart even when with us.

What was surprising, however, was that whenever he went back to his family for a weekend visit, he would cheerfully say goodbye to us and go back to his family, only to do the same thing to there. He would love being with them so much, but we were also always told that he talked about us constantly with such endearment. They said they could tell he loved us so much, just like family. 

The fact was, whether here or there, his heart had grown big enough to hold us all.

And that is what I learned we could do as well.

Now that the time is nearing for Rell to go home permanently, I have desperately been trying to wrap my mind around this concept of goodbye. Except now, I no longer mourn a loss, but I take great comfort in this supernatural God-given ability I have witnessed in Rell for our hearts to expand and forever carry the people who come into our lives, no matter where they may go. I can cheerfully say goodbye, just as he always has, and bless him or anyone else on their journey onward, knowing we will not be left with a void but with a special place in our hearts permanently filled with the memories and blessings that were brought through their very real presence in our lives. And there are so many. 

So with gladness, I have learned to say goodbye. Goodbye to this little boy, goodbye to many who have left us before, and goodbye to the many who will come hereafter. It has been our greatest joy to have had Rell and so many other amazing people come and go in our lives, and I can now say that it was all well worth it and that I also hope it never stops. Our family will open our hearts wide and welcome in anyone as family every time—sometimes for a day and sometimes for a month but always for a lifetime.

I bless you and your family Rell. I will never forget you, and I thank you for all the memories and lessons you have taught me. Umma loves you so much and there will always be a place for you in our hearts and in our home. Please be well. Kisses and hugs.

I Let Myself Go

I Let Myself Go

Sometimes… I forget to brush my teeth in the morning. I wear baggy tees and sweats more than I do anything else. If I’m lucky, I can slap on a pair of jeans and my kids wonder if I’m going somewhere special. Showers are a luxury and so is brushing my hair. In fact, my hairbrush is now used more for the brushing of synthetic hairs on dolls rather than my own. At least it is being put to use.

So, yes, I guess you can say I’ve let myself go, and while I used to once dread the possibility of such a thing, it is a decision I now choose to make and accept everyday–to let go.

This unraveling of my former self and surrendering of control has been driven by the unseen yet overwhelming force of little ones being present in my life and began when I first became a mother. Over the years, I have surrendered a clean house, an up-to-date wardrobe, peaceful mealtimes, nights of uninterrupted sleep, and even close relationships, at least the way I once knew them. All this and more I have let go of since this “force” has come and swept through my life like some kind of natural disaster that keeps pummeling through over and over again in all of its glorious chaos.

It is definitely painful and disorderly at times, but unlike a true natural disaster which only causes devastation, this force that comes with motherhood brings life.

A wild and unkempt state of affairs is the new normal and something I now embrace because it is simply the residue of the little lives (lives that I love) that are simply living and being and making their way into this world. The force that comes along with such magnificent life and beauty cannot be helped.

Now everyday I stand in front of a mirror while staring at my somewhat disheveled reflection that is always blurred behind some kind of smear or smudge or tiny fingerprint, and I smile. I smile because I have accepted all that I see before me and I also smile because I remember so vividly that warm July day when this force first took over my life and first challenged me to let go. 

It was a little less than six years ago in a small hospital delivery room, just hours before my first child was born. There, I experienced for the first time an unspeakable force I never could have even imagined. It was the start of labor.

Once labor began, I could feel these waves of intense pangs that rhythmically came and went inside me. As each one passed, they gradually grew bigger and bigger, longer and stronger. They swept over my entire body every few minutes like huge waves crashing over and inside me and then ebbed away only to come back again and again.

One wave of contraction was so powerful that I was literally knocked off my feet but thankfully caught by the bed beside me. Then on the force went.

On and on for hours I endured this untamable force of life trying to make its way into the world and all I could do was hold on for dear life. For even then as just a little fetus, the force this child came with felt greater than any known natural phenomenon. Hurricanes, tsunamis, typhoons, and the like–they all paled in comparison to what rumbled within me. Right then and there, I knew I was in for a ride and my life would never be the same again.

