Sunday, August 7, 2011


The last months have been busy.  I can honestly say that we have not taken much time to stop and smell the flowers.  Of course I have the blackest of thumbs (plants should only be watered twice a year-- right?), and my flower beds look like a mini-wilderness. Plus, Spring came and went without anyone taking the time to plant any flowers, so I have no flowers to smell anyway!

I'm tired.  Tired of deadlines, tired of computers, tired of feeling like I am never doing enough.  I'm tired of writing dreary Lost Boys posts.  I'm tired of trying to make hard decisions, tired when I look ahead and see Aaron's surgery looming next week, tired of the reality that we have run hard all summer without getting anywhere.  I'm tired of trying to keep all of my ducks in a row.  Tired of keeping so many plates spinning on the ends of so many sticks.

I want to get off of this train.

I want to go back to a time in our lives when we took the weekends and went tubing down the river.  I want to spend a summer sitting on the edge of a pool watching my kids laugh and play in the water.  I want to barbecue hamburgers on the grill and have impromptu picnics on our front porch.  I want to slow down and enjoy life before my two oldest aren't around to enjoy it with.  I want to give Aaron what they had when they were little.  I want to read more and play more and laugh a whole lot more.

We're taking a break.

We are going to the beach for a few days this week.  Nothing fancy, because we are living on a frayed shoestring budget right now. It's just a room next to the boardwalk at Virginia Beach.  We are going to sit and watch Aaron discover the ocean and watch the older boys play in the water. 

Next weekend we will celebrate Aaron's 7th birthday.  He's getting a real party in a park.  Balloons, cake and presents.  What more could a boy want?  I have mixed feelings about his birthday.  I don't want him growing up. He's not ready.  He needs more time to be little. 

On the next day, we will take Aaron up to Philly for elbow surgery on his right elbow.  I can't begin to express how that makes me feel.  He thinks that the Doctor is going to fix his arms.  He thinks that after the Doctor helps him, his arms and hands and fingers will work like Ben and Elijah's.  Poor kid's convinced that he will be able to do all of the things that they can do. How we all wish that were true.

How can we explain to him that this is only the first of many surgeries?  How can we explain to him that his arms may never work like Ben and Elijah's?  How? 

And in the midst of everything, Rob's uncle is dying.  Rob's only uncle. His mother's only sibling.  She just lost her husband three months ago, and now she is losing her brother.  He's a sweet, precious old Christian man. Our tears flow just considering losing him.  He is precious to us.

As I said, I'm tired.  We're tired.

God knows we are tired.  But just when we feel like throwing in the towel, just when we get to the point where we wonder if we can put another foot in front of another, just when we think that we are going to go under... just when we think... We are sustained once again by the Giver of Life - in small ways and big.... in a sermon or an e-mail or a blog post or through Scripture or a kind word from a friend.  A phone call, a hug.  Just when....

I am grateful that I serve a God who understands me in my weakness and sin.  A God who reaches down in my weariness and struggle and who provides me just what I need when I need it.  I am weak and frail, and I fail so often.  He is faithful and strong!  I'm grateful that I serve a God who comforts us in sorrow and sustains us in grief.  A living, loving, merciful God who crossed the Great Sin Divide to be in a relationship with us.

Hebrews 4: 14-16:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

It has been a hard summer.  A crazy, overwhelming, mixed-up summer.   A summer that began with loss and may end with loss.  A summer that has left us groaning for relief.  But woven through the harshness of the days, God has carried us.  He has reminded us that we are not alone.  He has sustained us and will continue to sustain as we live out our days safe in His grasp.  Therein lies our hope.  Our peace.  Our joy.  We are not alone.


  1. I think of the words in Zephaniah ch. 3:17, of how we are told not to be afraid or despair because the LORD is with us, a mighty warrior who saves, who delights in us and sings over us. The Hebrew word means to spin in a dance. I love to picture Jesus doing this over us. I hope that as you spend time watching the waves, watching your boys, you can feel our Jesus singing over you, comforting you, just all around you, friend. Slow, deep will get through it, one prayer at a time.

