Big Problems. Small Problems.

A friend of mine just underwent surgery for breast cancer. We talked on the phone a few days beforehand as she filled me in on what the procedure would be like and the details. Then asked me about what’s new in my life. “Nothing.” Seriously, with all she has on her mind, we don’t need to talk about me. “Please, I need a distraction. Tell me about your boys.” Well, ok…

I told stories and rambled on about things that certainly don’t seem important compared to upcoming cancer surgery. Funny how our lives, our complaints and worries, dim in comparison to another’s. It’s good to look around and realize our lives aren’t as hard as so-and-so. It could always be worse, right?

IMG_3044But here’s what really struck me the last few days: no problem is small to God. And no problem is big to God either. God cares about all the details of our lives. He cares about my friend with cancer while also caring about my child who complains about how his clothes fit [insert eye roll]. God cares about these things in our lives because He cares about us. He loves us more than we can imagine.

Some people think God has bigger things to deal with than their little prayers. But I think God loves us so much and He wants a relationship with us so much, than He would love to talk to us about anything. Pray for a parking spot. Pray for healing. Pray for your children to stop arguing. Pray for your loved ones to know Jesus. No problem too big or too small. No prayer too big or too small.

“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

“I pray that you may grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:17-20

Saying Goodbye

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Yesterday we went to the memorial service for my neighbor, Kathleen. She was a kind, cheerful woman, always smiling. We would chat over the fence about gardens and landscaping. She would hire Jack to pull weeds because he was trying to earn money for something, but then of course, she had to sit with him and teach him which things were weeds. Kathleen was a loving person, thinking of others even when she was facing trials of her own.

My neighbor is actually Renee, Kathleen’s mom. A few years ago Kathleen moved in with her mom in case the 80-something year old ever needed help or someone to care for her. But Renee had raised a dozen children, mostly on her own, so she rarely needs help from others. Kathleen was the oldest of the family. I asked her how she was doing living with her mom. She said “It’s wonderful! I’ve been waiting my whole life for one-on-one time with mom!” She always had a way of looking on the positive side of things.

But instead of daughter taking care of mom, it turned out that Kathleen got cancer and her mom was taking care of her. She battled for several months before being diagnosed as terminal. Still she remained joyful.

Psalm 139 says “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. … 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” (verses 7-16).

When things don’t go as we planned, we can take comfort from these verses. We can trust that first, God is faithful. He will never leave us. Even when we try to get away from Him, He is still there to hold us and guide us. Second, the Lord loves us. He created us. He wants to be with us. The Psalm goes on to say that His thoughts about us are precious. God LOVES us! Third, we can trust that God is good. We may not understand His plans, we may doubt there are plans at all. But His word says He planned all of our days before we were even born (Psalm 139:16). No one dies “too soon.” Surely they die sooner than we wanted. But God had all of these days planned. There’s nothing we could have done to lengthen their life.

img_4001When you find things not going as you expected – when not if, because I’m pretty sure a time will come – I hope you cling to these same truths. God is faithful. God loves you. God is good. May you find peace in knowing your Creator is with you. And like Kathleen, may you find joy no matter the circumstances.

Why Fundraising is Biblical (Part 2)

Here is a two part Biblical basis for why we fund raise. Make sure you read Part 1 of Why Fundraising is Biblical.

2 Corinthians 8-9 — Paul encourages generosity.

“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (8:2). Make sure you don’t “say no” for others. Don’t cross them off your list to ask just because you know of something in their life that you think would prohibit them from giving. In these chapters Paul describes the Macedonian Christians giving as much as they were able. In fact they pleaded with the disciples for the “privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people” (8:4).

Are you inviting others to partner with you in accomplishing your mission? Are you allowing others the privilege to join you?

At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality” (8:14). You have something to offer your donors. It may not be financial, but it may be one of the services of your organization. Or it may be a benefit you discover through a personal relationship with your donors.

“We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man” (8:20-21). Be good stewards of the resources you are given.

Philippians 4:10-20 — Paul thanks the Philippians for their support.

“Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles” (v14). Giving to help Paul was a way for his friends and others to share in his troubles, to identify with his problems and to help him. They became partners with Paul.

“The gifts you sent are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (v18). Even more than donations helping our organizations, these donations are a way to worship God. People can worship the Lord and honor Him, by giving of their resources.

1 Timothy 6 – Be rich in good deeds.

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (v6). Everything we have is God’s. He has given it to us, or provided for us, allowing us to be born where we were, given the privileges we have, the education we received, and the healthy body to work. Whether directly, or indirectly, the Lord has provided everything you have. We give back to Him out of gratitude for all He has done for us.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (v17). God provides things for our enjoyment, so we can put ourselves in His hands. We can trust Him with all He has given us. Don’t trust in your wealth which can so easily be gone, but trust in God.

“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (v 18). We are commanded to give. It benefits others, but it also benefits us as we “store up treasures in heaven” (v19).

Why Fundraising is Biblical

Did you know Jesus lived on financial support? He even sent His disciples out to raise support. Generously giving to others is encouraged throughout the Bible. So why do we shrink away from asking people to give? Why do we get nervous and afraid when it comes to exchanging money? Maybe it’s because we need a better understanding of the foundation of fundraising.

Psalm 50, 124 — God owns it all.

“I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills” (50:9-10). God is speaking to the people about the animals they sacrifice as offerings to Him. He doesn’t need them because He owns everything. All we have belongs to the Lord. What we give Him isn’t necessary for Him, its necessary for us because it helps us recognize His authority in our lives. Giving away of our resources helps us not be dependent on them, as well as trusting God to continue to provide for us.

“Our help is in the name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth” (124:8). The Lord made everything. We can trust Him to provide for our non-profits as we ask others to give, and we can trust Him as individuals giving away our resources.

Luke 8:1-3 — Jesus lives on support.

“These women were helping to support them out of their own means” (v 3). These women were supporting Jesus and the disciples because their lives had been impacted by Jesus’s ministry. Who are the people impacted by your work? Have you told them about your financial needs? Do they know the impact they can make on your ministry if they donate. 

Luke 10:1-7 — Jesus sends out his disciples to live on support.

“Stay there eating and drinking whatever they give you, for a worker deserves his wages” (v 7). Jesus sends the disciples to every town where He is about to go. They are preparing the way for Jesus. But He gives them clear instruction not to bring a purse or bag or sandals. Not even to say hi along the way. Jesus wants the disciples to go directly to their destination and to be focused on their objective. The people in each town will provide for the disciples’ needs, because a worker deserves his wages.

1 Corinthians 9 — Paul defends the right of living on support.

“Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?” (v 7,11). I think Paul could have done a mic drop after this. Amen! We should expect people who are impacted by our ministries, schools, non-profits to want to give back to the organizations that have helped them.

Read Part 2 of Why Fundraising is Biblical

You Can Be Part of their Story

About six years ago I had a special announcement for my husband, so I made him a special dinner. He walked in the door and I told him the menu. “Tonight we are having BABY back ribs, sweet BABY ray’s bbq sauce, and BABY carrots.” Jeff said “Oh that’s funny. All those things have “baby” in the name.” It took him a minute to figure out the announcement was that I was pregnant!

We dreamed and planned for this first baby of ours until about halfway through the pregnancy when our dreams came to a crushing end. I found myself being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, doctors telling me that I’m already in labor and they can’t stop it. That night I delivered our first son, Caleb, born at just 20 weeks and too small to live.


We were devastated. This wasn’t how I planned things. The grief and sadness were overwhelming. Instead of decorating a nursery, we were planning a funeral. Instead of picking out baby clothes, we were picking out a gravestone. We stood in the front of the church, with a shoebox-sized coffin in front of us, while the congregation sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” a song I had chosen. I was crying too hard to sing the words, but in my heart I knew it to be true. “Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed the Lord has provided.” But amidst all the questions and sadness, I stood firm on the foundation of faith I had, knowing that, even though I don’t understand it all, I know that God is good, that He is faithful and He loves me.

