Sunday, March 27, 2016

My Chains Are Gone

Amber's favorite Bible story always has been Paul and Silas.  She loved to hear her daddy read the story because he did it with all the dramatic effects.  They would sing and pray while in prison, and the whole bed would shake during the earthquake.  Then Amber would want him to read the story again.  

As I reflect back on Amber's life I realize how much she has lived this story.  She had been chained by fear for years...imprisoned in a cell with no bars.  When she was just three years old, I would wake up at night to hear her singing "Jesus Loves Me" in a quavering voice.  She would feel alone, sad, and trapped.  She sang to the one who loved her.  She had many a sleepless night, but she talked to God.  As an older child when her heart was troubled she spent hours outside on her scooter listening to Christian music and singing to God.  Singing and Praying while in prison.

We experienced an earthquake last year, but it freed her from the prison.  I see a young girl emerging with a strong faith in the one who sustained her.  I see a confidence that comes only from God. 

I just went to a student led conference at the middle school with Amber last week.  She articulated her thoughts well.  She confidently presented me with work she had completed and a report card with straight A's.  Amber has come so far from the little girl who needed speech therapy because we could not understand her.  Meeting her now, no one would ever know learning to read was difficult for her and spelling was near impossible.  I walked away from the conference giving thanks to God for how far she has come and wondering where he is taking her.

God has freed her.  She now can sing, "My chains are gone.  I've been set free."  

Feeling thankful for resurrection power!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Flower of Motherhood

Working in my kitchen
Hearing children's voices at play
Feet thumping up back steps
Door thrown open
Four year old palm grasping treasure
Plunks it upon the counter

A crushed dandelion
the first this spring
gazes up at me
Excited words spoken hurriedly
"Hey, mom, I picked this dandelion just for you."
Then back out the door he dashes

Only an hour later I look upon the bloom
Now withered with petals curling inward
And it hits me
Time is fleeting
Little boy today
Grown tomorrow and gone

Many a dandelion bouquet
Handed to me over the years
A pure expression of a child's love
Laid down to wither
Not fully appreciated
Put aside thinking there will always be more

Wanting to cherish these moments
For tomorrow is flying by
Let me hold this flower of motherhood
And soak up the love it contains
For the days of dandelions in grubby hands
Are fading as the sun begins to set

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Feeling Different

Our Avarie Faith
soft springy spiral curls
sparkly dark chocolate eyes
infectious smile
skin a soft brown

Our Avarie Faith
bright questioning mind
flare for the dramatic
feels deeply
longing for love and acceptance

Our Avarie Faith
music speaking to her soul
body set in motion
rhythm pours out
emotions released

Our Avarie Faith
eyes searching
noticing the differences
wondering where she fits
why she feels different

Our Avarie Faith
asking the hard questions
"Why were there slaves?"
"Why do they like him better then me?"
"Why did he think that joke about black people is funny?"

Our Avarie Faith
life as it is in her world

As a white mother of a beautiful African American bi-racial child, my eyes are seeing things through her eyes now.  Things I never saw before or felt, I see and feel now.  I used to say prejudice and discrimination no longer existed.  That is not true.

My first experience was shortly after Avarie came to our family.  I took her to a doctor's appointment.  The receptionist was slow to get to me and treated me in a cold disdainful way.  I didn't think much other then she wasn't very friendly.  I filled out the papers and took them back.  She noticed I didn't fill out the family history.  I marked it as unknown due to impending adoption.  The receptionist's tone changed completely.  "Oh, you are adopting.  How wonderful!  She is a lucky little girl."  I was somewhat perplexed by the change from cold to warm and friendly.

It didn't take long before I noticed that when I was out alone with Avarie that it seemed at times people avoided me.  However, whenever my husband and I were together, people we did not know would even approach and say things about how wonderful it was that we adopted.  Why the difference? Why would it be different if I was her birth mom and not her adoptive mom?

Kaishawn is Avarie's half brother by birth.  We had them both in foster care for six months before we could move on to adoption.  One lady pulled me aside and said, "You are going to change his name when you adopt, aren't you?  Kaishawn sounds... you know... so black.  He doesn't look black if you keep his hair short."  I was horrified.  My jaw might have dropped.  I am not sure.  Kaishawn doesn't have as many resemblences to his African American roots.  He has blond hair and blue eyes.  Nevertheless, he also has African American roots, and it is nothing to be ashamed of or to hide. 

Avarie is almost seven now.  She is smart, observant, and sensitive.  I pray for wisdom as I guide her through these murky waters of racism and prejudice that unfortunately are still alive and well.  I pray we can teach her that her identity in Christ is the one that truly matters.  I pray she can overlook and forgive those who do not see the world through God's eyes.  I pray she can stand up and say I am one of the many beautiful colors in God's rainbow of people. Then in the last day we will stand together, my white skin next to her brown, praising God around his throne with those from every nation.

From God's revelation to John:
 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation , tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
"Salvation belongs to our God, 
who sits on the throne, 
and to the Lamb." 
Revelation 7:9-10 NIV

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Prayer Heard

Thinking back as I sit in my quiet spot with my cup of coffee warming my hands....realizing how I have sometimes offered up prayers not understanding the full meaning of the words I spoke.

"Lord, I want a life in which I can't live or breathe without you."

Bold words.  I said them with noble intent.  I truly wanted every breath that I took to be with Jesus by my side.

However, when I am honest I have to admit I wanted Him to be by my side as I lived my chosen life the way I desired.  I wanted to see the way where I was going.  I wanted a storybook life where everything turned out right.

As my world spun out of control last year, I came face to face with the reality of the words I had spoken.  There were days I literally could not take the next breath without him.  The life I was so sure God had chosen for us seemed bleak and desperate.  I could not understand. All looked dark.

 "Lord, how do I live when I can't see where I am going?"
I questioned God.  I cried.  In bouts of sobbing I said over and over, "I can't do this."

When the tears subsided these words always came to my mind.  God put them there.  I know that.  In the quiet after my struggle, my arguing, my fighting, I heard..."Trust me, my daughter.  Trust me."

Life went on.  I took the next breath...and the next.  It was ok.

I learned that I didn't have to know where I was going.  God was there.  He was my light.  He gave light to my soul when my eyes could not see.  He gave peace to my heart when the storms raged around me.

 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7 NIV)
God guarded and protected my heart with a peace that was not possible on my own.  He showed me that I truly could not live or breathe without Him.

I don't regret praying those words.  No, not at all.  I feel thankful for my God who was there for me as I learned to trust Him more. 

He heard my prayer.  I am glad he did even if I did not grasp the depth and full meaning of the words.

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