Day 11: Who's in the Backseat?

I heard Dr. Tony Evans say one time on the radio, "If you let the devil ride in the backseat long enough, pretty soon, he's gonna wanna drive." Of course, he said it as only Tony Evans can do, with plenty of emphasis on "He's Gone-a Wone-a Drive."

I've thought about that a lot over the years. Who's in my backseat? Who am I carrying around with me?

Especially lately.

I've been thinking about it from the perspective of "who or what from my past am I still letting go for a ride?"

Who or what am I dragging around, still allowing them(it) to have influence on my thoughts, my plans, my hopes, my fear?

There are some parts from my past that I "believed" I had kicked out of my backseat, only to realize I had just stuffed it in the trunk, no longer giving it a direct shot into my ear, but still hauling it around with me nonetheless.

I said this the other day, "The beautiful thing about the past is that it is behind us."

That's true.

But if it's behind us in the backseat. That's not so good.

So, stop your car, kick the past out on the side of the road, and drive forward. It might try to run alongside you for awhile, but eventually, you will manage to move past it, forward, to the future.

All that to say, "Who's riding in your backseat?"

Day 10: Necessities and Niceties

I have known poverty in my lifetime. I have known it well enough to know I don't want to live in it again.

And I have known wealth. Wealth that those IN poverty would consider substantial, though in reality I have always considered myself somewhere in the middle class range of society. Either lower middle class, middle middle class, or upper middle class, but always somewhere in the caste of middle society.

I once heard a message from Andy Stanley about being rich, and I realized that I am actually rich. '

I know this because I have clothes in my closet I haven't worn in over a year. I have blankets in that same closet that I am saving because they have sentimental value, though I have never one time used them to keep warm.

I have a room in my house that I only use to eat in twice a year.

I have a bedroom in my house, fully furnished, that no one sleeps in (except an occasional adult child who hangs out at the house a little late and decides to spend the night).

I have a car that sits in my driveway 6 of 7 days of the week. That car has an extra set of car seats in it.

I have food that expires in my pantry.

I am, indeed, rich.

But man, yesterday, I really learned the value of good insurance. And I felt deeply for people who can't afford their medication. Our insurance company has changed at work, and when trying to get a prescription filled, we were told it would be $400! We can't afford that. And we are rich (based on the description above). What do people do that need their medication and can't afford it?

Fortunately for us, it was an insurance mistake and our medication was only $50 (the same $400 medication!) It's ridiculous is all I have to say. Ridiculous. Does it really cost that much to make, market, and distribute medication?

All that to say, I am grateful that we can afford the necessities, and even a good number of the niceties. I need to remember that.

Day 9: I Will Sing

I am not perfect. This is not news to me. I've been well aware of it for some time now.

My ways are not His ways. My thoughts are not His thoughts. I didn't even have to make that up. He told me that one in advance through His Word.

I am a mess when left to my own schemes and thoughts and plans.

I prayed yesterday morning that God would strip away any unholiness in my life that I refuse to lay down.

Oh dear ones, be careful what you pray for.

"But as for me, I will sing of Your strength."

Being stripped of your unholiness is a pretty painful process, but it should bring about beauty and joy. It should leave us, once the healing comes, with a deep love for God who is strong enough to handle our mistakes, to guide us through them, and to seek Him all the more.

All that to say, As for me, I will sing.

Day 8: V is for Visitation

Visitation days are hard. We don't ever talk about them in advance because we never know when our scheduled time together is going to fall through. Sometimes it does.

And we never know exactly who is going to be present, so we don't ever say, "We're going to see _________ (fill in the blank)" because it could be just bmama (birthmom) or her boyfriend, or their auntie or cousin, and most recently their brother.

And visitation days are especially hard AFTER the fact. I don't exactly know why. Neither does their therapist. He said he thinks it's because they are able to anticipate change now and that they might be unsure if they are leaving us forever, so the tension of the day erupts when we get home and they feel safe again. I guess that makes sense.

