Friday, May 26, 2017

Happy First Birthday, Wade!

Sweet baby Wade,

I can hardly believe you are 1 year old today. It feels like just yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital, so tiny and fragile. 

And now you are walking and talking and melting our hearts with your sweet personality and adorable smiles!

I love the way you come over to me and Daddy and Max and spontaneously kiss us, clicking your tongue to make the kissing sound.

I love seeing the wheels turning in your little head when we talk to you, and realizing that you understand so much more than I give you credit for.

I love that your hair is still slightly red, even though it will probably turn blonde or brown eventually, and that it is curling a bit at the base of your neck!

I love how you say “night night” and wave whenever you are going to bed.

I love your toothy smile and how your nose and eyes crinkle right up when you are the happiest.

I love how you always want to get in on whatever your big brother is doing.

I love how you wobble as you walk around, and how you try to carry as many toys as you can while you walk!

I love feeding you your bottle and looking into your beautiful eyes.

I love the look of accomplishment on your face after you have climbed up on something really tall and sat down.

I love your contagious laugh and how easy it is to make you do it!

I love how you say “more please” in sign language when you want more of something delicious.

I love how you scramble to get to Daddy when he comes into the room and beg for “up”.

I love how sometimes, after being in the nursery at church, you won't go to anyone else because you just want me.

I could go on and on about all the things I love about you, Wade Mitchell. These are just a few. Whenever I think of you, I smile. You bring me so much joy, my son. You are truly a gift from God to us. 

These words by Keith and Kristyn Getty, which I sing to you most nights, perfectly capture my deepest desire for you at this stage of your life:

I pray your little frame grows strong, 
And that faith takes hold while you are young
This is my prayer for you. 

Hold my hand, I'll teach you the way to go
Through the joys, through the tears, the journey of these years
May you trust Him till the end. 
May you trust Him in the end. 

There is nothing more important in life. May you trust Him in the end.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy.



Thursday, August 6, 2015

Adoption Finalized! - Delighting in the Providence of God

The last 6 months have been challenging, with much transition happening all at once - hence the absence of posts on this blog! But this past weekend God answered our prayers in such an amazing way that I just HAD to write a post about it! First a little summary of the last six months:

In March, Jon started a new job about a 2 hour commute from our home. We decided that, for a season, this was the best decision for our family. However, it meant that we were apart during the week, only seeing each other on weekends, which was very difficult. Add to that adjusting to being a Mommy full-time, selling our house, planning to move, finding an apartment in a new city, working towards finalizing Max's adoption, downsizing to move from our 4 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment, saying goodbye to our church family at The Gathering and hello to our new family at Covenant Baptist Church, plus packing with a toddler underfoot, and the last few months have been busy and emotional and stretching, to say the least!  In the midst of all of this, the Lord providentially worked out the sale of our house while simultaneously providing the perfect apartment for us to move into (that story could be in a post all its own!), and last Thursday our house sale closed and we moved straight into our new two bedroom apartment - AMAZING! The apartment is really cute too - we are loving it here already!, here's where things get pretty mind-blowing.  Jon and I had been preparing ourselves for more separation, since Maddox and I needed to reside in the same jurisdiction as our home until the adoption was finalized, in order to complete the process with the same agency. We had set it all up for me and Maddox to stay with friends in the area, so the plan was to move into our new apartment as a family this past weekend, and then for Maddox and I to head back on August 9th and stay with these friends until the adoption was finalized. We would be there during the week and then at our new apartment, with Jon, on the weekends. Lots of driving back and forth! Anyway, last Wednesday evening, the night before our big move, our Children's Aid Society (CAS) worker came for a short visit. She told us that it was looking like it would be a while before the adoption would be finalized. She said that we had reached the last stage of the process and our case was out of CAS's hands and on the Judge's desk, but now we would have to wait until the Judge got around to reviewing it and signing off on the adoption, and that could (and would most likely) take up to a month. I remember telling her that night that we would continue to pray about it and trust the Lord because the timing was in His hands, and I really meant it. I was fine if we stayed with our friends and had a continued season of separation if that was the Lord's will, although if it came through and we could be together as a family sooner, I would have been thrilled! But last week that sounded highly unlikely, if not impossible, after talking with our worker.

