I'm a 33 year old adoptive mom trying to make sense of life. If you are tired, you are in good company. If you are awake past midnight, feel free to call. I'm probably up. But, mainly, I want to pray for you.
I have no idea how you do it! You truly amaze me every day. You are so beautiful. You are so wise. You are so discerning. You are so smart. In the middle of Lyme disease - on the hardest days You are still loving. Seriously...How do you keep smiling? How do you stay positive? How do you still listen so intently to the needs of others? How do you keep moving forward? Your life exemplifies the Grace of God! If I were you (and felt yucky every day) I'd be meaner than a snake! Instead, you are so gracious and kind and compassionate and patient and tender towards the world around you!
Thank you for staying home with Eliana all these years! Thank you for fighting for our girl. She wouldn't be #elianatheoneandonly if it wasn't for YOU! Let's be honest...if it wasn't for you she wouldn't have an I.E.P. at school, or even have completed adoption papers for that matter! Thank you for being the Momma tiger that you are! Thank you for investing all of yourself into E. Thank you for making every day so special for her! I love how you celebrate her every accomplishment and make it so meaningful. Thank you for being so incredibly supportive of me in all of my crazy ministry endeavors! I'm not fully me without you! You are so thoughtful. Coming home to you is the best part of every day.
In addition to all of this...NO ONE plans a party like YOU! You are amazing at decorating!!! I have no idea how you keep coming up with these fresh creative ideas! You truly are the queen of the details! Eliana's luau this year was one of your best parties ever! You think of everything.
It is my prayer that this new year is full of new life. It is my prayer that #34 is a year of deep healing, community and hope. I love how you write; I love your honest story telling. I can't wait to read through this years' journey!
Everyone who knows you is BETTER because YOU are in their life. I love you with all of my heart!
Have a Happy 34th Birthday!
I just read and cried my way through Ann Voskamp's latest post on Labor and Delivery. I think a lot of my tears started with the fact that I missed the day of Eliana's birth. Eliana still doesn't fully understand her entire adoption...children with her anxiety and trauma process things differently. So, she still truly believes that she was in my tummy. Every time she says it, a part of me wants to bawl my eyes out and part of me wants to throw up. It breaks my heart that I don't have pictures with her in the hospital or maternity shots. I hope that makes sense. So, after I threw myself a little pity party, I re-read what Ann said about delivery...and the biggest part was that delivery does not stop when the baby enters the world.
Ann writes, "Once you start delivering a child, just keep on: Keep delivering, handing over, yielding the child to God. This is how you birth beauty in the midst of the messy."
I can't tell you how much Ineeded to read this tonight. We spent over a week away from Chris while he was leading a team of students from Show Hope to Haiti. I experienced a few moments with Eliana that were extremely painful and difficult. See, there is a deep-seated fear that when one of us is gone for a longer period of time...we won't come back. She raged and sobbed and begged for "dada" and then finally cried "who will be my dada if he doesn't come back." Oh Lord, help me. Those words just tear me apart. I can't take her fear away. I want to...I wish I could carry every single bit of her anxiety and pain. I can't make it okay. I can't talk her out of it. I just keep on delivering her to God...praying for her little life...begging God to restore the pieces that are broken. After her episodes have dissipated, I just look at her in amazement. We get to show Jesus to her...to love her...to be patient...to believe in healing for her little soul. Lord, please keep birthing beauty in our little girl in the midst of our seriously messy lives. Use me when I can't even get out of bed. Give me strength.
If you want to see our version of Eliana's delivery, click HERE. It's the day she was first put into our arms! I love our little girl so much.
(P.S. This picture was taken right after she was placed in my arms!)
My sweet girl has Lyme disease (on top of everything else)...
