My Journey to Joy

March 7, 2015

Steffany Woolsey on Rest

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“…resting is about more than nourishing body and soul; it is also a picture of surrender.  When we seek our refreshment in Him, we choose to follow His path for our lives, we lean into Him, and we accept His gifts of forgiveness, guidance, and sustenance.”  ~ Steffany Woolsey, A Jane Austen Devotional

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February 28, 2015

Evelyn Puerto on Acceptance

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“By accepting their trials as from God’s hand, in trusting Him fully, in surrendering to His will, their faith was strengthened, and they were given peace and joy and a profound sense of God’s love.”  Beyond the Rapids, Evelyn Puerto

February 23, 2015

He Knows

Filed under: Songs for the Journey — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM

February 21, 2015

Focus

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“Struggling and rejoicing are not two chronological steps, one following the other, but two concurrent movements, one fluid with the other.
As the cold can move you deeper toward the fire, struggling can move you deeper toward God, who arms you with joy. Struggling can deepen joy…
The secret of joy is always a matter of focus: a resolute focusing on the Father, not on the fears…”
Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift

February 18, 2015

Not Just a Baby, by Life as Two

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM

Not Just Baby

I am infertile. My body? It can’t do this thing that so many women around me do… conceive, swell, deliver, nurse, cradle, comfort. My body cannot feel a swift kick in the ribs; my ears can’t hear the gooey rush of a heartbeat on an ultra sound; my feet cannot swell with water retention; my hands can’t trace the tiny fingers of a fist pressed hard against my belly.

This is reality. This is grief. I am thankful that, over the past nine years, the Lord has shifted my longing to peace; brokenness to healing.

You must understand that what I am about to write is meant to be matter-of-fact… educational, perhaps. I want you to know that your pregnancy announcement or your Facebook photos are more to the infertile heart than just a baby.

Walk with me…

Earlier this week, I read this beautiful letter to daughters by Lisa-Jo Baker. Truly beautiful. Every daughter should have a mother willing to write these words… to carve this emotion into life. As I read through, tears welling and head nodding, knowing how blessed I am to know such mother-love in my life (and not just once), familiar grief pressed hard against a well-healed scar.

See, this thing called infertility isn’t just about the baby. It’s not just the cycle of cycle after hope and disappointment; it is more than the scent of newborn head or the long nights of rocking and pacing. Of the 3-5% of couples who do not go on to resolve their childlessness through birth or adoption, infertility is really a lifetime of hearing the word ‘No.’

‘No’ to: pregnancy, delivery, first booties, knit baby blankets, hospital visits, christening gowns, sleepless nights, first teeth, blow outs and stained sheets and vomit-duty and Cheerio-crusted curls.

‘No’ to: first steps, toddler tantrums, first words, open-mouthed kisses, grocery-store meltdowns, first trips to the beach, dentist, swimming pool, first broken bone, defiance and self-feeding and big-kid beds and endless days of potty training.

‘No’ to: first days of school, new teachers, good friends, mean kids, first sleep-overs and shoes that last barely a season; fussy eaters, homework fights, sports teams, graduations, discussions about drugs, sex, and rock & roll; questionable fashion trends, bad haircuts, experiments with vegetarianism, never leaving their room, learning to drive, enforcing curfew, first boyfriends/girlfriends and first break ups.

‘No’ to: first jobs and college and moving out and praying we taught them enough to let them stand on their own two feet; engagements and wedding plans and walking down the aisle and first homes and co-signing mortgages and figuring out the empty nest, wishing them home and to fly in the same breath.

‘No’ to: pregnancy announcements, grand babies, knitting blankets and booties and shopping and late night calls from exhausted, panicked mothers and babysitting and brag books and the fierce, quiet joy at the seemingly natural cycle of life.

This is reality. This is grief. This is the lifetime we live in the quiet moments after you announce a pregnancy, post pictures of first days of school, Easter outfits, Christmas morning, swimming lessons, mismatched outfits, or just the bright spots and moments of an everyday life.

Don’t stop posting. There is joy in watching your life unfold as ours will not. There will be days we will respond from a place of deep gratitude that we are part of your life… that you allow us to live vicariously in a way, years ago, we would not have thought possible. And there are days when we will sit quietly on the sidelines because that lifetime of ‘No’ is pressing hard against a permanent bruise.

Please understand this isn’t about guilt. Embrace the joy you’re given. God has lavished blessings on us both… blessings markedly different but beautiful in their own way. And each of our lives is sprinkled with hardship and struggle… perhaps I don’t know yours, but I’m not so naive as to believe that because you have the children I longed for your life is perfect. I know there are moments you cry out to God with fears and anxieties and disappointments and hidden grief.

Though I am infertile, my life is not barren. I am loved well by you, by family, by a God who cares about each of the tiny details of my life (Psalm 37:23). Grace has brought healing and joy and peace in a way that daily feels miraculous and overwhelming.

