Better People | by Britta

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Early mornings are the best! Inside it is quiet, well except for the clicking of the keys and the blowing of fans. Quiet…such a strange thing these days. Usually our home is full of noise. Toy cars, trains and spaceships zooming by, the refrigerator door opening and closing a hundred times before lunch, chit chat about this or that, when and why, conversations about college and the random “Mom I need to go pee!” or “I’m poopy!” and then there is the screaming. “He took my toy.” or “Stop bothering me!”…this is my crazy, wonderful, life!! I’m in the throws of parenting teens and toddlers…all boys! Yes you heard me right. It is a wonderful place and there is no place else I’d rather be.  I have a secret to tell you…little people, make bigger people, better people. Did you get that? Soak that in for a second,

Little People, Make Bigger People, Better People

I’ve been thinking a lot about the sibling bond these past few months. The bond that my bio kids have with my adopted kids is pretty special. Our daughter who is grown, married and lives out of state misses her little brothers terribly. I think it is so sweet that she will call just to talk to her 2 year old brother. Then there are those moments when our 13 year old will just play with his little brothers…play hard. It also brings joy to my heart when I see our 15 year old snuggling with a little guy. Wow!! This is what I’m talking about. This is why little people make us better. They teach us how to be patient, how to play, how to snuggle, and mostly how to love. Blood is not thicker than water…FAMILY no matter how it’s created is the strongest bond there ever could be.

So what about my adopted kiddo’s bio siblings? You know the ones that were adopted by someone else. I get a lump in my throat and a stinging in my eye just typing that out. I grieve that they don’t get to grow up together. Even though they may only see each other once a year the bond they have is incredible! I watch them play and talk and just be together. It’s like time and distance don’t matter…FAMILY is what matters.

I’m a better human being because we adopted. I get to see things and know things that not many people get to know or see. I have grown into a woman of compassion. A woman who sees my children as souls not as flesh and bones.  A woman who loves more deeply, lives more intentionally, and prays more passionately. God has used the two littlest people in my life to make me a much, much better person. How have the little people in your life made you a better person?

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Labor of Love | by Britta

Everyone around me is getting their gardens ready. They call it a labor of love. Soon they will reap a harvest of yummy fruits and veggies. Every sunburn, sliver, dirty finger nail, and bruised knee will all be forgotten when they enjoy the fruit of their labor. On Mother’s Day I started to think about the different labors I have had with each of my five children. As I recalled them one by one I was reminded by the Lord that each one is very special just like the child that came after that labor. Webster’s Dictionary describes labor as an expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory. Not all of my children were birthed from my body…but they were all a labor of love.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

I honestly think that the labor of a child starts long before we actually are about to meet our child for the first time. We prepare by first dreaming of becoming a mom. What color hair will he or she have? Should I paint the nursery blue or pink?  Some of us get books on how to boost our fertility. How to have the best labor. We get every book we can about parenting.  We walk down the baby isle at Target. Some of us buy books on how to bond with our adopted child. We pour over the internet reading adoption and/or birth stories by the dozen. But in our wildest dreams we never realize that the labor for this child will change and grow us. We learn so much from the process of labor.

When the day finally came for me to give birth to my first born child I had no idea what was in store for me. My labor was induced due to high blood pressure and my feisty red-headed daughter was born via forceps. By the time my second child was due to arrive I signed up for another induction. I thought in my head that I knew all about that and I could do it again…no problem. My hungry toe-headed son was born via c-section. Then came surprise baby number three. I had learned a lot from my previous labors and decided to blaze a new trail. My 3-week late brown haired son was born a VBAC at home.

