3 Little Lives to Love

My head hit the pillow a few nights ago, and it hit me. There are three little additional lives in my house tonight, three little lives I’ve been entrusted to love. My heart was overwhelmed, a little fear tried to creep in, but I pushed it out and chose in that moment to pray, rejoice and sleep fast before one of them woke up or needed me again.

I’m a foster momma. My life has been marked with a love of children. I expected to have a herd of biological children by the time I was in my 30’s. But, that didn’t happen. I nannied, babysat, snuggled a bundle of nephews and nieces, and even found my life’s call working for an agency that advocates and provides direct care for children and families in need. But, no husband equaled no children for me.

Coming from a large family, one where adoption and children were celebrated, I felt life was just better with children in it. The more I advocated for children, the more I wondered if I might need to abandon my single-living for child-rearing. And, so it started in August 2017, a journey of a lifetime, a journey that has already added more to my life, than all my life happenings for the 40 years before.

I’ve joined the ranks of momma’s everywhere, and my unconventional life is a life that I hope to be a beacon of light in the harsh reality that faces children everywhere- a reality of brokenness and family breakdown . Join me here as I navigate this life– with all it’s blessings, joys, and adventurous happenings.

From Grouch to Grace

Today was a grumpy day.

I got onto my 11 year old for something minor and then felt upset with myself for losing my patience and being a grouch.

On my way up the stairs to apologize to her, I started barating myself and I thought “I am not doing good as a mom, I didn’t even brush Emmie’s (my two-year olds) teeth this morning.”

As I rounded the top of the stairs, Emmie was at the top of the stairs with an adult-sized toothbrush in her hand scrubbing her own teeth!

I chuckled inwardly and knew God was speaking to me.

I make many mistakes. I screw up. I lose my temper. And, many days, at best, I am a hot mess momma. But, one thing is for certain……I’m not alone in this parenting life, or in this life at all.

God helps me. He fills in the gaps and so graciously make my wrongs, right.

I may be a single MOMMA. But truly my kiddos have a FATHER!

If you feel alone today, or like you are falling apart, and maybe the enemy is hitting you while you feel down, just know you are not alone and God is working for you.

His Grace is Sufficient for You, His Power Is Made Perfect In Your Weakness… 2 Corinthians 12:9

Wrapped in Love and Chick-fil-A

I love eating chicken. And, when that chicken comes to my doorstep from someone who simply wants to say, “I see you and I care,” the chicken just tastes better–like it has been heaven-kissed.

I find myself, like most mommas, scrambling in the evening hours to throw a dinner on the table. Some days I’m super prepared and have my crockpot roaring with barbeque drumsticks, ready to be consumed by the little hungry people at dinnertime. But then-and I think you’ll hear me when I say– other nights I open the freezer, stare blankly, hope I haven’t eaten the last taquito, and then when I realize I have, I grab the carton of eggs, do a thank you dance to the chickens who are feeding my kids, and we eat brinner (breakfast for dinner)…….. AGAIN.

It’s somewhere between a sibling visit, a caseworker calling, a doctor’s appointment, answering a thousand questions, a gymnastics leo that needs washing, scheduling a bio parent visit, attending a court appointment and cleaning up yet another spill of milk on my kitchen floor that I quietly scream…… CAN I DO THIS?!

Then, it happens…..like the Biblical icon, Moses, who was weary and tired as he stood in the middle of a war, with arms lifted up, carrying a burden for a people that he couldn’t carry alone—

My phone rang. “Sundy I was just thinking of you, can I bring you and your family dinner tonight from Chick-fil-A?”

The burden lifts. The chicken dance ensues. And, like Moses, in the middle of his war, my arms are lifted through the love and support of another, who reminds me I’m not alone.

If you are interested in “lifting the arms” of a foster parent and the children they love–you can! Reach out to a local foster care agency in your community to volunteer or ask about local needs you could help meet. Or, to discover how to start a Foster Crew, (wrap around support ministry through your church) please email fostercrew@onemorechild.org.

Let’s wrap lots of love and Chick-fil-A around foster children and their families!

He Received A Family Worth Celebrating

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I pushed my cart intently through the craft section at Target, grabbing poster board, streamers, glow in the dark party favor balls, and crazy gold glitter glasses heralding the words “Celebrate.”

My dear friends were adopting.

