Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Orphan Awareness Month

Unicef recently stated that there are now an estimated 163 million orphans in the world today. You read that right.

While we sit in our nice warm homes with full pantries and closets full of clothes we never wear, there are 163 million children out there doing without.

Without families.
Without shelter.
Without food.
Without clothes.
Without security.
Without safety.
Without hope.

So, while we sit and wonder if we should help them, do you know what is happening to them?

They are searching through garbage for food.
They are waiting. Alone.
They are wandering the dangerous streets of cities.
They are forced into labor in order to eat.
They are forced into the sex trade.
They are beaten.
They are belittled.
They hide in the bushes while wild dogs threaten to eat them.

This is the reality of so many in our world, and we MUST make people aware. I was once unaware too. Then God brought a tiny little girl named Kedest into our world, and she changed me. She has taught me.

She has told me some of the stories I listed above.

Someone said to me recently "I'm so glad that there are good orphanages out there for these kids". Let me tell you this: Living in an orphanage is not the same as being in a family! I'm forever grateful for the love and care our Ellie Kedest was given in her orphanage. I know without a doubt that they saved her life physically. But she was still in need; SHE NEEDED A FAMILY.


The journey of adoption is not easy. Really, is there anything in life of worth that is? What I know is this. In the past year, I've watched God redeem my daughter's life. I've watched Him pour life into her little body. I've watched Him grow her- physically, emotionally and spiritually. I've watched Him speak peace into her heart. I've watched as He used someone as unworthy as me to make a difference in her life. But really, SHE has made a difference in me more than I could have ever imagined. She is the perfect picture of His redemption. I'm reminded of this passage of scripture that says "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; You are mine"(Isaiah 43:1b).

Could it be that He is calling You to adopt as well?

NOTE: I know that not everyone is called to open their homes and bring a child in. But as followers of Christ, we ARE all called to help the orphan. James 1:27 tell us "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."

What are you doing to follow God's command to take care of the orphans?

Consider one of these opportunities.

Until they are all home...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Just one little rock...

On Wednesday night, after all activities at church were finished, Bryan was riding his longboard in the church parking lot. He was doing what he does every Wednesday night, just passing the time while waiting on Jeff and I. As I turned the corner towards the doors to leave, I saw our friend William walking Bryan inside.

I had no idea what was hurting, but I knew it was bad.

Bryan was as white as a ghost and shaking. I thought immediately, "he's either going to throw up or pass out", and I went to him. He was holding his left arm to himself and obviously in tremendous pain. He simply said, "I heard it pop. Something is bad". I knew then; he had broken a bone. There was no moving that arm; it just hurt too much. We loaded him into the car and headed to the emergency room.

An hour and a couple of x-rays later, it was confirmed. Bryan's clavicle (collar bone) was snapped in half. We were referred to the orthopedic surgeon to evaluate. He was put in a sling and a wrap to immobilize his arm for the night, and we were sent home. The next day, the orthopedic surgeon graciously told us surgery was not necessary (thank you Lord!), and Bryan was placed in a harness for an unknown length of time.

It's hard to watch your kids in pain, isn't it? There isn't much I dislike more than that!! But something struck me as Bryan and I were talking on the way home from the hospital. When I asked him what had happened, he said, "Everything was fine, then there was this tiny little rock that got stuck under my wheel. The next thing I knew, I was on the ground". That's when it hit me; this is exactly the same thing that happens to us with sin.

I know that in my life, sometimes things are going fine, and then I give in to a temptation, take my eyes off of Christ, think I can handle things on my own.... and the next thing I know, I'm on the ground. And I'm hurt. And, because He's my Abba- my Daddy, God hurts too. It pains Him to see me hurting. And like any good, caring and faithful parent, He lovingly and gingerly picks me up and takes care of me.

The cool thing about God is that His touch is immediately healing. There is no harness needed for 8-12 weeks with His touch. I can't do that for Bryan (oh, how I wish I could!), but God does that for His children all the time. He offers forgiveness and sanctification immediately and free, just for the taking. But unless we choose to stay focused on Him, we will fall again.

What rocks are in your path today? Are you rolling toward them completely unaware of their presence? Are you looking the other way, thinking that you'll avoid them somehow? Or are you fixing your eyes on Jesus? Listen to this: "Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us". (Hebrews 12:1)

Is there something you need to "throw off" today?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gotcha Day~



I can hardly believe it's been a year since I first held my baby girl! On one hand, it feels as if I blinked, and the time was gone. On the other hand, I look at the progress she has made in a year, and I'm astonished that she could learn so much in just 12 months.

Last year, on this night, I was sitting in a little guest house room in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, staring across the room at this beautiful and TINY stranger who was my daughter. I felt awe and wonder and fear and confusion all at once.

