Friday, July 2, 2021

Our New Baby

This past year, the Lord has been kind to our family.  

As I sit here today, in the middle of a trial that has left me flat on my back, watching the world pass by only in glimpses through the back window, I can say it again: 

The Lord has been kind; the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. 
(Psalm 16:6-8)

But this year has not been easy for most people, I imagine. 

In the past year, amidst Covid lockdown, we have experienced two miscarriages - bringing our total losses over the years to seven. While we truly love having a large family and have always loved the possibility of more children, during these past two losses we have grown weary of the biological path and had long talks about “taking control” of our family’s future. 

In the end, neither of us were truly ready or sure, so we had left it alone and committed it to prayer. 

This February, we learned I was pregnant for the third time in a year. 

It was the first time I felt scared about a pregnancy, because the losses have had a cumulative affect on me emotionally over the years. We tried to be cautiously optimistic during the first weeks, but as the months went on, tiny kicks from the baby made our guarded hope more tangible, and we decided to tell the children.  

We began to celebrate this incredible gift - new life springing up after loss. 

And then, the hemmorraging began.

An emergency ultrasound revealed an ugly clot, wrapping around the amniotic sac like a snake and pressing into the baby’s space. 

But we have been here before, as this was now our third pregnancy with this condition, so we knew what to do.  

I began mothering from the couch and staying off my feet in what would become complete bed rest. My big girls became BIG helpers (I love you, Lilly!)

I started seeing a cardiologist for my heart - which has not been cooperative throughout this pregnancy - and going on and off different medications.  And mostly, praying for endurance. 

And every day, His mercies were new, and the gentle kicks and rolls of our baby became my morning alarm clock.  

At the 20 week ultrasound, we expected better news, but the clot had grown. 

Additionally, I had an infection called CMV in my bloodwork, which puts the baby at risk for birth defects. There was also blood in the amniotic fluid and the baby had been swallowing it, creating abnormality markers in some of the baby's organs. 

My placenta was now abrupting, and the bleeding would recur. 

A feeling of sickness rushed over me as I pictured this, because the baby’s safe place was becoming increasingly unsafe.

Risks began mounting - risks to me, risks to the baby, risks to my heart. 

And none of this was in my control. 

I attended these appointments alone due to Covid restrictions, and found myself listening in unbelief as all of the years I have spent serving as a crisis pregnancy counselor became a personal reality. 

Tests could be done, to see if the baby was affected by the infection in my bloodwork. Tests could be rushed, because I was approaching “the deadline” (the state of North Carolina offers abortion freely until 22 weeks). 

It became clear that there was nothing the doctors could offer me except for “therapeutic abortion” or increased monitoring, and at a certain point, I walked out of that office mid-appointment so I could pray in peace.  

I know that Jesus is the only one with any power over this situation. He is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and He holds all things together - by his will they exist. (Col. 1:17)

Every last molecule of my baby’s body is held together by God (Ps. 139:13), and nothing befalls any of us that does not pass through His hands first. (Lam. 3:37-39)

This is the space where I sit, every day from my couch, resting in what Jesus will do. 

I have laid aside all the research and articles on high risk pregnancy, and I have nothing to do but trust. I wish I could say this was the first thing I did - but in the end - it was the gracious and gentle place I landed after the Holy Spirit used my own frantic, sinful worry to break me of self-dependence.

I do not know on what day or in what condition this baby will come, but I do know that my Savior lives and is worthy of all praise and honor, and I can trust in Him. 

This lesson of trust is one I will be learning and relearning for the rest of my life, because I am stubborn.

The trials and sufferings of this life are what produces the weight of Glory that will make me more like Christ...

and will someday carry me home. (2 Cor. 4:17)

As we enter our 6th month of pregnancy, please pray with us. 

Pray for our baby, that we might hold this living child, and see the glory of God’s healing hand on my body - and the baby's as well.   

And if not, we will praise Him all the same. 

He is always good, always worthy. 

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord our God.

