Monday, March 31, 2014


One of our favorite things about our Hope at Home ministry is that we get to meet some of the most wonderful people! So happy to share one of these special people with you today, our friend Katie Gonzalez. She and her husband Tony are adoptive and foster parents, and they somehow find time to help other parents through Promise 686. Be encouraged by this testimony of Father God breaking in to Gonzalez bed-time routine. Let's trust God to do the same in our homes as well! 

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“I’m sitting here in awe of the testimony you so vulnerably share through your blog and your Christmas/New Years power point. There are so many emotions that surface while reading about what has taken place over the last few months in your family. The overarching theme is certainly God’s grace and His faithfulness! His Grace that is always present through the good days and bad and His faithfulness to restore what the enemy has tried to steal from your precious children.”  
This is what my friend Elizabeth said to me the other day.  And it got me thinking. Grace and faithfulness? I can see it in my life and I can see it in my children’s lives. But how can I help them to see it in their lives?  
How do you help a child to understand the Grace of God when they remember being hungry? 

Not hungry for lunch.


There’s no food and no adults and the gnawing in my belly feels like it’s eating me up. 

That hungry.

How do you prove to a child that they can trust their father in this new family, much less a Father in Heaven that they can’t see or touch, when they remember--remember Daddy is hitting mommy and she’s yelling and it’s a blur of fear so great it blots out all else.  
How do you teach a child that God is faithful when they remember being alone? 

Alone in a deserted alley.

Alone in a dirty, empty apartment. 


I am not a child expert, psychologist, or advanced-degree- holder. I am a flawed mama to 7 children from hard places. I am an imperfect wife to a blessing of a husband. I am a teacher who makes mistakes. But I am also a child of God who lives for His Grace and is so utterly lost without His Faithfulness. And I am doing my level best to help my deeply wounded, flawed but oh so beautiful children to understand that this God will not desert or leave them.  
How do we help them to heal, see the beauty within, and find their way to God? Those wounds are real, but will they define our children?  
My prayer is that my children will be defined by the knowledge that God brought them out of the desert so to speak. 

That they are the children of a KING! 

That He has a purpose for them that only they can fulfill.

That He finds them absolutely amazing, beautiful, valuable, and worthy of loving!

One night last week, as I bent over to kiss a precious child good night, I saw her.  

I mean, really saw her. 

I looked past her challenges for once that day and really saw HER. It was one of those moments when I believe God gives us a glimpse of His heart and love. I don’t know about you, but those moments are so overwhelming for me that I can’t truly articulate much. The words “I love her” seem so inadequate.  
This child has only been ours a short time.

155 bath and bedtimes.

155 days of dressing for school. 

And most of those days have been measured in the number of meltdowns, or lack thereof. The number of times she got in and out of bed before finally falling asleep at midnight, or not falling asleep at all. Therapy appointments, notes from school, and sibling fights. In 155 days, stories have been shared that make my heart sad, small milestones reached that made me cheer for joy, and realizations that this child may be forever a child, accepted.  
As I sat there, bent over her bed, I murmured a prayer of thanksgiving. Just

Thank you God for her

Thank you for her in my life
She is the baby of our seven kids, all of whom have come to us with wounds we did not inflict. Pain from a fallen, broken world has impacted their lives at far too young an age. In our bumbling efforts to parent, we have rare moments when we “get it right” but more often than not, we just exacerbate the wound. We snap, we yank, we yell, we grumble, we punish. Yet I’m trying to show her God’s Grace?
But last night? God’s love for this child washed over me in such an intense wave that all I could do was stroke her hair and thank him for this blessing. 

I wondered at the power of it. 

At how it spilled over onto all of the children as I watched them make last minute ditch efforts to avoid bedtime.  Instead of being irritated, for once I saw each child. I forgot about unbrushed teeth and instead saw scared eyes behind anxious laughter. I missed the spaghetti sauce splattered down a pajama shirt as I watched a blossoming ballerina who desperately wants to believe she is beautiful despite what she’s been told.  
I looked and saw seven precious works of art, beauty beyond compare, gifts in abundance. For a brief night I felt as if God removed my fogged up vision and gave my His sight for my children.  
I have prayed for this. I have begged and pleaded that He would give me feelings of love and joy for all of my children. All you mamas and daddies out there, you know what I’m lamenting--my desire to actually like all of my children in the face of my inability to do so.  
The ability to see the child, the child of God, not the child of their past.  
Not the survivor, but the creation.  
The beauty behind often sullen eyes and angry words.  
The preciousness behind slammed doors, temper tantrums, and closed hearts.  
How often am I that sullen child, and still God whispers, “Precious child, come to me. I love you.” 

Oh I so want that for my children. I want to show them a glimpse of this huge love their Heavenly Father has for them. How can I show them His love, His Grace, when I don’t want to forgive them for the small, insignificant annoyances they’ve committed?  
So I have begged. And I have failed as often as I’ve succeeded. Probably more.  
But this night, such a gift. Even in my memory it makes my heart feel glad in a way that leaves me bereft of words. And I beg for many more just like it as I remember my own lack of self control this very day.  
And then the reality hits me.

God’s Grace shining on ME despite how badly lacking in perfection I am! 

His faithfulness in holding me up through a journey I NEVER expected. 

His faithfulness at filling in the gaps I can never bridge. 

His faithfulness at caring for my soul when it is hungry and sore.  
Once again He is reminding me, “I didn’t call you to this because you have the answers. I called you to this because I have the answers. I will show them, not you.” 
I’ve often heard people say that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. I would beg to differ. He gives us what only He can handle and then holds us up as we stumble through the journey with a promise that He will always be there.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:1-4)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:-10)

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