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).


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Grateful for Gratitude

The last part of our bedtime routine, in my home, is prayer with and for the children.

Tonight, my three-year old son excitedly exclaimed that he would be praying for me and that I would be praying for his little sister. Oh, and that I would be starting first. I prayed for my daughter (and the other three of my children) and notioned that it was his turn.

“Dear Jesus, thank you for Mommy and my sister and the big kids and Daddy. Thank you for Auntie Laura and Auntie Zelda and Auntie Chris and her kids, Noah, Sam and Gabe. Thank you for….” and the list went on. After thanking God for the entire world, nearly every animal on the planet, and every item in his room, I realized that he had opened a book. As he turned the pages in the book (also on animals) he thanked God for whatever he saw on each page. Really, he was stalling to keep me from leaving the room. The Mommy in me wanted to close the book, kiss him goodnight, and finally have my own time!

Suddenly my brain-train switched tracks. Actually, his idea was brilliant! How many times have I had a poopy day (literally and figuratively) and had the hardest time being thankful for anything? How easily I could pull just about any book of my shelf (with pictures, of course) and begin to choose thankfulness for whatever I see! What a great solution to the gratefulness-block!

As if that weren’t reason enough, I was reminded of an event at my local MOPS group. Karen Wood, a woman with much experience in the Psychology field, came and spoke with us about the human brain. She taught us that it is impossible for the human brain to be grateful AND complaining at the same time. Those two occur in very separate areas of the brain and therefore, can’t be done simultaneously. Equally, your brain can not worship and worry at the same time, for the same reason. (Or be grateful and worry or worship and complain).

Try it. The next time you are in a grumbling mood, stop and begin to be thankful for things. Your life. Air. Water. Whatever. The oxygen in your brain will begin to flow to the part that is required for gratitude. Beautiful!

With all of that in mind, my son’s choice to pull out a book and be thankful for its contents (when he’d depleted his own bank of items) inspired me to remember how important it is to choose gratitude. Its mind-transforming. Literally.


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Zoe- One Of Life’s Dear Journeys

Since my goal for this blog is to share life experiences in the hope that they uplift, inspire, and offer hope to others, I decided its time to share the story of Zoe.

Many of you relate to her story and mine. May you find some hope and peace in knowing that you are not alone and that it was not the end.

I found out I was pregnant in July of 2009. I was not thrilled. I had been hoping to have a least one full year after my son’s birth before having any other children. My son was only ten months old. I tried to not be angry because I knew that God had a plan. But I was not happy. I had an ultrasound to confirm that my Dollar Tree test was telling the truth. It was.

We left for Panama and Colombia when I was about five weeks pregnant. During our final days in Panama I began to bleed. The bleeding continued for about a week. I was also losing tissue and feared the words… I was miscarrying. I was totally cut off from my midwife, doctors, and immediate family (other than my husband).

I took the afternoon to be silent before the Lord. But before my silence, I begged Him to not punish this child simply because of my own selfishness. He began to show me how ugly my heart was and He began to clean it up. He spoke tenderly to my soul and said, “This child has life and is named Zoe because “she” has life. You can’t understand what is happening now. I am cleaning house.”

I took those words to mean that through all of the bleeding, this child would live. However, when I got home and visited my doctor, I had a starkly empty womb. The baby had passed away. Knowing that I’d heard God speak, I came home and looked up the meaning of Zoe. This is what I found:

“Zoe means life as a principle, life in the absolute sense, life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself, and which He gave to the Incarnate Son to have in HImself… and of this life men become partakers through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

-Vines Complete Expository Dictionary.

What I realized that day was that God had indeed spoken. Our child is alive… just not in our physical world. Though He removed “her” little body from this planet before the first breath, her life did not end there. It continued on into eternity and she continues to live.

Who knew that such a small child… too small to see with the naked eye, could change my life so profoundly?

One month to the day later I found out I was pregnant again (all the while trying not to get pregnant! Clearly I’m ridiculously fertile). We saw that God had plans far larger than our human minds could fathom this side of Heaven. Though I didn’t feel any more ready to be pregnant again, my heart was so restored and redeemed that I anticipated this child with a newfound sense of purpose. God had so intimately prepared the soil of our family that indeed He must have a calling for this young life (and ours).

My daughter was born to us one month after Zoe would have been born. In her stead, we are able to love and receive our daughter with gratitude. Zoe’s life, physical death, and continued spiritual life were not in vain. We look forward to meeting her in all her glory on the other side.


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