Monday, June 8, 2015

chicken soup and a flashlight

I had a very vivid dream Saturday night…
I rescued 2 very tiny, helpless kittens from an extremely 
vicious, scary dog. He didn't scare me, but I knew he would
tear those babies to pieces if I didn't risk being attacked myself 
to save them. As always, I asked Holy Spirit if this was a dream
from Him, or merely something I ate the night before.
He revealed His answer that morning in church.

Those kittens were our youngest children - our adopted treasures.
Pastor Chad's topic in church?
That got my "I'm-mama-bear-hear-me-growl" juices flowing.

While any believer will struggle at one point, or many times with 
their identity in the kingdom, we've seen a true "orphan mentality"
lived out in our home - It's a battle.

I didn't want to take this picture in China, but I felt I needed to.
This is his default. To retreat. Alone. Isolated. Defensive.
His first 6 months home - not. easy.
My normal Mother Jedi mind powers? useless.
We celebrate each open window & door into his soul 
we've been blessed to glimpse.
Praise Jesus - Those moments of retreat are not the norm anymore.

This is a big week for him.
He will have first birthday celebration he's aware of ever having.

We asked him what he wanted for a gift.
a flashlight
"OK, so where do you want to go out to eat?"
chicken soup at home

Chicken soup and a flashlight?!
Um, at that moment I almost sold my 80's Swatch collection
and my vintage autographed Randolph Mantooth photo on ebay,
and contemplated picking up 2 part time jobs 
to buy him the whole toy section at Target.
(My gift of mercy can often veer suddenly into unhealthy territory.)
Dear son, this is the land of the free, the home of the brave,
the society of Toys R Us Christmas dream catalogs
and stores where children register for birthday presents like they're getting married
and rent ginormous play/pizza centers to celebrate with 50 of their closest friends!

I'm not defending our culture of excess, and praying a spirit of 
greed over my son. I want him to know what it means to be a Woodard.
We celebrate birthdays big in our home.
I want him to dream like a "normal" little boy about a present he's always
desired, and know what it feels like to be wanted, very wanted,
and celebrated, very celebrated.


For two of our children, this is a deeper struggle.
But I will war on their behalf.

The kindness of the Father will bring Gus 
to repentance & believing faith in Jesus.
I want he and Gracie to know that
"No eye has seen nor ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined what God has prepared
for those who love Him.
But it was to us that God revealed these things by His Spirit.
For His Spirit searches out everything 
and shows us God's deep secrets."
1 Corinthians 2:8-10

May this Truth set them free to know that in Christ they are:

Filled with the very Spirit of God. (Ephesians 1:13)
The righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor. 5:21)
Not condemned because they are in Christ. (Romans 8:1)
Chosen and royal. (1 Peter 2:9)
Fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139)
Alive with Christ and seated in the heavenlies. (Ephesians 2)

Alas,  they are also Woodards, 
where their birthdays will be obnoxiously celebrated
by a mother who becomes a possessed Martha Stewart on steroids
when it comes to such occasions.

We will have Gus' favorite chicken soup for his 12th birthday.
One of his presents will be a flashlight,
and we will also shower him with affirmation of his identity.

Monday, May 12, 2014

I don't know how...

as Mother's Day approached I kept asking myself,
"how am I supposed to do this?
how am I supposed to feel? 
how do I celebrate this first one without my Mom?"

truthfully, walking through that  
Hallmark card section was tough. 
picturing that traditional
 "moms-get-a-rose-at-church-service" was tough.

grace. grace. grace.
the weekend I semi dreaded was full of grace.
my amazing husband arranged for our family
to spend the weekend in Tennessee.
no phones.
no tv.
no computer.
we had one God-moment after another.
we laughed. a lot.
we played. a lot.
we rested. a lot.
the Father met me in my deep places
of grief too. He's so tender.

I saw my Mom too - 

in Alison, whose quick wit can  
make me laugh like no other.
in Erin, whose uncanny sensitivity catches me off
guard & makes me feel so loved & seen.
in Quinn,  who loves drama, of any kind.
and in Gracie, who is so generous
with her affection.

Mother's Day was different this year.
the first one without my precious Mom 
was cushioned with good memories,
a kind husband who has faithfully walked some tough
 places with me over the last nine months,
and my little treasures who made me a Mom myself.

Isaiah 40:11
"He tends His flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart;
He gently leads those that have young."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our sins and fears release us
Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel's strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

la birthday pics

when the birthday boy wants 
authentic fish & chips...

while one waits for said fish & chips

Ali showed up downtown to
surprise her favorite brother!

a wise old sage reflecting
on 12 years of life

and there was great air soft rejoicing in the land

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


he went right ahead...
he did it...
he turned 12 today.
where have the years gone?!

happy, happy, happy birthday to our

we thank Father today for the gift of YOU,
& pray His richest blessings and  
loving hand over you today.
we love you Quinn Samuel!!!!!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

4 years!

can't believe it's been 4 years
  since we met our baby girl!

this calls for some
Yang-Yang crispy beef

dry fried green beans

oyster chicken & bok choy

and the guest of honor!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

no packing required...

our family is going on a mission trip this summer.
all 6 of us.
even the pets.
no luggage, no travel shots, no motion sickness bags.
in fact, we're not leaving home...

see this sweet face?
we have the honor of hosting this little
guy from China for 6 weeks
through an amazing organization
called New Horizons for Children.

over 70 orphaned boys & girls will
be coming to stay in Christian homes in
 the US from July 9 -Aug. 16.

some of the main goals...

"to learn about God, experience His love & realize they
have a Father Who loves them"
"to provide an educational/cultural experience"
"to show them unconditional love & acceptance"
"to introduce adoptable children to families &
hopefully find their forever family"
hmmmm....more on that later :)

this has been no small undertaking in many ways.
we don't take this lightly, & we are beyond excited!

would you pray for us?!
financially, emotionally, and most importantly,
that Father's love would be overflowing in our home.

"a thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy.
I came so they can have real and eternal life,
more and better life than they ever dreamed of."
John 10:10