The 21 month old little boy who was joining their forever family held a special place in my heart. I cradled him in my arms when he was just a few days old. I prayed fervently for his forever adoptive family. And, through the beauty of the foster community, he and my daughter, Emmie became best buddies. This little guy even attended my Emmie’s special adoption day, and he stole the show being the cutest and cuddliest baby in the room.

Now, today was his special day.

I logged into a Zoom call and, with my 2 year old repeatedly saying “Hi” to a judge who couldn’t hear her or see her (but she thought he could), my girls and I watched intently as Baby J was united in law and in love to his forever mommy and daddy (and 5 super cool new older siblings).

Adoption. It’s my absolute favorite thing on the planet. It’s the way God chooses to answer our innate need for belonging. It’s His love being poured out bountifully to draw us into intimacy and family. It’s His heart for us, to let us know we are not meant to be alone. It’s ultimate acceptance, and God’s design to call the orphan home.

Hours later with signs, streamers and silly string in tow, we were ready to CELEBRATE. A parade was set up by Fostering Hope, a foster care support ministry at Fruit Cove Baptist Church, and cars circled the neighborhood beeping horns and cheering–throwing candy, popping confetti, shooting silly string and celebrating Baby J as his life was forever merged with his new family.

In one moment, in the eyes of God and man, Baby J received a new name and a new family, and the gift of love and acceptance– I would say that is something worth celebrating!

Life Under Construction

Everywhere I looked this past week, something was a mess. Lumber and nails everywhere, my bedroom furniture was in my hallway, and my littlest angel’s crib was in pieces stuck somewhere in the middle between a dearly loved rocking horse and mounds of stuffed animals. My garage, which normally is neat and semi-orderly, was full of big saws and toolboxes and looked more like a Lowe’s Home Improvement Store that a tornado had just blown through than the garage my little Hyundai calls home most nights. And, if you have been wanting to take a trip to the Sahara Desert, come on over, because I have more sand in my garage than the desert does.

My little townhome was getting a floor make-over, old carpets ripped up and beautiful new vinyl wood flooring laid in its place. But, in order for me to get the new, dreamy looking hard wood floors, construction must take place.

I hadn’t prepared for the mess that this little “three day project” would leave my life in. In the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown, maybe the worst time in all of history to have to have to “get out of the house”, I was trying to keep the kids alive and occupied away from the construction zone. We ate fast food until I think I heard my 11-year-old say she didn’t like hamburgers anymore, drove a gazillion miles to let my littlest one get a life-saving nap in her car seat bed, and drove across the city to find open parks, but kept finding closed ones.

My little “three day project” took longer than expected, and by day seven I was beginning to look at new, move-in-ready homes, and even called my momma once to see if I could move back in with her.

My home was under construction. And, as the saws buzzed and the hammers pounded, I knew my life was too.

Our lives are constant construction zones. There is always room for improvement, things that need fixing, upgrades possible, and renovation that is happening. But, construction zones are messy, they take time, and they require a Master Builder.

If you are in the middle of a mess and see opportunity to make some changes in your life, I invite you to let the MASTER BUILDER, do HIS work, and give you the “upgrade” YOUR LIFE needs! It may be a little inconvenient, take longer than you want it too, and you may want to stop construction in the middle of the process, but, just remember, when the work is done, YOU will be better for it!

Philipians 1:6- Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 

It Starts With Me

I’ve cried this week. I’m saddened by what I am seeing on the news. And even more saddened that what I’m seeing feels like a mountain-sized problem that we will never see an end to.

How did we get here as a culture?

How did we as a human race let the color of our skin cause such a divide?

How could our hearts have such vast hatred that would result in riots, pain, and murder?

I’m grieved. As a white girl, I feel guilty. I want the hatred, the divide, the anger to stop.

While at the doctor’s office today to get a x-ray for what I thought was a broken elbow (another story….. another time), the news was reporting, again, a story of hatred over skin color. My heart sank, I pushed back more tears. The black smiling man checking me in was hard at work, and I’m certain he didn’t hear the new story. But, I did.

After getting good news at the doctor, I went up to pay my not-so-good-news bill, and the black smiling man was courteous and helped me. I couldn’t shake the overwhelming thoughts and emotions of the earlier news story, or the tragic events that have happened over the week. What could I say, what could I do?

“I’m sorry for all the craziness that is happening in the world right now ” I stumbled over my words to the man behind the counter.  I, as a white woman, I’m really sorry.”

