Embracing Change

Our lives are constantly changing.

We can’t hold on to today.
The present is the past tomorrow.
We can’t go back to yesterday and do it again

One can’t change the past – and dwelling on it will only lead to despair.

What do we miss when we continue to look in the past and regret that yesterday – or last year , or five years ago – is not today?  I assure you we miss something!

We miss the present. 
We miss the enjoyment of today. 
We miss the excitement we could experience about tomorrow.

As life goes on there are changes; and it almost seems that we are expected to fight the changes rather than embrace them.

But what if we embraced these changes?  What would happen if we found ourselves truly excited about the future and the changes that are coming?  What if we looked forward to the future with excitement?  

A lot has changed in my life in the past two years.  The children have grown.  I have come and gone and come back to my blog.  I have experienced rejection and watched a relationship in my life crumble into a million pieces around my feet.  And as I sat there taking it all in – all the changes I had a choice to make.  I could stay there and look back and wonder how it all could happen, or I could look at the future and embrace the change.

Yes, I took some time to reevaluate and to heal from the hurts.  I walked away from the blog and thought long and hard about the future.  I walked away from social media and took some time to just be private and reflective; and in the quiet time away I realized that I had a choice to make.  I had to decide that I would embrace the change and move forward.

Not all of the stories of our lives have happy endings; and realizing that has set me free.  A relationship has ended and as stories go, this one has had one of the saddest endings I have read.  However, this story is only a small story in the compilation of the many stories in my life.  I cannot let the sad ending to this story define me.  My life is so much more than that. 

I have a husband who loves me more than his own life and would do anything for me and for my good.  I have five wonderful children who are starting to walk into their own stories and their own lives and I get a front row seat.  Each one of my children will drop everything to come and talk to me.  I am watching in amazement as my relationship with them changes as they grow into adults and delighted as I am able to move from caregiver to their daily needs to being a friend and encourager as they enter adulthood.  

I sit and watch this life of mine unfold in front of me; and there are times it takes my breathe away.  It’s a wonderful life and I have been blessed; and I would miss all of it if I was focused on the sad endings of certain stories of my life.  

Tomorrow looks bright and wonderful.  Yes, there will be surprises and challenges and there will be other stories that will end with sadness – that is life.  But my life is filled with blessings and joy.

I choose to embrace the changes that life brings.  Perhaps in a small way this is what the apostle Paul was challenging us with he explained his mental discipline and thought choices.  He chose to forget the things behind and look forward to the things that were coming.

We can’t change the past – but we get to live the future.  Will you join me?  Embrace  the changes.  Delight in watching what God is doing in your life and refuse to live in the past.

I’m excited to be back and writing again.  Thanks so much for joining me here.


On the Day He was Born

On the day he was born - I had no idea that he would become part of our family in a little more than a year.

I have tried, in vain, to try to piece together where I was and what I was doing on the day he was born.  I was busy cleaning the house, doing laundry, teaching kids, perhaps practicing piano or writing; and at the very same time miles away from where I lived a little baby boy (my son) was taking his first breath.  A little boy that would change my life - started his life without me.

How much did he weigh?  What was his apgar score? 
Was he born in a hospital or at home?
Seconds after he was born did he cry loudly or softly?  Did he cry at all?
Did someone hold him in their arms?  Was anyone awestruck when looking at his little face and hands that life is precious and beautiful?
Did he feel loved and cherished or alone and helpless?

All these questions will remain unanswered on this earth.

I don't know all the little details surrounding the moments and hours after he took his first breath; but I know that God was there.  God heard his first cries and was mesmerized by this one so little and tiny; because God had a plan for his life.  The all loving God of the universe watched him as he slept and loved him.  I have no doubt in my mind that God's protection surrounded him as a baby; and while I was just going through the everyday routine of my day - God was keeping him safe for me, and preparing my heart for him. 

I was so fearful when we started the adoption process that we would "end up" with a child that had debilitating issues because of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  It was the one reason I was afraid to adopt.  I begged God to make sure He protected us from getting a child with FAS.  If there was one reason I would have not adopted it would have been that reason.  I was also terrified of autism.  I told God that I would trust that He would make sure that we did not have a child with autism.   

I have learned that God does not keep us away from the things that scare us - He delivers us from our fears.

Zak has Autism, and FAS, and TS, and Celiac Disease - and perhaps the list will grow.  I am not as afraid of those words as I was thirteen years ago.    Sometimes, the uncertainty that comes with those words still scares me; but those words are teaching me just how big my God is.  He has the power to cure autism and spare growing brains from the effects of alcohol; but sometimes He chooses to do something even bigger -  He chooses to let us see that He is more powerful than these disabilities.

 I have learned about my God through Zak's disabilities. 

On the day Zak was born - God was preparing a beautiful gift for me.  I have learned about faith through Zak.  I have been given a beautiful gift from God in this boy.  His eyelashes are still long and beautiful.  I love his smile and when he laughs it envelops the entire house.  But most of all, Zak is a boy who is in love with his God.  He talks about Him all the time - and there is nothing God cannot do.  I have watched Zak depend upon God to meet his needs and been challenged by his faith. 

God delights to deliver us from our fears; not always by removing us or keeping us from the things that scare us; but by pouring out grace upon us as we live in dependence on God in the midst of our fears.  

This week we celebrate his birthday - I cannot believe we have entered the teen years already!   Happy Birthday, Zak.  I am so glad God put you in our family!  You are, without a doubt, God's gift to me.  I love you! 

