Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rainy mornings and hoodies...the best. 
My little ones absolutely LOVE when the weather gets chilly enough to wear their "sweaters".
Then we all like to head out to the front porch and catch raindrops and try to drink them. 
Yep - precious, blessed, rainy mornings :) 

Friday, October 26, 2012

My children wanted to wish their Uncle Mark a happy birthday, but right before dinner, with signs, distracted, having to sit lined up next to each other on the couch - was probably not the best time or way or place to take a happy "Happy Birthday" picture for Uncle Mark! Sorry, Uncle Mark! But Happy Birthday, anyway :)

They seriously became completely enamored with the signs! and yes, we have done signs before, although you wouldn't know it! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I hear my young teenage mothers in the next bedroom raving over my 2-year-old daughter’s new hair-do while exclaiming over and over again how beautiful she is.

And I stop dead in my tracks.

I could just imagine my daughter’s delight and beaming face as she stood under the showering of praises and love from her “big sisters”…who just happen to be teenage mothers. 

So, what caught me off guard? Why the stopping? Shouldn’t this be normal? Shouldn’t this be the everyday?

but it hit me…

What their own mothers didn’t do. This is what their own mothers did not do for them. This is what my teenagers did not hear from their mothers while growing up as young girls. This is the happiness and praise that they did not receive when they were 2 years old. The love. The praise. The adoration. The pride and delight that a young girl feels over knowing that she is loved and adored. The pride that a mother feels over her daughter.

It wasn’t there.

Yet, as I listen from the next room, what I hear are the hearts of my teenage moms pouring out motherly love to my daughter. I do not hear the selfishness, bitterness, and anger that first entered my home, but the music to my ears that I now listen to is my teenage moms living out love to children…even to children that are not even theirs. But their minds and hearts are learning motherhood. Loving. Cherishing. Praising. Adoring. 

I hear the tickling and laughing with their own infant daughters. I hear the praises and love flowing from their lips. I hear the kisses and happiness that has replaced betrayal and rejection that has been their lives before.

I hold my breath. “Maybe it is working. Maybe it is working??” Maybe this craziness that is our lives is working after all. Maybe bringing these desperate teenagers off the streets and out of the trees and into my heart, life, and home wasn’t as “off” as it seemed?

Maybe somewhere amidst the madness and chaos…is that healing and teaching of hearts, minds, and souls. Maybe? Just maybe?

The countless minute prayers that I shot heavenward the weeks and months after they first entered my home…when I was struggling to even make it from one minute to the next…maybe He heard. “You know He heard”, I tell myself, but in those hard moments, when the pasts, heartbreak, confusion and anger come pouring out from their hurt hearts, the Truth can be hard to cling to. But cling I must. And so cling I do.

These angry, confused, heartbroken, scared skinny pregnant teenagers walked into my heart and life…and just never left. And those same bitter, rejected teens are now the joyful, content, peaceful, and sometimes even just downright giddy teenage moms making my daughter beam with happiness in the next room.

I can only stand as the tears pool in my eyes and whisper a prayer of thanks. Thanks because the Father is good. Thanks because we are now at this place. This place of love and affection and kindness…slowly replacing the hurt, anger, and selfishness of before. Thanks because He has brought us this far and is not going to leave us now…not now, not ever. Thanks because He is the only One who can take our ashes and give us complete and perfect beauty. Thanks because He makes all things new. Thanks because He truly can redeem.

As I let my head fall back against the doorjamb, I let the tears fall. My heart shouts thanks…because they seem to be learning. Thanks because maybe in all of the chaos and craziness they heard something that I said. Thanks because maybe through all of the sin and frustration and tears and yelling when I shouldn’t…maybe they saw the love through it all.
He redeems whatever preciousness has been lost or taken from His children…if only we let Him. Whatever has been lost or taken from any one of us. No matter what the story. No matter how deep the hurt. No matter even how big or small the stolen preciousness may have seemed at the time…no matter how much we may try to pretend that it didn’t matter, or that it wasn’t a big deal…or actually try to convince ourselves that it just didn’t happen in order to save ourselves the pain and hurt.

No. No matter what the lost preciousness in our lives may be…He can redeem. Whether large or small, whether life changing or just a momentary hurt…He redeems. 

He redeems.

The tears flow from a heart full of thanks because maybe through all of the sin and ugliness…He allows my girls to see the redeemed. The redemption that is my life in Christ. Through it all, He sweetly and so graciously allows them to somehow see my heart that is truly full of love for them.