The precious man replied, “It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not. And, I’m sorry. We must all change or this will never stop.” He smiled and nodded in agreement.

The CNA working behind him who also had beautiful black skin unexpectedly stopped working and turned to me, exclaiming, “Can I buy you dinner? Seriously, can I buy you dinner? Thank you. Thank you.”

Racism is real. It happens. It’s overwhelming. It’s not the way we as a people should live. So, if we want change, we all have to change. And, whether it’s a word of empathy, an extension of grace, an act of kindness, we all can, must, and should do something. Because change starts with me (and YOU).

“Be Kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Has Your Day Every Started Out All Wrong…..?

10:30am.

My morning had already taken a turn for the “Debbie Downer” side of life, and I was ready to call the whole thing off. Have you ever wanted to run away from home before your day even got good and started?  Behaviors that felt “extra” were escalating in the house. Whining, crying, fit-throwing, negative attitudes. And that was just the kids! As if this wasn’t bad enough, my two-year-old found my make-up bag again. Beige foundation, black long-lash mascara, and white eyeshadow blended into the only store-bought piece of furniture in my entire house.  At that moment, I seriously considered buying new beige rugs to match the stained couch rather than spending the time to painstakingly scrub out the make-up.  Even Mr. Clean would turn his nose up at this job!

Running tight on time for a Mother’s Day speaking engagement, we hopped into the car, throwing shoes and hair bows at each other in hopes that my children’s first public appearance since the Quarantine of 2020 would have them looking more like princesses than pajama pilgrims.

And, wouldn’t you know it?  We didn’t make it out of the driveway before we had a diaper disaster. By this time, I was praying Hard and Holy prayers for Jesus to help me through the morning’s speaking engagement. I had my topic fine tuned. I was practiced and ready.  But moments before I was to get on the stage in front of over 1000 online viewers, I realized what I had planned to say wasn’t what I should say– so I was scrounging for the right words. The morning had just started all wrong.

Afterward, feeling defeated and tired,  I pulled away from the church with an over-tired (still) crying toddler in tow. I began to sink into a “Calgon Take Me Away!” mental meltdown.  But then, I hit the pause button.  My kids were watching me.

It was Mother’s Day.

My attitude needed a turn-around and so did my day. And it was up to me to make that happen.

I had promised the girls a special Mother’s Day tea, but, with my mama-mood mimicking Thelma Harper (Mama’s Family),  I just wanted a nap! In the middle of my “mood”, I felt a nudge to find my inner June Cleaver (Leave It to Beaver), shake off the happenings of the morning, and make the best of the day. I took some deep breaths, gave myself a pep talk, and prayed quietly for Grace to be a Good Mom. The party must go on….

So, we broke out the coffee mugs, fine paper china, cookies we’d made together the day before, and some CountryTime lemonade like my grandma used to make. A sharpie and some pink construction paper provided the exquisite decor for our “fancy” tea of the century, and the dining room was transformed into a tea room fit for a queen. Dressed in our finest church dresses, we spoke in really bad British accents, lifted our pinkies as we drank lemonade, giggled over memories of our past year together, and ate way too many snickerdoodle cookies.  My two-year-old raised the coffee mug she could barely lift and, in the cutest little voice led us in a round of “Cheers.”  Several times.  The day began to turn around.  I knew we were headed in the right direction when my 11-year-old said, “I don’t want this tea party to end. Can we do it again?”

A few days before Mother’s Day, a mysterious package had appeared in the mail with strict instructions that I was not to open it.  It was a surprise for me, to be presented by my girls on Mother’s Day. My oldest was in on the surprise, and she couldn’t wait to give it to me. Her excited joy couldn’t be contained. Daily hints were dropped, and she would look at me, giggle and say, “You’re gonna love it,” each time she walked by. If anyone could spontaneously combust from keeping a secret, it might be my 11-year-old. Somehow she kept it inside. That Mother’s Day afternoon-Yes, the same Sunday that had started so badly –the girls scurried down the stairs carrying a decorated shoe box. With big wide smiles they handed me a homemade card and the decorated box. Inside was the cutest t-shirt commemorating my motherhood and fabulous, dangly, hand-crafted earrings from Crossing413.com. My girl was right, I did LOVE IT!