A few weeks later I went back to work, only to find the non-profit I worked for needed to restructure and now I was out of a job. I was supposed to be a stay-at-home mom, but now I’m home with no job and no baby. Again the grief feels overwhelming, but I stand on the foundation of faith.

I get a call from the Young Life area director at the time saying the office administrator moved away and asking if I have any time that I could help in the office. “Yes!” in fact I had a lot of time. Instead of having an identity crisis and sinking into despair, volunteering at the Young Life office gave me a purpose, a reason to wake up in the morning.

About six months later I got pregnant again and this time I was confident everything was going to be fine. But halfway through the pregnancy, I began to have the same problems. Thankfully the doctors were able to do surgery and keep the baby safe inside me. Except it meant I had to be on bed rest for 4 months – flat on my back for 4 months. Those 4 months could have been so boring. But friends and family, and many Young Life friends surrounded me. They brought me dinners, made me lunch, brought me Starbucks. These Young Life friends didn’t even know me very well, but knew a Young Life friend was in need and they were going to do what they could to help.

Those months of bed rest could have been filled with fear and worry and anxiety. Because of losing Caleb, I understood very clearly that bed rest meant life or death for this baby. But I stood firm on the foundation of faith, trusting that God is good, He is faithful and He loves me.

Well the rest of the pregnancy was miraculous and Jack was born. He is 4 years old now. I have another son, Parker, who is almost one year old. In fact I wasn’t at last year’s Young Life banquet, because I was in the hospital giving birth to Parker!

I tell you these stories because they are examples of things not going as I planned. I’m sure you can relate – whether it’s losing a child, losing a job, death of a loved one, an illness, a wayward child, a divorce – the list goes on of things that happen in our lives that we didn’t plan. The question isn’t IF something happens, but WHEN something happens in your life that you didn’t plan, what are you going to do? When the world as you know it falls apart and you are at rock bottom, what will you be standing on?

I had a foundation of faith because of people that poured into my life when I was a teenager. People who showed me what it looks like to be a Christian, how to trust God even when I don’t have all the answers. I learned verses in the Bible that showed me God is good, He is faithful and He loves me. I had a Foundation of Faith to stand on.

Tonight you have the opportunity to give a foundation of faith to students. You have the opportunity to partner with Young Life and ensure that teens across Naperville & Aurora hear about the God who is good, who is faithful, and who loves them. You can be part of their story, so one day when their world is shaken and their plans don’t work out, they have a solid Foundation of Faith to stand on.

Maybe you came in here with a number in mind of what you were going to give. But I encourage you, now that you’ve heard about how great ministry is, you’ve heard our vision for the future, you’ve seen these kids and heard how God has used Young Life to change their lives. Think about how much it’s worth. How much is it worth to provide a foundation of faith? How much is it worth to reach another student, another class of students, another school? How much is it worth?

There are many ways you can spend your money. But they’re temporary. You buy a shirt, but eventually the shirt gets stained, or doesn’t fit or isn’t in style. You buy groceries, but then your family eats all the food and you have to go back to the store. You can buy stocks and see incremental increases or decreases. But it’s still temporary. Not with Young Life. Giving to Young Life is investing in our community. Investing in our students. As a Young Life donor, you are part of these students’ stories. Your donation is making an eternal impact.

You can see in the program that our annual budget is $400,000. A gift of any amount is wonderful and we thank you for that. But what we really need are monthly donors, that helps us know how much money is coming in each month and how to plan for the future. We are also looking for people to be Foundational Donors, which means giving $10,000 each year for three years. I encourage you to give generously, where your gift will make an eternal impact, where students will hear about the God who is good, who is faithful and who loves them. Give where you can provide a Foundation of Faith

Give Online or Email me (Debbie@ylchicago.com) to be a Foundational Donor

Crazy Vacation Stories: Mexico Edition

When Jack was two years old, we took him to Mexico for a beach + adventure trip. Sitting on a beach is my ideal vacation. But Jeff needs almost constant activity, so we had a variety of things planned that made both of us happy. And Jack was along for the ride.