As I sit back and remember each detail of those labors something stirs deep within me. I start to think about our road to adoption. That is a much different type of labor. After five long years of praying for more children we were called to adopt. I never thought I’d get to hold another newborn but the Lord blessed me with that privilege two more times. My labor for my last two babies was much more spiritual and mental than it was physical. Adoption really is spiritual warfare. We are laboring in prayer for these children lives, literally. My two should not have lived according to the medical community. We are laboring in prayer for them to be raised to know the Lord. Either with us or with someone in their bio family. We are laboring for the truth to be told and that the lies of the enemy will be squashed. We hold up the judges, lawyers, and social workers in prayer. If we are fostering we also pray for the birth parents. For their salvation and for them to be set free from the chains that bind them. We even begin to have a strange love grow in our hearts for the birth parents and family.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

When we labor in prayer for our foster and/or adopted children we need to remember this scripture. Let NOTHING move you dear mama!! Stand FIRM!! Give yourself FULLY to this work the Lord has called you to…because those that labor for the Lord do not labor in vain!! I remember many of my prayers during our long road to adoption. Oh the tears that flowed on the feet of Jesus during that time. I constantly had to remember that these precious children were God’s children first and He loved them more than I could ever love them…but I love them so much!! My love for my adopted children is just as great as my love for my birth children. No. Different. The labor may look different but in the end my love is the same.

So I want to encourage you today. Whatever stage of labor you are in right this moment, focus and breathe. Do not give up!!! Call on your praying friends to stand with you. Be diligent dear mama. Put on the full armor of God. You have been called to the highest calling…Motherhood.

Parenting Through Pain | by Britta

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We all have pain don’t we. Pain comes in different ways. It comes in the heart break of infertility, it comes with divorce (either our own or our parents), it comes in the loss of a baby, it comes with raising hurt & broken children, it comes in the failed adoption, it comes in the form of health issues (our own or someone we love), it comes when we sin or others sin against us, it comes when we get offended, it comes when…you fill in the blank. In John 10:10 the bible says that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. There is a “thief” who wants to cause you pain and destroy you. The enemy of our soul wants nothing more than to keep you stuck in your emotional and physical pain because in doing so you won’t be as effective for the Kingdom of God. So stay with me and take in what I have to share with you today.

Recently I was facing a lot of physical and emotional pain. This pain was robbing me and my family of many things. I was crying most days and I was trying to parent through the pain but it wasn’t going that well. When things usually happen in my life I tend to jump to Google, the doctor, essential oils, friends, food/diet, books, Pinterest and so on for my answer. But these past 6 months I’ve been really practicing going to God in prayer FIRST and I’ve been practicing listening to the Holy Spirit for direction. (See Philippians 4:6-7) So I prayed, my family prayed, my friends prayed, my church prayed. We prayed for healing. We prayed for wisdom for me to know what direction to take. I felt good about going to a new doctor in Seattle and I met with a team there. I had lots of tests and everything came back fine. There was no diagnosis. But I was still in pain. I knew deep in my spirit that this pain was more than just physical. This pain had a deep spiritual root.

John 10:10a “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…”    

The Lord took me on a journey. A very long journey. A hard pressed, shaken down, tear stained journey. When I felt like giving in I pressed in. When I felt like giving up I reached up. I cried out more often and louder to the Holy Spirit. I got up off the ground and I ran to Him. When I was at my weakest I just cried Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. He could have healed me instantly but instead He showed me something so I could share it with you. I want you to understand that the steps the Lord showed me you can apply to your life too. So here you go.

1) I asked the Holy Spirit to show me why I was in so much pain. He showed me that unforgiveness and being offended had created wounds in my soul which then gave the “thief” legal right to enter in and start to steal, kill, and destroy me and my family and cause me emotional and physical pain. I began to repent for my sins and forgive those who had sinned against me. I applied the blood of Jesus over myself because what washes away sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!! See 1 John 1:7

