Be Brave. Smile At The Future.

I don’t know if it’s the crisp wind, the smell of burning leaves, pulling out those leggings and boots, or the warmth in my hands left over from my pumpkin spice coffee, but there is something about fall that I just love.

It almost beckons an invitation.

The wind blows and a few bright colored leaves fall to the ground, inviting me to cozy up on my couch with a blanket, coffee, and crackling fire. The busyness and freedom of summer is met with schedule and routine, things I so desperately need. But with the cool, crisp mornings, fall also brings to me fear.

Every fall, since I was in the seventh grade, something traumatic has happened in my life. It sounds silly for me to even write, but it’s the honest truth. Around Labor Day of each year, it starts calling out to me...

Fear.

My spirit is unsettled. I have trouble sleeping. I tell my husband a thousand times to be careful going to and from work. I feel terrified when he leaves and make sure to kiss him and tell him how much I love him. Because what if something happens to him? I text my babysitter throughout the day, checking on my children. Are they safe? Do they seem sick? I ask for protection every time I get in the car. I fear tomorrow. Because what if that’s the trauma this fall brings?

It sounds silly, doesn’t it? Um, those things could totally happen in any season of the year. So why do fall winds bring with them such fear to my spirit? Those traumatic events that have previously happened do mark my memory and senses associating them with the fall. But each year, fall also beckons an invitation.

Fall invites me to be brave.

Because I know, I struggle with fear in the fall, around August, I ask the Spirit to prepare my heart. I ask Him to guard my mind, to cover me, armor me with Truth. And each year it gets better. Each year, I feel more victorious.

This fall, the Lord has brought to my heart the woman in Proverbs 31.

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:25 ESV

I looked up several different translations and they each express how she doesn’t fear the future.

She even laughs, thinking of tomorrow…

“…smiles at the future.” NASB

“…laughs at the days to come.” NIV

“…full of joy about the future.” NLV

So how can I become brave and not fear the future?

First of all, my fear is sin. It is a huge sin issue in which I constantly struggle. If the opposite of fear, is faith, then faith is what I’m lacking. If I truly believe that in all things God works together for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28), or that He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Col. 1:17), or He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hew. 13:8), if I truly believe Him and what His Word says about Him, there is absolutely no ground in my heart for fear to claim.

But even more, let’s just say those terrible fears happen. Does He change? Does that mean He is no longer good? Does that mean He leaves me alone? As hard as those days would be to walk through, it doesn’t change Who He is. My Dad. My Lover. My Best Friend.

Each season that passes in my life, I have been able to look back from where I journeyed and see a very faithful, very beautiful God. By the time I am able to start the trek back up the mountain; the valley below has delivered to me a new side of Him. A side I would never want to trade for easy.

Are valley seasons fun? Um. Never. Do they hurt? More than anything. Are they scary? Absolutely.

But that’s where I have found Him to be the most good. There. In the hard. In the scary.

Like that time I was told after a lifetime of wanting to be a mommy, that I can never carry biological children. That was my worst ever fear. And it happened.

And I can never be more thankful. Because I know Jesus in a way I would have never known Him had I become pregnant. And I have been given the gift of two, beautiful brown babies that call me, “mommy” through adoption.

So, ha ha ha, Future!

He was good yesterday, He’s still good today, and He’ll be good tomorrow! So whatever that means for me and you, let’s curl up on the couch, with our coffee, crackling fire, and pumpkins perfectly positioned on the front porch.

And let’s be brave.

Because whatever happens tomorrow, we’ll have Him. And, dear sister, He is always enough.

*Photo by my fav,

Rachel Ackerman Photography

*

Our Birth Mom

In my last post, I shared about our

open adoption.

 When Brandon and I were walking through the

adoption process

, I read everything I could find about birth moms. I wanted to know what it was like through their eyes. Whether you are interested in adoption, in the middle of paperwork,

waiting on your baby

, or possibly considering adoption for your child, this post is for you! Here are Lakeisha's (our birth mom) thoughts on open adoption...

Why did you choose adoption?