Well, what happened on the Thursday of our move reinforced just how sovereign our God is, as Solomon describes in Proverbs 21:1 - The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will. In our case, the Judge's hand was a stream of water in the hand of the Lord, and He turned it to sign our adoption papers sooner than any of us expected! As Jon was finishing up loading the moving truck at our house on Thursday morning, our CAS worker pulled into the driveway to incredulously break the news to him that the adoption was officially finalized!!! She had just heard and decided to drive over to tell us in person rather than phoning with the good news. Maddox was now legally and permanently what he has been since he came home on January 2nd - our beloved son! As much ours as if we had given birth to him. Jon cried in our driveway. Our worker cried. And as Jon introduced her as "our worker" to some of our friends who were helping him load the moving truck, she said "you mean former worker!" and smiled. Meanwhile, I was already at the new apartment, doing a bit of cleaning before all of our stuff arrived, and had no idea about any of this. My sweet hubby wanted to tell me the news himself and in person, so he kept it quiet all day (7 hours to be exact!) as we moved box after box with the help of our friends. Then, once the last box was brought in, just before dinner, he told me to sit down (which I was glad to do since my feet were aching!) and that he had some good news. The adoption was the last thing on my mind, so when he told me, I couldn't comprehend it at first - not after what our worker had said just the night before. I think I responded with a screeching, "WHAAAATT????!!!" Followed by laughter and tears, a few exclamations of "Praise the Lord!", and more laughter and tears. God is so gracious, blessing us far beyond what we deserve!

Our boy - Photo cred: Chance Faulkner Photography

A week later, I still find myself thinking I should start packing for Maddox and I to leave this coming Monday, and then I remember that we don't have to! We get to stay together now and we are officially a family forever! My heart is so happy! :) All weekend as we settled in, and as I thought about the adoption being finalized and looked around at our new nest, I kept thinking about this line from Psalm 16:6 - The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Added to this was Psalm 127 that our friend and pastor, Chris, read for family worship at his house right after we received the news: Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! (v.3-5a)

We are so happy and thankful to have sweet Maddox John as the first "arrow" in our "quiver"! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! 

 "Forever Family" Photo credit

Monday, February 16, 2015

Adoption Update: A desire fulfilled is a tree of life!

When I wrote my last blog post in September, I never would have dreamed that we would be where we are today. I didn't see this coming at all. Truly the Lord has done above and beyond what I could have imagined (Ephesians 3:20-21)!

Jon and I are now parents to a beautiful little boy. We have a son! I still feel like pinching myself some days to make sure this is real!

We are in love. 

It feels so surreal that this little one that we have prayed for and hoped for and longed for and waited for is actually here! Now here I am cuddling and caring for one of the children I've only dreamed about for so long... one of my own, this child that I've been praying for and aching for for years - ever since the desire to adopt was birthed in me. I didn't know how old he'd be or when he'd join our family, I didn't even know he'd be a he! But I've been waiting all along for this precious boy.... this little dude with the cutest fingers and toes and an adorable smile... with a name and a personality and a story all his own. All along our good God had planned this out... that our stories would intersect and Maddox would become a part of our family.

To think that while I was grieving back in August over the children we had hoped would become ours, God knew (see blog post here). I couldn't see what He was doing, but He knows the beginning from the end of every situation, and all along He had planned for this little guy to become Maddox John Ryttersgaard.

We gave him the middle name "John" because it means "YAHWEH has been gracious", and we see God's grace so clearly in orchestrating this adoption. The Lord has truly been gracious to us in giving us Maddox, and we see His grace at work this little one's life in so many ways as well (that are his to tell someday).

