8,035

his explanation

My life began 8,035 days ago. Though I’m a couple years older than the 8,035 days since my life began, I don’t really count those before. Those were the days of questioning my position on the planet and wondering when I would see my hoping and longing become reality.

The days before 8,035 were practice, as I wondered my purpose. They were days of longing…days of hoping and days of waiting for true love. I wish that I could say that the days before my life began were filled with patience, but I would we lying. Thankfully, Grace has a way of blotting out the forgettable and in return, magnifying His presence in our incomplete lives.

If my life were a jigsaw puzzle, I would be a thrift store find…A tattered box, with taped corners, holding more then just a few pieces short. Every side is missing a piece or two. A corner piece is MIA and half of the inside pieces are from other boxes left on the thrift store shelf. No matter how hard one finagles, the menagerie of misplaced pieces, will never interlock.

Now add another misfit…another box a few pieces short. It’s truly amazing and humbling to witness God’s patience, as He pieces life together. Despite ones desperate practicing, planning and piecing, God has a way of filling in all the missing pieces when two hearts collide. His joining of two lives, is nothing short of a magnificent masterpiece.

October 14, 1995, my heart collided with a farm boy’s and two thrift store finds, found true love.

Life for us began 8,035 days ago, but if we could go back to day 7…day 186…or day 4,934 we would see the very same thing; God working out all the details…Him filling in all the missing pieces perfectly and completely. We would witness His mercy and grace. We would see His reflection of hope and feel His faithful guidance. We would see His protection and His provision. Though day 8,035 is much different than the honeymoon allusion of day 2, it’s imperfect perfection has been made complete in a frame-worthy portrait.

I am a most blessed woman, as God saw David Ott, as the perfect fit, for my incomplete heart! Here’s to day 16,070 times 2!!

Grandma’s Kids


Grandma has been gone for many years, but a few days ago, I saw her. A few days ago, I glimpsed her perfection, her compassion, her faithfulness, her generosity, her humility and her determination. A few days ago, I felt her touch in a hug, as I was greeted by Grandma’s Kids in a North Carolina beachfront condo; someplace Grandma would never be. On this trip, as the waves crashed in the background, I was taken back to Zion, Illinois…to a big brown duplex on Elizabeth Avenue. 2610. On this wedding weekend in June, as I entered the beachfront condo, I felt the metal of an Elizabeth Avenue doorknob in my palm as I heard voices similar to my loved Grandma on the other side of the closed door. Memories flooded my mind of her glasses pressing against my temple and the feel of her polyester clothing against my cheek as she gave me a hug…the familiar musty scent that welcomed me in…I remembered the talks we had, the games we played…button, button, who’s got the button?…the walks we took and the way her hand felt in mine as we waited for the walk signal at Sheridan Road…her blue umbrella that she carried on rainy days and her rain speckled glasses as she held most of the umbrella over me so my “banana” curls wouldn’t get wet…the sound of the weight jiggling on the pressure cooker that she used to cook most every meal…all of these memories came rushing in like the waves on the Atlantic coast.

Because my memories are clouded by childhood innocence and blurred by words and actions of family, to hide and protect, they can only give a glimpse of the woman she was. My memories don’t include her trauma of witnessing the death of her mother and baby sister in a car accident when she was just a child or the reality of the years of heartache she endured because of the choices of an unfaithful husband. They won’t tell you of the sacrifices made to raise six children as a single mother, and the secrets she kept to protect her growing family. My memories won’t speak of the hours she spent praying…or the lonely days spent wondering why her husband didn’t come home.

Though all of these memories and experiences mean nothing to one that never knew her, they can tell of her character…Her Godliness…Her wisdom…Her faithfulness. These memories and life experiences can hint of the caliber of woman that she was, a woman shaped by her total dependence on the love of a Savior, that promised to never leave.

Even more important then the memories I have from my time with Grandma, is the legacy that she left behind. Six children, four daughters, two sons…25 grandchildren…great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, too many to count. This is what life is all about…The lives that follow…Lives Invested For Eternity. This is what Grandma gave me that is most important.

So as I was greeted that June day by Grandma’s Kids, I realized that I stood in her presence. The children that she raised worked busily around me getting ready for a beachfront wedding. Each daughter and son was trained by her. Each one contributed differently but worked together so much like their mother. In those few short days preparing for and witnessing beachfront promises, Grandma surrounded me. Maybe not in physical form but in word and deed of her children. Each adult child spoke volumes of the sacrifices made for ones eternal security. Betty, Barb, Sue, Gene, Terry and Peggy; each one a testimony to faithful guidance and God’s protection, grace and mercy.