After nap time (Mommy got a nap too-Thelma would be so proud), I felt a little sentimental and wanted a keepsake from the day. I cranked up my inner Martha Stewart,  broke out the hand-tracing and finger printing crafts my friends at Fostering Hope had dropped on my doorsteps a few weeks earlier, and we crafted some magnificent keepsakes.  (Magnificent to Mom, anyway.) My day was experiencing a total make-over.

At one weak point, I caved and ordered Red Lobster– I mean who wants to ruin the day with dishes duty? And the kids have to eat, right?  Cheese biscuits (and chocolate) can make any bad day better.

Miss 11-year-old broke out her spa accessories and opened her Home Spa Resort right in my living room. We mixed up an oatmeal-honey face mask, got out the lotions and galvanized buckets and spa’d the night away. I was treated to a legitimate, relaxing massage and foot rub by my big girl (I told her she could make major bucks in this business!) and I felt loved and pampered. Well, minus the oatmeal-honey mask that she globbed on my face. I looked like a paper mache project gone wrong!  As preteens are inclined to do, my favorite spa consultant took ransom pictures which are sure to keep me single for a long, long time.

It’s the little choices in life, the moment by moment decisions that determine the overall success of our days.  In the middle of a bad situation, a change in attitude or behavior can reset our day in a positive direction. So, Mommas, if Calgon needs to take you away for a minute, jump in and soak for a while, then shake off the dust, wipe away the day’s residue and begin again.

His Mercies are New Every Morning– (and actually every minute)!

I had an amazing Mother’s Day (really!).  I hope you did too!

I’m Single, Is Fostering Right For Me?

I love kids.

I think kids like me.

I want kids.

These are a few kick-starter prerequisites to becoming a FOSTER MOM, and you just checked yes to all of them. But, wait, you have one little hurdle, and you’re processing, is this hurdle too big to overcome? Should this hurdle keep your Foster Mom dreams at bay? Or should it be the catalyst that propels you into the Foster Mom life feet first?

YOU ARE SINGLE.

Four years ago, in the midst of my singleness, I couldn’t shake the idea of being a foster parent. But, I also couldn’t shake the reality that I was single, working a full-time job that kept me traveling and on the road a lot. And, to top it all off, years before, I had made a secret self-vow, I would never…foster or adopt as a single. I mean, every child needs a Mom AND a Dad, right?

The foster care system needs foster parents. Over 400,000 children in the United States are in foster care, and children are coming into the system every day. The world is broken, and children are sadly at the brunt of the brokenness.

The foster care system is in desperate need of beautiful people who are caring and patient–loving people willing to open their hearts and homes to children (of all ages) who are coming from hard places. A foster parent plays the important role of providing a safe place for a child, a place where a child can be unconditionally cared for and loved.

Take care of the orphan and widow in their distress. Those words in James 1:27 kept me from stopping my ever-increasing desire to become a foster parent. Jesus didn’t omit any race, ethnicity, social status, or single person from His plea. He simply told us this is what we are to do. Then with these powerful words he put the stake in the ground–caring for the orphan is “TRUE RELIGION.”

I can’t imagine my life without the title of Foster Mom next to it. Turning the “single card” into the “mom card” comes with great sacrifice and, yet, the greatest reward. So, if you want kids, like kids, and kids like you–and you just can’t shake the feeling that you should be a foster parent–jump in on the journey, and join the rest of us Jesus-loving Mommas who want to change the world for a child!

For more information about starting your foster care journey please reach out to your local foster care agency in your county. If you are in Florida, contact One More Child at foster@onemorechild.org or call 1.855.512.4453.

Walking into Another Mess……

I threw my hands down, and shook my head. My two-year-old found my make-up bag during her naptime. When the precious little angel was supposed to be sleeping, she was putting on “Mommy’s make-up.” But, the problem was, she skipped cosmetology school and went right into the School of Artistic impression. Little Picasso, painted a masterpiece! Make-up was EVERYWHERE– the walls, the off-white carpet, all over her new Minnie comforter,sheets, her clothes, and caked all over her body. Mascara, foundation, blush and lipstick smashed, pressed, and smeared. Are you crying yet? I am.

I wanted to scream, I did inwardly. This mess was an 8 on the rictor scale, and I was shaken with frustration and anger.

I don’t like messes, but lately I’ve been cleaning up lots of them. Finger nail polish on the carpet, vomit on the floor, blue kinetc sand tracked all over my carpets, and the egg filled slime the Easter blesser brought, has embedded itself into our Sunday best clothes, with no hope of coming out.