Tonight, I have conflicting emotions again. On one hand, I feel utter gratitude. Earlier, I stood for a moment and stared at this little girl that I now know inside and out and thanked God for the gift of her in our lives. I can't explain how I've been changed in the past year. People tell us all the time what a wonderful thing we've done for Ellie. The truth is that SHE is the one who has done something for us. It's not unlike the changes I went through when Bryan first came into this world. He changed so much about who I am. Ellie has been no different, for sure. I'm not the same person I was on August 9th, 2009.

On the other hand, I sit here tonight feeling complete thankfulness and some sadness for Ellie's birth mother, Tigist. I wish I could sit and have a cup of coffee with her and tell her that her baby girl is fine now. I wish I could show her that she is no longer too thin, that she has plenty to eat and clean water to drink. I wish that she could have heard Ellie singing "How Great is Our God" today on the way home or watched her dance around the table in her tutu tonight before bed. I wish she could hear Ellie say, "I love you mom" to her. She must wonder about her; I know she loves her. I could see it in her eyes one year ago today when I had the privilege of meeting her. I wish that I could tell her all of the funny things that Ellie does. I wish I knew if Ellie cocked her head to the side when she was thinking hard because that what Tigist does.

Ellie knows the story of her birth mom, at least what she can understand for now. She looks at her picture and smiles brightly, exclaiming "that's my other mommy!". I love that! There is no jealousy at all in me when she asks about her. I'm forever indebted to this beautiful lady across the world, and I'm thrilled to teach Ellie about the beautiful sacrifice she made out of love.

Lest anyone gets the wrong idea, today was certainly not a sad day in our home! We let Ellie pick the place for dinner (McDonald's of course!), then came home to have a tea party with the cupcakes Ellie made last night. She also had a celebration with her friends at daycare as she took them cupcakes too! There were balloons (her favorite) and a new tutu for a present! We celebrate that she is home with us forever! We celebrate that her story is the story of what God does for all of us when He redeems us and brings us into His family.
Thank you Abba, for adopting me as your daughter. Thank you for using our journey to bring Ellie home and this precious year with her, to remind me every day of your unimaginable love for all of us. Thank you that your plan is to never leave any child alone, that you desire to set the orphan in families. Thank you for choosing us, for choosing me, and for letting me rejoice in the gift of this sweet sweet family you've given to me.

Happy Gotcha Day Ellie! I'm so glad you're my girl! We love you... forever and ever and ever.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy 17th!

17 years ago right now, I was getting ready to go to bed for the last night as Holly Johnson. There were a million thoughts running through my mind... what if I fell walking down the aisle at the wedding? What if he said "No"? (Not a chance!)What if I didn't know how to be a wife? (does anyone ever know that at the beginning?) What if I don't like sharing a bed with someone? What if he snores? What if I snore?

But I can tell you that one question that never crossed my mind was "What if it doesn't last?" I knew without a doubt that it would last until death. That was part of the deal. This was not something we were going into without much prayer and thought. We were committed.. not only to one another, but mostly to God. We made a promise that the "d" word would never enter our home, and it hasn't. We've never uttered that word to each other, not even in jest. There's no place for it here.

Seventeen years later, we are still honeymooning. We are still head over heels in love, just like we were on August 7th, 1993. We're both a bit grayer. We're wiser than we were (thank you Lord!). But we are CRAZY in love!

So, in honor of 17 precious years together, here's a list of 17 things that I love about my man and our marriage.

1. After 17 years, he still gives me butterflies when he kisses me!
2. He still opens all the doors for me
3. I still love the way he serves me.
4. I still love love love serving him!
5. We still date. And often!
6. He still kisses me first when he comes home.
7. He tells me I'm beautiful, and he means it.
8. I believe I'm beautiful because God said it, but I love hearing it from Jeff!
9. We're coffee snobs with cool mugs.
10. Our kids are fantastic and bring us much joy and satisfaction.
11. We worship together.
12. We share our dreams and hopes together.
13. My favorite spot in the world is right next to him.
14. We have plans for the future that excite me!
15. We are passionate about helping to combat poverty around the world.
16. We have a marriage worthy of bragging rights. I'm proud of us.
17. God is now, and has always been, the center of our marriage. That's why we work.

Folks, I don't kid around about this. I know too many people with marriages that are broken or hurting. It breaks my heart that not everyone can share the kind of love and joy we have here. But it's not because Jeff and I are so special. It's because GOD IS. Without Him, we're just two people trying to make it. With Him in the center, we can't fail.

