Purpose-Filled Parenting

I yelled. I got angry.


Take me back to those first few days of our adoption when everything was new and all I wanted was to make our little girl happy.

I would have bought her anything she wanted that first day, done anything she asked and tried everything under the sun to make her happy.

Those first few days were all about her happiness.

Her happiness was our happiness.

Fast-forward to today..


It was supposed to be a fun family trip to the grocery store. It was only Haddie’s second time being in a store in the US since she’s been home.

However, it quickly unraveled into an “anything but fun” trip to the grocery store.

Something triggered Haddie to react in ways that she hasn’t in months.

So, her and Papa sat in the last parking spot of the row while Mama went in….

Defeat is what you could say I felt as I wearily wandered around the store trying to piece together a cart full of groceries. (I must have looked the part because an elderly man offered to help me place my groceries up on the register.)

After time away from the house the past few weeks, we were so ready to be home and back to our normal routine.

But with every routine, comes a new transition. Not only do transitions occur in adoption when things change but also when they go back to normal.

I wasn’t ready for it this time…

My anger came like a flood as I walked toward the car only to find out that the car was still just as heated as when I left it.

The drive home was full of silence and discussion as DJ and I sat in disbelief… we thought we were through this part.

But as I sit here now, I can tell you that we didn’t handle ourselves or our daughter well.

So, tonight after putting our daughter to sleep, I sat down with a bowl of chocolate ice cream, a devotional and my Bible and wept.

I wept over my weakness as a Mom. I wept over the fact that I haven’t been in my Word like I should which caused me to lash out instead of look up.

So, when I began listening I heard Him say, “You have to be purposeful”.

I heard Him loud and clear.

Raising a child to be a child of the King doesn’t just “happen”.

It is a process that needs prayed over…and over again.

It needs Truth spoken into it.

It needs the Father’s blessing over it.

Why didn’t today run smooth, why were we back where we were 2 months ago and why did it feel as if nothing was working?

We had our agenda but didn’t ask our own Father for His in that moment.

God honors purposeful living and prayer.

My response tonight, “Let’s bring purpose to the chaos!”

So, I picked up my chalk and started what now is our weekly “Faith Focus” board.

Purposeful parenting doesn’t just happen, it’s created.

Are there still going to be days in parenthood where nothing goes to plan? Yes

Are we still going to make mistakes and let anger get the best of us? Yes

But God still bids us come…

And so here is where you’ll find us, acknowledging our weaknesses and allowing God to create purpose.

Parenting with purpose and prayer.


Birth History: KNOWN

Birth History.

Those two words cut me like a knife when we went for Haddie’s first doctor’s appointment.

As a Mama, you want to protect your baby with everything you have but when I was confronted with those two words on her new patient paperwork, my heart sank.

Those words will remain blank for the rest of our sweet girl’s life. Never will she be able to answer her birth weight, time of birth or her family medical history (and the list could go on).

It shook me more than I ever thought it would to have to write, “no history known” to complete the entire sheet.

One day she will have to do the same.

As I thought about this first Mother’s Day with our daughter, never did I realize how much the weight of that word “mother” would have on me. The weight of all of it makes me feel heavy with so many emotions.

On one hand, I am overjoyed that I have a daughter who wants to be like her Mama and can’t stand when I leave the room but on the other hand, I feel the weight of what being a Mama to her means.


On occasion, she points to herself and says “Mama’s baby?” and we both melt as she jumps into my arms and wants to be held like a baby. But throughout this interaction, I know why this encounter is meaningful. It’s because deep down she was never held by me when she was a baby. She never had the loving eyes of a Mama looking into hers from birth to now. She wants me as well as herself to know that I, as her Mama DID in fact get to hold her like a baby. And I hold every moment that I get to in the locket of my heart.

As I think back to that moment in the doctor’s office, I am reminded that even though she may not have a birth history to write down, God knew her history down to the detail and continues to fill in the gaps. Every moment that I get to hold her and rock her as “my baby” she is closing in those empty places.

