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. 

He Calls

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


A light burden sounds good to a heavy hearted soul.  He calls out to all who listen, all who are burdened, all who are ready to give in and says, “Come!”  Have you heard the call?

Amidst all the dishes and laundry and housework – He calls – “COME”.

To those in the middle of a religious system that requires more and more effort – striving for betterment and pious living – He calls – “COME!”

In the center of world events - disturbing pictures of riots, earthquakes, and starvation – He calls – “COME!”

It is interesting that He says, “Learn of Me.” 

Some teach Christ as the tyrant of all tyrants of all relationships.  To them, He is the holder of the hoops demanding us to jump through more and more; requiring us to jump higher as He gleefully watches our efforts at His self – centered request.

That is not the true Christ – it is a god of someone’s making. 

Learn Christ.

He is meek.  He is gentle. He is love.

A gentle person understands the deepest pain.  A gentle person binds up wounds and applies salve to heal and sooth.  A gentle person never pushes me against my will. 

A gentle person holds the others persons welfare in high regard and seeks to minister.

Learn Christ.

Stop jumping.  Stop striving. 

Learn of Him.

You will know when you have found Him.  He is peace.

When you’re in the yoke with him the burdens are light – He gives you His strength to carry them.

The fellowship is sweet.  He listens as you share you concerns and worries and fears.  He offers His comfort and He gives security with Himself.

Do you hear Him today – the call is the same:  “Come!”

God is so Good - Month in Review - April

The days are getting warmer; and it feels wonderful in the morning to be awakened to the sounds of birds singing outside.    We have spied several different types of birds coming to the feeders.  We have a flock of blue jays that regularly feed, several woodpeckers, pigeons and of course a lot of sparrows.  It is fun to watch the difference in the temperaments of so many of the different birds. The humming birds have found their nectar also; and regularly hum in to take a drink.     Anna, Zak and I will often take time before we start our school day to sit on the porch and watch the birds coming and going.

My husband brought me home a new bird feeder the other night.  I had wanted to place one in the back yard so I could watch the birds from the kitchen table.  It has been fun to watch the birds find the new feeder and we have even seen some new ones coming and going.  I about gave the entire family a heart attack the other night when we were eating dinner as a family – and I spotted a beautiful yellow bird sitting at the feeder.  I was so excited.  The whole family got a good laugh at my excitement when they were able to catch their breath from being so surprised by my outburst.  I love watching birds!

The tomato garden has been planted.  I had been told by my teenage son the hand tilling the garden would be a job that would be too hard for me.  ( I took his statement as a challenge and set out the other morning to prove him wrong.)  It was difficult; but not really too bad.  I had the small plot hand dug and tilled in about two hours time.  It was so much easier to do it this year.  Last year Rob had done the tilling.  He had worked so hard out there for an entire evening one night.  The next night he had awoken and we had found the tumor on his thyroid. (There had been no garden last year).    While I was out there digging, I was thanking the Lord for all of Rob’s work last year – because it had made the job this year so much easier.  I was also meditating on how good God has been to us.  We have seen Him do some miraculous things in our lives.  I just kept digging and thanking the Lord that He had allowed us to still be together as a family.  God is good – and the tomatoes are in.

The Amish neighbors have visited a few times and we have been able to talk with them a bit more.  I have sold some of the eggs to them; and it seems they are interested in making that a regular transaction.  I still cannot believe that our nearest neighbors are Amish.  I love hearing the horse and buggy go past the house.  They have been working with their horse to get her familiar with the roads here.  Thor always puts up quite a racket when they go by and I am always so fearful that he will cause a catastrophe with the wagon; but they tell me to please let him be – as they are using him to help train their horse for how to respond when dogs bark as they go by.  It must have worked; because this morning they took the horse out further and when they returned - there was a line of four different dogs barking and following their wagon.  It looked so funny!  I enjoy so much living in the country!  

Zak has had a tough month with his meds; but we look like we are getting to a little more stable ground with that.  Several years ago, we had been warned that puberty can be a very difficult time for a child with brain injuries and issues.  This has proven to be very true.  We are taking it one step at a time.  His Tourettes symptoms seem to be much worse than we have seen before.  At this time, that seems to be the biggest issue and hardest for him to get used to.  We are so thankful for a wonderful doctor that works with us in regards to his care.  God has given wisdom and we are trusting that He will continue to do that in the future.  God has surely used Zak’s health issues to be an opportunity for us to depend upon God more; and for us to be able to teach Zak that He can run to God when he is having a difficult day.  We are so blessed to have Zak in our family.  