I’m sorry if you never knew my Grandma, but if you would like to see first hand some of her qualities; perfection, compassion, faithfulness, generosity, humility and determination, get to know her kids. I’m so glad I have!

I am called…

I’m glad that I don’t have to march to prove myself.
I’m a proud “kept” woman that loves and appreciates the hard working man that God has blessed me with.

I’m trusting enough to let my husband lead our family and I walk beside him not because he is a tyrant, but because his example sits at the right hand of God.

I’m independent enough to know that tonight, I sit surrounded by the ones I love most, because I want to, not because I’m trapped.

I’m proud enough to mother the children of my womb and those of another, because motherhood is a noble and rewarding profession.

I’m secure enough to cook and
clean for my husband and children because I love them, not because I’m told to.

I’m content enough with my calling to launder endless piles of dirty clothes, not because I have to, but because my doing so shows loyalty to my family.

I’m blessed enough not to desire gold or riches. I have everything I need.

I’m thankful that God has given me the best job ever. I am a wife first and a mom second. If I die today, my life is complete.

Today I celebrate my womanhood not because I’ve carried a sign or made a statement by marching, but I celebrate because I’m living the life God created for me.

Today I contemplate my God given role and I’m so very grateful for the life he has given me and the man that calls me Wife.

A Perfectly Flawed Puzzle

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Impatience, desired perfection and the lack of tolerance of noise, do not make for a beautifully connected puzzle. Actually, I am, in my opinion, the worst mother. Ever. Self doubts, too many days, cause me to wonder if the puzzling progression of daily life will get the best of me.

As an adoptive family, alcohol abuse and opiate addiction, along with a woman’s right to choose self gratification over a baby’s health, outline our daily struggles. Psychological and inherited differences etched deep on their DNA, sometimes grate on my very last nerve, and every single day, scare the bajeebers out of me.

As I’ve said before, I never dreamed that I would be psychologically able to mother 6…5 perfectly rough Dudes and 1 precious Princess. Noise, dirt and chaos are not wished for in my “Safe Place.” Full nights sleep, quiet mornings, perfectly lined books in height order, and sparkling white toilets are a distant memory of a life long ago.

It’s amazing to me how God, in His Heavenly warped sense of humor, and with mercy and grace, could piece one’s life together in a perfectly flawed puzzle, where all the pieces, though from different puzzles, still miraculously interlock.

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be the matriarch of a family of 8, I would have laughed you right out of Appalachia. Speaking of Appalachia, who would have wagered that I would still be here. Even more surprising is that right now…this very noisy and chaotic day, I am content. Choices that were made for me 30 years ago have made my contented life as it is today. As hard as it was then, I’m so very grateful today.

So in all of my anxiousness, in all of my self doubt and impatience, the Puzzle Maker doesn’t need me to work out all the details. My job is to “do the next thing.” My placement in this simple yet chaotic puzzle, is to say “Yes!” My obedience is required, as He will work out all the frightening yet miraculously perfect details…one puzzle piece at a time.

The Grace of God and Cheese Quesadillas

I will not deny the fact that without the Grace of God and cheese quesadillas, my family would not make it. My life is busy, noisy, dirty, chaotic, expensive and scary…but so worth it! Sometimes in my busyness, I forget that it’s God’s grace that makes the overwhelming chaos, peaceful. His grace can shine thru the dirt of little boy faces and turn the terrifying into a glorious ending. Hopeless has no place when grace reminds me of the hope I have in Him.

In the middle of the chaos, the hands of time swing around to dinner time. Once again, despite the hope I have, dinner must be served. Every. Single. Day. Now my secret for survival is displayed for all to see. Cheese Quesadillas sit right up there, just slightly under the grace of God.
Some call my dinner time panic, a lack of planning, but I prefer to refer to it as resourcefulness. Everything tastes better in a tortilla. There are so many options for quesadillas…cheese, chicken, beef..and so many ways to decorate them…salsa…sour cream…

So now that the tortilla is out of the bag, you can imagine my desperation as all hope of a quiet day at home is dashed when I find the empty tortilla bag on the counter after a hungry boy’s midnight snack. A desperate race to the grocery store begins and ends with grace as the winner.

