True Story: Baby Rescue

Are you a mother if you carry someone else’s child?

Yes.

At least, yes for Crystal Kelley. She was hired to carry another couple’s child, and signed forms waiving all her rights to the baby. She kept her end of the deal until she realized these parents had plans for this child she couldn’t bear. A routine ultrasound revealed the child—a little girl—had physical deformities. With news of a cleft pallet and other issues that would impact the child’s quality of life, the couple chose to terminate the pregnancy, but Crystal Kelley knew God had bigger plans for the little life inside her. She did more than say “no” to the couple—she packed up her family and moved to a state that gave her a say in this baby’s life, all so she could give birth to the girl God had created. Crystal saw that, despite the child’s deformities, she had worth. God made her, and God never makes mistakes.

This story has mesmerized me for months, but it especially resonates with me today. Good Friday. The day that Satan pointed a finger at me, at all of us, and said, “Look. She is deformed by sin. She will never live the life she was intended for.”

And that’s true. Sin has deformed us. But God stepped up and said, “I see value in her. She was not created by accident, and I have a plan for her, despite her deformity.”

The little girl was born and given for adoption to a family who promised to love her, who wanted her. And so are we. We were rescued, adopted, and loved on. No matter who rejects us or tells us we’re deformed, who better than the God of the universe to really love us? To draw us to Him and give us life?

Thank You, Lord, for seeing value in me. Thank You for looking past my deformities.

Thank You for rescuing me.

Note: This baby picture is courtesy of my wonderful writer friend Carol Moncado. 🙂

True Story: The Kitchen Sink

I told God–and my husband–that I was never living in a fixer-upper again. Are you all grinning yet? God has an amazing sense of humor when we throw absolutes His way…  words like “never” and “always” and “of course.” Not three months after uttering those fateful words, we are knee-deep in ancient avocado appliances, bright orange carpet, and cobwebs thicker than sweaters. Yeah, gross.

Pre-redo living room:

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A few months ago, we’d hit major discouragement with house shopping until finally a buyer chose OUR bid. God opened up doors that we couldn’t even find for us to get this house, and we knew it was the one He wanted us to buy. We plunked all our savings into it, knowing we had to redo it. How was that supposed to happen? Maybe God wanted to grow our walks as we lived with the dirty shag carpets and mushy roof.

But that’s not the way it’s been going. Let me tell you the amazingness that is our God. First, we get offers to help. My dad. Vince’s parents. Vince’s sister and her family, which includes 5 children. Vince’s brother. My mom and her husband Dave. Vince’s best friend Nick and his wife even spent all of Saturday helping us demo and clean.

Demolished kitchen:

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Then we end up stuck with a load of gravel when the truck driver refuses to drive it up our driveway. Three tons of expensive gravel with nowhere to drop it–except the church parking lot next door. No, no no! Not a good way to start off with new neighbors. But were they mad? Not a bit. We talked with them this weekend, and they were so sweet. “Keep it here till spring if you want. It ain’t hurtin’ nothing.” God is good! But wait, He’s not done. Then we discovered the fridge and stove in the basement kitchen–the kitchen I’d written off–actually work! Yessss!!! We have appliances. Then, a day after I stare at the corroded, broken faucet, my lovely Aunt Joani says, “Hey, we have a gorgeous one-year-old faucet we’re getting rid of. Do you want it?” Of COURSE we do!

Normally I write stories of one person’s secret kindness. This, however, isn’t that. It’s sort of the story of our wonderful friends/family, stepping up to the plate and showing us real love. But more than that, tt’s the story of God caring about our lives, about every detail, and using people around us to answer prayers. It’s about God blessing us with a house and then following through to give us what we need along the way.

If He proves faithful like this in a house project, surely I can trust Him in my writing. He called me to it, and He’ll equip me. Somehow. Through the people who gather around to help, or through “chance” meetings. Whatever He wants to happen…. it’ll happen.

My God is good, and that’s why I can pursue something beyond my own strength. That’s why I can write. After all, He threw in absolutely everything we needed–even the kitchen sink.

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True Stories: Aiding the Enemy

Scripture says “love your enemies”  and I try to do that. This week’s story, however, is just the opposite. My “enemies” have taken a turn at loving me in a HUGE way.

Contest season is upon us in the writing world, and it somehow makes us closer friends. We pull together to encourage, laugh, and commiserate. We swap writing samples. The red pens come out with a vengeance.

Which is an interesting twist, considering we’re all competing against each other. The goal of the upcoming contests is to highlight those writers who stand out. However, all writers are banding together to help make other writers’ stories better. How cool is that??

This week (I won’t even tell you how recently, but it might have been tonight), I had a meltdown about writing a synopsis. I find it painful–no, excruciating–to cram my entire book into one page. How can I possibly showcase every nuance, character depth, and creative twist? Well, I can’t. I have to choose which of my baby’s ten toes get to stay and then throw the rest away. Not really, but that’s how it feels sometimes.

But out of this experience comes the best part of my writing journey–FRIENDS. Without even begging for help, I’ve had other writer friends check in to see if I needed help, ask how the submissions were going, and talk me through meltdowns and frustrations. All so I could add to the competition against them.

Let me tell you, there’s something about my friends. Either they’re crazy…  or they’re awesome. Probably both. But either way, they have been gifts from God. Where else can you find a group of people who understand your quirks (and even share a few), care about your make-believe characters, and actually help you along a very arduous journey? I’m blown away by the graciousness, the helpful spirit, of each of my writing friends.

I believe writers make the BEST friends. Final answer.

Special thanks to Carol for putting up with me today as I scramble to get several entries ready, whining and freaking out at the same time. 🙂

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