You see it everyday. Very tragic things are happening in our world and it seems to get worse each day. Honestly, my heart has become burdened just thinking about the future of our children. Not only that, but thinking back on this past year and all the tragic things that have affected our family directly is sad, scary and so heartbreaking
As I fight the worry that threatens to consume me, I remember the Apostle Paul's advice from Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (KJV)
Let me tell you about something honest, lovely and of good report.
A little over a year ago Caleb and I gained a daughter, but it was nothing like we had planned. We had talked about looking into adoption once Caleb finished school. Because, we thought, why not? It's practically a family tradition! Yes, maybe five years from now when Augie and Gemma are a little older. We'll be more established, probably own a home and possibly a minivan. Yes, then we can adopt. Or so we imagined with our settled, warm and fuzzy feelings (and perhaps a hint of self-righteousness). Then God came and blew it all up.
The Lord saw our willingness and, in the midst of the discordant tones of our chaotic life, wove a beautiful Melody into our lives.
The not so lovely part... How we gained our second daughter:
Some of you already know, and I won't go into a lot of details, but Melody's father, my first cousin, passed away suddenly of a brain aneurysm last spring. My heart was broken. I couldn't stop thinking about his children, now left fatherless. So I prayed, asking the Lord what I could do to help. He simply said, 'be available'. So, that's what I did, I offered to babysit. But as one or two nights with her became one week after another, I began to grow hesitant; would I come to love her and then have to let her go without notice?
And then one evening, soon after we got her I was rocking the sweet girl to sleep after a few tough hours of crying. I eventually got her calmed down and as she drifted off to sleep in the bend of my arm I began praying over her, and myself (because sometimes you just have to pray for yourself! Am I right?). As I was expressing to the Lord why I was hesitant to put my whole heart out there, He said,
"Have I ever withheld love from you?"
Yep, I broke down. With that sweet, innocent girl in my arms, down came all of my walls. She hadn't asked for her dad to be taken at such a young age and left with that void a little girl will always long to be filled. She needed a safe haven. A place she could call home. A family she could trust to be there for her. I whispered to her, promising her right then to love her without fear, no matter what the future would hold. Because, after all, doesn't love cast out fear?
That was a little over a year ago. We still have our sweet Melody. She has been a beautiful addition to our family and we love her SO MUCH! Of course, we have many hard days. What family doesn't? And I'm not sure how memory goes at such a young age, but after this year, I am fully convinced that, although she may not remember losing her dad at 10 months old, her body remembers. It remembers the seasons, and the feelings associated with them. The last month has been a rough one for Melody, and our whole family but we are making progress! We are pressing through to show her that we are here to stay. Forever. And we will do this over and over again, as many times as necessary to encourage her sweet heart that we are hers and she is ours.
The lovely part... The Lord has turned ashes into BEAUTY.
He has taken a little girl, whose world was completely turned upside down, and given her a good report. He has taken this once fatherless girl and given her a father. And let me tell you, she is CRAZY about him! With Father's day coming up this weekend my heart is full knowing that the Lord is a God who restores. He hears the cry of the fatherless and meets them. He is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Although what has happened to get to this point was so tragic, we won't stay there. We will press forward and, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, we will think on these things.
This little video is just a glimpse into how much this little girl loves Caleb! Who she now calls 'daddy' and runs to with arms wide open, giggling the cutest little giggle that simply speaks, happiness is....