And with every wave that continued to come in those gruelling 36 hours, my instinct was to grab onto anything I could–a pillow, a hand, my body, my life, anything to save me from the debilitating force that took over me. Yet every time I clenched my fists, my eyes, and my jaws to brace myself for each new wave, the pain only increased and I would hear a whisper beside me that reminded me, “let go…”

These words came from the kindest, most gentle human being on the face of the planet who also happened to be my doula, my birth assistant, my angel. This woman stood beside me and my husband every step of the way and whenever I started to fight that great force, she gently reminded me to let go and to let life take its course.

Over time, I heeded her directions and came to a point of true surrender, and that is when things got moving and it all became easier, more bearable, and dare I say even enjoyable. Rather than kicking and screaming through waves crashing over me, I found myself being able to float and ride over even the greatest of waves as I let them come and then gently let them go. When I finally reached the climactic end of this great force, I closed my eyes with one final push and then opened my eyes to see the most beautiful form of life before me. It was life in its purest form.

Now 6 years later, that force is still with me today.

It is the force of 4 pairs of hands pulling at my shirt in 4 different directions, it is the force of 4 little bodies fighting to make space on my lap at once, and it is the force of 4 lungs all screaming or singing or laughing at the same time into my bleeding ear drums both day and night.

And whenever the force of motherhood smacks me down off my feet like it first did in that delivery room and I feel like I’m drowning rather than floating through the process of raising these children, I command myself to open my eyes once again and to gaze at life.

I look into their eyes and at their still small form, and I marvel as much as I can because one of these days I know I will look up one final time and the force will be gone. All of them will be grown and beaming in the fullness of life with everything I have taught them and it will be time for them to go. Then I will have no choice but to let go. They will ebb away and all I will be able to do is HOPE that they ebb back to me from time to time some day.

That moment should feel like light years away since they are all just a few years old now, but it has been on my mind because in  a few months, I will already have to let one go.

The little boy who stormed into our lives this past March and who we have had the joy of hosting will be leaving us. We received news this week that after battling what felt like insurmountable challenges, legalities, setbacks, and obstacles, grace prevailed and the judge made the verdict to give custody back to his biological parent. A second chance has been given and this family will be reunified. It is the very news we have been hoping and praying for and now that it has finally come to pass, the only thing left to do is to prepare ourselves to let go.

There is no doubt a sting of pain that comes with the idea of missing this boy’s presence, cuddles, and laughs as well as becoming a mere blip in his memory. We’ve even attached since day one, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say a part of me wants to hold on.

But even greater still is my desire for his life to flourish and be where he is meant to be. So I will let go and do so with great fondness of the rich time we had together and with great honor of having mothered him through one of the most intense, difficult, and crazy waves of his life. Hand in hand we rode over it together, and now we just pray that this time will end with the birth of a fuller and greater life for this boy’s entire family.

With that, I let go and bask in the joy of mothering the rest of my children and others along the way in order to release them all into the fullness of life. There is no greater joy.

And to all the other mothers who have been experiencing the force and learning to let go everyday, Happy Early Mother’s Day!

No Room for Groceries

No Room for Groceries

I remember walking through the aisles of the grocery store when Micah, my first child, was just a little infant. I struggled to bounce him in the carrier to keep him from fussing and could hardly manage to get through half my grocery list before we were both breaking down. Then every once in awhile, I would pass another mom with 4 or more kids and my eyes would automatically glaze over. I could not imagine ever being in those shoes, shoes that were tattered and frayed at every corner and stained with mud from playing in the backyard yet still the same pair she mindlessly slipped on everyday because there just was no time to pick another pair, much less buy a new one.

Yet today, I was that mom. With my trusted gray and white sneakers which have also gone through its own war, I mustered up the courage to take all 4 kids to the store for the first time. When we pulled in, I snagged the nearest two seater kid cart (thanking God for the person who invented it), and very strategically slid two in behind the play wheels, put one in the main part of the cart, and instructed the older one carefully to walk beside me. My plan was genius. That is, until I looked down and realized… there was no room for the groceries.

