If you have visited here before, you can probably see that I have changed the name of the blog again. I started blogging at 4URuthie to tell the story of our journey to adopt our 1st daughter. I changed it to Mountains for Maggie when we were praying for God to move mountains on behalf of our 2nd daughter. Well now it is no longer just Ruthie’s or Maggie’s stories. It is now our family's story, and the stories of those we share life with, as we Conquer Mountains together. Both ConqueringMountains.net and 4URuthie.blogspot will lead here.

About Me

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I am a pastor's wife, mother of 4 kids (2 adopted and 3 with special needs), physical therapist, and photography junky. This is where it all comes together for me. Feel free to join along as I process life out loud.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

He Knew You Before...

There is a verse in the bible that has whole new meaning for me now.   

Jer 1:5  "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;

When I enter into a tough time, I often pray for God to meet me there and guide me through it and then somewhere deep down in my doubter I hope that He will find the time to listen to my request.  Not anymore.  I was thinking the other day about what I fear in my future and God opened my eyes to a glimpse of His ways.

He reminded me of a time 15 years ago when I was in PT school and on my first clinical rotation.  I don’t remember much from those 8 weeks except for one very special patient.  His name was Cameron and he stole my heart.  He was a young burn patient who I had the privilege of treating.  I loved taking care of him and he really was the highlight of my first rotation.  Fast forward 10 years and I was considering a job at Shriner’s burn hospital in Galveston because of my memories from my time with Cameron and the skillset I had gained while caring for him.  I met with them but decided to stay closer to home. 

Stay with me here.

Now fast forward 5 more years and I am given a foster care child who is a burn patient.  As I was thinking on my future, the Lord laid out a timeline in my mind as to say, “15 years ago when DJs mom was only 5 years old, I was working out the plans for his life now.  He is not in your home by chance.  It is my intention and my way of meeting his needs.”  

In that moment, all of the familiar verses like “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it” all took on new meaning.  The Lord isn’t joining me where I am right now! He took care of it before I even stepped foot on this planet! 

Just because our present crisis may be new to us, it did not take Him by surprise.  Even more, He is not getting to evaluating His options today to try and figure out how to help us in our mess.  No! He saw our mess before He even put us in our mother’s womb and He made a way then for us.   HE IS FOR US!  Now that does not always mean that He will rescue us completely from our affliction as we wish it were so.  He did not keep my little guy from being burned, but He did redeem it for his glory and that process started before my little guy was even in his mother’s womb.

Jer 1:5  "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;…”

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Power of an Image

I can still remember when we received our referral for Ruthie.  I remember the picture they sent us and the description of her.  A lot of it felt like more of a medical report than a child as if to say this is what you are agreeing to take on, instead of this is the person who will soon be your daughter.  Bonding with a piece of paper is not easy but neither is bonding with a brand new person.  I still remember when the my heart made the leap from being Ruthie’s referral to being her mom.  Trent and I were sitting in bed reading and this picture came across my email. 

The Lord used that image to move my mind from focusing on numbers and plans to a very real child who I could now call mine.  In that moment I felt Ruthie in my heart and not just my mind. 

 I share this because those memories have come flooding back since the placement of our foster child.  When they handed me that sweet boy, they also went over a packet of paper that felt more like buying a car than loving a child.  I was given a bag of meds with a strict schedule and a list of upcoming doctors appointments for a person who was still a bit of a mystery to me.  For 3 weeks, I have been bonding with him and trying to just build trust while discerning who he really is.  I asked some friends to pray for the bonding process and then came time for us to leave for a week of camp and had to leave him behind in respite care.    I knew this was going to be a huge interruption to the bonding process but we were given no other option.  When I dropped him off at my friends, he asked if he could have a necklace that I was wearing that Ruthie had made earlier in the day.  I told him of course but not to sleep in it so he wouldn’t choke.  The next morning, my friend sent me this picture of him clutching my necklace as he fell asleep.  

