National Adoption Month Series: Donna’s Story

Parenthood is an amazing adventure. It is a road riddled with twists and turns and unexpected bumps. It’s also a journey filled with wonder, grace, and joy.

Pat and I never intended to have six children. When we were first married and talked about how many children we would have, I wanted four. Pat wanted two. In the end, we did both. Our first three sons arrived the conventional way. Our next three children arrived through the miracle of adoption.

My older boys were in their early teens when Pat and I became foster parents. One beautiful June evening, we were asked to open our home to a three year old girl and a seven month old boy, both of whom had the chicken pox. A few hours later, Patty arrived clutching a much-loved doll. She had big, brown eyes and a fearful, but beautiful smile. Anthony came into my arms and snuggled into my heart. A few years later, a judge made official the adoption that took place in our hearts that night. We had four sons and one daughter.

Shortly after Patty and Anthony’s adoption, we learned that their birth mother was expecting another child. We agreed to accept this child also. While my boys wondered who would have to share their room and Patty and I wondered if this baby would be another boy or if Patty would have to share her princess status, my husband wondered if we were nuts. When we received the phone call that a baby boy had arrived; I laughed and said, “We needed another one of those.”  We picked Connor up from the hospital when he was just three days old. 

Adoptive parents never really know for sure exactly what we are getting into, but birth parents don’t either. There are days in the lives of every parent when you want to tear your hair out and cry, “This is not what I signed up for!” I have been picking up Legos for 29 years. I have finally graduated out of car seats. I have slept in hospital beds with my arms wrapped around a sick child. I’ve worried when they’ve come home late. I’ve attended hundreds of parent-teacher conferences and countless holiday performances. I’ve lent my son an earring. I’ve overseen enough homework assignments to fill a library. I’ve had pool water spit in my face and baby spit-up on my shoulders. I’ve been blessed with tadpoles and dandelions crushed in a chubby fist. At one point we had one son in the Navy, two sons in college, and our baby in day care. I can bore you to tears telling you about my kids’ accomplishments. I am fiercely protective of them and want only the best for them.

