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

*

One Day

"O Lord, my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me."

Psalm 30:2

I was sitting criss-crossed on top of the doctor table. It's not a beach trip unless you make a trip to Urgent Care. Can I get an, "Amen?"

Honestly, I was admiring my tan. I'm fair skinned, so it takes a lot of work to get a tan. At first, you need one good tan-burn, as I like to call it, then you're golden. I was proud of the Essie nail color I picked. The coral against my tan toes just looked like summer. Then, I started feeling so proud that I found time to paint them. The white paper was crinkling under me every time I moved. It's so annoying. And I was sweating, so it was sticking to my legs. Ugh...

They couldn't have chosen worse music to play in the room while I was waiting. If I didn't feel so bad, I would've climbed on top of the counter and changed the station. Brandon gets so embarrassed of me sometimes, when thoughts like that pass through my head. Luckily, he wasn't there.

I've never had a UTI before, but I knew that's what it was. Apparently if you don't get those things treated pretty fast, they ruin your beach trip. I debated for two days whether I should go. Good thing I did.

*******

So God has been teaching me much about healing lately. And I'm not quite sure why, because none of my prayers for healing have been answered.

But I'm learning with Him, it's about the process. Not the end. I think the healing happens some time along the way.

Micah is still only

eating

two ounces. And that's a good feeding. He's not tongue tied. Believe me, I've had three different doctors check. He's on a different reflux medicine now. A different formula. Different bottles. We literally have tried it all after the hospital visit. We're getting all the therapy a kid can get. It seems to make him much happier after feedings and in between. But every three hours, I fight that kid to eat.

I swaddle him, put him on his belly over my arm and sway him side to side. The OT said this stimulates his nervous system and allows him to calm down. Oh, and I have to pat his back when I do that. Once we sway for fifteen minutes, then I take the "therapy paci" and orally stimulate his gums. This is supposed to prepare him for the bottle. Once he is orally stimulated, I turn on the sound machine, because any noise distracts him, and makes him loose his suck. You can imagine how challenging this is with an 18 month old sister. I sit with my knees up, turn him on his side, support both his cheek and chin with one hand while the other hand holds the back of his head and pray. PRAY. The entire feeding. Not out loud of course. Too distracting.

This happens EVERY three hours.

Every three hours, I pray for God to heal him. And you'd think I won the lottery when we finish with an empty bottle. Everyone in our house screams and claps and talks in a happy baby voice to him!

It's not really, but kinda really funny. Can you believe I was actually worried that God wouldn't teach me as much with Micah as He did with Selah? When we found out about Micah, I thought back to all God taught me through

Selah's adoption

. He moved mountains to get this girl into our family. Then we got a phone call in September about Micah. Just one phone call. He literally fell into our laps.

His name

means, "Gift from God." Because that is exactly what he is.

Boy, did He show me. I needed Him throughout Selah's adoption because it was new and scary and hopeless at times. I literally need Him every three hours with Micah. Sometimes, before a feeding, I text my family and friends and ask them to pray for us. Yall. It's hard.

But, I am trusting and resting in God's healing for Micah. One day, he'll suck bottles down better than the best eatin' baby in the world. One day, instead of little bird legs, we're going to be squishing his little rolls. And I told God last night, those rolls will be visible evidence of His faithfulness.

One day.

*******

I just knew when the doctor walked in she would have a surprised smile on her face. I knew she'd probably tell me that I had a UTI, but I also knew she'd tell me the impossible.

That I was pregnant.

I prepped my heart for it. The silent conversation I had with God on that crinkly paper with the terrible music was confident and full of worship. I was expecting Him to heal me. I knew He would. I wasn't overly excited because you don't get super excited about things you already know.

The door opened, and the doctor sat on her swivel stool. Told me I had a UTI, gave me prescriptions for some medicine, wrote the discharge papers, and left.

And I said, "Not this time, Lord, but one day."

It is impossible, this healing. My physical healing is absolutely impossible. It will literally be a miracle. There is no way I could get pregnant, or keep a pregnancy.

Throughout this process of heart healing that has happened along the way, I'm not

barren

anymore. He has taken all of those empty parts of my heart and filled them with Him. It has been beautiful.

There were days I couldn't make it to baby showers, and if I had to go because it was a close friend, I'd always slip out early and cry in my car. One time my mom wouldn't let me drive home until I calmed down. I would literally ache when I went to Chic-Fil-A. All the moms and their babies enjoying that fried goodness. It hurt.

That's not me anymore.

Because God is faithful, and I am now that mom. One baby on my hip, the other one on my chest. I've had two baby showers. People came to MY baby showers. I get the incredible honor of buckling babies in car seats, carrying diaper bags, wearing spit-up, and looking a little

frazzled

sometimes.

Somewhere along the way, He healed my heart. And it was long before I was every called, "mommy."

But this physical healing. As much as I want to forget about it, adopt all the orphan babies in the world, and as many times as I've tried desperately to put the flame out, hope still flickers.

That thing will not die. And I believe it's because God is trying to teach me something.

He's teaching me something about healing even though He hasn't answered my prayer.

I'm going out on a limb here, because "what if He doesn't?" I don't know. I just know that He's asked me to pray for healing. I don't know why. For the life of me, I can't figure it out. But I am. I am praying for God to do the impossible. Literally, impossible.

And I believe Him.

It's funny God has been doing all of this in my heart now for almost a year. Just this week, I read this

blog post

, and Preston Yancey killed it, "This is how we pray now. Wild. Untethered. Rushing into hope and trust that God is who God says God is."

It's scary to pray this way. Real scary. Because what if I'm wrong? What if I'm hearing Him wrong? What if He doesn't heal me? I don't know. I tell myself again, I just know that I am supposed to pray for healing.

Pray for my son's healing. Pray for my healing.

He'll do it.

We'll just wait.  

One day...

*Photo by

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!