 Oh the power of an image to take your heart from a concept to a connection.    I don’t know what the Lord has planned for his future, but for now, he is clearly mine. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dying To Self

I think there are some misconceptions about adoption and foster care that don’t fit my reality.  I can’t speak for other families but I can certainly speak for ours.  We don’t adopt because we have no other choice for growing our family.  We don’t adopt because it is easy.  We don’t adopt because my husband is a pastor and that is what pastors do.  We don’t foster because we need the money and foster care is a way for me to afford to stay home.  Nope I still work my same 2 jobs.  

We adopt and foster because God first adopted us when he brought us into his family.  
Romans 8:14-16 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father."For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.

You see, Christ didn’t adopt me because he needed more children.  He didn’t adopt me because he had no other option.  He didn’t adopt me because He needed me to do something for Him in return.  Christ laid down His life that I might live.

I was thinking on that last line the other day and it really hit me.  Adopting me was not easy.  Christ had to die for it.  So why do I get nervous about the difficulties that go along with adoption and foster care that occur here? Why should it be easy for me?  Adoption is not easy! It involves dying to yourself for a greater purpose: for life.  

So as we walk through the struggle that comes with having a 4th child in our home, acclimating a child to our family who has had a very different upbringing for the last 3 years, and showing patience and comfort to a child who has had to endure things that are unimaginable to the rest of us, I will remember that the challenges we face are small compared to the God who laid down his life for me.  I will die to self knowing that the greater reward at the end of the tunnel is LIFE. 

Now onto another quick note. My family spent the last week at Pine Cove family camp (which is hardly dying to self).  I have tons of pictures, but here are just a few to get us started. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Making Special Time

We are adjusting and getting settled here with our new addition.  When there is a new kid in the house, there is a little less time for everyone else.  I am doing my best to meet everyone's needs but it is hard.  The other night, Sam and I snuck away for some special time to a nearby park.  Here are a few pics I managed to take on that outing.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Walking That Road Again

I haven't been a great blogger lately because my energy has been other places, but I wanted to take a moment to share with you what God has been doing in our family the last several months.  In February, we received a call that a relative needed someone to care for her two small children because she was no longer able. Our immediate (terrified) response was absolutely.  Well, that didn't end up happening but God used those few weeks to water a seed in our hearts for foster care.

We finished the required classes about 6 weeks ago to become licensed foster parents.  I will go ahead and confess that I was all about letting God know what child would fit best in our home.  I wanted a 6 month old (sleeping through the night) little girl (so we would have 2 of each) who was 1/2 african american and 1/2 hispanic (those babies are GORGEOUS) and had fat rolls (none of my other kids did and I still feel cheated).  I mean that is not too much to ask right?  After all, I am agreeing to take in another child! :)

Well, as usual, God's plans were different from my own.  We had a few calls in the first few weeks but for different reasons they did not end up in our home.  Then last Monday I awoke with a strange sense of peace.  I just felt like it was going to be the day for our placement.  At breakfast we prayed as a family specifically for a placement that day which was out of the ordinary for us to be that specific.  Late morning I received a call for a young boy with needs that were a little more involved than I had prepared myself for but I knew that we were supposed to say yes.  We brought him home that evening and have spent the last week helping him heal and incorporating him into our family.

I have watched this child go from being a terrified boy to a trusting child who has started calling my husband, "daddy".  Caring for his emotional and physical needs is not easy.  My husband spent most of today at the hospital for his treatment, with our other 3 kids, while I was work.  It is a family sacrifice, but we are better for it.  Our kids are learning to extend grace to someone who has not had all of the luxuries and positive upbringing that they have, they are seeing first hand how their own challenges can pale in comparison to someone else's story, and they are teaching Trent and I how to love immediately and unconditionally not because something was done for you first but because God commands us to.  

I have to be limited in what I share publicly here out of respect for the privacy of our new addition but I do hope to share about the lessons God teaches us as we walk faithfully down this path He has set before us.  It won't be easy, but it will be so worth it.

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