Author Archives: bindmywanderingheart

About bindmywanderingheart

I am a child of God, wife of Justin for 12 years, and mom of 4 incredible kiddos. Our daughter, Lydia has congenital glaucoma and fibrovascular downgrowth. Join us on our journey as we fight the darkness of Lydia's eyes, and of this world.

bringing home oliver

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We had hit our two year anniversary of adoption, and we have had the joy and privilege of watching our son shed his identity as an orphan and step into his identity as a son. He was made for this, I often think to myself as I watch him play with his siblings. He was created to be a son.

We’ve had our sleepless nights, our fear filled days of what our future would hold, but for the most part, those days have passed, and we’ve moved into a peaceful reality. We’ve all bonded well, and even the siblings I worried about a bit more, have transitioned into a beautiful relationship. Answered prayers, all of them, and sometimes the moments of where he’s been and where he is now strike me so hard, I find myself choking back tears as I hear one word whispered to my heart, ‘Redemption’.

Redemption is messy, it is difficult, it is purposeful, and it is costly, but it is also beautiful. It’s beauty is not always a surface beauty, but the kind that can only come from deep prayers, deep pain, and an even deeper love.

While we enjoyed our new reality, there was truly nothing in me that desired to join the ranks of my friends that were diving in to adopt again. We were firmly settled, and our house is full.

I saw his picture, and looking back, I think I knew then that he was different. I showed his picture to the kids. They are used to seeing the waiting children, but this one was different, and we all knew it. The kids all asked if we could adopt him, but we weren’t interested in taking another leap of faith and growing our family at that point. They told us all of the things they would be willing to give up if we would only consider adopting him. And so a conspiracy of young minds and hearts of strong faith began. Their requests were not from the naivety of the unknown, they were well aware of the cost of redemption. We had always said we would listen to our children, and longed to encourage them to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in their lives, but when we talked about the reality, fear gripped me.

I requested his file, and reading it left me broken. His birthmother discarded him in a place that no human being should ever be, much less a precious new baby. He was miraculously found and brought to an orphanage. A family, a very good and loving family, crossed the ocean to adopt him when he was 16 months old, but after having him for four days, they realized he had nf-1, and were unsure if they could care for him, so they took him back to the orphanage. I cried as I heard one word whispered to my heart, ‘redemption’.

And then, and unlikely but beautiful friendship formed. I called the family that had chosen not to adopt him. Carrie answered the phone and I could hear the tears in her voice. She loved this child, and had lived with the decision she had made for the last year. I heard her pain. And I hear HIM whisper, “I make all things new.” And while she will not be his mother, she will be my friend. She is a part of his story, and she will watch his journey unfold. I am so thankful for this beautiful path that has intertwined us. I am so thankful to call her friend.

I threw myself into researching his condition, and the more I read the scarier it looked. Tumors, learning delays, and so much more kept me awake at night. I talked to Justin and the kids about all this could mean for us. I was desperate for them to understand that we couldn’t take this step. I knew our decision was made and it was time to close the door on this.

It was bedtime and I heard his feet pad across my floor. This child that has been a gentle leader to his younger siblings greeted me in his characteristically timid way. “Mom? I’ve been thinking. I know you’re scared, I’m scared too. I just keep thinking, even if he is going to die, don’t you think he deserves to die with a family?”

How do we get so caught up in having comfortable lives, that we fail to see the importance of making sacrifices for these little ones?! I tell my children all the time that God has not called us to live a life of comfort, but sometimes, I need them to remind me of my own convictions.

And so, we’ve let go of the strongholds, and have surrendered to the Redeemer’s plans for us and for Oliver. His life has redemption written all over it.

Almost Birthday

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He received it today. It was his first one. I knew from the moment it landed in his small, Brown hands that he would hold it all night. His Birthday is tomorrow and tonight his very first card came in the mail. He cheered with excitement when he opened it. He sang the happy Birthday song with us and yelled when money came out of the card. He read it and reread it. He proudly showed me where it says his name at the top. When he was finished, he ever so carefully put his card Back in the envelope it arrived in, pressing the sticker in the exact spot to seal it once again.

