Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Kid

It's odd that her name means Peace.

Because I'm sitting here, so utterly overwhelmed that I could cry. Nothing has happened today, I've known about her for 2 weeks tomorrow. But I'm planning a trip to San Antonio to meet my future daughter. And I'm overwhelmed. This is what other people do - right? Not insignificant little me. Yet the plane tickets have been bought and paid for. In 10 days time I will see a precious little girl who has stolen my heart. A little girl whose tiny body has been painfully effected by her mothers use of illegal drugs whic resulted in her being born addicted to them.

I feel bitterly sick at my love and excitement over having her because it seems like I should wish she had never been born rather than to be born as she was. Yet, I can't find it in me to wish she weren't born. To wish she'd not exist rather than go through this. I hate that she's got so much to fight against from her very first moment on this earth - but all I can think is how wonderful, how beautiful, how lovely.

And I haven't even seen her yet.

When people talk about children like this - born to addicted parents who have no capability to take care of them, they usually say that the parents should have their tubes tied. I know because I've said it myself. Some incapable mom shouldn't be allowed to have 6 different kids by 6 different dads and have them all raised by grandma and strangers assigned by the State of Texas.

Even as I say it now, and understand the logic of it - I can't bring myself to mean it for New Kid. Her miraculous existance isn't a mistake. Man did their part, but God - God Himself created. And it is lovely, and good, and pure, and potentially amazing. I am joyful at her existance. Overwhelmed that she is now Gods gift to me.

My most earnest prayer is that her biological mother will one day, miraculously be touched by the mighty hand of God and be delivered from the devils that torment her and the addiction that binds her, and see life glorious and eternal. I hope to one day raise up my children and show them to her as Gods ability to bring light and joy into the darkest and bleakest of situations.

But meanwhile, I sit here in Colorado - a thousand miles away from a child I'm certain will become my very own. I'm in awe that this is my life. I'm thankful.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


It's hard to figure out how to explain some things. This blog has been precious to me, I started it shortly after I left a church and since then... it's followed me through so much. I met many new people through this blog, Larry and Ruth, SLW, and Louie Marsh are the main ones that stand out in my  mind right now.

But I've got a small problem.

I've got a cyber stalker. And while I'd hoped nearly 2 months of silence would have bored him away from watching my life through this blog, I'm afraid it hasn't. So the time has come to close the blog for the safety of a little one far more precious to me than a blog.

I'm sad to see this blog go, but as this has been going on for nearly 3 years now, I'm even more sad that someone could go on this long in their wrong.

Over a hundred subscribers... wow. Thank you all for reading!

*This post will remain up for a few days before I close it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Continuing to walk

I stopped posting on this blog. There was so much to say, but everything seemed to be wrapped around my precious Michaela and I didn't want this blog to become about that. I've learned so much, and God has spoken in so many exciting ways concerning her adoption and as I look at her and watch her grow and would be very simple for me to stop writing about Christ, and to start writing about my daughter.

My life isn't about my daughter though. My walk,... it's not about her. It's about Christ.

Much has changed in the past months. For a simple update, I spent a week in the hospital with Jax(Michaela's nickname) trying to get her breathing under control. She's been diagnosed with asthma, and at 1 years old it's difficult to manage simply because she can't tell me before things get too bad. We're settled into a pretty strict medicine regime now so I'm praying we can stay healthy. My first goal is 6 months without needing to use the rescue inhaler as apparently 6 months is suggested as what it takes for some of the scales in her airways to regrow after RSV. (The scales help her body cough out mucus, otherwise the mucus just sticks to her airways and doesn't cough out).

3 weeks after getting out of the hospital - the Penske truck left Texas and my daughter and I, along with my  brothers family, left our homes in San Antonio and struck out for Colorado.
It was our goal to go there, and begin attending Ellerslie: the church I've been linking to for awhile now. Eric Ludy is the pastor.

I cannot begin to describe the church. These few details hardly do it justice but just to give you an idea at least: The doors remain unlocked, no offering plate was passed, the people worshipped in song, and then the preacher got up and told me that 99% wasn't good enough. However, he didn't tell me to try harder, he told me 100% was only possible through Jesus Christ. Then we sang "What can wash away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus" and the words took on a brand new meaning for me. I'm a try-er. I'm a do-er. It was so refreshing to finally have someone agree with me that what I've got to give God isn't good enough (I've never heard that message from anyone save Eric Ludy and Paul Washer before), and then to tell me that Jesus Christ is the only way - again, not something you hear too often despite the fact that if pinned down most Pentecostal/Non-denominational churches would probably tell you they agree with it.

