navigating life's shadows with chocolate & reluctant yoga

rhinds with orange

rhinds with orange

welcome to the virtual version of my mind. my husband says i've come a bit 'unhinged.' what does he know. hey, door hinge! that almost rhymes.

Recent Posts

Cohen’s Arrival

Cohen’s Arrival

January 19, 2013, 5:21am 8lbs 11oz, 20 inches December 26, 2012 came and went, the original first due date. Sometimes it’s hard to really know whether the due dates given by doctors are the actual due dates or if the baby and God have a […]

Pregnant with Quadruplets!

Pregnant with Quadruplets!

Dry roasted peanuts cravings at 1am, ready for  naps by 10am, not being able to button your favorite pair of jeans in just under 2 months, appearing as though you are 4 months pregnant when you are really only 2 months pregnant, acne breakouts in […]

I’m A to Z, I’m the Beginning, I’m the Conclusion

I’m A to Z, I’m the Beginning, I’m the Conclusion

And You oh Lord, are everything in between! As I sat here tonight deciding where to begin with my updates, my mind began to wander to something I read in the intro to the book of Revelations not long ago.  “Our times are not propitious for worship. The times never are. The world is hostile to worship. The Devil hates worship. As the Revelation makes clear, worship must be carried out under conditions decidedly uncongenial to it.” Decidedly uncongenial: free from hesitation or waiver, resolute, determined/ not agreeable,  not suitable,not pleasing in nature. For those of you who have graciously followed my journey over the past several months, you have certainly witnessed that I have walked through some tough situations in my life. Conditions decidedly uncongenial to worship. Experiences that I never imagined I would face but as I move through them, would never ever change.

It wasn’t more than a few months back that I miscarried at eight weeks along. It wasn’t more than a few months back that I miscarried children of the heart. (I’m the beginning) The pain was more than any human being should bear. The unanswered questions and feelings of hopelessness. The very real feeling that a part of me was now missing. Every morning was a reminder of what happened the day before. At the time I didn’t know how I would ever move through that kind of despair. Every day I would make the choice to open up my mouth and to give thanks. Every day there was this force greater than I beckoning me onward.

In this very moment, I pause to give thanks yet again for where onward has brought me. It wasn’t long ago that my path crossed with the most incredible woman from the most incredible organization I have ever known, www.givinghopehaiti.com. The longer we talked and the more we shared our stories, we had the most surreal awareness that we were living parallel lives.  (I’m everything in between)

One of the first times we spoke over the telephone she said to me, “Jennifer, God is going to bless you double for your obedience to His voice, and although you have experienced so much loss, you will have double for your trouble.” I wrote those words down and repeated them daily, several times a day for weeks on end. Knowing those words would manifest and become something real. Little did I know, just how real real would be!

I am beyond thrilled to announce publicly that we have been matched with twin 3 year old girls from Haiti, named Hope Elaine and Apple Renee as well as a newborn baby girl named, Haven Clara. All three of our daughters have experienced abandonment, rejection and loss at a very early age. They are in great need of a forever family. We had the honor of giving them all new names and we believe whole-heartedly their new names go with their new future! Hope Elaine is vibrant and outgoing, Apple Renee is quiet and introspective; their blend is nothing short of glorious. Haven Clara is just that, a bright and safe place. I cannot wait to share more details about their little journeys as time goes on but for today, I give thanks that God saw them and rescued them. I am most honored and humbled to be entrusted with their little hearts. Faith, Grace and my good lookin’ man are too!

Not only am I receiving a double blessing but also a triple blessing from the One who is faithful! The words that were spoken are coming to life and in ways I never imagined. (I’m the conclusion)

We would be most grateful if you would please consider giving to our adoption journey and or passing along our story to anyone you know who carries a heart for adoption. We have more than enough room in our hearts and our home for these 3 little chocolate yummies. However, the cost is $12,000 per child which when you think of all the paperwork, time and research that goes into each adoption, $12,000 seems like pennies. All donations are tax deductible. At this pace, we will soon have our own African Children’s choir to travel with Annagail.

If you prefer to mail a check or money order send to: Havilah Global in the memo write Adams Adoption, PO Box 113, Zeeland, MI  49464.

