The Unexpected Silence

I wake up to silence.

Unusual silence.

I part with my dream world and rise to reality.

How can it be that I have woken before my children? Why aren’t they clamoring over my exhausted body, demanding their vitamins, breakfast, or simply asking to “sleep” with Mommy?


I rise.

I hear a thud and see a small head bobbing up and down on the other side of my window. I venture to peek into the happenings unnoticed.

And then I see him.

My son.

He’s wearing his Daddy’s shoes. He squats low to the ground and peers under a large flower pot.

He’s on a bug hunt.

And he’s wrangled his little sister into it. He’s showing her worms with “two rings on their bodies” and “pinchy” bugs. He and his shovel negotiate with the earth to release more of its curious creatures. His satisfaction with the deal wanes and they move on to other “jungles” of our yard, investigating tree-climbing ivy, morning life crawling beneath the rose bushes, and the small cracks and crannies that camouflage many wakeful spiders. I’m captured. I wander and wonder with them as their voices lead me down their morning adventure. My own memories of childhood are replaced with a small smile on my face. I can feel it there, creeping up to take the place of the tired creases of my mouth that usually greet me when I am awoken before my time.

The cool morning breeze soothes me back into adulthood, but the smile remains.

Ah! Where has my love for curious things gone?! When did I lose a wonder for all things unique? Or rather, when did all things unique become so familiar that their call to discovery was lost in the busyness of paying bills, feeding family, and managing life’s moments?

And there my answer lies.

Too much.

Too much stuff. Adult responsibilities that pull me from the things my heart really

Illustrations for the book "The Pied Piper of Hamelin"

longs to do. Too many pied pipers on the same path, playing their sweet tunes, leading down rabbit trails and away from the true melody of the heart, of my heart.

Not this morning. This morning the silence greets me. And the voices of my children, deafened to the call of this deceiver, follow the songs of their hearts- to learn, discover, explore- to spend their lives enjoying the creation surrounding them, finding pleasure in it’s beauty and intricacies.

They aren’t worried about unmade beds. Or messy rooms. Or wearing shoes that fit along their journey.

The adventure beckons, and with faith like only a child can wield, they are off.

And so am I. My two and three year olds have been my teacher this morning. Their sweet conversation has drowned out the deceptive pipers in my head- the ones who tell me that the tasks are important, and not the people. The ones who say the moment is to be managed, and not enjoyed.

This is the silence that beckons me this morning. Not the silence of my children, but the silence of my own self- my expectations, my self-demands, my ideas on importance, my to-do list.


Find that silence today. Renew your curiosity. Dig a hole and look for a worm. Examine it. Explore. Wander. Let the child you once were break free and remind you of what is truly important today.

Not Wanting What You Wanted

There been times in life when I did not know I wanted what I didn’t want. There have also been times when I thought I wanted something that I did not, in fact, want.

Say that ten times fast.

But it’s true right? Many people thought they wanted marriage- got it- then realized it wasn’t all the romance and fluff that Hollywood makes it out to be. It’s hard work! Maybe you wanted the marriage without the work! (I’ll confess that this is sometimes my own sentiment).

Or kids… maybe you thought you wanted fifteen. Then you had one. And that one pooped. Peed. Cried. Whined. Threw things. And one seemed better than fifteen.

Or that huge house with the white picket fence! Your dreams came true, you moved in… and wow, that’s a LOT of floor to clean! Or counters to wipe. Or, or, or.

There have been seasons in my life when I’ve sat back and taken a good look. Then I thought, “Wow.” Silence. “Wow.” More silence. “This is not the life I thought I was going to have.” or rather “It is the life I thought I wanted to have… and it ends up… I don’t want it!”


Well, one of the most remarkable times for me in this “not wanting what you thought you wanted” scenario occurred almost four years ago. I was dead set on having all of my children in different countries. Yes, you understood that. I wanted them to each be born in different countries. Seemed cool. I also wanted to live in those various countries for a long time. I’d live out my wander-lust doing mission work and experiencing the world and cultures that God created. Then my husband and I attended a vision casting week with Mennonite Brethren Mission Services International (MBMS/I). By the end of the week (after lots of praying) I realized… I didn’t want to live anywhere forever. This was devastating to me. (As I said, I’d been set on some things- and I was pregnant 🙂 )

Well shoot! Where do you go when you don’t want to live anywhere forever?

And then it struck me. God had put this desire in my heart for a purpose. My real desire is to go and visit missionary families and teams where they are serving and encourage them. I want to offer counseling and mediation and exhortation to people who are serving, not just God, but His people! And in the mix, often get bogged down, discouraged, and left with unresolved team/marital/family issues. Hence, a way to see the world, encourage others, and not live anywhere forever! (Some organizations even have a name for this!)


Peace restored to my disrupted ideals on what I wanted and didn’t want.

What’s my point?

