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Village of Hope {Guatemala}

Village of Hope. A story of hope. But not all stories of hope end as we hope they will. Yet…He is good. And in this…He will do great things.

I’m so proud of my adoption momma friend Amy Block’s little girl…well-big girl now;).


Amy and her family picked up their family to move to Guatemala several years ago. They serve children and families their deep and wide at Village of Hope Guatemala.

And in their going and daily loving these children and families--they are challenging me to keep my eyes UP how I live right here. Especially in the dailies. Of parenting.

I think some times we lose sight of what our children need...the best schools? A stellar education? The best sports programs?

Or to let them dream big. Take risks. Dive in deep with us where they can't be protected, where their hearts might break in two BUT they lean entirely on Jesus.

Addisyn Block oh she's precious--but she will take no credit for how she loved her baby girl...because she points her source of strength to Jesus. She might be a teenager but she took in this baby in Guatemala as her own--and for a beautiful month her arms gave her what every baby needs...a momma to love them.

This precious baby entered the arms of Jesus this month knowing and feeling love and joy in this world.

And while Addisyn is left with a broken heart--I know the Lord will use this to make her stronger for the great big plans He has for her future.

Emma Leigh Elizabeth Block may have been a month old--but her little life has touched mine as a mommy.

She has inspired me to keep my eyes UP while raising my children.

I want my kids to always choose love over being safe.

I want my kids to be okay with living different and to challenge us as they ask us to pray about radical decisions that offer hope...

...that bring our hearts and souls comfort instead of comfort to our flesh.

I want them to make decisions based on Jesus's love for others and His love for them.

Addisyn I'm praying for you...and as a sister in Christ-I'm proud of you.

And Amy--I'm praying for your momma heart too as you walk these days together and as you continue to follow Jesus wherever He leads.

I think your family is something else!! Glory to Him I know...but thank you for saying yes over and over again!!

If you are looking or led to join a family serving big--visit their ministry here! You can support their ministry, sponsor a child and learn more about how you can be a part of Village of Hope Guatemala here:

Oh how Jesus loves her. {this i know}

Oh my heart.

Waiting children lists are hard for this mom to look at and pray over. Yet–every now and again…I venture over and find myself reading about special needs, praying for the children and without fail–one child always grips my heart and I carry that name with me for weeks praying for him or her. Because. I know each face…is real.

This Rainbow kids site is where I felt brave enough to look at pictures 4 weeks after having a miscarriage 3 years ago. Too scared to try again the old fashioned way (those of you who have lost a little love this way understand)–I felt praying over these children was a safe way to let my mommy heart tip-toe into opening my heart again and allowing it to heal by praying for these littles who had also experienced great loss. Only–one picture gripped my heart–and now he’s playing a serious game of Thomas the Train in the playroom. I hear him saying, “Isaac! It’s my ta-urn!” and then “We did it!” He was more than just a picture. He would become my son. So real was he then–and so real is he now. And oh how I love him.

For the record–adopting after loss didn’t take away the loss. Neither did it for him. I still struggle with feeling sad every time I see a pregnant mom or get stuck between expecting mom friends debating which car seat is safer…because the last time I was expecting–it ended with trauma and those are the memories I remember. It was awful and messy and just…really sad. Little baby things were packed away. The picture frame that says “Love at First Sight” with the ultra sound picture inside…is the only thing that remains…other than all those feelings three years later I still and probably will forever will work through. While growing again biologically might make overshadow some of those most difficult memories–nothing will replace them…and some loss I think we just are asked to forever carry.

When we adopted–the loss our little loves experienced before us–doesn’t go away either. It’s still there. But there is much sweetness…many memories…life together–family…that follows the hard instead. They will still carry it all. We will work through it–together. But together–that’s the KEY word to my heart today. My loss was real. Their loss was real. But TOGETHER…we are now. They were real. Now in my home–so very real. And so is she.