Before I had even entered the store, my cart was already full of these little human beings who I took a moment to look at in disbelief….where did they come from and how did I get here? Yes, my cart was completely full of them, my minivan was full of their carseats, my home was full of their toys, and their rooms were filled with mattresses and clothes and stuffed animals and books.

Slightly overwhelmed, I think I could have panicked because there was so much I needed to get. But instead, I took a deep breath and commanded myself to give thanks because there was SO MUCH MORE to be thankful for and not only the children, but the means I have been given to care for each and every one of them.

Especially since our latest addition, I have absolutely MARVELED at the support we have been given since we have taken in this little boy. Although we have the honor of being the ones hosting this child and being in the trenches with him, I am realizing more and more how we are just one small part of the puzzle and how there are SO MANY PEOPLE who are just as vital in caring for this boy and seeing him through. I cannot stress this enough. WE COULD NOT DO THIS ALONE.

And to clear up any confusion, this is not foster care. It is called Safe Families which is a national movement of Christians and churches all around the country who are stepping forward and answering the call to care for at risk children in our community BEFORE they are placed into foster care. Similar to foster care, these children are placed into a host home while their parents are working on getting back on their feet, but the difference is, there is a NETWORK of people all playing different roles to love the child AND their family with the love of Christ. Our family, specifically, is playing the role of temporarily hosting children, but others who are not have come around us in so many different ways playing their own various role.

For example, when the honeymoon period ended for us with our new little guy and the reality of not being with his biological family set in, he acted out in extreme ways. Rightfully so, he was scared and began to go into survival mode, lashing out at all of us aggressively with claws, fangs, and more. It was a trying period and so easily, we became feeble and tired. Then on top of the behavior which we hardly knew how to handle, we had to get clothes for him, prepare food for the entire family, figure out rides, get him situated into a daycare, and pretty much felt like anything we used to do normally had to take the back seat. The question of “could we really do this” set in with dark clouds.

Then our network within Safe Families reached out to us. All of them pretty much strangers whom we hardly knew, I wasn’t sure how much help they could really be, and at the same time, I feared asking for too much help. But I didn’t even have to ask. Very quickly, along with our church and our friends, these “strangers” came around us and began to offer us supports in every way, just like family would. In the same way we invited this boy into our family, they invited us into their family network, and it has been such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ loving each other selflessly.

Now, our home is full of not only the food and clothing and other items they have given us, but with their prayers, their love, and their unconditional encouragement. What’s more is that since we have been given such lavish support and the ability to focus solely on loving this boy, he has been FLOURISHING. Our house has not only regained order, but it has been thriving and has been even fuller with joy than before this all started.

I am humbled to be part of such an amazing movement and sincerely thank all those who are involved. If ANYONE has a heart for these families and children who are at risk of being separated and becoming orphans, there is a role for everyone in Safe Families, and the best part is, Christ is glorified.

Please contact me if you would like to get involved. It’s not just a ministry or a movement…this is real people with real lives who need a real chance. One is sleeping peacefully down the hall from me this very moment and I seriously feel like I am hosting angels in my home, if not Christ Himself. I am overwhelmed.

 

 

Marriage–The Best Kind of Hard

Marriage–The Best Kind of Hard

I Want a Divorce

There was a time this thought visited my mind. I never said it, but I silently wished it. At the time, it seemed like the only answer and the only solution to the deep black hole of a mess we found ourselves in. But it was also a terrifying thought, one that I never imagined I would ever have. I don’t think anyone gets married imagining they might have a divorce one day. No, if you’re walking down that long, beautiful aisle, this marks the happiest moment of your life because you are thrilled you finally found the one, and divorce is really the last thing on your mind.