We do not know a lot about our children’s birth mother, but this one thing I do know, she loved her children. She loved her children enough to give them life and we are so grateful she did. Our children, all of them, have enriched our lives far beyond what anyone could have told us.

~~~~~

Donna is a wife of 34 years to Pat and blessed with quite a lot – 5 sons, 1 daughter, a daughter-in-law, a dog and a cat, a house, a bunch of furniture, and a garage filled with everything but a car. You can follow her on the blog, HoliMess, where she shares about noticing God in the midst of our daily life through crafts, recipes, devotions, comforting words, and encouragement.

Donna

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The Purpose in My Pain – S.L.’s Story

I didn’t become the mom I am when my husband and I decided to start a family. Like most people, God had been shaping my life for motherhood before I even knew it. It began when I was in preschool. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was sick. I’m not certain exactly when it happened because I was so little, but some of my earliest memories are painful ones. The problem with pain, though, is that you don’t realize it’s pain when you’ve only ever been in pain.

When I was 17, I spent a an unforgettable summer on a mission trip with some wonderful friends from my church youth group. I knew then I wanted to be a missionary. The warm air in that impoverished Caribbean nation made me feel so good and I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing what God wanted. It was humbling and exhilarating all at the same time to have the opportunity to daily share Christ with the kids I worked with. And though it was also hard, I loved being completely dependent on God. He daily gave me strength.

I didn’t want to lose the closeness I had with God or the purpose that I felt on that trip, so when I came home, I made one of the most pivotal decisions of my entire life, although I didn’t know it at the time. I prayed that God would continue to keep me completely dependent on Him. God isn’t safe. He’s good, but His ways aren’t our ways. I had no idea that only three weeks later, the pain that I had felt my whole life would become excruciatingly unbearable. I went from being an athlete to barely being able to walk. It was so bad, I had to crawl up stairs and it hurt even to be touched. If someone just accidentally bumped into me, I was reduced to tears.

The summer ended and I began my senior year of high school, but everything had changed. I needed all the support I could get, so gone were my plans to attend college out of state and when I lost my voice, my dreams to major in music also ended. I realized I wasn’t healthy enough to go live overseas anymore so I couldn’t go into missions, either. I was devastated. And, to make it even worse, I still didn’t have a diagnosis. I was so scared because pain like that usually means something bad. Really bad. It took a year before I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia; a chronic illness that has to do with overactive nerves and causes miserable pain. There is no cure for it and my case was severe, yet, I was relieved knowing that it wouldn’t take my life like some of the others diseases that were being considered. Still, I felt so hopeless and lost in darkness. Didn’t God understand that all I wanted to do was to serve Him? I felt like He took my ability to do that, but truly, I had the complete dependence I had asked for.

It took me a few years before I could understand the point of all my failed dreams. God wanted to teach me something first. I learned how to manage my illness and got it under control so I could live pretty normally despite being in constant pain. I met and married my husband, Brian, finished college with a degree in psychology, and we started a family.

I had always wanted a little girl. Desperately wanted a little girl. And we had Ethan. Then, two years later, we had Luke. Four years after that, Jackson joined our family. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my three boys! But, when I found out that I was having a third boy, I cried. All the feelings of loss crept back upon me and another dream died. I sobbed to God, asking Him, “Why can’t I catch a break? I’ve lost so much already and now I’m never going to have the daughter I’ve always wanted. Why does my life look so different from what I planned on it being? I just want to be normal!”

When Jackson was born, everything changed. I fell in love with being a mom of three boys. God started showing me how wrong I was to think that my plan might have been better than His. I couldn’t have been happier being mom to my Monkey, Gremlin, and Trouble, respectively. And I love that we laugh. A lot. There was the time that Ethan colored himself and Luke completely with a blue marker in three minutes while I was on the phone. Later,when Luke was a toddler, he drank day-old cold, black coffee, straight from the coffee pot when my back was turned. And once, at two years-old, Jackson snuck out of bed in the middle of the night and we found him watching The Chronicles of Narnia with the sound turned all the way down and the subtitles on. Yup. All we can do is laugh!

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Still, my heart ached. I didn’t feel done with our family. Brian and I lost a precious baby between Luke and Jackson and I found myself wishing that I could make some difference. I’ve always had a desire to adopt, but it never worked out. The doors just kept closing until, one day, one door stayed open. Foster care. It wasn’t what I planned. It was messy, complicated even, but the need was great. I brought it up to Brian and he was immediately in. I know it makes no sense to do this. I was only 29 years old when we started the process. We have our three boys, live in a house with only three bedrooms, and I’m sick. There were so many reasons to not do it, but God put it on my heart. The desire wouldn’t go away and when God asks you to do something, you can’t say no.

Right now, I’m a mom to four. We are on our second placement with a precious infant foster daughter. God gave me my girl. I might not get to keep her, but that is okay; God is bigger than the pain of goodbyes. If there is one thing I learned from my miscarriage, it is that I am going to make the most with all the time I am given with my kids, biological or not. They are all my kids. I’ve also realized that I don’t want to be normal. My boys are amazing; they love their foster sister and are incredibly compassionate. They’ve seen so much pain as they’ve watch me struggle with illness and they want to take care of their foster sister since they understand she has lost her biological family. They are so empathetic and are learning to serve God sacrificially even at the tender ages of 8, 6, and 2.

It occurred to me once as I walked into the social services building that I actually am on the mission field. I may not have been able to go overseas, but God brought the mission field to me. The psychology degree I hadn’t planned on getting was exactly what I needed. And I might not be using my voice to sing, but I’m using it to tell others about God. As a foster parent, I get to work with these precious, hurting birth parents and make a difference. Because of my pain and chronic illness, I am open with them about how I don’t have it all together. They know I understand and so they listen to me. I never expected my pain to be so important.

Being a mom is so much more than simply taking care of kids, making PB&Js for lunch and reading bedtime stories. Being a mom means giving of ourselves in ways that we never expected and serving God even when it doesn’t make sense. My journey wasn’t what I had planned, but it was what God planned and His plans have proved far better than mine ever could.

~~~~~

S.L. Payne, a Southern Californian transplanted to the South, lives with her husband, three biological sons and foster daughter. She is thankful for God’s faithfulness in her illness as God has used to it help her see Him in everything; the three boys have supplied the humor! She loves writing, photography and laughing with her family. She writes at Rest Ministries and on her website, www.uncommongrace.net, where she hopes she can encourage others to live in grace. You can follow her on Twitter @saralynnpayne.

