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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Island

It was once prophesied over me that my life would resemble an Island. I was 18 years old at the time and I thought nope, not me. But today, how true that word from the Lord really was. My life does resemble an island. I am often alone. It has been difficult for me to shake this feeling of being alone. Yet, it is at times that I feel that God has called me to be "alone". I can remember as a young girl wanting desperately to "fit in" and to be "popular". It never came to be. Always different, always on the outside. I was blessed to have a few great friends, but not the kinds of friends and relationships that my brother has. He on the other hand is the embodiment of popularity. What can I say? He has the gift:)

After all these years, I think I would be a little more comfortable being "alone". But, it seems I spend much of my free time wishing it to be different. The path carved out for me is different. I don't fit the mold. I don't even think I have seen the mold. I never imagined that my life would look the way it does. I have spent the greater part of this last year fighting against what I know to be true. I have tried to convince myself and God otherwise that my destiny is different. If there is one thing I have learned in my nearly 30 years, it is that it is imperative to do God's will at all costs. And believe me, it always does cost you something. In my case it is costing me loneliness. I know a handful of souls who can relate to my life. That understand the bitter sting of infertility and the gut wrenching road of adoption. To love and lose and to love and gain. Few know that realities of working with special needs children and their families, and even fewer understand the world of foster care. And what it feels like to have your life forever altered by a child that is with you for a brief moment.

It is as if this last year, I have abandoned everything that God had laid out, that I have forgotten my faith and what a GREAT BIG GOD He truly is. That He is the beginning and the end, He is the creator of the universe, the author of life and the giver of all good things. And nothing, nothing is impossible with God. Yet, me. Me of little faith questioning my great big God. Why? Because I am human. I am fallible. My faith is weak and I do not want to be alone. I am pretty pathetic.

I can't escape any longer. I can't hide. I can't be a coward. I have to step forward and lead even though it is a lonely place. It is a place of pain and frustration at times but also one of great joy and fulfillment. I am excited to see what God will do. I know that He is faithful. And that He who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Luke, Grace & Associates

I saw another mom post this as her title of her blog. She claimed she had a new employer (her children and spouse). I thought it was a cute idea, so I borrowed it for my title on a post about motherhood.

I have been mulling this post around in my head for the last week. I was talking with a friend awhile back and they said something to me that has had the most profound effect. She said that another mother had told her recently that she was tired being a mom, that she had tried making her kids her first priority for awhile and it didn't work for her. She thought she could do it, but it wasn't meant for her. It took awhile for the shock of this to wear off. I had so many things I could have said, but no words came.

Being a mother for me is the very essence of who I am. My kids come first. If it means I go without, so be it! But it is beyond monetary things as well. They are on the forefront of my thoughts. When I lay down to sleep they are in my thoughts. When I awake they are in my thoughts. When I am working, my day revolves around the clock and the thoughts of what they are doing. Working as literally killed me this last six months being a part from them. I know I am bettering them, but they are me. I desire no where else to be than with them. They get my best, they deserve my best. There is something about infertility and losing children that opens up a whole other side to motherhood. Years went by and I dreamed and dreamed of things to do with my child(ren) should the Lord bless me with them. I collected things, I imagined things, I made plans of what my favorite baby things were. So, when I finally became a mother it provided me a chance to fulfill those things that I dreamed about, that I desired to be true. Another aspect of my mothering comes from the neglect and abuse that my kids have gone through. I know with full knowledge the life they would have led had they not been with us. I know their biological parents, I know and have seen things that I cannot and will not describe. I have been places that I didn't know existed and situations that I had no clue about. My children deserve the best, and for someone to advocate and speak and fight for them (me). They deserve the best doctors, therapists, teachers & friends that I can give them. And I will.