"The good husbandman may pluck His roses and gather His lilies at midsummer, and, for ought I dare say, in the beginning of the first summer month, and he may transplant young trees out of the lower ground to the higher, where they may have more of the sun and a more free air, and any season of the year.  The goods are His own. The Creator of time and winds did a merciful injury to nature in landing the passenger so early." -Samuel Rutherford, Letters

Friday, June 25, 2021



The first time I saw her, we were at our first adoption conference.

I was a brand new Christian with two children, and we were considering the idea that God was leading us into adoption. She was standing in the back, with a baby whose head was severely distended from hydrocephalus strapped to her chest in a baby carrier. 

She rocked from foot to foot, patting the child’s back, listening with passion and intensity. I had seen her at church caring for many of her medically fragile foster children, and I knew that I wanted to meet this woman. 

A few weeks later, Paul and I were publicly baptized at church and announced in our testimonies that we would be adopting two children, because we felt it was a picture of what God had done for us in salvation. 

As we were leaving church that day, she caught my arm and shared her passion for adoption and foster care. It was an instant Sisterhood. For the next four years, Belinda would be one of our greatest supporters, and at times my “partner in crime”. 

 This woman would drop everything to go after the one. 

That’s Belinda. She will drop everything she had planned for the one child who needs a Foster home and is being released from the hospital TODAY, or the one friend who needs help, or the one child that goes wayward. 

She will chase you down. She will find you in that hospital and carry you home, despite having too much to do and not nearly enough support or resources. 

She will find you in your crisis and be the one with the meal, she will sit on your bedroom floor while you are on bedrest, she will take your kids to give you a break when she is already stretched to the breaking

 And if you are a child who has no faith in God, she will pace outside your door and prayer walk with your name on her lips for years. 

And she will not stop. 

This was our friend. 

Adoptive mother of 5, foster mama to an endless stream of medically fragile children for decades, and the constant voice of exhortation reminding the Body that we cannot ignore the orphan crisis. 

Cancer shipwrecked her body, but her heart and soul were anchored and thrown on the Rock that is Christ. 

Even as she was physically crushed and broken, she continued to praise Him. She continued to preach the Gospel in her writing, reminding us that in the end we all need a Savior! 

She used adoption as a platform for evangelism, calling people to repent and believe that Christ died for our sins on the cross, defeated our death in his resurrection, and that salvation is found in trusting in Him alone. 

This sure and steady trust is why as Christians we say with the apostle Paul, 

“I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” - Phil 1 

This woman poured out her heart as a drink offering into so many children and people. 

There are pieces of her spiritual heritage spread out far and wide now that she has passed on to glory. 

The ways that God used her
to alter the courses of people’s lives
for His sovereign plans 
will be played out for generations, 

a literal living legacy. 

We love you, B. See you there! 

 “O love that will not let me go, 
I rest my weary soul in thee. 
I give thee back the life I owe, 
that in thine oceans depths its flow 
may richer fuller be. 
O light that followest all my way, 
I yield my flickering torch to thee. 
My heart restores its borrowed ray, 
that in thy sunshine's blaze its day 
may Brighter, fairer be.”

Today marks the one year anniversary of Belinda being carried on to Glory.

She wrote for many years
 about foster care, adoption, 
and the Gospel on her blog:

"I'll be there, 
ready to welcome you 
and hug you tight!!" 
- B

Friday, June 5, 2020

Racism, Dwarfism, and the Renewing of our Minds

Among our 8 children, we have two African children, and two Chinese children with dwarfism. Having an international family has had a learning curve, and we were ignorant going in. 

We get all kinds of questions, looks, and interesting treatment in public.

The burden that the public puts on people with dwarfism is unbelievable, and there is no “normal life” for them. 

We have to FREQUENTLY chase down grown educated adults and ask them to remove the pictures and video they just took without permission of our children off of their phones. 

“Sorry, I have never seen ‘one’ before”; 
“Sorry, I didn’t know he was with YOU”. 
“Sorry, I didn’t know.”

And honestly, “I didn’t know” is such a welcome response for us, because it is truth and it opens the door for us to share the Gospel. They didn’t know that my children were created ON PURPOSE by God to be brown, or to have dwarfism, or that God has created us all in his image. 

They didn’t know that all men come from one man, Adam, through Noah (one race) and that through that man every one of us is SINFUL and deserve hell. 