He doesn’t know that we are going to celebrate Big all weekend long. He doesn’t know that this year, he has a closet full of gifts. He doesn’t know that we hired a Baker to make him a spiderman cake. In his mind, his entire celebration started and ended with this card, and once again, he has humbled me. His Beautiful, content heart makes me wonder again at God’s graciousness to me.

Tomorrow will not Be his first Birthday. That day has long come and gone. Tomorrow will Be his first Birthday as a SON, and friends, we are going to celebrate, Because this small Boy with a Beautiful heart is so very, very worth celebrating.

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With windows wide open

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Before they arrived, I would relax by watching the news. I would turn on the Today show and snuggle deeper under the covers and sip my coffee. It was blissful, at that time. Then he arrived, all 8 pounds of him, wet and crying and they placed him in my arms. That moment, my entire universe tilted on axis. Beautiful blue eyes stared up at me, and I was undone. He was here. He is mine for such a short season, and I get to shepherd his heart.

After he came, and the four that came after, I could no longer find watching the news relaxing. The stories, that were simply other people’s lives, were suddenly not. I stared at him, and later at them, and I realized what a scary, tragic world we live in. The people on the news were not other people any more. That was somebody’s son, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s whole world.

But we aren’t the first who have watched a world suffer tragedy. We aren’t the first mommies to watch one another suffer the unthinkable.

One little kidnapped boy changed the world by his stand. One little kidnapped boy refused to bow to the will of the king, but while refusing did so with so much grace, that he became the most favored. One little kidnapped boy grew to become a man. That man lived in a corrupt world that was full of shameful, unspeakable things, but that man prayed with the windows open. When all was at stake, he opened the windows wide.

We can be swept away by the horrors and devastation as we watch our country surrender our freedoms that the blood of our grandfathers stained the ground to protect. We can be overcome with fury and rage as we watch the trial of monsters that kill babies and as we watch the unspeakable unfold in front of our eyes, on our soil. In a world that is so uncertain, I look at them, my five hearts to shepherd. I cannot give them false assurances, but I can give them what Daniel’s mother must have given, I can give them HIM. I can take all of the time alloted to me, and raise them to be Daniel’s – to be men who are favored among kings, but are unashamed to pray with the windows wide open.

Surely God would have understood if young Daniel had comprised. Surely His grace would have covered prayers with the windows closed, but history would not have changed. By opening the windows, Daniel may have opened himself up to a decree of death, but he also opened the doors for one of the greatest miracles of the Bible. He opened the windows to God Himself. And God never fails.

I want to be a mother with the windows wide open. Can we learn to take strong, tenacious stances with grace and love? Could we open the windows a little wider? Would you join me?

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The Other Girl

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I watch her skip everywhere she walks, she sings as she goes. She always has a ready smile at her lips. She is radiant. She is full of joy, and I get to call her daughter. She is mine. These days as I watch her grow, and become, I wonder about her, the other girl who resides beyond the gates of pearls.

I wonder if she too would love all things sparkly. If she would have fair hair and eyes and if she would giggle with every step. I wonder if she would love babies and tea parties and if she too would put stickers on anything that would remain still long enough for her small fingers to peel the sticker off and press it on. I wonder if she would insist on sleeping in her sister’s bed at night and whisper secrets into her ears. I look at this girl here, and I wonder about the one who has gone before.

When it was time for me to say my earthly goodbyes, my final words to my grandmother who had been so influential in my life, there was no wondering of what to say. How do you say goodbye to someone who has been so dear and special to you for all of your days? I whispered my goodbyes, and begged her to say hello. I whispered about the other girl. I asked her to hold her for me. Who can wrap their mind around the heavenly?! It is foolishness to think that she could want for anything, and yet, I couldn’t help asking, “Could you tell her I love her?”

