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I have discovered a new love for copying scripture.  Well, I should say a love for a new technique as I have always loved writing out scripture in various journals.  The world of Pinterest has opened up a new creative gateway for me, and I love it!! I have pinned thousands (literally) of font and doodling and scripture verses and quote pins as inspiration.  I began by simply copying what I saw others do as I had no original ideas of my own, but quickly I found that my own ideas began forming onto the pages…thank You, Abba…every good and perfect gift is from Him.  I started with my favorite verses that I had already memorized or had been trying to memorize for years and found that those I have struggled with were finally sticking.  I could see my journal page in my head as I searched for the exact words.  Again, Thank You, God!

Why am I excited about something that is seemingly insignificant?  One may ask, why is it a big deal that you can come up with your own ideas for how to write out a word on a page or that you can finally memorize a verse containing only a few short phrases?  To me, it is very significant.  It is significant because I have asked God to show me how to be creative.  I have asked Him to help me memorize and recall things as this has been one of the most difficult things for me to do in my brain.  I have asked Him to help me for decades for various things.  And for decades He has come through and given me things that only He could; not only for these small seemingly insignificant things, but for the HUGE, very significant things.  It is the foundation of trusting Him.  He has told His people to remember all the things that God has done for them so their children will know that He is trustworthy.  I am now on the parenting side of this concept, and I see how crucial it is to show our children how God has loved and cared for us.  He has saved us with His very own blood and sacrifice.  He has CONQUERED death by walking out of that tomb.  And He is the Light that leads us through this dark world as He is preparing our eternal Home.  And frankly, this earthly place that I live and breathe in each day seems to get darker by the day.  I have prayed for years and lived out the be anxious for nothing verse, because I knew a time when the anxieties just about buried me.  I seek Him daily, thank Him daily, depend on Him daily, cuz I’m very much afraid of the dark both literally and figuratively.  It is not because I’m super spiritual or religious.  It’s because I’m desperate for Him and the safety that is only found in Him.  I’m scared and my heart hurts from the wounds this world gives.  When I turn to Him and thank Him for all of it, He lights up my life and I can take another step down the dark hallway of life.  And today while strolling through Pinterest, this verse was on my feed.  I knew it was my next verse to journal as I sit here in the darkness depending on my LORD that WILL BE my LIGHT.  IMG_8280

IMG_7654ONE  There is nothing like being engulfed in my farmer’s arms.  I stood in the kitchen swallowed in his embrace.  I could have stayed there all day.  Plus, he has the greatest beard and he’s all warm and fuzzy.  Oh, I love that man!!

TWO  I had the privilege of making breakfast for my fabulous man-child.  Today is Garrett Day.  11 years ago today, I held my boy for the first time.  He was 12 weeks old.  It is an absolute blast being his mom.  He is fun and creative and thoughtful and funny and intelligent and precious and amazing and adorable.  And he loves to eat.  He thinks about food all the time and he loves planning his Garrett Day meals and his birthday meals.  We went out for dinner last night and this morning he wanted a chocolate chip pancake bacon & egg sandwich.  IMG_7649Yum!

THREE  Strolling through my Facebook wall, I came across Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts post.  This quote was my third gift, “Nothing can overwhelm us today, this week, like God’s GRACE can OVERTAKE us.”  To be honest I am a bit overwhelmed with a situation in my life right now, and He knew I needed this reminder.  I’m hanging on to His GRACE.  All is Grace!

I was having difficulty with today’s prompt until my farmer sent me his list.  He sends me his because he very much dislikes writing on the chalkboard…sometimes I make him do it just for fun.  I’m going to share his because I’m taking them for my own too in addition to a couple more.

1. renting our house

2.  office location

3.  bankruptcy

None of these ever would have been our first choices, especially that last one.  Not fun, but God’s mercy spoke volumes through the experience.  All of these shifted my own thinking as I was sort of stumped with the whole plan B idea.  Once I saw the wisdom of my farmer man, I knew what I would choose as the greatest plan B gift I have ever, ever received.  And in no way am I demeaning these gifts by calling them plan B’s.

