When things are harder than they should be {When Change Is Braver}

The lights are up. The house is decorated. AHHH…truly this is just my favorite time of the year! Only this year…it feels different.

Yes, we have another child this year. That’s a good different. There are actually a lot of good difference. Isn’t that the case for all of us? Every year the Lord brings sweet changes.

Growing changes.

Blessing changes.

Changes that make the songs and story times at night sweeter.

The challenges that come with change–seem more exciting with hope.

And bigger vision appears for just maybe…what He might can do with this beautiful mess that He seems to be gracefully transform into His story instead of our own.

But this year.

This year. I’ve found myself with a weight. A weight that came with an attempt to make things easier–isn’t that the hope often when some changes are made? Only as it turns out, it’s just not the right fit for us. Months ago, I recognized this. But as a mom. I thought–by golly. A commitment is a commitment. We will trudge through it. Pull up your boot straps and march through it. We will rise to the occasion! We will look for the silver lining. We will look for Him. We will trust Him to get us through to the end. We will run this race (obviously not marked for us) WELL…and at the end–there will be dancing. And we will be gloriously refined and better because–We. Stuck. With. It.

{But some times. It’s more important to recognize this isn’t the race marked for you.}

Each month the weight got heavier and heavier–and heavier. It’s like moving a heavy dresser. You don’t want to put it down because you are afraid it might land on your toe. And you don’t want to take a step with it closer to the finish line because it feels like you might drop it. You find yourself holding it. Using all your strength because the weight of it soaks up every ounce of strength you have. And you find yourself just standing there. Holding this incredible weight. Not moving forward…which is some times really backwards when everything else you should be doing is brought to a stand still. Because your hands are full with this dresser…other tasks go undone…and before you know it–you are paralyzed…and all you know…this is not working.

So you try harder.

You look for support. You make a friend or two for the journey.

And you may even find a friend in the same position. Only to realize instead of one person holding a heavy dresser–there are two people holding not one but TWO heavy dressers.

When a weight is not yours to carry–essentially not your path to walk in, no amount or form of comradery will make it right.

This momma is being very vague I realize, but hopefully vulnerable and authentic enough to allow my journey to be used for others and to encourage someone else who might find themselves in a pickle–a fish completely out of water.

Now let me say something about letting your yes be yes and your no be no and commitment.

There are absolutely times in our lives where commitments should be filled, honored, kept.

Vows and commitments like marriage are intended to be kept. Always. Because of sin, however, brokenness happens. Commitments like parenting are intended to be kept. Because of sin and brokenness–this some times doesn’t happen. We don’t walk away from these kind of commitments just because they are hard, because we fall out of love, because we don’t feel like ourselves, because we are tired. Richard and I have been married for 10 years and even in just 10 short years, we have had to work through things. Some times seek help. And do a lot of dying to ourselves. It has always been more brave to stay and try harder than to give up. These are what I would call Biblical commitments where we know it is God’s will for us to work through them (and until sin of abuse and adultery are present–the challenges are there to refine us, grow us and eventually become more like Him.)

There are also what I call “small commitments”. (But trust me–no commitment is a small one.) They are still commitments (some times contracts even). Volunteering to be a room mom for the year. Your child signing up for ballet. Registering your preschoolers in spots at a local church for the school year. A season baseball commitment for your son. Agreeing to teach the 2 year old Sunday school for the first early morning service at church every Sunday until the following summer. Starting a small group that meets in your home every other Tuesday night. The list goes on what a “small commitment” might look like.

Before I even say another word about commitments–let me word play a little here. Commitment according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “a promise to do or give something.” So a commitment is essentially a promise. A synonym for promise–is contract. So really…we could kind of lump these together having same/similar meanings. Before going further, what does the Bible say about a promise? Psalm 15:1-4 says…

Who can stay on your holy hill?
Anyone who lives without blame
and does what is right.
He speaks the truth from his heart.
He doesn’t tell lies about others.
He doesn’t do wrong to his neighbors.
He doesn’t say anything bad about them.
He hates sinful people.
He honors those who have respect for the Lord.
He keeps his promises
even when it hurts.

I think we have to be very careful in knowing how to truly be believers who keep our word–who keep our commitments and stand by our promises. Yet there is also a fine line of when it is okay to “quit”–and change is actually right, justified, best and truly braver than staying.