For reasons that we will never know or understand, Haddie’s birth Mama loved her enough to say “no” for a time so that God would pick up where she left off. And that road led us to her…

So this Mother’s Day, as emotions are high, I am reminded that God’s plan saw that moment and every moment in between…

When I couldn’t be there to hold her and hear her first cry, God was there.

When I couldn’t be there to change her first diaper, God was there.

When I couldn’t be there to look into her eyes and make her feel safe, God was there.

Although to some, it may seem as though her birth Mama gave her away, I like to think of it as her placing Haddie in the arms of Jesus for a little while as He began whispering to our hearts.

It may have taken 6 years for me to get to hold her sweet little hand and hear her call me Mama but God was preparing her from the beginning for her Mama’s love.

Nothing about being a Mama is easy but the grief and loss that comes with being an adoptive Mama is a lot to bear.

No matter how God brings us to motherhood, there’s no doubt that He has planned every moment of it. The history of our babies, no matter the length of their days, is written down with His all-knowing hand.

So, let me leave you with His words this Mothers Day, no matter what stage of being a mother you find yourself in. Every child is a treasure…

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.

 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
 You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:1-18






What Love Really Means

It’s been a while and a lot has happened but I wouldn’t change a second of it.

Our marriage has grown, our parenting perspective has grown and our daughter has grown.

Today, as I sit here beside her, I realize how much she has changed in just the last week. She continues to learn more English (while we still weave Thai throughout our day), and she continues to learn more about her environment as well as growing more comfortable with her surroundings.

For a child and his/her adoptive family, this process although it may get easier, is something that never really moves to “Completion”. In the near future, there will come a time where Haddie’s adoption is complete but it continues to be a process. There will always be questions to answer, hard days and times where it feels like we are moving in reverse, but the experience itself far outweighs any of that. Learning how to love after so much loss is both messy and beautiful.


One big obstacle or transition we have been dealing with lately is love. Living in an orphanage for 6 years alone brings a lot of issues with regard to the meaning of love. To her, love was and still is very conditional. If you do this for me, I love you, but if you don’t do this for me, I don’t love you. Trying to break that cycle has been difficult, but when you look through her eyes, you see that the cycle MUST be broken no matter the time that it takes or the hurt that you walk through.

For most children, love is learned immediately when they are given to their mothers from birth and the process begins straight from the womb. However, in our daughters case, as is the case of any adopted child, her view of love is much different. Most of the time, adopted children have seen and experienced broken forms of love. And our daughters has just that: a broken outlook of what love really means.

For us currently, it looks like sitting beside her, in and during, her rough days, and continuing to show her love despite her unloving words or actions toward us. In this we’re showing her that love doesn’t give up even when the person’s love isn’t reciprocated. It means not pushing her away in a “time-out” but pulling her close and having a “time-in” where we talk/discuss what went wrong.

Love, although I want to say I have a handle on it, is complicated. For most of us, we may think we know what love is but in reality, we don’t live out what we think love means. God is love but, oftentimes, we don’t reflect the God that we love.

Just like our daughter, we try to make our love conditional. If someone close to us commits a wrong, our love isn’t so strong or may turn to bitterness if that feeling persists.   God’s love for me isn’t based on what I do or what I say, but His love stays despite those things.

When I’m sitting in the floor with my daughter as her grief grips her heart, I am reminded that God does the same for me. He sits and holds me tight no matter how rough the moment and whispers “I am here and you’re not in this alone”. This is the message all of us need to hear.

Also on the rough days, I am reminded that His love is jealous. A hard realization for our families coming home was that our love MUST be jealous. This may sound harsh but for our daughter, she’s only known broken sense of love for 6 years and never knew the love of a parent. Her love was passed around so often that for her, love grew and then vanished. Coming home, this means, as hard as it is, no hugs or kisses for family members but instead, high fives. It means pushing her toward us when all they want to do is shower her with love too. (It’s not been easy).