Experience has shown me that friends and enemies are made in the grocery store check out line. I’m not sure if it is the Hollywood tabloids or the chapstick and tic tacs that force strangers to step over the boundaries of propriety and ask the most personal questions. Although the memories of check out line conversations are many, I remember one tortilla run in particular. On this day, as the finish line was in sight to a particularly grueling grocery race, I struggled to entertain 2 preschoolers, a toddler, and an infant…not to mention $467 in diapers, wipes, and quesadilla supplies. The woman behind me watched with disdain as I maneuvered the heaping cart and 4 short people. At first I thought the tabloids were talking, but soon realized it was the woman, put out by the hurdles that prevented her from finishing her race. “I guess you’ve not figured out where babies come from…?” It took me about 6 seconds to turn from my load of humans and groceries to look her deep in the eyes; apparently too deep because her eyes wandered from my face to the floor. “Yes ma’am, I do.” At that moment, Sam’s tiny fingers found mine and I said in the sweetest, kid friendly, voice I could find, “This one came from two-timing dependency.” I touched Joe’s chubby cheeks and told her, “This one from abuse and neglect.” I kissed Doc on the forehead as I said “Addiction and hopelessness; and this precious baby, abandonment. By the Grace of God that’s not where they stayed.”

My response to her careless question was more than she could process, so she hurried away…to the line 3 checkouts away and 4 people deep. I’m not sure what surprised me more; the words that came from my mouth, the quiet children by my side, or the fact that she didn’t stick around to finish our intiment conversation.

Once I realized that she was not coming back, I continued rebounding groceries as they were tossed from the grocery cart to the conveyor belt. Halfway thru the scanning and bagging, the cashier stopped and said, “Some people really ought to mind their own business. Thank you for doing what my wife and I wanted to do but never did.” The tears slid down my cheeks as he said, “May the merciful God show her that without His Grace, we are nothing but broken pieces. God bless you sweet Momma.”

Not another word was spoken as my groceries were bagged and carted. Payment was made and I was on my way. Before I made it to the automatic door, I stopped and whispered to my precious, God given gifts, “I love you more than you will ever know. Now lets go get a cheese quesadilla.”

Seven

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Today, there were 7 beautiful babies at my house…7 happy, healthy and loved babies…4 playful boys and 3 princess girls…7 giggling, exploring, playing babies…7 hungry, squealing, crawling, running, eating babies.
Seven.
And now my heart is so overwhelmed; not in the sense of the amount of busyness, not in the aftermath of the volume of 7 excited voices…The quantity of laughter, squeals and noise is not the source of the heaviness I’m pondering now. Seven doesn’t cause me to stress or twitch uncontrollably. Seven is no match for me.
What tears at my heart is that these 7 will not be kissed by their Momma’s tonight. These seven will not be protected by their Daddy’s as they sleep.
These 7 are cared for, fed, rocked, kissed, protected and loved by another. The natural instincts of their Moms and Dads, have been wasted on selfish pleasures. The love of themselves out weighs the tender mercies of a parent that would do anything for their baby.
Now really, seven isn’t that large of a number. Teachers triple that number every single day and the number seven, compared to 400,00 is really minuet.
7<400,00. So why the comparison? These 7 are, or have been members of an exclusive club....Not in the sense of desirability, but in the actuality of neglect, abandonment and abuse. These seven, along with 400,00 others have been or are waiting in foster care. These 400,000+ precious lives are waiting. Waiting for a parent to choose them over themselves...Waiting for judges to rule in the child's best interest...Waiting for lawyers to finally present the evidence...Waiting for some imperfect humans to give them the perfect family...The perfect home. Waiting. Tonight, as I lie next to my sleeping husband, I think about these 7 and the 400,00 others. Thankfully, these seven loves that have stolen my heart, tonight, rest safely, peacefully. Their tummies are full. Their hair and toes are clean. They were rocked, kissed and hugged good night. Tonight they sleep peacefully as prayers surround them. Tonight the doors are locked and for one more night, these 7 have nothing to fear. Thankfully, 3 of these precious ones, will never remember the days of neglect...the nights of abuse...the fear of abandonment. My heart aches for the 4 still waiting permanency...The 400,000 waiting. Waiting. Now that I think about it any number of children waiting is too many. Seven is just my reality tonight.

