Thursday, December 15, 2011

going to ethiopia!

it's better late than never to say that we're leaving for ethiopia on january 3rd! our court date is on the 10th, but we're getting there a little earlier than is typical because of ethiopian christmas. the holiday will affect visitation hours at the transition home, so we're getting there in time to spend time with our children on the 5th and 6th. we are obviously thrilled to finally meet our children after years of being in this process (we began announcing our plan to adopt from ethiopia in march 2009, dossier was in ethiopia in february 2010), but it's also exciting that we'll be there for ethiopian christmas. if anyone is reading this who isn't familiar with the ethiopian adoption process, we won't be bringing our children home on this trip. even if we pass court, we still have to wait for the US embassy to review the cases and give its final approval (and it may take several times to pass court if documents aren't correct or if there are other issues). we would ask that people pray we pass court the first time. we obviously want both our kids to be receiving the love, care, and structure that only a family can provide ASAP, but our little boy is also very underweight and has some kind of GI infection.

this time last year, we had just been told by our case manager that we were next to receive a referral for unrelated children. our hearts were anxious to receive a call by christmas. little did we know that it would be another 9 months before our referrals came, months that were filled with frustration and anger and sadness. i like to think back on this time last year because the me of last year could not have imagined how it all would play out. while our baby boy was admitted to the orphanage in january 2011, our little girl wasn't admitted until june 2011. had we gotten the next referral as we'd been told, we would have missed out on these children who we know now beyond a doubt are supposed to be ours.

so i'm thankful for what happened last year even though it was a very hard place in our adoption. it gives me a point of reference to look back on and see how God has faithfully and sovereignly orchestrated all of this.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

i don't get it

(for those wondering -- we should have gotten a court date last week, but we didn't. a document was apparently missing from our paperwork, though our agency's lawyer said it was submitted. it was re-submitted, and they told us it would be a few days before we heard back. we're hoping to hear by week's end.)

now for what i really came to say.

this week, i overheard a comment that essentially carried the tone of "God forbid you can't have a biological child, because then (gasp) you'd have to adopt." when i got over being annoyed that someone said this in earshot of me knowing that i'm adopting, i started thinking how confusing it is to me that people don't see adoption the other way around. the above statement implies that the only intrinsic value adoption has is to make someone a parent, albeit in a way that is (apparently) less desirable. it's a mostly negative statement that focuses primarily on the perceived rights of a person to have a child the way they want it, when they want it (as an aside: i don't mean to imply that it's wrong to desire biological children). what it fails to highlight is the glaring fact that when a child is adopted, they go from not having a family, to having a family; from being an orphan, to being a son or a daughter. it is a miracle, and i really wish our society could see it as such.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


back in may, jamie and i went to europe. we did london and rome with a day in paris between the two. it had always been my dream to visit london and rome, and because of that, i was overwhelmed with unbelief while we were there. when we were in london i kept thinking, "oh my gosh, we're in london. this is so awesome. i can't believe we also get to go to rome.

(me hanging around the coliseum)

and when we were in rome, i kept thinking, "oh my gosh. we're in rome. this is so awesome. i can't believe we were just in london."

(westminster abbey)

i was thinking recently that these are exactly the thoughts i have about our kids. most days, i look at their pictures about a million times. i daydream about our baby boy and think about snuggling him and carrying him close to me in a sling and rocking him to sleep. then i remember, "oh my gosh. we also have a daughter!" so i daydream about our sweet girl and think about reading her books and practicing words and dressing her in cute clothes (don't worry, i dream about snuggling her too). then i remember, "oh my gosh. we have a son!" and so the cycle goes.

i know that one day, when these children are home, i will have days when i wonder why we chose to bring home 2 kids at the same time. but for now i love the overwhelming sense of joy i feel when i think about there being 2 of them.

a son and a daughter. a daughter and a son. i can't even believe it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

preparing a place

(forgive the ghetto shades and painter's tape)

this is our daughter's room. it's far from being done, but i have big plans. i'm almost done with the new paint job, and my next project is re-painting her bed. i found the perfect comforter on clearance at target and splurged on her first piece of wall art. for me, the rooms in our home are places for expressing the things that mean most to us. i've had a huge empty space on the wall of my living room for 2 years because i couldn't bear to hang something that didn't mean something to me. now, i long for our daughter to be surrounded by meaningful things, so i have labored to prepare a place for her that speaks of love, family, security, and faith. recently, i was reminded of jesus' words to his disciples in john 14:

