Haiti – Round 2

Palm trees rustling in the breeze.

75 degrees of perfect bliss next to a poolside.

A starry night sky lit up with exploding fireworks.

The joyous noises of a nation celebrating their freedom.

2017.

That was my beginning.

 

I have begun a new chapter of my life. It is beyond scary and requires such a level of trust in my Savior that I have no other option. But then I remember that this life is not my own. It is so unbelievably humbling. I regret that I only have one life to give. I do not want to live a life of routine, 1st world problems, and selfish thoughts. I desire to live a life of freedom, a life of servanthood, and a life that shows Christ through every word and deed. My life would be meaningless otherwise.I truly believe that I will be fulfilled by nothing other than following my Redeemer.

I have prayed some dangerous prayers lately. God has been so faithful in fulfilling them. I guess that is the dangerous part. When you tell God to break your heart for what breaks His and that you will give everything and nothing less, He hears you. And He moves fast.

I took my first missions trip in December of 2016. I fell in love with the kids and the ministry. Our last evening there was New Year’s Eve and I had the beautiful privilege of celebrating 2017 surrounded by an amazing group of people. Haiti’s Independence Day also coincides with New Year’s Day creating one mass party. I drank in every single moment of it.

It was this same night that God told me some news I was not expecting. I had already decided that I would make plans to return for another trip, but because of financial reasons and other logistics, I thought it would make the most sense to wait a year and go back in Christmas of 2017. God had other plans. As usual.

I am returning to Kingdom Kids Homes on July 1st. It will be exactly 6 months to the day that I left Haiti.

I have been saving and working to pay for this trip but some new expenses have come to light. I cannot pay for this trip alone and God is teaching me a valuable and humbling lesson through that.

I need your help. I cannot get to Haiti on my own dime, as much as I would love to. So I ask for your support. Whether it be $5, $10, or $100, I appreciate each donation. If it is not financially possible at this time, I ask for your prayers. I am so deeply grateful for every single prayer. I know that this trip would not be possible without funds, but I also acknowledge that it would not be possible without prayer. For those who would like to help in a financial way, here’s how:

I am asking you to adopt-a-box.

Here is how it works:

  1. Pick a box (number).
  2. Donate that amount (number in the box) in one of two ways.

Online: http://www.kingdomkidshomes.org/new-page-1/ and put my name in the missionary designation line.

Mail: write the check to Kingdom Kids Homes and put my name on the memo line. It can be sent to: PO Box 984 Troy, MI 48099.

3. Let me know what number you picked, your name, and favorite color. I will fill in the box you adopted with your name and color.

adopt-a-box

 

 

 

Haiti Bound

Hi friends!

I have some exciting news that I am dying to share!! I am headed to Bon Repo’s, Haiti from December 27th – January 2nd and I could not be more thrilled! In the past few weeks, I have applied for my passport, bought a diarrhea kit (TMI, I know), purchased an insane amount of insect repellent, and am taking preventative medication for typhoid and malaria. While this may not seem super fun, I have enjoyed every moment because I know what it will bring.

I have had a dream since the age of 8 to open an orphanage. It has been confirmed by God several times that this would be my life’s work. I have pursued this goal for the past several years and am now taking my first trip to explore what is required to make it happen.

One extremely important detail to working in the mission field is money. I hate asking for things. I prefer to work and earn everything myself. But God has a way of testing our comfort zone and pushing us to put our trust in Him. I believe that this is preparation for my future. I cannot pay for this trip myself. I have worked and saved but there is only so much I can do. I need your help.

I am asking you to adopt-a-box.

Here is how it works:

  1. Pick a box (number).
  2. Donate that amount in one of two ways.

Online: http://www.kingdomkidshomes.org/new-page-1/ and put my name                                in the missionary designation line.

Mail: write the check to Kingdom Kids Homes and put my name on the memo                        line. It can be sent to: PO Box 984 Troy, MI 48099.