When I wrote my last post about motherhood in September (you can read it here if interested), I had really made peace with the fact that we might not be growing our nuclear family as soon as I had hoped. I wrestled a lot internally, but through the disappointment of not being chosen to be the adoptive parents of those children in the Summer, God reminded me of my true hope - the Hope that is never deferred. I think I really needed that re-orientation. It's good and right to want children, and for Jon and me to desire to adopt, but even good things can become bad things when we want them ultimately. And I think I had got to that point with the adoption process. Having a family through adoption had become my idol, and it needed to be de-throned.

I am reading a book now by Gloria Furman called "Treasuring Christ when your hands are full", and in it she says this:

It is possible that deeds done in the name of love for a child can be exhibitions of how our hearts are like idol factories. I shudder to think of how often I... exalt my children to the position of God. I make much of my children... and I make little of God... 

My children, although they probably can't articulate it yet, are relieved that when I treasure Jesus, they are freed from the burden of being the center of my world. No child should have to shoulder the weight of [his] mother's glory and reputation. 

Every mother can be freed from seeking her own glory as she loves her children for the sake of Jesus' name being made famous among the nations...

Treasuring Christ as preeminent in our lives gives our children a self-sacrificing, neighbour-serving, sin-forgiving, grace-extending illustration of how God is worthy to be seen, admired, and displayed as the greatest hope we could ever have.

This is what I needed to be reminded of back in August, and what I need to always remember now that I am a Mommy.

The whole of Proverbs 13:12 reads: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life" and that really is true! I am so happy and thankful to be a Mom now, and I love it every bit as much as I thought I would! A desire fulfilled really is a tree of life!

Yet, there is a Hope that is bigger than our hopes for things here on earth... for children, or recognition, or relationships, or money, or good health, or approval, or possessions, or *place the thing you want most here*. There is a Hope that is NEVER deferred... a Hope that I have capitalized because He is the ultimate Hope.

My life is meant to make much of JESUS. Not much of myself, nor much of my children. Jesus really is our Treasure and the greatest Hope we could ever have! May those who profess to believe this, as Christians, live more and more in light of this reality. And, by God's grace, may those who don't believe, come to see Jesus Christ as the Treasure that He is and place all their hope in the Lord.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Beauty and Motherhood: every Christian woman can be a mother and motherhood is a beautiful thing!


I read a really good book recently, called "Housewife Theologian" by Aimee Byrd (thanks Mel!), and I thought I would share one of my favourite parts, in the chapter on beauty. It really resonated with me, and I have found myself coming back to it again and again over the last few weeks. Aimee says:

"One of the most vivid descriptions of a beautiful woman that has stuck in my mind was penned by C.S. Lewis. He describes a sort of heavenly parade in honor of one woman who has finished her life on earth. The writer of this vision first thinks he recognizes this overwhelmingly beautiful woman as she is approaching. But it seems that what he recognizes is really a type of beauty that he has been longing for. His guide tells him that her name is Sarah Smith, from Golders Green. She sounds so ordinary, doesn't she? But it appears that she is a very significant woman in this place, as she is accompanied by flocks of people, showering her with flowers. When the writer asks the guide about both the men and women escorting her, the guide answers that they are her children. However, he explains further what he means by that.

'Every young man or boy that met her became her son – even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.'
'Isn't that a bit hard on their own parents?'
'No. There are those that steal other people's children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives.'

Now this is the beauty I aspire to have!... It is a beauty that changes people, affects the universe... "

Me too, Aimee! This is the kind of beauty I aspire to have. Aimee goes on to talk about our culture's warped perceptions of beauty, and how our beauty as women isn't something we acquire over others, but rather something we share with others in an appropriate way:

"It is not the lack of beauty in someone else that makes me more beautiful. Quite the opposite, another person's beauty can enhance my own!... We need to recognize the lie that our culture is selling about beauty and turn our eyes to the Creator of all that is beautiful."

