The Prayers of Many

I have a friend who is in the middle of a very difficult adoption trial. I want to protect her privacy, so I’ll call her M. She is a kind, wise, godly person who loves children, a school teacher, who adopted a little girl last summer (I’ll call E) out of the foster system. Months after bringing E into her home, M found out that CPS had made serious errors in the removal of E from her previous home. Although there was definite evidence of abuse and neglect, these errors have put the adoption of E into indefinite hold just days before the adoption was to be finalized.

E has been bounced around from home to home most of her young life. She has been neglected, forgotten, and abused. Last year she finally got a mommy who had prayed for her long before she knew her. She was safe and loved. She has made strides this year to trust M and to start to let down the walls that she built around herself in her early life. They have walked through some serious trials together and truthfully they are still walking through difficulty. The wounds in E are deep. She’s afraid, and justifiably so, that M isn’t permanent. The therapist working with E has encouraged M that once E’s adoption is finalized, she can really begin to trust and heal.

So not only does this indefinite hold effect M and E because it seems to have the potential to split them up, it is actually delaying E’s healing and making M’s home feel like just another “holding tank” that E has been placed into, not the home of permanent stability and safety she so desperately needs.

It is a terribly difficult situation. M lives in a rural community, works all day with her students, comes home and focuses intently on E and her healing, and then after E goes to bed grades papers until she finally falls asleep exhausted. She does not have much community around her, outside of her family, who “get” what she is doing. She is not on Facebook, attached to the amazing community of adoptive parents that I have been able to meet, and she isn’t in a church that has other adoptive parents.

So the purpose of this blog is to change that. It occurred to me today that I know an army of people who fight for kids like E and moms like M everyday. So I am going to send this blog to every adoptive mom and adoption advocate I can think of and to members of the church who have stood with us in trials. I want people to come in droves willing to pray for M and E, willing to write them letters of scripture and encouragement, willing to stand with them in intercession before God that He would fight for them, give M peace, and heal this sweet little girl. So if you want to join me in this army of prayer support and encouragement for my friend, would you leave a comment, or send me an email at I will send you updates on the situation, and a way to send encouraging “snail mail” and email to M and E if you feel led to send them encouragement and prayers.

We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

I believe that together we will rejoice (and I pray it is soon) when the Lord has worked a miracle not only in the case, but in M and E’s home, in the love, trust, and permanency of a family. And until then, Jesus please be near my sweet friend.

Obeying Despite Consequences

Man what a month it has been.  I try not to whine all over this blog every time (haha) – so let me just say this month was a bruiser and I have not reacted so well to all we’ve encountered.

Our friend, and mentor (really our own personal Pastor this past two years), Bryan McAnally, posted this quote yesterday and it resonated through me:

Faith is not believing without evidence, it is obeying despite consequences. – Chuck Missler

That is a choice (much like choosing to love your spouse or to place your children’s needs before your own).  Those are  moment-by-moment, sometimes incredibly difficult, man-up because this is real life, choices.

That quote, and what I am about to share from Deuteronomy, shifted my perspective today.

Because here’s the truth, friends.  I have not been choosing to obey, or see truth, lately.  I have been acting like a big stinking baby in my head the past two weeks.  Questioning and doubting, hurting and battling.  I am tired.  To the bone, tears-at-the-back-of-my-eyes, breathing “Jesus where are You in this?” many times a day… tired.

So I read this quote today and feel a whisper in my heart – “This is for you.”

Obeying despite consequences.  What does that mean?  Aren’t I doing that already?

I’m simultaneously reading about Moses delivering the Israelites to the border of the Promised Land in Deuteronomy 32.  And I say it that way intentionally – he delivered them to the border, but he was not allowed to enter.

Moses was a faithful guy – much more so than the Israelites that he was serving, and yet his promise was never fulfilled.  And I read this today and expect to see some sign of his disappointment, his exhaustion.  I want him to be tired too.  I want someone else – maybe even a big father of the faith – to act like a baby (for no other reason than to make me feel better and to give me an ally in my own personal “God is not fair” rally going on in my head these days).

But in Deuteronomy 32, Moses delivers to the Israelites a song, his farewell address.  He says:  “I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God!  The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice.  A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He.”

He goes on to remind the Israelites of the time when they were faithless, and the Lord turned His back on them to open their eyes to their need for Him.  And then He reminds them that the Lord is always faithful, as he says “The Lord will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone.”  He affirms the sovereignty of God and actually speaks in the voice of God as he delivers this message; “There is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.”  He reminds them to live by the Word of God, for it is life to them as they enter the land the Lord has given them.  He joyfully blesses each tribe and each leader, as he praises God for His love and faithfulness.

