Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why Does it Matter?

Yes it's been at least what... two years since my last blog? My excuse, in case you have been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting (HA!), life got in the way. The last two years have been beyond busy. But that's all for another blog at another time.

In case you are unaware, Jimmy and I are now parents to FIVE children. Of course, when they are 26 & 29, "children" seems a bit infantile but they will always be our babies. Two of them are biological (or mostly) and three, we are in the process of adopting. Two of our children have blond hair and blue eyes. Three of our children don't share our ethnicity at all. They have beautiful, chocolate-colored skin, black hair and brown eyes. They are all beautiful in a myriad of ways. We love each of them equally for a million reasons they don't even know about. 

When Jimmy and I set out on our adoption journey almost two years ago, it never occurred to us to be race or gender specific. Why should it matter what the child looks like? We knew that God would provide the children He wanted us to have at the right time. We have spent the last two years on the most insane, emotional roller coaster I could imagine. We had several children we were just SURE we were going to adopt and it didn't work out. All along, God was working behind the scenes even when I questioned Him. And the children we were going to end up with were children that two years ago, didn't need a home. Their story is not quite ready to be shared in its entirety. When the time is right, I will.

When we were matched with our children, I began reading as many websites as I could find about caring for african american hair, as well as asking african american friends. I've read blogs about making sure my kids know and understand their culture. I've tried to be prepared as much as I could for whatever may come my way. However, nothing prepares you entirely. What's comical about it to me, is that the things I read may be an issue haven't been one for me. It's the things I wasn't really prepared for at all. 

Today I took my two chocolate daughters out with some family. On our way home, we had to make a quick stop at Walmart. (Is stopping at Walmart ever actually quick?) The girls are 18 months and 2.5 years old. They are tremendously friendly and if you don't respond when they say, "Hey," they will keep talking until you do. They sound like their daddy and grandpa if you ask me. Today though, in midst of checking out, we received several dirty looks. Some, you could tell, were because of my daughters' enthusiasm. I understand if you don't want to speak to them. Let me be clear, they weren't being loud or obnoxious. Those kinds of things frustrate me too so I don't ever expect anyone else to tolerate them. They just like to be friendly. But some of the looks that we received were towards me. By people that look like me more than my chocolate children. As if we had done something inherently wrong by adopting children that don't "match" our older children. Or worse still, that I might have married someone of a different race and these were his children or ours together. Mind you, our children do not remotely look mixed race. I wanted to say to these presumptuous individuals that while it was none of their business, I hadn't done that. 

But even if I had, who cares? Who do they think they are judging me or our children? Why should it matter to you? Why isn't it more important that my husband and I clearly love each other and in this world of "I-just-don't-like-you-anymore" divorce, we have been married for over eight years? I know that's not much considering my parents who have been married for 43 years. However we seem to live in an age where Hollywood celebrities that are married for more than two weeks have a "long term relationship." Maybe I'm just being too presumptuous about what I perceived as dirty looks. It's not something I'm sensitive about. But maybe I was today. I can't say for sure.

When I was younger, I used to hear a lot about 2 Corinthians 6:14 saying "Be ye not unequally yoked..." while conveniently leaving out, "... with unbelievers." I was always told that meant you didn't date outside your race. Being a naive child, I took what I was told at the time. "When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things." 1 Cor. 13:11 NLT. Once I started examining scripture for myself and was mature enough to learn for myself, I actually read the surrounding scripture. Because race relations have always been a hot button issue, even though they have become more acceptable, it was easier for those tradition enforcers in my denomination to make a point using scripture. Even if the point was... well just wrong and the scripture was taken out of context. 