I chose adoption because I wanted better for my child than I knew I could provide. I could have kept Selah, but it would have made life so difficult for the two boys I already have. At first abortion was an option for me. However, I went to Piedmont Womens' Center for an ultrasound to see exactly how far along I was in the pregnancy. There was a brochure available for an adoption agency. I called and spoke with a wonderful caseworker. After further conversations, she helped me confirm that adoption was right for me.

What fears did you have about adoption?

I was nervous that our (Jessica, Brandon and my) baby would resent me, and still am at times. I didn't know my biological father until I was 14. Don't get me wrong, I have a daddy that has always been there for me. However, I found out from a stranger that he wasn't my biological father. It crushed me. It made me question who I was and everything else about myself. When I met my biological father, I didn't see him as my daddy. Not because he wasn't there for me, but because I was neglected by him with selfish motives. I don't want Selah to resent me for placing her with Brandon and Jessica. I want her to love me more because of it.

What qualities were you looking for in picking a family?

At first I didn't have anything specific I was looking for in a family. I had no idea who or what type of people I was looking for. I am a go with the flow, and if it is right, it will happen, type of person. I knew I wanted my adoption to be open, but I didn't want to be the only one to make the terms. I was open to everything except a closed adoption.

What helped you heal after placement?

I know this is going to sound crazy but there is and never was a "healing" process for me. I have nothing to heal from. I'm not sure how to put this into words, but I am going to try my best. I don't feel like I lost anything. I gained more than I could have EVER imagined from this. I never lost a daughter, I gained a family. She is mine but wasn't made for me. I have honestly only REALLY cried (like boo-hooed) once. It was the night when the three Satterfield's left the hospital. The only reason I cried then is because of the nurse. She kept hugging me and repeating, "She's not going to hate you, she will love you more." I wanted to tell the woman to get out of my room, but I held it together and then when she left out I burst into tears thinking, "but what if she does hate me?" I got in the shower, cried a little more, and after that, no more tears. I have cried because of some of the hurtful things friends and family have said to me. Not because I gave her up for adoption (I hate that phrase by the way, I didn't give up anything either), but because some people do not understand my decision.

How do you feel about open adoption?

Open adoption is an excellent option for anyone. In my opinion, the only reason I could understand a birth mom wanting a closed adoption, is if she was raped and it would be more traumatizing for her and the baby if they knew each other. Other than that, I can't really understand it. Even if you don't want an extremely open relationship like I have with my "baby mama" and "baby daddy," :) then you can still have updates. Every situation is different, but I think mine is PERFECT.

What would make a birth mom scared to have an open adoption?

The only fear I could think of is if the birth mom and adoptive family didn't want the same thing in the adoption. Or if they are awkward around each other or do not feel comfortable. It could possibly hurt the birth mom to see the child she gave birth to respond more to the adoptive parents or leave with them. But again, I don't have those problems. Communication is key in these situations. Never be scared to say how you feel, just because you don't want to offend the other person. More than likely, the other would be thinking the same or at least something in the same boat. I don't keep anything from my adoptive family. They know the good, the bad, and the ugly. There is no need in

keeping anything from them.

What are your wishes for your child?

I want Selah to have everything I had and more as a child and an adult. I had a great childhood. Things didn't change for me until I found out about my father. I began to act out. I don't want her to go through the same experiences that I lived, so I want to be an open book for her. All I ask is for her to have a stable, Christian foundation. If you choose the best parents for your child like I did, then you don't have to worry about their childhood or their life in general, for that matter. You know that it will be the best and even better than you could ever ask for.

What does adoption mean to you?

Adoption is awesome. It is the very best gift you can give someone. In my eyes, nothing is greater. Abortion is selfish and a cop out. Every child has a purpose, and whether that purpose is to be "your" child or not, only God can determine. It is such a blessing to see a family as special as the Satterfield's, who can't conceive a child themselves, watch their child be born. I can't describe into words the feeling that gave me.

Thank you so much for being here and hearing our story. I'm so thankful for each of you! My prayer is that you see God's glory and His beauty in these words! Be encouraged, dear friend, even when it feels as if He's forgotten us, He is working in so many lives around us to write His story, not only for our good, but theirs too.