“let not your hearts be troubled. believe in God; believe also in me. in my father's house are many rooms. if it were not so, would i have told you that i go to prepare a place for you? and if i go and prepare a place for you, i will come again and will take you to myself, that where i am you may be also."

later he promises:

"i will not leave you as orphans; i am coming to you."

since getting our children's referrals, i've been so aware of how the gospel story plays out in the adoption of children. it literally awes me. however, i had not (until this moment recently) noticed the beautiful parallel between preparing my daughter's room for her and jesus preparing a room for us. though i doubt jesus is as picky about paint colors and wall art as i am, the point is that he's not leaving us in all the muck that is this world. he's preparing a room for us so that we can be with him because we're a family.

for me, the tasks of preparing for my children to come home are now done with much more prayerful intention. my heart is so prone to wander from the truth, so weak in faith most of the time, that i need to be reminded that jesus is coming back for me. i pray that it's in those moments of preparing for my children that i know he is preparing for me. but i also pray that my children would know that they have a mommy and daddy preparing a place for them; and, more importantly, i pray their adoption would reveal to them the truth of the gospel so that one day they will claim with confidence that jesus is also preparing a place for them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

very quickly

for all the adoption mommies (and any others) who don't already know: we got our second referral on friday! we prayed all week for little girl's last document to come through, and it did! she is 3 years old and beautiful. second medicals have been ordered for both children, and we're sending in the paperwork to officially accept the referrals for both kids tomorrow. please pray second medicals would come back quickly so that we can get in line for a court date.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

time for a comeback

here is our REFERRAL day story part one (and some prayer requests, especially since we're expecting a referral day part 2)!

i want to say, if it's not already obvious, that we waited a really, really, really long time for a referral. i don't think the adoption process is a competition. it's a hard process for everybody no matter what your journey looks like. but after waiting 19 months just for a referral, the process really starts to wear you down.

last thursday night, i was sitting with our small group from church. we had laughed with each other that night and had a great discussion about 1 john and prayer and just struggling to live for God's kingdom. when it came time to share prayer requests, i told this group of people who has been walking alongside us and praying for our adoption for the past year that our adoption was causing me to ask lots of questions about my faith. i couldn't understand why God continued to allow children to live without families. i couldn't understand why God continued to allow babies to be born here but why he let orphans die in africa. i told them i didn't feel like God cared about me or them. i had gotten to the point where i just didn't want to pray and ask him to give us a referral because i felt like it didn't matter. "i'm at the point where i'm just ready to say, 'f*** it,'" i said.

and then i prayed to close the group and confessed our weaknesses as humans and just how freaking hard it is to be human and live in this world. and i thanked God for the laughter we'd experienced that night and for his gift of grace that makes it possible to become more like him and for allowing us to become his children. i left feeling renewed.

the next morning, i prayed for a referral as i have every morning for 19 months. the day progressed as it always had every day for 19 months. quite honestly, and i know everybody says this, i wasn't expecting to get a call that day. i went downstairs at lunch time to get something to eat (meatloaf and mashed potatoes...i want to remember that). and when i came back upstairs, i had a missed call and voicemail. i called back and the case manager told me about a 9 month old boy and a 3 year old girl. the little boy had all his papers, the little girl was missing one small non-legal document that the agency expected to get soon. "we can go ahead and make the boy's referral today or you can wait and receive the referrals together," she said. at this point, you would not have known that i'd waited 19 months for this to happen. i calmly called jamie and told him what was going on. he says i had on my professional voice (i also believe i was still chowing down on the meatloaf during our conversation). after seeking wise counsel, we decided to go ahead with the first referral since it really didn't make much sense not to.

and that's how we "met" our son for the first time! he is 9 months old and pure sweetness.

as i'm sure you noticed, we expect this story to have a second part. there is a 3 year old girl, and we pray she's our daughter. the agency was surprised the one missing document didn't get sent on friday. they believe it's been prepared by the orphanage and just needs to be emailed. please, please pray it gets sent this week. we are so ready to have our family together, and it seems she is the last missing piece of the puzzle. i would also ask for prayer for steps down the road. we are praying for a miracle in regards to a court date. our case manager said it will be near impossible to get a court date by the end of 2011, but will you pray it happens for us? will you also pray, assuming we get little girl's referral, that both cases stay together so we can bring our kids home at the same time? while we have certainly entered a new phase in this journey, it's not over yet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

it's war

right now, a battle is being waged.

i can tell you this because i'm in the middle of it.