No whining.  No rallies (at least not the kind I was looking for).

After this speech, Moses ascends a mountain on the edge of the Promised Land, and while looking into the land he will never enter, dies.

Faith is not believing without evidence, it is obeying despite consequences. – Chuck Missler

Moses got this.  He died getting this right.  His eyes were opened to another plane and he simply obeyed, seemingly without thought of consequence (or rights, or selfish ambition).  Oh to have faith like that!

I’ll confess I don’t see like that most of the time.   I catch glimpses, but they are fleeting and the selfish mentality of my default mindset quickly takes back over.  When I see this story with human eyes – it stinks.  Righteous guy gets nothing while selfish people get it all.  Wah lah – God isn’t fair.

But when I see it with the eyes of faith I see that Moses traded the Promised Land (temporal, flawed, momentary) for the PROMISED LAND (eternal, perfect, no pain, no death, next to JESUS).  And for that moment, when I see it and get it, that tension in my head, that desire for fairness and reward here on earth and for everything to work out the way I think it should, begins to ease the slightest bit.  For a second, I can breathe more deeply and I think “Wow – He is as good as I read He is.”

Sometimes I wonder, as I write these posts, if I am the only one who struggles to trust the heart of my Creator like this?   Is it some flaw in me, some psychological remnant of mistrust from life in this broken world?  Or is it a universal human condition that many of us don’t even recognize or acknowledge because it is altogether too common?  I honestly don’t know.

But I do know that I have to make a choice, because allowing this whiny fit to go on in my head is not okay.  I don’t have backing on this one.  People have faced MUCH bigger hurts than we are facing with grace and confidence in the goodness of God.

Faith is not believing without evidence, it is obeying despite consequences. – Chuck Missler

Lord, I don’t understand some of what is happening with our family on this earth.  And I’m sorry that I define Your faithfulness, so very often, by what I see and by what I define as good, as if I were the judge of You.  I confess that as absolutely abhorrent sin against You, my Maker and the Almighty God of the universe.  Please forgive my arrogance.  I am in constant, unending need of Your mercy and grace.  Please grant me more faith and make me better at this tomorrow than I was today.   I choose to obey despite consequences and I ask You not to give up on me – to continue to be faithful when I am faithless.  I thank you for Your love for me and Your understanding of my many limitations.  I feel like the man wanting healing for his child,  “I believe, help my unbelief!”  I need You, even to believe properly or see clearly.  You are good.  Please help me obey.


Do you ever get that nauseous feeling in your stomach when you mentally address different areas of your life, or is it just me?

Maybe I check our accounts…

Or I see a certain person is calling me…

Or I remember a time when I revealed too much of my brokenness…

Or I think about the future…

Or even I see things in the world that I so desperately want to see changed – like the situation in Ethiopia or the hurting of people in Japan.

And I get nauseous.

I have had an ulcer on and off this past couple of years – and when I’m truthful I have to admit that it is of my own making.  I’m allowing myself to live too near the nausea, too much in fear and not enough in faith.

There is real stress in our lives but our God is bigger.  This truth forces me to confess that there is disobedience underlying this physical symptom – both a lack of trust in my Father and a wrestling in my spirit for control of a life that was never under my control.

I read passages of scripture that talk about resting in the shadow of the Lord’s wings or lying in pastures near streams of water and I realize that my nausea is so unnecessary – in fact it is disobedience and a lack of trust that hurts me most of all, and hurts my family in my wake.

I was not intended to carry these burdens.  I nullify the power of the cross in my life when I haul these things on my back.

So today I’m praying for peace in our storm and in my body – for an end to the nausea and a calm assurance of the love and protection of my Father who loves me so much.  I choose to lay these things down at the foot of the cross.  And I’m grateful that He loves me and that He understands my weakness and wants to take these burdens from me.

His yoke is easy and His burden is light.   For that I am so grateful.

The basket

Lately Justin and I have been crazy busy, and today is the first day I have come out of the work haze and realized what day it is today – the month of May is almost gone.  And as is often the case on days like today, in the aftermath of busy seasons, that I have a choice.  Do I sit down and let despair in another month of under-employment* wash over me, or do I trust the One who holds my days in His hands and let hope rise?  The name of my blog is “Let Hope Rise” because it is a choice I have made to do that – to let the hope that is in me rise to the surface, above all of the doubts and fears that vie for my attention.  To believe and stand on the truth of Scripture, even while our circumstances loudly cry out falsehoods.