A few nights ago, the children had a dance party for us. Little Zeke–our littlest from China…oh my heart. He is a terrible dancer. The twists and turns of his hands while he “feels” the music makes me so proud;). He fits right in our crazy family. Completely one of us he is.

I clicked on the video to see 1 of 7 short clips of her. And she danced. The flip and turn of her hands much like his. And I giggled in my dining room at the videos of her dancing…across the world…in an orphanage–so real.

As I drink my coffee this morning, I try to go there. No–not what you might be thinking. Not “go there” as in “is she a Young”…but rather…go there in a different way. What would it look like for me to just shut my Mac and walk away? Because–if anyone knows how real she is–I do. Many of you might be adoptive moms–and you know how real she is too. Countless needs that the enemy has used to cloud over the eyes of many…maybe even her first parents…of how incredibly real and perfect she is.

But this morning…I try to think and go there, “What would it look like to just shut my computer and forget she’s there? Let me just teach MY kids. Let me just focus on the children already in my home. I have laundry to do. Yes–focus on my ‘to-do’ list–and oh my…crayons. Crayons are on the floor. Why don’t they put those up when they are done with them?!”

And–just move on.

I really wish my heart worked that way. But I’m afraid it doesn’t. On Easter–I sang out loud in worship “In Christ Alone”. Do I believe that? Do I believe He is coming back? Do I believe He is enough? Do I believe He will give me strength for whatever He calls me to? Do I believe He will be my all and all? Do I really trust Him?

Yes I do.

But do I also trust Him to cover and lead my family? To provide? To protect? Do I have things mixed up? Like–am I trusting God to fill the gaps OR am I trusting Him to fill EVERYTHING and that there will be NO gaps because He goes before me in every calling and in what He has already given me? Do I really live and believe this is all for His glory and not about ME?

So right now–I do exactly what I know Jesus called me to do. I know. And I think you do too. For YOU I mean.

Some times it is just praying. Some times it’s advocating for. Some times it’s visiting. Some times it’s loving in ways you thought impossible. Whatever it is–I pray we are obedient and we run this race with His strength until the end. He will provide–for me–for her–for all of us. And here in the power of Christ may we stand.

For now–one step in front of the other trusting the Lord to lead and guide us. Today I will pray for her…that sweet little thing that twists her hands while she dances. While much is unknown…I do know a few things to be true…

She is real. Jesus loves her…more than I can ever imagine. And I’m so thankful…that right now–she still dances.

Praying for your mommy hearts as you follow with me His most perfect plans…


“In Christ Alone”

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Passover {Leading Your Family Together in a Seder}

Why would our family want to celebrate the Passover if its a Jewish holiday?

Great question.

My Savior is Jesus—and He is Jewish. And for me—anything to do with Him is enough.


This meal was the last supper—as I take part in it with those I love…as I remember Palm Sunday…as I remember the road to Calvary…I remember His last meal…I join in the same feasting He joined in…and I begin to understand His ways in a new way.

Had the Israelites not put the blood of a sacrificied lamb on a doorpost, they would have never entered the Promised Land. The promises of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would have been null. And there would have been no pathway for the Messiah, OUR PASSOVER LAMB! Understanding the Passover…what it means…and taking part in it—is to understand Your Savior and His special people in a new way. He saved the first borns…He brought His first born back to new life after being the sacrificial lamb…and after all that—HE SAVED ME! For this…I want to celebrate!

The hard part of all of this though—is that the Jews…His precious people…missed Him as Savior. Many of our precious friends are Jewish—and if you are one of those and reading this…please know we do not write about Passover and Jesus together to make light of your faith, heritage or history—but to celebrate it…as it was the history of our Savior as believers. And we truly believe that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah who you now wait. I promise…we aren’t crazy. We aren’t brainwashed. We are just sinners saved by grace. We have just come to the alter broken and asked God to help us see truth…and in our journeys we have met Jesus. I know for some it will sound crazy…but Lord willing, if you meet Jesus one day—you, too, will understand. We love you dearly—DEARLY. DEARLY. Truly, we want to sit at the table with you. Because we love you. But we also invite Jesus to our table…because our hearts long for more of Him in our lives. And although we understand His presense at our table as being different from your table—we see that when we invite Him to the table it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the world to the meaning of this meal. When you see the Seder with the Savior at the table…it all begins to make sense—for both the Jew and the Gentile. And He welcomes not only the Jew…but also the Gentile.

