Three Little Miracles

Yes, God still works miracles! A few years ago, I was blessed to be a part of one! There is no other explanation of how all these people and circumstances could “just fall together”!

It all began on a fall Saturday morning. I was in Montgomery at His Vessel Ministries attending a meeting. After the meeting, I ran into an old friend. We’d met through a Discipleship class at the Ministry. As we were talking she shared that she and her husband had decided to adopt a child through the foster care system. They had been married 24 years and unable to have children. They now wanted desperately to adopt a child. She asked me to pray for them because the foster system was so overwhelmed with placing children in foster homes there wasn’t much time to find them a child to adopt. Immediately someone came to my mind. “I might know of a child.” Her face lit up like a Christmas tree! I didn’t want to get her hopes up, but I was already getting excited myself!

On my way home to Cullman, I called my friend. She and her husband have been foster parents for several years. I knew they had a baby that would be up for adoption soon.

When I told her the story, she said, “We have decided to adopt the baby. But, the three girls we have now are getting closer to being ready for adoption!”

Wow! Three girls! She only said they wanted one! I better check. She might not be ready for 3 little girls. Well, not only was she interested, they would have taken them at that very moment if possible! I reminded her, “This is not final yet!” But already a seed of love had been planted in her heart.

I invited her to come up and visit us the following Sunday. They went to church with us and my friends with the girls then ate lunch with us. I know you’ve heard “love at first sight,” but it was! The girls and this couple fell in love! One of the girls climbed up in the woman’s lap, looked her in the eyes, and said, “Can you be my mommy?” Yes, we cried!!! And the other two were glued to the husband.

They of course, didn’t want to leave, but they had to go back to Montgomery. The seeds of love were growing! In my heart I was praying that they wouldn’t be disappointed. But I was also praying that God would join these girls and this couple.

Another amazing detail, the women had met before. My friend in Cullman had been to a meeting at the Montgomery friend’s house with me. I had forgotten that. So, they were already connected which helped the process of adoption.

The couple applied for respite care, and 2 months later they were taking the girls for weekends. All of us were praying that somehow God would put this all together. But, actually God was the originator of it all! Through court dates, and appeals, wondering and waiting, God continued to bring it all together.

Of course there were challenges, these girls had been through the trauma of being taken from their home, living in foster homes, and not understanding all of this. Yes, they had behavior issues. But the two mothers were able to help each other through this.

A year later, the husband made a call to their lawyer telling him they were finally ready for a court date. Usually this takes months; they didn’t have months. His father had some serious health issues, they needed to go to Texas to take care of him. And he, being in the military, had been transferred to Mississippi.

That night he got a call from the lawyer. “Can you be here in the morning.”  ?!

The next morning, three little girls became “their little miracles”!

All glory be to God from whom all blessings flow!

Yes, I believe in miracles! A husband and wife married 25 years decide to adopt a foster child.

Three little girls half a state away needed parents. And God had a plan!

He always does!

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His Love is More

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“It’s a fig tree.”

As nonchalantly as “the sky is blue” or “I love Minecraft.”

“It’s a fig tree.”

She was a few steps ahead of me, I watched as she rubbed her hands over the leaf and looked behind her to see if I was paying attention. I recognized the gnarly branches and distinct leaf shape immediately. I quizzed her, “How do you know?”

My oldest daughter, Charlotte looked at me and matter-of-factly said, “I can smell it.”

fig-sliced-plate-wooden-tableThe fig tree makes me always think of two things… cookies and the King. I love a Fig Newton, but I don’t love a fig. In my mind, the fig is the King’s fruit, well, sort of. The first Mom and Dad of this world covered themselves with fig leaves after they felt shame for the first time. A feeling that has been palpable through the ages. Shame compels those who are covered by it to make clouded choices and feel the lowest of lows.

It wasn’t until about 9 years ago that I conjectured that the fruit in the garden was a fig. After all why in the world would such an unruly and itchy choice be what one would choose to cover his or her lady or gentleman parts with? I reasoned simply, it was the closest option. Later the King cursed that same fruitless tree, it withered and died, almost as if He were demonstrating His feelings toward the tree that represented sin and death. The very thing that He was soon going to overcome. Perhaps not. Perhaps it is just an unfortunate specimen of botany and I have a bit too big an imagination to leave it as such.