  2. Love you honey. I can never thank you enough for bringing Aaron home. I was thinking today about the strength of mothers, and my mind immediately went to you.

  3. I hear you my dear...

    May you feel His breath in the ocean breezes...

    May you see His endless love in the setting sun on the horizon...

    May you have a time of peace.


  4. You and your family are in my prayers Julia. Sending my love to you.......

  5. It does seem that God gives us more than we can handle sometimes, and He does...but He never gives us more than we can handle together with Him. I sometimes wish I could go back to before I knew about the nursing homes that exist in our state of Virginia for little ones with disabilities. I wish I could go back before I met Kayla, our little goddaughter who died, and just never fall in love with that little girl in the nursing home...

    But here we are.

    Forever changed by what God has chosen to show to us. And I am thankful for all of you who have seen what you've seen, and choose to march on with that knowledge and work to find Gods plan for you in it.

    Praying for a blissful few days at the beach for you and your sweet family.

    God bless,


  6. Julia,

    We just returned from the beach and believe me, it was much needed. I feel like my life revolves around therapy, IEP meetings, doctor's appointments, etc....and add in a 50 hour work week and I feel like a big, fat failure at the end of most weeks. The beach trip was very therapeutic for all of us. We needed time to just play, relax and be together. I have been obsessed with adopting another child and can't seem to "find the right fit" for us, so I continue to search, pray, and think about it to the wee hours of the morning, but Cole and Caden are up at 645 am each morning to remind me that I am old and that I should go to bed much earlier. Knowing what you know about the lost boys has to weigh heavy on your heart and mind constantly, but I admire you and I look forward to a post from you everyday!

    I would like to send Aaron a little present for his birthday. Will you let me know your mailing address (and any suggestions) please?

    Stephanie Carmichael

  7. Thanks so much for sharing your heart, Julia. I'm tired too...But as you said, we are not alone. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement! Have a great time at the beach!!!!

  8. Love you, sweet friend, and I'm praying that God multiplies your moments of rest, that you might be restored!

  9. Julia,

    Keep going! You can make it!


  10. I'm thrilled to hear your taking a break! Do it more often:) You deserve it. Julia I know what you mean when you talk about Aaron being convinced about his arms being just like his brothers. Madeline thinks the first trip to the doctor will be the fix-all for her legs regardless of what we tell her. Yes a long road but we're so grateful we have the Lord and other parents out there that can relate and give us encouragement.
    We are going camping for a whole week !! can't wait for the break too :)

  11. Enjoy the beach and savor all the wonderful moments with your boys!

  12. Julia, I hear ya. I've been having a heck of a time with life lately too.
    Can't seem to shake out of it.

    It's very depressing and so hard to keep pressing on....

    But press on we must. How about we do it together...? <3


  13. Julia, I'm not sure I've ever commented here before, but reading this post makes me want to give you a hug. You have often been an encouragement to me in the fight (and adoption/orphan care is a fight). Praying right now for rest for your soul.

  14. I wrote a big long note, but it was on my other computer which doesn't have google chrome so I couldn't post it.

    The bottom line is that I am praying and hoping you have a wonderful, relaxing vacation. You are doing a great job. As Andrea always says, "chin up and shoulders back".

  15. Lifting you and your family up in prayer...

  16. My Mateo turns 7 on August 14th. I very much hope that this will be his last ever birthday in an orphanage. Happy 7th birthday to Aaron! I love his bright blue eyes and award winning smile. I love that he is no longer a lost boy. I love reading your blog. I sincerely hope that you are rejuvenated by your trip! You are an inspiration to folks like me who see to flounder at every turn. Thank you for being you. I empathize with you and your husband during these times of grief and despair and pray for your hearts to heal.

  17. I am grateful that I serve a God who understands me in my weakness and sin. Amen to that. Have a wonderfully, blessedly relaxing time at the beach.


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!