As I wandered about my house this evening though, praying for someone, and thinking about Ellerslie and the new class of students that will be arriving this week to begin their 9 week semester of training I felt God impress something on me.

I can't attend the school. Oh, I'd love to, but I'm a single mom now and need to work to support us, there's no extra money or time to just stop working and attend a school for 9 weeks. But one of the sermons I've truly enjoyed from Eric Ludy is called "The Man Under The Stage" and tonight, as thoughts went through my head, suddenly I felt a calling to be that man for this new group of students.

As Ludy likes to say though it is not enough to esteem something, and not do it. I cannot simply esteem the idea of being a "Man under the stage" for this group, but then not take it as a serious commission from God. What He's asked, in terms of my time is... well... something difficult for me to give. However, 9 weeks from now... I honestly can only imagine the change it could work in me if I did it.

So tonight, I just wanted to write this down as one small way to hold myself accountable. Gods asking for 100%, so I'm praying He'll empower me to give it.

If anyone has any advice, or scriptures that come to mind that might assist - I'd appreciate it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20th, 2012 - Michaela is adopted

So very much I could say, but most of it is indescribable.
On May 6th, 2011  I met Jaclynn.
She was 7 weeks old, 1 month premature, and was fighting her own little battle in ICU so that she could be well enough to get out of the hospital. For some reason everything about the news that I'd be receiving her as my newest foster child placement was different. I found myself racing 80 miles an hour to the hospital to sit with her in ICU. I went back and forth for 3 days from home to ICU meeting my newest little person.

On May 9th, she came to live with me.

On October 10th,  her parents rights were terminated. I knew that beyond all reason, and beyond all the strong beliefs I have that a child should have a mother AND a father - I knew that I was supposed to adopt her.

90 day waiting period passed.
Waited for the case to be transferred from foster to adoption unit at CPS.
Waited for adoption unit to get all their ducks in a row.

Today, April 20th,2012,  I'm proud to announce that  Jaclynn (Jax, Precious, JackJackJackerz) has legally become Michaela Poteet.

I cried through pretty much the whole event, no matter how hard I tried not to. I can't tell you what a joy and deep honor it is that God would allow me - ME - to be her mother. I don't feel nearly up to the task - and the very idea of it all, and how greatly I am simply not enough on my own I pray continues to drive me to my knees every day of our lives together.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

November 17th to March 23rd

This is a story of a miracle. My God can do anything. I can do anything my God wants done.

Many, many moons ago, before I was even 18 years old, I gained access to a credit card.

And I was an idiot.

I didn't buy diamonds and furs or such, but I used it to buy things that I wanted when my paycheck ran out: eating out, gifts, etc.

Fast forward 5-6  years to an 18 wheeler plowing into the back of my newly purchased Mazda, purchased on credit..... and it was deemed my fault so I was liable for $9,000-ish in damages.

By that time though I had wizened up at least a bit and I used balance transfer checks to get everything onto one credit card and at a fantastic interest rate (3.25%). Which lasted until I received two foster babies and $1,000 in daycare bills in one month made me miss a payment. Missing a payment means you lose the interest rate - mine skyrocketed to 22%

Fast forward to 2011.... roughly 13 years after I began my credit adventure. The credit card hasn't been used in years and is simply a draining nightmare hole that sucks money from my bank account. I'd made payments of at least $300 a month  every single month (except for the month I missed years ago). The MINIMUM amount ever sent in during a month was $300. Do you know what $300 a month is for $13 years? I do. It's $46,800. And at least $13,000 more in payments was expected.

That number makes me sick. I don't think the amount actually spent could have even been $20,000 when you count the car as well.

But there I was in 2011, the card is shut off, and I'm 2 years into a 5 year payment plan at 6% interest and I'm driving home from work when I decided something had to be done. I yelled (because that's just how I show God I'm serious I guess) and I told God that nothing was impossible with Him. I told Him that He was asking me to be a single mom WITH DEBT and that that shouldn't be. I told Him He owned the cattle on a thousand hills and that I'd learned my lesson. I had been fiscally responsible for years now but the weight of paying for an old mistake was too much of a burden for me to continue to bear. I told Him I NEED OUT OF DEBT and that He'd promised I could ask things of Him and He'd listen. Well, this is what I want God. This it is.