6679

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Today I’ve been a mom for 18 years, 3 months and 12 days…6679 days. I’ve learned a lot in those blinks of the eye. For instance…

I’ve learned that milk soaked, honey flavored Kix, smell like a lot like a wet towel left on the floor for 13 days.

I’ve learned that if I had to choose between vomit and poop, I would choose poop. Every. Single. Day.

I’ve learned that it’s possible to clear an overcrowded laundromat with a gun and a few words…

I’ve learned how to grill 24 chicken thighs and turn them into 18 meals over the next 6 days.

I’ve learned that the fire department DOES come when a hotel fire alarm is pulled…

I’ve learned to recognize the body language of an 18 year old trying to “pull a fast one.”

I’ve learned how to stop a 4 year old’s melt-down with crossed eyes and a perfectly timed raspberry.

I’ve learned that vitamins not witnessed “down the hatch,” will be found behind the piano or in the sofa.

I’ve learned that boys are loud, fast and dirty…Really dirty.

I’ve learned that the days that came before I was a mom, were sometimes wasted selfishly.

I’ve learned that boys are disgusting and gross but sweet and perfect in the very same moment.

I’ve learned that spilled milk, sticky floors and laundry piles are precious gifts…

I’ve learned that silent moments in the middle of the night are so very comforting but so are baby snuggles at 3am.

I’ve learned that the pains labored in courtrooms, are as equally excruciating as those felt in a hospital room.

I’ve learned that profiles, memorized at supervised visits, look deep in my eyes when I kiss him goodnight.

I’ve learned so much since my days as a mom began…days that started with DNA…I’m so very thankful that my knowledge didn’t stop there.

I’ve learned that adoption makes me no less a mother and that DNA is not needed to give them life!

I’ve leaned that there will always be something to learn.

I’ve learned that there will always be “What ifs…” “What if we were still a family of 4…What if we would have said “No”…What if someone doesn’t get the attention they need…What if we outgrow our van…What if…

I’ve learned that each day can be a teacher. Every 6679 snaps of a finger…a faithful professor into tomorrow.

I will never know everything, but each day will add another lesson learned…Oh how thankful I am for those 6679 lessons learned.

Time

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Happy Birthday, Sam! Today you are seven years old. I can hardly understand how time has sneaked by. Yesterday you were my toothless two year old…

I’ve been told that time heals all wounds and in part, I would have to agree…

I fell in love with you the first day I met you…before you were Sam. That day, time stood still, as the memory of you was etched apon my heart.
You weren’t a wrinkled, pink new born, but a silent, almost two year old. I wish time could whisper in my ear the things you saw before you were Sam. The food you ate -or didn’t. I wish I knew why you didn’t have any teeth and how you got the hairless scar and the back of your head and the tiny hole beside your left ear…

I wonder why you will fight “to the death” for one you trust. I would like to believe that it’s because God has made you to be a loyal and fierce protector of your family, but my mind tells me it’s because you knew violence before you were Sam. My mind tells me that hands were not gentle and voices were angry.

I wonder why, despite where you came from, you have learned to love. You are a fierce lover of your brothers and a faithful helper to one in need. Why? Perhaps, the care of a foster mom? The tender touch of a social worker? Despite the life you had before Sam, someone made the choice to comfort you. Maybe someone held you close when you were hurt? Possibly, someone’s gentle touch showed you that there is kindness. Perhaps those that taught you to fight could also teach you to love? These things that I wonder about, I will never know because time has no voice.

You are my third baby, but my first to not know the sound of my heartbeat from the inside. Your heart has had to learn to be in sync with mine. You’ve had to learn the sound of my voice and you’ve had to learn to trust my touch. With God’s grace, time has been a healer…time has been a faithful guardian of your sweet spirit.

Though there is so much that I missed before you were Sam, I’m grateful that The Giver of Time has given me today, to celebrate you. I’m grateful that I was chosen to be your mom. The years will continue to sneak by, but one thing I can promise, for sure, time will tell you that you are cared for, safe and loved…so very much.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Smiling Sam I’m so grateful that time has brought you to me!

Genesis 50:19-20 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for a good in order to bring about this present result…”

Most Days

I’ve got two items of advice to give…
1) Do not accept any advice that I have to offer and
2) Do not call me Wonder Woman or any derivative of. (Wonder Woman shaves her legs. Who’s got time for that?)

Most days my life is ugly.

Most days I’m terrified that I’m doing this wife and Dude Mom gig all wrong.