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Jack is asleep in this picture, hence why Jeff is stabilizing his head.

First up, swimming with whale sharks. Not quite as dangerous as it sounds, since they only eat plankton, but they are the size of school buses. When I booked the whale shark tour from home, they said no children were allowed. But since we offered to pay for him, and convinced the tour company Jack would be no problem, they agreed.

Next I asked our pediatrician what to do to avoid Jack getting seasick. He suggested a small dose of Benadryl before we get on the boat. Sounds easy enough.

We boarded the boat and the benadry knocked Jack out. He sat asleep on Jeff’s lap while the boat motored out to find some whale sharks. The idea is that once you find a whale shark, two people at a time get in the water and swim with it for a few minutes. Also, since whale sharks are wild animals and unpredictable, this all happens quickly.

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Whale Shark = Size of a School Bus

Finally we find a whale shark and Jeff and I are up first. The boat captain picks up Jack, who is still sleeping, and hands him to another female passenger. I tried to protest that Jeff and I go separately so one of us is with Jack, but the boat captain assured me Jack would be fine because “she’s a lady. She take care of baby.” Oh, that settles it. I hollered to her “his name is Jack” and jumped into the water.

Jeff and I got our three minutes with the whale shark, and got back on the boat as two other girls jumped in. Then the whale sharks were gone. You were supposed to see many of them while they’re migrating so that all the passengers had a turn to swim with them. But since they disappeared, we drove around in the boat searching for more whale sharks.

Hours passed. Then the boat ran out of gas. We are floating in the middle of the ocean. [This is a true story.] Eventually another boat pulls up and takes the passengers from our boat who hadn’t swam with the whale sharks yet. That leaves the two boat captains, two Australian girls, Jeff, Jack, and me. Floating in the ocean.

Another boat pulls up and begins towing us back to shore. By this point in the trip, Jack’s Benadryl has definitely worn off and we’ve run out of ways to entertain him on a small boat. To make it worse, the bobbing up and down over high waves mixed with the exhaust fumes of the boat towing us, is causing Jeff and I to feel seasick.

We are both laying down while half watching Jack who is eating some raisins. Nothing quite wakes you up and removes your seasickness like hearing your husband say to the toddler, “Did you just put a raisin in your nose?!”

The obedient, well-behaved child, who has never even thought of putting anything in his nose, chose this time to try it. We are being s l o w l y towed back to land, but no land is in sight at this point. We ask the captains for a first aid kit, hoping there would be some tweezers. How do you say tweezers in Spanish? They ask if we need a bandaid. Umm no.

Next the Australian girls in their 20s. One has nothing with her. The other digs around her purse and at the very bottom, where you have crumbs and old hair bands and gum wrappers, finds a paper clip. “Do you want this?”

A quick look at our circumstances reveals no better options. Jeff straightens out part of the paper clip, intending to stab the raisin. I hold Jack’s head still… although the boat is bobbing in the middle of the ocean… Jeff goes for it and thankfully we successfully remove the raisin. (Cue the choirs of angels)

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Here is an example of watching Jack closely 🙂

We certainly could have had a dire medical situation on our hands, especially considering it still took us hours to get back to shore. The rest of the boat ride is a bit of a blur. I’m pretty sure we didn’t take our eyes off of Jack and gave him no small objects. Needless to say he learned his lesson.

As for the boat running out of gas, and the tour taking twice as long as planned, I think we got a small refund. At least we had our three minutes with the whale sharks.

Jonah: More than a Fish Story

Jeff took this picture in Sydney, Australia on our honeymoon and it has been hanging on this wall for almost eight years. Despite being a high traffic zone in our house, and us opening and closing the doors nearby multiple times a day, this picture has never been crooked. Until two weeks ago.

The details are a little fuzzy in my mind, but it probably involves one or two children not getting out the door as fast as I planned. So, being the rational, Godly woman I am, I slammed the door shut. Very hard.