2) If we only focus on asking for forgiveness we will miss the amazing power of Jesus to heal our soul wounds. There is supernatural power in the glory of Jesus. When we grab a hold of this truth we are taking part in ALL that Christ has for us. His blood AND His glory. After I completed step one I focused on the glory of Jesus. I meditated on the Word of God day and night. I asked Him to shine His glory light into my soul and heal the wounds that were created by unforgiveness and sin. Jesus wants our souls to prosper (be in good health)!! See 3 John verse 2

3) Finally, after all that time repenting and applying the blood of Jesus and soaking in His powerful glory, I told the “thief” that it was time for him to go. I told him that he no longer has any legal right over me because Jesus paid for all my sins on the cross and the glory of Jesus had healed my deepest wounds completely. I commanded the “thief” to leave in Jesus name…and guess what? he left…and my pain left too. Peace flooded my mind and body. There is power in the name of Jesus. We as Christians have the same power that conquered the grave living in us. See Romans 8:11

No pain is too much for Jesus. There are too many of us carrying heavy burdens. We walk around wounded, angry, hurting, sick, and broken. Our spouses and children need us whole. We need to share these tools with our children to see them set free. Our friends need healing too. I shared with you what the beginning of John 10:10 says but you need to read what the end of that verse says to us…Jesus came to give us life, abundant life. That means that God is a loving Father who wants good for us and not evil. A lot of Christians and non Christians alike blame God for their situation, blame Him for their pain. If nothing else I want you to know today that the God of the universe, your Creator, is FOR you and LOVES you!!!

John 10:10b “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Shout it out!!! When you have been set free like I have and healed like I have you want nothing more than to shout it from the rooftops. I want every person on this earth to experience this kind of freedom in Christ. I can testify to you that the Lord is returning to me all the years that the locusts ate.(See Joel 2:25) Jesus has given me back the ability to parent my children without pain. Jesus has restored my marriage. Jesus has given me back my joy times seven. Hallelujah!! He wants to do those things and more for you too!!!

We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. 

****I learned about the healing of soul wounds by listening to teaching by Katie Souza on YouTube. I really like the one called Stay Un Offendable. You can also go to her website at www.expectedendministries.com  for more info.****

****In no way is Three Strands Ministries affiliated with Katie Souza or her ministry. This is just my personal journey and the teaching God used to heal me.****

The Day You Came Home: a letter to my adopted son | by Britta

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

To My Dear Son,

It was just another Monday morning. We had finished school the week before and I was on the phone with one of my best friends, Holly. Right before Holly and I hung up I got a beep from my other line. I told her to hold on because the caller ID said it was Rose. I had been waiting for this call for over a month. When I picked up the phone Rose said in an excited voice that she didn’t have time to talk but that I needed to go check my email right away. I clicked back over to Holly and while she was still on the phone I checked my email. There it was in black and white. I read out loud: “He was born over the weekend”. I instantly started to cry and had chills all over my body. What happened over the next few hours became a miracle only God could have orchestrated.

I had been praying for you for 3 months prior to your birth. I knew during that time that you were fighting to live. I didn’t know for sure if I would ever get to hold you in my arms but I felt honored to pray for you and be your spiritual mother.

About an hour after I got the email that you were born the phone rang again. This time it was your case worker from CPS. Her name was Becky. She talked with me and told me about you. She said that she needed to check and see if you were healthy enough to come home. She said you might have to go to a special place called the PICC Center. That’s where babies born affected by drugs go to safely wean from the drugs in their system. I hung up the phone and called daddy. I gave him the update. I also called our adoption agency and told them what was going on. Our adoption counselor called Becky and sent over our home-study. Then not long after that Becky called me back and said that you were ready to come home. I was in shock!! She said that I needed to call your nurse at the hospital to get the details on how and where to pick you up. I called the nurse next and she was so sweet. She said that all the nurses wanted to take you home. I told her I would be there in about 2 hours. I called daddy back but he couldn’t come with me to get you because he was working. So I called Rose back. Remember she’s the woman who called me and emailed me that you were born. She is your aunt and we met her at church and she told us all about you. Aunt Rose asked if she could come with me to pick you up and of course I said YES!!!

