"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

To Tell of His Grace

Sunday, March 30, 2014


It has been so much fun to watch Kaylee Grace blossom over this last year. Just recently, she has been more aware of kids her own age and has been brave enough to venture out on her own more (rather than by my side) and play with them. 
She runs around with all the kids her age after church each Sunday :)

And plays with the kiddos from Daddy and Mommy's Bible Study class :)

And she's been going to "school" with Claire so she gets time to play with her :)

And of course, she has her BEST friends at home to play with always :)))

So fun to see her having a blast with her friends!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One Year of Forever ~

One year ago today we scooped up our precious treasure, Kaylee Grace!
She was terrified beyond what we had ever imagined
By the grace of God alone, she clung to me right away out of fear (they call it a trauma bond...which we later learned was what helped her to begin to truly bond to me).
We were so excited to finally have her in our arms!
But she of course had no idea what was going on....which made it all the more scary
I'll never forget this moment....or really any of China. The big kids finally getting a good look at their long awaited and fervently prayed for sister! It seems like just yesterday we were there. The kids and I talk a lot about how much we miss it 
and can't wait to go back one day!

We really had no idea what was ahead. We had a very sad, completely shut down, scared to death little girl who had NO idea what was going on...those first few months our main goal every day was just to get her to feel safe and calm enough to eat. Most days we'd be lucky to get 1-2 bottles down her. Around 4 months home, she finally felt safe enough to eat on a pretty consistent basis (which was when we had a break in her surgeries....poor girl! She had to go through SO much those first few months! I can't even imagine!) ...then at 6 months home, she tried a cheerio and a puff! YAY! Major breakthrough! Then tiny bites of soup and cereal.....
now she will eat "lunch"with me everyday! 
Still not a full meal....eats about 1/2 piece of turkey, 
1/4 cheese stick and a slice or two of pear... 
but we are SO getting there!

One thing we say as a family as we look back over this year is that we have had WAY lower lows then we would have ever imagined.....BUT, we have had WAAYYYYY higher highs then we would have ever imagined!!! Even on our hardest days of her healing, she would do something to make us laugh our heads off. When we ask our big kids what the biggest difference with having our Kaylee Grace is, they all say "we laugh A LOT more!" It's so true....and we laugh a lot harder!!!

By the GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ, we've all come a long way!!!
Tonight we went to teppanyaki to celebrate, and as Brodie said, we were celebrating our big kids just as much as we were celebrating our Forever Family Day with Kaylee Grace. They have been SUPERSTARS and we know that Jesus used them to bring great JOY and healing to Kaylee Grace. She LOVES each one of them deeply!

From even our time in China, Kaylee learned right away that Keegan was them brother to have FUN with....Kolson was the brother who would be there for her when she needed compassionate-care and understanding....Sissy was another "safe" person to hold her and watch over her. Without them, I can't even imagine what she would do! Or what we would have done...they were ROCK SOLID all along!!!

Big Kids, we love you and are SO proud of how we have seen Jesus' unconditional love in you. Even when she wouldn't receive it, you kept pressing on in gentleness and understanding.....Daddy and I learned so much by watching you be unshakable and unwavering in your love and compassion. We know this last year hasn't been easy for you all, but we know that you have each been strengthened in your faith....and most importantly, that you KNOW the love of Christ Jesus, our Lord!!! You know that no matter what, HIS LOVE PRESSES ON...and HIS LOVE COVERS ALL. These are truths that He has ingrained in you for ALL time. We wouldn't trade that for the world!!!

Even after a full year with her, she still asks me everyday, "Ko-Ko?, Keegan? Sissy?" when they are at school.....now that she has heard me a million times tell her that they are at school and they will be home soon, she will say,  "Ko-Ko - school!, Keegan-school! Sissy- new one school!" (since Sis goes to a different school than the boys do, she calls it "new one"...love it!)

She still loves music...but the BEST part is that she LOVES worship music at church...it's her very favorite thing in the world...and she closes her eyes and lifts her hands ~ I know that she doesn't comprehend what praise and worship is really all about, and that she is copying those she sees around her....but I'm tellin' you, it's IN her to worship! One day she will fully understand JESUS and His Love and His Sacrifice...and I can't wait to see her passion then!!! Right now she does understand that "Jesus always helps us"....when she is upset or hurt we pray and tell her that...and she has connected the dots a number of times :)

She also loves her daddy :)  Which is a HUGE praise.... I have to say, he is the most AMAZING dad (and husband) of all time! She rejected him big time those first 6 months home ~ and he kept loving and pressing in through all the hard...he kept praying earnestly, and being gentle and safe and super playful ~ and she finally gave in :))) She's learning more and more everyday that her daddy will protect her heart at all costs and love her no matter what ;)

She loves Bubble Guppies & Dora & watching His Little Feet Orphan Choir DVD...her favorite movie is Annie (because of all the music!), cheese and pears are her favorite foods (the foods she will eat off of her plate on her own without me putting it in her mouth...oh and cheeze-its...and occasionally cheerios), she loves Speech Therapy and Mrs Gina (her "school" as she calls it), she loves "doing dishes"(playing with the water in the kitchen sink), she loves riding her scooter all around the cul-de sac once the bigs get home from school, she loves going to the cabin, she loves "driving" at our kitchen nook table at lunch time, she LOVES tennis (and has crazy-good hand-eye coordination, so she can hit the ball really well!), but what she loves the MOST of all.....is when we are ALL home and together....this is when she is truly happiest :)

And how did she spend her special day while at home with Mommy today?
Watching her favorite movie and  playing with the water in the sink!