“Do you do well to be angry?” God asked Jonah.

“Do you do well to be angry?” God asked me.

For two weeks that picture has been crooked. No matter how many times I straighten it each day, it’s always crooked. One day I asked Jeff if he had some poster putty to fix it. “It’s so weird that the picture is crooked now,” Jeff said. Yeah, so weird…

I confessed my sin to Jeff. I think he rolled his eyes. I immediately felt regret for slamming the door, but I had a two week crooked picture reminder that my anger doesn’t accomplish anything.

How many times do I have the boys in their car seats and realize I forgot my keys, or sunglasses, or water? I’m just as guilty for making us late as they are. And does it even matter if we are a few minutes late?

After Jonah was swallowed and vomitted by a fish, he finally obeyed God and told the people of Ninevah that God was going to judge the city. The people repented. They changed their ways and called on the Lord to not destroy them. And God had mercy on them. He relented from His anger and showed them mercy. But Jonah… He wasn’t happy about it all. He was angry. Angry about a plant that provided him shade but then died. Angry that God sent him to Ninevah, only to show mercy to them. Angry that he couldn’t choose who received God’s favor.

Do you do well to be angry? It’s not worth a crooked picture frame for weeks. Or worse. Take a breath. Be thankful for the mercy God shows you, and start showing that mercy to others.

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20

How Pregnancies Wrecked My Body

I put the boys down for a nap, opened the mail, and excitedly found my Fitbit had arrived! I promptly put it on my wrist, grabbed the little instruction booklet, and laid on the couch. 

In my defense, this was the treasured “nap time” when one child sleeps and the other stays in his room for at least 3 minutes before I have to entertain/threaten/bribe him to give me 10 more minutes of alone time. Second, we spent the morning running around a kid play place where I crawled through tunnels, down slides, pushed Parker in a tractor, and all sorts of activity since the 572 friends we asked to join us couldn’t come, and I promised a fun day for Jack (he earned it with a rewards system I implemented… Maybe another post).

So I laid on the couch, Fitbit on my wrist, reading the manual. Then Fitbit was like “A little less conversation, a little more action please.” Turns out the thing only counts steps when you take the steps. I know, crazy.

I bought the Fitbit with birthday gift money, hoping it would give me some motivation to get back in shape. Over the last six years my body has been through a lot. 

  • 4 pregnancies: 20 weeks, 41 weeks, 6 weeks, and 38 weeks. That’s a total of 105 weeks – more than 2 years!
  • Delivered 3 babies, only got to bring 2 home.
  • Gained 15 pounds, lost 15 pounds. Gained 50, lost 50. Gained 40, lost 20.
  • 16 weeks on bed rest, flat on my back.
  • 2 surgeries to keep babies inside me
  • 9 months of inactivity: no running, no chasing a toddler around, no lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk.
  • Not to mention all the emotions that accompany these challenging pregnancies.

Six years ago I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. These days my body hurts from normal mom life: carrying a baby and chasing an energetic 4 year old. Instead of running laps on a track, I’m often driving laps in my car where the boys seem to most enjoy sleeping.
After bed rest and delivering Jack, it took my body about 15 months before I felt normal again. It’s been 11 months since Parker was born, but I feel stuck. Tired after long, but good days at home with the boys, I don’t want to work out at night. But I look at the energy of my husband and children and think I want to be there. I want to do that. And I don’t want to struggle through it.

Instead of finding temporary comfort in an evening catching up on Netflix, I’m hoping Fitbit can help me pursue long-term comfort as I get my body back. I know the road might be long, but I like the clothes in my closet and I want them to fit again. And I want to climb some mountains.

Birthday Gift for Caleb 

After helping in Jack’s school this morning, we headed out to have lunch at Grammy and Granddad’s and then visit Caleb’s grave. However both Jack and Parker fell asleep on the way. So I went straight to visit my Caleb. 

It’s still surprising to see my son’s name on a gravestone. But I also smile when I see it because it stands out. The almost black stone with white lettering peeking over the hill as you drive up behind the church where I grew up. 