i've heard every statistic about the global orphan crisis. i've read books about how poverty, poor healthcare, and ethnic conflict are leaving millions of children without families. i've heard stories from friends who lived in africa and know what it's like to bury a child who didn't live long enough to make it out of an orphanage. i've prayed for God to change a judge's heart so that a child wouldn't be forced back into a home filled with abuse and neglect.

but the battle between God's kingdom and the empire of this world has never been so clear to me than it is right now in our little adoption journey. people say adoption is hard -- the waiting is too long, too many uncertainties, too much money, too many ways that things can go wrong. they're actually right about a lot of that stuff, and i can see why people don't want to adopt. but let me say: in the almost 2.5 years we've been in this process, i've never been more convinced about how much adoption matters and how badly it's needed.

because seriously, there's a war going on for the lives of all 150 million orphans in this world. and the side of evil would love to see those children go unadopted. evil would take pleasure in seeing brokenness, emptiness, injustice, and turmoil reign rather than restoration, healing, redemption, and peace.

literally everything has gone wrong with our adoption in the last 6 months. we have experienced extreme disappointment, frustration, and grief. we have been angry with our adoption agency, which has essentially abandoned us and, at times, seemed to be fighting for the other side (apologies to those who have had good experiences with our agency, but we have had a terrible experience). despite everything that has happened, i can only conclude that this is a battle worth fighting because the attacks have been so unrelentingly harsh.

i want to tell all the skeptics out there who have pushed off adoption at every turn for one reason or another that we're at the point where logic would say give up, throw in the towel, it's just too hard. but something inside says, "no, keep fighting." and i'm reminded of this verse:

the Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. -- exodus 14:14

and so, by God's grace and power, we will continue waging this very real war, hoping that others will join the fight with us.

Friday, June 3, 2011

vacation day 2

read day 1.

we started our morning very early in order to catch a bus out to stonehenge (it's about 1.5 hours from london, near the town of salisbury). we decided it was worth our money to book a special access tour where we could actually walk among the stones since regular admission only gets you a spot behind a rope several feet away from the stones (stonehenge was one of my top must-sees for our trip). the bus that picked us up had "london celebrity homes tour" written on the side, and we got looks all day from people who thought we were shallow enough to come to london to see celebrity homes.

my dad has this thing about not ever needing to travel overseas to see any sights because he can look at them in a book. i've tried to explain to him that there is nothing like standing in front of that sight, allowing the beauty and history of it all to hit you. my first glimpse of stonehenge was incredible. we came up over a hill and there it was in the distance. it's funny, i guess some people roll by stonehenge everyday on their way to work because there's a pretty major road nearby. but to me, it felt like i was surrounded by the lush, english countryside, completely alone with the stones.

i had to take a picture of this sign i noticed while we were waiting for our tour guide. yes, i know a 12-year-old boy would also have taken a picture of this, but we got a good chuckle out of it.

and there are the stones, up close and personal. they're a lot bigger and taller than i thought they'd be. i'm so amazed that God gave men 4500 years ago the artistic and intellectual ability to build something as beautiful and functional as stonehenge.

we had an excellent tour guide. he's participated in several of the digs at stonehenge and surrounding sites. though we had a good grasp of stonehenge's history from general knowledge and watching a national geographic special (twice), our guide had a lot to say that we didn't know. he was also extremely sensitive to jamie's blindness and took him around the whole site, letting him feel the stones (!) so he could get a sense of the layout.

see how little we are?

our special access tour also included free admission to the salisbury cathedral. i loved the town of salisbury and would honestly move there tomorrow. jamie had another full english breakfast at a local pub, and i continued to be amazed at all the brits drinking beer at 10 in the morning. the salisbury cathedral has the highest church spire in england and also one of the best preserved copies of the magna carta.

we got back to london mid-afternoon and continued our whirlwind of a day by visiting the tower of london. i'm so bummed i didn't get any better pictures of the tower, but we walked so much that day before even making it to the tower, i was too tired to walk back around to the front of the tower after our tour to get more pictures. so below is one of jamie inside. the crowd of people in the background are waiting to see the crown jewels, which are pretty impressive. we also saw lots of torture devices, carvings on the walls left by prisoners of the tower, and the lawn where anne boyelyn (second wife of henry viii) was beheaded. unfortunately, we somehow missed the room with all the armor.

after we left the tower, we took a river boat cruise up the thames. we saw tower bridge (below), london bridge, the replica of shakespeare's globe theater, st. paul's cathedral, plus skyscrapers and other less historic buildings.

