My Grace is Sufficient…

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“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Parts of this post have been rolling around in my head for many months…other parts have been heavy on my heart in the last 24 hours.  I remember a while back, in a crazy mom moment, I called my mom.  I was so frustrated at the kiddo and was not being very rational.  My mom reminded me that she needed grace in the difficult moment.  I vividly remember in that moment, I responded that she “didn’t deserve grace” for whatever crazy kid thing that had just taken place.  Instantly I felt it sting in my heart…I didn’t deserve grace either.  None of us do.

Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God (dictionary.com).  It is the heart and soul of the gospel.  We have a Savior, a Creator that knew that we were broken and didn’t deserve grace, yet He chose to give it anyway.  He chose to let His only Son be killed so that we might be free.  Such beauty, such sacrifice.  It is something so undeserved.

Modern technology can be such a beautiful thing.  It can also be a weapon.  I think when Christ called us to love one another, He didn’t have in mind us getting behind our keyboards and shooting flaming darts and stones at one another.  We all screw up and we all are in need of grace.  The early church in Acts is a beautiful thing.  They sat around and shared EVERYTHING. They lived life together.  When someone was hurting, there was love and forgiveness.  The Holy Spirit was present, powerful and moved in a mighty way.  I think they grasped what we are called to do.

Let’s be the body of Christ.  Let’s show the grace that we so desperately need.  I know that daily, minute by minute, I am need of His powerful grace and forgiveness.  I don’t want the secrets of my heart aired out for the whole world to see, speculate and pass judgment.  In my darkest hours, I want the body of Christ to rally around me and love me, guide for me, see my deep hurt and pray alongside me.  Jesus showed grace in the gospel of John and led us to do the same.  The woman who was caught in adultery was brought before him for stoning in accordance to the law.  He didn’t excuse her sin and commanded her to sin no more.  But what He did say to the Pharisees and religious scholars was “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” (8:8)  Sin destroys lives, families, churches and so much more.  Let’s not add to the pain and destruction of those who are hurting…both the sinners and the victims need us to show love and grace.  May we stop chucking stones at each other.

Thankful for His Sufficient Grace,

Carissa

https://youtu.be/SxpQyhhDdT4

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a new season of change

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For about a year, I have felt very unsettled in my heart.  I felt like God was calling me to a pretty drastic change in my life but I couldn’t fully put my finger on it.  I was very unhappy and just in a place that was not fun.  Over the past two years, I have drastically changed my daily life with the introduction of a little person.  The dust began to settle and reality was in full swing.  I knew that he was calling me to change my priorities and really make Heavenly my primary focus (after Him of course).  It has been a tough year or so.  I felt like I have marched through the desert and even circled a time or two.  I knocked on some doors, but they were not open.

I amazes that my sinful nature doubts God over and over, even when He provides EVERY TIME!  He is not early and He is not late.  It is His party and He shows up on time.  With a very conflicted heart, I resigned AISD last month after 6 full years working with the Caprock Cluster and some of the most amazing people I have ever met!  They are friends I will treasure and keep for a lifetime.  The Lord opened a door for me to accept a position with a brand new grant at a neighboring district, working with Drug and Alcohol intervention.  It has been a crazy ride but I am thankful for a faithful Lord that took me on it.  I have learned a lot about myself and clinging to Him.  I will continue to doubt and He will continue to show love and grace, when I deserve it the least.  He provided for me an new opportunity that truly out of Ephesians 3.  He went excitedly beyond what I least expected.  The journey continues and there will still be rough and crazy days, but the Lord is faithful.  Pray with me as I make this transition.  Pray that I can love kiddos at work in a new and fresh way, but that my kiddo can become my primary focus.

Blessings~

Carissa

Subsidy Shades

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I wanted to share about an awesome business that I stumbled upon.  Subsidy Shades was created to help a family fund their adoption as well as support other families who are walking the long process of adoption.  They sell great eyewear that are affordable and fashionable.  I am super hard on sunglasses and don’t like to spend  of something i know I going to loose.  I have had mine for about 6 weeks and have not lost them!  I have dropped them and thrown them around and there is not a single scratch.  I even bent one eye piece really bad because I smashed it and they bent right back into place.

Because these are awesome shades, I have bought two more pairs as gifts and a back up pair for me!  All the proceeds go to fund adoptions and your eyes will thank you!

Check out Melissa and Subsidy Shades at

www.subshades.com

2 years…

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Two years ago today I went to bed a scared lady.  I received a series of phone calls that day that wrecked my world and my heart.  To find out that I had been matched with a lively three year old was so exciting and frightening all wrapped into one.  Later that afternoon, I found out that she would be moving into my heart and home in a week.  Of all of the profiles and sets of paperwork I read those months, this was the only one that didn’t come with a picture.  I blindly said yes to someone I had not even laid eyes on (this fact drove her grandmother, my mom, crazy).