It was a long 2 hour car ride to get you but it went by so fast! Aunt Rose and I talked and she told me all about your biological family. We cried and we laughed. When we got to the hospital we went up and met the case worker in the birthing center. They took us to a room. Moments later they brought you into see us. We cried again. You were such a beautiful baby!!!! I asked Aunt Rose if she wanted to hold you and she said that I should hold you first because I am your mama. I told her that I would be honored if she would hand you to me. That was such a special moment and one I will never forget.

The first time I held you in my arms was amazing. I felt like I was going to float away with happiness. I had been waiting for this day for so very long. I fell instantly in love with you. You were not of my flesh, nor of my bone, yet at that moment I knew you were truly my own.

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

Soon it was time to head home. I dressed you in a sweet little outfit with a hat that said “watch me go”, I fed you, and then put you into your car seat. I buckled you into the van and off we went. I kept telling Aunt Rose to pinch me because I thought I was dreaming. We were so hungry so we stopped for Mexican food. I inhaled my salad so fast I don’t even think I tasted it. I just wanted to hold you!! You didn’t cry a peep all the way home. Once I got to Aunt Rose’s house your two sisters came out to see you. Aunt Rose adopted them and she is now their mommy. They didn’t know you were their brother but they saw you for the first time the day after you were born. I gave Aunt Rose a big, big hug and then got into the van and drove away with you. Just you and me!!

We got home around 8pm to Daddy, Bailey, Simon, and Silas. I had to go to the bathroom so I took you out of your car seat and handed you over to daddy. When I got back I asked them what we should call you. Everyone gave you kisses and we all just couldn’t believe how small you were. We looked you over and felt your soft hair and skin. We talked about lots of names. We wanted a name from the Bible. Simon got out his Bible and started looking. What a glorious day!! We had you home and you were perfect. You are loved so much by so many people!!!

The next morning we all agreed to call you Solomon. It means “Peaceful”. God has given us so much peace through this whole experience. Daddy chose your middle name as Kal-El from the Superman comic books that he liked so much as a child. Superman was adopted by a family who loved him just like we love you. Kal-El means “Voice of God”. We pray you listen to the peaceful voice of God your entire life.

Five long years before your birth God put on my heart that I would have another son…the day you were born His promise was fulfilled. “But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign.” 1 Chronicles 22:9

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

Solomon Kal-El this is only the beginning of your story. I am honored to be your mama. I can’t wait to see what God does in and through your life. Always know how much we love you. You were chosen by God to be chosen by us. Adopted into our forever family on November 22, 2013 after 901 days in Foster Care.

All my love,
Mama

Behave! | by Britta

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Do you ever have one of “those” days? You know the one…where you just want to crawl back into bed and rewind the clock? Oh boy I’ve had more than my share of days like that. You see I’m a recovering yeller. Is that even a word? I used to yell a lot.

One day the Lord started to slowly and gently stir my heart. He showed me that (ouch) I had an anger problem. I’m talking about the kind of anger that runs deep. Very deep.The kind that spills out of your mouth…you got it…in yelling!

What if someone put a video of me yelling on social media? I would not like that one bit. Then my goodness why was I yelling at the people I love the most in this world?

I tried my hardest to control my anger. I blamed my past hurts for my anger. I said “this is just who I am, I can’t change”. I got more angry whenever someone pointed out that I was angry. Then I realized…I could not control myself! I needed to surrender. Slowly but surely the Lord chipped away at my hard heart.

“Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9 KJV

Who likes to admit that they have anger issues? I mean come on…really? I want everyone to think my life is picture perfect or social media perfect…lol. But that just isn’t so is it? We all struggle with sin. I decided it was time to admit my guilt of being angry. My guilt of being a fool. I was angry. All. The. Time. I needed help. I needed deep healing of my deepest darkest hurts. How about you? What’s eating you up? Is it anger, guilt, pride, arrogance, lust, greed, abandonment, shame…the list can go on forever can’t it. Is it time for you to surrender?