Yet just as soon as I got married, I immediately came face to face with the grim reality that no marriages are perfect, not in the least. I was shocked to see that divorce was everywhere and even more shocked to find I was one day considering it myself. It had been a tough year full of hurt and misunderstandings and after going around in circles over and over again over the same disappointing, enraging, and heartbreaking events and realizations, I wondered if we had made some horrible mistake.

Then everything inside me wanted out. I wanted to get out of the house, walk out of the marriage, and if it were at all possible, walk straight back to the days of being single and free. I wasn’t just trying to take the easy way out, but I honestly thought it might be better for the both of us.

The way that this thought came so naturally, however, was scary. It was as if it had been waiting at our door just looking for the opportunity to rear its ugly head into our home and present itself as the better alternative. And for a moment, I thought about it.

Thankfully, after a great deal of grace, prayer, counsel, and hard work, I stopped entertaining the idea of divorce in my home. I walked it to the door and after saying goodbye, my husband and I were able to find our footing and trek our way out of the thick of things. We’ve come a long way since then and continue to learn a great deal about marriage even now, but what I’ve learned the most is that marriage is not easy. It is without a doubt hard..really hard, excruciatingly hard, and yet, it is the best kind of hard.

Those moments and days and seasons and years of difficulty can be…difficult.  Dying to your own desires for the good of the other is sometimes like swallowing lemons and other times like a few good jabs to the stomach. Learning to love a person who is always changing can seem like an impossible feat. Not letting your mind and your flesh wander away from your first love involves perhaps more training, stamina, and mental discipline than is necessary for any extreme sport. Constantly working for closeness can be exhausting, but the moment you stop trying is the moment you start drifting. And learning to overlook offenses and to forgive quickly even when great hurt is involved can feel like a job only cut out for Jesus Himself, but we are called to do so nonetheless. Realizing the weaknesses, the faults, the utter sinfulness of your spouse and then of yourself. Illnesses, financial difficulty, infidelity, etc, all of which can rob every last ounce of joy and love that you never thought could leave your marriage. All this and a million things more are hard.

This may sound rather depressing, but there is of course the bright side and it is this. In the little experience I have had with marriage, I found that perhaps BECAUSE marriage is so hard, I have come to love Christ all the more.

I love Christ and how in the midst of imperfect love from imperfect beings, God can still show His perfect love. I love how the greatest hurts can be washed and transformed to blend into the most beautiful picture of reconciliation. I love how God can pick up all the pieces of shattered hearts and make it whole again. I love the long nights where tears mixed with pain and utter frustration turn into tears of laughter just as the dawn comes and we both know it was only God who could work such a miracle. And most of all, I love all the work, all the muck, and all the mess because when I turn around, I see that we are no longer who we once were, but we are one step closer to Christ and one step closer to reflecting His image.

I know not all marriages have worked out and not all always will, but one thing I know is that there is always hope. I have hope for my own and hope for everyone else who has or ever will find themselves in the beginning, middle, or possibly nearing what looks like the end of this really crazy thing called marriage. And I hope that when all is said and done, we will all have greater love, even greater than what we first imagined on our wedding day, and then it would all be worth it .

Civil War

Civil War

Micah, my Kindergarten big boy, loves school and loves being with his classmates. I can see the excitement in his eyes every morning as he watches the clock with his shoes and backpack strapped on while waiting to race out to the bus stop. Yet apart from school being “good” as he usually mutters under his breath in response to my enthusiastic questions of how his day was, his school life is entirely a mystery to me. I really have no idea what goes on within those colorful cement walls, except that recess was fun and that there was pizza for lunch.

The day after election day, however, was different. Micah marched off the bus and before I could say a word or even kiss him hello, he immediately reported to me, “Umma, I have to tell you something. Billy’s mom …she voted for the man. She voted for Trump.”

Then he looked for my reaction.

“Wow,” I thought. “We’re going to talk politics? Literally everyone is in a frenzy over this election, even Kindergarten classes across the United States.”