Apple Renee is on the left and Hope Elaine is on the right. I will be posting a picture of Haven Clara as soon as I get an updated one of her fully clothed. We saw her when she was just born 🙂

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The Girls  

Live Well and Celebrate You!

Live Well and Celebrate You!

Many people think that what’s written in the Bible has mostly to do with getting people into heaven, getting right with God, saving their eternal souls. It does have to do with that, of course, but not mostly. It is equally concerned with living on […]

When The Times Ripe, I Will Answer You!

When The Times Ripe, I Will Answer You!

I’m setting you up as a light for the nations so that my salvation becomes global. When the times ripe, I answer you. When victory’s due, I help you. I form you and use you to reconnect the people with me, to put the land […]

Mom because I love you. A Poume of incurigmint. (A Poem of Encouragement)

Mom because I love you. A Poume of incurigmint. (A Poem of Encouragement)

I could hardly wait to blog today. Normally I don’t have time to blog but I am slowly learning (because I can be a slow learner) that you have to carve out time to share your story. So here I go in no particular order, rather writing as it comes.

We had our home study today at 9am. It took about two hours and the sweetest woman in the world came to our home. As I was preparing last night I was so anxious for this home study.  I wanted to make sure every detail was cared for completely and that I wouldn’t be the one holding this process up. After the babes went to bed, my handsome man doing some web design, i spent two hours going through Gracelynn’s suitcase full of paperwork from her adoption being completed just six months ago. Her adoption took us over 3 years and it was so intense. Just when I thought I had done everything right, we would receive a letter from her agency that something was missing or incorrect. We had to gather information and more information and make numerous copies of everything several times over. I seriously thought the paperwork process and questioning would never ever end but here I sit at the suitcase with the realization that it did end. It ended really well. It ended with my beautiful chocolate daughter in my arms and no one else’. It ended just as God promised it would. In the still of the night when I would worry, fret and fear that she would have to go back to Haiti. Back to the place that could not care for her, back to the place that abandoned her, back to the place that couldn’t feed her, back to the place where her father had no face. Those were the thoughts that haunted me those 3 years repeatedly. I would get on my face and weep and every single time, my Father, my most trustworthy Father, would remind me, “I hold her in the palm of my hands as I hold you.” “Nothing happens apart from my knowing, I will finish what I start.”

Sorting through the countless pieces of paper remembering every thought, pain, fear and emotion that we walked through, it all flooded back last night and once again I was faced with a choice. Would I stay on the path of TRUST, knowing that LOVE would see this through or would I cower in fear lacking the faith to believe that what He has started with our daughter S will be just as he had planned from the very beginning of her life in the womb. I gathered numerous copies of things that I believed would be needed to complete this home study and two hours later I had a stack four inches high. I put everything in order and placed them on the table for morning. As I turned around to go up the stairs to bed I found this piece of folded paper on the floor. I wanted to take a moment to share it with you  as I read it. I believe you will find the power and encouragement that I found last night to climb those stairs in TRUST.

//Mom because I love you! A Poume of Incurigmint!//

Blue sky blue sky in. Gray sky gray sky out! Keep your chin up high and don’t whare a pout. Let good thoughts in let the ungoodones out. Keep on going down the path don’t turn yourself back.

Let your heart and soul and God lead the way. Don’t try to lead yourself. Let God lead you as you go down the path of life. Don’t try to be someone else be yourself. Follow your heart. Do what you disiarer (desire) to do. Don’t let anyone get you down. Keep a smile on your face. Take a breth on bad days. Don’t look at the past. Cuz its all over in the past. You’ve already been there. Don’t hold in the tears let them out. Even if thare happy or sad, mad or silly. Just let out some tears when needed. Go down the path, follow God no matter what happens. Just do it! I love you much. Faith Adams 03/06/12

These were words written by my amazing 8 year old daughter, Faith. She is one of the most sensitive little ladies I have ever had the honor of knowing. I had not spoken a word to her of what I would be doing after her and chocolate went to bed but she knew. We had a conversation just before bed that went like this. “Mom, I know you and dad have what it takes to bring us our sister.” “I also know she is hurting Mom but don’t worry, we have enough love no matter how bad her pain.” Those words are on repeat in my heart.