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45 KJV

What does your heart look like? Mine sure wasn’t pretty. It says it right there in black and white…did you read that? Right there…go back and look at it again…”for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh”. Hmmmm…okay so that one got me too. I needed a transformation of my heart. This is where faith + action = no more anger. So this is where I started to fill up my heart with God’s Word. Thus the healing began. Each time anger tries to rear it’s ugly head I have to take it captive with the Word of God. Have you ever spoken to a mountain and seen it move? I have!! I speak to the mountain of fear, hurt, rejection, lust, greed, abandonment, and shame. I tell it to go in Jesus name. I tell it that the same power that raised Christ from the grave lives in me…lives in me! The Holy Spirit…you know that guy…the one who was sent to us to be our comforter…our friend. The Bible clearly says that He (Jesus) will never leave us or forsake us. That is why He sent the Holy Spirit. I believe that…do you?

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22 KJV

I love this verse. Have you ever read it? I mean really, really read it? Do you see there where it says the fruit of the Spirit? That’s the Holy Spirit…the One Who lives in every Christ follower!!!! So if you have the Holy Spirit living in you then where is the fruit? The fruit comes from surrendering to Jesus daily…dying to yourself every single day. I’m not going to say it’s easy. But…OH BOY…the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are so much better than my crummy old anger.

Maybe you are reading this and thinking. “Well good for her she’s got this all figured out, my life is a train wreck and nothing’s gonna help me.” This is where that thing called surrender comes into your world. I know it’s hard. Trust me. But Jesus is there…He is waiting for YOU. My goodness girl He created you!! Call upon His name…just say it…Jesus…That’s it! Ask Him to show you Who He really is. Ask Him to be the Lord of your life. It feels so good to surrender. Bit by bit, piece by piece He will rebuild your life, your heart. I know this to be true because this is what Jesus is doing in me!!

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Fly Little Butterfly, Fly | by Britta

photo credit Angela Lyons Photography 2013

photo credit Angela Lyons Photography 2013

Seasons.

Life has seasons.

Some seasons are busy with clearness of purpose. Others we are kept waiting in anticipation of what is to come. Ahhh deep breath. I’m a mother of teens and toddlers. I’m changing diapers…times two!! I’m breaking up fights and bandaging boo-boos. I absolutely love this busy, busy season. The teenage and toddler years are a struggle of independence and they really make me crazy but there is no place I’d rather be than with my children.

A new season.

The season has come. My family is changing. My daughter is marrying the man that God has chosen for her. As I am preparing for her wedding day in just a few short weeks my mind is flooded with memories of raising my sweet daughter. The time went by so fast. One moment I was holding her in my arms and now she is taller than me. I have been blessed to pray with her, guide her to God, and watch her blossom into the woman God created her to be. I am so incredibly proud of the choices she has made to put Jesus first and to trust Him with her everything. I am so grateful for the seasons that make up her life.

Recently my three year old son made up his own song. He sings “fly little butterfly, fly. Fly little butterfly, fly.” over and over again. It is very sweet. This song has a deep meaning to me today. I will be singing this on my daughter’s wedding day as tears stream down my face. As I watch her walk down the aisle and as I watch her drive away to start her new season of life.

My prayer for you is that you take this day to stop being so distracted by the seasons of your life and enjoy them…really, truly, enjoy the season that God has you in right now. It may be hard, it may be painful, it may overwhelm you at times, it may be joyous and happy, it may be fun, or you may want to run away and find a new season.

STOP!!

This is your time. This is your season. Embrace what the Lord has set before you. Trust in Him who is the Creator of the seasons. Press into your Heavenly Father and seek Him for strength and peace. I can testify that He will be there for you through the seasons of your life.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV
“To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

*Shalom*