Seder – “God directs this special night of the year, to take on the role of teacher, and pass down His story of the exodus from Egypt to future generations. This ceremony not only looks back to the miraculous story of God delivering His people, but it also presents the promise of Messiah’s death and resurrection. It is an exciting experience centering on a mixture of ritual foods. The matzah, bitter herbs, wine, and the rest, provide lasting link through the march of history.” – A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays by Robin Sampson and Linda Pierce

This dinner, Seder, can be celebrated with your family. The host will have a pillow at his chair to lean on…remember all the paintings you have seen of the last supper with Jesus and the disciples leaning? Ever wonder why they lean on one another?? Leaning during the dinner is a sign of free people. Slaves stand. Free people lean. On this special night the people will lean while they eat symbolizing the Israelites freedom from Egypt.

Every plate will have a Haggadah “the telling” (a prayer book) and inside is a script of what the host and the participants will say. The cover of a traditional Haggadah would look like this…

And inside you would find the order of the evening. If you are a believer you would want to follow the Messianic Haggadah which recognizes Jesus as the already coming Savior.

Preparing the elements of the table…(What you’ll need)

The table is prepared with the Seder Plate and the elements (don’t worry…there is actually a bigger meal other than what is on the Seder Plate during the dinner!). Each element on the Seder plate represents something symbolic in the journey of the Israelites during their enslavement. These elements will be eaten throughout the night during the telling. The Seder plate…(Ours is from Target and actually looks more like the first picture in the post:)

The foods you will find on the Seder plate and their meaning…

Karpas/Fresh Greens (Parsley or celery) dipped in salt water – for new life and the hyssop used to sprinkle blood on doorpost. The salt water reminds us of the tears of the Israelites in bondage.

Roots of Herb (onion) - for our roots being bitter (slaves to Pharaoh) – this will NOT be eaten and stay on the table to remind us of our roots.

Bitter Herbs (horseradish) - for bitterness of bondage

Haroset (yummy mixture of apples, nuts, grape juice, and cinnamon—click here for a yummy sample recipe)- represents mortar of the bricks the Israelites used to build Eqyptian cities during slavery.

Roasted Egg – symbol of life

Shank Bone of a Lamb – symbolizes the lamb eaten before the Israelites fled Egypt.

Matzah – you can buy this already made:) or follow this recipe.

The Four Cups and unleavened bread – (this is for wine or grape juice). We will eat only unleavened bread (without yeast)—yeast represents sin…which “puffs you up”…and this week we will remember the one without sin, our Savior. The cups represent the expressions of redemption (coming to the Lord, dealing with sin, the Lord covering and redeeming us, and enjoying the kingdom in praise).

The table is set.

The candles are lit by the woman of the house…and it’s time for the blessing…

As she prays…hearts are prepared.

The father brings out the Seder plate and introduces each element’s meaning. Three of the foods God tells us to eat on this night…the others were added by men to help us remember Passover. He explains the four cups…two we will drink from before dinner and two after. The four cups at the Seder represent the four expressions of redemption – bring (Cup of Sanctification), deliver (Cup of Judgement), redeem (Cup of Redemption) and take (Cup of the Kingdom).

It is time for the first cup…

The Cup of Santification

The leader explains this cup…(the Kiddush cup-“the first blessing”)

…To be sanctified means to be set apart…we set apart this time to honor the Lord…and to remind us to be set apart for His purposes…we remember how God set apart His people in Eqypt…we drink from this cup while we lean to remember that we were set free from bondage as the Israelites were set free…

It is now time for the washing of the hands…the father washes his hands in a basin and explains…

We wash our hands to express our desire to live clean lives for the Almighty God…we remember how Jesus humbled himself the night of Passover and washed the feet of His disciples…help us Lord to serve as you served…to love as you loved…

The children watch…taking it all in…

Hearts are renewed…

And worship begins.

