Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tea, My First-Born and Me


"So that's why Daddy calls you his teacup!" exclaimed my nine-year old, Grace, sitting next to me on our first mommy-daughter date.

I had just finished displaying and describing these three items to her, according to author, speaker, and founder of Secret Keeper Girls, Dannah Gresh and it suddenly clicked.

The paper cup.  The ceramic mug.  The china teacup.
Twelve years earlier, I'd shared nearly the exact same object lesson with a group of teenage girls during a series on sexual purity in our home using Dannah's book, And the Bride Wore White.  Now I found myself revisiting these questions and these truths with my first-born after beginning another one of Dannah's book, 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters.

Back then and today, the message remains the same:  Be governed by your value. 

How do you see yourself?  How do others see you?

In your relationship with your mom and dad?
In the way you treat people? Your friends? Your siblings?
With your time with God?
Concerning the clothes you choose to wear?  The clothes you'd like to wear?
With the way you care for your body?
With the words you speak?
With the movies or television shows you watch? 
With the books you read? 
With the music you listen to?
By the images you view on the Internet?  Etc.

Are your actions or choices similar to a disposable, trashable, Styrofoam or paper cup?   
Or an ordinary, everyday, easily-replaceable ceramic mug
Or the highly-valued, highly-treasured, priceless, china teacup?

We made our way down the lists, discussing and evaluating ourselves honestly to each other.

But this was only one part of our time together.  Time, prior to the Secret Keeper Event last month, I was unaware we needed.

Two months ago, when I asked a group of moms and their daughters (ages 8-12) to join Grace and me at the Secret Keeper Girls Pajama Party in Atlanta, I had a feeling it would be an uniquely memorable time for us all.  And the event did not disappoint. 

We had so much fun.  We sang songs.  We danced.  We saw a modesty fashion show.  We ate sweets.  We played games.  We spent time together as moms and daughters.  We prayed together.  And we learned what God has to say about us in His Word.  It was the ultimate "girl world" pajama party.

During the break, Grace wanted to walk around and look at the merchandise table.   Out of all the books, the keepsakes, and other items they were selling, Grace zeroed in on the book, 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters.  

I didn't buy it that night, but ordered it online later after she mentioned it again.  I couldn't believe her excitement when it finally arrived on our doorstep.  And also a week later, when she saw the book sitting (unread) on my nightstand and asked, "Mom, when are we going to start this?!?"

I homeschool both of my girls, therefore I am with them all day. Every breakfast. Every lunch. Every snack. Every dinner. Every high. Every low. I see it all and live through it all. All day. Everyday.

I read to them. I talk to them. I spend time with them. Lots of time. All the time. With them.

But what I was hearing from Grace's heart was a desire to be with me.  Just me.  And as much as she loves her, no little sister.  No school.  Just her and me doing fun girl stuff.  My girl was craving some quality time. 

I knew this was something she really wanted and really needed.  I also knew it would take some intentional effort on my part.  But spurred on by her excitement, I read the book, did a little research,and organized our first official mother-daughter date. 

The suggested location from the book was a tearoom.  I had a couple of options, but based on some recommendations by friends, I chose a local establishment called Cafe 313, which we'd never been to before.  It turned out to be the perfect place for us and for our date.  We drank lemonade (since neither of us wanted tea) from our own china teacups and saucers brought from home, had a delicious lunch and ate some of the finest desserts we'd ever tasted. 

Notice the teacups on the wall?  Perfect setting for our date!

Name is based upon Ecclesiastes 3:13. Love it. :)
From the beginning I could tell Grace felt special and pampered.  It was just us, having some girl gab time, talking about things concerning beauty, modesty and fashion which her five-year old sister isn't quite ready to discuss. 

We weren't rushed.  We weren't interrupted.  We weren't distracted.  I needed to hear her heart and she got to hear mine.  It was sweet.

Grace will be turning ten later this year and will be deemed a "tween" by today's world.  She will find herself caught in that stage between being a little girl and emerging into a full-blown teenager.  Mercy.

Life gets trickier for her as she learns to navigate these waters and I don't want her to cave to the pressures of this world by growing up too quickly.  I want to be there for her.  I want to maintain a close connection with her. I want to know her and reassure her of her true identity in the One who created her and adores her. 

