A Letter on Her 4th Birthday…

She turns 7 tomorrow. SEVEN.

And 3 years after this post I still feel the same way.

Tiffany Anne Pollard

To Esther’s Matka,

In another place, Matka would mean Mom. You are her Mom. Some define Mom as “the one who puts her kids before herself.” 4 years ago today…you did that.

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In another place, I would be cradling love in my arms with total fear in my heart. Praying you’d stay firm in your decision. 4 years ago today…you did that.

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In another place, she would run to you when she felt pain. But love sometimes means taking the pain on yourself. 4 years ago today…you did that.

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In another place, we’d still be anxiously begging our phone to ring with a referral. Hoping a brave birthmom would choose us. 4 years ago today…you did that.

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In another place, you’d give up sleep and time to be with her. You’d long so deeply for her happiness that you’d make big sacrifices. 4 years ago today…you did that.

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In another…

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2021…We are glad to see you!

When my eyes see these 5 things my heart is full…

…Our kids playing outside…

…Rose coming at me completely out of control…

…Sweets (especially from Disney)…

…Jeremy being silly with our kids (14 year olds are the easiest to embarrass)…

…Fresh cut flowers from the front yard…

And today I woke up ready to see 2021!

Ready to savor it.

That’s my 2021 word…Savor.

“To enjoy completely. To delight in.”

The kids are getting bigger. Stephen’s 3 years from graduating. I don’t want to miss a moment.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)

Our Father doesn’t change.

Families change. Jobs change. Lives change.

Our whole world changed last year.

But He doesn’t. And no matter what 2021 may hold, we are choosing to savor it.

Because our Savior never changes.

Happy New Year friends!

When the person you love changes…

We met when we were 18 years old. 5 days after college arrival. So young. So wide-eyed.

Within a month I was planning our wedding.

Our future dreams included having a couple kids and living in a fancy house overlooking the golf course Jeremy managed.

Then we turned 19. And God said He had plans. Plans that changed college degrees and took us away from the golf green. Plans involving the scary word “ministry.”

At 21 we got married. Began ministry with students we loved (LOVED). Had 2 kids.

At 27 we moved. Began ministry with kids. Welcomed 3 more kids.

At 34 we moved. Began ministry with families. Watched our kids go from littles to bigs.

And now we’re here. And there are 5 kids and 2 dogs. And a great house without a golf course. And still that sometimes scary word “ministry.”

Jeremy and I have had our highs and lows. We’ve laughed. And cried. And had marriage counseling. And faithful friends.

I look at him and realize how much we’ve changed. Both of us. From 18 till now. And there are still (God-willing) so many years of changing ahead.

But the constant has been grace. God has been faithful. Every step of the way. Through the low of almost losing everything in 2007. Through the high of bringing Esther Grace home in 2014.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written. But today felt necessary. To remind you that God really is faithful. When your calm day ends up hectic. When your dreams become impossible.

Breath deeply, my friend. He is not surprised. You are worth Jesus to God. He sees you and loves you through every change.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’.” (Psalm 91:1)

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THIRTEEN…

Stephen,

What we have is strange. And I know it’s mainly me.

Sometimes I look at you and feel such pain. I see you laying in that hospital room. Helpless. Looking around for a familiar face.

Other days I marvel at you. That you’re here. And healthy. And minus that scar up the back of your neck, seemingly unphased.

On school days when you get frustrated at your Math, I get angry. How could someone who’s faced so much crumble at a simple multiplication problem?

When I look back at your baby pictures I feel confusion. Why can’t I remember it? How could one moment wash away so many precious memories?

During those moments when I catch you picking up trash you didn’t drop. Or taking the dogs out without being asked, I feel relief. And thankfulness.

Because we were clueless when you were born. We forced you to fit our routine. We held on too tightly till God forced open our hands.

But through it all, you somehow became you. The person God created you to be. The little boy with strength enough to face hard things.

Son, I have failed you throughout the last 13 years. I’ve ran when I should have hugged. I’ve cried when I should have laughed. And I’m sorry.

But man, what a gift you are to me. What a marvel.

Thank you for being our firstborn. For letting us mess up time and time again. For being gracious. For being patient.

One day you’ll understand how hard we tried. How much we loved you in spite of our mistakes.

Happy 13th birthday Stephen! You are grace to us.

Love,
Mom

 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) 

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My 12 minutes of sanity…

12 minutes.

It takes that long. And that little.

All you runner people will cringe. Laugh maybe. But 12 minutes is my mile number.

And I try to run it EVERY DAY.

I slip out of the house at some point. Kick the boys off Spotify. And decompress with every footstep on the pavement.

No. I can’t run a marathon. No. It’ still not easy. Yes. I sweat like a mule.

But I come back better. Refreshed. Claiming something small as mine and for me.

I’m not sure how much free time you have. I’m not sure where God has put you and what you do every day. But I can bet you get overwhelmed. And frustrated. And desperate for a break.

What if you joined up a couple 12 minute moments every day? 12 minutes in the afternoon on a run? 12 minutes in the morning with Him? 12 minutes at night with a good book?

My walk with Christ is like a 12 minute moment that I keep stacking day after day. We have a relationship that’s not hit or miss. Or on one week and off the next. It’s real. And it’s predictable.

Not because I schedule it. Not because I check off the Bible reading plan taped to the wall. Or because I scribble in my flowered journal most every day.

My relationship with Christ is based on grace. And His faithfulness to me. During 12 minute runs. Or 5 minute cry-fests.

When we fail, He doesn’t. When we quit, He doesn’t.

“Jesus’ compassion never holds us to a standard of perfection, but always holds us in His arms of grace.” (Ann Voskamp)

On 12 minute runs. In 12 minute traffic. During 12 minute meetings. God’s love will be with you today.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

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