That humbling moment…

 

There was a moment this week…mid conversation…it was all I could do to hold back the quake. That deep knowing that something larger was at work. Once again, the hand of the Lord was moving. All the pain, all the hurt and brokenness…the parts were coming together again, and my vision, once blurred, has begun to focus. 

How many years have I walked this path marked out, having packed away hope and peace? Joy became a stranger. The questions ever present…Does he see? Does the Lord, my father have any idea? Why did he bring us to this place? For what purpose must I continue to die? Over and over and over….

And in a moment the curtain is pulled back a little farther and I can see his protection. I can begin to understand this depth of pain and the great hands that have held me…kept me back from what would destroy. In my humanity I desired good things that were not best…Sometimes the death of a thing is its best conclusion. I am realizing that hard place I was pushed up against was the Lord’s hand. He was always there. When will I learn? When will I allow his goodness towards me to go deep? When will I trust it and draw from it rather then run and question?

  

At the days end I can see the Lord’s grace in it all. With each bit of knowledge I understand myself and the journey a bit more and what is there to do but offer praise in the pain. I have written often of those ashy places and what a desert they seem to be. I’ve pondered many times on the life that can only come after death. When he chooses to grant clarity of vision it still stops me short. He has been here! He has walked beside…he has held the small light to the path infront of me and protected me from every side. This is a humbling realization and my gratitude can only be expressed in deepest praise. 

Today I can stand, something deep having shifted, only because of his grace towards me. Dear God how do I continue to walk faithfully in this space? How do I continue to choose to give from the broken places and allow them the freedom to teach, offer hope and bring healing? This is the journey of the Ebed House. Lord lead us in faithfulness. Teach us how to offer joy in the midst of deepest pain. Allow this space to be a refuge for a broken world and a hurting church.

Turning the Corner…Church, Some things I want you to know

 

Turning the corner…

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I’m happy. I’m hopeful. I’m reading. I’m thinking. I’m even, dare I say, dreaming. maybe the most painful of all…I’m remembering. Remembering who I am after years of forgetting. Remembering my first love, what I’m passionate about, and remembering who I was created to be….for what purpose.

For this truth teller and word lover I am hearing the whispers of hope and freedom again. You see, I need words. Oh how I love them. Words hard won…held back until they are right for the moment…Oh I need those secret whispers, they bring courage and the call to be true and honest. In the dark moments they let me know that I am not alone, and in the bright moments they give me expression and the opportunity to call others to join in.

So here it is, are you ready?

 

You, you are beautiful shy one. You have purpose and your vision brings joy! You bring my heart hope! Sisters, Jesus lovin’ ladies…young mamas and world worn grandmas,those with broken bodies and those that has never brought a child into this world…you! You have value and beauty to give. Dear God, when did we settle for silence? When did we stop birthing beauty and peace to one-another? When did we allow this world and it’s many external voices to define us?

Might I go on? I pray that I never stop!

You, lover of all living creatures! You, loud lady….the one with the contagious laughter…the movie screamer, coffee drinker and fine food eater. You, brokenhearted, lover of the unborn, caregiver to broken children and to all those with physical, emotional and mental illnesses, compassion giver for those not long for this world. You hold beauty in your hands and your touch brings life! Speak peace with freedom!

This is who we are dear church. Let us not forget…when we feast on the Word we have a great opportunity to share rest, and peace…to a world that is going hungry and doesn’t even know it. Our churches are filled with women gone silent…we’ve stopped speaking….stopped calling forth life….lost the art of a word well placed.

A life lived…

Back to that remembering…that returning to my first love…as the Spirit grows and I am reminded of grace it is my deep desire to share worth with those who overlap my life. A welcomed cup of coffee, a word of courage, a challenge to live out a conviction, a meal, peace…hope…

Take courage dear ones…speak!

As hope grows

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We are entering a new place….on the verge of the unknown and for the first time, in a long time, I feel freedom rather then restraint. We have been released. There is no other way to express it. We were not ‘called out’ or given a ‘new mission’ we have simply been released, allowed to step away from what we have dug into, prayed for and broken over for years.

