Sunday, May 26, 2013

"She is inadequate."

Three little words - "She is inadequate" - but they stopped my heart, then made it thunder in anger and sorrow - and in helplessness.
 
I was reading Susanna's blog -here - as I always do for encouragement and challenge.  Susanna and her wonderful family, by God's grace, have seen a little one go from this:


 
To this:
 
 
 
They are also in the final days before they travel to rescue little Tommy whom I have loved from the first picture:
 
 
She answers some tough questions in her blog like why international adoption instead of domestic, why special needs, how can you do it?  I encourage you to read it here.  Words spoken that need to be heard - but spoken with grace and love.  A hard combination when passion and convicting words must meet.
 
On her blog, she has a picture of  little Brandi:
 
 
I saw Brandi's picture months ago and my heart hurt.  Such neglect.  Such a tiny, fragile little body.  Such sad words on her description page.    I prayed for a family to save her.  As I read her description, I thought, "This would be too much for our family with little Grace coming."   Both Handsome and I felt that we could only handle two "severe" special needs kiddos.  Both Grace and Mimi are g-tube fed.  Both with need wheelchairs - though Mimi is getting closer to walking all the time, Praise God!  But she will probably still need help for long distances.  Both will always be at the cognitive level of a newborn to one year old.  Both will need help in every aspect of their day-to-day lives.
 
Part of why we felt the ability to step out for our newest two (who are still waiting in an Eastern Europe country):
 
The Firecracker
 
and Sweet Pea

 
is that both should have some measure of independence as far as day-to-day living.  Self-feeding, walking, getting dressed, even just physically moving themselves from place to place.
 
Trying to be wise, I felt that we should limit the highest needs and focus on a little more independent kiddos.  Plus, we just love those two precious faces so much!  How could we resist? :)
 
But something amazing has happened since our Savior brought little Grace home to us.
 
 
We have found that though she is the most physically needy of all our children, the blessings are above and beyond anything that we could have even imagined.  Ever.  Her beautiful smile and the love of God that pours through this little girl are breath-taking.  It is amazing in its depth and abundance.
 
Once again - just as we found with our attempts to "plan" our family - we would have chosen to limit the blessings God has to pour over us by our fear.  Fear of the "how" to do it.  Fear of the amount of work.  Fear of the unknown.
 
Our Grace is God's blessing poured out in abundance, until our cup is overflowing and the abundance surrounds us each and every day.  Just as His Grace is when we are saved through redemption.
 
As I was reading Susanna's post, she encouraged people to contact Shelley Bedford for more information on little Brandi.  A little girl - a real little soul, a real little girl, not just a picture from a horrific story line - who is so in need of a family.  It was just one of those moments you know that His Hand is pointing you to do something.  So, I did.  I emailed and asked the ever patient Shelley for more information on this little one.
 
This time reading her desciption was much different.  All I could think was,  "This is Grace.  This is my Grace in a horrific orphanage."  My little Grace, though in an orphanage with very little resources and knowledge, was still cared for.  Even though she wasn't held and kissed, her very basic needs were met.  Brandi does not have even that - she is in an orphanage known for amazing neglect and cruelty.  There is a new director who is trying to make changes, but some things cannot be quickly changed and some damage can never be healed.  This place was the stuff of nightmares.
 
One sentence in particular devastated me.  As the report was "summarizing" her, it included the sentence, "She is inadequate."  What?  How can a human life - created by a perfect God - ever be described as inadequate?  Inadequate for what?  To glorify her Savior?  (This is the purpose of man!)  No!  He created her - she can glorify her Savior in ways we never can in our selfishness and deliberate sin.  To meet someone else's needs?  Is that why we are called to serve and care for others?  Not according to Scripture.  Inadequate to bring joy to a family?  I know from personal experience that is wrong - I just kept thinking what an amazing blessing she would be to a family.  Like a surprise gift beyond imagining wrapped in dirty rags - she will bring God's blessings pouring out on the family willing to follow God's call to redeem her. 
 
Inadequate?  Even now, the word sticks in my mouth, only to be spit out with great sorrow and washed away with tears.  Can you imagine your very existence being summed up in the word "inadequate"?  I quake to think of all the things we will see clearly in Heaven that we disdained here.  How our hearts will break. 
 