Billy is Micah’s best friend at school. Micah has talked about Billy since day one. Micah loves Billy. But Micah also loves me. I am his mother, and lately, I have dropped my jaw and quietly shaken my head in disbelief many times in disapproval of Donald Trump. And while Micah has never said a word, I knew he probably saw and heard everything.

Micah also knew I did not vote for Trump. In fact, he was with me when I went to vote and even watched me bubble in my answer at the booth as he peered over my ballot and attempted to understand why it was that I was taking my particular stance. At most, I hoped it would be a lesson on practicing our right to vote, but I thought he was probably more excited about the sticker we got afterwards and the picture we took. I honestly wasn’t really expecting him to think about elections beyond that moment much less understand the gravity of what was happening.

But he did…a little bit anyway. He had no choice because along with the rest of the country, his little kindergarten class was talking about the results of this outrageous election, and EVEN in Kindergarten, there were opinions, there were sides, there was NOISE over the outcome.

When I asked Micah how he felt when he heard about Billy’s mom, he said, “Kinda mad? I tried to tell him he’s not a good man, but he didn’t understand…he said Trump was good… !”

The outcome of this election has taken over every conversation in every room and street corner, and while I know this is quite normal, it is really getting to disturb me. I, too, have deep concerns myself about what Trump may do in office and how he might dare try to handle the sensitive affairs of our nation, but I am actually more concerned at this point about the noise.

I believe things need to be shaken up at times before things can get better–protest, speak out for what’s right, do something for change. But it grieves me to see the division that so often comes from noise that is made thoughtlessly, without consideration, out of anger and revenge, out of hatred, pride, fear even, or thinking you or some opinion is right or better than another.

So many people think Trump will destroy our country, but he may not even get a chance to if we, the people, destroy it first. And it is indeed happening. Slowly, but surely, even in just a few short days, I have seen relationships burn to the ground, mistrust spring up like a field of weeds, and hatred spread like wildfire, all in the name of being right or perhaps supposedly fighting for your own rights.

And while there is no knowing what the future of this country will look like, my heart trembles at the state we are finding ourselves in and I trembled looking down at my five-year-old son because all I knew is that when he was staring up at me for a response as to where I stood (because really, where I stand is where he stands), in his eyes, I saw the entire next generation. I saw a generation of children who will grow to be the leaders of tomorrow looking up at me for an answer as to how they should respond and react in these tense and uncertain times, and I had to be absolutely clear and firm on the point that we always respond and stand in love.

So very quickly and careful not to show a hint of hesitation, I told Micah that it was ok that Billy’s mom voted for Trump and how everyone thinks a different way. We don’t dislike a person for who they voted for because anyways, it is God who ultimately put Trump there and it will be God who will bring us through these next few years. Our job is to continue to love and to pray and to trust God. Then I told Micah that who Billy’s mom voted for changes NOTHING about their friendship and that of COURSE he could and should still be friends with Billy. Because that’s what really matters to Micah and that’s what really matters period. Under every conviction, duty, and call to respond is our number one duty, priority, and responsibility to uphold unity, relationships, and love.

With that, Micah nodded with a little side smirk and said, “I know. I was just saying.”

Then I gave him a hug and we walked the rest of the way home.

I am praying peace and unity over this country. Put down your weapons against each other, your words that bring death, and find a way to bring life and light into this darkening world. If for no one else, for our children who are watching our every move and desperately trying to find which way they should go as they grow to be the next politicians, leaders, or just regular everyday people who will shape this world.

It may be like civil war out there, but we are in fact in the same country and should work together for the greater good. And I’m just glad that even when it is near impossible to choose or be on a “side,” we have one God above us who does not rise and fall as all other leaders do. Rather, in all circumstances, we can place our hope in the Lord who is the King above all Kings.

Blessed in Barrenness

Blessed in Barrenness

In my life, blessings always seem to come pretty easily. Finding a husband, for example just happened. One day we miraculously met and then three years later we were married. It felt pretty straightforward and simple at the time, but these days I look around and the likelihood of finding a suitable spouse seems to be just as dim as winning the lottery. So now I am considered “blessed” by many.