As I was down on my hands and knees, scrubbing the “Passionate Pink” lipstick and the Maybelline Long Lash black/brown mascara from my carpets, I found myself scrubbing vigourously and praying for the stains to disappear. This mess seemed bigger than anything Resolve carpet cleaner could fix.

Have you found yourself knee deep in a mess recently? Our world is currently in a big mess. And, our daily, personal lives don’t seem to get the “Mess-Free Pass” they desperately need during this season. Life is messy— sick kids, bills overdue, leaking roofs, scars from our past, marriages in shambles, kids out of order—– the messes of life are ever-present. And, if your like me, so many messes seem too big to be “resolved” without divine intervention.

About an hour into my cleaning frenzy, I felt a little nudge from Jesus, “I’m good at cleaning up messes, I do it all the time.”

1 Peter 4:8 says “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multiude of sins.”

If you find yourself drowning in an un”resolved” mess, God wants to help clean it up.

My compassionate eleven-year-old stood with me as I cleaned. She handed me paper towels, ran and got cleaning supplies, offered words of encouragement and, then, at some point while I was scrubbing, she left the mess, and returned with a hand-written card in her hand.

I hope this will make your day better! I love you and so does God. Just have faith and peace and think of the postive things. I love you.”

God does want to help us, in the middle of our mess. He sent encouragement, a helper, and a reminder of His love in the midst of my mess. I know He is very near to you, in the middle of yours!

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova

10 Simple ‘Stay at Home’ Activities for Kids

HELP! I’m home, by myself, locked-in, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with my children! Have you thought that this week? Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. But, in an effort to keep them from watching screens all day, and this momma from losing her mind– we momma’s have to put on our creative caps and conduct some creative play and fun.

One of my fellow foster momma’s asked me what I was doing to keep my kids busy and happy. Here are a few things we’ve done that use basic household items most of us already have lying around somewhere.

Fort Making (a table, chairs, and sheets/blankets). We love making forts. Our dining room table transforms into a super fun play space by draping a few big blankets on top of it. Give your kiddos some flashlights, turn off the lights, and the fun continues for hours. Here are a few more ideas for fort making that I stole from Real Simple magazine. I can’t wait to see your fort pictures and ideas!

Picnic (blanket, food). Grab a blanket, and find a space, get some food together and turn any meal time into a family picnic. We’ve had living room picnics, garage picnics, front lawn picnics, and even went and sat in a parking lot and had a picnic with take-out food. Add some fun, by letting the kids pack a picnic basket of foods and let them take YOU on a special picnic.

Pillowcase Fun (pillowcases). Pillowcases can be turned into ‘Pillowcase Olympics’. Grab some pillowcases and let the kids walk around the house in them, slide down stairs, have pillowcase foot races, and even use the pillowcases as “baskets” and have one child hold open a pillow case and the other child try to toss stuffed animals, balls (anything soft) inside! And, of course, every super-hero needs a pillowcase safety pinned on them to give them a proper cape!

Dress-Up (Mommy/Daddy’s Clothes and a Suitcase). Grab a suitcase or duffle bag, and pack it with your clothing items, shoes, necklaces, and hats–anything you have and allow your kids to “dress-up” in your clothes and wear your shoes. Break out a camera and take lots of pictures, and if you have extra energy you can give your kids make-overs too!

Freeze Dance (music). When you need to burn your kids energy out, crank up some music and have the kids dance their hearts out, then right before they pass out (just kidding), STOP the music and have the kids FREEZE in their position, crank the music up again, and let them keep dancing their hearts out. Who knows you may be preparing them for their Rockette careers?

Swim Baths (bathing suits and bathtub). It’s not quite warm enough for the swimming pool at our house, but we love to swim. So, why not swim inside? We throw on our bathing suits, and fill the water up a little higher than usual, and get our Michael Phelps swim on. And, just when they are thinking they are ready to get out of their bathtub swimming pool, I break out a popcicle and let them have popcicles in the bathtub. Add plastic cups, squeeze bottles, goggles, and even bubbles for more swimming fun!

Playdough (playdough, cookie cutters). My two and eleven year old, loves playdough. And, because my two year old enjoys eating it, I had to figure out a solution to my supply/demand issue. So, we have learned to make playdough. Mommy provides her safe plastic cookie cutters and rolling pins to add to the fun. Here’s a great recipe if you would like to make some playdough too!

