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Cave to Cliff

One woman's journey from darkness to light

Restore Retreat 2016

I’m sitting at my kitchen table reflecting on this past weekend. My heart is overflowing with a tender compassion for 48 other women, many of them I didn’t even get to know.

Restore Retreat is an annual event for foster and adoptive moms to get away for the weekend. We laugh, cry, eat too much chocolate, and share our life experiences as moms. Us 49 moms birthed 82 kids, adopted 113, and have fostered over 700 children. Did you see that? We have impacted nearly 1000 kids and we are just a small number of people who do this every day.

I stood in the back of the room watching these women worship. Hands raised. Heads bowed. Silent tears slipping down cheeks. I heard them sing “You are perfect in all of your ways” as I watched one woman’s face and had this overwhelming sense that the Lord had been doing some deep work in her. These were not easy words for her to sing. She believes they are true words, she proclaims them, but her heart is hurting. There are stories of trauma all around. Not just the trauma of our kids, but the trauma either created or triggered by them, as well.

This was the third year Chani and I attended this retreat. It’s been at a different location every year, but this one was by FAR the best location. It fostered togetherness and yet there was enough room to be alone when needed. There were 24 new women this year. That’s an amazing number. I watched their faces and remembered that first year that Chani and I went. We were scared, too. We felt like this year we were really able to connect with people. It takes time, but it’s so worth it. In fact, I feel like last year was the beginning of a healing for me. I went there cynical and judgey. I came home with a few new heart friends and an appreciation for other women.

If I could have, I would have scooped them all up in my arms and quietly declared over each of them, “You are enough. You are more than enough. You are not alone. You can do this. In fact, you ARE doing this. YOU are the right one for this job. You are the exact mom this exact child needs in this exact moment. Rise up warrior woman. There is a battle raging and you’re the one to fight it right here alongside the rest of us.” _MG_0318

Embracing the Change

Spring officially begins on March 20th this year. Spring is one of my favorite seasons!

I live in the north western part of Oregon. It usually rains a lot here. Right this second it isn’t raining, but earlier today I could hear it pounding down on the roof. When I was a kid my parents used to say that if March came in like a lion it would go out like a lamb and vice versa. So, if it was a mild day on March 1, March 31 would greet us with a raging storm.

A memory came to me as I was writing. March also makes me think of kites. My dad would take me to the field across the street and show me how to fly a kite. I’m pretty sure he would’ve stood there for hours with me. Later, when it was just the two of us left at home, he’d take me to the beach where we would watch all the kites. We never went to a kite festival down there. I think he would have liked that very much.

March brings change.

The rains are now accompanied by breaks of bright sun. Robins begin to show up in force. My lawn suddenly needs a good mowing. That will happen as soon as it stops raining long enough to dry the weeds disguising themselves as a form of grass.

My daffodils have bloomed in force and are now on their way out. I loved walking out of my house each day to be greeted by such vibrant beauty. I now have several primrose plants I’ve received as gifts that need to repotted. They’ve been sitting in their original pots on my table for the past couple of weeks. They’re little reminders of a beautiful life.

A year ago I met a young woman that is now my daughter-in-law. That sounds so legal. I onced mocked when people would days “daughter-in-love” instead. However, I kind of like that term. I love her. She couldn’t be more perfect to be the wife of my son.

Christopher has enlisted in the US Army and will be shipping out to boot camp in Georgia later this month.

I’m in the midst of planning a going away party for him. Days later we will take him to Portland and enjoy our last moments before he leaves.

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It occurs to me that I’ve never been apart from him for very long. This is part of our growing up. I’m proud of him.

I love you son, I’m excited for your journey! 

My Good Life

What did you feel when you woke up this morning? Do you even wake up feeling a little blah then feel guilty for it knowing you have an incredible life? Do you ever look for the one thing that will make it all better? Where is that magical moment, anyway?  Continue reading “My Good Life”

2016 New Beginnings

It is the evening of the first day of 2016.

My heart feels raw, open, vulnerable. Here’s the strange thing. I like it. It also feels good. I’ve never experienced this before.

Continue reading “2016 New Beginnings”

Christmas!

Day 31: End of Month

Today is the last official day of the Write 31 Days challenge. I’ve posted 17/31 days, that’s barely more than half the time. There was a time when I would’ve seen that as an utter failure. Wanna know how I see that now? 

Progress, an opportunity for learning, and also growth in my writing. I have a better idea of a blogging schedule and discipline. I have a clearer picture of where I am going.  