For us. Right now. I’ve been carrying this weight–trying to hang in there. I’ve now found myself at a point where I’m essentially frozen–unable to really think about anything else. It feels all-consuming no matter how much I raise my plate for Jesus to carry my yoke. And just maybe–it’s because I’m carrying the wrong yoke. Baby girl–you put that yoke down. I didn’t build that one for you to carry. No wonder it feels like it doesn’t fit. And there will be times when we need to walk away–and find the right one. I really believe that some times the Lord will speak to our hearts and ask us to take a bigger risk in walking away rather than finishing a race that we weren’t meant to run. I also believe He will provide a way out and peace will follow when it is His will to change paths.

But until then–what questions do you ask? I wanted to share a few of mine with you in hopes that this will help someone also processing a hard decision where a commitment has been made.

1. If you are able to complete the commitment with God’s strength, can you see where you might be changed and refined to be more like Him? Do you think it is possible to finish with His strength and still be able to carry His peace and joy?

(If your answer is yes–pray about keeping on! Trust Him to give you strength! Be honest in your weakness with others and pray for the Lord to call the body of Christ to walk with you through it. If your answer is I’m not sure or no–keep asking questions and praying…it might be time for change.)

2. Is being a part of this commitment encouraging your walk with Christ?

(If your answer is yes–even if the task is HARD–the Lord just might have called you to this to make you more like Him and to challenge you in new ways! if your answer is no–keep asking questions and praying…it might be time for change.)

3. Is your being a part of this commitment creating an unhealthy environment and state-of-mind for you to the point it is paralyzing your living fully for Him?

(If your answer is yes–seriously think about change. Pray that the Lord would show you clearly what you are to do–and trust Him in taking a risk to change and providing someone else to run the rest of the race for you.)

4. Are you wanting to quit because you feel like you aren’t “good” at it (sport, leadership role, etc)?

(If your answer is yes–don’t run too quickly!! Remember His strength is made perfect in our weakness. You can do this! I love the saying “God equips who He calls”, and I really believe it’s true. Oh my glory–being a mom to 5 young children is HARD…but daily He equips me. Not for the week–but for the DAY–some times just the MINUTE! Don’t let your kids fall into this either. Just because they aren’t good at whatever commitment they have made for the year (dance, sports, music, etc)–don’t ever let them quit just because they don’t like it or think they aren’t “good” at it–unless it is truly paralyzing their day to day lives. I’ll never forget the year Laney signed up for soccer. She hated it. She sweated during the first game–and she told me she doesn’t sweat;). We talked about commitment and we finished the season out. She doesn’t LOVE soccer, but she did well by the end of the season and developed at least an appreciation for the game. She also learned the importance of standing by a commitment.

5. Is the commitment hurting more than helping? Is it causing division in your family? Is it creating more stress where it effects your daily lives and is unhealthy for more than just the person committed to it–but starting to effect others as well?

(If your answer is yes to these questions–then seriously pray about stopping the activity/commitment. I also think it is helpful to seek wise counsel and share your answers to these questions with someone not directly involved in your decision process. Some times we can make mountains out of molehills, and we simply need another perspective. Other times, however, we can make molehills out of mountains for far too long and the sweet aroma we are supposed to have as believers turns into the smell of a skunk because we are miserable and not realizing we are making those around us miserable by staying in a commitment or on a path that truly isn’t the best fit.)

If you can’t tell, I’m a momma of my word. If I say I’m going to be there–I might be 5 minutes late–but I will be there. If I join a Bible study–as long as I’m not in the hospital I’m there. Now I’m forgetful some times, but I will never miss something just because it wasn’t convenient or I was tired. But there are times we will find ourselves in situations that are unhealthy or just not the right fit–and we need to bravely move on.

We also need to be bold and brave when we know the Lord is asking us to move on.

Never allow people pleasing, fear of disappointing those who are a part of the activity/program/etc or even just our some times irrational conviction to ALWAYS complete a commitment and stand by our word drown us and keep us from truly being where we should be. Because if we are in the wrong place–and we are missing the right place–by not moving forward we are moving backwards and many times hurting not only ourselves but those around us–as well as those who are a part of the thing we need to part from by our staying far too long. In His Word “let your yes be yes and your no be no” is about not swearing on holy things and instead just saying yes I will do ___ or no I will not ___. Do not confuse a decision that has the freedom to change routes with a vow before God.

And in Psalms where it says, “He keeps his promises even when it hurts”–is true of contracts either way you go. So if you sign a contract to purchase something or sign a child up for something for a time period (private schools some times do this) and it’s not the right fit–by all means do not stay only because it was the original plan and everyone is drowning. Do everything you can to make your needs known to those who entered the partnership/contract/agreement with you, but if nothing changes–it might be time for a change. Don’t spend too much time playing “what ifs” because “what ifs” are essentially “were nots”–clear indicators it’s not a healthy environment for you to grow in–or rather be stagnant or worse drown.