Please know that we would claim her in a moment.  But we have already been told by her country that we cannot add a third to our dossier.  I also found out in the email from Shelley that we will need to wait 6 months after The Firecracker and Sweet Pea are home before we could even ask to adopt again from that government.  (Please know that I would completely understand if the process moved swiftly in this country.  Our new daughters need our full attention as they adjust and face medical challenges.  BUT this country takes at least a year in the best of circumstances and now it is slowing down even farther.)  As if that was not bad enough, Shelley also confirmed that this country is starting to limit adoptions to large families.  The helplessness for Brandi poured over my soul.
 
There is another little one that is so much like our Grace that we would rescue in a moment. 
 
Josiah
 
Click here to read more about this blessing in disguise. 
 
But again, the doors seem to be closed.  Neither of the agencies that could place him allow large families to adopt from this country.  How that hurts!  We KNOW his value - we KNOW what they are trying to communicate by saying "When you are with Josiah, it is clear that God’s love resides in Josiah. Josiah can’t talk, but he loves to smile and interact with anyone who will talk to him. Josiah cannot sing like most of us, but each day during nanny prayer and singing Josiah joins in with a big smile. Our deep desire is for Josiah to join his forever family through adoption. We have had difficulty finding that family, but we know that God has a plan for Josiah . We also know that where ever he goes, Josiah will be a blessing as his loved ones bless and care for him."  We KNOW, yet it appears that the door is closed.  Helplessness.
 
Yet, even as I am struggling with the feeling of helplessness, I hear the whisper in my soul that nothing is impossible with God.  However, I also know from my walk with Him, that it does not mean that He will necessarily open the door for us to save these two precious ones.  We are not the only ones that God can pour out His grace, strength, and courage on!   He is mighty to save.  As much as I want it to be, it is probably not us that He will use this time.  BUT I have no doubt that He could open the doors if that was His plan.  The feeling of helplessness comes from taking my eyes off of HIM and focusing on the situation.  To think that somehow I am the only one to "fix" this - and if the door is closed to me, nothing will be done.  How arrogant!  To walk by faith, I must remember He has a perfect plan.  I must remember that I want His perfect Will more than my imperfect one.
 
Maybe it is you?  Maybe you are the one He is calling.  Do not fear.  He is with you.
 
I have so much more to say, but my little ones need me.
 
Please pray for Brandi and Josiah.  That He is glorified in their lives and the redemption story that I cannot wait to see unfold.
 
To Him be all glory, honor, and power.  Forever and ever.  Amen



 





 
 
 

 
 
 
 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sweet Redemption

We are preparing our first post-placement report to send back to Grace's country.  As I am going through all the photos, I am in awe of the changes that are taking place in her.  The photos from her orphanage (before we went to get her) and from our pick up trip are so different from the ones even a few weeks later.  The first set of photos,  she is very curled up and "tight".  Even her face appears pale and tight.

 But, by God's amazing grace, the longer she is home, the more she has changed.  It used to be hard to even sit with her because her legs and arms were so stiff.  We would try to prop pillows in all the right places to keep her from hurting.  We didn't even dare to "rock" in the chair because it scared her and hurt her.  Can you imagine?  But as I was holding her, rocking  her, last night I realized how long she was as she stretched out on my lap.  She does this on her own, with a big smile on her face.  She almost never has the pinched, painful look on her face.  She snuggles in with a happy sigh.  Ahh, redemption is sweet.  Even more so is the sweet peace of heart in knowing we are redeemed by the blood of our perfect Savior - ever more at peace with the God of the universe!

But I can never rejoice long in the precious, amazing changes in Grace without thinking of all the precious ones who wait for families.  Some are in very good orphanages, some are in their own personal hell.  But all need the redemption of families.  Please pray with me for these little ones.  Many I have posted before, some are new ones God has brought to my heart.  If you would like to know how to find out more about each of them, please leave me a comment.  The comment will not be posted - but it will get to me....

 
Sweet Amelia.  She is turning 12 this summer.  She has Down Syndrome.  Jesus loves this beautiful girl and has called us to care for her.  What will you do?

 
Ah, little Darlene.  How I love this little girl.  She has the same diagnosis as our new Firecracker that we are racing to save.  She is so beautiful.  How see needs a family!

Beautiful Isabelle.  She needs to be able to run and play.  She needs to grow and blossom under the love of a family.  She and Amelia have waited for so long.  They are most likely in the same orphanage.  She has Down Syndrome as well.