I had my doctor's appointment on Friday in Atlanta...but I didn't share that we also had a doctor's appointment for Eliana (or maybe I did share...that's my brain again). For the past few months God has been preparing me for this appointment. I believe that with my whole heart! There are so many pieces to Eliana's little body that just haven't added up. We have talked to neurologists, psychologists, her therapist...and some of her symptoms just haven't been making sense. Each doctor would refer us to a different doctor when they couldn't explain her conditions. Our girl has one of the highest pain tolerances of anyone I know...and for the past few years has complained on and off about her head hurting her. This is not a headache...this is an "I'm throwing up" from the pain kind of headache. We chalked it up to maybe she has migraines and we will continue to learn more as she grows older. Plus, there have been nights where she has cried and yelled about her feet. She will say "there's crumbs in my feet"...we could massage them for long periods of time and nothing would help. Another biggie is the rages and insomnia, but we assumed that this was part of her developmental trauma (it probably still is in many ways). All of that to say...there were still so many question marks. I received two different emails from two totally different people a few months ago asking me more questions about E. They asked me, "has she been tested for Lyme disease??" and "have you heard of Lyme rage." Then, two months ago we went to a homeopathic doctor that ran tests on Eliana to see if we could help with Eliana's sleep and anxiety (in addition to her anti-psychotic and anti-seizure meds)...and guess what?? She said that Eliana was testing positive for spirochetes (aka Lyme). So, we met with my doctor in ATL this past weekend and he tested Eliana (he is also more homeopathic but has treated a TON of lyme patients)...and he found Lyme in Eliana. So, we are now heading down that road. I was not completely shocked because I feel like I've been prepared for this...a mother's intuition. We will never know exactly where we both got it...more than likely we got it at the SAME time in a group of infected ticks. My body has other co-infections and viruses, so my body is taking it harder than hers. But, my heart breaks for E!! I don't want her to suffer, and I don't want her symptoms to get worse. Chris and I are still processing all of this...not sure how we are really feeling. Just be praying for the NEXT RIGHT STEPS. This just can feel so overwhelming. Hope this makes sense. I do know that God has not abandoned us...I MEAN, HE GAVE US A CAR THROUGH SOMEONE!! Thanks friends for your prayers...for money to help with our treatments...for encouragement. I can't thank y'all enough...we are really going to need prayer over the next few months!! Love y'all.
Most of you have already heard about our unbelievable gift we received this week! If not, check out Chris's post. We still keep looking at each other in disbelief every time we get into the car...or talk about the story. What's so crazy is this gift is about so much more than just a car (even though it's HUGE). This story is about grace, mercy, and hope...this car is a symbol not just for us but to a lot of people that are questioning God and His goodness. The beginning of this week looked completely different than the end. Let's rewind to Tuesday night. It was not one of my finest nights to say the least. I can always tell when my body is about to shut down...it's a neat intuition God has given me with my disease. Different symptoms will start popping up out of nowhere and then I prepare myself for my body to meltdown. The last two weeks (really since Eliana finished Pre-K) have been rough on my body. I've been battling debilitating fatigue (I try not to use this lightly). I have to scrape myself off of my bed in the mornings just to get Eliana ready to go to a baby-sitter because I've been unable to do anything (side note: I will never be able to repay the Rooker family for all they've done to help with Eliana). I went from bad to worse on Tuesday. Once Eliana fell asleep Tuesday night, I had a breakdown.
Every bone in my body hurt...my head was pounding...the pressure in my head also felt like my head was going to explode...I had a hard time making fists with my hands...my gums and teeth were in tremendous amounts of pain...and my throat felt like a knife every time I swallowed. I told Chris I wanted to be alone because I knew I would snap on him because I wanted to snap on someone. I took one of my Epsom salt baths and tried to relieve some of the pain. I cried and cried. I sent my mom a text to spread the word that I needed prayer. My mind started racing...do I need to go to the hospital?? Am I going to be okay?? The answer to these questions are always a "NO" because very few doctors even know what to do with Lyme patients. Quite a few doctors will even say, "there is no such thing as Lyme disease in Tennessee." I have to take a deep breath and ask God to help me not punch them in the face when they say that. So, I just kept praying and crying most of the night. My emotions began to escalate the later it got. I am not one to really get angry...but I definitely did. I remember crying to Chris on this Tuesday night, "WHY WON'T GOD TAKE THIS PAIN AND DISEASE AWAY?!! I KNOW HE CAN!!" I haven't really ever verbalized these thoughts. But, I was angry. Why God?? Why are so many people praying for me and I'm still not healed. Why did you decide to allow this disease in the midst of all that we are dealing with our precious Eliana?? A "normal" person would be exhausted while working with E and her anxieties. Let's just say that was one LONG night. I slept about two hours...and woke up feeling very overwhelmed.
That Wednesday morning we had Eliana's two hour in-home therapist come to our house to work with E. I spent the next two hours trying to keep my mind focused and listen to all of Melody's words of wisdom for E (she is AMAZING)...and then was able to send Eliana off with her baby-sitter right after. I fell sound asleep. Then, I get woken up to Chris shaking me saying "Lindsey, I've got really good news. Someone has bought us a car." It took me a while to register what was going on. Chris and I drove to the car lot so confused by what was going on. We get there and are stunned that someone did actually buy Chris a car...a perfect car for him. They also made the most unbelievable gift basket for our family filled with notes and gift cards (they know my love language). Each gift card was so specific and was hand-picked to bless Chris, Eliana and me. Plus, they put a huge bag of our favorite popcorn. Seriously?!! A car wasn't enough...Anonymous created one of the most amazing gifts ever to go with it!! BLOWN AWAY!! I think I've said that a few hundred times in the last few days.