The Dilemma

The sun was coming in the kitchen window and I had positioned my coffee cup to the chair next to the kitchen door.  I can see the bird feeder there – and the morning light shines just right.  The windows were open, the birds were singing and my bagel was toasting in the toaster oven.  There was still steam coming from my coffee cup on the table when she walked in.  Her hair was rumpled from a night of sleep and dreams and she still had that ‘just awakened’ look in her eyes.  (I love looking at my kids in the morning).

 She came up and hugged me tightly and I held her close to me for just a minute close.  The toaster dinged indicating the bagel was ready; and as soon as she heard it she asked me if she could eat breakfast with me.  “Just you and me?” she begged.   I told her she could with a nod and she quickly went to the refrigerator and got out a yogurt.

We sat at the table.  She was chatting away as we started our breakfast together.  My mind was drifting from watching the birds coming to the feeder to my plans for that day.  There was laundry that needed to be done, a blog post that needed to be written, school work that needed to be assigned and tomato plants that I needed to water.  I was busy planning; when I heard her statement:

“When I get older, I don’t want babies to come out of my tummy – I want to adopt lots and lots of babies.”

I stopped my agenda planning and looked at her.  My little adopted one sitting at the table talking about her plans for the future.  It just makes sense that she would want to adopt a baby – she understands adoption.  It’s part of her story. 

“That would be wonderful.  I would love to have lots and lots of adopted grand-babies…”  I told her and then started thinking some more about the day ahead of me. 

“Where do you get babies to adopt?”

“From adoption agencies,” I answer.

“Is that where you got me?”

“Kind of…”  I answer.  “We got your from the state foster care program; but they used and adoption agency for the adoption.”

“What are those children’s homes called for kids that don’t have parents anymore?” She quizzed.  Her yogurt eating had stopped; she was sitting on her knees waiting for my answer.


“Where do you find that babies that are on the streets?”

My mind began to wrap around the fact that she was not just chatting with me over breakfast.  Something deeper was going on in her heart.  Normally this time of day I hear about her dreams from the night before or what she wants to do for the day; but ‘babies on the streets’?  Where did this come from?

I answered her as best I could, “That would probably be in other countries.  There are other countries where babies are left on the streets.”

She picked up my cell phone that was sitting beside my coffee cup and asked if I could show her pictures of the countries that have babies that are living on the streets.  “Where are they, Mom?  Can you show me a picture?”

I quickly racked my brain for how I would Google that?  I then remembered the story my friend told me about the child she found on the streets.  The little girl who had no one.   The little girl who found a missionary to be her Mommy.   I started telling her about my dear missionary friend. 

“Do you have her picture?” 

I pulled up Facebook and search her name.  I showed her my missionary friend and told her how her daughter is all grown up now and has started an orphanage for children who live on the streets just like she used to.  “Perhaps God will have you go to another country and start an orphanage for babies who are left on the streets.  Then you can tell the children about Jesus and how He loves them!” 

Her eyes opened wide, “China!  Do they have orphanages in China?”

“Yes, I am sure they do; but missionaries cannot go over to China.  It is against the government rules.   
Perhaps you should pray that God will make the government change its mind and allow missionaries to come and tell the children about Jesus.”

“Does the government ever go on vacation?  Then I could sneak in and start an orphanage and tell the children about Jesus.”  She stopped and thought for a moment, her look of hopefulness changed to despair.   
“But I don’t know how to talk to the children about Jesus in their words.”

“You could learn.”

“But it would be really really hard.  What if I couldn’t do it?”

I realized at that moment, that this was going to be the most important conversation I had all day long.  “Anna, if God wants you to go to another country and tell the children there about Jesus – He will help you learn to speak their words.”

“Where do you go to learn how to speak their words?”

“Language school.  Missionaries go to language school all the time.  They teach lots and lots of missionaries how to speak the languages of other countries so that they can tell people about Jesus.”

With the language barrier taken care of she continue talking, “So there are babies that live in the streets?”


“But what if soldiers came and didn’t want me to tell the children about Jesus?”

 She was counting the cost.  It almost took my breath away.  How do you answer this – how do you explain this to a seven year old?  “There are lots of counties where the soldiers want you to come and help the babies that live in the streets – because they are good soldiers. They want the children there to be taken care of and know they are loved.”

“In China?”

“I don’t know about China.” I answer.

“Probably not in China,” she said contemplatively, “In China they don’t want missionaries.  You know that man and lady that got married and went to China?”

I knew to whom she was referring to because she has mentioned them before - many times before.  “Yes, John and Betty Stam.”

“They went to China to tell people about Jesus; and the soldiers came and cut off their heads.  They hid their baby from the soldiers.  They died when they went to tell people about Jesus.”

“Yes, but when they did they went right to Heaven.  Jesus took them right to Heaven.”

“What if go to help the babies in the streets and tell them about Jesus and the soldiers come and cut off my head?”  Our eyes locked and I could see tears in hers.

“You would go right to Heaven.” I looked her straight in the eye.  I refused to assure her that something like that would not happen.  It could.  It does.  Even as we were having breakfast there that morning – there are people somewhere in this world who are paying a price for the cause. 

“I don’t want my head to get cut off.”  She sat in silence for a few moments then she said, “But the children need someone to tell them about Jesus.”

She is seven.  I don’t know how old I was when I first counted the cost.    I am pretty sure I was not in first grade. 

If we claim the name of Christ then we must take time to count the cost.     

The dilemma:  The cross of Christ could cost us all we have on this earth (even our very lives) – but the children need someone to tell them about Jesus.