During this difficulty, I have seen God teaching me the lesson of His jealous love. While I want to love Him and Him alone, my love is often like the love my daughter knows. I want to take love and share it with things of this world while God wants me to love Him and Him alone. His jealous love sent Him to the cross and it was not an easy road. The road to our daughter’s understanding of love will be hard and uncomfortable but for her to understand what love really means, we must walk that road. The result, just like that of Jesus, has great reward!

So while I originally thought that we would be doing all the teaching through this process, we are all learning a new facet of love together.

Present Situation: Unknown


Just simply typing the word is a little scary.

As a mom, I now not only have to think of myself and husband but our family as a whole. The truth is, if I had it my way, I would bunker us in our home until this thing settles completely. Like an apocalypse.

Thankfully I have a husband who keeps me in reality and tones me down a notch…

“Underlying health conditions”.

Three words we hear during a newscast every minute it seems these days…

Something that before a mom I would have never thought twice about because neither my husband or I have an “underlying health condition” that we know about. However, now those three words mean a lot.

Our daughter has a rare blood deficiency that could cause her to be more susceptible to certain infections or viruses. Because we are unable to go to the doctor at this time to sort through the many uncertainties, we are left at the hands of the unknowns. (And researching her condition online doesn’t decrease the unknowns…)


No answers, no certainty

As a Mama, I feel all these words like a burden on my shoulders. To shelter our daughter from all of this. Although on a normal day, these unknowns wouldn’t pose much of an issue, we are not living in normal days.

So, what am I or you to do?

God says to trust, but what if I don’t feel like trusting? If we’re all honest, we all have moments where trusting seems like more of a daunting task than living in doubt.

I’m reminded of a vivid picture in the Bible of Peter and the mighty waves that to him, looked like several unknowns swirling around him. But I am also struck by what Jesus says to Peter. It almost seems counterintuitive to what seems like the normal response during these conditions.


The story starts out by saying,

“Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.”

Matthew 14:24

How many of us currently feel like we’re in trouble, far away from a land we know and surrounded by strong waves of uncertainty?

It goes on to say…

“About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!””

Matthew 14:25-26

3 o’clock in the morning? My daughter wakes me up at this time and I am not wanting to do much of anything! But the thing is, God doesn’t run on a time schedule so 3 o’clock in the morning is just as good of a time as any to do the miraculous. God is working even when we are or seem to be asleep…

On with the story…

Peter and the disciples were afraid despite the fact that the man that they were afraid of now, was the man that made the water and even the waves they were fearful of too!

I love how Jesus doesn’t say, “It’s me, Jesus, why are you so afraid?”

He instead sees their hearts and knows what they need to hear in that moment. More than they needed to be assured that it was in fact Jesus, they needed to feel like they weren’t alone…

“But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! ””

Matthew 14:27

So many of us during this time, including myself, need to be reminded that we’re not alone. We feel as though the world is spinning so fast and the waves of trouble are getting bigger and bigger and we are left in the midst of it, not knowing where in the world Jesus is. However, He sees what our hearts need the most, His presence. Because often, His presence is more powerful than the removal of the storm.

Let’s trust the One who is present despite our present situation.

Calm in Chaos

Is it possible that you can create your own calm in the midst of a current chaotic world?

I am watching it happen in my very own house.

Originally, when we made plans in January of what our next few months would look like, cocooning was our first priority. No people, no events and no interaction with those outside of the people in our “ban” or home.

As I sit here and watch my daughter who has been in our home for a week now, I realize that even though this was the plan all along, the world around us is anything but part of that plan.

We wake up, we eat breakfast, we play, we check on the chickens… this was the plan and is still the plan everyday. This is our calm.

One day, our daughter will grow up to understand what was truly going on in the world during her entry into the United States and first few months here but for now, she’s living in a world where she experiences love, joy and expectation each and every day.

Can calm be created in the midst of chaos? Yes.

Right now, I am choosing to view life through the eyes of a 6 year old girl.

It’s all about what you choose to put your focus on.