We love you, Kaylee Grace!!! You have brought more JOY to us then we could  have ever imagined! We have seen Jesus' overwhelming, relentless love firsthand as it has flowed through us to you. We have watched you grow a million miles this last year as you have bravely stepped out and trusted us with your heart little by little. Oh how blessed we are by your precious life, your hilarious giggles, your sweet snuggles and strong spirit....we love you FOREVER, our sweet girl!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

On the Eve of Our One Year of Forever.....

Tomorrow is our 1 year anniversary of Kaylee Grace's Forever Family Day! Wow! In some ways it feels like just yesterday....
and in most ways it feels like she has been here all along.

One thing is for sure....
We have seen firsthand Jesus turning her ASHES into HIS BEAUTY!!!

I read a post from Katie Davis that I have read before...she re-posted it and as I sat here reading and thinking so much about our One year of Forever, I was once again reminded of JUST HOW MUCH JESUS has HEALED  our Kaylee Grace in this last year.

So much of Kaite's post was all too familiar....Kaylee isn't able to yet communicate her hurts with words....but I know that when she is able to,
we will see even MORE of CHRIST'S HEALING!!!

Here is Katie's post as she tells of the healing of Christ in her daughter's life...
Nearly four years ago she bounced into my life in a dress with a bright red sash. She tentatively called me Mommy after having not known one for nearly her entire five years of life and all signs of trauma were quickly masked with little girls songs and dances and giggles as she adjusted to life in a family.

Years later I watched her feet run in bright red sneakers toward the towering swing set where she would pretend to fly. We had struggled for joy and were finding it; she had thrashed against love and by God’s grace I was learning to hold on tight.

She kicked and screamed and did the unspeakable and when logic said that I should be angry or might love her less, I couldn’t and my desire for her was only stronger. And as I saw the extent of her brokenness and mine, I loved her even more.

Red beads clicked around her face as she skipped into the kitchen to find her head a resting place now nearly at my shoulder, and she whispered of the wounds once covered but never healed and an unfamiliar panic crawled up in the back of my throat and settled in as it hit me, the full weight of how much we had yet to overcome.

I took her face in my hands and through blurred eyes assured her, assured myself, that Jesus thought of her and her red beads and her red sash as His red blood spilled out, and because I knew that, I knew this – He would not leave us here.

He didn’t and I saw progress, but the fears stayed. Nights of standing by her bed, days of checking and double checking and checking again. Blame and accusations from the enemy that I could have done something differently, done something better. Anger and hatred toward the sin that could allow someone to do such horrible things to an innocent, helpless child. I knew Beauty. I fought to see Him here.

Months later on a Tuesday in the still-dark house, I drank too-strong coffee and I drank of His grace. I prayed over my daughter, a splash of red in the tapestry of our family – feisty, powerful and full of care and compassion. I wrestled with the questions of “what if” and “if only” and I told them of His sovereignty, again.

And right there on the worn pages I read Zechariah call God’s people prisoners of hope.

And I knew that I hadn’t been. Once more I had become more of a prisoner of overwhelming concern about the trauma of my children’s pasts and shifted my gaze away from what, Who I was really captive to.

“but in Him, it has always been ‘Yes!’ For no matter how many promises God has made, they are all ‘Yes’ in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1: 19-20)

My flesh wants to shake the head no but I am a prisoner to God who says “Yes!” All of His promises – peace, joy, love, forgiveness, salvation! – they are Yes to me and Yes to her in Christ! Eternity is Yes in Christ. And because of His Yes I can say Yes to all that He gives. Even all that He allows.

Hope is my captor – Hope for her healing here which has already begun and hope for our life eternal with Him. Hope that He who began a good work in us is not finished yet and will carry it to completion until the day that He comes and hope that He is coming.

The sun peaks over the horizon and dances patterns across the couch. I see with new eyes, a captive of the hope set fully on the grace given me through Christ. I must live my days as this kind of prisoner, because true freedom is only found in being completely captivated by a coming King.

She who is always the first one awake pulls a book off the shelf and snuggles up next to me in silence, her nine-year-old lankiness curling up like an infant inside waiting arms. I see hope in her – and I see myself. I kick and I scream and I thrash hard against the Father’s love. I shift my focus and become a prisoner to the panic instead of the promise, and still He says, “mine.” He looks at me, broken, and calls me daughter and ever so lovingly pulls me right back in.

I study her face and can’t imagine that I know only a fraction of His love for her as I whisper the prayers of every morning over her heart, “Jesus you bind up the broken-hearted…set the captives free…comfort those who mourn…bestow beauty instead of ashes… They will be called oaks of righteousness, a display of the Lord’s splendor.” I trace the curve of her face with my fingers and praise Him for such resilience and transformation as I have seen in this child. I praise Him for her salvation and the way she is hungrily learning more about Him each day.

And then I write it small, on her hand and mine, “prisoner of hope.”

I want to live as a prisoner to the “Yes.” Remembering all we have seen, we set our hope fully on what we have not yet seen. We place all of our hope and all of our trust and all of our focus on the grace given us through Christ, and we beg to live captured by His promises.

There is no pain or trauma or fear that is beyond His Powerful Healing!!! 

Jesus came in the flesh, died for our sins, rose on the 3rd day...to LIFE Everlasting, in order...

"to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:3

However, if we want Him to turn our ashes into beauty, then we need to GIVE HIM our ashes! If we don't give Him our ashes (our pain, our shame, our sin, our fears) then we won't be able to see His beauty transform those ashes into HIS GLORY!!!

SO thankful that He takes all the hard, all our mistakes, all our shame and makes beauty from it...all for His glory :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

One Year Ago Today.....

We were headed to China to bring home our sweet blessing, Kaylee Grace!!!

Wearing our GO shirts...."Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8