Maybe they heard the truth through the shouting and the crying and the discipline and the punishments and the prayers and the tears after all. Maybe they were watching…and maybe Jesus graciously let them see the good…the love through it all.

All I can do is stand in my bedroom doorway in awe and listen…

…listen to the sound of REDEMPTION.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The view from my kitchen window that lights my face with smiles and brings tears to my eyes.

Blessed does not even begin to describe. 

Thankful does not scratch the surface. 

Completely overwhelmed at God's goodness, grace, and miracles every single day.

As I sit here writing, my 4-year-old and 3-year-old daughters are hanging over my shoulders to point out each pair of shoes and name the owner :) 

Thank you, Jesus, for the beauty of family. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

My girls’ stories break my heart. Each. And Every. Time. I. Hear. Them.

People ask me all of the time about my pregnant teenagers – “What are their stories? Why are they here? What happened to them?”

And I struggle. I want to and try so hard to explain, but so often, I fail. Where do I begin? How do I say? I tell myself, “Amy, don’t cry – this person does not want to see you cry!” Yet still, I fail. I can either think about the reality and completely lose it emotionally, or not think at all and distance myself from the story entirely. Either I put on the hard face just to try to get through it with no emotion and pretend that the story is not the life story of my precious teenager, or I let the reality sink in and tell the story from my heart and end up a weepy mess. Two ways: Hardened. Or Weepy. I just can’t seem to do much in between.

But either way…I struggle.

It just doesn’t get any easier for me. In fact, the more the stories sink into my mind…and into my heart…the more they almost become mine. I can recite them and tell the stories almost as well as my girls can. Sadly, I even remember the details sometimes when they forget…or block them from their memories.

I remember them because they are so horrifying and utterly heartbreaking to me that I just can not forget. I have not walked the paths and experienced the evil of this world in quite the way that my girls have. I have experienced my own pain, heartbreak, and evil, but God still allows my heart to be completely broken over the hearts of the teenagers He has given me to love and mother.

I remember each detail when sometimes, I believe that my girls would rather forget the stories and pasts and histories…those details that hurt the an attempt to save themselves from the pain. They bury the hurt far down within their minds…almost hoping, I think, that those details will one day be forgotten.

I know them. My girls. The stories. The pasts. The histories of their short lives so far. Only just teenagers. Only having walked through a number of short years, yet, they have been through so much more than I want to admit…to stand before me today as proud mothers of their infant little girls or still expecting their precious baby.

All four of my teenagers that have already given birth have produced baby girls. By God’s beautiful design :) And I believe for a much bigger purpose than any of them can even fathom right now. As I am constantly reminding about burping the baby after feeding; as they are still trying to figure out the whole breastfeeding thing and how to hold the baby correctly; as they hear me yell yet again, “Hold the baby’s head!”…I don’t think that God’s master plan has even thought about entering their minds, but oh, has it entered His.

I believe that these infant baby girls represent so much more than any of us yet know. They represent so much hope. So much future. So much bondage breaking. So much redemption.
These babies represent redemption from what the enemy had stolen from their mothers but what God has claimed as His once again. Redemption of the beauty of motherhood. Of the bond between mother and daughter in the way that was His original design.

These infant baby girls do not represent the broken relationships that have existed between many of my teenagers and their own biological mothers. They do not represent the broken hearts, the devastation, the distrust, the rejection, the hurt, pain, and anger.

No. These babies represent the beauty. 

The beauty coming up from the ashes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Basically the conversation went something like this…

Me: “Josiah, who pulled down the curtain and ripped the mosquito net and is banging the screens on the window?”

My 2-year-old-son: “Josiah.”

Me: “Really? And who is going to pay for fixing those?”

My 2-year-old son: “Josiah.”

Me: “Oh, really? And how is Josiah going to pay for fixing those?”

My 2-year-old son: “Eating food.”

Me: “Josiah’s going to eat the food?”

My 2-year-old son: “Mmm.”

Me: “And pay for the fixing?”

My 2-year-old son: “Mmm.”

Me: “Thank you, sweet boy.”

Saturday, October 6, 2012

It's the simple things in life... swinging on the swingset with my 2-year-old. 

...that bless my heart more than words can express. 


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mirembe Phoebe

Mirembe Phoebe is the newest member of our Kupendwa Maternity Home family! 
Phoebe arrived on September 26th and was accompanied by her auntie who has been raising her since her mother's death years ago. Phoebe has never known her father and to this day has no idea who he is or where he might be. Phoebe is 15 years old and around 5 months pregnant. 
Please pray for Phoebe as she adjusts to life in our home, sees Jesus in a real way each and every day, and as she continues with her pregnancy.