How’s that for an even playing field? Think you are above all this? Have you ever made fun of someone for the way they look? Have you ever felt better than someone else? Have you ever plotted your revenge? 

Jesus says hatred is equal to murder and lust is equal to cheating, and all that equals hell. He says we all fall short. He says if you break one of the ten commandments, you have broken them all. 

But Jesus is rich in mercy, and he is the true God and the Living God, the Everlasting King. He has made a way for you to be free. He says he is willing to trade your personal filth, which makes you unable to enter heaven, for his sinless perfection. 

He lived a sinless life, died on the cross, rose again (defeating death and sin) and says the only way to rid yourself of your guilt is to accept what he has done, repent (turn from and feel sorry for your sins), and believe on Him alone for your salvation. There is no other means for men to be saved. 

In short: “You must be born again.”

As for the racism, this is the expected mentality that comes from teaching several generations that they evolved from monkeys, in fact Darwin teaches that Lower races are “as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla”. 

This is what Americans have chosen as “science” instead of the Biblical account of creation. 

Belief in Satan’s lie of rebellion and evolution is the primary reason why people stare at or avoid my kids with dwarfism. 

It’s why this country thinks it’s “okay” to tear apart babies in the womb who aren’t “healthy”, and why every other child with Haven’s condition has been murdered in the womb. It’s a national sense of hopelessness. 

What can be done? You can end it today. 

You don’t have to put your faith in any president or plan. Turn off the news and the narrative you are being spoonfed, and open your Bible. End racism today in your own heart by turning to Jesus and believing the Bible. 

Read Genesis - see how he handcrafted your fellow man. 
Read John - see how he bled and died. 

Repent and let Jesus rebuild you. He gives out new hearts and new minds, and there is no racism in Him. Repent and live. 

Love your neighbor, and love your God. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Tell the gospel everywhere you go. 

Tell them this instead of telling them about the president or the parties or the news! Be the Jesus-guy that everyone is sick of, not the politics-guy everyone is sick of. 

Tell everyone that Jesus has come and is coming, and with him comes justice and wrath and mercy and love. He is making all things new, and he will wipe away every tear. 

Oh Lord, come quickly! Oh friends, be ready! 

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 

And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Rev 19

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Lies I Have Lived

A few times a year, we try to capture a beautiful picture of our family, and this year it all looks a little too perfect.  

His goodness to us shines in the faces of our children, but it needs to be told that there was another picture from the past - and it wasn't pretty.  God may choose to never recall that picture to HIS mind (Hebrews 8:12), but I want to recall it to yours, lest any of you have any misconceptions of who WE are.

The truth is that for the first 33 years of my life, I lived a lie.  Around middle school, I began to pull back from everything that was good - my Christian friends and teachers - and I ran headfirst into the world.  

I lived as a professing Christian, but behind the scenes, everything about Christianity bored me to tears.  I had no desire for Jesus, I never read or desired God's Word, but I believed I was "saved" because I went to church.  I had one foot in the world, secretly dabbling in things that were overtly sinful, and kept one foot firmly planted in the world of churchianity - just in case.  

I was a hypocrite, I was dead in my sins, and I was what God calls a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-10).

And I knew it, but I figured if I could keep an even balance, I might please God enough to prove myself a Christian. 

In college, my carefully balanced facade came crumbling down, and I went careening into a world of darkness and sinfulness.  Some of my oldest, closest friends know more about the extent of this than others, but let's just say that there was no fooling anyone anymore.  Of course, I was wise in my own eyes and continued to compare myself to others (who were comparing themselves to others, 2 Corinthians 10:12) and I figured I was still "good enough".

At a certain point, a few blessed people tried to intervene, bringing me the Gospel or saving faith, and I began to understand the terms more clearly...that Jesus does forgive and is rich in mercy, but He was calling and commanding me to repent from (turn from, change my mind about) my sins and follow Him.

"Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil." 
- Proverbs 3:7

I wouldn't do that.  I loved my sins.