 
Little Jacob.  This little guy has caught my eye.  Can you not see the sparkle?  He has spina bifida that has paralyzed him from the waist down.  He is also missing a kidney.  He needs the love of a family and the care of medical doctors.

 
Little Joshua.  Oh, my heart!  He is very much like our own precious Grace.  He would be such an amazing blessing for a family!

 
My beautiful Kristina.  Still you wait.  I thought you would be immediately scooped up.  But the environment you live in is causing amazing damage.  I pray someone has the courage to save you.

Little Marnie.  You wait and wait.  How you would blossom with love.  Someone to make you smile.  Do they not see your worth?


Sweetest little Millie.  My mama's heart cries for you.  You need someone to break through the scars and damage of years of neglect.  So many love you, yet none so far can rescue you.  Where is your family, little one?  How I pray for you.
 
Little Kaylee, you have stolen my son, Smiley's heart.  How hard it is to see his tears for you and to hear him whisper, "Can't we just adopt her, too?"  Oh, if only it was that easy, my tender son.  Kaylee is said to be in good physical health, but is cognitively delayed.  Please see this beautiful little one.
 
 
Please join me in praying for these little ones - BIG PRAYERS - for God is able to do exceedingly more than we can ever ask or imagine.  Eph 3:20
 
In addition, my sweet daugher, The Helper, has hand made some dolls that she would like to see to help with The Firecracker and Sweet Pea's adoption costs (the kids insisted that they needed nicknames, too!).  She is asking $10 each.  Here are the two she has done...
 
Wow!  Her dollies sold within minutes....but she will be taking orders. :)  What a blessing for her!
 
 
This is Isabelle.

 
This is Lilly.
 
If you are interested in either dolly, please leave me a comment.  I love my sweet young lady!  We all can  take the "mites" that God has given us and bless others with them! 
 
 
May You be glorified in all things!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Grace abundant!

I have had several people ask for an update on Grace.  We have had so many doctors' appointments, I keep thinking, "I will post after we see Dr. SoandSo."  Well, then they have another test to do.  So, I think, "I will post after that test."  And then another week goes by...

My sweet Grace!  How to sum her up?  Sweet?  Precious? Treasured? Delightful? Content? Joy? Blessing?  Nothing quite comes close - except that she is abundantly all of them!



She isn't going to be one of those miraculous and incredible stories that ends with "And then she got up and walked after only 3 days home!"  I am being a little silly, obviously.  But there are some incredible stories out there - only our amazing God could do such things.

Her story, instead of including dramatic fireworks and amazing changes, is one of sweet contentedness.  Like a cold glass of lemonade, sweet and comforting, on a lazy summer day.  One of those moments that you can savor and enjoy forever.

 
Grace's favorite place to be right now.


Grace used to spend all of her life in her bed or in the same stroller.  Day after day after day.  Not because the staff did not care - but because they had so many others to care for, they did not have the resources for anything different, and I don't think they had the knowledge of how to care for someone with her level of disability.  The staff talked with her while they fed her and lovingly brushed her hair out of her eyes.  But then, driven by necessity, they had to move on to the next child.  She was loved very much - but she was still nobody's child.

 
Grace in her orphanage


From the first moment she heard The Warrior and my voices, we got the most amazing smiles.  It completely transforms her beautiful face!  The staff stood back with shocked and hesitant faces.  I didn't know what to think, but decided that we had waited too long for that moment to worry about
what others thought.
 
Snip and Grace snuggling


As the week went on and the staff began to talk with us, we began to understand.  We were the first and only family to ever adopt from the orphanage.  NONE of the other precious children were even listed for adoption.  Yu-Chi was only listed because her birth parents petitioned those in authority to list her.  It was done reluctantly because they were sure her needs were too great.  (And she waited...and waited for years.  I think the first picture I saw was dated 2010, on her 2nd birthday.)  At first I was very happy to think her birth parents loved her so much.  But, the social worker shook her head at my joy and said that it was only because they no longer wanted to pay the costs of housing her in the home.  Heartbreak!

Part of their shock was that no one could believe that we actually wanted her.  I think they were truly afraid we would meet her and change our mind.  Some were blinking back tears as The Warrior and I covered her with kisses.   Even the stoic high up official from her county that escorted us the first day.  (He spoiled us that day by treating us to an amazing lunch and dinner paid from his own pocket.  He also bought us bubble tea with a boyish smile on his face.  That night he toasted us as Grace's "angels" - I had never felt more humbled.  I assured him that she was our "angel" and we were the ones blessed.)

