Without a Word

Photo by Kandra Benton. Used with permission.

Nothing defines my life more clearly than being the mother of a child with profound medical and developmental needs. My oldest of three daughters has radically shaken my faith countless times. Questions have arisen that will never be answered on this side of heaven. I must daily choose Jesus over answers, submitting my desires and dreams for my child to His ultimate authority. 

Watching anyone suffer is painful, but when it is your child it reaches a new threshold–anguish that is indescribable. Because I would never want to limit God’s divine plan for her life, or for my own, I’ve had to choose to trust Him. He has carved away at who I once was through my child, who without realizing it, beautifully reflects Jesus.

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Furnace Days

Image by skeeze from Pixabay 

I walked out of school.
It was raining.
I was walking with one of the girls from my class.
I knew my mother was parked along the curb waiting for me.

I could see her in the line of cars along with the other mothers.
The girl was walking alongside me and asked me a question.
“Do you know you’re adopted?”
I knew the word, adopted; we had learned that word in our catechism class.

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Crumbling into Compassion

My grandmother was one of the biggest influences in my life. My favorite memories are what I dubbed “teeth in the cup” moments, when she was at her most relaxed, letting her thoughts and teachings flow. One evening, when I was a teenager, she declared in her sweet, yet serious, way: “Baby, you can be humble or get humbled, but you help choose which way God gives it to ya’.” I would be thirty years old before what my grandmother said would truly sink in.

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Strength in Silence

Photo by Matthis Volquardsen from Pexels

I rented a cabin in the southern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains last May. Having survived some of the hardest years of my life and learned too many unwanted lessons, I had made writing my outlet and hobby. For months I had been plugging away, chapter after chapter, at my first novel. The purpose of my trip was to clean up the rough draft and do a little free-writing. I wasn’t against an uninterrupted nap, either. My kids assured me they would survive, and my husband promised to feed them in my absence. After loading my suitcase into the car, I kissed my family goodbye and set out alone. 

The drive along the southern border of Tennessee was breathtaking with late-May glory. I meandered along the Ocoee River in heavy traffic, taking time to enjoy the spectacular views. At scenic overlooks I took pictures with my “good camera.” Lunch was a bag of M&M’s —because no one was around to talk me out of it— and a giant Dr. Pepper. I listened to the radio and a couple of podcasts to stay alert as the afternoon wore on and finally arrived at a sheep farm in Northern Georgia. 

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