For those in the trenches, however, knee-deep in the boot-sucking mire of grief and disappointment, please think for a moment of this post. For many, this would-be life flashes before their eyes every month there is only one line on a home pregnancy test, every trip to the clinic, in every line filled out on the home study form. Will you pause for them? Just a quick pause in the crazy of your day with kids or grand kids or… not a full stop. Just a pause, because the wonder of that lifetime can truly slip through you in a moment.

Trust me. We know.

http://lifeastwo.blogspot.ca/2013/08/not-just-baby.html

February 16, 2015

Not Right Now

Filed under: Songs for the Journey — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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February 14, 2015

Safe

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“…the reality is that life and relationships aren’t completely safe. Jesus said, ‘In this world you will have trouble’ (John 16:33). We will get hurt. We will face loss. We will be disappointed. It seems as if control is a cure for this- but it’s only an illusion. It traps us tight within our fears. Freedom only comes when we find security in Jesus, when we realize that life is hard but he is good and no matter what happens he’ll guide us through it.” Holley Gerth,

    You’re Already Amazing

February 11, 2015

10 Ways You Can Help An Adoptive Family

Filed under: Adoption 101,Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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The process of adopting a child can be long and difficult, but the real journey for an adoptive family begins after their new child comes home. It can be difficult to know how to appropriately offer support to families who welcome children home through adoption and even the best-intentioned friends and family members can do things that actually discourage adoptive parents.

So, if you want to help an adoptive family, try these 10 things instead.

1. Give them space. The parents need time to bond with their child, and too many adults in the child’s life may complicate the bonding process and confuse the child. The adoptive family may need breathing room to adjust to all the changes in their family, so call first and ask them when would be a good time to visit – and be patient if it isn’t right away!

2. Honor boundaries. Ask the parents about boundaries before engaging with a newly adopted child, and then respect those boundaries. Often adopted children should not be shown affection and care by anyone other than their new parents until they have had a chance to fully attach to their new family.

3. Share the love. Be careful not to ignore other children in the family. This can cause resentment with the new sibling(s) and leaves parents the difficult task of answering questions like, “Why am I not as special as my new brother?”

4. Word watch. Be thoughtful about what you say in front of children. It is not beneficial for children to hear questions about how difficult or expensive their adoption process was or to hear comments about how saintly their parents must be for letting them into the family.

5. Respect their privacy.  Do not ask prying questions or expect parents to share details of the child’s background and biological family history. Many families choose not to share their child’s history to respect the adoptee’s privacy.

6. Embrace honesty. Ask the parents how they are doing, and don’t be shocked or judgmental when they share struggles. This does not mean they regret adopting – it just means adoption is hard! Be their friend and encourager as they share struggles.

7. Bring community to them. The early months with a newly adopted child can feel very lonely and isolated as the parents often need to stay at home with the child while they attach and adjust. Get creative. Bring dessert to their house and sit and chat after the kids are in bed. Find a night when dad can be home with the child and you can take mom out for some adult conversation.

8. Find practical ways to serve. If they have other children, offer to take them out for a bit. Mow the yard. Bring meals. Clean their house. Offer to come over late after the kids are asleep and let the parents take a walk around the neighborhood or go out for ice cream together.

9. Respect their parenting methods. Parenting and disciplining children who have experienced loss, trauma, abuse, and/or neglect requires a completely different parenting approach.  Even if their parenting choices seem unconventional to you, respect their choices.

10. Rejoice with them. Point out and rejoice in all the sweet little victories along the way as little hearts heal. Celebrate with adoptive parents as their child learns to give and receive love and to be a part of their forever family.

 

© 2013 iMOM. All Rights Reserved. Family First, All Pro Dad, iMOM, and Family Minute with Mark Merrill are registered trademarks.

http://www.imom.com/mom-life/encouragement/10-ways-you-can-help-an-adoptive-family/

February 7, 2015

Beth Moore on Grace

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM

“God has promised that His grace will be given according to our need and that not only will we survive by the skin of our teeth, if we trust Him and hang on to Him for dear life-grieving, yes, but as those who have hope- we will also thrive again.  We can give ourselves to something greater than painlessness.  We can give ourselves to purpose.  If we cooperate, good will indeed come to us and others around us, and glory will most assuredly come to God.”  Beth Moore, So Long, Insecurity

January 14, 2015

“Australia”

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You’ve heard it’s a wonderful place. You’ve read many guidebooks and feel certain you’re ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip.

So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you; you’ll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait-and wait- and wait.

Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, “Relax. You’ll get on a flight soon.” Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, “It’s not fair”.

After a long time the ticket agent tells you, “I’m sorry, we’re not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat.”

“By Boat!” you say, “Going by boat will take a very long time and costs a great deal of money. I really had my heart set on going by plane.” So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.

It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three times, marveling about each trip.

Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite that you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea. You have made many wonderful friends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than by air.

People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, “Oh be glad you didn’t fly. My flight was horrible, traveling by sea is so easy.”

You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty of Australia is not in the way you get there, but in the place itself.
Author unknown

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