Chris and I can't stop thanking God, sharing this story, asking God to bless whoever gave this to us, praying that others would be encouraged by this story...that God would be glorified. It's made me hyper-aware to be on the lookout for people's needs that we can help with...no matter how small. To say that I was completely humbled by this experience is an understatement. I went from being so upset with God, questioning Him...to receiving gift after gift after gift. It didn't stop with the car or the gift cards. A few people have sent us money for baby-sitting for Eliana...a friend from Focus on the Family sent us a check the other day for the amount we will need for our doctor's appointments in Atlanta for June 14th. A few people have given on our Give Forward page...and I have received some of the most encouraging, hope-filled emails (I promise to write ya'll back soon). It has literally been one thing after the other. I am just so in awe...so grateful. God just keeps reminding me that He has got us in His hand...that He has not abandoned us...that He loves us and knows what is best for us. While I might think that healing for Eliana and me is what is best for us, God knows how the story ends. He knows what I need, when I need it. So, even in the midst of the continued pain/fatigue, my prayer is to rejoice in this storm. I definitely still need prayers...today has been another rough day. But, thank you friends for getting excited with us, for praying for us, for "liking" our pictures on facebook/instagram, for sending us messages, for giving financially, for sharing our story...we love you all so much.
P.S. This picture is from today of E having a blast in the rain...thought it fit perfectly!
TODAY GOD GAVE ME A CAR THROUGH YOU!!!THANK YOU!!!
Since I can't thank you in person here is a note to express my deep gratitude and to tell the world what God did today through YOU!
Today you Mr. and/or Mrs. Anonymous gave me a 2002 Honda CRV!
Thank you for being so faithful! Thank you for trusting God and investing your money in my family! You could have done so many other things with that money but you got us a car! Thank you for being obedient! Thank you for this incredible gift! Thank you for getting me a cool car!
Here is just a short list of the things I love about my new car! I love that it has air conditioning (for 3 yrs I've been driving without A/C or heat), I love that it has a sun roof, I love that it is all wheel drive, I love that it has a CARD TABLE that pops out of the cargo bay, I love the color green, I love the khaki interior, I love that it has 100 different compartments for me to stash all my gear, I love that it has 4 brand new tires, I love that it has a new battery, I love that it only has 54K miles, I love how it handles, I love that my wife feels safe in it (and it will be a safe car for her to drive to her Atlanta doctor appts), I love the orange glow of the dash, I love how bright the headlights are, I love the little table that pops up between the front two seats, I love that it has three cup holders in the front, I love how many interior dome lights it has, I love how good the speakers sound (my old ones only crackled), I love that it is such a tangible reminder of God's love and grace towards us!
As if the car wasn't enough you also put a gift basket in the front seat full of individually gift wrapped gift cards to: REI, Whole Foods, Target, Starbucks, Sonic, iTunes and Restaurants. Plus you put a giant bag of our favorite popcorn in there and a sweet typed letter! Thank You! God is so good! God gives such incredible gifts
I will never forget this day. Here's how it went on my end of the story. I walked out of a late lunch meeting with my friend Jeff at Oscar's Taco Shop (delish) and received a phone call from a number I didn't recognize. I answered, though ordinarily I'd let it go to voice mail. The man on the other end introduced himself as Q (true) and said he was with Daryl Waltrip Pre-Owned vehicles and he had my car ready. I said, "um I don't have a car there." The man said, "No someone is giving you a car. It's all been paid for - tag, tax and title included. All you need to do is come pick it up." My heart was racing. My mind was racing. I kept feeling like this was some kind of sales technique like when you "win" a free vacation. The man could tell I wasn't convinced so he said, "If I'm kidding then I'll refill your gas tank for going to the trouble of driving down here." I said, "okay I'll be there at 4:30". I drove to our house with my mouth open. As I drove I prayed out loud, "Jesus...what are you doing?" Eliana was at a baby sitter's and Lindsey was resting. I walked in our bedroom - woke Lindsey up and said, "Lindsey wake up. I have something to tell you. It's good news. Someone has given us a Honda CRV and we need to go pick it up!"
