Our Redemption Story: The Vase -Part 4


Prologue, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

I have my husband’s full support and permission in sharing the details of our story. He and I are completely different people now and are eager to share our story of redemption, because our desire is that God would use it to give others hope.

The day before I left my husband, my friend and her husband came over to help me pack. She had a gift for me. Before I opened it, she started crying and said something like, “I’m not crying because of the cost or value of this gift, I’m crying because of what it means.” I opened it, looked at it, and started crying too. Up until then, I thought I was the only one who believed that God could heal my marriage. God used my friend and this gift to give me so much hope!

The gift was a beautiful vase that has 5 sides. Each side has a quote from 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter, on it. It says, “Love always perseveres. Love always hopes. Love always trusts. Love always protects. Love never fails.”

Since the day I received the vase, I’ve always had the “Love never fails,” side facing out. When circumstances, emotions, and actions said something very different, I held on to this promise, and believed in a miracle with all my heart.

Years after we our reconciliation, we got home from vacation to find that our cat had knocked over and broken the vase. I told Will it was my most prized possession, and I was so upset. He comforted me and said it looked fixable. It broke into 3 different pieces with the biggest missing chunk going right through the words, “Love never fails.”

I love the vase even more now with cracks showing and all, because it is a clearer, truer picture of our story. It’s like a parable telling its viewers of an almost hopeless, broken time where God bound up our wounds and turned our ashes into beauty. He truly made all things new. Without our messed up, ugly past, we wouldn’t have developed the character needed to become who we are today. What situations, people, and experiences have molded you into the beautifully broken and put-back-together-again person you are now?

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9


Learning to Become Who I Am

I am an angry, miserable, not fun mom. I yell, I have a tone when I shouldn’t, I don’t laugh enough, and I see my children mirroring all of my shortcomings.

God says that if we are followers of Christ, we are a new creation. Paul often wrote about the difference between living in sinful nature and living in the spirit. The person I described above most often lives in the flesh, or in her sinful nature. I’m supposed to be dead to that nature, dead to me, and alive in Christ. Hmm.

Ok girls, I know I’m not alone here in this quandary. I want to live in the spirit as a new creation. The Bible says a whole lot about who I am in Christ; I just don’t see her very often. How do I get from point A to point B?

I think the biggest step is getting what my brain knows into my heart. I know so many verses and have declared many times who God says I am. Sometimes things just become so familiar that we don’t take time to really chew on the meaning or the reality of those verses. If God said it about me, he’s describing the real me, the me he made me to be! When I describe myself, the person I am day in and day out, it looks different, because the truth isn’t getting into my heart in order for me to continue to transform into that new creation.

Not very long ago, I blew up at my daughter’s behavior, realized I wasn’t calm enough to handle the situation, so I yelled to my husband, “I can’t do this right now!” After he spoke with her about her behavior, he confronted me. He told me that there are things that I do each day that make me less approachable and that is why we are seeing certain behaviors in our children. He wanted me to work on me, and I wanted his help to come up with consequences so in the future I could discipline without blowing my top. He told me working on me was more important than what I wanted. Ouch.

So, I started reading the book, Triggers: : Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. It is a daily devotional to help moms react and respond biblically  instead of with anger toward their children. The book has two parts. Part one gives ideas for handling our children’s behavior that pushes us over the edge, and part two talks about internal triggers, what’s really going on inside of us that makes us react angrily. I started reading part two first, because I knew I had to fix me. I’m not done with the book, and I will go through it a number of times, I’m sure, before I can implement many of the suggestions. But that first day I picked it up, I found hope.

One of the authors was encouraging us moms that we don’t have to worry about how our kids will turn out or if they will run to therapy because of the way we have been parenting. Instead, we can have hope, because if we let God transform us, our kids will get a front row seat in seeing the power of God make us and change us into who he says we already are.

So between working on me and getting help with some parenting strategies, this summer is “Operation Mommy Transformation.” My kids, by the grace of God, are going to start to see me bloom into who I was created to be.

A few weeks before I picked up the book Triggers, we sang a song in church called “Ever Be.” Please take a listen. 


The chorus says, “Your praise will ever be on my lips.” As we were singing, my prayer was that those words would be true even when I am home parenting my children. I want my words to be seasoned with love and grace toward my children so every word and tone I speak can be an offering of praise to God.

Remember Claire’s post, Broken With Him? The “Motherhood is my worship” quote she posted with it is now my motto. Lord, let each part of my mothering be a form of worship to you.
I have hope, because God says I’m a new creation. I’m becoming who I am.

Triggers: : Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

My niece’s adoption story

Today, our guest blog post comes from my sister, Andrea. She shares the beautiful adoption story of my precious niece. You can follow Andrea’s blog at http://www.hopethroughadoption.wordpress.com.  ~Angela

Welcome to National Adoption Month! This may be the last day of the month, but better late than never, as they say. In honor of this great month, I invite you to read my favorite adoption story to date.

