I apologize for my lack of writing. I apologize mostly to myself because I have GOT to get this insane brain of mine in slightly better order. If you guys could only see what it's like in there. It's like a roller coaster except that there are no safety restraints, but also no hard ground underneath. So it's like..crazy..and terrifying..but also I can't really fall to my death if I let go because Jesus.

And also..even if I could fall to my death, I mean...Hello Jesus and Ellie and what!? This world has nothing for me. Except I still need to be in it. Because Jesus. It's a cycle, people. Either way, you can't tell this girl she's afraid of death because Heaven is looking better and better and better each year that I get older. Sorry, is this morbid? I'm not attempting to get there sooner, people...bare with me. My brain.

Just like He did with Ellie, the Lord has taken me on a crazy journey of finding out all of these things about myself that I didn't know were there. Again, let me reiterate because it's super important to me to that this gets out there (again) that he isn't CAUSING this to help me to become better or stronger or to learn things. That's silly. But he is using this time and there is no better time to learn about yourself than when you're in the valley. Because that's when you need Him most. Correction: that's when you realize you need him more than you thought you did because you always need him and that's what brings me to something he's taught me about myself:

I am...afraid of a lot of things. There are also a lot of things I'm NOT afraid of, but that's not the point.
Also, I am very much more attracted to safety and comfort than I would like to admit about myself.

Seriously. I remember thinking to myself last year, "Oh gosh, if Ellie lives shes going to be the most sheltered child on the planet because of the fact that I could have lost her so easily." Now multiple that times a BAJILLION with Elsie because I've already experienced the death of a child.

God doesn't want this to be a part of my identity. He has grace for it and he's teaching me and growing me, but it's gotta change.

I have seen people experience trauma and distress and instead of marching forward they retreat back into their comfortable lives in order to prevent themselves from getting into situations where they might face adversity. And let me tell you--I am tempted BEYOND BELIEF in this. My mind says, "Look, if you lose another child, you are going to focus on saving money so that you can adopt when you want to and find a house where the adoption of multiple children will be super plausible and then you and Chris are going to stay confined to your house and your area and you're going to continue "following" Jesus but like..mostly just in this one way...but this one way is super important, right!? I mean God loves adoption! How can that be bad?!"

So God's like. Listen. These desires you have aren't bad in and of themselves. But what if I call you beyond those desires into a less predictable situation? A foreign country? A job where you will make less money? What if I call you to adopt older children? Abused children? What if I call you to adopt way more children than what you think you can handle?

And I'm all like "But...losing children is unpredictable and horrible and I. just. know what's coming next."

God's like, "AKA you desire control."

Me: ................................


I desire control.

I don't want to desire control but I desire control.

And I don't want to give up my control when I'm out of the valley...because that's not that hard. Because when you're out of the valley you're life is okay and great and you are happy and content at the least. And then God calls you to do something and it's easier to ignore him or, to be more forgiving, to miss his voice because everything is okay and maybe you aren't seeking him with the same ferocity that you sought him when you literally needed Him to sustain you.

So NOW. In the valley. In the face of great adversity. In the face of heart wrenching pain. We surrender.

Because the enemy wants nothing more than for you to surrender TO SAFETY. To retreat back to your home base and to never leave. To blame God and to not trust God and to not seek God and to limit your gifts and your calling and your purpose to how much of it will fit in the little box you've layed out for him.

He likes believers who give God "only a little" because they can't trust him with it all. He likes that a lot because he knows that God isn't actually the one who can't be trusted. The enemy is the one who steals and kills and destroys and he loves when God gets blamed for it.

The enemy likes believers with self-proclaimed limitations.

So we simply say that we have none.
We rid ourselves of our limitations and our desire for comfort and our desire for safety because then the enemy officially has nothing left to take from us. I've stared in the face of my very worst fear in life and have seen it come to pass.

I have stared a second time in the face of my very worst fear in life and I currently do not know the outcome.

And while I do not know the outcome, I can say with confidence that there is nothing left that the enemy can use to rock me. Nothing. This isn't a challenge to him. It's a banner of victory that we wave over our family KNOWING that nothing that happens on this Earth can hinder what God has already accomplished. Nothing.

We will not retreat.
The end.

I finished this post in a hurry before finalizing another thought I had, and it is this:
This whole thing he has been teaching me about myself is something that has been so subconscious. If you had asked me if I would surrender every single thing for His sake I would have probably said yes out of true genuine honesty, not realizing that when it comes down to it, there's a lot that I was afraid of that I wouldn't have discovered until being faced with the decision to lay it down. The death of a child seems to force your mind into situations where you begin pondering if you're going to choose a life of fear or a life of power and love. 

So I may have had all the right answers, but that didn't change the fact that my heart was holding on to the belief somewhere deep down inside that it would, in fact, be easier to choose safety, control, and predictable circumstances.

Easier, yes. Fulfilling and purposeful? No. Or maybe a little....maaaaaybe. But certainly not as purposeful as saying a full, loud, 100% yes to buts, no rules, no limitations.