I love you Jeff. I love doing life together. I love waking up and knowing you'll be right there beside me that night again. I love knowing that you love God more than me, and I love loving Him more than I do you. It's what makes us tick, and we tick rather well! You are my best friend, my love, the one who calms me, makes me laugh til I cry, the one I want beside me forever.

I'll love you forever,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My intentions...

I am officially on vacation. I go back to work on the 26th of this month. Perhaps it will look like this????

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Daughter Day!

One year ago...
~ you were an orphan

~you had no clothes of your own

~your name was Kedest X

~ you were unsure of your next meal

~ you didn't know how to play with friends

~ your eyes were filled with uncertainty

~ you had no idea how awesome a big brother could be

~ you were waiting for Mommy & Daddy

~ you are an orphan NO MORE

~ your favorite thing is to choose which dress and shoes you'll wear for the day

~ your name is Ellie Kedest Prosser, meaning "shining light" (Ellie) and "holy" (Kedest)

~ you love to eat, and you are learning to trust there will always be plenty for you

~ you spend your days with friends, laughing and having fun.. like a little girl should!

~ your eyes are filled with wonder and excitement

~ you think your big brother hung the moon~

~ you have a Mommy & Daddy at your side always and forever

On July 2, 2009, the Ethiopian courts declared that Kedest X was ours. She has had 365 days of being Ellie Kedest Prosser, and we've had that long of calling her ours. It's a beautiful thing, and we can't say thanks to the Lord enough for entrusting her to us. We have had 365 days of being oh so grateful for the sacrificial love of Ellie's birth mother, Tigist, whom we will forever love and cherish. My heart has been torn for 365 days with the love of this precious girl and the knowing that her birth mom will never have the joy of knowing her like I do. I am simply not worthy of this gift.

So, on this day, we give thanks to the Father of all, who created this child and formed her in her birth mother's womb, then lovingly placed her in our arms. Praise be to God alone!

Psalm 68:6- God sets the lonely in families.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Healing Day

June 21st is a holiday in our home. I've talked about it before, but some of you (of all 10 of you who read) may not realize the significance behind this holiday. So, let me explain.

About 4-5 years ago, Bryan was diagnosed with an inactive colon. Simply put, he had no muscle tone in his colon, so simple things like going to the bathroom were not simple for him. Little did we know how horrible that problem could be. He endured (embarrassing) treatments for about a year and a half or two years, but none were successful. We were at the point of having to go into the hospital over night for treatments every few months... NOT a fun thing for a young boy!

After much prayer and a couple of professional opinions, we decided to allow Bryan to undergo a fairly new treatment option in which a tube would be implanted into his upper colon, by way of his appendix. Through this tube, we would be able to "flush" out his colon and keep it clean, with the idea that when clean, the colon could heal itself and regain its muscle functioning. It seemed our only hope at that point, and we trusted his doctor (our hero!)

In July of 2006, just before the start of his 6th grade year, Bryan had his surgery. Right off, things were going well. Then in September, he developed an abscess that ruptured. We were back at the hospital for emergency surgery. I can't tell you how afraid we were. I am a nurse; I know the dangers of a ruptured abscess, and Bryan was a very sick boy! I sat by his side in the hospital, praying over him and asking God to heal him. It was at his bedside then that God began to work in my heart to give Him complete control in my life, and stop worshipping my child instead of Him.

Bryan recuperated from that surgery, but in December of 2006, he was back in the hospital for surgery #3 due to another infection that had developed. I think it was February that brought surgery #4, after Bryan accidentally pulled out the tube (yes, that was GROSS), and Surgery #5 came in April from yet ANOTHER infection. We finally said to our doctor that we could not continue to go through this ordeal anymore.

The year had taken its toll on our family. We were tired from constant doctor's visits and hospital stays. But our (mine and Jeff's) tiredness did not even hold a candle to Bryan's. He was depressed, a completely different person. He no longer smiled. He had a fever for 11 solid months before it was all over and done with. He hurt constantly. He was becoming bitter, believing that God was not hearing his prayers to heal him. If I'm honest, I wondered myself if God had heard our prayers.

On June 21, 2007,, Bryan underwent surgery for the 6th and final time to have his cecostomy tube removed (along with his Appendix which had a hole in it from the tube being anchored there). The doctor warned us that he had likely not gotten to use the tube enough for it to be effective. He also warned us that Bryan had endured so much infection that he would likely have to remove part of his colon during the surgery. We were scared, wondering what we would do next if this had not worked. But really, we just wanted our son back.

Bryan went into surgery that morning, and a couple of hours later, Dr. Iocono came out with a huge smile on his face. He said that Bryan's colon "looked like any healthy 11 year old boy's should". It had looked like "the colon of an 85 year old man" when this started. Not only that, but NONE of the colon had to be removed. He was perfectly fine!