IMG_7354     IMG_7386I have previously shared my hard eucharisteos which left our story with a 20 month old Riley Quin, 3 precious babes in Heaven, and fallopian tubes that had been destroyed.  If you have read any of my previous blogs, you know we have three amazing kids, which leaves two stories still untold.  Yup, these are two of my plan B’s!  From the time I was a kid, I knew that I wanted to adopt kids who needed homes.  Every Disney movie or Annie-type flick out there, convinced my heart that I would walk up to one of those orphanages some day and take them home.  So, in a way this is a disclaimer because the term “Plan B” means it’s not my first choice.  Thus, this gets jumbled in my head…I think way too much…I’ve been told.  Moving on.  Once I was married, I immediately wanted to get pregnant and start popping out those babies.  My sister already had 2, I was falling behind!  As the years went by and I was not getting pregnant, I told my husband that we needed to get moving on the adoption stuff.  He was quite irritating because his response was always, God will work this all out and tell us when it is time.  He had the audacity to state that it was just not God’s timing yet.  What did he know?  He really bugged me.  At one point, in a rather irritated tone, I asked him if he really thought God was just going to drop a baby on our doorstep.  I knew how long it can take for an adoption to go through and I was getting older by the day.  1999 roles around, and in February I am pregnant for Riley, pregnant again in 2000 and again in 2001.  Just prior to finding out I was pregnant for the third time, like literally the day before, I was in a Beth Moore Bible Study.  It was one of her earlier studies in which she was talking about their decision to adopt their son.  Now I had already taken more  recent studies of hers, so I knew that they no longer had this boy in their home and knew of her heart ache.  The entire time I was listening to her story I already knew the outcome and I felt as if God were asking me, “Do you trust me with this? It’s time to start looking into adoption seriously.”  It was so loud and strong within my heart that I called Parker from the parking lot and told him that God was telling me it was time to start this process.  His response was, “Okay, we’ll do it.”  Then I knew this was in fact God prompting us.  Well, the next day, the doctor office calls with a positive pregnancy test and told me the hormone levels were crazy high.  My sister had twins a few years before, so I immediately called her.  Ok God, I guess this means we put the adoption stuff on the shelf for a few months and see what happens next.  Well, within the next few weeks, we grieve the loss of our twins and I recover from surgery.  Immediately my mind goes right back to adopting, I guess this is where we call it Plan B?  Well intentioned friends told me that adopting would not replace the three we lost.  They said that I needed to grieve and give myself time.  But we both knew that this had nothing to do with replacing anybody…not even possible.  And if I waited until I was done grieving, well, it’s never done.  So we made phone calls and had meetings and got lots and lots of paperwork.  Financially we hit a big roadblock and felt we needed to just wait some more.  By now we are into the summer of 2002 and still waiting.  I had gotten news about a possible birth mother on the way to a meeting.  It was a planning meeting with a friend who was the pastor of a ministry in which we were involved.  Excited, I told him of the possibility and asked him to pray.  His response was, “Oh, I didn’t know you two wanted to adopt.”  Nothing came to fruition with this first birth mother, but very late on July 2, 2002, this pastor called us and said his mom just talked to her good friend whose nephew’s girlfriend is pregnant.  They were considering adoption and wanted a Christian home that would consider an open adoption.  They think she is about 9 months along.  Here’s the number of the birth father’s aunt.  Any guesses who that baby girl might be???  Grace Trinity Arin Joy was born July 31 at 4:40 p.m., we saw her for the first time in August, and officially took custody of her September 4, 2002.  So, no, God did not place her on our doorstep, but He did just call us.  I’m really glad my farmer is so very wise.

Part two to Plan B began with a birthday card for sweet Gracey in July of 2003.  Her birth mother let me know that although it was not intended, she was pregnant again.  I had no idea how all of this would play out, but I knew that God’s will would be done regardless of where the four of us would fit into it.  Ethan was born November 29, 2003.  We took custody of him February 24, 2004.  Ethan Garrett Lewis was home.