The other part of their shock was that they had never seen Grace smile and interact like she was with us!  Three different staff members told me privately that they were all discussing the amazing change in her.  They kept insisting it was "magic."  I told them it was "family" - but later wished I had told them the truth - that it was God's grace - she was God's Grace!

So what is sweet Grace's days like now?  She wakes up in a bed full of soft, pretty blankets with the sunshine streaming in.  (Unlike the brick wall out the distant window in her orphanage)  She wakes up to her mama smiling over her and telling her softly how loved she is.  (Okay, so she probably can't see me... but she can hear the love in my voice.)  Soon her daddy stumbles out and scoops her up to snuggle with her in their big chair until he has to start his day.  Oh, the smiles she has for her Daddy!  Especially when he is singing to her!  She snuggles in and smiles and laughs.  How wonderful it must feel to snuggle into a warm body - something she has never experienced before.

 
The Helper and Grace sharing a laugh

The rest of the day is a constant stream of brothers and sisters talking with her, gently massaging her stiff muscles, and holding her close - whether she is in her bed, in her cushioned chair, in the stroller, or on their lap.  Both The Testy Chef and I work on her range of motion activities.  Slowly but surely, we can move those little hands, wrists, arms, legs, feet, fingers teeny tiny bits more.  We are so excited.
 
Grace and I working on stretching.  She is so proud of herself!


When we first took her from the orphanage, she would shake with pain and fear every time we moved her.  It was so painful for her and heartbreaking for us.  I didn't want to move her or change her diaper because it made me so sad.  But I knew that it was for her best that we had to do those things.  Although not completely pain-free, we are able to move her without the same harsh, immediate pain-filled response.  My prayer is that we will soon be able to change her clothes and diapers without it causing any pain.  I know the only way is to keep working with those stiff little muscles to help them relax.  But it hurts my heart so badly...

I am going with random thoughts here as my coffee is running out....She LOVES her baths!  I am sure the warm water feels wonderful on her body.  She slowly, slowly stretches out her legs and uncurls her clenched fists as we use the time to massage as well as soap her up.  Then she LOVES the hair dryer!  Silly girl.

We have been to the neurologist, who was hopeful that she may not be having seizures anymore, we are waiting to hear the results.  But she took her off of three of her medications - what a blessing! She was a wonderful woman who grew up in Belarus, which gave her insight into many of the medications that Yu-Chi was on but are not in the US.

She was at the eye doctor on Friday, who would like more testing done.  Grace is very limited in her eyesight - we are just not sure how limited.  She can most likely see shadows and light, but she does not focus on anything.  Her eyes reflex to the light, but she doesn't appear to see faces, etc.  From the appointment on Friday, it appears that her eyes are working fine.  However, with the extent of her brain damage, there is a very real question as to whether her brain actually processes what her eyes see. That will be the next test some time in the next 6 weeks.

Mimi's therapist evaluated Grace as soon as we came home.  She started out very, very subdued and reserved with her comments.  But as Grace started to relax, the therapist was pleasantly surprised.  She felt that with ROM (range of motion) exercises, that she will continue to regain at least limited flexibility. 

We did realize the first day in the hotel that Grace has scoliosis.  This had not been mentioned in any of her evaluations, but was not a complete surprise.  So many of these little ones that cannot move on their own end up with curled and twisted bones as they sit in the same position for years.  As I mentioned, she has very stiff muscles.  Her hands are almost always clenched, except when we have been working with her.  The elbows are consistently bent over her stomach. BUT she is straightening her arms more and more on her own.  HOORAY!  Her hips splay outward, like a frog almost - but like her arms, she is straightening them more and more on her own.  In fact, it is very precious - she will get a huge smile on her face and then stretch because she knows what comes next.  We all cheer her on!  Her smile gets bigger and she stretches some more!  My heart just overflows with joy.