Then there’s the whole having children thing. I had three in a row, hardly even “trying.” The last one we had when we were actually trying not to, and I am now constantly reminded how I am the most “blessed” person in the world because to conceive does not come so easily to everyone. It is very hard and in fact, impossible, for many.

Yet for me, my story has always been that these great things often fall into my lap, most of the time without me even asking for it. If I did win the lottery, I don’t know that I would even be that surprised. Scholarships, jobs, relationships, friends, I’ve been given it all, and the people around me celebrate these wonderful happenings again and again, calling me “blessed.”

Then a part of me smiles and agrees. I am greatly blessed. Incredibly and beyond measure. I can’t count all the great things that have come into my life and have brought me great joy.

But it also makes me a bit uncomfortable. It actually causes me to secretly squirm when people look at the things I have and stamp me as the “blessed” person as if there is some special and secret advantage I have that others don’t. It bothers me because inside, I am also thinking about the people who aren’t as fortunate. The ones who haven’t found the love of their life or the ones who have been praying rivers of tears for countless years for just one child and are still waiting. What about them?

Yes, I think about them a lot. Those who do NOT have, but are doing everything in their power just to hope and believe in God’s promises to them. Almost everyday they cross my mind because there are so many who are waiting for a miracle–their blessing.

But it’s not because I feel sorry for them or think they aren’t blessed due to their lack. No, not at all. On the contrary, it’s actually because I believe they are the blessed ones.

For the past month, my family has had the joy and honor of living with one of my dear sisters and her family. She is one of my closest friends, a true lover of Christ, a leader in the community. And she is also barren.

Her and her husband found out soon after marriage that she has a condition that makes it impossible to conceive children. It was a devastating discovery for them and very difficult to come to terms with. Yet before she learned of this physical ailment, God had promised her children from her womb. It’s been four years now and there is still no sign of this promise coming to pass.

And so what does she, what do I, what do we all think of her and this tragic situation?

Well, we say she is greatly blessed.

Blessed because although she has not seen the answer  to her prayers yet, she is waiting and she will not be disappointed. Blessed because God gave her a promise and He will fulfill it. Blessed because what was impossible with man is always possible with God. Blessed because what she could not get herself or through any doctor, God will abundantly provide at just the right time. And that is the clearest picture of how we are always blessed by God.

When things happen “naturally,” we tend to be fooled to think we can do things on our own, that we can work for and earn blessings, that things just happen to “fall into our laps.”

And yes, it has been a great blessing to have all these wonderful things in my life and I count each and every one of them a gift from God. But when I look at the ones who don’t have, like my friend, I know she is the one who truly captures the picture of what the word “blessed” means.

Jesus said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted……”

I can’t explain why some people get things so easily and why some people don’t, but I do know that the truth is, we are all, in a way, in need, and I, too, am also barren in a very real way.

We are all in a devastating state which we should mourn over with our inability to live rightly, our sin, our pain, our sickness, and all our impossible and tragic situations. Yet in Christ, we are ALL truly blessed as we are met by a God who meets every single one of our needs and our ultimate need for a Saviour in our lives. So yes, I am very blessed, and I am also reminded that not a single one of my blessings “just happened,” but everything I have are undeserved gifts from God because of His grace.

Thank you God for my dear sister and these difficult yet sacred situations which start with tears, but which you always use to unfold into the most beautiful picture of your great love. Now as I wait for the testimonies of the promises of God to come to pass in my life as well as in my friend’s and countless others, we thank God now for what He has already given us in Christ who is also promised to return to us one day very soon. We are children of promise and of faith and our hope is in the Lord.

We are blessed by you, Lord.

Lunch Money

Lunch Money

A couple weeks ago, I went to Kindergarten orientation for my son. Amongst many other things, they explained how buying lunch works. Basically, every child has an account where the parent can deposit money online and when the child goes to buy lunch, all they have to do is enter their pin number and they can use the money that has already been put into their account.