Most days my feet stick to the kitchen floor and the laundry pile threatens my sanity.

Most days I roll out of bed not having a clue as to what my day holds.

Most days I just “Wing It” as I whisper a prayer for “HELP!”

Most days the miles under my tires out number the minutes I have to get where I needed to be yesterday.

Most days when I have a plan it’s because yesterday I didn’t have a plan and today I’m just catching up.

Most days I don’t “Wife” well because I’m so busy “Mothering.”

Most days I don’t “Mother” well because I’m so busy “Wife-ing.”

Most days I don’t “Mother” well between the hours of 12-2pm and after 8pm.

Most days I can only “Wife” after 8pm.

Most days I beat myself up for serving Kool-Aid, processed Mac and Cheese and GMO Freetos.

Most days I count the minutes until bed time.

Most days I feel guilty about working too much.

Most days I feel guilty about working too little.

Most days there is dust on the furniture, pee around the toilet and smudges on the windows.

Most days I just want to run away and hide.

Most days there is a stench resembling a poop factory coming from any of my 4 bathrooms. (Ahhh yes. I smell it even now.)

Moments of wonder, moments of gratitude, moments of second guessing…Most days are filled with all of these.

Most days are frightening. Everyday is messy. Some days are awesome. It’s the mystery of each God given day that draws my tired, weary body out of my cozy Sleep Number bed and urges me to do it again.
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Most days.

My Story

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I’m convinced that God has a incredible sense of humor. After all, look at me. He took this lover of all things pink, clean and quiet and gave me 5 chaotic, dirty, noisy, gross and disgusting little boys. My life, as disgusting as it is, I wouldn’t change a thing. Scratch that…carcasses. I would definitely change carcasses found in little boys pockets.

My experience with carcasses and all things gross, has led me to pen my very own definition of boy…
“BOY: Dirt covered, carcasses hiding, lover of holes; Gross and disgusting creator of poop.”

My married life started as the typical story book story. I married the guy of my dreams. A few years later baby boy #1 appeared followed two and a half years later by baby boy #2. The perfect American family of four.

I can honestly say that I was perfectly content with our micro-family…
It was easy to travel…If Dave said “let’s go” I could be ready and in the car (not minivan) in less than 5 minutes. I could drop what I was doing and go. Not so anymore. 5 minutes has turned into half a day depending on meltdowns, spilled milk, or poop. It never fails. There is always poop. (Please refer to my definition of boy.)
One pizza filled us up…
We could all fit into a Honda Civic…
We only needed one hotel room…
We could afford admission to museums and water parks…
We would get invited to people’s houses…
We could go into a restaurant without making a scene…
Disney trips were a yearly affair…
Airline travel was doable…
Water did not have to be the beverage of choice…
Camping was not considered a form of torture…

Looking back, I don’t know how we ended up where we are today. The micro-family of 4 has evolved into a mega-family of boys by the incredible orchestration of the creator of the universe. Oh how I am so very grateful for that sense of humor! This lover of pink has embraced the chaos, as I cannot imagine my life without these hole hunting, butt streaking, height leaping, yard peeing, helmet forgetting, ball throwing, milk spilling, poop creating, grass-stain making, silly sweet, melt your heart boys. My gross and disgusting, sweet, beautiful boys!

I may not know how we got were we are today, but I do remember the leading of God, completely and perfectly, as Dave and I, little by little, surrendered our desires to God’s direction…

January 2011, started out like most self employed years. A landscapers life is cold, dark and hungry in January. For some reason, this year was greeted with anticipation; not the usual winter dread. Dave had just finished the only scheduled work for the winter yet we looked expectantly for God’s provision. The previous July, we had attended our county’s MAPP class for potential foster and adoptive parents, but no commitment was made on our part. In August, Dave and I made the decision to no longer homeschool 7th grade A.J. and 4th grade Josh, and so the stage was set for change.

During this time of change, we were without a church home and I happened across a Tuesday morning ladies bible study a few towns away. I’ll never forget that Tuesday morning…

January 18, 2011 The Beth Moore study,
“A Heart Like His” began with prayer requests. This group of loving women, welcomed this wandering church skeptic with open arms. I asked the ladies to pray for me as I looked for “something to do” in my empty, un-homeschooling days…I was thinking about contributing to the family’s economy, yet I’m sure that God was chuckling as he knew what lay in wait.