There is a story of a little girl that began long before she was ever born. Nine years before she came into the world, her forever mama was sitting in the car listening to the radio when an interview with Mary Beth Chapman came on about the adoption of her daughter, Shaohannah Hope. This mother was so interested, hanging on every word Mary Beth said; from their daughter Emily’s desires for the family to adopt, to Steven and Mary Beth’s hesitations, all the way through the end when Mary Beth said how she loves Shaohannah as much as her biological children. The little girl’s mama never forgot the words she heard on the radio that day. Around that same time, the mother and father attended Steven Curtis Chapman’s Live Out Loud tour concert. That night changed their lives forever. Their hearts were so touched by the Chapman family, their journey, their being the hands and feet of Christ, receiving a little girl into their home as their own. With tears in their eyes, they decided then and there that God was calling them to adopt someday, as well. They immediately started gathering adoption information, but being 20 and 22 years old, only married a year, the husband in school getting his doctorate, it just wasn’t the right time.


Well, five months went by after the concert, and that mother found out she was pregnant. They gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and spent the next three years content with her alone. Long story short, after a few years of secondary infertility, God used several people and circumstances to tell them “the time is now.” It was truly amazing. People who didn’t even know them personally prayed that God would direct them to adopt. Parents would approach them to share that their children had began praying the couple would adopt. The forever parents of that little girl had a real heart for children in their own country, so they contacted New Hope Family Services, an adoption agency in their state, beginning the process.
After two years of saving money, yet still not having enough to adopt, the husband and wife went through a time of discouragement. Feelings of despair were setting in. They hit this rut of not wanting to think about it anymore. After a period of a several months like that, God began restoring some things in them. Through other people, and through His Spirit, He began putting little encouragements in their path to steer them back to the adoption process He called them to.

Many times, in the adoption process, people would tell the couple what a noble thing they were doing, giving a baby a home that wouldn’t have one otherwise. The husband and wife had such a hard time with that thought because, going through an agency, there were plenty of people to “compete” against them who were in line for a baby. In foster care, however, it would feel much more like they would be caring for the orphans.

The wife had a very difficult time considering foster care, worrying that their baby would be taken away after a time of caring for it. One day, in prayer, she cried out, “God, You wouldn’t give us a baby just to take it away, would You?” Immediately a line from C.S. Lewis’s book The Silver Chair entered her mind. “Aslan never told Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do.” At that moment, that future forever mama surrendered her will to the will of God. The couple completed paperwork with the state, and proceeded to call their adoption agency to inform them that they would be going a different route. On the phone with their caseworker at the agency, the words she spoke shocked them. “We really need you. See, there are only three families like you willing to do an interracial adoption, and if you drop out, we won’t have enough.” Hold on a minute, they were NEEDED with the adoption agency? They had thought only going through foster care would they be needed or doing something meaningful. But the caseworker had just informed them that there was a real need for families willing to adopt interracially. That caused them to pause and reconsider what the Lord was doing. From that moment on, monetary gifts towards their adoption started pouring in, and the couple decided to proceed as originally planned with the adoption agency.

It took that family a long time over all to save enough money, but finally, as soon as their payments were up to date with the agency, they were chosen within a week by birthparents to raise a baby girl who had already been born. She was one quarter Native American, which technically made it an interracial adoption that many families were not willing to do. Though the birthparents courageously chose to give her up, that baby was a real rescue situation. There was no way she could stay with them, and she needed a home as desperately as any child in foster care did. At two months old, Baby Girl was placed in her forever mama’s arms for the first time. Mama knew they belonged together from the moment she laid eyes on her. This child had grown in her heart for so many years that the bond was instant. They were a family formed by God’s perfect direction and great design.

This is the adoption story of our daughter. The day after her first birthday, we celebrated our adoption finalization at the court house in our home town, and the legal changing of our daughter’s name. The name we chose for her is Evangeline Hope. It was only fitting. The first nudging of our hearts was because of Shaohannah Hope. Then, our adoption agency was New Hope. And the story of our lives and our adoption is Hope. How could we not incorporate the name? My husband loves the wording of our legal papers regarding her name. “It is ordered that this child will forever be known as Evangeline Hope.” She is given a new name, just as God will give us one day when our adoption is “finalized” and we are in Heaven.

“This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.”


4 a.m. Hope


It is 4 a.m. and I am awake. Is it normal for a mom to be up at 4 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving?  I am praying. Praying for my friend who graduated her daughter to heaven in February.  These will be hard days  and difficult months for her.  I am praying for my friend diagnosed with breast cancer in May.  She is bald, yellow (chemo) and a little burnt (radiation.)  Do they have hope?  I am also thinking of my “to do” list. Can I get it all done?  Is there enough time in the day?

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:57

Here is a new life verse.  God is an ever present help in trouble, and His word sustains us.  He has the victory in the face of hopelessness, despite abuse, with regard to cancer, and in the midst of brokenness.  We have hope because HE IS HOPE!  His death and resurrection have made it possible to THRIVE, despite circumstances.

This has been a rough year.  There have been several family members who have graduated to heaven, family members experiencing the sudden loss of a job, and more negative reports from doctors than I can describe.  It seems like the holidays can make us extra sad since we miss those family members and long to be with them.  But despite the sadness, we have hope.  We CHOOSE hope because we have faith.  Will you choose faith today?  If, suddenly, your world is turned upside down by illness, fear, doubt, or pain…will you choose faith?  Will you choose hope?  We can only choose hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, even at 4 a.m.  Thanks be to God!!