Going to pick up our new car was the longest drive ever! Lindsey and I were chatting nonstop wondering what in the world was going on. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion as we pulled into the lot. The salesmen at the Honda dealership seemed to be as amazed as we were. They had never heard of such a thing. They told me that you wanted to remain anonymous which just mde the whole thing feel that much more dramatic and exciting! It felt like we were on TV. One guy even got on the intercom and joked, "Ashton Kutcher you can come out now...you've been punked!" Which is what it felt like - as if cameras were on us and someone would rush out any minute and yell it's not real, but the crazy thing is - it is real! We were given a car today!!! By the way - you were very sneaky because your name didn't appear on ANY of the paper work anywhere! I have no idea how you managed all of this!
I called my Dad to tell him the good news and he hardly even seem surprised (though he didn't know anything about today's gift). Dad said, "well that's exactly what we've been praying for!" I love my parent's faith! They both were just sure that God was going to provide us a vehicle! God hears our prayers all right - and takes really good care of his kids!
Tonight all three of us (Lindsey, Eliana and I) piled in our new CRV for Eliana's night night drive. As we drove Lindsey and I just marveled at God's provision. I just finished moving all my gear from my old jeep to the new car and I'm still just stunned.
From now on - anytime you see a green Honda CRV let it remind you that God is faithful. If you happen to pass me on the road be sure to honk!
Grace and Peace,
Proud owner of a 2002 Honda CRV!
PS Eliana loves the CRV and wants to eat all of our meals off of the card table in the back!
Yesterday was a big day for our precious girl...it was kindergarten preview day! This is a day that I have pretty much looked forward to and dreaded all at the same time. I can't believe Eliana is old enough for kindergarten. I feel like it was just yesterday when we stepped off of the airplane from Guatemala holding her in our arms...our little forever family finally together in the U.S. So much has happened since bringing her home. We've had extreme highs and extreme lows...but our love has never wavered. She is our gift from God. Her name means "God answered our prayers" and He did. I could not have birthed a child more perfect for us. I truly believe that.
After preview day, we had an incident that will forever be ingrained in my memory. Eliana was exhausted beyond belief and full of anxiety from her big morning in a new school surrounded by tons of faces. Sweet girl went to the bathroom four times in two hours....four. On the outside she looked like all of the other kindergartners, but on the inside I knew she was struggling...full of questions and worry. A few hours after we left, I ran her to the UPS store to mail something to a friend. She seemed fine. Then, just like a flip of a light switch...she was not fine. We had walked to the car and I turned around and she was GONE. Seriously, two seconds. I looked frantically and saw her through the windows of the dry cleaners next to UPS. So, I take off running (this is not abnormal...I chase her everywhere). I walk in and in a calm voice tell the lady behind the counter that I am so sorry. She barely spoke English which just made everything worse. Eliana was already in the back of the dry cleaners...losing her mind. This is not a tantrum that "normal" five year olds have...this is a child experiencing an intense panic attack. I ran in the back and things went from bad to worse in a few short minutes. She was weaving in and out of the racks of freshly cleaned clothes...I'm praying nothing would get ruined or broken. Her panic turned to rage and lasted more than 15 minutes in front of a woman that did not have a clue what was going on. I remained calm and tried every Karyn Purvis trick in the book....EVERY SINGLE ONE! If you have not parented a "trauma" child...this might not make sense. You can't grab your child and walk out. If I grabbed her, all hell would break loose. I just kept calmly telling Eliana "you are safe"..."let's go pick up daddy"..."I love you"..."I'm so sorry you're anxious" over and over. The lady is looking at me like I am a child abuser. A lot more happened, but you get the idea.
Then, the lady says, "ma'am, your car is getting wet." I look out the window and realized when I took off running after Eliana, I left my car door open. And much to my surprise (and the lady), the sprinkler system went on ALL inside my car. I am literally watching 3 different sprinklers spraying inside my car and I can't do anything about it. Honestly, I think I might have laughed at this point. So, I am telling Eliana that we need to go close the doors, our car is getting soaked, etc...that didn't help. So, after a long while...I get her to the front of the store. And, finally I am luring her to the car with promises that we need to get some food or a treat. Things didn't get better in the car. She lost it on a whole new level. I want to protect her and not share details...but it was pretty horrific. I was begging God to bring peace, trying my best not to cry or scream or lose it. Finally, my sweet girl became exhausted.