Even today, I earn around $100 more than what my bills are. With the extra $100 I hopefully get to buy gas for the car (not allotted in the budget) and food for my body (also not allotted in the budget). So I made the decision that I was going to label my debt as part of Precious' adoption fees (because as a fiscally responsible person I understood that I honestly couldn't afford to adopt her and still pay off my debt every month). I would trust God to let me buy nothing else - even this adoption - without having paid for it first.

Fast forward to November 17th 2011.
The miracle begins.

I ripped the page November 17th, 2011 off my calendar and I wrote on it the full amount of my remaining debt ($11,225) I added in an attorney fee that I expected to have to pay in Jan ($1500) and said "Lord, this is what I need to adopt Precious."

December, I received notice that my renter was moving out - so February I had to pay both my rent, and my mortgage. I also had to make a costly trip North to clean/fix up and hire a manager to show the property for me and place several weeks of ads in the paper. Roughly estimating I'm going to say that event cost $900 - and bear in mind all of my estimates, to make sure I don't over inflate this, will be estimated low.

On two separate occasions I had to go to the store and purchase new clothes for the babies, each of those trips was always at least $200.
Christmas rolled around and while I was more frugal than usual I still spent over $300 in gifts.
I lost 6 days of work due to Precious having RSV in Jan - $500
I finally got a renter for the house only to be told the gas company won't turn on the gas because of a leak and the whole house has to be re-piped $791.
So, not counting my standard bills, which take up all but $100 of my paycheck - the amount of money that I'd need to come up with before her adoption is $15,616.

$15,616.  GOD

I considered trying to get a second job but felt God clearly against it - if this is my ministry how am I fulfilling it by having someone else watch the kids while I go work for more money?

So I didn't.

March 23rd, 2012, Friday, I made my very last payment.

I. made. my. very. last. payment.

EVERYTHING has been paid. Paid on time. Paid in full. I was hemorrhaging thousands of dollars a month and I don't even bring in thousands of dollars a month. Yet payment after payment after payment was made. Quite literally, according to math between my job and the subsidy support for the children, I didn't even make $12,000 since November 17th... yet somehow I paid $15,616 AND also paid all of my bills which previously took all but $100 of my paycheck. I didn't cut corners, I even ate out more than usual the last few months. I generally felt like there was a surplus and didn't even feel pinched or worried that I wouldn't make a bill payment.

I told a friend last November that God wouldn't let me make payments after Precious was adopted because that would mean that I did it on credit. That I couldn't afford her. She can't be mine until she's paid off (of sorts, you know what I mean). Even as I said it I wondered if I was being foolish, if I was saying words I'd have to eat later on.

November 17th to March 23rd is 127 days. 127 days divided by $15,616 is $122.96 a day.
You tell me what God can't do.

As a side note, it looked like I was going to finish in April. I'd been watching all the numbers and I thought April might be the month I finished and I was disappointed. I told God that He'd get more glory if it was March, because March was sooner and April, for some reason just felt less miraculous. March. He'd get more glory if it was in March. But the numbers just weren't there. Then, just a few days after I talked to God about that I happened to dig through a stack of mail and, just before throwing one envelope out, for some reason I decided to open it.

It was from my mortgage company.

They were returning overpaid escrow funds to me.


And I stood there, holding it, and wept - because I knew,,,, God liked March too.

There is nothing, nothing, nothing too big, too hard, too impossible for God. I don't have to understand the miracle, I just am living here as a survivor of the impossible who never once saw anything but ease and comfort during the last 127 days. I can't begin to describe how my faith has grown, how fully I just want to shout His praise. I'm free. After 13 years of a burden of debt, I'm free. And it's all simply because I was willing to do what He wanted.
He made something impossible happen.
I'd have more likely expected to see an amputees leg regrown, than to imagine my debt could be paid off this quickly after November. But He didn't just pay off my debt. He paid the debt, but He made the numbers more astounding, and then He paid it off.
My God, He is a mighty mighty God. And I am passionately thankful to have experienced these past months because every time you go through something like this, words like "My God is a mighty God" change. They become deeper, more rooted, more profoundly true in your mind, and heart, and spirit.

My God, my Father, my Friend, My Provider.
My All.

Monday, March 12, 2012

31 today.