He has NEVER had a problem with his colon again.


We know that the hand of God was at work in the operating room that day. I know fully that God could have chosen to heal Bryan before any of these surgeries began. He could have healed him after the ruptured abscess. But He chose to give us a miracle by allowing us to walk together through that year, through all 6 surgeries and the HORRIFIC treatments that were in between. He gave us a miracle in that we knew He was surely with us, comforting us and giving us Hope and Peace and Grace. And by His grace, He chose to heal Bryan completely in the end.

The truth is, He could have chosen NOT to heal Bryan. And He would still be God. And He would still be good and worthy of our praise.

I thank God every day for the miracle of Bryan's health and life. I thank Him for the testimony of God's healing and faithfulness that Bryan has to carry with him forever. I thank Him that Bryan's hope is restored again. He smiles again.

I thank Him for the invaluable lessons He taught me during that journey. I thank Him for Who He is, not just what He has done.

Healing Day is our way of saying "we recognize what you did and what you continue to do, God. We won't forget".

So, how about you? What holidays are you celebrating? How are you commemorating God's faithfulness to you?

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I've been blessed to not only be raised by a great dad, but I also married one. He's pretty darn HOT too!

I love you Jeff... you are a wonderful dad to our two miracles! I hope you know how much you are loved and celebrated every day!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Becoming Radical

I've wanted to write this post for a while, but there was a part of me that wanted to hide it because I felt some shame about it. I hope you'll get that as you read. Just know that I've spent hours in prayer about what I want to say here, and I hope that you'll hear my heart. More importantly, I hope you'll hear my Father's heart.

We brought Ellie home 10 months ago. We actually met her 10 months ago today. My life has not been the same since. Before meeting her face to face, God was already changing me from the inside out. But seeing her face to face, and holding her tiny body in my arms did something I can't explain. It was very much like what He did in me when I held Bryan for the first time.

Many people have asked me over the past 10 months if I can imagine life without Ellie here. For a long time, I felt ashamed to say "yes". But if I tell the truth, I CAN still imagine life without her here. I didn't say that I liked what I imagined, but perhaps not for the reasons you think. Most people ask that, thinking that my answers will be all about me not being with her, me not having her to hold, me not having the little girl I've always wanted.

I don't like to imagine life without Ellie here because I wonder if she would still be sitting in that orphanage too scared to talk, not playing, not singing, just existing. I wonder if she'd still be living, carrying the five parasites and perhaps even more by now in her already-too-thin body. I wonder if she'd feel the despair of loneliness or if she'd be able to recognize that is what she was feeling. I wonder if she'd still be battling the memories of her past alone, or if she would ever find someone there in Ethiopia that she trusted enough to tell her story to. I wonder if her eyes would still be deep and endless with uncertainty like we saw in so many pictures of her.

I wonder.

Yes, I do wonder what I would do without having to pick up hundreds of hair beads every day that the cat loves to play with. I do wonder what I ever did with all of my spare time before she was with us. I wonder what I did with all of this extra love that was inside of me. I wonder what it would be like to still ask for a table for 3. But all of those latter "wonderings" are just selfish- all about me and my desires. And well, I don't want to be a selfish person anymore. Period.

Some have been surprised by my answer of "yes, I can imagine not having her here". For a long time, I simply said "no, I can't" and left it at that. But that wasn't true. I have tried to explain it to people, but I have failed miserably, leaving them thinking that I haven't bonded with Ellie or that I don't love her.

To be honest, I have felt like I haven't bonded with her, and I've even shamed myself at times into thinking that there was something wrong with me because of how I've felt. I mean, what kind of mom says that they can imagine not having their child??? What in the heck is wrong with me, right??????

I promise this is going somewhere... stick with me.

I've been listening to a sermon series by David Platt called the Radical series. I highly recommend it. One of the scripture passages that I've been studying along with him is from Luke 14:25-35. In verse 26, Jesus says "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sister- yes, even his own life- he cannot be my disciple". Folks, that is RADICAL talk!! HATE our parents, our children, ourselves??

This seems contradictory to what the Bible says in other places, when it tells us to Love one another. And for the record, No... God does not want us to hate our family. But.... When that love for others in our lives is compared to our love for God, it should be so much less that it looks like hate.

And so, I get (finally) to my point.

When Bryan was 3, we learned that we could not have other children. In fact, we lost 4 to miscarriage. I was heartbroken, to say the least. But instead of leaning on God, I leaned on Bryan. It was wrong, and I have confessed that. I'm telling you that I worshipped that child, not God. I told myself that if I could only have Bryan as a child, then he was going to have everything from me, and he did. I didn't necessarily give in and buy everything for him, but he got the best of me and my time- over Jeff, over family, over work, and yes, over God. And it was wrong. Dead wrong.