I understand that I have a very important purpose in this world that I’m called to so I will stand up and fulfill it. I’ve learned that I really am not alone, there’s been such great response to this challenge. Thank you all for reading! 

So, am I enough? The answer is both head and no. 

No, I am not enough. Without Christ I am nothing. Apart from Him I can do no good. Yes, I am enough because He has given me my worth. He gave His life so we could have eternal life with Him. God is with me always, whether I choose to walk with Him in that moment or not. Our life’s surprises are not surprises to Him at all. I think it’s always an opportunity for us to draw nearer to Him. 

My friends, this is the end of this challenge. However, it is not the end of my blogging. You’ll be hearing from me more often. Be sure to sign up to receive my posts via email! 

Happy reading and writing! 

Day 29: Dropped Ball

It’s true. I got all the way to day 15 of the Write 31 Days challenge then I dropped the ball. I did write day 16. I just didn’t post it. I could say that it was just too hard for me to keep up with since I don’t have internet at home, but that’s not true. That’s merely an obstacle to worked around.

The truth is that I was tired of posting from my phone late at night and I wasn’t exercising the diligence to even thing about what to write earlier in the day. I had every intention of getting up early and just writing for the sake of writing and seeing what came of it. Intentions lead nowhere.

intentions

How humiliating. I’m writing a series on “Am I Enough?” and I totally bomb it. Day 16 was the day everything {would have} turned around. It was going from the ways you and I feel inadequate to how we’re not. I had plans to talk about what God says about us and what we can say about us, too. There’s lots of good stuff to say about this. I know we all deal with feeling of insecurity or not being enough. We’re all human, right?

So, yes, I dropped the ball. Yet, guess what? I’ve picked up that ball and I’m going for it.

I’m back. Here’s the beautiful thing. There’s always redemption. When we feel like we have wandered far from the path that leads us to God, all we have to do is stop and turn around. That’s it. So simple. He’s always ready. Our wanderings do not surprise God. He knew we’d do it and provided a way for us to go back.

For more entries in this series, click on the photo below:

amienough

Please take a few minutes to read some blogs from other 31 Dayers, click the photo below:

write31days.com
write31days.com

Day 15: The Warrior Within

I watched a group of 6th grade girls in a volleyball match today. Even though they  were doing well I could see their morale waning. I encouraged them by shouting out, “You’re doing great girls. You’ve got this, be ready!” I wanted them to repeat that in their own heads, “I’m doing great. I’ve  got this, I’m ready!” 

  
Tonight those girls battled on the volleyball court, but we know that life is a battle on and off the court. We can fight or lie down and die. I looked at those little girls and wanted to tell the most insecure of them, “Hey, you may not know it now, but you are a warrior. Get in there, dig deep, and say kind things to yourself.”

Most of all, I want to take her face in my hands and look into her eyes as I say, “You are amazing. Right now in this moment. You are so loved. There is a God who loves you more deeply than all the oceans. There is no end to His love for us and He is so proud of you. Carry on, little warrior girl!” 

  

For more posts in this series click the photo below:

amienough

14: Reflection

Have you taken the time to look at your reflection today? Like, really look? 

I looked at mine today as I was winding down my day. I laughed and tried to joke about how ragged I look. I didn’t want to let that thought continue to form. Earlier today I made a comment to my friends about not having much to offer a future husband. I didn’t mean it the way it came out and I quickly explained what I meant. However, as I was studying my face in the mirror I realized that a small part of me does believe that. 

I don’t have long, shapely legs. My hair is frizzy. My eyes and lips are wonky and uneven. I can be moody and snippy. My body is soft and jiggly (fat).  I still can’t run a 5k without stopping. I don’t have much financially and it’s easy to mismanage money. I procrastinate. A lot. I also get scared sometimes. 

It’s so easy to see our own shortcomings, isn’t it? What would we see if we try looking at ourselves through someone else’s eyes? 

  
So I look a little longer at myself. My face is at peace. Stress and worry  no longer reside there. I once was a woman who was merely trying to survive this life of chaos. Now I’m a woman who is rising above it all. My skin is clear. My eyes are bright. I am loved. I am even cherished. I am a best friend to some and a great friend to many. When I smile at you I am genuinely happy to see you, even if I’ve never seen you before. I love well and care deeply about others. I’m as helpful as I can be. I am getting better at raising my kids and helping them heal. I love to write and take pictures. Both of those are a gift. God is expanding my vision in the area of business, ministry, and family. I have hope. I trust in God. 

I urge you friends, to look closely at yourself and describe what you see AND to hear who God says you are! 

For more posts in this series go to:

amienough

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