lessons from the trenches

I woke up this morning feeling like I could finally come here to my blog and unpack a few frayed emotions and honest thoughts.  Up until now, I truly have felt too tender to even try and share my heart here. It’s been a heck of a few weeks!

Almost one year ago, God called us to walk.  Forward.  To a tiny little girl who, at the time, weighed in at a whopping 14 pounds at fourteen years of age.

Many, many years ago we gave our Father a promise.

When He called our name, our answer would always be yes.

No matter when.

No matter where.

No matter how difficult.

I so clearly remember the day my friend, Shelley, sent me a picture from Bulgaria.  My heart nearly sunk.  Everything in me wanted to run as fast as I could back toward my comfortable life, toward the way things were without changing a single thing.  I wanted to forget.  I didn’t want to look.  To even consider.


We had told our Father in heaven, “Yes!”

Anthony and I both knew the moment we laid eyes on her that the long and winding road to this one’s healing would be painful–more so than any of our other children.

A kind of stretching that we never knew was possible.

As I boarded a plane for Bulgaria in January with my two oldest boys, I knew that I knew that life as we knew it would never, ever be the same again.

It would be different.


More purposeful.

More challenging.

I knew that through this child, God would teach us many things.

As I reflect on the past eight weeks, one word comes to mind.


We have lived life so deep down in the trenches–constantly being alert and watching for the next wave of turmoil to hit us.  In many ways, it has felt so endless, so constant.

So part of His will.

In these trenches we have felt battered and bruised, tired and weary.  We have had to remind ourselves to take deep breaths and trust that our God will get us through another day.

Even when we wonder how.

Or why.

We wearily trust.

The Lord has used this time when we have been so deep in these trenches in such a powerful way in my own life.  There are always lessons to be learned in the valley, aren’t there?  Though I try with everything I have to avoid these times of pain and suffering–times that are part of feeling so buried in the valley that we can hardly see the light of day–it’s times like these in which we truly SEE….

His faithfulness.

His ability to take us down lower than we ever thought we could go…

…only to remind us to look UP and see His face.

Because when we seek His face, we find His strength that carries us through. (Psalm 105:4)

Oh, how I have tasted and seen His faithfulness in this season of fatigue and trial!

His faithfulness to meet us where we are and lavish us with the grace that we need to endure.

His faithfulness to provide what we need, when we need it.

His faithfulness to send His army, His body, to hold up our arms in the battle that has raged.  His army who has astounded us with the way they have loved on us, fed us, and encouraged us. 

It has been in these trenches where He has given us such a fresh revelation of who He is.  And that’s a beautiful thing.

It’s been in these trenches where He has shown us that we truly can do nothing in our own strength.

And in these trenches, by God’s grace, we have once again been reminded that when He does call us by name–telling us to cross over to the other side–that it is for our good.  Always!

The hard times. The painful times. The times when we feel like we are hanging on by our fingernails.

ALL for our good!

For most of my life, I have avoided the valley.  The appeal of the mountaintop is so much more enticing.  I’m a slow learner.  It has taken me 41 years and now recently, eight weeks of ridiculously hard times, for me to fully understand a promise He gives us.  Joy does come in the morning!

“We must go through the valley to stand upon the mountain of God!” ~~  Third Day

As our days are becoming more “normal” again and we feel like we’re beginning to climb upward, out of this trench, I look back and I SEE….

His outstretched arms which never let us go.

His grace and His mercy which never left us.

And His extraordinary ability to make all things new!

Through all of Hasya’s trials in recent weeks, she is doing well!  We are beginning to see a sweet little flower blossom.  God has used everything that she has been through since being home to begin a healing process in her that my heart cannot fathom. Though healing began in the trenches, the valley is producing much fruit.

Almost two weeks ago we came so close to losing Harper.  So close!  Had we not have gotten to her when we did, she most certainly would not have made it.  As I prayed over my very sick little girl lying in a huge bed in ICU, God began to open the eyes of my heart to a beautiful thing that was happening in that hospital room.  As with Hasya, every time we have landed in the ER (and there have been many!) people were SEEING something they had perhaps never seen before.

Tiny former orphan girls who have special needs….




Given HOPE!

An opportunity to share their stories.

And the ones of the many, many just like them who wait…

…that’s beautiful seed planted.

Glorious fruit in the trenches.

I don’t know why God chooses to do the things He does.  I will never understand His ways this side of heaven.

But ever so slowly, I am beginning to get it.

The valley too is a beautiful place to be…

It’s where the light of Christ shines brightly.

Where profound and lasting lessons are learned.

And where we come out on the other side knowing that our Father in heaven is alive and well and more than able to carry our burdens.

I am learning that even life in the trenches shall be for His glory and His fame!