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Saying Yes to the Adventure of Foster Care – Emily’s Story

The call came from a DHS supervisor at midnight: “We have a three-year old girl at the hospital. Her mom was shot and is not expected to live through the night. Her dad has been arrested. Domestic violence. All clothing was taken by police as evidence so if you could bring a blanket that would be great. Can you come pick her up?” Yes.

The call came from a CPS worker while I was making dinner: “I just came on the scene to find a four-year old boy sitting in the back of a police car. His clothing is soaked with urine from his mentally unstable mother; he may have lice, and he is filthy. Can we bring him to your house?” Yes.

The call came from another county as we were getting ready for bed. “We have a two-year old who is sound asleep at the DHS office now. She was brought to the ER with an injury. Her mom was so high on drugs she could hardly function. This little girl is adorable. We just need someone who can take her for the night. Could you?” Yes.

The call came from the placement desk while I was in the middle of a run. “We have a tiny, ten-day old baby boy. Things aren’t working out with his current foster home, and we need to move him. Do you have an infant car seat?” Yes.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

My husband and I are biological parents to two young kids, as well as foster parents to a revolving crew of kids under the age of five. A friend, who also fosters, once told me that calls from DHS are like a Create-Your-Own-Adventure Game. Each “yes” takes your family on a wild new adventure you never expected. I always wonder what adventure we are missing out on with the calls we can’t take.

We say yes because these broken babies need a safe place to land. They need a mommy to wrap them in blankets and tuck them in at night. They need a daddy to hoist them up on his shoulders and gallop them around the backyard. They need clothing that fits and food that nourishes. They need to be tickled and trained and taken to the zoo. They need boundaries. They need love.

I have been surprised to find how much we need these little people, too. They are sweet and feisty and stubborn and funny. They keep us on our toes and teach us lessons we need to learn.

People tell me all the time, “I don’t know how you do it! I could never become a foster parent. It would be too hard to say good-bye to the kids once I’ve gotten attached.” And I get it, I do. I used to say the exact same thing. But now, I wonder what in the world I was thinking. Was I serious? It would be too hard for… me?

Make no mistake. It is hard. There are plenty of days when I feel like I just don’t have it in me to do this. My ideas and energy and patience fall flat. Some kids have night terrors, others have accidents. You wash a lot of sheets. You fold a lot of socks. You buy a lot of diapers. There are endless meetings and appointments and phone calls. There are false accusations and frustrating decisions. Foster parenting can be tough.

And yet these kids are forced to do hard things every single day, through no fault or choice of their own. They are abused and neglected and forced to fend for themselves. They are separated from siblings and shuffled from place to place. Kids in the foster care system have endured more hurt in their short lives than most of us will pause to think about, let alone experience, in our own.

The next phone call will come. And my husband and I will say yes. Not because we are some amazing poster family for foster care. We will say yes because these kids are forced to do hard things. The least we can do is look into their broken eyes and say, “Yes. I will do hard things with you. I will hold your hand and kiss your head and calm your tantrums. By God’s grace, we will figure this out together.”