No commitment is always easy or fun or even always pushing you closer to Jesus. But if it never does–and it’s always hard–just maybe…it’s time to take a risk and be brave and move on.

The Lord is your shepherd. He guides–tenderly and FAITHFULLY. If the direction is not yet clear what you are to do–then wait. If the weight of the commitment is paralyzing–then move on bravely and boldly. And if you aren’t sure what to do–seek wise counsel, dig in His word and pray for direction and peace. He is not the God of confusion but the God of order–and He will show you in His perfect timing exactly what you are supposed to do.

Thankful for His grace.

And thankful the only person we are bound to–is Him…One who cares deeply for each of us and grafts us in and will never let us go.

December 10, 2013 - 8:37 pm

Hannah - Thank you for this post. It is timely. We feel we’re at a bit of a crossroads in life, trying to sort out what God is calling us to do…still mulling over many of the words you have written. Thankful that He never lets us go and that indeed he cares deeply!

December 11, 2013 - 1:07 am

Alyson - Yes to ALL this. In our journey of adopting a 15 and 11 year old, my favorite verse has become Is. 42:16. No matter what the situation He never leaves things undone for us. I, too, carry what seems like a whole bedroom suite:-). I stand in awe jus by the fact I am alive at the end of each day….lol. I have enjoyed the few posts I have read recently. Thank you! Merry Christmas!!

The Ucherek Journey {how you can join them}

Christi and I first “met” almost 4 years ago as we were starting our first adoption journey together. We’d never “met-met”–but met first on our adoption agency’s list serve. And…well, that’s like going through labor together in a whole different way. After we brought home our littles–we met in person at a conference as Rico and I were representing Wiphan in Zambia and Christi and her family were also there. Christi is an amazing mom (now to 3 little loves–1 biological and 2 loves from Ethiopia) and she is also a true kindred spirit. What I love about Christi–is she follows hard and radically…and authentically after Jesus. She and her husband have stepped out in faith once again…but in order to continue this call–they need others to join them. Will you just take a moment to read Christi’s story this season? And ask the Lord if He might want to use YOU to join them by praying for them or financially giving monthly so they can continue to serve? Here’s a bit from Christi…

The little girl that changed our lives…

While I (Christi) only served in Guatemala in 2009 for 1 week, it changed both of our lives forever! I spent the trip serving widows and orphans and was utterly broken. Upon returning, the Lord put 2 little girls that I met on the trip on our hearts.

A 3 yr old girl named Yulisa and her 3 sisters lived in a small, underfunded, rundown orphanage in the city of Xela, Guatemala. After I shared Yulisa’s story with Dan, we started advocating for this little girl and praying that an organization would be able to come alongside this little orphanage that had broken our hearts.

God was using her to change us. We knew, after falling desperately in love with Yulisa that God was calling us to adoption. We tried to adopt Yulisa and soon found out that international adoption from Guatemala was closed… which God used to lead us to Ethiopia, where our 2 sons are from.

Through this little girl, God called us to adoption, gave us opportunities to serve the orphan, burdened us for the mission field, and drew our hearts to Guatemala. Through all of these amazing opportunities, God was equipping us for something more! He soon confirmed His calling on our lives to serve the orphan and the church in Guatemala. To say that we were petrified is a complete understatement. We are normal people like so many we read about throughout Scripture that God calls and equips.

ONLY God in His sovereignty could provide a way for us to talk with an organization that we barely knew at the time (through a friend) who eventually came alongside her orphanage. They not only improved the quality of their living situation, were able to hire additional caregivers, expand the facility, improve the school, make sure that the children are being discipled, and ensure that each of them have a transition plan.

The organization we are referring to is Orphan Outreach… who God has now called US to serve with. Do you see how this story is coming full circle? How we had NO idea that I would meet Yulisa, how God would use her in our lives, and NOW allow us the opportunity to serve her, her sisters, and the 60 other children in her orphanage (Little House of Refuge) 4 years later.

God knew EXACTLY what He was doing…. We had NO idea why Yulisa was so heavy on our hearts back in 2009 after my trip. We literally couldn’t sleep at night and wept for her frequently.

Just like God used one small girl to impact our lives in such a dramatic way, God can use you in the same way to impact lives.

We have the privilege of ministering to Yulisa and hundreds of others just like her because of people like YOU!

Not only do we want to tell each of you and the people we minister to about God the Father, we want to represent who God is by taking in orphans, by serving them, by giving them hope for a future, by making sure they have mentors and truly DEFENDING the cause of the orphan. Then, these children, their caregivers, and the community around them will SEE the Gospel in action! God rescued us and we are giving them a picture of what God did for us!