Thank you Creator for the gift of children, for all of them, big, tall, large, small, young, old, broken, new!

 

The Day God Made our Sundae!

The Day God Made our Sundae!

I never really thought this is how my life would go, the wounds, the pain, the scars, the brokenness, the separation, the divorce. Wait a minute, wasn’t I living out my childhood dream? The dream of being married to a Pastor and my love for […]

June? Summer? What?

June? Summer? What?

June? Summer? What? So, I had this lofty goal of blogging at least once a month and keeping all of you fine folks updated on the most exciting journey of Annagail and The Adams Family. First, let me pause a moment, to laugh really hard […]

The Gift Has Been Given

The Gift Has Been Given

Welcome back my faithful reader (s). As promised, a deeper dip into seasons of my journey. I was told some time ago by a trusted mentor that i have this horrible habit of stuffing my feelings. Kind of like a green pepper stuffed with raw hamburger meat. The green pepper is my heart and the raw hamburger meat is the feeling I stuff. I don’t know if you have ever made stuffed green peppers before but it always amazes me how you can fit so much meat into that little pepper. Somehow it just keeps fitting. However, after you put it in the oven to bake oh so nicely, it begins to ooze and run all over the place. Once it’s cooked and processed, the taste is delightful. Now not to give a gross analogy but the heart is a little like this too. It can only handle so much stuffing of feelings until the heat is turned up and eventually it cannot handle anymore and it begins to run over into all areas of your life. This is exactly what began to happen to me. After undergoing so many tough experiences and pressures all in the same season, those feelings began to run over into other areas of my life. They were affecting me in ways I did not even see. I am certain I am not alone in this but at the time of need, I felt very much alone.

Ever since that season I haven’t experienced God the same way. Today I am grateful for that. While going through the first year after this season I was very frightened as it was something so foreign to me. God was in pursuit of me but in very different ways then what I had been used to. Little did I know that a lot of that had to do with me and my willingness to let go and surrender fully to the things I could not see and to stop believing lies. I was raised in a small community of which I am so blessed and grateful but with all upbringings there is always the negative with the positive. In my situation, my community was a very religious community. As long as you served God by living by the law, everything would be fine. However, if you even think of stepping outside of that, the sky will surely fall and hit you right in the head. I have nothing but love in my heart for my community. The people who live there today are beautiful people but out of love for them, I see how they strive and micro manage their lives away. I see this because I was once this way. The Lord loved me enough to allow me step outside of the community long enough to see deeper inside of myself. The stepping away had nothing to do with the community but everything to do with me and God’s pursuit of me! He was in pursuit of the deeper places of my heart. The rooms that had been closed off because of pain and i had not been given the software to process the pain. So my survival mode was to install an application called Stuff Deep and when that application became obsolete and stopped working well, I installed the latest upgrade called Stuff Deeper 2.0 and so on so forth.

So I’ve been journeying about a year now since learning that I was a habitual Stuffer. I’ve had some pretty good days and some fairly rotten days. However, in the good days, fairly rotten days and all of the days in between, I am reminded that I am being pursued. The Silent Retreat was a good reminder of His pursuit of me. He pursues me when I am silent and doing absolutely nothing. He pursues me because He cares deeply about the darkest places of my heart. The scariest places of my heart that I am slowly inviting you into.

I am learning from this season and hope to never forget, The incredible gift cannot be lost. The incredible gift is not mine to obtain. Let me share with you the words I have been hearing my Father speak to me in the darkest places of my soul. Please read to the end, I think you will be glad you did. I have learned that there is absolutely nothing I can do to get the Holy Spirit. There is nothing I can do to attain the divine indwelling. (Romans 8:10, Galatians 3:1-5). I cannot try to believe in the Holy Spirit as one doctrine among others, instead I must practice drinking from this deep well within me and then and only then can I believe. I have learned there is nothing I can do to lose the Holy Spirit (anointing). The most I can do is to grieve and be deeply saddened by the existing Presence that is stuffed deep within me. All of this leaves me ignorant of the gift that has already been given and thus I cannot enjoy the wonderful fruits it provides. I know I am not alone here, I am a sinner. So God forbid there ever be a time you are tempted to tell me or someone else that they have lost the anointing, it might serve you, them and i better to be called a sinner. Please do not hate me or look down on me for being a sinner, rather feel sorry for me and what I might be missing out on. The wonderful, precious gift that has been there the whole time!