I guess the bottom line for me is outlined in a few simple facts. We love all our children! You won't see any of our children dirty or unkempt unless it happened in the time since I got them ready and they were playing outside in Awana or the like. You won't see us abusing our children in any way. We do our best to make sure our children are not a disruption because we don't like when other people's children are a disruption. The color of my children should make absolutely ZERO difference to you. I have always had friends and roommates of all different ethnicities from caucasian to korean to african american and everything in between. I have been taught to not see color or to ever judge a book by it's cover. So I do my best to not do those things. I'm not perfect and will never claim to be. The only person that ever was is Jesus. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The View from Here

Man, does the view of grace look different from here. Not that it should've looked different before, but the view on this side is a whole lot sweeter to me. It's similar to climbing a mountain. Once you can look back and see all the things that you battled on the way, things look different on the other side. Not that I have ever nor would I ever climb a literal mountain. But I know a few who have. I have climbed many the metaphorical mountain. I'm quite certain I am still climbing but I have reached a resting place for just a moment. If only for today, I'm resting. 

When you are in the middle of the mountain or even still at the bottom, its easy to think we know what to do. It's easy to suggest to others what they should do. We think we know what to tell others about how to climb their mountain. Which is interesting when they are climbing an entirely different mountain and have no experience in the particular one someone else is climbing. I know I have done it. In my stupidity and my ability to think I have things all figured out, I have done it. But once I get to the other side, I find myself realizing how little about ANY of it I knew in the first place. 

I did something not too long ago that I had never done before and truthfully thought I could not do. I spoke to a few friends who had done it because I kept thinking, "How did I get here?" Now what I'm talking about for this brief moment, was nothing bad at all. It was something actually God had been preparing me for but I thought it would only apply to others. I thought that I would learn things, of course, but I would never ultimately have to do THAT! Men make plans and God laughs. He must laugh at me a lot. I am probably equivalent to a great comedienne to Him. As I was preparing for my hill along the way, I was kinda irritated at the people that told me to do it. Why do I let people talk me into things? Then the words of Mordecai to Esther, "Who knows but that you were born for such a time as this?" Why do I think that God would give me things and then say, "No, no dear. Don't share those with anyone. They are just for you."

So for such a time as this, Lord let me show mercy. Let me show grace. I know how they feel when You have shown them to me and I'm so grateful. So, as a dear friend of mine puts it, let me get out of mercy's way. Let me never be a hinderance to broken soul in need. Use me Lord and give me words to say. Those who have had mercy and grace extended to them are much quicker to extend it to others. 

Romans 5:1-11 of the Message puts it in terms that resonate with me. 

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He has already thrown open His door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of His Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of His resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Best Christmas Presents

In this season of gift giving and all around general merriment, I've found myself overwhelmed and feeling a little less than merry for a number of reasons. I took a few moments today to look at the things that seem to make me the most frustrated. Then I took a few more to look at things that make me the most happy and feel the most love on this earth.

Friends that make me laugh!

Family I am insanely and ridiculously proud of

A love who stands by me through all the insanity we call our lives.

These are the things that are the most important. They far outweigh the things that frustrate even though they may be there every day. Of course none of these are as important as that baby that changed everything. Merry Christmas and may you always remember what is most important.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Beginnings

I know, I know... it's been entirely too long since I last blogged. Hopefully the following will somewhat explain why. Bottom line? I just haven't had time.

Life for us has changed dramatically in the last 3 months. Jimmy and I have taken on new ministry opportunities that have changed the way we have functioned since we got married. In case you don't know, we are joining with my parents in a ministry the Lord gave my dad over 20 years ago, The Breakfast Club. When the Lord gives you a direction to go, you have to go no matter what you feel. We knew in May it was what we were supposed to do. Since talking with my parents and making this decision, the Lord has been faithful to confirm it to us time and time again when our feeble minds begin to doubt. We have seen God do things in the last 3 months that I think even surprised my parents, including a great place to live! Every time He does something else, we sit back wondering why we questioned in the first place. His ways are so much higher than ours. 