The bridge Zak built over a hole in the woods.  He rides his bike on it. 

Because of the setbacks we have had with Zak we have had to revamp some of his school.  We took several steps back (it seems); but we seem to be making strides getting the things that it appeared we had lost back again.  Rob and I started praying about how to work with him with his school.  We decided to do school with Zak and Anna  together.  This way, he is hearing what Anna is doing - and getting the review through that.  He is also challenged with having her close by; not so much competing against her; but in having someone to do his flashcards and his phonics reviews with him.  It has been good for Anna; because she is hearing things for the next grade up while Zak reviews his things too.  Overall, this has been very successful.  Because of the setbacks; and also with Zak's brain issues we have decided to continue to do school through the summer - albeit on a smaller scale than a full school day.  Both Anna and Zak are excited that we do not have to stop doing school for the summer.  Go figure. 

Anna asked me the other day to tell her more stories from the Bible that talk about obedience.  She said as seriously as she could, “I need you to keep telling me those stories, Mom.  I’m just having trouble getting obedience down.”    I laughed.  We also have been reading from the Little House series.  One evening Anna and I sat by the camp fire and read about Laura and Mary and their house on the prairie.  It was fun reading by the fire and watching the sun set and the moon come out over the trees.   Anna has also enjoyed having James read to her in the evenings.  Rob required James to read to his sister each evening as a part of his speech requirements.  It was fun to watch them enjoy an old book of Rob’s from when he was a boy.  It seems that our Anna is quite captivated with the “Three Investigators.”  

Abbey ran another 5K this month.  She had her best time yet; and was able to run with her friend.  Sarah surprised her and signed up for the race.  It was fun to watch the two of them run together. Abbey finished first place in her division and Sarah finished second!  They had a fun morning.  It still shocks me that Abbey loves to run; but indeed she does.  As soon as she gets home from work, she comes in and gets ready for her run.  Thor loves it when he sees her get her shoes on and pleads with her to hurry up so he can go with her.  It is fun to watch.

Rachel has had her violin out more; and I have been thrilled to hear the music filling the house.  She seldom has time to practice and play; however, she is planning on taking lessons while she is in college.  She figured she better find the time to practice and get brushed up on her playing.  She also has been teaching Anna violin.  The other night, she and Anna took their lessons outside on the front porch.  It was fun to listen to them play.  

James has been busy working at different farms in the area.  His calf is doing well; and he has not had really any issues with it like we did the last calf he had.  Every evening he goes up to do his farm chores.  The other night Abbey took him up to the farm.  They were late in getting home for dinner; and when they finally arrived James walked in carrying a bag of glass.  I will let the following pictures tell the rest of the story - or at least how the story was told to Rob.  Life has a way of teaching valuable lessons; and it seems there is never a dull moment with teenagers in the house. 

We enjoyed a family fun day.  We had planned on going bowling; but we were not able to go.  The kids enjoyed playing some of the video games there and we had a fun lunch at a nearby hamburger restaurant.  It was fun to be together as a family.  We are realizing that these days are coming to an end when we will have all the kids here to do stuff all together as a family.  It is exciting as we watch the older kids’ lives open up and branch out; but we are planning on taking just a few more opportunities than we normally do to enjoy some family outings before Rachel leaves for college this fall.  We have several things on the calendar for this summer. 

Our church hosted a ladies tea this month.  It was fun finally being able to go to the ladies tea.  Each year something has come up last minute that has prevented me from being able to attend.  This year – I was there!  It was a fun morning and Anna and I enjoyed being able to sit together.  I was extremely blessed by the devotional that was given and have meditated upon the goodness of God to me.  Truly I am loved and cherished by my Heavenly Father.  He has been so good to me.   

We are looking for a very busy month of May as our calendar is very full.  God has been so good to us.  We are looking for Him to provide for some very important things that we need; and find ourselves excited to see how He does it. 

 Thanks for stopping by – I am so glad you did.