*I say under-employment because although Justin and I neither one have fulltime jobs, we are both continuing to freelance and work part-time at several places at once.  So although we are seeking a fulltime ministry position for Justin, we are both working and we feel grateful the Lord has provided for our family in the meantime through these freelance positions.

I know many of you walk this road with us and pray for us.  I hesitate sometimes to bring up where we are, because I know you are all praying and I really do want to be a joy to be around, not a drag.  But I would appreciate your prayers.  About two months ago I began to feel sick several times a day, each time for a couple of hours.  I thought it would pass or was a virus so I waited about 6 weeks before I sought a doctor’s care.  We initially thought my gallbladder was failing, but the tests have been inconclusive.  I continue to feel sick for a couple of hours each day despite diet and lifestyle changes.  My doctor has encouraged me to go to a specialist, but truthfully, I think this is stress-related.  I have spent so much money already on this, with no answers, so I am choosing to not pursue any more tests until our employment situation resolves itself.  If I am still sick after our stress has somewhat abated, I will seek care (at that point we will likely have insurance).  But it is my guess that when our stress recedes, so will this sickness.

In the meantime, I looked online today and our insurance from the church is showing cancelled – a week earlier than expected.  Not a big deal – it would have happened in a week anyway.  But it is an occasion when fear can take root if I let it.

I’ve said this before, but right now, all my eggs are in one basket.  I am waiting on the Lord.  And I don’t really know what the future holds.  We believe it will look like a fulltime position for my husband at a church that loves the Lord and loves people.  I believe that there is a church and a staff maybe even looking over his resume today where he will connect and grow with the church as he follows the call the Lord has laid on His life.  I believe we as a family will connect to that church where lives are changed and families are healed.  I pray that maybe we will see our children come to faith at that church.  I have big dreams and I believe that the Lord can fulfill all of those dreams and more.  And not only are our dreams for the future in that basket, but our financial goals and aspirations are there.  Once fulltime employment is achieved, if God allows, we can begin the adoption process.  With His direction, we will continue on the road we have been on since our engagement to get our financial house in order.  And recently, my physical needs have been thrown into that basket as well (they were always there – we rely on the Lord for every breath – but it is easier to realize that dependence when something is wrong).  I feel weak and sick and I am trusting the Lord to heal and provide medical care if/when I need it.

Here’s the key point to this blog.   What is that basket? If all my eggs are in that basket – it is pretty important to know what that basket is and if it is reliable.  We as people can put our hopes in positions or things so easily.  But there is no hope in things that are seen.  My hope is in the unseen.  Not in a position.  Not even in a church.  My hope is not in a job.  Not in benefits.  Not in a paycheck. Not in health or doctors or surgeries.  The basket, my hope, is in the Lord.  He will provide for me.  He is the Provider (Jehovah-Jireh), the Healer (Jehovah-Rophe), He fights for me (Jehovah-Nissi), because of His Son, I am holy (Jehovah-M’Kaddesh), He is my peace (Jehovah-Shalom), He is Almighty (El-Shaddai), He leads us as a Shepherd (Jehovah-Rohi), He is ever-present and near to me (Jehovah-Shammah), He is most high (El-Elyon).

That’s a pretty impressive basket.  I am so thankful for that basket – and thankful that all of my hope is in Him.

So today, as I fight off the feelings of fear and nausea and doubt, I ask again for prayer from those of you who have been so faithful for months to pray for us.  And I choose to fill my mind with the names and attributes of our King and I force my human controlling nature to rest in the arms of the One who sustains us.

And I let hope rise.

Lead me in the way I should go

I think I am weird.  Really.  Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. (Anybody know what that is from?  Hahaha – Answer at bottom.)

The past few weeks, I have had several people contact me about job opportunities for both fulltime and freelance work.  So many people care for us, precious people who want to see our family succeed, and as they pray for us they see jobs that align with what I do and they send the job to me.  And every time I hear about another, I start to feel sick.  Isn’t that bizarre?  But it’s not the first time that has happened.  I have found, in my life, that if one door appears to open, I am good.  But if several do, I immediately begin to quietly freak out.

Are you like me?  Do options and choices make you anxious?  What is that?

I am in a strange place in life.  Before all of this happened, I felt strongly that my primary role in our family was with our kids.  I also felt strongly that I am supposed to be in school right now to pursue a lifelong dream, so I started back in January.  So, around those two things, I have fit in a job, but it has moved to third in my list of priorities.