The things that God showed me in my life that were sinful and dishonoring to Him - my partying, my barely-there clothing, my selfishness, my pride, my lies, my materialism and my covetous heart, my unspeakably awful acts of depravity - even my gossip and trash TV - these were things that I loved and cherished.  To follow after God would mean I would need to be willing to turn my back on these things, and I had no desire to do that. I held out hope that perhaps "carnal Christianity" was a real thing and I exchanged the truth for a lie.  

Ten years came and went, and I came out the other side beaten by the world.  My hypocrisy reached its full pinnacle when I began teaching middle school at private Christian school (and partying on the weekends), when suddenly, for better or worse....

Paul and I crashed right into each other.  

We both found what we were looking for:  a "Christian" spouse who liked to party AND attend church!  We got married, had our first child, and began laying our plans:  a nice Christian school for the kids, enough money for vacation here and there, matching gym memberships - and hearts full of emptiness.  It all meant nothing and it was leading us straight to hell (Proverbs 14:12).  

In 2011, it all came to a halt.  Within weeks of each other and both by different means, Paul and I heard and received the Gospel of Life.  

In the light of God's Holiness, I saw my filthy sins as God sees them, and the Holy Spirit showed me that no matter how much I tried to be a better person, my sins separated me from the Holy and perfect presence of God.  

My sins had to be atoned for.  I had spent half of my life trying to atone them myself, and the other half rejecting that atonement outright because I could not abide the terms - mainly the repentance part.  

But the Holy Spirit intervened, and the Cross became sweet to me, and my sins became sour in my mouth.  My former treasure was quite suddenly a trash heap in my eyes, and Christ was the prize.  

The truth about Christ is that He was God and man in one, and He came to this wretched planet and lived a sinless life and died a selfless death at the hands of sinners just like me to appease the wrath of God that is justly poured out on unrepentant rebels who break God's law (Romans 6:23).

He gives us His law, His Commandments, as a schoolmaster that drives us to the Cross of Christ in our inability to keep them (Galatians 3:24, Romans 3:24, James 2:10).  Jesus was the propitiation and the final Passover Lamb that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and He rose on Resurrection Day and defeated the death that every last one of us deserves as rebels to His Law.  

SO many years.  So much Grace trampled under my feet.  

I lived licentiously - using the Cross and God's forgiveness as a ticket to do as I pleased (Grace! God Forgives!) - refusing to examine myself in light of God's word.  

But this verse right here - an arrow to the heart:

"...Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, 
not knowing that his kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgement will be revealed." - Romans 2:4-5

God was so patient with me, and one afternoon while my babies napped upstairs, I fell quietly to my knees and surrendered my will for His, turned my back on this world and my sins - and the wrath that was meant for me was transferred to the Cross, and His righteousness was imparted to me.

It's not a fair trade.  It's a divine scandal, to say the least.  

My prayer for each of you is to examine yourself. So many of us are deceived, living under a false and imaginary faith that is built on sinking sand and is not of God.  If we worship a god of our own liking who differs from scripture, we are just worshiping an idol we made for ourselves.

In an age where professing Christians are willing to accept the god of The Shack as a reasonable representation of our precious Savior, and  46% of professing Christians believe that all world religions lead to God, (click HERE) we can't shy away from examining our own hearts.

Ask yourself:

Are you passionate about God's Word, willing to defend it, proclaim it, share it, or even die for it? Do you desire and see growth in personal holiness and discernment, bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8), and long to see others saved as well?  Is Christ your treasure, and all else "rubbish" (Phil. 3:8)? Is your life built around knowing Him and making Him known?

These are tough questions, but God wants us to do this:  
"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves."  
(2 Corinthians 13:5)  

You cannot serve God and man.  And you can't live halfway for either.  (Revelation 3:15-17)

As you reflect on what Resurrection Day means to you, I highly recommend this video, which has led so many to the truth:

Here are some other resources we recommend:

Test Yourself:  Click HERE
How can we be sure of our salvation?  Click Here
True and False Conversion:  Click Here
What is the Gospel?  Click Here 
Charo Washer's Testimony:  Click Here
Don't Waste Your Life:  Click Here

I pray for each of you, and I'm here if any of you ever want to talk. May God bless you and grant you the unspeakable fullness of joy He has given me in knowing His Son, my blessed Savior, and the freedom found in walking in the Light of Truth. 

- Missy