we docked back at the big ben/parliament/westminster abbey area. i love the second picture below because you can see big ben and the abbey side by side. we went to another pub for dinner and had lasagna, which was simultaneously extremely rich and mediocre. i was very glad to have had low expectations for british food.

vacation day 1

a couple of months ago, jamie and i began throwing around the idea of going to europe. it seemed like the perfect time to go -- we had saved for our adoption only to see it stall much longer than expected, and quite honestly, we needed something to look forward to after months of uncertainty and unfulfilled anticipation.

we flew out of raleigh on may 4th. we got lucky and got bumped to a direct flight to london after our flight to newark got delayed. we both hate flying, so having to endure one less takeoff and landing (plus 2 hours in the air) was a good way to start our trip. the flight was uneventful -- food, movies, failed attempts to sleep, etc. after we landed at heathrow, we went directly through customs (we packed lightly and didn't check any bags. yes, we are awesome), and then found the tube. i, being extremely map illiterate, had no clue which direction to take us when we got off the tube at victoria station. so we just started walking. and thankfully, this kind british gentleman on a bicycle noticed we seemed out of place and asked, "lost, are we?" he pointed us in the right direction, and off we went. then it started to rain. then i got us lost again. at that point, i was ready to go home. then a nice british lady pushing a baby stroller got us back on course. we found our hotel, put our bags down, and went off in search of breakfast and wifi.

we found a restaurant called the shakespeare. jamie had his first full english breakfast (fried egg, bacon, sausage, baked beans, tomato, and mushroom). we planned out our tube routes for the day and studied maps to avoid getting lost again. the jet lag caught up with me during breakfast, and i had a brief period of craziness before recovering with a cappuccino.

first, we went to the british museum (check out jamie below). we saw the rosetta stone, some mummies, some ethiopian art, and a bunch of other stuff that i honestly can't remember. we really only went for the rosetta stone and the mummies.

next, we went to the british library. seriously, we're a little dorky. i wanted to see all the old biblical manuscripts and bibles. we also saw several famous literary manuscripts and an original copy of handel's messiah.

at that point, we had walked a whole lot. but because it was such a beautiful day, i convinced jamie that we should go over to big ben/parliament/westminster abbey so i could take pictures just in case it was raining the day we'd planned to visit and tour the abbey. so far, i hadn't actually felt like i was in london because we hadn't seen any of the major sights. i should probably say that i had been dreaming about going to london since i was in 6th grade, so i really couldn't wait to be face to face with big ben.

and when we stepped off the tube, there he was.

let me explain the picture below because it makes me laugh. we were super-paranoid about asking anyone to take a picture of us together because we had read way too much about pickpockets and thieves. jamie attempted to take a picture of me in front of big ben, but he's blind, and well...that didn't work out well just because there's a certain angling you've got to do to get everything in the picture. i think one of the parliament guards felt sorry for us and offered to take a picture of us even though he's not really supposed to. however, he managed not only to catch jamie with his eyes closed but also to CUT-OFF BIG BEN! well, at least you can kinda tell we were there...

we walked across the street to see westminster abbey. there are seriously no words. more about that when i get to the day we actually went in. we were there a week after the royal wedding, so not only was i flipping about this 1000-year old church, but i was thinking about william and kate and how i'm little obsessed with the royal family.

we topped off the day with dinner at a pub right around the corner from our hotel. we both had burgers, and jamie was right when he warned me: british burgers are way inferior to american burgers. they put a lot of breadcrumbs in with the meat so the burger is half meat and half other stuff. not cool.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

from our current perspective

hmmmm, it's pretty hard to make up for 2 lost months on a blog. so here's a few thoughts on adoption from our current perspective (aka, 15 months and 3 weeks waiting for a referral):

1. adoption is not a race or competition between other adoptive families. i have been struggling to believe this the last few months. i'm on a small listserv with a few other families from our agency. all of them have referrals now. some of them have their kids home. most (maybe all) have passed court and are waiting for embassy dates. we also have good friends who just passed court for their 4.5 year old son. they waited on their agency's waitlist just 2 months before receiving his referral. many times, i've felt tempted to say, "but wait, God, they are supposed to be behind us. it wasn't supposed to work this way." the race mentality is incredibly defeating and discouraging, particularly because it takes away all truth of God's sovereignty. i imagine that our friends who just passed court felt similarly defeated by this race mentality when they went through hell with their homestudy agency. they watched a number of families who started the adoption process after them get onto waitlists before them. by the race mentality, they shouldn't have received a referral when they did, but God chose otherwise. his sovereignty is greater than our circumstances.