But where we are today is that, without Justin or me having a fulltime job, obviously the acquisition of said job becomes a huge priority for us.  We only have benefits a few more weeks, and that deadline is looming.  And there simply is more work available for what I do than for what Justin does, because his is so specialized.  There is a ton of freelance work for Justin out there (he is in the middle of two great projects right now for two different companies), but the fulltime job we desire for him is much harder to find in this economy.  Will we find it?  I absolutely believe so – with all my heart.  I truly deeply and honestly believe that the Lord is not only shaping us for the position but is shaping the position for us.  Justin is so talented and loves the Lord and the church so much – he is a tremendous asset to a church and I know the Lord will open that door soon.  And when the door opens, I believe I am going to see my husband thrive like never before in a position doing exactly and perfectly what God has called him to do.

So, what do I do now?  Until that door opens, what path do I take?  Do I follow the money?  Do I sacrifice what I felt called to do when things were good now that things are difficult?  I don’t think so.   I know that many of you are like me – intensely practical.  And many of you won’t understand that.  I’m not sure I would if I were you.  Why would I, if I could take a job and alleviate the pressure, hesitate to do so?

This is the question that is making me sick to my stomach.  I am a doer.  A firstborn, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, independent force to be reckoned with.  And because of God’s grace placing me in amazing positions, I have a great resume.  I could probably make some phone calls today and have a fulltime job.  But chances are good it would involve a great deal of travel, or necessitate me dropping out of school or placing my girls in daycare, or be at a church where my husband does not serve alongside of me, again putting my family in the position of us being in two different places on Sundays.  And I feel that all of those options negate what I have been called to do.  I get sick at my stomach because I don’t want to do that.  Not because I’m lazy, not because I want to crush my husband under the pressure to provide, but because it is contrary to what he and I believed I was called to do a year ago.

And truthfully, I want the Lord to dramatically rescue us.  I do.  I want to get the phone call that a job has opened for Justin and that our waiting on Him has resulted in tremendous blessing.  I want all of our eggs in one basket, if that basket is depending on the Lord for a miracle.  I want to honor the role my husband is in as provider of our home and I don’t want to step in and take that on.  And I want to be nimble – ready to go in a moment’s notice wherever the Lord calls Justin and me to go.  We could move anywhere and do anything He called us to do because I am ready to go and support my husband in His calling.

So I fight off the nausea and tell people “Thank you but no thank you” and I don’t pursue these jobs I’m being offered.  It scares me – I worry they’ll find me ungrateful or lazy.  How can I truly explain this lack of peace that I have about accepting work right now?  But I know to what I have been called, and even if they don’t understand, I seek to obey.

Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Psalm 31:3

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make straight your way before me. Psalm 5:8

And by the way – if you’ve kept reading, first of all I love you.  Thank you for caring.  The quote was from one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride.  Inigo Montoya says “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” Totally cracks me up.

Have a blessed day.  Jen


With tears in my eyes I write this one, because today was a rough day.  I say that not to garner sympathy, but because I have committed to walk this path with transparency.  And maybe someone is like me today and needs to hear this.

I woke up today with a heaviness.  A fear.  A dread.  I kept praying and trying to shake it off.   Still not sure why today was the first really tough day – but it was.  And truthfully most of the difficulty today was financial.  Today I moved money over from savings – our “emergency” cash reserves – with no real idea how I would pay it back.  And that was pretty scary.  And then this afternoon I heard that to have my test tomorrow, the test I need to verify that I need to have gallbladder surgery, I’ll need to pay out almost $1500 in the morning because I haven’t yet reached the deductible on my insurance.  Brutal.  So now I’ll need to move that over from savings as well.  And after that, truthfully, there isn’t much left.


This morning a precious friend was talking to me and I was telling her about the freelance things that Justin and I are piecing together to pay our bills over the next couple of months until we see what the Lord is going to do.  She said, “He gives us just enough manna for each day, doesn’t He?”  I laughed and began to remember the story.

I immediately got off the phone and looked up Exodus 16 and read again about the Israelites and manna.  You see, the Lord had rescued His people, the Israelites, from slavery.  They had seen Him do great and mighty things.  He parted a Sea and let them walk across on dry land, then he released the Sea on their enemies and they saw the bodies of their pursuers and their captives washed away.  The Lord then led them through a desert.  They were afraid because there was no food and no water, and they grumbled against the Lord.  So the Lord struck them all dead.