By nature, I Jocelyn, am fearful. I look at the “what could’s” instead of the “what is’s”. But, I am learning a powerful lesson this week in the stillness of my home.

The longer I spend looking at my Facebook feed, the more that fear creeps up. To stop it, I look toward my daughter who’s only fear is that she can’t find a perfect fit for a piece to one of her puzzles.

So Facebook can wait but these moments with her cannot. I am so thankful to have these quiet moments with her where I can watch the growth of our family sky rocket. We have grown so close within a week’s time…

She has gone from rejecting her Papa to now giving him sweet kisses and hugs.

She has gone from only eating a few things to increasing her pallet while also feeding her Mama and Papa during meals.

She has started handing us certain things just because she knows in watching us that we enjoy them.


Today it’s about the little things. The things that last rather than the things that will soon fade away.

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

1 John 2:17

So the world may seem chaotic, but calm can be created.

You just have to turn it over to the Creator.

Just a side story for you…

Even before we knew our little girl, we prayed for her sweet heart to know Jesus. Today, she loves to pray before meals and it goes something like this… “Jesus, I love you, thank you AMEN!” She can also be heard singing “Holdy, Holdy are you Lord God Almighty, Worthy is the Lamb, Worthy is the Lamb, You are Holdy”. She loves to sing worship music. My Mama heart cannot contain the joy that fills my soul knowing that the words she is singing are starting to speak words of truth straight into her little heart.







One day…

One day…

One day I’ll meet the right guy…

One day I’ll get married…

One day I’ll live in my dream home…

One day I’ll be a Mom…

These are just a few of my one day’s…

We all have them; those dreams bottled up inside of us that we hope will soon unfold before our eyes.

Today I am so thankful for the one days because today, my one day dream of being a Mom is one day from coming true!!


Here we are, one day before leaving to get our beautiful daughter.

One day before our lives change forever.

If you would have asked me a few years ago what the story of me becoming a Mom would look like I would have said, “Yea , maybe that will happen one day”. And here we are…

So for this “one day” before we leave post, I would like to take the time to write a poem to my daughter entitled just that


“One Day”

“One day you will realize you are beautiful

One day you will realize you are loved

One day you will believe you are chosen

One day you will know you are enough

Your One Days are coming

Just you wait and see

Just like they have for your Daddy and me

You see we had One Days that we dreamed would come true

And they have, my sweet girl

They have and our One Day dream was you.”





Gods faithfulness has been proven and we cannot wait to see what He continues to do through this journey ahead! Stay tuned for our family of 3 coming soon!

This is the Great Adventure

December 22, 2017- Application sent

January 11, 2018- Accepted into the Thailand program

June 26, 2018- Homestudy Approved!

August 23, 2018- Dossier sent/#33 on the Waitlist!

November 26, 2018- #28 on the Waitlist!

January 25, 2019- #24 on the Waitlist!

February 18, 2019- Received our Daughter’s file!

February 19,2019- We accepted our daughter’s file!

March 4, 2019- We became parents to Hadassah Joy Casto!

November 15, 2019- First Approval Received!

January 8, 2020- I800 Approved!

January 15, 2020- Dates Finalized!

February 18, 2020- Thailand adventure begins!


779 days…

The number of days we have waited to become parents.

779 days with a God-sized dream and pursuit.

779 days of a longing that God faithfully filled with Himself.

As we prepare to meet our daughter we are filled with such an array of emotions but one thing we know for certain, God saw this coming and He has already been there.

One thing you need to know about our journey is that no part of it was something that we, ourselves,  have done.

The only very minor part we had in it was the simplistic yes to step out and then God took over.

When I think about our journey, I can’t help but picture a whitewater rafting tour. Although I’ve never been on one before, I have to imagine that it is a mixture of excitement and fear wrapped together with each rapid that comes your way.

You don’t know how powerful the rapid until you’re already engulfed by it.

That’s a lot like adoption. You say yes and then you better hold on tight!

So below, you will find some tips I wish I would have read before the journey began. These tips would have come in handy in the beginning but God gave them to me as I needed them all along the way.