I remember so vividly the bible study that Tuesday morning…King David had been called before the Lord and had been given a glimpse of the story that God had written for him. The King was so filled with emotion that he dropped to his knees and cried these words…

“Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family that you have brought us this far?…For the sake of your word, and according to your will, you have done this great thing. How great you are!”
2 Samuel 7:18-22.

The study continued with a word study on 2 names…Saul and Samuel. Both of these men had been “asked for”…giving these names their meaning.

Wednesday, morning, January 19 started with a phone call from DSS. I remember listening to the social worker as he told me about a little boy that needed a family. The conversation didn’t last long as I ended the call saying that I would get back with him after I talked with Dave. I honestly thought that Dave would logically explain to me that this was not a “good” time. I was sure that he would remind me that it was “January.” I convinced myself that he would tell me that he didn’t know how we would “make it through the winter as it was.” As my mind defined the coming conversation, I told Dave about the phone call and he responded by saying that he would pray about it and we went our separate ways in the house, each of us calling out for direction. My prayer had barely been whispered when Dave came back into the room and said to call the social worker and tell him that “we would take all that they would give us.” Over the next few minutes, as the call was placed and the phone tree answered, I was reminded of a scripture that I had read a few days before…

Isaiah 43:19 settled peace over my soul.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

The call was made. Later that day we met our little buddy with his foster family and we caught a glimpse of the “new thing,” as the 5 of us fell instantly in love.

Thursday morning, a call to the social worker, claimed the fateful words…”Yes we want him. We will take all that you will give us.” Over the next 30 hours, friends and family came to our rescue with a crib, car seat and a few other necessities.

Friday afternoon, January 20th, found us at DSS. A social worker handed us our “asked for” son and said, “Congratulations. Here is your 19 pound bouncing baby boy.”

For two months we transitioned from a family of 4 to a family of 5 and over those days, I realized that the Lord had heard my prayer that Tuesday morning. He had given me exactly what I wanted. Though given the name Joshua by his birth parents, we lovingly changed his name to Samuel because I had been given exactly what I had asked for.

As change continued, March 8th brought a new job for Dave as he spent the spring and summer working 609 miles away and I readied our house to be sold as we waited for Sam’s adoption to become final. We were separated for an eternity that lasted 6 months. August brought him back to us as our house never sold.

September 15th, 2011 the phone rang again. A two week old baby boy needed a temporary home…”Yes, we will take him. I’m on my way.” Forever etched on this Momma’s heart is the first glimpse of our beautiful Joe as a dear friend and social worker laid him in my arms. Boy #4 made us a family of 6 and my shiny white Malibu was traded for a gold Mazda minivan.

October 25th, 2013 the loved but dreaded “UNKNOWN” caller I.D. Flashed over the line…”Yes, of course…only for 2 weeks?…We can do that…I’ll be right there…” And 6 became 7.

I’ve shared with you a story of hope, love and life. It’s a story filled with grace, justice, mercy, kindness, victory and freedom. I’ve claimed it as my story, but really it’s God’s story as he tells it through my family.

Though I’ve not told of it today, my story is etched with failures, tragedy, loss and regrets. There are ugly parts wished to be forgotten, still even in my brokenness and shame, this story was penned by a faithful, merciful, gracious and forgiving God that never once left my side.

So will we really take all that they will give us? Yes we will…and I’ll tell you why…before God ever wrote on our hearts the names of these little boys, He adopted US! He chose US! He gathered us into His family even though we came to Him with nothing but brokenness, shame, ugliness, and regret and He purchased us with a redeeming price as He showered us with His grace and mercy. He sees a family resemblance in us and He calls us His sons and daughters!

As brothers and sisters in Christ’s family, my story is really no different than yours. Our Father dipped His pen in the blood of His Beloved Son and has written across the top of our adoption papers…”You are mine. I have bought you with a redeeming price and I will never, ever leave.” He has marked those papers with His official seal as he nailed them to a wooden cross.

Hope, love, life, grace, justice, mercy, kindness, victory, and freedom are what bind us together as family. They are the essence of our story. Without them our life is just a blank sheet of paper. As believers, our story is the same, we each just tell it a bit differently.

So my story had not ended. The Heavenly Father has not allowed me to read the final chapters, but my heart is full of gratitude as He has allowed me to see that my story is really His story.

As I read the words etched in blood across the top of each page, my arms will remain open until He ever so gently closes them. In the mean time, I look forward to where he will lead my family as His story becomes ours.