I loved too how Sarah Smith's beauty in C.S. Lewis' story is so closely linked to her motherhood. And by "motherhood", I mean something that goes beyond having biological children (although it can certainly include that for women who bear children), because you will notice that there is no husband mentioned in the story, and that the children who are showering her with flowers in heaven are clearly her spiritual children - sons and daughters born, "not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13). Motherhood is a beautiful thing! Yet, motherhood in the family of God is not reserved for only those who bear children in the natural sense; it is for all women - married, single, having biological children, infertile, or having adopted children. As Christian women, we don't have to wait until we are married and have natural children to embrace motherhood!

I have found that this reminder has been particularly encouraging to me now that Jon and I are back in the "waiting" stage of the adoption process, and will not be growing our nuclear family as soon as I had hoped. In the waiting, I am reminded of who Jesus said his family was: "those who hear the Word of God and do it" (Luke 8:21). I am reminded that He also said, "there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life (Mark 10:29). I am reminded that there is a bigger, eternal, forever family, to which all earthly families point - the household of God (Eph 2:19) - which we can be a part of NOW ... and it is REAL family! Let this be encouragement to those of us who are single and maybe longing to be married, or feeling alone in the world because our bio family isn't around, or maybe married and longing for children - there is an eternal family that we are all a part of if we are trusting in Jesus for salvation! In this family, we are united by a different kind of blood - the blood of our Saviour! And this is the Blood that matters most.

I think I'll end this post with a lengthy quotation from John Piper on this subject that really encouraged me this week. I hope it will be an encouragement to other ladies as well: 

Take heed lest you minimize what I am saying and do not hear how radical it really is... I am declaring the temporary and secondary nature of marriage and family over and against the eternal and primary nature of the church. Marriage and family are temporary for this age; the church is forever. I am declaring the radical biblical truth that being in a human family is no sign of eternal blessing, but being in God's family means being eternally blessed. Relationships based on family are temporary. Relationships based on union with Christ are eternal. Marriage is a temporary institution, but what it stands for lasts forever. "In the resurrection," Jesus said, "they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven" (Matt 22:30)

And when his own mother and brothers asked to see him, Jesus said, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "here are my mother and my brothers!" (Matt 12:48-49). Jesus is turning everything around. Yes, he loved his mother and his brothers. But those are all natural and temporary relationships. He did not come into the world to focus on that. He came into the world to call out a people for his name from all the families of the earth into a new family where single people in Christ are full-fledged family members on par with all others, bearing fruit for God and becoming mothers and fathers of the eternal kind.  

"Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!" a woman cried out to Jesus. And he turned and said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" (Luke 11:27-28). The mother of God is the obedient Christian - married or single! Take a deep breath and reorder your world.  

"Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel," Jesus said, "who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life" (Mark 10:29-30). Single person, married person, do you want children, mothers, brothers, sisters, lands? Renounce the primacy of your natural relationships and follow Jesus into the fellowship of the people of God.

Photo credit 1
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Photo credit 3

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Hope that doesn't disappoint

These past 2 weeks have been the most difficult part of the adoption process so far. Since May, the momentum has been building as we have been pursuing a specific group of children and we were really hopeful that they might have been placed with us (we never got to the stage of meeting the children in person - a lot of people ask about that). However, we just got the news last week that the children's agency ended up choosing another couple to be their forever family. We knew all along that this could happen, since we weren't the only family being considered, yet I am still finding it pretty difficult. While it is so comforting to know that God is in control, even over this, and that CAS made the best choice for the children, I felt sad and disappointed when our worker delivered the news. Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" and I certainly tasted a bit of that sickness of heart this week. I think that's normal too. It's impossible not to be sad when you have specific children in mind and are learning information about them for months and hoping that they will be yours and then find out that it won't happen. I guess in some ways this is sort of similar to a miscarriage, and I've really been feeling it since we got the news.