We are God’s people, adopted by His grace, and we are worshipping HIM and committing ourselves… continually asking how we can be a reflection of HIS character… and for us, that is GOING to the orphan, the impoverished, the lonely, the overlooked, and showing them who Jesus is… WHAT does that look like for each of you?

So we ask you today to consider… what can you do for a child like Yulisa? How would the Lord have you get involved?

Our family is in need of additional monthly partners in order to return in 7 weeks! Even just $10 a month makes a huge difference. We can’t minister to children like Yulisa unless the body of Christ comes alongside us in this way.

If you feel led to support us in this way, please click here.

Christi and Dan Ucherek

Thank you so much for taking the time to read the Ucherek’s story!! Please feel free to share this exciting opportunity with your family, small groups and friends! They are an AMAZING family–and I know you will be so blessed to follow their journey and to be a part of what God is doing through their faithfulness to go. Blessings to you all this Thanksgiving! Truly, we have SO much to be thankful for!

xoxo!

Andrea

Yi, er, san {one of the bravest boys i know}

A wise old bear once said…

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is–even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.” -Winnie the Pooh

On Sundays–I lay with him after church.

Lunch is put away. I get all the others settled with reading and quite. And I carry him to my room. It’s our sweet time resting together…me and my new one.

We sing softly with both of our heads on my pillow. And then there is quiet.

I close my eyes and pretend to be asleep.

And he rests…talking himself to sleep. But I listen. And often my heart melts in these moments.

Yi, er, san…

He starts counting.

In his first language.

And I hold my breath. Remembering how young he is. And how brave. Oh so brave.

Si, wu, liu

Almost 6 months together. Yet–2 years of his life. Years that were not mine…but years I will forever long for…to hold–to treasure–to have been there. If you are a mom, an aunt, a god-mother, a friend to a 2 year old…then you know how many memories make up the days…day after day of a 2 year span. Days gaining trust. Maybe losing it too. Over and over and over again.

Skinned knees and fevers. Milestones and cheers. I wasn’t there–yet he trusts me. He doesn’t know yet that I would give anything to have been there. And that all those memories and years…are stories I will not be able to retell. Yet…each day more and more…more trust…tighter hugs.

Yet in the quiet. He counts. To himself. Quietly.

What is easy for him. Surrounded by so much hard…new language…new faces…new everything. And I melt all over again. He is one of the bravest boys I know. And I…

I get to be his mom.

Tears fall.

So blessed.

I remember a time when we were “done”. My first two babes had been surprises. Such gifts–but such surprises;). We married in June–discovered we’d be parents in December. And he was born the next August. When this colicy wee one was 4 months old, we discovered another was on the way. At each passing growth spurt–I quickly gave aways outgrown clothes. Because we were “done”. Little did I know the great things the Lord had in store for me. So blessed.

Each day…one day at a time…with 5 little sweet ones under age 9. Rich and I are in a season where we truly take one day at a time for tomorrow has enough worries of it’s own–but although today is full–it’s filling also has such blessing. And as I lay there listening to my fifth little blessing count…I held my breath. Thanking God for the miracle of letting me be a mom again and again and again…and through the miracle of adoption…you truly see a miracle.

Our hearts are connected. I wake more often at night to check on this new one than I ever did as a first time mom. And I’m so thankful how every day–this little love takes risks. Risks to love and be loved. And having seen so many little loves so afraid to take these risks…I realize what a miracle it is. This morning I held him in worship at church. Holding him in my left arm–I couldn’t help but raise my right. Praising God for all He has done. And I opened my eyes to see my little love raising his hands singing too. So free. So full of joy.

And it amazes me. The days and years I missed. Yet the Lord heals. He connects us. He helps gel together as mother and son…and I’m overwhelmed with thanksgiving.

Never underestimate how the Lord can give courage to the smallest of loves. And never underestimate all He can do to heal and connect…to make up for missed time. May your Thanksgiving ahead be full of sweet connections with your loves and family.

A few of my favorites from our house…(we tend to get a little festive at every holiday over here;)

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Andrea:)

And she earned a new doll. {Trusting in the Unknown}

Breathing. That’s what I’m doing today. In and out. And thankful.

Since I wrote last–we’ve been on a roller coaster. And I’m just thankful to be on the other side. God is good. And even if it had taken another turn–he is still good. Deep sigh. I believe it. Harder to type with a mommy heart.

On Friday morning at 6am Rico Suave and P-man (the 9 year old) took off for a father/son trip. They left early for the airport, and would depart around 9ish.