This…is truly understanding Passover.

Eating of the Karpas…the father dips the parsley in salt water and passes them around the table for all to share…This symbolizes the lowly origin of the people and the tears that were shed in Eqypt…help us Lord to also remember the tears that were shed on the cross over us…for our sake…so we might know you and live through you…

Three Pieces of Matzah…are wrapped sacredly up and await on the table. The bread is flat without yeast…yeast symbolizing sin and this bread—symbolizing being without sin. The three pieces symbolize the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…

This was also the type of bread that the Hebrews had to take with them when they left Egypt…it was the only bread that could pack to take with them on their journey. But this bread is also a picture of Christ…He is the bread of life…He explains in John 6:48-51 that our fathers ate manna in the wilderness but that he is the living bread…

The center bread is taken out and the father breaks it in half.

He was broken for us.

And then the father wraps the broken matzah in a white cloth.

He was wrapped in linen…prepared for burial…and laid in the tomb…

The other half of the matzah is put back with the other two pieces…and the wrapped up matzah is hidden for the children to later find. If you ask a Rabi why they do this tradition, he will say it’s to entertain the children. But why do I think God allowed an element to be broken, wrapped and hidden for a time? I do believe my God had a purpose. And how He LONGS for His chosen people to see it and understand.

Open our eyes Lord to more of You. Help us to not miss you in this life. Help us to see you at our table. Meet with us Father…we praise you for Your Son…His brokenness…but we also praise you today that He did not just stay in the tomb…

Now we ask the little children to close their eyes while the other half of the broken matzah is hidden…called the “Afikoman” (Greek for “that which comes after”). Whoever finds this later…will receive a reward!

And He who finds Christ…the risen Savior…will, too, receive a reward…life eternal…worshipping Him with joy…and knowing Him and enjoying Him forever…

What a beautiful picture…that for the believer in Christ is so easy to see…yet some have not seen…some don’t understand…and this is what we pray for…that His chosen people will understand and see Christ for who He really is. In Isaiah we see Jesus so clearly…and in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—all that was prophesied comes to past. A miracle indeed! As Christ rode on the donkey on Palm Sunday…this was the day that had been awaited! This was the day that had been prophesied for centuries. And they shouted in “Hosanna!” as he came through town. Oh that our hearts would shout this this Holy Week. Hosanna…in Hebrew meaning “save, I pray!”…may all your people seek truth and find it as they come with open hearts to know You.

Exodus 12:25-27 “And it shall come to pass, when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, “What does this service mean?” That you shall say, “It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Eqypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.”

And the littlest child at the table now has the honor to ask the questions that the Lord said they would ask…

Even they are remembered at His table.

And He longs for them to know Him deeply too.

Then…the story is told.

The story of Passover.

Exodus 12:3-49

The story of the Israelites and the passover lamb that was sacrificed…blood painted over their door frames would be a sign to God to pass over that house and not take the life of the first-born son living there. Yet…most Jews today who celebrate Seder don’t know Jesus as their Savior and miss the beautiful symbolism here. Jesus was God’s first-born Son. He was the sacrificial Lamb of God on our behalf. And When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming, indeed he said, “Behold! The Lamb of God.” Indeed, this was a very powerful thing for him to say.

Jesus had the Passover Seder like this one the night before His death. And you can see Him everywhere in it today. The Matzah is striped and pierced just like Jesus was striped and pierced for us. The center Matzah (the Afikoman) is broken–wrapped in cloth and hidden away…just as Jesus was broken, wrapped in linen and buried in the tomb. The ENTIRE passover ritual was simply a foreshadowing of Christ…as is Genesis, Exodus…Psalms…Hosea…Isaiah…Ruth…our Redeemer is everywhere in the same Old Testament the Jewish people read today.