Now I cannot look back and condemn myself for believing the lie that I had lost the anointing because I was not fully aware of the gift that cannot be lost. I see more clearly today, how necessary this painful process has been in my life. I would not change it for anything but out of it I have a deep passion and hope for us to be more kind hearted to those who do not yet understand. Please do not condemn, judge a matter prematurely or shut a person out because they appear as though they lost something. Instead, please, help them find it. Point them in the right direction. Reassure them of loves pursuit of them and then, don’t try to fix them, let the gift that has already been given heal them one layer at a time.

Reflectively,

Sparrow

Silent Retreat

Silent Retreat

The glory of God is the human being fully alive but anyone God uses significantly is always deeply wounded. It is possible to be fully alive with scars. We are grateful Father. These are the words I have found repeatedly flowing from my lips over […]


Featured Post

The Day God Made our Sundae!

The Day God Made our Sundae!

I never really thought this is how my life would go, the wounds, the pain, the scars, the brokenness, the separation, the divorce. Wait a minute, wasn’t I living out my childhood dream? The dream of being married to a Pastor and my love for music blessing the lives of others. On the outside that is exactly how my life appeared. On the inside since the very first night of our honeymoon, I was married to a very angry man. A man so locked up inside his own anger and mistaken identity that he couldn’t love himself, so how could he ever love me? He was convinced a child would make his life better. 3 1/2 years of fertility medications, shots and procedures and still no child. An ovary removed due to tumors. 3 1/2 years of lonliness, bruises, heartache, countless pleas with God to take me in my sleep, 22 and hopeless.  Surely someone had stepped into my life’s story with a chapter from another book. Everything  I thought I knew about a loving, caring Father disrupted by the pain from another human being.  My hope in mankind diminishing, caught in a downward spiral of despair. Toward the end of the 3 1/2 years, God sent an angel, in the form of a Pastor of a large church no less. God had given him a dream. He spoke the words, “if you do not make a change in your life before the end of the year, you will be dead.” He had no idea of my situation other than the word he had spoken that day. It was then, I told him and his wife everything. I left no detail out. God sent them to help me find my way out.

A funny gal madly in love with a crazy man!

One year after the last page had been turned in that chapter of my life, my path crosses with a very dear friend who I had not spoken with in quite some time. He was a gentle giant, a John the Beloved sort of guy with an incredibly funny side. He at one time was my guitar instructor but with my circumstances, I had to quit lessons to focus on getting better. We had lost touch for a long season. He was living in the town where I was working for a booking agent. Coincidence? I think not. It was the beginning of a new chapter in my story and although very much afraid, I had a deep knowing that this man was different. This man carried a pastors heart without the title of pastor. I could see his brokenness from  previous years of pain but it was layered with such forgiveness. It wasn’t long after our reunion and we were married. A simple wedding with a whole lot of peace and redemption.  Little did I know that this would be the beginning of our life of making music together and so much more that we had never planned. Step by step God was orchestrating our lives. April 2002 I am sitting in a women’s conference with a group of my closest friends. This incredible women named Joyce Meyer stopped in the middle of her sermon and stepped from behind the pulpit. Her speech and demeanor had changed and she spoke the words, “if you have been desiring children for a very long time but the doctors have told you it would never happen, stand up right now.” I shot up like a rocket without even thinking of what she had just said. There was something deep within my being that knew there was a miracle waiting for me and I wasn’t going to sit there and let it pass me by. There were about 150 women standing up that day and she said, “within six months to one year, you will be pregnant and the doctors will be astounded.” I began to weep uncontrollably. I knew I would not be disappointed and that God was moving within me and all around me.