When it is time to say good-bye, I will wash their clothes and pack their stuffed animals. I will ache and cry and wish it could be different. But I will never regret saying yes.

~~~~~

Emily is a foster mom in Portland, Oregon, who has been married to the love of her life for almost 12 years. They have two adorable kids, who keep them laughing and Googling. Emily also volunteers with Embrace Oregon.

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When Motherhood Doesn’t Come the Way You Expected – Lela’s Story

Motherhood is an interesting concept. When you are a young girl it consists of questions like, who will I marry? What will I name my children? How many kids will we have? And as we get older then it becomes, should we use birth control? When should we have kids? How far apart should they be? How will it feel to be pregnant? But I don’t think any young women ask themselves…will I be the one that can never get pregnant? Will I ever carry a child? How do I handle the pain? At least I never thought it would be me. But it was.

Infertility was easily the hardest thing I have ever gone though. It was hard physically, spiritually, mentally and especially emotionally. This is the ONE thing every girl is supposed to be able to do. God made us that way. Yet I can’t.   For four long years, my husband and I went through all the testing, medications, surgeries, and of course the ups and downs of each excruciating month, when I would realize once again that my body failed me. And I continued to ask myself, is this God telling me that I was not meant to be a mother? Should we just give up and focus on something else in life? Why is this happening to me, when everyone else in my family has no problem getting pregnant? What did I do wrong? I can’t express the grief and pain that comes with not being able to conceive a child. It was hard to watch others get pregnant and become mothers. To want something so bad and not be able to make it happen. To suffer during the many mother-oriented things like Mother’s Day, baby showers and others’ ultrasound pictures. To feel the guilt about not being super excited about the pregnancy announcements when they came in droves.

Somehow through all of this pain my heart began to warm up to the idea of adoption. In 2008, I prayed for six months that my husband would want this too. And, on Christmas, he gave me two books on adoption to let me know that he, too, was ready to go forward with that step.

Adoption is a long, tedious, hard and absolutely rewarding adventure! In January of 2009, we started the process of paperwork and getting our life story written out. We picked a local agency who worked with open adoptions from our city. Because of the stories we’d heard about children being given back to their biological parents, we were very nervous about open adoptions. But one weekend we went to a seminar where the agency had a few birth mothers come and speak about their decisions to put their child up for adoption. We were blown away by the bravery and love that these women had for their children. It opened our eyes to a whole new concept of what an open adoption was and how hard it is for these women to make a decision like this in the best interests of their child. It was a powerful day and I can honestly say now that these women are my heroes.

We finished our profile at the end of March in 2009. Ironically, only three days later, on April Fool’s Day no less, we received a phone call that we had been picked as the potential parents for a baby! One day later our little miracle girl was born and we were blessed to be in the room to watch the birth. It was exciting but to say this was a life change was the understatement of the century! Being prepared not to get our hopes up and convinced that the process would take a year or more, we had NOTHING ready for a baby. God amazingly provided for us through many friends and family members, and we managed to get our home and ourselves together with a new little girl. For various reasons (problems in the birth mother’s life and an inability to find the birth father to get a signature) it took eight long months for the adoption to be finalized, but we finally became legal parents. Two years later, we went on to adopt another child, this time a boy! Our son’s adoption took a more common route and we were able to develop a relationship with the birth mother over the last five months of her pregnancy. I was even able to go to an ultrasound with her and see our baby boy for the first time! As with any adoptions, there were ups and downs in our emotions. At one point, a few weeks before he was born, we found out that he has some Native American heritage, and as such, we were told that the likelihood of the adoption going through was very slim. But thankfully, the tribe signed off on his release and we were able to adopt him rather quickly, only two months this time!

Adoption can be very expensive and we decided that he would be our last one. We had entertained the idea of foster care but were overwhelmed with the process. However, God had different plans for us, and in October of 2013, we were given fifteen minutes to make the choice of taking a little six-week-old foster baby from a family friend. We felt that God was putting him in our lives when we have been too fearful to follow our hearts. And he is currently still in our care as a foster child.

While my journey to motherhood was very different from what I had seen growing up and what I had expected to happen, when I look at my beautiful children, I wouldn’t change it a bit. I still have many doubts and worries about bringing up my kids, along with some added pressure that they will not appreciate their life’s journey, but I am thankful that God did have children in mind for me, after all!

~~~~~

Lela and her husband, Ian, live in Washington State. She is a stay-at-home mom with her three kids, ranging in age from 7 months to 5 years old.

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A Life Spent Loving Others – Mary’s Story

Mary was born March 12, 1980, the second child to Dan and Kathy. She became the younger sister and mentor to Leo-Paul (LP) and the older sister and friend to Tanika. From the very first moment of Mary’s arrival, she touched people’s lives physically and emotionally. At the tender age of 9 months while watching LP work with his speech specialist, she began mimicking the therapist through a two-way mirror. LP laughed at the sound behind the wall and then he too began to make the sounds that the therapist wanted to hear. Physically challenged from birth, LP learned to speak, walk and read following Mary’s lead.

When she was four, Mary’s family became a medical foster home for infants born to chemically-addicted parents. She became a voluntary consummate ‘mommy,’ changing diapers, diagnosing bottom rashes, redressing and feeding any baby that needed it. Burping them, burrito-wrapping them and singing them to sleep along with all her dolls and the dogs and the neighbor kids that routinely stopped in. By the time Mary was nine, she was carrying car seats and diaper bags and heading off to another hospital for another baby to bring home.
At 13 she met her sister Tanika, weighing only 3 pounds 11 ounces and measuring 14 inches long. Mary would soon call her “my shoe box baby.” Mary would take extra special care of this little bundle for the rest of her life. When she was fourteen Mary was the only person allowed to pick up and hold Tanika’s medically fragile twin sister, Tanisha. Tanisha lived in an infant hospice foster home and shortly after her visit with Tanika and Mary, Jesus moved Tanisha home. Mary held Tanika close to her for a very long time. She loved Jesus but she wasn’t ready to let Tanika follow Tanisha’s lead.