I read a guest post by Trillia Newbell on one of my favourite blogs this week (you can read the whole thing here if you want) where she writes about her struggle with getting pregnant and the subsequent pain of several miscarriages. I was planning to write a post about Proverbs 13:12 this week, and how I have sensed the Lord reminding me that He is my only lasting Hope, but then I read this and thought Trillia articulated beautifully what the Holy Spirit has been driving home in my heart through this loss. So here is a lengthy quote from Trillia's blog post (emphases in bold are mine):

"For once I got it. I understood what it felt like to have a sick heart with a hope deferred (Prov 13:12). I longed for a child. This desire wasn’t sinful. Children are a gift. But God was calling me to wait and endure various trials. He was teaching me patience, and I was learning how to trust him. God would eventually give me a beautiful son, followed by two more miscarriages, and then a daughter. Yet during the years of waiting and losing children, God was reminding me of my true hope.

There is a hope that is not deferred. There’s the hope of a man who came to seek and save the lost. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with much grief. He was despised and crushed. He was pierced for our transgressions and iniquities (Isaiah 53). We have a great hope in Jesus Christ, the one who died, was raised, and is now at the right hand of God interceding for us all (Rom 8:35). And one day we will see our Hope face to face. I have the hope of an eternal everlasting home where neither moth nor rust destroy and where no more shall there be an infant who lives but a few days (Matt. 6:20; Isaiah 65:20).

God doesn’t promise a life of ease. So in my next trial I want to cling to Jesus. I cannot cling to the doctor’s diagnosis. I cannot cling to the assistance of medicine. I definitely cannot cling to my own understanding (Prov  3:5). He is my only hope. He is where my hope is built."

 As I've been thinking lots about hope this week, Romans 5:2-5 has kept coming back to me as well:

We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Jesus is the Hope that doesn't disappoint! The love of God has been poured out in my heart by the Holy Spirit, and it is ENOUGH. There is a Hope that is not deferred! I have an anchor that keeps my soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll. God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Ps 73) and He is always good.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

For those who love God, all things work together for GOOD.

I needed this today. 
Devotional from "Morning and Evening" by C.H. Spurgeon for August 5th: 
"We know that for those who love God all things work together for good."
Romans 8:28
Upon some points a believer is absolutely sure. He knows, for instance, that God sits in the center of the vessel when it rocks most. He believes that an invisible hand is always on the world's tiller, and that wherever providence may drift, God is steering it. That reassuring knowledge prepares him for everything. He looks over the raging waters and sees the spirit of Jesus walking on the water, and he hears a voice saying, "It is I - do not be afraid." He knows too that God is always wise, and, knowing this, he is confident that there can be no accidents, no mistakes, and that nothing can occur that ought not to happen. He can say, "If I should lose everything, it is better that I should lose it than keep it if it is God's will: the worst disaster is the wisest and the kindest thing that I could face if God ordains it." "We know that for those who love God all things work together for good." The Christian does not merely hold this as a theory, but he knows it as a matter of fact. So far everything has worked for good; the poisonous drugs mixed in proper proportions have effected the cure; the sharp cuts of the scalpel have cleaned out the disease and facilitated the healing. Every event as yet has worked out the most divinely blessed results; and so, believing that God rules all, that he governs wisely, that he brings good out of evil, the believer's heart is assured, and he is learning to meet each trial calmly when it comes. In the spirit of true resignation, the believer can pray, "Send me what You will, my God, as long as it comes from You; there never was a poor portion that came from Your table to any of Your children." 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

All of Me

Months ago, a sweet friend of mine encouraged me to use this time of waiting for our children to process and prepare the change that is coming (thanks Jenny!). She said that pregnancy is a time of preparation - body, soul and spirit - for the child who is coming, and she encouraged me that this placement stage of our adoption process is that time of preparation for me, and I should make the most of it. So, this post is me sharing a bit of what I've been processing, emotionally and spiritually, in preparation for our kids.   