They have been with us for 7 of their 29 months of life. They were with another family for 1month of that 29 (in between our 7 months). They were back home for 2 of the months in between our 7. They have had 7 residences (that we are aware of) in the last year alone. SEVEN! If these poor babies know anything, it's change.

We had a beautiful day. And a sweet visit. Most visitations are like that. Which makes the meltdowns all the more confusing.

They got to see their brother today. They've only seen him twice since they left their shared residence 4 months ago. They were so sweet when they saw him. They kept saying, "brother, brother." He wasn't as happy to see them, but I imagine for him, they just represented a level of change and stress he wasn't prepared to deal with.

All that to say, if you have been a part of this process for a while and have any wisdom, feel free to share. You can email directly or comment here.

Day 7: Uncharted Waters

Psalm 139:3 says, "You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am."

It's funny how you know things, things you can trust in, things you can count on being true, things you can rest in

and yet

it's those very things that you fail to think about, trust in, count on or rest in.

That is how I feel most days about God's Word. It's how I feel about His love for me. It's how I feel about His plans for me.

I can trust His Word, His love, His promises and most importantly His plans.

But at the first sign that His plan has deviated from My plan, I jump ship. Oh, and I mean I dive head first off the bow of the ship into shark infested uncharted waters.

Am I alone in this strange behavior?

All that to say, He has charted a path AHEAD OF ME. Imagine, just imagine, if I just stayed on course. . .

Day 6: Live It

I was praying the other day and felt like God was saying to me, "Carol, you live a defeated life."

WHAT? I do not.

But there it was, straight from the One who would know for sure.

"Carol, you live a defeated life."

What in the world does that mean? I actually asked that question, perhaps even with a bit of an attitude. "Lord, what in the world does that mean? I read your Word, I meditate on it day and night. I try to love others as you would have me to love them. I tithe. I tell others about you. I mean, what else do I need to do?"

His response, "Oh, I didn't say you don't live a disciplined life, I said you live a defeated life."


Here's the revelation in that. I am always looking for what is going to go wrong (or maybe even what already IS wrong.) And I focus on that. Sometimes, I feel like I even WILL it into existence. And by focus, I mean I DWELL in it. I LIVE in it. I do, indeed, live a defeated life.

Here's the advice from His Word. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the WILL OF GOD is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2Oh. That's what a victorious life looks like. I want to live that life. A victorious life. Not a defeated life.

All that to say, I have decided, I have resolved to wait upon you Lord. To live and prove YOUR WILL. To live Victoriously.

Day 5: Now I'm Quoting Nike

My baby just moved away to go to college.


How many times can a mother's heart survive such things?

I'm happy for him though.

Happy because I feel like for the first time in a long time, his focus is right. It's forward. And it's up.

He's off to further his career. His mantra? "I'm not a college student. I'm a young professional furthering my career." :)

Trust me, the nuance is important.

And though leaving the past behind is a good thing, it's also a hard thing. Going it alone makes it even harder. He'll need community. Rich, life-changing, God-driven community.

It just personally drives home the point we have been making at church lately. We were created to live in Community. Rich, life-changing community.

All that to say, who are you doing life with? Are they changing your life in a positive way? Is your life richer because of it? We were created to love one another and do life with one another. To quote Nike, "Just Do It."

Day 4: Kiss the Moment

I have said this a lot lately, but I think repeating it reminds me to do it.

Live today. Live in this moment. This moment matters.

I walked in the house after church tonight (where I stayed entirely too long catching up with some old friends) and I realized how much I really love my husband.

What made me think this was that he was sitting on the couch watching tv.

Seriously. He was sitting on the couch.

And I was overcome with this realization that I love him. Deeply.

So I lived in the moment, walked over to the couch and kissed him like he's never been kissed.

mmmm hmmmm.