Car Wash (water hose, sponges, buckets, soap). This is another fun activity for all ages and as a parent, I feel productive while doing this! Let the kids wash your car, and don’t be surprised when your car wash, becomes a human wash! Use sponges, buckets, soap, and wash away all the dirt and grime on your vehicles. We also lined up our bicycles and tricycles for some additional fun– we even named our carwash and the car washers were ready for naps when the “work” was done!

GoNoodle (Gonoodle.com). Tune into GoNoodle.com and find hours of movement videos to help your kids get their energy out and their excercise on! This super fun site is filled with lively, interactive songs to keep your kids moving and having a blast.

Scripture Memory (YouTube, Scripture). Learning scripture can be so much fun. Have your children use their creativity to make up songs and movement to scripture. When your kids have successfully become the Osmonds, break out a video recording device and record them singing and performing their new songs. If you’re like my family and need a little help with movement and tunes, find some great kids Scripture videos on YouTube by Psalmist Laura (she and her puppets are a big hit in our home!)

Momma’s, here’s to staying sane together (and keeping those kids happy and busy)!

Her Grief Healed Me

Grief. The last few weeks, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, I’ve heard the word a lot— many are grieving—grieving loss of jobs, normalcy, graduations, weddings, Senior years, proms, vacations, friendships, family they can’t see, and the list goes on and on……..

Six years ago, like an eighteen-wheeler barreling out of control through a car-packed interstate, my life was hit full-force by grief. My brother died of cancer. I stood at the grave of two dear uncles. And I walked with some of my closest friends as their son also battled cancer and entered into Heaven. As if this wasn’t enough, during those short months, a special personal relationship ended.

For a while, the grief was overwhelming.

One particularly difficult day, I sat alone in my home crying when my phone rang.

On the other end of the line, my dad said,  “Allison needs us, and I think YOU are her answer.”

When I first met Allison on the streets of Eastern Europe, she was fourteen and the most spirited, kind-hearted, angelic girl. I loved her immediately. I loved her even more as her story unfolded. She was an orphan. Her orphanage, in a very poor village, was closing. Allison had nowhere to go but the streets, an extremely dangerous place for young girls in Eastern Europe where human trafficking is rife. Her future was scary, to say the least.

But, as I left her that day, I felt God whispering that he would use me to help her. I had no idea how that could possibly happen. She was in Europe. I was in America.

Several miracles, including a summer hosting program, opened the door for Allison to visit my Oklahoma family for a few weeks. She was getting a once-in-a-lifetime trip to America, and I was getting to see this sweet girl I had fallen in love with. We were all excited!

While Allison was in Oklahoma, the deep sadness in her eyes haunted us. She wanted a forever family but believed she was too old to be adopted. With her 16th birthday right around the corner (the cut-off for being adopted out of Eastern Europe) she was right. The odds were against her.

Desperate to find a family for this special girl, my mom advocated tirelessly and talked to God relentlessly. (Mom and Dad were deemed “too old” by European authorities and I was “too single”.)  But Mom’s prayers prevailed. And, On Allison’s 16th birthday we got another miracle—an American family signed the papers to be Allison’s forever family!

Occasionally, my family would hear from Allison, with her cute broken-English accent and sweet gratitude for our family’s efforts on her behalf. We rejoiced at the answered prayers of a child who’d wanted a family, and now had one. Never in a million years did I expect God to ask me to help Allison again. But, he did.

Sadly, just a few years later, Allison’s adoption failed, and she was once again orphaned, homeless, and hopeless.

My dad called again. This time, he asked, “Can she stay with you?”

I looked up at the empty, spare bedroom in my town home and thought, “God, is this why that bedroom is empty?”

Even in my brokenness, God desired to heal others who were also broken. So, Allison came to live with me.

“God Heals the Broken-Hearted and Binds Up Their Wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Over the next six months, Allison’s life changed. She smiled again. She loved life again. And, she began to hope again. Something else happened, too. I began to smile again, love life again, and hope again.

As followers of Christ, we are called to bear with one another in sorrow–to suffer with those who suffer.  It’s been said that God never wastes a hurt. I believe that our own sorrow better equips us to bear that of another.  Amazingly, as I shared Allison’s pain, I, too, began to heal.

In the middle of my deepest suffering, God used me to bring hope to another. In the midst of YOUR sufferings, He can and He wants to use you too.