I want to note here that we do have an open adoption and have contact with their birth family.  They are full siblings and we have had the privilege to get to know some of the family members and I adore them.  God united us not only with two precious ones to raise but united our hearts with other people who love them dearly.

The Holy One gave us specific verses for each of them as we walked through this process, but the verse He brought to mind as I write on this Plan B prompt is a favorite of mine.

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

You see, our Plan B’s are not Plan B’s.  If it’s happening, it’s His plan!  And His plans are to not harm you but to give you hope and a future.  That is why my farmer listed us renting instead of owning our home, an office location change that he never would have chosen but has been such a blessing, and going through bankruptcy.  These things were not on the Five Year plan, but I assure you we would not go back for anything.  The way in which we ended up adopting our loves was not how we planned it, but there isn’t one factor of our story that I would ever change, ever.  And through all of it, He has taught us, proven to us even (which He so does not have to do), that He is totally on the Throne, in charge, and amazingly Good!

“BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD; I WILL BE EXALTED AMONG THE NATIONS, I WILL BE EXALTED IN THE EARTH.”  The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Psalms 46:10-11

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably  more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21

Yup, I threw in the verses He gave us as we journeyed through each adoption.  I did so because I realized how much He encouraged us with these same truths as we journeyed through my farmer’s plan B’s.  Rest and trust Him, dear ones.  Count the eucharisteo, for “eucharisteo always precedes the miracle.” Ann Voskamp

Christmas 2012 I received Ann Voskamp’s book one thousand gifts from a most precious friend.  It wasn’t until this past Christmas that I read it.  After finishing Ann’s book The Greatest Gift this past December, I felt the nudge to start one thousand gifts. I must insert at this point that I truly, truly love God’s timing.  I kept looking at this beautiful book for the past two years and knew He would tell me when the time was right.  I have read Ann’s blog, A Holy Experience, throughout the years and had gone through the advent book twice.  Her poetic writing is spell bounding and beautiful.  I knew it was only Him who was holding me back for just the right time.  I read through it quickly, often rereading chapters to my husband the next day.  He eagerly awaited what I would share. In fact, I am about to reread it already.  This time I will read it aloud to my “farmer” and kids.  My Parker is not a farmer at all in the literal sense, but he certainly is in a figurative sense to me and our three kids…and chihuahua. Father God has used many books besides His own to heal me and guide me along this path, and He had completely prepared me in the last two years to read and practice the truths found within this book.

I have not blogged since last February, again knowing He would gently nudge when it was time again.  Today He nudged.  I’m excited.  On Facebook, I run across posts from her blog and book and was most excited to see February’s prompts to count 1000 gifts.  I had started my eucharisteo (thanksgiving) journal when I started the book in December, but loved the idea of using the prompts daily for myself and the family.  Thus far, I have posted my prompts on Facebook, and was nudged today to use my blog to post them for a more permanent journaling, if you will.  So, I want to “publicly” say thank you to Ann, full of grace, for living and sharing this eucharisteo, especially the hard eucharisteo with the world.  Practicing eucharisteo is changing me, it does always precede the miracle!

Since it is February 3, I will include my lists from the 1st & 2nd.

February 1  Three Things Red

1. Strawberries.  I just love them-how they look, smell, & taste!

2.  My hair.  I truly disliked this color growing up.  The 70’s was not kind to awkward little red-haired girls.  But I’m thankful for what the teasing and unwanted attention taught me, and I quite like it now, even as the white highlights slowly appear!

3.  Red berries against brown twigs and glistening snow.  Simply breathtaking!  Throw a cardinal amongst the branches and oh my…IMG_7453

February 2  Three Gifts On Paper

1.  Books, books, books (God’s word being my most favorite)

2.  Love notes & letters from friends

3.  Thoughts and feelings written on journal pages

February 3 Three Gifts Found In Writing

1.  Truth in texts from a precious friend

2.  Poetry

3.  Recipes written in Momma’s hand

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