I'm pretty sure he thought I'd been inhabited by aliens.

All that to say, living in the moment. Goodness.

Day 3: This Day, This Moment, This Breath

I have this pep talk with myself from time to time. It goes something like this.

"Carol, you're so lazy and selfish. What would happen if you woke up and realized, that you were CREATED for this day, for this moment, for this breath in time? You were created by the God of the freakin' universe to do something, not for yourself, but for Him. So how's about you quit thinking about yourself so dang much and start living like you were created for a purpose?"

I say this to myself because at my core, I am lazy, and I am selfish, and I think if you look too closely into my life, you'd find it's true. I filter just about everything through how it will affect me, how it will affect my life, my finances, my marriage, my home, my workload, my desires, my future, my retirement, my sleep.

And when I get to the point where I really just can't take "me" anymore, I have the pep talk.

I had the pep talk today. What prompted it was that I was awakened early. I believe by God. He gets up early a lot. (Maybe He's on so many timezones simultaneously that He forgets which one I'm on.) Anyway, I woke up early, prompted to read my Bible, and all I could think of was, "really God? I have this one day that I can sleep a little bit later, no kids to awaken, no breakfasts or lunches to fix, and You wake me up earlier . . . to read?"

And that's when I had the talk.

And here's what I read this morning. In Leviticus no less (the Lord woke me up to read Leviticus!) Chapter 22. "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Tell Aaron and his sons to be careful with the holy gifts of the sons of Israel, which they dedicate to Me, so as not to profane My holy Name. I am the Lord."


All that to say, I will have to spend a lot of time praying through that one, but a quick glance tells me that I am not being careful with the holy gifts that God has entrusted to me. I was indeed, created for this day, this moment, this breath in time. And I better be careful with it.

Day 2: Shortstack and Nitro

We can't call them by their real names, because they aren't ours. At least not in a way that makes it legal to use their real names. And the only reason I can post their pictures is because I have permission from their bmom (birthmom) to do so.

So for months now, you have known them simply as Baby N and Baby S. In fact, one of my favorite things is when someone meets them for the first time, they say to me, "So, is this N or S?" I don't know why I love that, but it feels like people really care about them and have spent some time wondering what their real names are. (For the record, if you DO want to know their names, so you can pray for them by name, then message me on facebook or leave your contact info in the comment section, and I'll email you their names).

But I've been thinking for a while that I didn't want to call them "S" and "N" forever, and that I needed to think of a cute cyberspace nickname for them.

Well recently on f/b I posted that I was thinking of giving "N" a pro-wrestler's name because she has broken my nose, scratched my cornea and now broken my toe (with her PLASTIC high heels, no less). Someone recommended Nitrogen, which I shortened to Nitro, which is TOTALLY fitting for her. She is like a little stick of dynamite and you NEVER know when she is gonna blow up, but when she does BAM!

So Nitro it is. No more Baby N.

And I said her sister is like a roller derby chick. She's all sweet and girly one second and then dropping an elbow on you the next. She's easy going, just rolling along unless you cross her, get in her way, (tell her no) and then it's ON like Donkey Kong. So her new name is Shortstack. We call her Little Bit a lot, so Shortstack is a good name.

So Shortstack it is. No more Baby S.

All that to say, I love that God eased me into the life of daughters by giving me some girls that have some chutzpah. Well, most days I'm glad.

Day 1: New

I love the new year. It just feels so, . . .

well . . .


Life feels ripe with possibility. Anything can happen. Nothing is defined.

Because it's the new year. And it's new. It's not tainted with old yet.

I often say, "If I could do it over . . ." Or if I had to do it again . . ."

Well the new year is my chance. My chance to do it over and do it differently, maybe even better.

So I'll say yes to you New. I'll put you in my shopping cart. I'll add you to my resume'. I'll store you in my contacts. I might even "friend" you.

All that to say, "Yes thank you. I'll have new please."