All my life I don’t remember wanting to be anything but a mom. I dreamed of having kids and loving on them as my mother and family loved on me so much. I would be married and we’d have a sweet beautiful perfect family... right? Well that was the dream anyway. Growing up I was a wild child. As I got older, I got married and we talked about having a family and kids of our own... it was like it was just all going to happen. It was all coming true, this ideal image I had of what my family would look like was really going to happen, or so I thought.
After trying for a while we could not get pregnant, that’s when the first seed was planted. The seed of doubt and lies. Satan saw an opportunity and seized it. I began to think that the trouble I was having conceiving was punishment. I truly believed God was punishing me for being a bad teen and young adult. I was bad and now he is punishing me by taking my dream of having kids of my own. I was hurt, angry with God, bitter and depressed.
I felt less than a woman and a wife. "What kind of wife can’t give her husband children?", I would ask myself. All of these thoughts raced in and out of my head constantly. Because of my husband having 3 older sisters, I had to sit back and watch my sisters-in-law have child after child. My friends began getting pregnant and starting their families and it seemed like kids just weren’t in the picture for us. I was heartbroken.
In the midst of all of this, God gave my husband and I a choice. My half-sister's oldest 3 kids were put into foster care and we were given an opportunity to adopt them. My husband Daniel and I prayed about what to do for many weeks. We knew the kids and had been around them; they knew us and knew we loved them. We’d be an instant family of 5. If we did this, we’d have to put off our own desires to have kids for a while to focus on our “just add water” family -- as some called it. After praying, talking with our family, and talking with CPS we decided in order to keep the kids together, and to have a more stable life, we’d take them... all 3 of them. On my 27th birthday, they were officially in our custody. They were 5, 6, and 11 at the time. The official adoption was still a ways off, but they were home... finally.
It was a long road to this point and it was far from over. Around this time, while praying and talking with the family, I realized God wasn’t punishing me. He was giving me a family. He was proving this to me by giving me exactly what I wanted, it just didn’t look the way I thought it would. He knew this would be my story. I wasn’t punished; I was privileged.
I was entrusted with a giant responsibility, and at that moment I remembered who He was and who I was to him... a cherished child of God.
Parenting has not been an easy road to walk. We have had tons of situations that have come up where I felt totally ill-equipped to deal with the issue at hand. Our kids went through so much at a very young age,, we knew it would be a challenge for all of us. With every obstacle we encountered we were also presented with another opportunity to trust in God.
Our home was in unrest and the enemy was in full force, preying on our family and tearing us apart. Our oldest was 17 when things got really bad and left home. Our middle child was incarcerated at 14, leaving our youngest in a place she’d not been before: alone and without her brothers.
As you can imagine, all of this took a toll on my marriage and things there, too, began to unravel. My prayer life had ceased and I could no longer feel God’s closeness. The enemy had taken hold in our lives and our family was paying the price. Around that time, my husband found a church he wanted to try and we began going regularly. It was in October and they were starting practice for Christmas choir. When the worship leader was asking for singers, she said “you don’t have to be a member... just come” and so I did. It was my first attempt at becoming involved and getting connected.
From that point on I began to feel the suffocating grip of all that going on loosen. I refocused and began praying and talking with God more. He began to reveal things to me that I didn’t like about myself. I wanted to be a good mom but my eyes had been so clouded; I was so hurt and angry that I couldn’t see clearly. God let me see and provided me opportunities to trust him.
I am a work in progress, flawed and beautiful because of God’s abounding love and grace. Hard times and temptation still came in full force, but I was connected in my church, I had people that would pray for me and with me and I was learning more about God and his character. I remember being broken-hearted on my knees crying out to God begging him to bring the boys home, or please watch over my husband. I would finish praying and would feel this peace come over me as if God were telling me He’s got this.
Our youngest is now 16. It is only by the grace of God that I am able to get through all things. We are far from the finish line, but I can see God continuing to work in me, my children, and my husband. He is mending relationships, showing us who He is and reminding us to trust in Him. He is relentless in his pursuit. He wants our hearts and nothing less. He works all things for our good and His will be done.