The preschoolers were up and at ‘em–as was my soon-to-be 7 year old princess. She’ll be 8 soon. And all she wants is Ivy–her American Girl doll’s best friend;). I used to not be a fan of dolls that cost an arm and a leg–but she waited 7 years for her first–and oh my the historical stories are good. Ever since China–she’s wanted Ivy. I wasn’t planning on it–but the events of the day…would make for her earning a doll in 30 minutes–even though it took her 7 hours to wait for her first one.

Zeke, our 2 year old, was sleeping in–and with viruses all over the place, I assumed because he is normally bouncing at 7:30am that maybe he had one–so…I let him sleep. Just before 9am, I asked Laney if she wanted to wake him (what we all fight over in this house on mornings he sleeps in!) and she did. Only she ran back downstairs saying she couldn’t. I ran up–and he was hard to wake. Hmmmm…a virus I thought.

I piled everyone up in our van. Took the 2 boys to preschool–and seeing Mr.Sleepy doze back off I even put on lullaby music. The boys hopped out–and something felt off so I pulled in a parking space to stir our 2 year old. I stirred. I stirred. I stirred. And he wouldn’t wake up. And I knew something was terribly wrong.

We raced to the ER–in 9am traffic. Okay–so racing in 9am traffic is hard. So I honked. I prayed. Hazards on. And I begged my precious, scared 7 year old princess to keep her little brother awake. She said it was hard and not working–and I needed a helper. So I had a very quick heart-to-heart–which included IF you do this–I will take you to the American Girl store after all of this is over–and I’ll buy you Ivy. I gave a pep talk–mommy needs you–we need you–you can do this–talk…and I focused on weaving in and out of traffic. It was one of the most scariest mornings–moments–days in my mommy hood. And I’m so proud of how my little girl rose to the occasion with one hand monitoring breathing and the other patting cheeks to try to keep him awake. But I watched in the rearview at her handing him toys and how they dropped to the floor….and my heart raced–I prayed out loud–and I just hope and pray she isn’t too traumatized our sweet girl for helping but rather sees His hand and miracle in how it all turned out.

I called Rich to see if his flight had taken off. They were about to take off, and he wasn’t allowed off the plane. So for the next 2 hours he would be in the air now knowing. Then my phone lost battery–and I couldn’t call 9-11 as I was in traffic if I wanted to.

I know you see us Lord. Help us Lord Jesus I cried.

We got to the ER–and at that point our sweet boy was completely out. Much of the rest a blur. They didn’t raise the side rails of the bed because he wasn’t moving–and after blood work we realized his blood sugar had already dropped to 40 (normal range is 70-120). Much of what was happening now was described in some of our paperwork. I knew it wasn’t epilepsy but something else. Probably whatever they thought was epilepsy in China.

Hours past which felt like minutes. Crazy how fast time goes when you are just waiting and watching for a little love to wake up. I kept asking all the nurses would he be alright–just fine right. Thankful for how quickly my sister-in-law, mom, sister and brother-in-law all came. To sit with me as Rich couldn’t. Made me realize as much as my heart THOUGHT moving to a farm in Tennessee was what we “needed” that we were exactly where we needed to be. With family nearby. I needed them. So thankful.

Watching Laney hold his little lifeless hand and tell him it was going to be okay. Singing “itsy-bitsy” spider to those closed eyes. A million thoughts went through my head. And then after several doses of glucose in the IV and probably forever later–but what felt like minutes–he opened his eyes. He saw Uncle Harris leaning over the bed, and he assumed Papa and Nana would be wherever Uncle Harris was–so with a scruffy little whisper he asked, “Papa? Nana?” And I knew everything would be okay.

So thankful when we got moved out of triage to a regular room–and I saw these eyes!!

A few hours later and more glucose…and we had this:

So thankful. We are now home. We have an appointment first thing at 8am to start some diagnostic testing. This was our first experience with ketotic hypoglycemia–and crazily I felt more prepared to deal with epilepsy than low blood sugar problems. I just had no idea the scare that could come with it. We will be running lots and lots of tests in the weeks ahead–and just hope and pray we never have another experience EVER again like we did Friday. I know some of you might not be American Girl doll fans–but after the day we had on Friday…and what Laney-loo went through as the most amazing cheerleader and support to her brother…I think she totally earned one. So get ready to meet Ivy ahead;)

One thing I learned from this weekend…was that He can be trusted in the unknown. With my husband out of the state–unable to be reached on an airplane…He was all I could talk to…and He was enough. The Lord graciously took care of our other children so I could be fully there with the support of precious family and friends. And although I often feel like a fish out of water–on Friday I was a taken care of floppy fish. And so was my boy. Although I felt more desperate than I ever have–I also knew in the moment…in the crazy…in the unknown–that I could trust Him. And realizing that in a moment like this as a mom–is truly one of the most comforting–peaceful–miraculous realizations you could ever have.