The next thing that happened broke my heart into a thousand pieces. I looked in the back seat and she is curled up in a ball crying her eyes out. I just kept repeating..."It's safe baby"..."no one is going to get you"..."I'm not going anywhere." She looked at me sobbing and said "momma, I'm so sorry" and "momma, are you going to give me away?" Then continued to repeat, "please don't give me away." I'm crying just writing this. Eliana has NEVER heard those words come out of our mouths...she does not even fully understand her adoption. This is a deep, dark wound that was left when she was given up as a baby. I cried and just told her a thousand times over that we would NEVER leave her. That she is 100% our girl and we are family. I repeated our biggest family rule that "FAMILY STICKS TOGETHER." I couldn't tell her enough how much Chris and I loved her. The fact that she has to struggle with this makes me want to cry for days on end. But, we are making breakthroughs. And her counselor said this was a really good sign that she is being vulnerable. Her heart is precious and tender. There are moments when our little family of 3 feels like we are in a war and then other times, I feel so incredibly blessed. This was one of those moments. I was hurting for what just happened...but overwhelmed with the love I have for my girl. Like I said before, I truly believe with all of my heart, God created her for us. We will keep fighting to help her little heart heal. We will not give up. Please keep praying for our precious Eliana Hope...for healing for her little brain and heart. My God is a God of restoration...and I'm so thankful He chose me to be her momma.
Today, Wednesday April 24th, is a huge day to pray for my beautiful wife Lindsey!
Today she is visiting a new doctor in Atlanta.
Here are a few ways you can pray specifically for her TODAY and in the DAYS TO COME!
1. Pray for Peace - Lyme Disease is so unbelievably mysterious and unknown that it leads to a lot of unanswered and unexplainable symptoms. The treatment options and protocols are as varied as the fish in the sea. Pray that God will give Lindsey the gift of peace while she meets with this new team and hears all of their recommendations. Pray that God will replace the fear and anxiety with comfort and peace. 2. Pray for Wisdom - James 1:5 states that anyone who lacks wisdom should ask God...so you can join us in asking God for wisdom about what Lindsey's body needs in order to fully heal. We don't need more opinions we simply need wisdom.We need wisdom to know which paths to walk.
3. Pray for Relief - Lindsey is easily the toughest human I've ever met. We often joke that if I felt what she felt then I'd be in the hospital whining like a baby! I have no idea how she enures these headaches, muscle aches, shooting pains and throbbing hurts. It is high time we find some relief from all of this. Pray that God will lead us to a path that arrests this pain. 4. Pray for a sense of His Presence - Walking through a disease like Lyme is incredibly isolating. Though I try, I can't fully "get" what Lindsey feels. Since Lindsey doesn't look sick on the outside most people assume that the sickness must not be "that" bad. Compounding this is the fact that all of the fatigue and pain force Lindsey to stay home. These factors work viciously together to create a creeping sense of loneliness. We need like never before to "feel" Jesus' presence in our daily lives. We believe that God is near - but a times we would just like to feel it more often!
5. Pray for Rest - For Lindsey the nights are the worst. I cannot imagine being utterly exhausted yet unable to sleep. (I'm out within 2 minutes of laying down.) Nearly every evening Lindsey's pain keeps her awake long into the night. That would be the reason she named her blog "Finding God After Midnight" - because she's always up far past midnight. Once she does fall asleep Lindsey is often tormented by graphic nightmares and night sweats. Strange I know but these too are not uncommon symptoms of her disease. Her body cannot get what it so badly needs: rest. Imagine waking every morning feeling as if you pulled an all-nighter! I can't remember the last time Lindsey woke up feeling rested. Please pray that soon she will actually begin to get restful sleep.
6. Pray for Financial Aid - We have seen God show up again and again financially in our lives. This more than any other way is how He seems to be continually saying, "I got you." It's been so exciting to see how God shows up right when we need it. The very days when we have no idea how we'll move forward seem to be the days the money just shows up! We are once again at a point where we need His provision. Lindsey's treatments are critical but super expensive. We are so incredibly thankful for all of the folks who have given to us in the past and we're trusting that God will show up once again and help us pay for this new phase of the journey.
7. Pray for Healing - Ultimately we are asking God to heal Lindsey and restore LIFE to her again! It's been so long since Lindsey has felt fully alive. It's been so long since she's felt good all day. As you know Lindsey is a power house of ministry for the Kingdom of God. She was made to be able to invest deeply in people. She's a natural born counselor with a stunning gift of discernment. Lindsey has more compassion than anyone I've ever known. We are asking that God will set her free from this disease so that she can be free to be all that God designed her to be!
Thank you for joining us in prayer. Thank you for walking with us through these dark days. Joining us now means you will get to be that much more a part of the celebration when Lindsey is whole, healed and back in full action!