Isaiah 53…such a beautiful scripture to read aloud as the story is finished…and then another cup.

And at our Seder…it is time for the 2nd cup…the Cup of Judgement…Jesus did not want to drink of this Cup of Judgement but He did because He wanted the will of His Father. And He knew what it would mean for us. Praise Him that He drank from this cup so we will not have to!

The father now walks through the meaning of the elements and leads the family in eating the Matzah, the bitter herbs and Haroset.

The children hunt for the Afikomen wrapped in cloth…and the child who finds it gets a ransom…a reward. The large meal is served…family time is shared…and a sweet dessert enjoyed. And then we return to our Seder ceremony.

Our Passover dinner has been eaten…and now it’s time for the children to find the Afikoman (matza bread that was broken, wrapped in linen and hidden) and the child who finds it will get a reward…

The Afikoman is then broken around the table for each person to have a piece…and it is time for the Third Cup…the Cup of Redemption…

The father of the home explains this cup…Jesus ate the Passover meal as an obedient Jew…he drank from the first two cups, but did not drink from this cup as we will tonight. Jesus excluded himself from drinking the third cup he was without sin and He excluded Himself from redemption by not drinking the third cup. Yet the next day, Jesus, who knew no sin would become sin for us…He died to redeem us.

A traditional hymn is sung as a family as our hearts move from remembrance into praise.

The Fourth Cup…the Cup of Praise.

Just as Jesus took time to praise at the end of the Passover dinner with his disciples, we too sing our praise…to the King of Kings that was the sacrificial Lamb of God for our sake…and worthy of all our praise…

“And they crucified him, and parted his garments,
casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet,
They parted my garments among them,
and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
And sitting down they watched him there;
And set up over his head his accusation written,
Matthew 27:27-35

With one last bit of strength…he took a deep breath—and uttered His final cry, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

And it was finished.



Three days later.

A miracle happened.

And this part of the story…is not told at traditional Jewish Seders. Instead, there is an empty place set at the Jewish table for Elijah the prophet, the honored guest at every passover. The Jewish people expect Elijah to one day show up at the passover to announce the coming Messiah. A place is set…wine glasses are filled…and at one point in the night children even run to the back door to yell for Elijah’s name as part of their tradition. But not at our table.

At our house, we celebrate as the Messiah has already come! And through Him—and only through belief in Him—you and I are offered a REAL, PERSONAL relationship with our Father! And because of our relationship with Him…our lives look different from the world. Our lives following Him are never quite what other expect…just as Jesus wasn’t what the Jewish people expected either.

But…I believe.

I am convinced.

My Savior Lives!

Blessed are you O LORD, King of Kings, God of the universe! Thanks be to You the Sacrificial Lamb…who was…who is…and who is to come! You are our Savior! Our Redeemer! The One, True, Perfect Lamb of God!

Visit Light of Messiah Ministries for more information on Jesus in the Passover, Passover presentations or Jewish holidays and what they mean.

One wish for your foster or adoptive journey…

Fostering and adopting children from hard places is a life-long healing journey that no class can prepare you for. It’s more challenging and more life-giving through daily refinement than I ever imagined. We parent differently after growing through foster and adoption. Things that used to seem like big deals–are no longer big deals, and vice versa–milestones of a simple hug or “I love you” leave you completely speechless with streaming tears of praise in a way parenting children without trauma never could have before. THIS–is a holy, unnatural and supernaturally made natural journey that we could not do alone. We need each other.

If I could wish or pray anything into your journey as a foster or adoptive parent it would be that the Lord brings others into your life with a deep calling to see healing in the hearts of foster and adoptive children to walk beside you. To me–these are my heroes–those who would foster or adopt in a flat second–but God has said “no” walk beside this or that family instead. THIS is holy, sacred, hard but a beautiful place to be as our motherly instinct will always want to be the one rocking a little one or caring for a little one. We aren’t all called to foster or adopt–but maybe we are called to walk beside others and be a part of the healing in unseen ways. How thankful I am for my family and friends who are unseen but make me a better mom–who no longer offer advice but rather time, tissues or are there to celebrate with me each new milestone they understand differently with me.