My life is full. Is there anything better than a houseful of children? Our walls ring with laughter and our hearts are full of love. How can a house so full be missing anything? But, yet this mommy knows, there will always be a pair of shoes missing at my front door.

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Her wisdom has far exceeded mine. She is clothed in beauty. She is with her King. She resides beyond the gates. HE has given her everything. She lacks nothing. I cannot wish her back. She has made heaven even sweeter for me. How can I ask Him for anything more? And yet, I cannot help but whisper, “Lord, could you keep her little for me?”

The Emptiness

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He asked me for a simple drink, but I was busy.  I was in the middle of preparing a big celebratory dinner, and my stress level was high.  I said the right words, but my demeanor, which he reads so very well, spoke my irritation.  He walked away, but not before I noticed the dejected look in his eyes. 

These days, my days are full.  Caring for, teaching, training, and shepherding young hearts consume my time.  Laundry and cooking and household chores are a constant source of frustration for this tired Mommy.  Daily requirements press in, and I realize I am failing in so many ways.  In spite of these incredibly full days, I often end my days feeling … EMPTY. 

What I see as my failures, HE sees as His invitation.  Emptiness is His arena.  The empty tomb, His greatest victory.  Emptiness was His chosen entry to triumph.  My failures become His opportunity to redeem.  He fills empty hearts.  He fills me.

The days I come to the end of myself are the days that He is able to begin.  He receives my emptiness and replaces it with HIM. 

Lord, you replace the rhythms of my heart to match the cadence of Yours.  You conquer my failures.  My emptiness becomes Your dominion. 

Bethany House Book Reviews

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Due to the adoption I am a bit behind, so I have several books up for review.

Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund

This book took place in my hometown area. I was really curious to read it, because it centered around the areas were I grew up. This was a new author for me, and I will say, she did not disappoint. I was completely enthralled with the entire book. The historical elements were well done, and I found that I learned a great deal about the area. I thoroughly enjoyed the main character and the entire theme of the story. If you are looking for a good book, and historical fiction is your genre, don’t hesitate to buy this book. I give it five stars.

The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

This book takes place in a gorgeous seascape in England. I was really looking forward to the read. While it pains me to say this, as I know the author worked very hard on this manuscript, it was not a favorite read for me. I found the main character to be a bit dull, and incredibly irritating. The plot of the story seemed to be a poor attempt at using bits and pieces of the enchanting tale of Wuthering Heights, and it fell drastically short of measuring up to the old classic. I also felt that the hero of the story while likeable, had some highly annoying sayings. I would be well into the tragedy, and when the hero would find out what had befallen, he would consistently say, “By Thunder!” This seemed to me to be a laughable expression, and an incredibly poorly timed euphamism.
Having said that, she did set absolutely lovely and vivid scenery for her book. There were elements of the story that I found fascinating, I just would have personally preferred a bit better main character and less odd euphanisms from the protanganist. I am well aware, that all of these are my personal opinions, and I do hope that some of you will read this book and think more highly of it than I. I would give this book 3 of 5 stars.

No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig

To my great delight, this is book one of a series. I would like to convey how very much I am looking forward to reading the subsequent books in this series. This book takes place in America and is centered around immigrants that came from Ireland. I found the main character to be completely enjoyable. This story is full of intrigue and many surprise twists. I thoroghly enjoyed it and am anxiously awaitng the remainder of the series. I give this book five of five stars.

Shattered by Dani Pettrey

Shattered is the sequel to Submerged, which was an all time favorite of mine. I was so thrilled to find this book on the review list. I enjoyed it very much, but not quite as much as Submerged. The characters were the same and were every bit as perfectly created by the author as they were in the first. I found that they stayed true to character, and were incredibly enjoyable. The book was another suspenseful plot that I thoroughly enjoyed. The plot was creative and had some completely undexpected but wonderfully derived twists. My one and only disappointment was the first book was full of rich and creative possibilities to a historical myth. This book was completely void of historical elements. As a great lover of historical fiction, it left me only slightly disappointed. Without hesitation, I will be reading the rest of the series as they come out, and whatever else this author comes out with, as she is truly a master of her craft.