I heard this song "All of Me" by Matt Hammitt for the first time about a month ago, and I couldn't help but think how perfectly it expresses the love of a parent for a child. The words go like this:

Afraid to love, something that could break,
Could I move on, if You were torn away?
I'm so close to what I can't control
I can't give You half my heart, and pray He makes You whole

You're gonna have all of me, You're gonna have all of me,
Cuz you're worth every falling tear, You're worth facing every fear
You're gonna know all my love, even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving You all of me is where I'll start.

I won't let sadness steal You from my arms
I won't let pain keep you from my heart
I'll trade the fear of all that I could lose,
For every moment I'll share with You

You're gonna have all of me, you're gonna have all of me,
Cuz You're worth every falling tear, You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love, even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving You all of me is where I'll start.

Heaven brought you to this moment, it's too wonderful to speak
You're worth all of me, You're worth all of me
So let me recklessly love You, even if I bleed
You're worth all of me, You're worth all of me

As an expectant Mom, this song struck a chord in my heart, and really expresses well how I want to love our children. Back in February, I wrote a post called Fear Not where I shared about my fresh realization that fear and love cannot coexist. I was (and still am!) super convicted that I need to keep repenting of my sin of fear. Fear is what holds me back from truly loving, and I like how this song expresses that fight against fear... the fight to love. 

I have read quite a bit about the attachment issues that children in foster care have, and I am preparing myself for what could (and probably will) be a challenging transition - both for our kids and for us. There's so much that's out of my control in this whole process:
  1. I have no control over the issues in our kids' birth family that will ultimately lead them to us
  2. I have no control over the unique ways (healthy and unhealthy) that each of our children will have learned to cope with the pain they've been through in their young lives
  3. I have no control over the emotions that they will be dealing with inside
  4. I have no control over the behaviours that they will exhibit as a result of the trauma they've experienced
  5. I have no control over when they'll be placed in our home and if they will stay (beyond the 6 month to 1 year probation period) and be ours forever
And all of this can be kind of scary! 

Yet, that line in the bridge of Matt Hammit's song gets me every time: let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed. I can't help but think about Jesus on the cross whenever I hear/read that line! But the crazy thing about the love of God, displayed on the cross, is that He showed it in this way: while we were still sinners, He bled and died for us (Romans 5:8)! Did you catch that? Jesus recklessly loved SINNERS, bleeding and dying on the cross for them. So it was not because I was "worth it", or somehow deserving of love that Jesus died for me. I could never deserve or merit the love of the holy Creator of the world. In fact, my sin demands that I be punished. I myself have spit in the face of the One who made me and who holds everything together (Colossians 1:17). I have spurned His grace. Yet this God, in his inexplicable and amazing love, looked on my sin and said, "though she doesn't deserve it, I am going to love her to the point of shedding my blood. I will take the punishment that she rightfully deserves and make her mine." 

This is where the love of God blows even this song out of the water and takes it to a whole new level for me! Because I see that His love is so extravagant and logic-defying! It goes far beyond what is reasonable! 

I totally understand what the sentiment of this song is getting at, and I mean it when I sing it around the house, thinking about our kids, "you're worth all of me!" But underneath that line for me as I sing it is much more than the sentiment, "you're such a sweet little kid and you're worth all of me!" Much more. 1 John 4:10 and 19 say: In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the wrath-bearing-substitute for our sins... We love because He first loved us. God's love is the ultimate source and motivation for loving my children! 

So even if we lose them after committing to loving them, even if they act out and spurn our love, even if they have outrageous behaviour, even if they never love us back, "even if it's not enough", and "even if I bleed" like the song says, I'm still going to give them all of me and recklessly love them, because JESUS is worth it! He has poured out His unfathomable love in my heart by His Spirit (Romans 5:5), and I am privileged to give it away! 

 My prayer is that I will love our children like God loves me.... with a one-way, unconditional love. I hope that giving them "all of me" will image for them, in some small way, the amazing love of God the Heavenly Father, which is, as the Jesus Storybook Bible describes it, the ultimate "Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love" that we all desperately need.