I'm another year older today and I feel it. I can't imagine being 18 again. I can't imagine not rotating the thoughts that go through my head every day now: bottles for the babies, do they have enough diapers? when is the next appt? have I done the paperwork? clean the house, do the laundry, am I doing the right thing with my rental property? who do I need to contact? am I handling things right with Precious? I hope I'm interacting with Buddy enough and stimulating him enough so if he does go home in April he'll have a solid foundation of "connectedness" to fall back on later in life, why won't this claim balance? am I working hard enough at work? is there any way I could do better and get more accomplished? Jesus there's just too much, please make me what You want me to be, I can't do this and yet You've put me here, please do it for me/in me/through me, am I reaching out enough? am I just another person going through their day to people or can anyone see any light coming from me at all? am I a good person or am I a Godly person? I'm tired of being called sweet - seems like that means I'm not Godly enough because Jesus was rarely called "sweet", should I sell the white microwave cabinet? Jesus I don't want to freak the adoption people out with how bare my house looks, what can I do to help these kids grow? why did You have me talk to that lady so long Lord? what was in that? I love You Father, help me love You more and more, You're wonderful, I need to get the oil changed on the car this weekend and the inspection needs to be done too - I'll probably have to buy new windshield wipers first before they'll pass me.... I hope the horn honks.

Those are my 31 yr old thoughts. All rolled up into a slight disbelief that I am where I am, that I'm doing what I'm doing, and wondering with a slight breathlessness if I'll actually end up in Liberia one day. It's life. I don't want it to be normal. I don't want the next 30 years of my life to look anything except insane. I want to move, I want to risk, I want to simply follow God where ever He leads, whether the bank account says I can, whether my health says I can, whether the fact that I'll soon be a single mom says I can... regardless of logic. I want to follow. I've loved looking back on my life and seeing how God has led - but I think He's got bigger things in store if I'll just be willing to grow and risk, and move with Him.

My sister-in-law, Glenda, made me a cake for my birthday. And tonight, I sat in my home alone and slowly ticked 31 candles into the cake. 4 matches later I finally had them all lit - and then I knelt in front of that cake and I made a vow to God. And I meant it. And I believe He's going to do it.

All I have to do is move.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Boot Camp vs. Nursing Homes

Eric Ludy's latest sermon was on the evil of the artistic. As much as I enjoy his sermons, I groaned a little bit when I realized what was coming.
He was going to tell me why what most churches are doing today is wrong.

In his words (primarily at least) he lays it out as they have begun to value the artistic over the truth. Drawing people in with games, clever gimmicks, and stuff has become more valuable than the truth we are commissioned to be sharing.

It's why my old church bowled turkeys and showed Toy Story to the kids. It's why John Hagee at Cornerstone church hired the Sea World and Six Flags folks to put on their Christmas drama. It's why missionaries throw cammo bags and t/shirts into the crowds and pastors dutifully spend Gods worship time honoring veterans and parents and softball teams and their country.

It makes me incredibly sad. I'm tired of non-Christian churches. I'm tired of the fact that in a city with hundreds (probably thousands) of churches, I can't seem to find one that preaches the true gospel and backs it up with their lives. I'm tired of the fact that it feels like Christianity has lost. Christian doesn't mean Christian any more. It means something entirely different and foolish, and deadly.

And I'm tired of talking about how that is what the church is.

Which is why I groaned a bit to realize that's what Ludy would be preaching on Sunday.

In 102 days, Lord Willing, I'm moving across states to join a church that says "God will pull you out of the concentration camp, put you into boot camp, so He can send you back into the concentration camp so you can get others out."
I'm ready for boot camp. I'm ready to be pushed and challenged beyond what I am in Christ right now.
I'm ready to not just talk about Christianity but with a group of believers begin living it out in an even broader scope that I am now.

I want a boot camp life - not a spiritual nursing home where the wounded and sick doze their lives away well medicated with biblical sound bites.

Monday, February 20, 2012

At His mercy

Yes, He is faithful.

So often, in what I've written in the past I've been thoughtful about certain issues or ideas and some random event from the day gives me a helpful example of something I've been mulling over.
It's been harder though, with two babies to actually stop and do that. My mind is full, or empty, it is chaotic of sorts and the thoughts don't settle as well as they used to.
I used to think if pages of paragraphs, now I think in sentences.

Today, however, all I could think is that God pulled me through a day exactly as I had asked Him to in last nights post.
I was able to accomplish what needed to be accomplished.
I was able to put off the things that needed to be put off for the kids sake.
I was able to make a decision about a possible event today that unknowingly to me, was the wisest one.
I was able to interact with the kids even better than normal.
The babies are usually well behaved and happy, but today it seemed even more so. Precious, for the first time, was actually hanging onto her crib and jumping up and down she was so happy today. For someone that can't walk - that seems like a big deal.
I was able to do extra and I was able to do less, and at the end of the night my house felt like a home and there was a sweet peace to the days events.