2. adoption isn't just a personal family building choice. i can say with extraordinary certainty that we would not have made it this long waiting for a referral if God had not been sustaining us all this way with a clear and direct calling. he has instilled in both of us a passion for adoption that has grown exponentially since we began this process. i literally have NO CLUE how anyone who just sees adoption as one option out a handful of family building choices or as a humanitarian endeavor endures this tough journey.

3. adoption is bigger than me. when our friends passed court last week, it was a reminder of why we're doing this. adoption is such a huge miracle. it brings together a child who has experienced much loss -- especially the loss of a family -- and parents who long to love and nurture a child. it also models the way we are welcomed into God's family through jesus (go listen to third day's song "children of God." it's like my adoption power jam). God's design of and purpose for adoption goes past our particular situation. if for some reason our adoption process didn't work out, there would still be much to celebrate.

4. HONESTY ALERT: sometimes i really, really struggle being outside adoption world. we've been blessed to know several families who have adopted or are adopting. our closest friends are adoptive parents (and, more specifically, adoptive parents to kids who weren't newborns when they were adopted). because of this, we spend a lot of our lives in what i call adoption world. it's a place where adoption is totally normal, a place where you can totally skip having a newborn and still be considered a real and knowledgeable parent. i spent some time with other friends (and friends of friends) this weekend, and i noticed myself clamming up at one point when the conversation turned to pregnancy and baby-raising. i had already been asked earlier in the evening if i was pregnant after one of the girls i didn't really know overheard me talking about names for our kids. it was an honest question, but it made me sad: why do people always assume expectant mothers are pregnant mothers? i long for the day when the question is not "are you pregnant?" but "are you pregnant or adopting?" i long for the day when the conversations among women about having children aren't soley centered around pregnancy. i often hesitate to speak up about adoption in many situations outside of adoption world simply because i fear making people feel like i'm trying to force it on them. and all of this is really just exacerbated by the fact that we don't have a referral yet, thus decreasing any credibility i have to speak on any of this (at least in the eyes of many people outside adoption world).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

it's been awhile

three weeks ago, i read an article that said ethiopia was planning to decrease foreign adoptions by 90 percent. i spent a week of my life freaking out. i cried everyday. i worried. i wished for all the officials making these decisions to burn in hell. i became defensive when members of our church adoption community tried to help me approach the situation with logic and prayer rather than panic.

it was the worst week of our adoption since we started this process 2 years ago. and i have to say, in hindsight, i'm disappointed at how many christians in the adoption community, including myself, handled the situation.

you see, i feel like most of us are really good with phrases like "God has a purpose for all of this" or "we just need to pray about this" or even "God is good no matter what" when we're talking about somebody else's suffering. we are also good with phrases like "God is so faithful!" or "God still does miracles!" only when we like something God has done for us.

but i didn't really hear any of that stuff from many adoption bloggers when everything started spinning out of control regarding ethiopian adoptions 2 weeks ago, nor did i hear any of it from myself. instead, i heard speculation and exaggeration like people saying it was going to take years and years to get their kids home when nothing like that had even been confirmed by any reputable source. i heard people taking about "my adoption this, and my adoption that" with no real consideration of the bigger picture that involves more than just their adoption.

the whole situation felt like someone yelling "fire!" in a crowded movie theater.

what i'm learning from all of this is that sometimes the deepest, darkest part of my heart sees adoption as a dream i feel i am entitled to have fulfilled for me rather than a calling from God that i have committed to being obedient to even if God's ultimate plan is not to bring it to fruition.

i spent a lot of that week trying to defend my rights to that dream when, in reality, it is not my place to protect it. sure, i care about orphans in ethiopia and think we should speak against injustice. but in speaking out, my hope should always be that God gives me the heart to accept what is the most good and just for the children of ethiopia, even if the result puts my dream in jeopardy.

having realized all that, i found a sense of peace about our adoption last week that i haven't had for 5-6 months. i attribute much of this to the prayers of family, friends, and our church family. we still don't have a referral after more than 13.5 months of waiting. we might not get a court date before rainy season. we might not have kids by christmas. but we're at peace because it's true: God is good. he is faithful. he still does miracles. and his purposes are beyond our understanding.