But I do have a confession–although I knew I could trust Him–I wasn’t to the point of being able to say “Thy will be done.” I just didn’t. I begged. I pleaded. I told Him what I wanted. I begged some more. And it ended so beautifully. I thought about my friend’s little man who also had a similar scare–that didn’t end the good way ours did. And I’m ministered to–as even with that outcome…not what she begged for…she still trusts Jesus with such strong faith. Have you ever wondered what you would do? I certainly do not want to find out. But I hope I would run fast to Him–trusting Him–holding on to who He says He is even in the unwanted outcomes of our children…our most precious eternal things on this earth.

Praising Him today how our weekend ended and the knowledge we know have to proceed in testing ahead. Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Still recovering in my heart…but so, so thankful today.

love…andrea

p.s. JUST to make you laugh–you know that saying “God never gives you more than you can handle”?? Um. That is NO where in the Bible folks. So just for your entertainment–get this. This ALL happened…while Rico was gone–while I’m fighting a parasite which explained the fatigue (yep! found out last week I have a glorious parasite only found in oysters. Um–I don’t eat oysters;)…while our dryer was out–I’ve been frequenting the coin laundry…worse than the dryer being out was the dryer vent was clogged causing water to trickle down the walls. They say when it rains–it pours…haha–no pun intended. And did I mention I had pjs, a sweatshirt–and was super thankful for the sweatshirt because I failed to put on a KEY undergarment as I thought I was just running a quick round of preschool carpool? Um–that would be for ALL DAY in the ER!! Nice. The ONE redeeming thing…was I had cute slippers on. That was about IT y’all. And some times–when the going gets tough…you just need fancy slippers. It’s the little things that some times will make you smile;)

November 18, 2013 - 2:50 pm

Laura - I am so proud of your little girl! She is a hero and a hero should have any American Girl Doll she wants!!

Praying for you all…

Laura in Tx

November 18, 2013 - 5:49 pm

Meg - So scary! I’m thankful he’s feeling better. What an amazing big sister!

November 21, 2013 - 1:13 am

Sandi - I’m a Dietitian. Studies show uncooked cornstarch administered at bedtime mimics the body’s nocturnal glucose utilization. (1-1.5 grams/kg) administered at bedtime, and every 6 hours during illness, prevents morning hypoglycemia and ketosis. Also, Pediasure Sidekicks nutrition drink for kids have less carbohydrates but enough protein to help out at night. He is going to need to eat at least every 4 hrs during the day. Probably would help to let him go to bed & then wake him for a high protein snack with carbohydrates when you go to bed. High protein snacks, fiber from veggies & fruit will help. Liquid sugar like juice will cause his sugar to spike & then plummet so it will be healthier for him to have fresh fruit. Juice will help bring his sugar up quickly during hypoglycemic episodes. Your local children’s hospital can set you up for a session with a pediatric dietitian for help with counting carbs. Praying that he will grow out of it (some kids do after age 5) unless it is an underlying pituitary hormone deficiency. Good news is that hormone therapy works. Praying for healing for you all! Don’t fret…this too shall pass!

Only Enough–because He is {When Things Are Broken}

This post–one of those posts–you hope it’s just a journal documenting my days…and nobody actually comes here to read what I write.

Today was one of those days.

Good, but hard days.

I would take a “do-over” if I could, but I think I actually learn more in the “good, but hard”–so I’ll gulp and learn…and put one foot in front of the other.

Often I end my days feeling like I’m “too much”. “Too much” mostly because I think “too much”. Can you relate? But today–I end feeling the “not enough” instead. But I know this is a lie we tell ourselves. Especially as moms in the trenches…in the middle of the days we will one day greatly miss. It’s okay because HE is enough. He redeems. He makes all things new. And when I mess up…forget…or need to change perspective–He fills in all the gaps healing all the hiccups where I’ve gone wrong.

This week. We made history in the journey of Wiphan. www.wiphan.org This ministry that we’ve been a part of for almost 6 years now. This ministry that has changed us. Based in Ndola, Zambia. 450+ orphans. 160+ widows. And about $80,000 under budget what we need for committed yearly income. Yet I know He is El Roi. He will provide. I think about how many of us will spend $1,000 on Christmas gifts–yet if we had just 80 families give $1,000 each year to Wiphan–it would fill the gap for these orphans and widows to continue in their education and safe place to go. He is El Roi. He will provide.

