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Saturday, August 14, 2010


"thanks mommy! this is the best night of the summer!"

This week has been FULL of fun. Gwen ( and I started the week off with the Justin Bieber concert. Our four girls were ECSTATIC at the thought of going out on the town with their mommies and it being a "girls night out."
After the concert we awoke to our sweet friend Emily Alexander and her family ( from Texas coming to visit. Through a mutual friend, the Lord knitted our hearts with Emily's three years ago when Gwen was leaving for China to get Maggie. We were all three in the adoption process and Gwen was the first one to travel. We sat on my bed, hands locked, and prayed her off to a foreign country where she was going to hold her abused, burned, child for the first time. Little did we know, a week later I would travel. While Gwen was on the other side of the world holding Maggie, my lips touched Caleb's little cheeks just hours after he was born. All the while, Emily was in Texas fervently praying for the both of us. A few months later, she traveled to Ethiopia and wrapped her arms around sweet little Abe.

our stories in a nutshell:

Gwen and I had traveled the adoption road once before and it had been relatively smooth (Joshua/domestic, Emily/China). On our second Journey, while the health of Caleb was perfect, our journey walking alongside his birthmother was very emotional. Gwen traveled thinking that Maggie was "missing hair" easy problem to solve. It only took a few moments to look into her eyes to see the depth of pain and abuse that this child had once suffered. After having Abe home for awhile, an MRI showed that he was missing part of his brain. While Emily's heart broke in half, Gwen and I prayed fervently for her from our homes in Tennessee. Fast forward two years.... Emily goes back to Ethiopia to bring Eyasu home. Mike and I traveled to Uganda to bring Josie Love the process find out that she tests positive for TB and HIV. and several months later Gwen travels to bring Daisy and Joseph home from Uganda......still waiting for tests to know EXACTLY what is going on with Joseph.

We laugh now, saying that how we once thought that the Lord "knitted"our hearts together, we believe now that He "tied, chained, locked, and bolted....and threw the key away!" We look back on the last three years and KNOW that our friendship is divine. If we had not had each other during these times, we would have crumbled. We often talk about God's plan for our lives not being the road that we would have "chosen" but if given the chance to redo it we would "choose" it ALL over again. Our lives have not been filled with happiness. But have been OVERFLOWING with joy. We do not feel like smiling all of the time. We are tired of doctors appointments, medicine, and laundry. BUT we are all three filled to the rim with joy each and every day. It's the kind of joy that only our sweet Savior can give. Not only does He give it, but he gives you someone to walk the journey with(other than our spouses), someone to SHARE the joy with because THAT IS JUST WHAT HE DOES!!!!!

We all went to the HIV/AIDS awareness exhibit together on Thursday night. After walking through it, my heart felt SO heavy. Heavy for all of the people that live around me on a daily basis that have NO IDEA what REALLY goes on around the world. I have NEVER felt so privileged. I left thinking....The Lord has entrusted me with one of these little angels that is infected with this AWFUL virus. He is depending on ME and Mike to love her and care for her. He has given me the opportunity to walk alongside this little girl and see life as she sees it instead of the cloudy goggles that most wear on a daily basis that are smeared with our "worldly joy." Now hear me say, that it doesn't give me the warm fuzzies and make me happy. It gives me sorrow and makes my heart never before. It makes me ANGRY that she has to go through life taking meds just to stay alive. But it brings me JOY to feel the Lords presence daily. It brings me peace that only He can give me.

I had a lifelong girlfriend(Amy Drane, whom I love with my whole heart) meet me to go through the exhibit. Amy has two little angels from Guatemala. Going anywhere with my brood is always an adventure for her I am sure. She loaded up with Gwen, Emily, and I and ALL OF OUR KIDDOS and ventured out. After the exhibit, eating out, and heading home, Amy and I were able to talk about the night. She said "I could do life with all of ya'll EVERY DAY!" It made my heart feel SO good to feel that she was not TOTALLY overwhelmed (maybe just a little..haha) with how crazy our lives are. She pointed out how everyone stared at us at the restaurant...which I do not notice anymore, and the joy that we all seem to have while life is HARD. It was at that moment that this blog came to mind.

Life does not always bring happiness...actually, MOST days it does not. BUT IT IS FULL OF JOY.

the Mayernick's, Oatsvall's, and the Alexander's...can you find the mother's? (just look for the dark circles and wrinkles under our eyes!!) too bad Josie is looking down..her head looks like an over grown sea urchin!

sweet baby Abe and "gee gee" Gwen

Joseph Oatsvall...the sweetest smile on earth!


Anonymous said...

another great post sister...I had a great, great night Thursday...your life is filled with so many precious people...I always leave "your world" feeling so thankful and blessed and looking so forward to seeing and being with you again...I love you with my WHOLE heart too! amy

emily said...

Oh the joy of doing the hard with you two. So thankful the Lord did knit our hearts together as He knew the hard was on it's way. You are a blessing beyond you sister.

Kim said...

Oh ... and how you three spread the JOY! I am blessed to call you three amigos friends and find myself craving more time in your company! Someday!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

sara @ it's good to be queen said...

It's so good to read about other people doing hard things. More and more God has been calling us to do the "hard" thing, choose the more difficult path and He has shown me how to rely fully on His strength and peace even when everything is crazy with a capital C! Your words are so encouraging. I am encouraged to press on and not grow weary in doing good. thank you. blessings,

Jill Funkhouser said...

Beautifull post. You guys are amazing and all an inspiration to us. Would love to meet you when we are in your neck of the woods someday. Beautiful picture of the all of you. God is so good!

Oatsvall Team said...

sister ... you are amazing and l am honored to do life w/ you ... thanks for keeping me laughing ... i couldn't do it w/ you ya !!!

RaVae Erickson said...

Oh Suzanne,

If there was only ONE thing I could say about this post it would be this, "Amazing!" Not amazing because you are "super-woman" or "wonder-mom," but "Amazing!" because you have found one of the many truths in life....there WILL be hardships, and we may not find a smidgen of happiness on any given day, yet HIS JOY is there through everything. His JOY does not depend on this world and is not affected by the struggles we face here. His JOY is always there. Just as He is our Rock in this world, so His JOY is a great hope we can cling to when our happy days seem to have disappeared.

I am SO GLAD you have been blessed with dear, sweet sisters (such as yourself) to walk through not only adoption journeys, but LIFE with.

Many blessings!

Dawn - "Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

LOVED seeing you all this passed weekend.....could not describe how wonderful it was for our hearts to see other families like ours. Sounds so simplistic, but for us it renewed us. We needed that so desperately- THANK YOU for coming over to see our family and hang out at the Johnson's :)

missy said...

what a beautiful picture of what god designed the family of god to be like, on so many different levels. on a lighter note, i have a mom crush on justin bieber!


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I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.
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