What do you out on the grave for a little boy? Flowers don’t always feel right to me, especially since it’s hard to find blue ones. Sometimes we put a balloon there or those spinny pinwheels. Today I realized I didn’t have anything. 

  I figured we’d stop at the store and pick something up but since the boys were asleep I didn’t have many options. Hmm what’s in the car that might be appropriate? Trail mix? Jack begged me to get these trail mix packs but of course he only eats the M&Ms. 

So while two of my boys slept in the car, I stood before Caleb’s grave and sprinkled nuts, raisins and M&Ms around it. The deer and squirrels will appreciate it. And we like feeding animals. I stood there and sang. 

Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul. 

God I wish I could have all of my boys here. But I trust You, even when I don’t understand. 

Thou Satan should buffet, thou trials should come. Let this blest assurance control: That Christ has regarded my helpless estate and has shed His own blood for my soul!

I know I’ll see Caleb again in heaven. 

Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight…

Happy birthday Caleb. Hope you’re getting some M&Ms in heaven 😊

Five years ago

  Five years ago I was laying in a hospital bed, halfway through my first pregnancy, shocked by the sudden, unexpected news that I would have to deliver this baby now. But I wouldn’t get to bring him home. He wouldn’t survive.

I wouldn’t get to introduce him to family and friends. I’d never sing him to sleep or buy him cute clothes. I wouldn’t get to watch him grow, to learn to walk and talk and run. I wouldn’t teach him how to play soccer or the guitar. All the dreams for his future, gone.

Mostly silence filled our hospital room as questions filled our minds. The nurses said he may live for a short time and we would get to hold him. 

How do we hold such a tiny baby? You’ll know how, the nurse assured us. 

What do we name him? Some people choose the name they always had in mind for their baby. Yet others pick a new name now that you know this baby won’t survive.

What would labor be like? Because the baby won’t survive, many pain relieving options were available. However since the baby might have a short time alive, I wanted to make sure I was completely coherent.

Our nurse who specialized in situations like ours, answered our questions before we even asked.

Our parents joined us in the hospital room. Tears, small talk played in the background as Jeff and I tried to secretly discuss a name. We didn’t even know if the baby was a boy or girl. This name has to mean something. I thought of some favorite Bible stories but needed a Bible. Of course since I landed in the hospital via ambulance, my phone wasn’t charged, I didn’t have a Bible or my iPad or anything. The nurse tracked down a Bible for me. Thanks Gideons.

Where is the story about Moses sending 12 spies into the Promised Land? After some scanning, Dad found it for me: Numbers 13. God had promised the Israelites this land but told Moses to send these 12 men ahead to check it out. They returned and declared to the people “It does flow with milk and honey and here is its fruit! But…” They were scared of the giants that live there. “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.'”

But the others spread a bad report among the people so they grumbled and wept and doubted God’s promise. But Joshua and Caleb believed in the Lord and were not afraid. Because of the others God said the Isaraelites would wander through the desert for 40 years until everyone in that generation had died, except Joshua and Caleb. “Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows Me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.”

Caleb believed God, followed Him wholeheartedly, and coincidentally was the son of Jeff, or more specifically “Jephunneh.” Good thing the baby was born a boy. We had no girl name picked out.

  And so Caleb was born. His heart stopped beating. No first cry. No happy tears, only sad ones. Our first family picture – do we smile? We held his tiny body but his soul was already in heaven. 

All the lost dreams, the won’t haves, the hopes broken have changed. 

Caleb made me a Mom, even though he never called me Mommy. He taught me the incredible power of love as my heart burst with love for him. Because of Caleb my faith was tested and survived. I grew dependent on the Lord in a way nothing but heart-wrenching sorrow could make possible. The Word of God literally sustained me.

I could always list the “won’t haves” with Caleb – and often I do think of them. But because of Caleb, I have new dreams I get to fulfill every day with Jack and Parker. God has given me many blessings, and Caleb is one of the best.