This business of planting churches has left me a shell. It has broken things I once prized and slapped me in the face. It has bitten me in the back and allowed me to burn. It has left me screaming in the corner with a horse voice and drowned in my own tears. This…this pain and brokenness has left me a shell…Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord for the hard and the pain that makes me a new creature! Praise the Lord for the brokenness that allows me to see that only his kindness can heal and restore! Praise the Lord for making all things new!

I find myself rediscovering parts of who I am that have gone dormant over the years. Those areas that stop growing without food and light…without pruning and compassion. Mike and I have had many hope filled conversations in the last two weeks, and each time I catch that look in his eye, the one that seems to say, ‘Oh, yes, I remember her! Where has she been?!’

I wonder who I am now. After 3 church plants, 4 years of ministry before that, 5 years of having the twins home and 8 years of marriage. Who am I? What marks this new creature….what seeds where there in the past that could only grow when planted in death? This oldest child and manager of things…this hope speaker and love giver…this secret dreamer. Oh, I am excited to meet her…to live in her skin!

For the first time in many years I am looking forward with hope. At the age of 36 I pray that this rebirth will bring a deep knowing and greater peace. That I will discover, with joy, the tools I have picked up along the way. Dear Lord, bring us to a safe and sustaining community of faith that will cherish and challenge all that we are growing into.

Applepolusa and other fun…

It is fall in Minnesota and when you live on a homestead and the hubster also works a full-time job….there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done! It is these moments when I breathe a little easier feeling the deep thankfulness that we haven’t taken on milk goats…..yet.

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The harvest of our garden was wonderful, but it also took place all at once….thank you MN frost! The growing season here is just so short. However, what a great opportunity to learn about how to preserve and use items that are not fully ripe. I have boxes of tomatoes in the basement currently turning from green and yellow to shades of orange and red…if the mold doesn’t get them first…..one more argument for a rootseller in the basement! Yes please!

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A few weeks ago I lacto-fermented carrots and cucumbers. I left a few of the carrots in the garden to continue growing and wowsa did they get big!! I also did a dry run on our apples. we have two mature apple trees and one ripens about a month before the other. I made apple sauce and thought about plans for applepolusa! I didn’t make enough plans….we Just got done with our Saturday of apple processing and although I am deeply thankful for all that we can store away it was a lot of work and next year we will plan to do it differently.

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The men pressed over 60 gallons of cider. 20 gallons are being fermented! Oh I am looking forward to hard cider!

 

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The ladies made and canned over 20 gallons of apple sauce. we made some apple chips in the dehydrator, canned more apple pie filling then I kept track of and this week I made some apple butter because we still have apples! How do we still have apples????

 

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We only have 2 mature apple trees at this point….the men went nuts! I am so glad they did! Mike, Nate and one of the boys picked enough apples to fill the bed of our truck! wow! Nate went door to door asking people with trees if we could use their apples. It has always bothered me how many apples don’t get used around here. So thankful for the guys and all their hard work picking the apples ahead of time!

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Tears…..mostly of joy!

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Grandma passed away last night. There is room for tears here…but if you knew her….there is mostly joy in her passing! ‘Cookie Grandma’ was a woman of deep faith. She prayed often and hard for her family, loved ones…life…well just everything. She was marked as a woman of prayer, who held this world loosely and was thankful for many blessings.

This attitude was all the more encouraging if you knew her story….Ruth’s life was marked by having lost two sons and both of her husbands. At 95 she was ready to go home to Jesus and to see her loved ones again!

Ruth loved me well….welcomed me into the family with open arms and frequently told me how happy she was the Mike had found me….I know that she prayed for me for many years before I was even in the picture! I am blessed for having known her, a picture, a reflection, in part of Mike’s father who I will not meet until I myself am heaven bound.

She opened her arms and heart wide to our children….in fact, I remember making the decision to adopt early on in our marriage while we were staying with Ruth. We would take walks around her neighborhood in the evening and dream about what the next steps for our family would be.

