|The 3 "littlest". Even they won't be little very long.|
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23
Sunday, August 19, 2012
|Jumping waves. That's a happy face, folks.|
|Enjoying the ocean|
|And the pool.|
We went to the beach in the mornings and we stayed out until late only leaving to alternate with the pool. We never watched the clock and the time was never important. It was so good for all of us to have that week. It was as if God stopped the clock for a few moments.
On the last day we packed up and as we started the drive home she quietly said "thank you, Mama, Papa" and motioned that she meant for the vacation. I noticed she was a little teary and the dread began to creep in again. All I could think was that I was so thankful for that week when we didn't have to think about the reality that was waiting for us in the coming days.
And I know I had said I would blog all about it. Last night I finished most of the packing and I finished her scrapbook and I glanced at the computer. I did remember, but I saw my husband sitting on the couch and I decided I didn't have it in me to write. So filled with dread and heartache, I chose instead to lay on the couch with my head in his lap and because he knows me so well he didn't say a word but just ran his fingers through my hair until I fell asleep.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Peace is never found in changing our circumstances. It is found in the realization that God is sovereign. He is big, powerful, and He holds all things together. And there we find rest. I'll be sharing about her first beach trip soon but first I had to share about another first that happened last weekend.
So, last weekend I got to watch a friend get married. It was such a wonderful day for so many reasons. She was beautiful and even though I don't usually cry at weddings I cried at hers. As it worked out neither Kayla or Brian was able to go so I ended up taking Isabella and Vika instead. As God would have it, someone had already given us a dress that was perfect for the occasion. When they gave us the clothes I had thought to myself that it might be a little fancy and we might not have a use for it, but I figured she could wear it to church anyway. Silly me. Didn't I just write about God and details? This is why I write it down, guys. I need reminding, too.
As we were getting ready I was going to curl her hair under with a curling iron just to make her feel extra special. As I went to curl it I realized the haircut was uneven in many places so I used charades to ask if she would like spiral curls. She did. So I took my time and her eyes were already lit up. She twirled in the living room to watch her dress flare, and when Brian came out she went in for a hug but then pulled away yelling "Papa, no!" and motioned he would mess up her hair.
She was so excited since it was her first wedding. A wedding is something that was, until this weekend, only in fairy tales for her. I don't think I have the words to describe her face as she walked in and saw all the flowers and beautiful decorations. She ran around wanting her picture taken with friends and I couldn't help but be grateful that she has felt so loved by so many. One of the many is our youth pastor. He and his wife are, in my humble opinion, what every church needs in their youth department. They just embody "Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God". At one point he grabbed Vika's hand and spun her around like only a man with daughters would think to do. She lit up and I asked him to dance with her a little because I wasn't sure she had ever been able to do that before. He did (what a good sport!) and twirled her and she was so lit up that afterward I had to turn around to keep my composure. Or, to try to keep my composure. Unfortunately I locked eyes with a friend who had also been watching her and was all choked up and teary- eyed, too. No help there.
The highlight of her night was clear though. She begged all night for a picture with the bride. She was so captivated by this beautiful women in her beautiful dress- all radiant with love and happiness. And because my friend is beautiful inside and out, she was happy to oblige.
|I promise to stop taking pictures with my phone. I formally repent of leaving my camera at home and using cheap, red eye inducing phones to capture memories. But this kind of radiance shows even on a cellphone pic!|
Then Vika danced until it was time to go. With sore feet she hobbled out- eyes bright and a smile stretching the length of her face. It was something she would have never thought to ask for but it ended up being one of the highlights of her time here. Yes, looking at this picture I am reminded that God writes the story of our lives so much better than we would ever be able to dream up on our own.
Note to self: stop trying to grab the pen.
Friday, August 10, 2012
|Welcoming my husband home in 2003. See? Hugs.|
|Making a scrapbook to remind her she is known and loved.|
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
We still serve an audience of One.
|Remember this? Day one at the airport.|
|5 weeks later|
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
If you have been around me any length of time you know that the two things I talk about most are God and my family. Or it might be what God has done for my family. Or maybe what God is doing in my family. I can't help it, y'all. Its what excites me, they are what I love. So Vika has heard about Jesus' love for her since she got here. She has been told how she is precious to Him, she has been to church, she has been to VBS. She has, by her request, watched The Story of Jesus for Children again and again. And she has eaten up every word of every bit of it.