It’s easy to sit back and have a pity party over the things we have that we don’t want (and maybe never did want). In fact, it may even be easier to manage learning to want something you didn’t… than it is to un-want something you did!

This experience taught me something. I could have carried on with my thoughts on what I wanted… only to end up more disappointed and confused. Or I could have lived in a state of mourning over the loss of what my expectations had been, the loss my dreams, or the loss of “control” over my life. And I did do that for a little while.

But had I not been willing to take that disappointment and allow it to direct me to what I really DO want… then I’d still be sitting in that mud pit. Woe is me.

That’s my encouragement to you. Are you staring at things in life that maybe you once wanted, but now you don’t? Wondering what in the world you’re supposed to do now? How can you un-do it? Or take it back?

This is your opportunity! What a blessing! First of all, get out of the muck by calling out some things you can be grateful for. Anything. Then take a step back. How can you use this new revelation to guide you toward where your Calling really lies? Maybe you thought you were supposed to be a Teacher because you’ve always loved kids! But you hate teaching! Maybe your love for kids was given to you for another purpose… and now is your chance to figure out what that is! Adoption? Foster Care? Nursing overseas? Counseling? It wasn’t my desire to see the world that changed… it was my understanding of why God had given that desire to me. I had been wrong about what it was intended for. Now I’m back to wanting the things I want (lol).

How about you? How can you refocus your vision and your perspective? How can you channel your desires to make them, once again, match what you think you want? I’d love to chat with you, pray with you, or walk through areas on your life where you are looking for clarity and ways to refocus and re-want what you want! Or share an encouraging story to help others along this journey!

Your turn!

You-niquely You

My meanderings meander far more often than I actually have time to record them. Which is a bit frustrating because this results in my mind being constantly filled with such a varying degree of thoughts to be thought and mysteries to ponder that I can become quite distracted and in a constant state of quasi-inspiration, floating in and out of my philosophical mind and the reality of my laundry, dishes, meals to plan, children to rear, etc.

That said, I finally decided to take a moment to share my most recent thought. So recent, in fact, that it only occurred minutes ago.

As many of you know, I am a foster mother, an adoptive mother, a biological mother, and the daughter of a mother. 🙂

My various experiences within these roles came to a point this morning as I recollected various children I’ve mothered and their own biological mothers. One of my foster children had been told by her bio-mother, “It’s okay if I lose you… I can always have more kids.”


That poor sweet child, at the age of 13, had a daughter as well. Yes, my 13 year old foster daughter had a baby… without her consent. Regardless, when it became clear that she was unable to care for her child, her response was, “It’s okay, I can always have more kids…”

My heart breaks.

Another biological mother, recently, was released from prison and, free to start her life again, had a baby. To keep this baby, of course, she has to stay clean, follow the rules of the court regarding her former children, and prove she can raise this new child of hers. Well, upon receiving a secret phone call from her young bio-daughter (now in foster care), this mother had to respond with, “Please don’t ever call me again or I could go back to jail.”

I get it. This is her shot at a new life. A life where she actually gets to raise her own children. She’s already lost quite a few to her choices and the consequences of our system.

But to be a child hearing your mother say, “You are replaceable” must be among the most devastating of “realities” that a person could hear, at any age.

The reality is, no one is irreplaceable.

Nope, not even you.

Not at work.

Not at home.

Not at school.

Not at all.

You are the only you. Profound, I know. 🙂

I look at my 3 year old… a million other birthed babies could not replace HIM. Not one would be him. Not one could replace my almost 2-year old. Or my adopted 10 year old. Or my adopted 12 year old. Other children could fill my space and time… but could never be them.

To her biological mother’s great misunderstanding, my 13 year-old foster daughter could never be replaced by her future children. And neither could a new baby replace the one that my foster-daughter lost to the care of a more equipped person.

The daughter whose mother has a second shot at getting life just a little bit right… can’t be replaced. The new baby doesn’t do it. And I know for a fact that this same daughter is absolutely irreplaceable to the family who now desperately loves her and calls her their own.

And so are you. I don’t know your story. Whether you’ve been “replaced.” Or whether you have done the “replacing.” Or maybe you’ve even been asked to replace someone lost… and couldn’t. No one can be you. No one.

And YOU are important. Because you are a life. Planned. Designed. Counted on. Purposed. Called. Created with intention. Your life was not chance. Or a mistake. No accident. Even among the total world’s population… for all of time… not one can be you. Smile like you do. Laugh like you do. Think like you do. Be gifted as you are gifted- with your own special bent and quirks.

You have a purpose. Not just to take up space or breath up air. A destiny.

Even if you don’t believe me, it’s true. Your own belief about yourself can’t even change the reality that you are entirely unique and irreplaceable. This truth doesn’t rely on you believing it.

It just is.

But don’t take my word for it….

“You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.”

Psalm 139:1-18

(emphasis mine).