I wish that mother could walk a moment in my shoes. And to have felt some of the things I have felt. To have endured as I have and still do at times. Perhaps she would feel differently about her position on being a mother and realize that wonderful gift that she has been given through her children, through her ability to a mother. For if I was not a mother, what would I be. Sure I could sleep late, and not have any messes to clean up. My time would be decided by me and my house would be quiet. But I have lived it. I have been pregnant three different times with the promise of a child, and messes and sleepless nights and have relished the change only to have it stolen away. I have then gone back to my quiet home and no messes. GIVE ME the noise and the toys that I step on and all the Disney movies I can handle. Give me little jars of baby food, spit-up and soft plush toys. Give me bottles that have to run through the dishwasher and take up most of the upper rack. Give me fruit snacks and sippy cups to my hearts content. And bibs and onesies and strollers (we know how I have a weakness for them) and car seats oh my! Nerf guns and princess shoes and babies and trains and kitchens and games. Oh how I love being a mom. My life is forever enriched, I am whole to be a mom. I would have missed so much. Yes, I never have birthed a child or labored in a hospital, but I labored for years in my home, in private moments, in my secret places for a child of my own. I labored in prayer to God, and in faith that He would keep his promise. I have been blessed doubly over with Luke and Grace and 13 times over with babies that needed me for a moment.

So, if I could say just one thing to this mom it would be something that was said to me recently "it's almost over". Life passes so quickly and things constantly change. Embrace your children today, love your children today, make them your top priority today, love their imperfections today, thank God for the blessing they are to you today, don't let today pass you by. You will never get it back and our lives are but a mist because it is truly "almost over".

Friday, January 16, 2009

Our Wonderful Life. . .

We showed this during our ceremony. It is a compliation of our first 10 years together. It represents 35 hours of work. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Our Special Day

One of my very favorite photographs taken.

The youth group put up the sign for us.

Luke and Rachel and members of the C4 Yewth Group.

I love this picture of our original cake topper from our wedding 10 years ago.

Cutting the cake with two anxious onlookers.

I have been so busy with work and all the crazy changes in my life right now with Mark's work to post about our wonderful day. It was an amazing day. One I will never forget. It was one of the most memorable and meaningful things Mark and I have done. We were surrounded by all of our wonderful family and friends in our church. Our youth pastor, and close friend, Luke Gillock, officiated along with our current pastor, Mark Geer. There aren't enough words to describe the memories and moments that I am taking away from that special day. Thank you to everyone that contributed and helped.

Thank you to my brother (Uncle D) and Katie for flying up from Southern California to be a part of the day. And for Uncle D taking the photographs. Thank you to my sister Audra for helping me with my dress and for all the goodies that you brought with you that day. It was very special. Thanks to Kathi, Audra's mom who blessed me with customizing my wedding gown and all the fun little talks and time we spent together. Thanks to my mom, who listened to me plan, vent and organize my thoughts and ideas during the entire process and for helping in the kitchen. Thanks to the Gillocks who have been apart of our lives for the last 17 years or so. I can't express how much it means to have friends (family) like you. You are loved more than you know. Thank you to Pastor Mark and Michelle for helping clean up after it was over. Thanks to our kids in youth group (Tessa, Keldon, Kelsie, Tyler, Brian) who helped clean up as well, and especially to Tyler who did an awesome job on the sound. Thank you to all my family that came and have supported us over the years. Thanks to our family that came down from Seattle. It meant so much. And to our close friends we love and value your friendship. Thanks to our two precious babes, Luke and Grace, for being the best kids in the whole world. And finally thanks to God for bringing Mark and I together, for loving us, for providing us with His awesome grace and mercy, and for blessing us with an incredible marriage.

(Photos courtesy of David Nyhoff)

Friday, January 9, 2009

A New Year = New Change

I am sitting at my computer tonight, and for the first time since I can remember, Mark will not be home tonight because he is working. I was naive to think that the economy would not effect us. Silly me. It is crazy that after four and half years working at the railroad and working the same shift for over three years, we are back to this. Because of his job, I have had to cut back my job to three days a week, which will start in February. I have to be able to take the kids to therapy and fill in where Mark was doing work with the kids. It is going to be crazy scheduling everything and making everything fit. Had I even known that this was a remote possiblility, I would have never worked this school year. Oh well. The Lord knows and has things working out for the best. So around here we are trying to have a sunny outlook and a positive attitude. We are counting the things we are thankful for even if it means a hard road for a little while. Hopefully things will be better in the Spring/early summer again. We will see.
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