Friday, February 25, 2011

who i really am

we got invited to a party last night.

i deliberated over and over in my mind if we were going to go. we didn't really know the woman for whom the party was being given. some of our friends from church would be there, but so would a bunch of other people we didn't know at all. there would be an hour of mingling before a movie. AN HOUR OF MINGLING IN A LARGE GROUP. and so it struck:

social anxiety.

i decided to email our small group -- who expected us to be there -- and tell them the truth. i knew they would be compassionate and understanding, totally non-judgmental. honestly, i sometimes struggle with social anxiety, i wrote. i often feel very self-conscious and shy in large groups where it's just a social gathering, especially when i don't know some of the people.

and today, two others in our group confessed their own struggles with this same issue. for me, this was just one of the many ways God has been affirming my understanding of community. in a real, genuine community, people can let their true selves be revealed. they can be honest about their struggles, they can openly confess the depravity of their hearts.

in doing so, the layers get peeled back, the barriers get broken down, and we begin to be knit together, human to human, rather than our facades merely exchanging pleasantries while trying to squelch everything that is hidden below and behind. when this becomes our paradigm for true community, we have others who can walk with us -- supporting us, exhorting us, encouraging us, rebuking us -- towards becoming who God intends us to be.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

not a magic trick

for the past few months, i've struggled with the idea that faith works like a magic trick.

it's a bit like being told when you were younger that jesus would come back at an hour nobody knew, which somehow got translated into that jesus wouldn't come back if anybody in the world was thinking of his return at any particular moment. it had to be when nobody was thinking about it -- then he'd return and surprise us.

if you're like me, you used that to your advantage at moments when you weren't ready for jesus to come back. you just thought you could think about it and, with that thought, control the whole course of redemptive history.

for me, i've tried to will our referral by similar magic. i've read countless referral stories where people said, "i wasn't even thinking about getting our referral today." and, in my mind, i've believed that God has been disappointed in me for thinking so often about our referral, as if my thinking about it was a way of distrusting him. so i've tried not to think about, hoping to appease him and thus convince him to give us our referral.

every time something discouraging has happened regarding our adoption, i've thought, "God will certainly give us our referral now because i've allowed myself to be broken before him about all these setbacks. i have done all the right things -- prayed, acknowledged his sovereignty, etc. surely he will reward me with a referral." and then, of course, when the referral hasn't come, i've wondered, "did i pray enough? did i cry enough? did i do enough surrendering?"

in all of this, i've had to realize that thinking about God as a magician who is placated by concoctions of good deeds and "right" responses is so far from truth. if God is such a magician, he is not sovereign; he is, instead, completely bound to human action. but truth says God is sovereign. and while it is good for me to trust him, to pray, to be broken about our situation, none of those things can will God to action because he will act when he has willed himself to act. our referral will come at his appointed time, not when i have done enough to earn it.

my pastor said tonight that it's possible to treat God like an idol, which seems a bit strange since it seems good to idolize God. but his point, which seems relevant here, is that we idolize things not because they are worthy of our worship, but because of what they do for us. they make us feel good, give us security or affirmation, comfort us, etc. and i think that's what i'm doing when i think God is a magician -- i'm trying to set up my life around him, trying to find the right combination of deeds and actions to please him, so that he'll give me what i want. what i'm missing is the opportunity to know God as loving and sovereign, desiring to grow me and make me new through this process.

so this week, i'm trying to give up on magic tricks. what about you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


when i decided, on a whim, that i wanted to start a new blog, i knew immediately that i wanted to call it planting trees. i love the symbolism of trees. i love how they are so applicable to the christian life. i love that andrew peterson decided to write a song called planting trees that weaves trees and the actions of faith so beautifully together.

there's a tree on the campus of unc-chapel hill, where i went to college, that is still standing after almost 300 years. i think they've attached some kind of wire to it and linked it to another tree to keep it supported, but it's still there and going strong. everyone on campus knows about that tree -- davie poplar as it's called. some people know it because they sat under it on a sunny chapel hill day. others know it because it's big and full and not easily missed.

but all people marvel at it because it has endured.

i want to live out my faith that way. i want the things i do to endure like trees do -- to last past this world. not only that, i want the things i do to be blessings to others in need like trees are when you seek refuge from the heat of the day. and i want the things i do to be big and risky and not easily missed not because i want the glory for those things, but because what i believe in is worth all of that.

unfortunately, i mostly plant weeds that are hurtful and parasitic and easily ripped up and thrown away. and that's why i decided to start fresh with a new blog. for sure, i planted some trees on the old blog. but i most certainly planted weeds, too. it will be the same here -- i won't always get it right. but my hope is that this blog will encourage me (and the handful of people reading) to always be seeking out places to plant trees.

(and a shout out to my friend, erin, who designed this blog. she is the bomb dot com).