Faith doing voice overs for handsandfeetproject.org

April 2003 Jared and I find out via a blood test that we are expecting our first child. My doctor of 15 years came into the room and if only her face could have been captured by photo that day. It will forever be engrafted in my mind. Tears rolled down her face and she confirmed what we had suspected. Hearing the words, you are pregnant are some of the best words I have ever heard in my life. December 2003 we welcome our first born, Faith Annagail into the world. Not only has she changed our lives in ways only parents can understand, she has brought gifts to our family that we could have never imagined. July 2007 we are a busy family of 3, Faith is 4 and we are knee deep in running a health care recovery business and playing shows on the weekends. Our lives rich in travel and meeting amazing people. It was a sunny day and a phone call came in from one of our dearest life long friends. The voice on the other end was joyful yet filled with concern. In a desperate search to find a family for a little girl she helped bring back from Haiti, she asked would we please come to the hospital to pray over this child. She thought of everyone and knew when asked, we would spring in to action and come. This precious baby girl was barely 2 months old and was brought to the US on medical visa to have a large teratoma tumor removed from her tailbone. Her mother had stopped feeding her because the doctors in Haiti said she wouldn’t live. God sent 2 angels to rescue her. He knew her destiny. A week after, we were asked to come and pray. We received another call. Would we be the temporary respite family to give her after care for no longer than 8 weeks. 8 weeks turned into 3 months, 3 months turned into 6 months and at the one year mark through tears, I told my husband, “I cannot do this anymore all the while knowing she would be removed from our home.” She had become my second child. The child I didn’t carry in my womb but the child I had never stopped praying for, the child I carried in my heart. The anguish and pain we went through on a daily basis, knowing she would soon be removed from our care. Our hearts were being ripped out of our chests at the thought.

Our chocolate gift from Heaven

Christmas 2008 we were given clearance to begin adoption processing. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. The adoption journey will be saved for another blog but suffice to say, we had to daily stay steadfast and secure in knowing He who had begun a good work would be oh so faithful to complete it. Through 6 medical visa renewals, 8 train rides to Chicago, fingerprinting, 3 lost dossiers, numerous trips back and forth to the hospital, 1000 bags of frozen breast milk from another mother, interviews, forms, forms, forms, 3 years and  a lot of money later she became our forever daughter and we her family. She received her new name Gracelynn RoseMichelle Adams. God was making our Sundae and oh how divine it was!

Amber Eileen (God’s soft jewel) Adams Memory Tear

We had never stopped trying for more children but for reasons we couldn’t understand, I was unable to get pregnant again. I even thought maybe if I sit in another Joyce conference, surely then. Faith is now 8 y/o and Gracelynn is 4 y/o. In November we decorated our 4th upstairs bedroom into a nursery in anticipation of our baby boy or girl to come. In December 2011, I got very ill with high fever and cramping. It was at that doctors appointment where we learned we had just lost our baby. I was a little over 8 weeks along. Devastated doesn’t come close to the way we felt. I never thought I could come out of such a dark deep hole of sadness. I knew it was something I had to allow myself to walk through and I knew that nothing was to ever fill the void of my lost child. I walk around daily with her memory around my neck. Daddy named her Amber Eileen, it means God’s soft jewel. Every time I hear, read or say her name, I cry. I know she is with Jesus in Heaven. I know she is not forgotten and I believe deeply I will hold her and kiss her someday. Everything belongs in God’s kingdom. Nothing is lost.

A fine chocolate and vanilla mix

February 2012. A dear friend of ours sends me an email. I read it, I see the photos of the most beautiful little girl from Haiti I have ever seen. I hear the words, she is my gift to you. God was asking us to care for a very wounded little girl. Just like me 13 years ago. There was hope for me, I was broken but not beyond repair.  The circumstances surrounding her are hard to hear about, hard for anyone to hear about. Our daughter has been through a lot of pain at a very young age and we recognize fully she needs healing; spirit, soul and body.  She has the most beautiful eyes, there is pain in those eyes. We know the road ahead is treacherous. We know we will need your prayers over the next several years. We know we will need to lean heavily on our God in every moment. Our daughter is not beyond repair. God prides himself in our redemption through His love. God gave us our daughter Amber for 8 weeks in my womb. He then finds a need for her in Heaven. Barely 8 weeks later, he brings us our new daughter, The number 8 means new beginnings! There is a saying on the wall of the nursery that reads, “IT IS HE WHO CAN!” We are walking out the words, it is He who can! Need I say more.