At 16 years old, Mary’s parents divorced, but that did not hinder her spirit. She was a cheerleader to all around her. She coaxed, prodded, pulled and harangued many people out of some of life’s deepest ruts. Two years later, in 1998 at the age of 18, she started doing foster care on her own while attending nursing school and became one of the youngest licensed foster parents in the state of Oregon. Over the next thirteen years, she would become a caregiver to more than forty children but ‘momma’ to only thirteen very especially loved babies of all ethnicities and all manner of health and drug-related problems. Her heart was always ready to love just one more little one. She was an encourager, inspiring babies who could not feel, to live and learn how to love. God blessed Mary with the gift to love those among us who are difficult to love.

After receiving her RN license, she continued doing foster care and began caring for the elderly and mentally challenged as well; the population pushed away from society. While physically caring for her patients, she also prayed mightily over them. She encouraged them and listened to their life stories. Every life mattered to the Lord and she wanted even those lost within themselves to understand how important they were to Jesus. She sang daily their heart-songs to Jesus.
God also blessed Mary with the gift to share Jesus with anyone needing to know Him prior to their earthly departure. One woman that Mary became especially close with asked her to pray that God would take pity on her and allow her a small place in Heaven. Mary assured her that Jesus already had her mansion built and that He was just waiting to bring her home. That evening, Mary’s friend moved into her mansion built with Jesus’ own hands.

Woefully, Mary had her own health problems. For years she had suffered from genetic endometriosis and ovarian cysts and the doctors had told her she would never be able to conceive her own baby. But when she had a miscarriage early on in her marriage, she was devastated. Not long after, in 2003, at only 23 years old, she was diagnosed with HPV and had to have a complete emergency hysterectomy. They would have never found out about the cancer if it wasn’t for that precious, lost baby.
Mary had also contracted a rare strand of bacteria during her second year of nursing school, which began to attack her vital organs causing sustained damage. The mounting health problems forced her to give up working as an RN. However, Mary’s joy and enthusiasm for helping others did not end, and so she worked more creatively at being a better foster mom to medically fragile infants. Her patience was limitless and her zeal for life inspirational.

In December of 2004 Mary picked up a two-day-old boy, Baby “J,” from the hospital with the intent to adopt. He was a drug baby, so she knew he would suffer from many developmental issues and probably have to have years of therapy and special education. Mary took it all in stride. She loved him as if he were her own flesh and blood. Two years later and two weeks away from signing Baby “J’s” adoption finalization papers, Mary’s husband abandoned them. After that, the state determined that as a single parent she could not adopt any child, but as a top-notch foster parent she would be allowed to keep “J” in her home as a foster child until he reached the legal age of eighteen years old. If he were allowed to stay in one foster home for seven years, permanency might be ensured. Her hope fervently changed to emergent prayers.
Mary kept and raised her boy and for the next four years he called her his momma and she called him her son. In fact, one time in mental health therapy, “J” was told that Mary was not the mom that carried him in her tummy, but he didn’t like that. He told Mary later that it made him mad at God because he loved her and wanted to have come from her tummy! Mary reassured him that she loved him with all her heart and that she couldn’t love him more if he had come from her tummy.

Just three months prior to his 7th birthday, in September 2011, after a state-induced whirlwind adoption process, “J” was placed in his “forever home” 2500 miles from where he had lived and grown up with Mary. She only got to say a quick goodbye before he was taken away by what seemed like the perfect family for him. Under the guise of an open adoption, the state caseworker told her she had to wait six months before contacting the adoptive family. Later, however, the adoption worker told Mary the family said there would be no more contact, ever. Mary’s heart was broken and she felt betrayed by the adoption worker, the state caseworker and his new family.
Months went by and then a year without any update on “J” from the adoptive family or his caseworker. Mary continued to grieve the loss of her son and wrote this to a friend:

“I know God will give me answers in time or when my time ends. I know eventually “J” is going to grow up beyond their control and want to seek out answers to those questions they could not answer, but that I can. So I’m praying that someday he will return to me with memories and we can be reunited.”