I am grateful tonight for the friends and family I shared those moments in those days and weeks to come.  Countless phone calls and texts, gift cards, visits, gifts and lots of love.  Friends that came and organized cabinets (a frightening task I might add) or helped me assemble a booster seat, an activity that is a whole lot harder than it looks and many more.  What a blessing to be loved and supported.  I love that I got to share those moments with many of you and get to tell a sweet girl about the love poured out for her, before we even knew her precious face.

Tonight as I go to sleep (still scared out of my mind about this whole mommy thing), I think of the others out there waiting for their forever home. Today is the first ever National Adoption Day and I pray that hearts were stirred and hope is coming for the 153 million orphans (lost one or both parents) around the world.

Blessings,

Carissa

Barefoot Run

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Meet Peter.  He is one of the many orphans served by an amazing organization that shares the love of Jesus while putting shoes on the feet of millions.  Heavenly wants to adopt Peter and have him as her brother.  Sometimes her heart is so big and it makes my heart swell.  She gets the gospel in ways that I don’t always.

Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls provides over 143 millions pairs of shoes for orphans across the world.  They even help provide shoes for the working poor right here in the US.  Each year, as part of our family celebration of “Gotcha Day,” I want to teach the kiddo to give back to those in need.  I want us to remember those kiddos and families out there that are still waiting for their “Gotcha Day.”  Last year we sold t-shirts to support our local office and this year we want to raise awareness and funds for Orphan Souls.

I encourage you to hop on over to www.barefootrun.com and check out their cool, inventive way to raise awareness in your own backyard and read a little bit about their organization.   Today, we are “running” for Peter and so many others.

 

 

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A year ago today

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One year ago at almost this exact same time, I came home from a precious new small group.  That night, my grand parents had been over to my house to help me out with a mouse problem (I despise those critters, especially when they are dead in a trap). They convinced me to go off to small group without the kiddo in tow and let them keep her at the house.  They were thrilled to pieces because this is the first time I had left them in charge of the then spunky 4 year old.  Not long after they left to head home, I got a phone call.  They had only made it a few miles before they were t-boned on Grandad’s side after a crazy chain reaction wreck that involved 5+ cars.

I met my brother and sister in law (the world’s best sis in law, I might add) at the hospital.  Mimi walked away with bumps and bruises.  But for Grandad, things went downhill quickly and Grandad ended up in emergency surgery in the wee hours of the morning due to internal bleeding.  The surgery resulted in the loss of one of his kidneys and his spleen, but the bleeding stopped.  Our family embarked on a 84 day journey in and out of ICU, two rehab facilities, lots of sleepless nights, and many prayers.  On Christmas Eve he came home but still had months of rehab left.  This 82 year old man is a fighter that refused to give up.  Today as I reflect on the last year, I am grateful for a journey that drew family closer to each other and to our Mighty God.  I don’t know why God chose to spare this amazing man’s life that night and many others, but I praise Him that He did.  Today I am thankful that my little girl got to sit at the bar with her Grandad and eat cupcakes and celebrate life.  Happy 1 year Grandad…we look forward to celebrating life for many more years to come!

~Carissa

Loving Mom

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I am grateful for a kiddo with a sweet heart and love for others.  She loves deeply and with her whole abandon.  The past few months have been full of ups and downs of deep grief, love and heartache for her little heart.  Adoption is hard.  It comes with pain and so many questions.  It also comes with a beautiful picture of the love our Lord has for us.

Heavenly has really stretched me and grown my faith in the past few months with her insight, love and prayers.  She has challenged me to dig deeper into my own heart.  Sweet Heavenly has reminded me of a woman whom I prayed for with whole abandon two years ago while I was in the waiting process, but had since neglected to include in my prayers.  As we have been praying for her tummy mom (a name we use instead of bio mom) by name at night, I have been blessed to hear her pray with such sincere words from the bottom of her soul.  A reminder to pray for the lost and to pray that God will pursue them.  She has such a passion and desire for her to know Jesus and to feel loved.  Heavenly puts aside her own pain and questions and prays.  She prays because she is called to…something I struggle with at times.

My heart is grateful for her tummy mom and so many others that chose life.  No matter what happened after that point, I am forever grateful that when faced with a choice, she chose life and breath for sweet Heavenly.  I consider it an honor to stand beside my sweet girl and pray for this precious lady.  To pray for love to fall down, for a miracle and for healing.  May His peace come when she least expects it.  Will you join me in praying for her and so many others (both tummy moms and dads) that need His peace tonight?