Oceans photo

  1. Always wear a life jacket/PFD:Personal Flotation Device.

You’re going to need some strategies in place when things don’t go your way or how you “think” they should. You’re gonna need to float to the top of some of the chaos so have your strategies in place, “Keep Calm and Expect the Unexpected”…cause it’s coming. More than you even realize…

2. Wear a helmet.

Often, your head is going to be so confused that you don’t even know what to do. That’s where you’re going to need some supportive people and especially your adoptive Momma clan. Those that know your brain gets crazy sometimes and can protect your head from aching.

3. Wear the right outerwear.

It’s prep time. Some seasons throughout this journey are going to be rainy and gloomy while others are sunny and bright! Expect that the seasons will change and during those rainy gloomy days, the sunny bright ones are right around the corner! Have some verses ready in both seasons to encourage that heart of yours into praise!

4. Hold the paddle properly.

Sometimes you feel like you’re getting nowhere no matter how hard you try. Sometimes it’s as if you’re paddling but it just seems like the raft just will not go the way you want it to. That’s when trust comes in. Trust in the ones that have gone down the road before you, and most importantly the One who called you to this journey in the first place. He knows the way to hold the paddle properly and get you where you need to go no matter the time it takes you to get there. You many not have the experience but the Guide will equip you.

5. Stay in the boat!

This is key. Yes, I’m telling you that there are times that you are going to want to get out of the boat. You doubt if the process is working and if you are ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel but it’s coming, trust me! One day you will look back and see that the rough moments on your trip happened just as they needed to in order to get you where you are today. Strength is a result of your weakest moments.

6. Know the proper swimming techniques.

Yep, sometimes you you can’t do anything about the rapids coming but when the process knocks you down or in this case, out of the boat, you have to know how to swim! For instance, there are times when a document or person stands in your way of a deadline and you are going to have to know the “Down River Swimming position” in order to get exactly where you need to go (It’s a real thing, look it up!)

7. Never panic!

There are going to be days when you panic and I mean not just “get stressed out” but literally freak out to the point that you can’t see straight! In those moments, trust the process. In adoption, the process is going to work out, you just have to have some faith and sometimes grin and bear it! The chaos is creating something beautiful!

8. Listen to your guide during the safety talk and in the water.

This by far is the most important tip of all. Listen to what God says. He is your guide. In the beginning, you’re listening for Him to tell you the steps needed to be obedient to Him and some tips for staying the path. But, during the process with the water raging around you, you’re going to need to listen to Him and KNOW His voice! There are going to be lots of voices both in the boat with you and outside the boat that sometimes seem as though they are trying to guide you as well. However, listen to YOUR guide, and He will lead the way.

(I abbreviated the real list but it can be found here 🙂 )

10 Whitewater Rafting Safety Tips

Although the journey has just begun, God had to take us through some rough water to get us where we are today.

1 month until the moment we have spent 779 days anticipating.

We couldn’t have asked for a better GUIDE  and we’re ready for our next experience soon to come…Our Family of 3.

Follow along with us, it’s going to be a wild and adventurous ride!







She’s Coming Home!!

Yesterday was one of those moments where life itself seemed to be coming full circle.

DJ and I had just left my classroom where we spent 5 hours cleaning.

Cleaning out 6 years of total focus on the kiddos I taught each year.

It seemed like a lifetime as I went through all the many papers, activities and lessons.

After we put the last few things in the car and got ready to leave, it felt as if I was driving away from the past and into a new fresh purpose….Stay-at-Home Momma-hood.

My dream since I was a little girl was to be like my Mom and stay at home with my children. Although DJ and I discussed, prayed and thought through the decision for me to quit working, it still felt like unknown territory.

But God makes Himself known in the midst of the unknown.

DJ and I decided that we were going to celebrate the end of a journey and the start of this new one after getting in the car. Where else do you celebrate but at an eating establishment? 🙂

As we were eating and discussing how much longer we thought it would be until we traveled to pick up our girl, we received an email…..Tentative Travel Dates!!!