Dear sweet Lord, how I love you.

I want much. I want much because of days like this where I see how an Almighty and Powerful King of all Kings cared about the little details and showed Himself to be - as always - my Abba Father. I regret not bringing the smaller things to Him as I often consider them unnecessary and have greater, more important things to focus on when I talk with Him.
I want more of Him. And I don't say that with grief because I have so little, but with the simple knowledge that though I have great things of God - I have only gotten just a taste of what's possible. Yet I feel like I want to pull myself back from searching those things out and just rest as a simple child and say "Father, I want more."
I want much.
So dear Father, lead me onward. Do what I can't do for myself, and that is to get more of You. Make me the mother You've called me to be and not the mother I can be on my own. Make me the aunt/sister/daughter/friend you've called me to be, and not the one I can be on my own. I desire that You be glorified in my life by my words and actions. Lead me. Teach me. Bring me along. I trust You. Help me trust You more. I love You. Help me love You more. I need help Father, to be the things that You have called me to do. I've never so fully realized it as I have now but dear Father, Lord and King - I am at Your mercy.
Have mercy on me. 

Psalms 30
 I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.

O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled. I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication. What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;  To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Trying and transforming

I'm not as good a mother to two infants as I was to one.

I see it most clearly in how my "worlds best baby" became far more tearful after her competition for my attention and energy moved in.

And it frustrates me.

So I try harder.
And while some of my tries work, some of them just fail.

And in that, along with some really good strong sermons, I've finally begun to understand better Gods transforming work inside of a person.
Oh, if you'd asked me before if I understood it I'd have said yes, but my focus was aways on the "trying harder".

There are many things that need changing, and I will still, and always, try harder - but now the strongest emphasis is on a heartfelt plea "Lord, I need YOU to accomplish this work in me. Please."

Trying is good, and necessary. But I need transformation in some a very specific area so that I can be what both of these kids need.

Finally grasping onto transformation is what has truly changed my walk with Christ. I was desperate for Him before, but now I see so much better a simple and utter dependancy on Him that I just didn't understand before. I'd have said I was dependant on Him; it's the right answer, it's obvious - sheesh, He could take away my breath with a mere thought! - but I didn't quite grasp how my every endeavor was so utterly dependant on Him.

I probably do not fully grasp it still since, thinking I knew so much about Christianity before, I still seem to be learning so much lately. But this I know: God has called me to be a foster parent, and now, with Precious, He is calling me into parenthood itself. And if He wants me to be successful at it by His standards then He needs to transform the parts of me that just can't wrap themselves around what is the best course of action and make it happen.

Meanwhile,  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:6), I'll just keep trying.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Do I trust Him?

It's interesting how things change by degrees.

Someone asks for $100 to pay a bill and asks you to trust them to return the money. You consider it, then make the loan. "I trust you."

Then the next day they come back and they suggest the "Trust" game. You fall backwards, they'll catch you. Just trust them. You consider it, and ultimately decide you trust them enough to risk it.

The next day they come back and they want you to talk about a painful secret you've kept all your life. The hesitation there is longer.

It's the same word, every time,  but there is trust, and then there is trust, and then there is trust.

I've been challenged by Eric Ludy's constant chant in his sermons - "GOD CAN NOT  LIE - Do you trust Him?" Over and over and over again that same message appears in his sermons until one day it really sunk into my heart and I began to ask myself - Do I?

Maybe I've stepped past the first trust, maybe I've even fallen backwards and risked the second trust, but am I to the next degree of trust? And. even so, I have the feeling that if I do reach that platform, there will be yet another degree to be seen and challenged by.

I'm not worried about painful secrets, or falling backwards, or even $100. But I do wonder, when so much of my life is a question - what the answers are. And in the absence of answers, what are my thoughts going to be about the questions? Do I trust Him?

God is good. I've seen it, lived it, proven it. It's a fact.
But I've noticed that even when I follow facts and let them lead me, that I walk along with questions and concerns.

I like that I'm seeing this question in my heart right now, before...
I appreciate that I have time to pray about it, and ask God to bring me to the level of trust in Him that I should be at.
I'm thankful to be listening to a good preacher who is asking me these questions.
Lord, t'is so sweet to trust in You,
Oh for grace, to trust You more.