Regardless, as my daughter stated the undeniable fact of the fig trees presence, I pondered what sin and death meant for my oldest, the first of my children, not born of my body, but of something much stronger, my soul. I pondered how sin and death were the very thing that brought her to me. newborn in incubatorBorn way too early and in poor health, she had to fight for her very life. A death sentence at birth was proclaimed over her before she could even contemplate the significance.

Jesus healed her, and she too overcame death. She understands as much as it is possible for a teenage girl to understand. I’ve often said she has an old soul… She is slow and deliberate. She loves a soup, classic rock, and frowns upon the frivolous. Perhaps it is because in the short years she has lived, she has a better grasp on the fragility of life, the beautiful things of this world, and has experienced the healing power and the love of a Savior that many adults do not.

There was a time when I questioned Jesus regarding His plan for her. I wondered why He had scanned the world over and picked me to be her Mama. He gave me her verse when she was desperately sick, and her future seemed unclear. His Word simply stated, He had plans for her, plans to protect her, plans for good, plans for her future, plans filled with Hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

He has confirmed time and time again that He trusts me, He has equipped me fully, and that He loves her more than I ever could. That fact right there blows my mind. Thankfully, the truth of that is not contingent on me understanding it. His love is immeasurably more. His love is more than my sin and mess ups. His love is more than my insecurities, inadequacies, and anxieties. His love is more than I was, I am, or I am going to be.

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Changed for the Better

by Tracy Hacker

“Of one thing I am perfectly certain, God’s story never ends in ashes.”

I read this quote by Elizabeth Elliott years ago and it has been forever etched into my mind and heart. Over the past 9 years I have witnessed God breathe life into an empty soul and redeem lives from the pit of despair. I have seen the God of this universe do exactly what HIS word proclaims and have been in absolute awe at the wonder of it. My story is one of change, hope, restoration and redemption and watching God change a heart… MINE!

pexels-photo-60252We became a foster family a little over nine years ago with the thought and hope that we might be a blessing to a child in need. God used a verse in Matthew “Keep open house, be generous with your lives” (The Message) to confirm that this was indeed the path He had chosen for our family, and so we followed. We learned very quickly that “we” were the recipients of the blessings when we met our first placement. And not much has changed in nine years. God called us out of our comfort zone, our security, into a world of much brokenness and sadness. He called us into work in a system that, on it’s best day, is very broken. This system is full of social workers, judges and team members who work countless hours to search for the best solutions for the child’s  benefit. We have learned firsthand that this is an incredible mission field. We have been given opportunities to speak life and encouragement into the days of workers who visit the kids in our home.

Now, here’s where the title comes from, “Changed for the Better.” I had a much different plan in mind as we started this journey! I envisioned helping a child and then possibly adopting and then we would be finished, but God had other plans! I did not factor in the birth moms and the family members that we meet and the needs they would have as a result of their little one being removed from his or her home. I did not factor in the stories of the moms and the dads and the heart ache that they had felt and were feeling as a result of the circumstances. I did not have a grasp of the pain nor the depth of the despair that the consequences of choices made would have on these people I would meet, but God did. I thought we would love a little one, adopt them and then we would move on to our next adventure, not so!!

The kids that have come through our home have been the easy part! The laughter and the giggles have made the hard times seem not quite so hard and the sad times not quite so sad. I have discovered how to love God’s way through this journey and that despite differences in lifestyles and choices, He loves us all and the cross declares that every life matters. God has impressed on my heart an urgency to love people and love them well and to move when He says move. I have been challenged to “love the sinner and hate the sin” and have come face to face with “the least of these” and have learned that love is deeper than skin color. My house stays a wreck most of the time, but happy healthy little people live here! My family has grown physically by three precious additions through adoption and it takes my breath away that He chose me to be their mom. Life around here is loud and chaotic, but oh how He has blessed us! Life changed… for the BETTER!!!

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God’s story never ends in ashes. ~ Elizabeth Elliott