We couldn’t have got the news at a better time!

winnie the pooh

So now, where can you find us?

Booking hotels, preparing a shower honoring our girl, finishing Haddie Joy’s room and counting the days until we leave!

We have been given the tentative board meeting date of March 4th which means we will travel the 3rd week in February. YES, next month!!

March 4th just happens to be the day we were matched with her 365 days ago 🙂

What does the itinerary look like?

Tentatively (absolutes with travel are never 100%), we would travel to our daughter’s orphanage and meet her the first week we are there and then travel to Thailand’s capital, Bangkok to complete her adoption. Then, we would travel home around March 10th.

More specific details to come but just know that the official prep has started!

As this New Year began, I kept thinking about chapter 43 in Isaiah starting in verse 14,

“This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I will send to Babylon
and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians,[b]
in the ships in which they took pride.

I am the Lord, your Holy One,
Israel’s Creator, your King.”

This is what the Lord says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,

who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

I felt Him yesterday speaking verse 19 directly to me, “See I am doing a new thing!”

He alone can create newness. He alone can create a family where a family seemed impossible. He alone can take a little girl in Thailand and a broken couple in West Virginia and create something new and beautiful!

So, more details to come but know that our God has made a way and we’re going to get our little girl! And our hearts could not be more excited!!

Hadassah Joy is coming home!!




It’s in the air this time of year. Feelings of expectation and anticipation of things to come.

The Christmas season is one for great joy!

If I’m honest, a few weeks ago I was dreading this season. Yet another Christmas without our daughter. But within the last few days, I’m starting to feel it…the hopeful expectation of the season.

Each year, DJ brings down the “100 ton tote” full of Christmas decorations (much exaggeration added…) from the attic. Although I don’t have, what I would say is, a lot of Christmas décor, it’s still a process that I always enjoy. With each decoration put in its’ place, a flood of memories come also.

This year, we have added a few new items that bring the hope of new memories to come. One of them being our new stockings (thanks to an awesome adoptive Momma :)).

A few years ago, before DJ and I began our serious talks about children, I went out and bought 4 stocking holders. One for each of us and then two for any future members of our family. This year as I was hanging up the stockings, I was quickly reminded of the moment I found/purchased them. As I walked down the Christmas aisle in “Ollie’s”, I stumbled upon stocking holders. The one draw back to buying them was that all they had left were three of them that said “Noel” and one that said “Joy”. Even though they weren’t a matching set, I bought all of them anyway. It wasn’t until a few nights ago while decorating I realized why one was different from the others…


You see God has a way of bringing hope in what seems like a situation where hope is clouded by so much disappointment.

When I bought those mismatched stocking holders, I never dreamed that one day I would be hanging up a sign of God’s gift of hope directly to my heart. That today, “Joy” holds Hadassah Joy’s stocking. This moment had me so wrapped up I didn’t even know what to do with myself.

Today as I turned on some Christmas music, Matt Maher’s song “Hope for Everyone” came on and God spoke directly to me. In this song it discusses just how far God would go to bring hope to everyone. The lowly shepherds and the wisest of men in a meager manger were the audience of that glorious night.

God went beyond human thought, societal norms and routines to bring hope to everyone.

In the moment when I went to hang up our daughter’s stocking, I began to think of the distance that God went for our family and for our daughter. That before the beginning of time, He was weaving our story together. He knew there would be a little girl in Thailand who would be born into a broken world and He also knew that there would be a couple whose heart would be broken for that same world. And through this brokenness, He would create a family. He would reach far enough, across the distance of the globe, to bring hope to both that couple and that little girl. You see, this is our story. Just one of many in the story of Hope we celebrate during this season.

God would travel the distance, overcome the greatest obstacle and scale the deepest valley just to bring hope to the world, and to YOU!

This is the reason why this season is so spectacular! That the God who created you and me would go farther and deeper than human comprehension to send His Son and gift us with Hope. Hope for today, hope for tomorrow and hope for eternity!