No, a mom does not have to buy this book or go on eight dates with her daughter to know her and be a stable, supportive role in her daughter's life.  But my daughter wants this time and I need it, too.  This experience has motivated me to be intentional, resourceful and creative. And that is a good, good thing for this preoccupied mama!

We have seven specific dates left (think facials, art gallery, shopping and more).  Each date has a specific theme, sure to make some special memories, which is why we bought a special scrapbook in which to record them all.  Our plan is to go on one date each month, leading up to Grace's big double-digit birthday. 

Then, in about three to four years, I'll get to do it all over again with my sweet girl, Gloria.  And then again with our youngest daughter, a little brown-skinned Indian treasure who'll be in our family one day soon.  Hopefully.

Maybe I should write my own book at that time, since I am bound to be a rock star at mastering these mommy-daughter dates with each of my little teacups in training.  :)

How do you know someone had a good time?
When they repeatedly tell you, "Thanks, Mom!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


One year ago this week we signed our names on the papers.  We said "yes" to this amazing journey to adopt.  We applied to the India program with our agency and have yet to look back. 

Full steam ahead for 365 days.  That is until last week when we had our first setback.

A phone call.  Another phone call.  Excitement.  An email.  A picture.  Information.  More excitement.  Some questions.  Some answers.  Some concerns.  Some prayers.  Another email.  More questions.  More answers.  More concerns.  Less excitement.  More prayer.


When was the last time you were desperate?  Desperate to know what you should do?  Desperate to know, without any hesitation, His plan for you?  Desperate to see His hand and seek His face in light of your situation? 

In a nutshell, that was us last week.  Summed up and tied up in one emotion-packed word:  desperate.  Faced with a HUGE, life-altering decision and desperately needing wisdom.  ASAP.

"If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. 
He loves to help.  You'll get His help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. 
Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought."
James 1:5-6 (The Message) 

We know our Father's voice.  We have heard Him say, "Yes" and we have heard Him say, "No".  We know what undeniable peace feels like when we're walking the path He's set before us.  We also know what unrest, irritability and irritation feels like when we're not.

The whole situation reminded me of a winter day a couple of years ago.  On this particular day, I was traveling alone in my car to an unknown destination, trying to figure out the newly added navigation feature on my phone. 

On the way there, I got turned around.  I didn't know where I was going.  All because my cell phone kept cutting out.  The signal kept fading and I needed to hear the GPS voice to know which way to turn and to help me get to my destination.

I needed help.  If I didn't hear the voice,  I would be lost.

Then I remembered this:

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
'This is the way; walk in it.'"
Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

The phone finally kicked back in and thankfully, I arrived exactly where I needed to be and exactly when I needed to be there.

Last week, my mind went back to that day in the car while comparing it to our current situation.  In the same way, Derek and I needed direction.  Our ears needed to hear His voice telling us "This is the way. Walk." or "This is not the way. Stop."

Our minds sorted through the facts.  Our hearts felt the pull of the emotional weight bearing down on us.  We desperately wanted it all to work out.

With each passing hour, each new piece of information, and each prayer prayed, we strained to hear.  We leaned in, listened and eventually, heard Him clearly.

What we'd been so hopeful for and so excited about, quickly turned the other way.  We struggled.  We cried.  We released it.  And that's when we felt the loss.  Just like we did when we walked through the miscarriage I had nearly seven years ago.

When it wasn't meant to be.  Not then.  Not now.

We started this journey by letting our "yes be yes".  But in this particular situation we had to simply let our "no be no."

Today, we are not disheartened, just disappointed.  Our hearts no longer heavy, but hopeful.

We will continue to wait for God and for His immaculate timing for our family.  It will happen.  We don't have the slightest idea when, but we hold to the belief that it will.  And hopefully, soon and very soon.

For now, we've gotten up, dusted ourselves off, laced up our shoes and stepped back on the path of this journey.  We are walking again.  But some things remain unchanged. 

We are still desperate. Still desperate for His leading.  Still desperate for His voice.  Still desperate for His direction.

We will keep going and keep trusting and keep asking for His help to know where to walk and when to walk toward the little one we are desperate to have in our family.

(Forgive me for the vagueness of this post.  Unfortunately, we cannot share all the details for privacy's sake.  Thank you for understanding.)
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