Stay tuned...exciting things to come!

The Packpack Boy and My Fear

"The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe." Proverbs 29:25 ESV

Braedon Hollifield. The cutest little, Asian guy I've ever seen. He was tall for a first grader and was obsessed with super heroes. His big brown eyes sparkled like little boys eyes should. And sometimes when he needed a haircut, a few pieces of his straight hair would stand up right in the middle of his head if the wind caught it right. He was 100 percent boy, full of energy, and quite simply, a funny kid. He spent most of his time, clipped on the yellow lily pad hanging in my classroom for behavior... but his heart. He had the most tender heart of all the children I have ever taught.


Braedon is the main character in one of my favorite first grade stories. Every morning he would run down the hall, late, with his hair flopping in the wind. On this particular morning, he made it to my classroom door, took several deep breaths, put his hands on his knees, and then he leaned up against the wall. He couldn't quite make the "r" sound and said, "Mrs. Satterfield, I'm sorry I am late. I couldn't find my packpack. We were looking for it everywhere! But don't worry, it was in the car!" Honestly, that kid could be late everyday as long as he would call his backpack a packpack! He was so stinking cute! It wasn't until December when he finally realized it was called a "backpack."

Several days had past and I noticed that Braedon wasn't his normal self. He was really tired and emotional. I called him to my table to read with me while the other children were in stations around the room. I told him that I had noticed that he seemed tired and I asked him if he was getting enough sleep. His face grew sad and tears welled up in his big, brown eyes. He shared with me how his family watched a scary movie over the weekend and every night when he would try to go to sleep he would see "dark things" in his room that made him feel scared. The movie that his family watched is one I wouldn't dare watch myself. I immediately knew he wasn't just scared of monsters under his bed.

I told Braedon that I have been scared before and knew exactly how he felt. I shared with him how even grown-ups get scared. I told him that God is stronger than Superman, faster than Spiderman, and tougher than Ironman. You should have seen his face! I told him, "All you have to do is tell God you are scared. Tell Him that you trust in Him to keep you safe. And He will. I promise." I asked him when he went to bed and told him "when the big hand is on the twelve and the little hand is on the eight" I am going to pray that God will keep you safe. He even watched me set an alarm on my phone to remind me to pray for him. I gave him a great big hug, wiped the tears off his face, and then prayed, "God, you HAVE to answer his prayer tonight. I just promised him that you would. You HAVE to!"

Fear has always been something I struggle with. My childhood was uncertain and not stable at times. I got really good at being scared. I was fearful about the future, what others thought of me, and my performance. I was always trying so hard to be the prettiest, the smartest, the best. I worked for other's love, approval, and acceptance.

It only took Braedon until December to learn his backpack lesson, but I feel like this is a lesson I am consistently learning. Proverbs says fear is a snare. It traps it's victims and they get stuck. When I am working for approval, I miss out on the freedom and safety of being Christ's sister. Because I am in Christ, the Father looks at me and sees His Beloved Son. He thinks His Son is the best! He is a part of the family, valued, accepted, cherished, and loved. And because Jesus is all of those things, I am too, because I am in Him. I've felt the Spirit say to my heart so much this summer, "All you have to do is tell me you're scared. Tell me you trust in me. I'll keep you safe."

After my conversation with Braedon that day, at eight o'clock, I prayed that God would hear and answer Braedon's prayer. I prayed his sweet little heart could cry out to ask for our Hero's help. I woke up the next morning anticipating Braedon's grand entrance into my classroom. I was standing outside my door welcoming in the late stragglers, and saw Braedon turn the corner, running down the hallway as he normally did. This time not only was he running in the hall, he was SCREAMING in the hall, "MRS. SATTERFIELD!!!! HE DID IT!!!!! HE ANSWERED MY PRAYER!!!"

After I quickly wiped the tears off my face, I gave Braedon another big hug and thanked the Father for His faithfulness. Braedon and I learned a valuable lesson in room 204 that day. I basked in the safety of God and tried to keep up with all of Braedon's energy!