A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano

This book was absolutely so very fun to read! I was literally laughing so hard I cried within the first two chapters. An heiress disguises herself as a portly nobody to secure a job as a governess. The story line is fabulous and I enjoyed it to the very end! A must read!
Hope some of you will add some of these books to your list as we are all still waiting for spring to appear!
If you would like to join me in reviewing books for Bethany house publishing, click this link to sign up!
http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/bethanyhouse/bookreviewers

Waiting

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I stood beside her in church on Sunday. She was singing along, when she shyly reached out and held my hand. I looked down to see her stroking my hand against her cherubic cheek and staring up at me. I choked back the tears as I reached over to hug her. I couldn’t help but wonder if she was wondering if this is what it feels like to have a mommy. Still she waits for her day to be chosen.

And I wonder, would you be willing to sacrifice to make her yours? Would you be willing to live with less, so that she could call you Mommy? Would you be willing to stand beside her during her adolescence? Would you be willing to guide her to become all that a woman should be? Would you be willing to tuck her in at night? Would you be willing to cross the oceans to redeem this little life?

Two older boys are still waiting to be chosen. They are waiting for someone to say ‘You are mine’. When we asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up, they had no dreams to share. They are old enough to know that outside of being chosen, their dreams could never come true. The one thing that they want more than anything is to come to America. They all want to be adopted and come to America. They have long passed their chances to be adopted in their country. Their only hope lies with the Americans. With tears streaming down my face, I hugged them when we left and whispered in their ear, “God has a beautiful plan for your life.” Could that plan include you?

Would you teach them to dream big? Would you believe in them and support them and help them become all that God designed them to be? Would you help them through their teen years and teach them what a good man is? Would you take them to baseball games and play basketball with them outside? Would you sacrifice to redeem them?

One shy little boy who resisted all of my efforts to engage him, finally got up the courage to speak to me on our last night. He shared with me that his dearest friends have come to America, and he wants nothing more than to be adopted and go there as well. I knew he struggled with English and it took great courage to approach me and share his heart. Could you be the one he is waiting for?

Would you be willing to set aside your dreams for your future and step out so that he can have a future? Would you be willing to whisper in his ear, “Families are forever. You are mine and I am yours.” Would you be willing to put up with the language barriers and let him know that love speaks the same language. Would you risk it all to redeem him and make him yours?

A sweet little boy with a giggle and smiling eyes greeted me. His story has redemption written all over it, and he has not even been chosen yet. He is waiting for a family. Is he waiting for you?

A little girl so full of life and vitality despite some of her special needs, captured my heart in an instant. She dances across the room giggling and sweeping everyone within the perimiter into her excitement. She has a joy that is contagious. She has a story that would make you cry, and yet she refuses to have her joy squelched. She is awesome, and she is waiting. Is she waiting for you?

Would you be willing to set yourself on the back burner to pursue her? Would you be willing to jump through hoops, and fill out mountains of paperwork, and go through months of waiting to redeem her? Would you be willing to let her know that she is worth everything in the world to you?

I do not know God’s plan for your life, but I do know that He did not intend to leave these children as orphans. As I looked at all of their faces, as I spent time getting to know them, I could not help but wonder, where is the church? Where are God’s people? Why are these beautiful children still waiting? Can I encourage you to set aside your idea of what your family should be. Set aside your idea of capping your family at the perfect number of children. Set aside your inhibitions. Set aside your idea of what your future should look like, and ask the Lord if He is calling you to redeem one of these little ones.

Our agency has a beautiful list of waiting children I would be so happy to send you. I can tell you it won’t be easy, but HE knows. Redemption is never easy, but it is always worth it.