Blessings~

Change is Hard

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Over the past year, there has been a lot of change in my life and the life of my family.  Change is hard…it is something that often brings about pain and discomfort.  It can stretch us to places that we just don’t want to be.  Last August I found myself in a a place of change and extreme discomfort and I wanted to and probably did throw a major fit.  The dust had settled and I had this beautiful 4 year old girl living at my house…and she was not going anywhere.  The adoption had been final for two months and we were both began to settle in for the long haul.  The newness of being a mom and daughter had worn off and we both gradually began to show our true colors…and mine are not always pretty.  Also, I went through a major change in several aspects of my job.  Gone were some co-workers I had come to love and call family and enter new rules, paperwork and structural changes.  Still the job I loved, just different.

Fast forward a few months to my last post (which was very long ago) and enter a major family stressor when my grandparents were in a major car accident that began a 3 month journey in the ICU, rehab, etc.  We have been blessed to not have to journey that road before, and wow, it was tough.  God is good and He brought about healing and Grandad came home on Christmas Eve.  At this point we could all take a deep breath and then realize how so very tired we were.  Our lives were flipped upside down and we learned to lean on our Creator in a whole new way.

By the time Spring rolled around, the dust began to settle and the stress began piling up.  I was struggling to make sense of it all.  Sometimes, I think we as believers step out in faith and obey God, but somewhere on the journey, we think to ourselves “this won’t be too bad because I am obeying God.”  Maybe I am the only one that battles that, but I found myself in that very place. I don’t even think it was a conscious thought but I was being selfish and wanted the road to be a lot easier.  He promises us that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6) but just because we obey, doesn’t guarantee a life full of easy tasks and challenges.

I also realized that after I brought Heavenly in my home, I had slowly backed out of a lot of things at church and ministry.  For that season, I know that was what I needed to do in order to adjust to being a mom and find balance at home.  Although, as the dust settled this past Spring, I realized my biblical community was almost non-existent.  There is a reason Jesus stresses community so much…we need to do life with and beside other believers.  He did not create man to do life alone….in fact we are better as a team (Hebrews 12:1).

I challenge you through my crazy ramblings…seek Him and do life with others.  Get plugged in with the body of Christ because that is going to be an amazing support system when life throws you those changes.  They are going to be the ones to hug you, take you to dinner, keep your kiddo just so you can have a night off, and point you to the very one who made you.  God is good and I am looking forward to an exciting 2014-2015 school year.  It will probably be full of changes…some good and maybe some I want to throw a fit about, but this time I will be ready!

Blessings~

Carissa

 

A week ago…

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This is a long overdue blog post, but really more of a rambling than an update.  An update will come, soon I hope, full of pictures and all sorts of excitement, but tonight random ramblings and the deep thoughts of my heart.

A week ago, I was sitting in this very spot, watching a little girl try to fall asleep.

A week ago, she had just spent a wonderful evening with her great-grandparents making playdoh cakes and playing with dolls while I was at small group.

A week ago, life seemed simpler.

A week ago, I was selfish with my time, my thoughts. (and still am)

A week ago, life was planned.

A week ago, my dad called…from Kentucky.  An accident, my grandparents were on the way home from a night here with Little Miss.

A week ago, a STOP sign was missed.

Time seems to have stood still and moved very fast all in the last week.  I have seen great highs and lows with my family.  There have been laughter and tears, lots and lots of tears.  God has done miracles, both physically and emotionally, in the hearts and lives of family.  He has moved mountains and saved both my grandparents lives….more than once.  We have seen an amazing team of medical professionals go out of the way to the ordinary and extraordinary.  God is faithful and has stood beside us each step of the way.  The fight is not over and in many ways has just begun.  The enemy will not have victory in this situation and in this family.  Please stand alongside our family, praying and claiming that our God is mighty.  Pray for total healing and restoration of my Granddad’s body.  Pray against pneumonia and other complications.  Pray for rest of his sweet body, and deep, healthy breaths.  Pray for healing in hearts and lives, and for His glory to be revealed.

Blessings~

Carissa

something Heavenly…

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I heard this song on the radio on the way back from the canyon today with Little Miss…it was timely in more ways than one.  I pray that it stirs your soul as well.

Sanctus Real – Whatever You’re Doing
From the album We Need Each Other

It’s time for healing, time to move on,
it’s time to fix what’s been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong;
it’s time to find my way to where I belong 

There’s a wave that’s crashing over me, and all I can do is surrender
Whatever You’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, but somehow there’s peace
And it’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see, but I’m giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone, time to begin again, re-evaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will or just climbing aimlessly over these hills?
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything – I surrender

Time to face up, clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out that I’ve wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears

Whatever You’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, but I believe …
You’re up to something bigger than me
Larger than life, something heavenly

Whatever You’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, but now I can see
This is something bigger than me
Larger than life
Something heavenly, something heavenly

Time to face up, clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out

Things are going well with us…we continue to grow and learn new and exciting things about each other.  We are currently in a holding pattern and just waiting for a court date…pray that this moves swiftly and that all the little legal duckies are in a row.

 

Blessings~

Carissa and Little Miss