On August 15, a book that has been two years in the making will be published. Compiled by Katherine Piper, Hope for the Adoption Journey is a book written for a very special type of mom: Adoptive and foster moms.
The fact is, our parenting experiences are different and can often be isolating, but this book is written by a community of seasoned mothers who have been in the trenches and have a wealth support and hope to offer struggling families. It has been a huge privilege to be a part of this very important work!
Here is the link to order! PLEASE share with every adoptive or foster mom you know!
The only way joy will become a part of this story is if there is justice.
UPDATE: The search team has found the remains of children in the area. Here is a link to the post. Please continue to pray and speak out. Human trafficking is a VERY real and present epidemic in our country. The victims are often children as young as two years old. The body of Christ must be willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus and help however He may ask of us.
THIS IS NOT A TYPICAL #ALIFEOFSIMPLEJOYS POST.
I don’t know about you, but news articles about children being hurt or abused punch me in the gut. I cannot bear the thought of an innocent child suffering.
But suffering, too often, occurs. And even worse is when it is at the hands of an adult who should be protecting them.
This post will be short. This post has no joy attached to it because what I have seen is dark. The only way joy will become a part of this story is if there is justice.
Please, friends, go to #operationbackyardbrawl and brace yourselves for what you will see. The videos (and language) are graphic. Share all over social media. Force the powers-that-be to pay attention and fight for these little ones. The voices of those trying to help are being squelched, videos that expose the atrocities are being removed. And, to be honest, most of us are more likely to like and share a picture of our friend’s new baby or latest new recipe than posts like this. Our society is numb. We just don’t want to think about it, much less confront it. But you and I both know the power of an army of mamas who refuse to back down from a fight for the lives of their children. We must fight…on our knees.
Do you believe prayer works? Do you believe God listens and answers the cries of his people? I’ll admit, there are many times it has felt like my prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. And Satan would love to keep it that way. He wants to render us ineffective, distracted, and focused inward.
The enemy is real. The level of evil that is permeating the dark places in society is beyond anything I could ever imagine. Watch the videos. Listen to the horrific descriptions of what these little ones have been forced to endure.
We must pray for these children. There may not be much we can do for them physically at this point but we can wage war in the name of Jesus in the spiritual realm. Let the mama bears rise up and refuse to be silenced! The children…our children…deserve nothing less.
It will take the power of God to stop this. And stop it, He will. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Until then, God has set us, His daughters, here at the watchtower.
Driving down the old roads of Franklin, Tennessee, Civil War era homes flanking the streets and battlefields in the distance, we passed an old, red brick church with a beautiful pair of arched wooden doors. One was partially open, drawing my eye and making me long to peek inside when a woman emerged.
Her dark skin glowed in the afternoon sunlight dappled by the large old trees overshadowing the lawn. Her hair was concealed by a colorful scarf, wrapped neatly and tucked perfectly above her brow.
But what struck me the most in the fleeting seconds that I saw her as we drove by was her smile. It was one of utter peace and contentment, revealing straight white teeth and parenthetically framed by lines very likely earned by years of living and, from what I could glean from her countenance, smiling.
I have no idea what she had been doing in that church. I don’t know who she had been with or why, but her smile was one directed down at the stone steps as she took them one-by-one, not necessarily intended to be noticed by anyone.
But notice, I did. I can’t quite put my finger on why her smile struck me so. I nudged my daughter, sitting next to me in the front seat, asking her to grab her phone and snap a photo of the church doors. She fumbled to bring her phone to life while I drove as slowly as possible (hoping not to irritate the driver of the car behind me but trying to buy time) finally managing to take a couple of shots. I was honestly surprised she captured the doors (because she had all of 2 1/2 seconds to do so!) but those doors are there, a reminder to me of a simple but important truth:
Community feeds contentment. Sharing life feeds a necessary joy-habit which sustains us when we walk through suffering.
Too often we leave gatherings with plastic faces well intact. We managed to keep our façade on to the end and no one, not even our “close” friends, are aware of the things we have determined to hide beneath well-rehearsed smiles. We walk out, away from the watching eyes, and let our weary faces resurface, the smiles falling off at last like a dead Autumn leaf past it’s prime.
But, friends, what if we are real we and allow the weariness to show? What if we smile through tears, allowing those who love us to love on us? That is how we connect at a deep, heart-level which renews our strength and causes us to leave the gathering unconscious of the beautiful, natural smile that turns up the corners of our mouths and draws our cheeks back in soft joy.
There is joy in true community.
There is joy in knowing and being known and allowing our tribe “in.”
There is joy in connection, even when the process involves vulnerability and tears.
And I believe this…with all my heart: God intends for us to develop smile lines as we grow old, the hallmark of a joy-filled and genuinely connected life. Nothing is more beautiful than a face graced with contentment, filled with the light of delighting in who we are in Christ and allowing that light to multiply and bring others in.
A life well-rooted produces bright and delicious fruit.
Choose your tribe carefully, sisters, but choose them. Let them in and become the hands and feet of Jesus in your life, just as they need you to become theirs.
Why? Because we are all weary, friends. We are all strangers in a land that is not our home and traveling alone is exhausting and disheartening. If you have ever journeyed abroad, you know the relief that comes when, after days of struggling to communicate through a language barrier, you run into someone who speaks your native tongue with ease. Your brain takes a much needed break and conversation flows easily because you have found familiarity!
This is the gift of community.
This is the heart of relationships.
Common ground, a common language, and common ideals.
Character-lines formed through years of conversation, confession, laughter and tears.
And lasting joy found in shared memories and celebrations under the approving eye of our good, good Father who brings us through and out of darkness into victory and glorious light…together.