God has revealed to me that I am learning, and I an changing. I am finally at a place where God is indeed GOD alone. Jeff is not in that place. Bryan is not. And Ellie is not either. My feelings for her are deep and beautiful and full of love that I never knew I could feel. Yet, I do not worship her. I've been feeling as if I were messed up because I wasn't feeling for her like I felt for Bryan at that age. But the truth is that I didn't need to feel for her what I felt for him then. That was wrong, and I'm trying so hard to be a follower of Jesus, not the world. I'm becoming radical. It started when we said "yes" to God's call to adopt, and yet it reaches far beyond Ellie into the very depths of who I am, who I was made to be in Christ.

I hope that when people think of me, they think "now there's a girl that loves her husband and her children". But mostly, I hope that they think, "Now there is a girl that loves her Lord, Radically".

How about you?? Are you radical too?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

40 Days of Prayer for the Orphan!!

Please join me in this wonderful movement, as we go to the throne on behalf of the 147 million orphans in our world. Click on the link for a prayer guide for the 40 days.

My heart is passionate about the orphan, not because of Ellie, but because the Word of God tells me it should be. I pray that yours is too!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Pain of Parenting...

Last weekend, we took our first family trip out of town (other than to visit family) since Ellie has come home. It was her first time in a hotel since being home with us. She was excited at first about sleeping there. She thought it was "awesome" that we were all going to sleep in the same room. She had worn herself out during the day, so she went to sleep before we ever finished singing our goodnight song.

When Ellie woke up, Jeff had gone out for a run, and Bryan was still asleep. The room was still dark, thanks to the wonder of darkening shades! Ellie popped her head up by my bed, and said "Good morning!", just like she would any day at home. She climbed up in bed beside me, but instead of hugging me, she just started sobbing.

My first thought was that she was scared because we were not at home. She kept repeating that she was "so sad", but every time I asked her why, she only responded "I can't say it!". I held her and held her while she sobbed. I cried along with her, whispered to her that I loved her. When she was finally calm enough to talk, she said "Mommy, we don't have any food here. We can't eat".

That sweet baby girl thought that we were not going to eat all day because there was no food in our hotel room. I immediately explained to her that we were going to breakfast as soon as Jeff got back. I have never gotten ready so fast in my life! Ellie cried until the pancakes she ordered were placed in front of her and cut up, then proceeded to gorge herself by eating every bite on her plate (more than I ate even!)

It struck me as I watched her stuff herself that she wasn't sure that she would eat again that day. She was making sure that she had enough in her to last a good long time just in case there was no more. She has been with us for 8 months, and yet, she still does not expect from us that we will feed her AT LEAST three times a day, every day. It is instilled deep within her that she should not expect it.

My heart was broken, not only at the thought of what horrors had she lived through to come to that place, but also at the fact that there is so much of her life that I had no part of, that I could not protect. There is a part of her life that was hurtful, and I don't know what all is there yet. There are deep wounds in her life, and I could not stop them from happening. My "momma instincts" say that I should have protected her, fed her, kept her from all hurt.

But I couldn't. She had to endure the hurt of her birth mom making a plan for her adoption, a plan that for Ellie included some time in the care of other family members who hurt her, time in places where she had no food for who knows how long. It was a plan done out of a love that I cannot fathom, if truth be told. I have such great admiration and love for Ellie's birth mother. I believe with all of my heart that her birth mom loves her completely, and that her acts were the most unselfish thing I've ever witnessed. But they still hurt.

And then I read this: "From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?', which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:45-46)

Jesus felt abandoned, alone, fearful even when he was about to die on that cross. I'm sure in his humanness, he had to wonder "why?". Maybe he was thinking "How is this going to work for good?". Yet, God, in His infinite wisdom, was working a plan. He willingly let Jesus go through that hurt, knowing that in the end, Jesus would sit at His right hand, with his Father. He would never hurt again. He would be HOME.

And as I read that, I realized that Ellie's journey is just beginning. She has walked a road of courage WAY beyond her years, Grace that is beyond my imagination, determination and strength that could only be of the Lord. She has survived, only by the Grace of God. And I believe in my heart that God wanted me to see that He understood my pain at not having been there to stop her hurt. Because He didn't stop Jesus' hurt either.

I believe that His ways are perfect. I believe that He has a purpose and a plan to prosper Ellie (Jeremiah 29:11), just as He does all of us. I believe that He wants me to celebrate each and every moment with her, even the ones where she is afraid, sad or confused.

Especially those moments. For now, I AM here to comfort her.