She still has her NG tube.  The doctor is planning to place a g-tube placed as soon as possible, but we have to wait until her system is cleaned out first.  She is still significantly constipated.  I was hoping we could try to give her bites of food, but she is terrified even when we brush her teeth.  Oh, and her teeth!  Poor, poor baby!  Her molars are just nubs in her mouth.  I don't know if it is from grinding or from her gums being so swollen from infection.  She has yellow "shells" of plaque on each tooth.  If I pick at them, I can get them to pop off - but she cries and cries that my hands are in her mouth.  She had horrible thrush on her tongue.  It stinks so badly when I brush it off.  But the brushing is slowly making a difference (as well as probiotics).  But just like changing her, it is so hard to gather the courage to work on her teeth because it hurts her so badly.  She has an appointment in two weeks with an amazing pediatric dentist.  He will probably need to put her to sleep to clean her teeth.  My poor girl.

The dietitian with the GI doc is simply wonderful.  She is slowly but surely working on Grace's deficiencies.  She has osteoporosis from lack of Vitamin D and good foods - so that is the next round of supplements we are adding.  Oh, and speaking of Vitamin D - she LOVES to be in the sunshine!!!!!  We asked the orphanage how many times she had been outside and we were told only once when she went to the hospital for pneumonia and once for the visa exam! More heartbreak for this Mama.

Every day it is warm enough, Handsome takes turns taking Grace and Mimi for walks.  They both love it!  Grace also loves being in the stroller outside or riding in the car.  Honestly, she is just a happy girl.
 
Happy days outside!

So long term for Grace?  Unless God chooses to do miraculous things (which He could!), she will be in a wheelchair all her life.  My "dream" goal - as in way-far-out there - is that she could learn to sit unassisted.  But right now, she can barely hold her head up on her own.  She most likely will never eat by mouth.  She will probably be non-verbal.  She has only a newborn's comprehension.  But, oh, her beautiful smile makes it all a blessings!

 
Just for good times - The Testy Chef, The Professor, Smiley, Snip, The Helper, The Warrior with The Boss on his shoulders, Romeo
 
 
The Prince, Grace, and I at my parents private campground.  You can't tell by the picture, but she loved it!
 
 
Little Mimi - what a dolly!
 
 
I am so blessed!  To Him be all glory, honor, and praise!
 
P.S.  I guess I wear that pink shirt too much.  ;-)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ending the cliff hanger....

I am so sorry there are such long breaks between posts.  We have actually had sunshine here and that has kept us busy trying to get our new house in order.  Where we live, this might be the only sunshine for the next 8 weeks or more!

Anyway, I am forcing my heart back into that hospital room so many years ago.  It is hard to go back to the place of such deep despair.  It is easy for someone reading the story to focus on "and then they went home!" and not know the despair of just the unknown.  When we we go home?  Would we both go home?

I remember reading the story of Joseph in prison for the umpteenth million time and it finally hitting me that Joseph sat in prison for TWO years!  TWO years of never knowing if he would ever leave again.  The Bible doesn't give a hint as to his heart - but I have to believe there were moments of despair - and moments of deep faith.

I am afraid the moments of deep faith were missing from my story - much to my shame.  This is probably one of the two lowest points of despair I had reached in my entire life.  So many things were going on in my heart as God was teaching me so much in such a concentrated point of time.

One of the hard things was realizing I was not indispensable.  My mom and sisters were doing an amazing job of running the home front with Handsome.  Sure, it was a great deal of work - but they were doing it.  I could sit in the hospital room for however many weeks that God asked.  That was a very sobering and humbling thought.  It doesn't sound very spiritual, but it truly is a core issue.  To realize that God could (and would) use whatever or whoever He needs to accomplish His purposes.  He was using me, not because I was so amazing, but because of His grace.  It is ALL because of His grace - never because of us.

Right on the tail of that, I realized that they were all doing it with joyful hearts - I could not say I would be able to do the same thing if they needed it.  I would be torn between wanting to help and wanting to live my own life.  I would definitely do anything they needed - but I would probably have a grumbling heart.  Pretty sad realization to come to - to stare your own selfishness in the face amidst others sacrificing for you.  Again, God showing me how much I needed His grace.

I would stand in line at the cafeteria with just a blank, glazed look of perpetual shock.  I know, because I saw it in the other parents' faces that I knew were staying with their children in the hospital.  Not hope, not joy, but numbing despair.  I didn't want to look to see what the menu was for the next day, because I didn't want to acknowledge that I would need to eat there again.  I didn't want to acknowledge that I loved the onion rings served on Tuesday and Thursday because I didn't want to know I would have them again....