It has opened our eyes to the fact that much like our friends, Rod & Kelly, we have to move literally and metaphorically. Therefore, I daily find myself a myriad of emotions. I have times while in the middle of designing something (I deem fabulous haha) where I find myself completely overwhelmed, lonely, panicked or at complete peace. Sometimes all of them together and sometimes in the span of a 24 hour day. Sound crazy? It might be. The thing is, I probably am going to feel this every day for the next little while until we are settled into our new roles. The thing I keep hearing in my soul is, "Relax I've got this. I WILL take care of you." Thank goodness! If I had to do this myself, I wouldn't. It's not where my comfort lies. Yet that's how God gets us to the next level. The thing is, we have to be willing to set our fears, insecurities and pride aside and decide to follow His will. Remembering all the while that we may have to start over again. Not necessarily the beginning, but the next beginning. That makes it a little easier in the process.

So we have started again. Adjusting things because whom God calls, He fully equips. We will still sing as McMillan & Life so don't worry. But we start into processes we haven't been a part of before. We take on responsibilities we haven't before. And we move somewhere we haven't lived together before. Scary and so exciting! More emotions at once.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I headed back to my doctor last week to find out how my knee was doing. All in all, quite good. The bone is healed. Just still having more pain in the muscle and tissue around it than I'd like. He says this is all normal so that's good enough to me. Still doing a lot of physical therapy to try and get it all mobile again. For those of you who have had to do physical therapy, you know how dramatically un-fun the process is.

The interesting thing to me was this. When you looked closely at the x-ray of my healed knee cap, you could still see the line through it. It looked like someone had drawn on my x-ray with a pencil. It will be like that for the rest of my life. At that point, the Lord revealed something to me. Sometimes our healing, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, leaves scars. To the vain, this would be unpleasant. But to the believer, it allows an opportunity to share with someone. It lets us have an opportunity to say, "Hey you see what God did for me? I've been in a similar place as you are now and can tell you that He will do it for you too. Don't believe me? Just check out my scar." 

The next time you are frustrated about that situation or scar that just won't go away, thank God. You have something people can see with either physical eyes or spiritual eyes that you can share about how great God is.

Friday, May 20, 2011

While I Wait

So I have ventured into my fifth week with this broken knee cap. I am trying to keep my chin up. But as I have stated before, my independent nature doesn't like being at the mercy of other people. Traveling in the motor home holds its own share of difficulties with my current condition. Getting around on crutches while moving is virtually impossible. Getting to "my side" of the bed can be treacherous. I can't get in and out of the shower without help and that is one of the worst parts for me. Getting in and out of the motor home in and of itself is a challenge that is met with only once a day. Twice at the complete outside and only if completely necessary.

However in all of this, I've learned several different things. I've learned that it's ok to ask others for help and not feel completely guilty about it. Not that I would take advantage of this if I were able to do for myself. It's ok to say, "No I just can't do anymore." I have a horrible habit of saying "yes" and going until I'm practically sick. It's ok to rely less on me and more on Jimmy. (or sometimes Devin) But mainly, its ok to rely less on me and more on Him!

There have been several obstacles that have come up in this last month besides my broken knee and car. I have sat back and said, "Ok God, I realize You want to teach me something but if you could let up just a bit, I'd be really grateful." Those are the times God tells me, "It's because I want you to quit relying on you and your ability." Which is something I already know but apparently need reminding of from time to time.  My ability is sorely lacking at the moment but in Him, it lacks incessantly in comparison. He is so much bigger than my small mind and abilities can imagine. Why do I even think about relying on myself?

So while I wait, I'll keep on trying to imagine like I'm already home where I don't have to worry about such silly things. All I have to do is rest in the arms of One who loves me far more than I'm worth.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Updates and Interesting Signs

We drive to Lexington to see Jimmy's family several times a year and there is a church sign along our way that always grabs my attention but probably not for the reason this particular church would like. I thought I'd post it on here and let everyone see it. I've made the name of the actual church obscured for obvious reasons. I'm not going to share my personal opinions about it because if you know me, you know how I feel.

As for my own personal well being, I'm still here, still have a broken knee but still listening. I'm amazed by God's blessings in the midst of all this. I'm grateful for a husband that is willing to help me by pretty much doing everything that requires movement and for being my own personal taxi. I'm grateful for friends who come to me since I can't get to them. I'm grateful because maybe these are the ways He is speaking to me now.