Oh God, thank you for speaking so clearly to me and for letting me know you understand my momma's heart. You are a parent too, God. Thank you for having a heart that breaks at your Son's pain and death on the cross, but also for your adopted sons and daughters who try to do life without you every day. Thank you for listening and teaching when things don't make sense to me. Thank you for reminding me that you love me deeply, that you love my children deeply, more than I could ever begin to understand. Thank you for protecting Ellie from whatever could have come her way. Thank you for instilling within her the spunk and grit to make it through. Thank you for allowing her to be a little girl now, to not have to fend for herself anymore. Help her to realize that she is safe here, that she will always be fed here. Remind her that she is at Home now. Thank you for blessing me with this amazing family that I could never deserve. You are awesome and mighty, and I praise you Lord. Amen

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Running the Race...

I am currently engaged in what is likely the most difficult thing I've ever challenged myself to. It's hard, grueling even. It's rewarding, yet takes more of me than I ever imagined possible. It's fulfilling, yet has stripped away much of the wall I had built around myself. It's beautiful and ugly all at once.

I am training for a mini marathon that will be held on April 24, 2010.

I am not a runner by nature. I am nowhere near it, if truth be told. Sadly, I've spent the past years (lots of them) sitting on the sidelines, feeling as though I wasn't worth being in the race at all... any kind of race.

But no more.

In the past couple of years, God has healed so many hurts in my heart and my life. He has truly renewed in me a steadfast spirit (Psalm 51). He has taken hurts from my past and allowed them to be used for good now. He has restored me. He has placed people in my life that have taught me that it's okay to be real, and that I can risk being vulnerable. It's been slow and painful, yet it's been beautiful. I feel whole.

Many of you know that in my past is sexual assault/abuse. I've never talked about it here, but I feel the need to do so now. Some of you may have walked that road as well. If so, know that you are not alone. Know that healing is possible and worth the work! Part of my journey has caused me to doubt myself, and that's one of the greatest parts of healing. I'm learning again the worth that God gives me through His Son. WOW... I'm amazed at how much He loves me!

This April marks 20 years since I was assaulted. In the years since that time, April has been hard to face. It brings back memories that are hard to handle sometimes, even after all of these years. A few years I have been sad, disconnected, defeated.


This year, I am whole, content, connected, ready to face the memories, knowing that they are just that.. memories. And memories cannot hurt me! So, I will run. I will run for the joy that God has restored in me. I will run for the freedom I feel in Christ. I will run to celebrate the pure joy that my family gives to me each and every day. I will run to show all other survivors that God heals all, and you are not the abuse you have endured. You are more than that. I will run to celebrate the fact that I am beautifully made in the image of the Creator of all that is and is to come.

I will run as a praise to God. Each step of that 13 miles will be a worship experience. I will run what I can, walk when I need to. And I will smile, knowing that God has brought about more healing and restoration in me than I ever dreamed possible.

Pray for me. I'm afraid. I doubt my ability to finish, yet I will persevere.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hunders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God". Hebrews 12:1-2

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A letter to my children...

This week at work, I overheard a conversation between a mother and her two children, in which she told them "I'll do whatever it takes to make you happy. Don't worry, kids. Mom can make you happy no matter what. Let's go to Walmart, then McDonalds". My heart was broken from that conversation. There is NOTHING at Walmart or McDonalds that will ever bring about lasting joy. Happiness if temporary sweet friend. Anyway, all of that led me to spend some time thinking about what it is that I have taught my children that I desperately want for them. So, here it is...

Dear Bryan & Ellie,

You may find it hard to believe what I'm about to write here, but please hear me out before you freak out!

As your mom, I have many things that I want and pray for in your lives. But, I do NOT want you to be happy. (I told you it would be surprising; hear me out here!)

For the past year or so, God has really been dealing with me on this, the idea of being happy in life. And the more I've learned, the more I want to pass along to you, my legacy. You see kids, happiness is something that is determined by your situation in life. It's fleeting, to say the least. I'm happy when I get a good buy on a sweet purse. But a purse will never change my life. I'm happy when you pick up your toys or dirty clothes. But when you don't, where does that leave me? Happiness is a great thing, don't get me wrong; it feels good. Real good. But when I think of what it is that I want most for your lives, it's just not there.

I've watched both of you experience happiness. Bryan, you are happy when you get a drum beat down or when you get the "okay" on having a band practice here at the house. But what about those days that we can't have your friends over, or the beat is too hard to perfect in one practice session. What do you feel then? Ellie, you are happy when you are getting beads in your hair or getting a book read to you. But what about the times we have to tell you "no" about the book or whatever it is you want to play? Will your happiness fade with each "no" you get in life?