Each day would just blur in and blur out.  I knew all the nurses by their names - they all knew me.  I would race out 2 times a day and get my food as fast as I could (I would bring muffins to the room the night before for breakfast the next day) and race back up to the room because Mimi would start to cry (in her own way, just silent tears sliding down her face) if she woke up and found I was gone.  The lowest point was spending my birthday in the hospital while my family went on our annual camping trip without me.  I hugged Mimi close and knew that I wouldn't change it for a moment, but oh, how the tears flowed.  (Quickly, between nurse visits!)  I missed my children at home desperately!  I wanted to be the one to hug them in the morning and make pancakes.  I wanted to see their pictures and kiss their scrapes.  I wanted to be in a place with no beeping monitors and endless cords on my baby.  I felt so alone - but I see now that this was when He was holding me the closest.

When I was told it would be another few weeks, I called Handsome and my mom and we started laying out the "troop movements" (as we called the elaborate plans to keep 8 kiddos and Handsome taken care of).  I was just an empty shell.  Where was my Savior?

They kept trying to up her foods through the g-tube so they could stop the IV feedings.  But they would only up the amount by 3 mls a day.  I calculated that it would take 30 days before she would be up to full feedings.  Despair....

Two days after the doctor's prediction, despite my best efforts, Mimi's tube draining her lungs fell out.  I thought it was the final straw.  I knew they would have to put it in again and it was so painful....How could my baby suffer like that again?  WHERE WAS GOD?  HE HAD PROMISED TO GIVE ME THE STRENGTH!

I don't know how to describe what happened next, except that it seemed I stepped out of one story and into a completely different one.  Instead of the doctor saying that it had to be put back in, he ordered an x-ray.  This is the same doctor that had just told me "weeks".  He looked at it and said, "It all looks good now."  Then he said that we would just need to wait until her feeds were normal.  WHAT?  What just happened?  How could it change like that?  Only God...

But I quickly deflated, thinking of the calculation of 30 days for a full feeding.  However, the next day, the GI doctor, worried about her liver, said to up the feeds by 10 mls per feed, not per day and see how she did.  I was in shock as she handled each feed!  I could not believe it! 

Long story, short - we went from being told "weeks" to going home 5 days later.  Only God could do that!  I was even able to surprise my kids by getting home just before they got home from their camping trip!  I wish I could describe my joy! 

But, oh, I carried scars on my heart.  People would tell me that God wouldn't give me more than I can handle.  I finally started responding to that comment this way - God promises not to give us more than we can handle with His strength.  (People would always nod vigorously) And His strength is infinite, right? (To which they would nod with a big smile) Then that means that He can ask us to do something that is so infinitely hard that we cannot breathe on our own under the weight of it.  (They were not sure how to respond at this point and their smiles fell away.)  I would reassure them that God had indeed kept His promise  - He had brought me through it all - but not without scars.  I have come to love those scars as symbols of His Hand upon my life - but like any scar, it takes years before it starts to fell like it is a comfortable fit.

Even as I was going through all of this, I knew I needed to be joyful always as we are told in 1 Thessalonians.  The most I could squeeze out of my scarred heart for the last 4 years was being thankful that we were no longer at that hospital.  (Pretty pitiful, huh?)  Thankful that He had brought us home as a family.  Thankful that though we have had more surgeries and emergency visits, that nothing like that has ever happened again...

So what was my monumental day?  (From 3 posts ago!)  As I drove up the hill to the hospital with Grace as we began the first of many, many doctors' visits to come, I was completely and utterly overwhelmed with thankfulness that I had been through all of this before.  That God - in His faithfulness and all-knowing love - knew that He had special children waiting thousands of miles away from us that would need me to know in great detail how the whole medical system worked.  To know how to advocate for my child and to navigate the world of hospitals, doctors, and nurses.  The thankfulness was so deep and full that tears just poured down my cheeks.  Only God.  Only He could have done this - to take my pitiful, selfish, sinful self - and the walk through the valley of the shadow of death - and turn it into an avenue for life for other precious children.

Psalm 84 says it this way:

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca, [a desert land]
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;

Each one appears before God in Zion.

God definitely brought me from strength to strength as I walked the desert that He had laid before me.  His promises weren't void because I could not see them at the time - they were even more precious later as I realized He never broke them as I doubted Him.


To Him be all glory, honor, and power!