History was made as Cuthbert, one of Wiphan Zambia’s teachers, stepped off the plane this week here in Atlanta. It is his first trip to the USA. It is our first Zambian staff who has successfully gotten a VISA to exit the country to visit us. Here he will be training for a week and a half for the sake of our widows ministry. Training and learning–so he can return and train them. It’s been hard to get staff out as the country fears they will not return–but because Cuthbert is married with a young son–he was able to leave convincing them he has good reason to return.


Last night–we sat with Cuthbert over dinner. I’m surprised he met us at our choice of restaurants as the day earlier he stopped by the house to visit with other Wiphan folks and I served them my SPICY Southern cheese straws. (You know you secretly want the recipe I love to use;)As we were eating–we asking Cuthbert what his first impression was of America. He took a deep breath…

Silence.

Come on–you can tell us!


And then he said, “When I return to Zambia–I will tell them this from my trip. Here in American–even your cars have houses.

I thought of the kids.

The widows.

How their homes are half–some times a quarter of the size as most of our garages.


Perspective.

[If you are looking for a place to give--or you want to be a part of Wiphan--my sweet sister has headed up the Grateful Project for our current needs...you can watch this if you are interested in being a part--giving in someone's name this season...]

The Grateful Project- Short from April Carlock on Vimeo.

And then there’s me. My struggle with what we feel called to do in creating community and my flesh of want.

For weeks, we’ve been getting on zillow, realtor.com–searching high and low for a farm. We have this vision to create community and really walk together…serving one another and serving others together. As you search–you see what more $$$ will get you. It’s an investment. You will use it for His glory. You will bless people with it. Yada, Yada, Yada. The same goes for our other material things we need. Right? All easily justified. God wants us to have good things. Right? We will use it to bless others? Right? We deserve it–well, because we earned it…and God helps those that help themselves?? Hmmmm. I do believe God is good. I do believe He wants us to have good things. But I do not believe He wants us to have good things at the expense of others. And I lose perspective.

I’m not speaking to you. Assuming no one reads this. But to me. This is ME. What I struggle with.

I do think it’s okay for us to have a farm. Just as it’s okay for you to have ______, ______, and _______. BUT–there is a difference between what we need and want. There is a difference between what is fruitful and what is excess. And we have to be so careful of placing ourselves in a position where we are indebted more to our lifestyle and what we want in goodness rather than true sacrificial service…truly living for the gospel…truly living as—–take a deep breath…as Jesus would have.

Broken.

Broken and tempted and selfish…that’s me.

And I know I’m not enough. But He is.

And I need to stay close to Him.

Because, for me, living in our culture and living for Christ is more difficult than my packing my bags to go love and serve and live with nothing in a 3rd world country for Him. At least–I know that’s true for me.

And the trying to live for Him–is a constant contrast with the dailies in this world.

Like tonight.

I’m married to a man who often has to travel. He left on Sunday and returned on Wednesday this week. On Sunday night, I was sitting in my living room as water started to drip out of a light socket. I thought it was a busted pipe. So–I called a plumber. For your entertainment in this post–TOTALLY shady y’all. He was trying to be rico, suave–but we all know there is only one Rico Suave;). He left unsure of what the problem was and said he’d return on Monday morning to start cutting dry-wall. Oh gracious. Rico Suave is gonna kill me I thought. What to do. What to do?! I called dear friends–and they discovered it was actually a leak in the dryer vent. (Long story for another day–but yes…if your dryer vent is clogged it can leak.) Of course the vent folks can’t come until next week–soooooo…I found myself with a week’s worth of laundry at the coin laundry tonight…

A week’s worth of laundry for 2 adults, 4 kids + 1 toddler filled this many baskets =

I got to the coin laundry and walked past a nice older guy sitting outside in the FREEEEEEEEEZZZZZING cold.

1 basket.

2 baskets.

3, 4, 5 baskets.

6 freaking baskets. Of clothes!

Oh my.

At each of my 6 trips–he laughed at me.

Hauling MOUNDS of clothes and sheets and towels past him.

I got $20 in change and started my rounds in commercial washers and went to make small talk with the South Korean old man that owns the laundry. (You guys KNOW I can’t just sit there. Make the most of every opportunity:).

I asked about the nice man outside–my other new friend…in the FREEEEEEZZZZZZZING cold.

And in broken English–this is what I got. He’s no place to go. He likes to smoke. He always sits there. Homeless.

I watched my 6 loads of laundry spin and spin and spin and spin.

And I wrestled.

Because I’m not okay with carrying 6 loads of laundry past a homeless guy.

And I’m not okay with doing nothing.

And I was nervous.

Unsure.

And I know we are called to take risks.