Really kids, it's not that I don't ever want you to experience happiness; it's just that it's not my goal for you to be happy all of your lives. And I don't want it to be your goal either. I never want to watch you spend your life chasing after something that is always contingent on your surroundings. Because let me tell you, your surroundings will change all the time, from year to year, week to week, day to day, and moment to moment.

So, what DO I want for you?? Well, for one thing, I want you to be CONTENT.

Contentment is so much better than happiness, kids. Seriously better. Contentment is that crazy thing that makes us still smile, even though we didn't get our way, didn't get a raise (in allowance or at work), didn't finish a project when we had hoped, when a friend treats us not-so-friendly, when we have to do homework instead of play, when we can't go out to eat because we are doing the Dave Ramsey thing. Contentment comes from within. And within those of us who have a relationship with Christ, the Spirit of God is living in us. THAT is what gives contentment kids.

In Scripture, Paul went through some tough times... some would say horrible times. Yet, he said this.. "I've have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want". (Phil 4:11b-12)

That is what I want for you kids. I want you to be at peace with your Father, no matter what the world is throwing your way. There will be times in your life when everything you touch works well. And sadly, there will be times when nothing seems to go your way. Yet God is always the same, always with you, always loving you, always forgiving. That gives contentment. My prayer is that you learn to grasp that in your lives.

Contentment leads to spiritual maturity, I do believe. It helps us to realize the blessings of our lives. It is never going to be the materialistic things in life that give you peace, joy and fulfillment. Only God can bring about lasting contentment. I pray you are able to find it. Life is one heck of a ride, kids! Make each moment count!

I love you,

Friday, February 26, 2010

where did the time go?

This weekend, Bryan celebrates his 14th birthday... sort of. (He was born on February 29th, 1996, so technically he is only 3 1/2 this year!) It's hard to believe he's already 14... seems like just yesterday he was a tiny little thing, and now he's taller than me (not that that's real tall, but you get my drift).

Bryan is a blessing. I don't know how else to put it. He has brought more joy to my life than I ever thought possible. He has made me want to be a better person. He's made me try harder in things, and he's made me want to be more brave in life. He is a miracle, no doubt. I remember vividly being told that I would never be able to have children. Yet, here he is. I thank God for the honor of being his mom every day.

Bryan, you are a true joy. You make me laugh harder than anyone else can. You make me cry sometimes too (not always in a bad way either :)). You have more talent than I ever could hope for myself. You are a gifted musician, writer, encourager and leader. I pray every day that you will submit all of those gifts to the Lord, and allow Him to lead you in life. I see in you so much potential to change the world. Even at 14, you can make a difference. You DO make a difference in my life, in our home, and in our family.

You are a blessing to parent. I love being your mom. I love picking you up at school and talking about your day. I love hearing you play drums. I love seeing you laugh as you wrestle with your dad. It's been an honor to watch you as a big brother this year. You are an awesome brother!!

Never give in to the pressure to be something or someone you are not made to me. Trust God to direct you. Trust His word. Stay in His word. Carry it in your heart with you always. Stand up for injustice always, as you already do. Make the world a better place just by being you. And always know that I love you so much, and I'm so thankful you are my son!

Happy birthday, Bryan. I can't wait to share this weekend with you!!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day...

not just today, but every day of every year. I'll be yours forever.

Your rugged good looks still turn me on.
Your compassion for others still makes me want to do more.
Your love for God is contagious.
Your leadership in our home is incredible.
Your integrity is unmatched.
You still make my liver quiver!

I love you... forever and ever and ever...

Love, Bird~

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy anniversary

6 months ago this past Tuesday, I held my baby girl in my arms for the first time. After years of praying for her, I finally had my hands on her. The feeling was incredible, and words here will never describe it.

Some have asked how our lives have changed in the past 6 months. Well, here are but a few ways:

1. We have to ask for a table of 4 now (I still love the sound of that!)
2. Our house is filled with pink.
3. Baby dolls and their clothes frequently find their way all over the house
4. The sight of a tutu makes me smile.
5. I've learned the characters of Dora the Explorer
6. I sing "Magdalena Hagdalena" and "Ida May" every day.. at least twice each
7. Someone wants me to sing to them every night again (love it!)
8. I get kisses from one more person every day.. many times
9. Whining has returned to the Prosser household (we're working on that one)
10. Hair beads are the cat's favorite toy
11. I find myself gravitating to the little girl's department in every store I go to.
12. Date night is harder to come by, but twice as enjoyable!
13. Childcare is back in the budget
14. Pull ups are back in the budget
15. Goldfish are back in the budget
16. I've become a hairbow snob.. I am very picky about the ones I like!
17. Prayer time at the dinner table is long as Ellie prays for all of her friends at each meal.
18. There is a feeling of contentment in our home, that we are complete.
19. There is never silent moment in our home (really funny since we were told at one point that she was nonverbal)
20. Our hearts are full of love and peace as God has made it clear that she was the perfect child for our family!
21. Bryan shares his parents (and does so with much grace, I must say!)
22. Jeff has learned to do hair.
23. Laundry has increased exponentially (girls really do wear a lot of clothes!)
24. Tights are a source of great joy.
25. Anything that glitters is good.
26. Our eyes are opened to the poverty around the world.
27. We have a burning desire to help put clean water around the globe.
28. Sharing our story is vital to our survival now. we HAVE to tell what God has done.
29. We dance every day.
30. I have a keen awareness that there is still more for us that God has in store.