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Grandma, we love you and we will miss you so much! We also rejoice with you that you are with Jesus, the love of your heart and that you have been reunited with your loved ones!

Hair, hair, it’s everywhere…or can I just take a moment to be real about our hair situation?

Let me first say that there are about a million ways I could write this post. I hesitate every time I sit down to write on this topic….every time. I will likely offend you at some point. The possibilities for offense are endless and I AM aware of that. I’ve just come to the point where I am not going to tip toe around words or thoughts because someone will be offended…sometimes the thoughts are just too important not to share. So please, take a moment…breathe….and remember grace as you read. Please set aside you preconceived ideas about white women with black children and mixed race families….step down from the soap box, and think twice before offering your unsolicited advice…believe me….I have probably heard it, read it or tossed it out the window already. This is our story….our family…a glimpse into who we are and how we live. My hope…dear and true….is that just one other family will be encouraged and know that they aren’t the only ones.

Deep breath……..here we go!

Today a friend challenged me to consider writing about the hair struggles in our home. A few ladies were sitting around a table working on small crafting project at a local coffee shop and watching the children play. We chatted about many of the topics that moms share….so blessed by these women and their wisdom in the everyday.

I realized at one point that each mother at the table has had one connection or another with adoption. One mom is in the process of holding her breath for a court date in Africa! There is a 7 month old little girl who has a mama already loving her…separated by land and sea. She asked me about hair….did I know someone she could spend some time watching work with hair….

She has no idea! How could she?
I invited her to come…be a part…see what we do and the reality of hair in our home.

As a white woman who grew up in Minnesota I really haven’t had a whole lot of first hand education about other types of hair. (I think at times my own hair was a mystery to me) I don’t have as many friends of other races as I would like. I have traveled, and I put a high value on diversity but we just live where I don’t rub shoulders in the everyday with people of different ethnicities. I reach out to people in stores and have short chats, but it seems to come to little fruit.

I have a number of friends who have adopted. Sometimes this is helpful….sometimes it is not. As mothers, I think, we often fall prey to the voice that tells us we aren’t good enough….don’t do things right….and are constantly failing. So it’s hard to air some of these things….pride….ever with the pride!

So I dig in and do my research. My own mom always says I’m good at researching….but let’s be honest, the internet can’t hold your hand! In the hours that I have spent researching product and technique I have yet to find a blog that encourages moms….one that says,

Hey, sometimes this really sucks! Guess what you are going to be in just as many tears as your kids. It’s just part of how this works!

Nope! Haven’t found that. It’s all about how to fix something. How to do something correctly. Methods. I would just LOVE if someone was honest, and said it like it is with depth of compassion and encouragement. You can do all the ‘right’ things and still have it go wrong!

A&A are beautiful! They are amazing and bright with smiles that light up a room and laughter that is contagious! They have also been given soft scalps and curly hair that needs a great amount of attention.

As long as we are on the topic lets talk about reality. We live in a world that tells us lies at every turn! As a mother of two 4 year old girls I am already faced with it daily and as they grow the influence of the world will become greater. Be thin, be good at sports, get good grades, look like this unattainable airbrushed model….have hair like this….skin like that. NO! Just…NO! So every time I think about how we interact regarding their hair I think about more then just hair. I think about how it affects their self image. Will they grow up with a deep resentment for the way we fumbled things? Will they LOVE their hair? Will they look in the mirror as grown women with a firm knowledge of how to take care of themselves and be proud? What gifts can I give them now….what tools to help them as they grow?

This is the reality of hair in our home. A journey many adoptive families don’t talk openly about….likely because shame comes from all sides. Here is what I know….what I trust. They were made by the hand of God. Beautiful! His love and passion for them is much greater then my own. As a parent I can not protect my children from every ill. Many battles they will need to fight on their own….I will love them the best I know and give them the tools that I can, but they will choose to pick them up or not. So I hold these girls up to the Lord with my hands open. Because, it all belongs to Him…all of it….even hair!

One of the moms joyfully shared this video with me and the girls! They loved it!
I Love my Hair!

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