So I took a deep breath–walked down the strip mall. At 9pm in Atlanta in a strip mall that has a coin laundry–trust me–I was also praying for the Lord’s protection;). [If you are reading--and you know Rico--don't tell him this part.]

I found a Latino bakery. The only thing that might have something warm. Thankfully they did. I grabbed a hot decaf…went back…delivered the decaf to my new cold friend–and spent the washing machine cycle of 6 loads of excess talking to this kind soul. Knowing that some times hiccups like broken dryers happen in our lives for a greater purpose. To connect with others…to show them they have great purpose…and to open our hands to whatever the Lord might have for us.

Because I can assure you the blessing and growth and change…is truly for us when we follow Him in the uncomfortable.

And I know the Lord worked. I could feel it. Not just in the talk. Not just in the depth. But even in the South Korean coin laundry owner as he watched through the window.

And as I talked the Lord worked. And not how you might be thinking. But I remembered. How today I messed up. And it was almost hard to concentrate in the conversation with my new friend out there in the freezing cold. As I thought of how I said something unkind today to one of my beloved children. For the first time in my mommyhood–I was done…like really done. Tired. Needing a break. Really done. Done to the point that I said something unkind. And I sat there. Broken. Realizing that today I was not only broken but I also broke something…someone. And I looked over at this most beautiful grown man–and realized that many years ago he was also someone’s beloved child. I took a deep breath. And sighed. Brokenness got him here. Brokenness got me here. And we all need a Savior.

Oh how I need him. I’m not enough. I mess up. And today–I want a do-over. But I have to trust that in my mess-ups that He is enough. In the mess-ups in my new friend’s life–He is enough. The Lord can use even our mess-ups for His good–for His glory–to change them–to change me. And if we just trust Him–He can work wonders.

And in all these different moments in the last 24 hours–I realize how much we need Him. In our dailies. Hourlies. Minute by minute.

And even with Him in my life–I will mess up.

But I do not have to carry that–because He is able to mend.

He is enough to cover it all up with His glory, goodness and healing.

And some times as tired mommies we just need to rest. To breath. To be still.

We need to come to Him–and to bring our babies with us. And to not carry the guilt…or the not enoughs…

But to just ask Him to be with us–to guide us–to fill us–and to bless us with perspective as we make decisions and journey through these days.

And to celebrate and worship Him for the mountains He has carried us through…to leave us rejoicing on the other side–knowing it was only Him…only Him…that could have seen us through.

[Thankful for a sweet lunch with these two loves today!]

November 15, 2013 - 8:18 am

Meg - I don’t usually cry when I read blog posts, but this one is profound. It’s so hard to be a Mama to many and this encouragement was His direct words to my heart. Thank-you for taking the time to pen your thoughts and letting Him use you!

November 15, 2013 - 11:25 am

Candy - I had one of those “DONE” days just last week. I was so DONE with 4 years of grieving the loss of my husband and both parents that I literally wanted to run away from it all. I know from experience that even if I were to run, grief would run with me.

I, too, know what you mean about investing in something more because you want to do something good for others. I am at that place as well. A decision has not been made yet.

Thank you for sharing your heart and soul.

November 15, 2013 - 3:54 pm

Meredith - Such a beautiful post! Thank you, Andrea, for taking the time to openly share your heart/thoughts on this blog. Every time I read your words, I see a glimpse of God, and that’s just plain amazing. You have a beautiful heart and a wonderful family, and we continue to pray for all of you on a weekly basis. Please know that even when you are feeling the “hard,” we are lifting you up! (Also, know that because of this post, our family has signed up to sponsor a child in Wiphan’s Mapalo school, and we’ve also signed up to sponsor one of the general programs at the school. We are praying for Wiphan!) Lots of love to the Young family! Praying that you can soak up this first Thanksgiving as a sweet family of SEVEN. :-)

November 15, 2013 - 9:40 pm

admin - Meredith,

You just blessed my socks off with this comment. Wow. Thank you for serving those precious kids and widows with us. Wow. Wow. Wow. Love your heart and your willingness to give for His good. Thank you!! Thankful for youuuuuuu!

Love you sisteR!

Andrea

November 15, 2013 - 9:41 pm

admin - P.S. I have to know!! Which kiddo are you guys sponsoring?? Love to look up the kids and know which of my friends are connected to them!! Will be praying for your new Wiphan love and for your family!

November 16, 2013 - 3:24 pm

Lori - New reader here. Just wanted to say you touched my heart with your words. I long to be used by God to make a difference in the lives of others for His glory! And yet sometimes, due to the “holes” in my own soul, the unhealed wounds I feel so inadequate and at times, even invisible. I must remember that is exactly where the power of God can work!

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