At night we tell them its time for bed and she hugs us goodnight and goes to bed without complaint. But under her door I can always see the light is still on. One night when Brian went out to the car he saw her blinds were open and could see she was up reading. "Reading?", I had questioned, "but she doesn't have any books yet. All she has is a Bible and she doesn't seem interested and I think it is hard to read!" He shook his head, "I don't know what to tell you, Babe, she is reading." I talked to her about closing the blinds when it is dark but every night as she goes to bed the light stays on. A few nights later, the blinds were open again and same thing. She's clearly up reading.
While driving she saw a cross on the side of the road and pointed it out to me. I forgot about it by the time we were home but she didn't. She asked, via translator, about the cross and what it meant. I explained that people put those at the scene of car accidents when someone dies. I explained it was a way of remembering a loved one. "But", I added, "If you happen to see one in a yard it means something different. Then it means that person has accepted Jesus as their Savior". She just looked at me.
"Vika, do you know what that means? For Jesus to be your Savior?"
She shakes her head "no".
I felt my heart literally ache. Because I remember what life was like before I knew. I remember that awful emptiness inside. I remember how much more painful everything is when you don't have that Hope. So I ask if she would like me to tell her more about it. She shook her head "yes" and I could tell by her eyes she was serious. I went to a website I am familiar with and I pulled up a simple Gospel tract that explains it in the most simple way I know how. Then I pulled it up in her own language.
And she was engrossed.
I watched her eyes slowly drink up the words. How we were separated from God because no one can be perfect and we have a sinful nature. And how God loved her so much that He gave His one and only Son to live a perfect life and die on a cross to pay the penalty for those sins. For her sins. And how she can have forgiveness. And eternal life. And freedom. And peace. And LOVE. It explained how He wanted to save her, help her, call her daughter. And it explains how to make this free gift her own. If only I could have climbed inside her mind and seen what she was thinking.
Our ability to communicate is so limited. I asked her when she was done if this was new to her. She said "yes". I asked if it was interesting. She typed "I'm very interested. Thank you." We talked some and I told her I had ordered her lots of Christian books. Some were just to read for fun. Some would help her understand the Bible or explain the stories Jesus taught. She seemed happy about this.
Later that evening we were sitting with the laptop again. Headed into a new week with no plans seemed like a relief to me and I was hoping to find some meaningful/ fun activities for us to all do together. I gave her options - have you ever baked cookies from scratch? Do you want to do some painting or crafts? She just shrugged. This doesn't help. With no ideas as to what she was thinking, I tried prompting her to think about activities she enjoyed. As I typed she shrugged, so I tried to think of more open ended questions. "What has been your favorite thing about America so far"? She grabbed the laptop- she had thought of something. She typed her answer and tilted the computer toward me.
"That you are my mother."
I looked at her, into teary eyes and my throat instantly closed up. Luckily, she turned the computer back toward her and started typing because I was speechless. She proceeded with adulation I don't deserve. She said I was the kindest woman she has ever known, which made my heart hurt and convicted me all in one fell swoop. Then she paused and thought a while.
"Thank you for everything".
A few moments later it was time for bed. She always gives bedtime hugs so long and so strong that you wonder if she cracked any ribs. I don't want to correct her since she is so emotionally fragile so I just learned to position myself so that her arms are not around the lower, smaller, more fragile ribs. (Really ya'll, she is stronger than she looks!) Tonight she was less animated with her hug but she lingered long. I never pull away from her- I let her be the one to pull away because while I get an abundance of hugs everyday I am aware that she probably doesn't even get a hug everyday. She lingered so long I began to feel that pull in her chest. And you Mamas know that pull - the one when your little one is crying and trying not to make a sound. She buried her face and her chest started to pull harder until it was obvious she was bawling. I didn't know what to do, so I just held her. I ran my fingers through her hair and tried to comfort like I would my own. I just kept saying "Its ok". When she finally pulled away I wiped her tears and she went to hug Brian and went to bed. She made no attempt to talk about it and I wasn't about to make her. So she went to bed.
But I could see under the door that the light was on. And I was GLAD. I hoped she was reading that Book- the only one that has the ability to comfort and heal and fill voids that are too big for me to put a real dent into. I don't know, ya'll. We are on week 4 of 7 and I don't know what to do next. But we will keep loving and sharing and moving forward. And I can assure you of only one thing.
We will be going forward on our knees.
Friday, July 20, 2012
|Vika loved VBS. Especially music and crafts.|
|Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."|