How nice, I thought. These kids have it so easy. They don’t have to worry about a thing. Life is so good for them. Little did I know, I was about to find out that I had it just as good too.

That orientation happened to take place right when we were in the process of going under contract for selling our home. I never knew how difficult selling a house could be. There were so many variables that went beyond our control, so many unknowns, so many setbacks, and most of all, so many dollar figures. Still feeling new to this “adult” thing, I was shell shocked to see how much money we had to dish out just to sell our home. Fees, taxes, repairs, appraisals, and the list went on and on.

Every week something came up, and we were literally scraping up every last dollar we could find. Then just when we thought we had handed over everything we possibly could, we got terrible news. It was a Friday night around 10pm, just one week away from our settlement date. I was sitting in the middle of my basement with a roll of packing tape in hand, just barely able to see beyond the boxes of our packed up belongings when we got the call from our realtor.

Without delay, he went straight into it and explained that because of this and that, we basically needed to come up with another X amount of dollars in order to close the contract–an amount with  many zeros and surpassing DOUBLE the amount we had already just barely managed to gather. We did not know what to do and could not say much, so we were given two days to see if we could come up with the money. I think we all knew though that it was pretty much an impossibility.

How were we going to come up with this in just one week? Would we have to pull out of the contract? Hadn’t the Lord told us to move? Did we hear wrong? What should we do?

There were many more questions racing through our minds, but soon enough, the peace that had so abruptly left us from that phone call returned with the thought, God will provide. Over and over for the next two days, we held our breath trying not to worry as we repeated these words. And we prayed.

Then I got a phone call from someone I hadn’t seen in a while, inviting our whole family to come over for dinner. She said she missed the kids and wouldn’t take no for an answer, so we decided to make a quick stop at her place before we would have to meet with our realtor.

When we arrived, we were warmly greeted and fed right away with a delicious home cooked meal. Sitting there in her humble, yet perfectly peaceful little home, I admired the simplicity of her modest lifestyle and soaked in the solitude of the sanctuary she had made out of her home. It was a nice change of pace from the craziness of the week, even if just for one meal.

As I finished up the last few bites left on my plate, I looked up at the clock knowing we would have to leave soon. However, just as I was about to call the children over to get ready to leave, the lady came right beside me and began to ask me about our home. Right away she could hear the uncertainty in my voice and became more direct, urging me to tell her if money was short and how much we needed.

I was almost too embarrassed to say, mostly because I was afraid to make her feel bad for us. But after beating around the bush a minute or two, I finally blurted out the exact dollar amount that we would need in order to close on our home… and trailed off by sheepishly asking for prayer.

Immediately, she took my hand and led me to another room where she sat me down and quietly ruffled through her drawers. Then with an envelope in hand, she turned to say, “You were praying, weren’t you? The Lord has answered your prayer.”

Confused, I searched her eyes looking for further explanation, so she then began to tell me that she had been saving a dollar here and a dollar there for years, and the amount that I told her was the exact amount that she had saved up this moment. She had felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to give me the money the moment we had walked through her door, even before I had told her anything, and the matching amount was confirmation.

You can say that I lost it. I lost it completely. Together, we wept, knowing this was the heart of our Heavenly Father for His children. To think, God already knew the exact amount I would need on this day, years ago when this woman first started saving. It was as if God had deposited the money into my account way in advance just for me to pay what I owed this day.

Overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of His love and grace, we have not been able to stop giving the Lord thanks. But the crazy thing is, this is what God has always done. From the beginning of time, God knew every need we would ever have and has had plans to meet them all. Even before we were born, Jesus saw our faces as He hung on the cross and it was His joy to provide what He knew we would need–our eternal salvation. He goes ahead of us and always makes a way.

So now more than ever, I have confidence in knowing God is preparing the next house for us which we still need to find. But of course even more than that, I look forward to the heavenly home He has prepared which we will get to enjoy for all of eternity.

And while growing up is sometimes hard to do, all I can say is, thank you Lord for always providing my “lunch money.”