Mary did not foster any more children after “J” was adopted and her health began to quickly fail. She was devastated and heartbroken on the inside, and even though she knew that “J” was where God wanted him to be and the family was a good match for him, she confided in her mom quietly that she felt her life was over. She had no energy to date again or make many friends and she was lonely. What she didn’t realize is that through the thousands of people that she touched, she had more friends than many people would gain in a lifetime. Mary’s heart-warming spirit encouraged veterans, the disabled, first responders, medical personnel on all levels, patients waiting for care, patients exiting care, surviving family members of newly departed loved ones and people from sea to shining sea. But she still prayed daily that God would send her a good friend and He answered that many times over as she rekindled old friendships through the internet.

Mary’s health continued to deteriorate with each passing week. The bacteria had compromised her entire immune system. She developed Crohn’s and Sweet’s syndrome in her GI tract and pseudo tumor cerebrii in her brain which began multiple types of seizures. By the middle of 2013, Mary’s lungs weakened to the point where she was getting pneumonia ever couple of months and her kidneys were functioning only at a 20-30% rate. Her liver, pancreas, gall bladder and spleen were enlarged and she could not stop vomiting. The doctors could not seem to diagnose her worsening condition. The disease continuously ravaged her already scarred young body over the years, requiring multiple hospital stays, serious surgeries and demanding test after test after test.
Her struggles were grueling to say the least, but her words were always uplifting for those around her. She would pray for the first responders that were urgently called to her home. She would pray for her family, hoping they would forgive her this ‘one last time’ for making them rush her to the ER when her heart wouldn’t stop hurting. She prayed for the nurses, doctors and technicians and that their jobs would be a little less ‘crazy because of her illness this time.’ She talked to God all the time.

In mid-November of 2013, she was finally diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defect (a hole in her heart) and while she awaited more testing and the possibility of another surgery, Mary was near bedridden and had to have daily supplements of IV fluids and oxygen. She insisted on staying in the comfort of her own home, demanding that she not return to the hospital. Her family knew that under no circumstances were any resuscitation methods to be made if she slipped quietly away from them.

Although she was getting weaker and weaker, she still made the time to email a dear friend from grade school who was grieving a miscarriage. Feeling her friend’s deep pain of loss and the hopelessness of having to pick up the pieces after everything is said and done, Mary wrote this to her:

“I seem to miss my babies first thing in the morning. They are on my mind at noon, around dinner and then again at bedtime. They are the last thing I think of before I go to sleep and the first thing I think of upon waking. Each year seems to get better, but the pain doesn’t seem to go all the way away. Grief is so complicated. I can’t wait to get to Heaven to ask the Lord why He allows our Angel babies to be taken back to heaven and ask Him if we can touch them, hold them and smell them.”

On November 17, 2013 at 12:33 p.m., Mary, our daughter, sister, family member and friend solidly grasped Jesus’ hand and walked Heaven’s distant road home. She left a legacy reflective of a life filled with love for the Lord, a willingness to help no matter the chores because it meant doing ‘as Jesus would do if He were here.’ She left memories of her ability to laugh loudly, heartily and unashamedly. She left memories of her skill to sing off key, on key, or just forget the key and sing out loudly. And, she left us with the memory of her smile; her bright, enthusiastic, encouraging, dreamy and ‘you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me’ smiles. Mary believed smiling broke through armored, tough exteriors and she proved that action correct more times than not. How can you not smile when twin dimples and blue eyes are flashing you?

                       2008 Mary (3)

Mary grew to become the woman Jesus wanted her to be. Her life lesson is twofold. First, her pain-filled illness was God’s rendering of Mary as a Masterpiece. The pain drove Mary into His open, embracing arms. He nestled her there, spoke loving kindness and mercy over her there, healed her a bit and returned her back to us. He honed her as only the Maker can. And secondly, her mother’s heart loved first her babies, but also that same heart loved the disabled, the hard-wrought, the lost and the found. Her mother’s heart beat with life for all connecting with her. Be rendered to God. Connect love with others’ heart beats.

Mary is whole, healthy and perfect in eternity. She is in heaven holding her angel babies and every other angel child up there. She is singing praises with the saints and dancing with her Savior. Her amazing, selfless personality is there blessing everyone in the next life.  And we, her family and friends still on earth, rejoice in the fact that we will one day see her face again. She will be there by Jesus’ side as one of the first to welcome us when we journey home as well.

~~~~~

In loving memory of Mary Jo Lippincott, March 12, 1980 – November 17, 2013.
To see her memory slideshow, please click here.