Ellie, Happy 6 month Anniversary with our family! We love you dearly.
Bryan, Happy 6 month Anniversary as a big brother. You are ROCKING your role! I'm so proud of who you are and the brother you are to Ellie.
Jeff, Happy 6 month anniversary on being a dad to a daughter. You are so tender and sweet with her!!

Ellie has learned so much in the past 6 months. It's amazing to think that just 6 months ago, she knew no English. Now, she is fluent, can count to 15, knows her letters, can write her name, and is starting to work on her colors! God amazes me more and more every day through my children! What a blessing to be their mom!

I love my family!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Heartbreak and the Truth...

A few nights ago, Ellie & I made a quick stop in the grocery store for some milk (she has decided that she now really REALLY loves chocolate milk). It was getting late, and we were in a hurry, and thankfully there were no lines in the store. We were having a great girls' night out actually.

As we headed up toward the check-out, we passed a man and his two daughters, one of whom looked to be close in age to Ellie. That little cutie stared at Ellie as if she were from outer space. She then announced to her dad "Hey look daddy, it's a monkey!". I have to admit it took me off guard, but my first thought was "this is a great teaching moment for that dad. I hope he steps up to the plate".

He didn't.

He didn't even come close.

That man looked his daughter in the face, then looked me in the face, then back to his daughter. And then he proceeded to tell that sweet liitle girl that Ellie was not a monkey, but something more vicious than I could ever imagine another human saying. He called her horrible things. He actually said several horrible things to me about Ellie (and about me, too). I was in utter shock, but only for a second. In an instant, my claws came out. I was ready to pounce. I was ready to kill this man!

But my eyes could only go to his sweet little girl, standing there taking it all in. To be honest, Ellie was oblivious to it all. This child with her daddy was watching and hearing the venom pour from his lips. Her eyes were as large as half dollars as she watched him nearly convulse with repulsion at my child. I wonder what was going through her mind. I wonder if she was wondering when it was going to stop this time. I wonder if she was already dreading the lecture she would surely get in the car on the way home about how she is never to talk to those kind of people again.

My heart aches for that little girl that I cannot get out of my head. My heart aches that she is going to miss out on so many wonderful relationships in this world because of the color of their skin. My heart aches most because she is missing out on a relationship with her own father because of his hatred for others. He was so consumed with hatred for my daughter's face that he failed to see the hurt on his daughter's face. I can't stop thinking of that.

Scripture tells us this: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:13-16

The truth is that both Ellie and that little girl are fearfully and wonderfully made. God was intricately involved in every detail of them both. And you know, that little girl's dad, who was so vulgar and inhumane towards us, was also knit together in his mother's womb by the God of the universe. As hurtful for me as it was to hear him say those awful things, how much more must it break the heart of God to hear one that He loves so specifically and so perfectly act that way toward another of his creations. I'm broken over the thought of that tonight!

Ellie will grow knowing that she is loved and adored, both here on earth and by her Heavenly Father as well. She will never have to long to be noticed, never have to wonder if she messed up too much to be loved still. But that other little girl... I fear that she will worry over these things all of her life. Oh God, please protect her from the evil around her today. Protect her heart, Lord. Keep her thoughts pure, despite insurmountable obstacles to that. send someone in her life that will teach her the TRUTH, about her and those around her.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

snow days...

We got our first real snow since Ellie has been with us. There wasn't enough to sled in (bummer), and it was really too cold to stay out for very long (about 12 degrees, I think). But we HAD to go out for a little while at least. Here are a couple pics of me and the kids. Jeff, unfortunately was inside with a nasty case of shingles (bigger bummer than the amount of snow we got!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Merry Christmas...

or should I say MELKAM GENA (Amharic)

In Ethiopia, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. So, tomorrow we will read the Christmas story from the Bible again to Ellie and spend time celebrating the reason there is a Christmas at all!

Why don't you celebrate with us?

On a side note... it looks like we'll have a white Christmas after all!