He loves you so much that He gave you Hope! That is GOOD NEWS for all people!!

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

Luke 2:10

Matt Maher “Hope for Everyone”


Even In The Wrestling…

3 months down….4 months down…7 months down…

This is what waiting in adoption looks like. Before adopting, I thought that waiting for something an entire day was rough. Was I wrong…

Waiting months is hard.

God and I have had many talks over the last few months and some of them haven’t been the “pristine” prayer kind of talks. I have cried if not squalled, pleaded, yelled and even screamed some nights. The carpet knows me all too well. I have had questions like “Have I not learned something yet? What more can I do? Am I not believing You enough? My grandpa could possibly be in his final months of life and wants to see her, don’t You see?”

All hard questions but then again, I’ve heard nothing is too hard for Him right?

One story from Scripture has resonated with me throughout this wait of now 7 months and 5 days…

In Genesis 32, Moses tells the story of a night where a wrestling match took place. Unlike most wrestling matches, this match didn’t have an audience; until today that is. In verse 24, we are told that he, Jacob, “was left alone and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” We are told later in verse 30 that He recognized the man to be a manifestation of God.

If I’m honest, in most of my recent days, I have found myself wrestling with God. Although our matches haven’t involved physical contact, they have contained moments of wrestling with thoughts, feelings and emotions. All of which haven’t been too pretty… But, then again what wrestling match is?

To us, wrestling with God seems as though it is a disrespectful, horrendous act. But, after studying this story, I don’t think disrespect is what this story entails but instead, God showing so much respect for His child that He is willing to get into the mess alongside him.

Even now as I write these words I am overwhelmed with emotion. Somewhere around month 4-5, as the waiting became harder to swallow, God brought me this story. I didn’t realize the meaning behind it until now. God didn’t wrestle with Jacob because He was angry with him, God wrestled with Jacob to show him that He loved him and was willing to wrestle because He needed Jacob to see that He was in it with him and for him!

The “man” in the story goes onto say in verse 28, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Isreal, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

God had a purpose in the wrestling match. It may have been messy and it may have taken some time but in the end, Jacob came out with a new name and a new understanding of God. He no longer looked at God as a “far off” spiritual mentor but a close and humble friend who was willing to feel every twist and turn in the struggle right along with him.

So many days I looked and yelled at God as if He didn’t know what was going on or what I was feeling. However, when I realized that He wasn’t up in the sky somewhere looking down upon me but that He was right next to me crying and feeling everything I felt, my perspective began to change. I won’t say that our wrestling matches are through but I will say that in the wrestling, I now look beside me instead of up above me.

He’s there and always has been, on the floor squalling, in the car banging on the steering wheel; feeling my pain and my heartache. Through it all, He’s been there.

My heart needed to hear, “I’m here”.

The story of Jacob didn’t just leave him with a new name and perspective. In verse 31 we read that he was left with a limp. The struggle was so intense that he was left with a limp; a reminder to carry with him to remember the day God wrestled alongside him.

Although God hasn’t given me a limp, I have this time of heartache and pain to look back on and remember the place where Jesus gave me a spiritual limp to carry with me from now until eternity in my heart. To remember that He is in control and not only that, but He is wrestling with me, alongside me, holding me close.

It is in the wrestling that God creates intimacy between Him and I.

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So yes, I am still wrestling but I’d rather be in the wrestling match with God than in the audience. In verse 26 of chapter 32, Jacob cries out “I will not let you go until you bless me.” In the wrestling, God calls us into a deeper relationship with Him if we’re willing to not let go.


  • We are now into month 7 of waiting for First Approval. This call will be our approval from the Thailand government that we are able to come into their country and adopt our daughter. The timeframe right now for this wait is anywhere from 6-10 months so we are right in the middle! Our prayer is that we will get our call very soon!
  • Please pray for our daughter. As hard as this is for us, she is left waiting as well. Pray that God is working in her sweet little heart and keeping her safe until we get to hold her little hands in ours.