My Journey to Joy

February 21, 2015


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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 14, 2015


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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

November 6, 2013

Common Objections to Adoption

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“Do yourself a favor: revisit your list of objections to adoption.  Draw a line through each one that relates to your level of comfort or your fear about money.  What do you have left?  Is that all?  You might be closer to hearing God’s dream for you than ever before.”

September 5, 2013


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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I didn’t know it would happen this quickly.  All of the emotions, rushing back.  I feel as if I have been on a sabbatical.  Life has been fairly calm, full of sweet moments with my husband and baby boy.  I haven’t had much to worry about.  We’ve settled into a nice routine.  It’s been nice.  So nice.  And nothing’s changed, not really.  But getting that package in the mail… “application for potential adoptive families”  And everything’s changed.

At first I was unaware.  Things were going on below the surface.  Then I realized I’m crying over anything.  My emotions are at surface level.  And the dread…

Twice now, when we tell people we’re adopting, they’re so excited for us!  So sweet, so supportive.  I feel a little phony when they ask, “Are you excited?!”  This answer is complicated.  Yes, I am excited.  But no, that’s not my primary emotion…yet.

I’m happy.  I’ve settled into my new normal.  Adjusted.  And I like it here.  And then I look at adoption, and I see my world radically changing.  I see the inevitable heartbreak involved in the process.  And my wimpy self asks, “Are you crazy?!”  Throughout most of my life, when I have seen a painful prospect on the horizon, I haven’t charted a course directly toward it.  But here we are.  Marching right into hurt.  Because it’s worth it.  Because God has called us.  Because it’s not about us anyway.

And this time around, I’m actively fighting the fear.  I have a playlist of songs that I sing along with in the car, usually with tears streaming down my face.  Sometimes through gritted teeth.  But I keep singing.  I’m quoting Bible verses to myself; verses about fear, about trust, about God’s great love and His plan for me.  I’m sharing my struggles with friends, who are so gracious to encourage me and lift me up in prayer.  (I love that phrase: “Lift me up in prayer”!)

This is too much.  More than we can handle.  Again.  I’m so thankful that “God is not restricted to my strong points”! ~Marye Shivers

I’m reminding myself how big my God is, and how easy it will be for Him to fulfill His plan.  All I have to do is show up!  So I will…

*I wrote this about a month ago, and it’s amazing what God has done since then in releasing me from fear!  He is so good…

May 25, 2013

Ambrose Redmoon on Courage

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“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the
decision that something else is more important than fear.”  ~Ambrose Redmoon:

January 31, 2013


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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God’s persistent, isn’t he?  I’ve always liked CS Lewis’ description of him as “the hound of heaven.”  Faithful, determined, unrelenting grace shaping me into His vision for me. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…  Proverbs 3:5

He’s been nudging me for a while about this trust thing.  A couple of years ago we even wrote it into our family’s creed: Trust Completely, Live Joyfully, Serve Authentically.  It looks really good on the wall, but “trust completely” is a pretty tall order in day-to-day life.  Like I said, He’s been nudging, so when I read a few posts about selecting a word for 2013, “Trust” seemed like an obvious choice.

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.  Psalm 9:10

Well, He’s been digging around deep in my heart.  Turns out some of the trust issues tie in with the control issues.  Which tie in with fear.  Which is not how I want to live my life.  Something is going to motivated me to do and be, and I don’t want fear to be that force!

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.  Psalm 62:8

At this point, the awareness has gone from uncomfortable to actually painful.  My wimpy self says that I should just shove that big mess back under the rug and pretend it isn’t there.  Weren’t we doing just fine?  And there’s the rub.  I want more than “fine.”  (Which it really wasn’t…)  I want to live God’s big, scary, wonderful plan for my life.  For my future.  For my family.  I’ve had a taste through our infertility and adoption of how He can redeem tremendous pain into a most beautiful thing.  It makes safe seem sort of second class now.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13


*This post got us thinking about a family motto:

October 31, 2012

A Loving and Sovereign God Who Lets Me Hurt

Filed under: Shared Findings,Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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This is a wonderful article written by the MS social worker who helped with our family’s adoption.

October 25, 2012


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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Last week I spoke publicly, sharing our story with a group of ladies.  Most of what I said was taken off this blog.  It was a willpower vs. emotions decision.  I determined to do it, but worried and dreaded it.  I knew that I would certainly lose my composure.  I knew that I would be making myself extremely vulnerable to people who would be talking about my life; some details would be recounted correctly, some not. 

The day I was to speak, I began to worry even more.  I became convinced that no one was interested, this wouldn’t be helpful in the least, and everyone would just wish I would stop talking so they could move on the next thing.  I doubted that I could speak loudly and clearly enough, and that anyone would understand what I was trying to say.  I regretted intensely having agreed, but at the same time stubbornly hung onto the thought that God might use this to help someone.  I asked Him again to get glory from my fumbling attempt to relate just a piece of what He’s done.  My friends prayed for me, and supported me as they have always done.

And I spoke.  Most of what I anticipated was accurate.  I fell absolutely to pieces- sobbing, sniffling, and even snorting!  I’m sure some of the audience didn’t have a clue why I was so upset over something they’d never even worried about.  I stumbled through with a wet face, unnaturally high-pitched voice, and frequent pauses.  It was horribly presented.

But some “got it” anyway. Ladies came up to me and shared stories.  Stories of theirs, of their families, and of their friends.  And they asked questions.  And they wanted to know how to support someone going through the same struggle.  And infertility has a face.  And adoption isn’t just a word.  I’d do it again…

March 3, 2012

Heather George on Fear

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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I do not fear what the future holds.  I can’t.  I can’t spend the energy anticipating the next horrible event.  I am choosing to anticipate the next great provision, whatever provision that may be.  I am choosing to believe that no matter what, even if God calls me home tonight in my sleep, He never stepped off His throne.  He simply brought me closer to it.  ~Heather George

October 12, 2011


Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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I Am Afraid of Being Stupid by Lisa Burgess

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