No He really didn’t.  Sometimes we see God that way though, don’t we?  We are afraid if we grumble against Him that He will squish us like a bug.  But that’s not how our God is.  I love that the Bible includes these stories of humans being human so we can see His mercy.

Exodus 16 says that they grumbled against Him, and then He…

Fed them.

Manna.  Just enough for each day.  In fact, to test them in this and see if they trusted Him to provide each day, He would cause the manna to rot each night if they happened to store any up.  He wanted them to look to Him, each day, for their daily bread.  Literally.

When I was younger I would read this and think, “Silly Israelites, why would you NOT trust Him?  You’ve seen what He’s done.  He rescued you.  He parted the Red Sea.  He brings manna from heaven.”  Now that I’m older and have kids and a mortgage, I unfortunately relate more with their grumbling.  I bet it was terrifying.  Deserts are vast and hot and creatures die in deserts.  I’m sure the Israelites were like me – they would hold their kids close and feel the weight of the responsibility to care for that sweet child the Lord had given them, and with tears in their eyes they would just beg God to work.

I am really tired.  And I am really scared.  Where we are, today, feels like a desert.  And although I do trust my God, there is this human part of me that feels alone in this.  I look around and all I see is desert.

So today I lay my fears at the feet of the cross.  I choose to trust Him with the manna He has provided for today.  I try to take comfort from the fact that the Israelites did in fact cross through the desert safely.  I look up to the God who saves and I ask Him to provide today for my family.  And I’ll turn to Him again tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next day.  Until He leads us through this particular desert.

Because our hope is in Him and He alone is our good.

The Storm

I think I am in the eye of the storm.  Between the job losses and the financials and now the health struggles – the wind has been whipping at our family pretty consistently.  There is much swirling around us.  And I’ll be honest – I have moments of shakiness.  Moments where our circumstances seem, well, insane.  But underlying it all there is this calmness – this foundation that is not shaking.  This realization that God is no less God today than He was before all this craziness began.  And the realization that I really do trust him.

This trial is good for my soul.  I do know that.  I have been confronted with my own powerlessness.  There is NOTHING I can do to help this situation.  (Believe me – we have tried it all.)  Jesus is all and He has us here for a reason.  I have learned that I don’t need rosy circumstances to love my Lord.  It reminds me of Job – when his friends told him to curse God and die.  I don’t think it ever occurred to Job to do that – God had already given Job the faith to withstand the trials.  I love my God.  He is good.  He cares for me – for my family.  He is near.  I know He loves me.  And I love that He has grown me to a place where I can say that with all honesty.  I was ready for this storm – He had prepared my heart already.  What a blessing.  Not only that – but I have seen, in this time, the church shine.  And by church, I don’t mean buildings or systems.  I mean the people in whom Christ dwells.  We cannot measure the blessings of the friends and family the Lord has given us in this time.  Chances are good if you are reading this you are a part of that body.  THANK YOU.  We love you.

I am thankful for this storm.  I decided when I started this blog that I was going to live my life on the pages of it openly and honestly.  Even to a fault.  And I know that I am having a chance to demonstrate to myself and to the world that I trust the God who provides.  That is an honor.

I am a visionary girl.  I like to go on walks and imagine the future.  I can see that the Lord is going to, soon, open a door for my husband.  I know the talent my husband has – and it is amazing.  I have watched even this time of great trial grow him – this trial has been good for his soul too.  There is no one in this world I respect more than my husband.  He walks with integrity and righteousness, fearful of no man, following Christ.   He gives himself and the gifts the Lord has given him freely to the Lord and the church.  He loves people and wants to see them worship.   I know that the day will come when he gets to do that fulltime in a church he loves.  And in the meantime, we will do whatever it takes to survive and make income during the week so that he can do what he’s called to do on weekends and in his spare time for wonderful churches like Keystone and Fellowship.  He is called – what else can we do?  He was made to do this.  To not do it doesn’t occur to him.  And I love that.

I also can see the future for us adopting.  I can see our Gotcha Day.  I can see the hands and feet of our children.  I can see the family photographs that look like my precious friends who have gone before us (the Weimers, the Teabos, the Footes) – these beautiful rainbow families of children from all over the world.  None of these financial trials have any bearing on that vision.  I can see it.  My God is bigger.  I cannot WAIT for the day.

This storm, this time, it is good for my soul.  And this storm does not change the future the Lord has for us.  So I hold my breath and hope because I know that when this storm passes, it’s going to be a beautiful day.