Thank you to my friends and family who I’ve known forever foster and adoption was part of your hearts…and for being there. It’s breathtaking to me–that just maybe…being a part of my children’s life might be part of that foster and adoption tug on your hearts all along. I have no words. But I want to thank you for saying yes…every time you see…and were there.

Some things you don’t always see…

A mom in the background–who traveled across the world while daddy stayed back with younger kids…one who really, really needed daddy to stay. She traveled across the world and didn’t complain ONE time about not holding a new grandchild…because she understood attachment and the first days–and it was worth it to her to just BE THERE.

Something else you won’t always see…is the person BEHIND the camera. My sister. In fact, you’ll rarely see her in my pictures because she’s like Tinkerbell and sprinkles her way in often at the most important times (times when a camera is least appropriate and things don’t look beautiful). A heart of gold–and she talked about adoption and fostering long before it was ever in our world. She has 3 biological daughters…and she’s an amazing aunt to my kids. She helped me start Created for Care to encourage foster and adoption moms–and she gives up her weekends every year to serve. She kept our other kids while we went to China. She traveled behind the camera to Ethiopia. And she’s there at every turn to offer a patient hand, to remind me how far we’ve come and to give us respite when we need it. (How YOU ever convinced our youngest to take on the potty this weekend April I will never grasp! I love how the things that are scary for my kids–some how are made not so scary with your words to them. The little things are big things to these kids–thank you for understanding and being there. Always.)

These people…I’m so grateful for. They weren’t just at the airport–they have always been there…there’s a story with each one how they walk beside us…with us…

I couldn’t have done a year or therapies to and from Children’s without my friend Christy being available. Or the retreats without her either–a mom of two kids that I met in carpool over 5 years ago–who still runs beside me. Or Tami who is here when I need her…or my other Tammy and my Kelly and my Jett who is always there…all at EVERY retreat volunteering behind the scenes…but also a phone call away and who listen and understand when things aren’t easy. Or Mama Judy showing up at EVERY holiday to make ALL my kids feel so special…and preparing daily treat bags for EACH of them every time we travel to grow…something I didn’t think of or have time to do. SO many more to name–but these friends have been beside me through this journey from the beginning and have been healing hands to both me and my children. ALL moms with hearts for foster care and adoption–but just maybe THIS…being with us…beside us…our community…in this journey TOGETHER…is how that calling might play out for them. And I’m so thankful…and humbled…and without any more words.

Yes…this is what I hope and wish for you as you begin your adoption and foster journey…that you would have friends and family who change everything with you…to walk beside you…because He is calling you to walk together…to need each other…to celebrate milestones TOGETHER…to be refined by Him as these children change EACH OF YOU more than you could ever bring change to them…and to raise your hands together as you experience the Healer more and more…and more.

Trust Him in your journey for this. He is faithful.

Thank you for being there…so much more than the background or on the sidelines in my pictures. So much more than that.


Trusting and praying and hoping and running with you,


To Choose the Hardest {Humility}

Reading the words of Mother Teresa in The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living the last line REALLY struck my core.

“These are the few ways we can practice humility:

To speak as little as possible of one’s self.

To mind one’s own business.

Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.

To avoid curiosity.

To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.

To pass over the mistakes of others.

To accept insults and injuries.

To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.

To be kind and gentle even under provocation.

Never to stand on one’s dignity.

To choose always the hardest.”

So much in this piece.

So much wisdom.

And this is where I stand…in a season of choosing the hardest. While I’d love to share more–I think I’ll choose “to speak little as possible of one’s self” and trust Him to always guide.

Just want to encourage you in choosing the hardest too.

THIS is where I have seen the biggest miracles and experienced His love and presence the greatest.

Run the good race!

Love in Christ,


O r p h a n   C a r e
A d o p t i o n   C a r e