3. Comment below with what number you picked, your name, and favorite                       color. I will fill in the box you bought with your name and color.

adopt-a-box-103016

I cannot wait to meet the sweet children who reside at Kingdom Kids Homes.

I truly believe that this will be one of the best weeks of my life.

Thank you for you love, support, and prayers!! 🙂

 

 

My Daddy

The average person who has met my dad would probably give a description similar to this: he loves Jesus, his family, and the Ohio State Buckeyes. In that order. He is pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-second amendment rights, and is as Conservative on politics as they come. He holds strongly to his values without a care as to who might be offended by his stance on controversial issues.

I am sure that many people would consider my dad intolerant, hard headed, narrow-minded, ignorant, and a few might even find him heartless.

But today I want to tell you about the man I know.

My dad has a personal relationship with his Savior. For years, I have seen my dad get on his knees every morning and have a conversation with his Creator. I have watched my dad lean on his Lord for guidance in extremely difficult situations. The faith he places in God guiding his every step is so inspiring.

My dad pursues his wife. Want to know the real heart of a man? Watch how he treats his wife. My dad has given me a beautiful example of what qualities must be present in a future husband. I have watched my dad love my mom and care for her. I believe that to have a mom and dad who love each other is the best gift that God could give a child. I thank my dad for his commitment to my mom and my family, even through the trials.

My dad loves his children. Statistics say that 70% of fathers with a special needs child walk away from their family. I have seen my dad love and care for my sister. My family homeschools and my dad has been the sole provider for 17 years. We have struggled and had times of difficulty but I have never heard him ask for my mom to get a job. My dad desires to give my siblings and I the best opportunities. His desire has shown through in his actions. Our upbringing and education being Biblically founded will forever change all of our lives.

My dad defends the lives of the innocent. He stands up for those who cannot stand for themselves and speaks for those who cannot speak. My dad fights for the lives of the unborn and protects the lives of the disabled. I have watched my dad spend his evenings, weekends, and vacation days to help those in need. I have seen my dad spend hours on the phone counseling families on what to do, driving to hospitals at the last minute when he felt God calling him, and speaking at events with hundreds of people to raise funds for pregnancy centers. I have watched my dad cry when he found out a little one went to be with Jesus. My dad has a servant’s heart like few others.

My dad speaks the truth of Christ. My dad has spoken up for God no matter the cost. He has offended people and broken off relationships for his beliefs, but he holds to them nonetheless. His example gave me the courage to stand up in front of my college class and profess Jesus Christ as my Savior. I thank God that I was given a father who values his relationship with his Lord, far more than his relationships with people. I am blessed to know that my dad loves God above all else.

This is the man I know. A man of compassion and faith. I am beyond happy to call this man my father.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy!!

 

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You be Naomi. I’ll be Ruth.

An open letter to my future mother-in-law.

Hello,

I do not know you yet. I don’t know your name. I don’t know your hair color. I don’t know your son.

What I do know is that you must have done a particularly amazing job raising your son. I have high standards, as I am sure he does as well. Raising such an awesome man of God took years and years of hard work. I know that too. So right now I want to thank you. Before I know him, before I know you, before I know anything. I want to thank you.

Thank you for raising the man that I am going to marry. It feels surreal to write that even now. I can only imagine the many hours that you have spent helping with homework, doing his laundry, and making him meals. I am so thankful for the years you have invested into his life.

But after those years of bringing him up and shaping him into who he is today, how is any mother supposed to let go? I believe that simple question is where most of the traditional mother-in-law vs. daughter-in-law problems begin. From what I have seen in my short time on Earth, there is constant tension in this relationship. So before I even know who you are, I have a proposal.

You be Naomi. I’ll be Ruth.

The book of Ruth has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible. I have always loved the relationship between Naomi and Ruth. I believe that it is a beautiful example of God’s plan for the relationship that we have. God did not create anything imperfect. From the very beginning, He commanded that we love one another. God did not create this relationship to be one of bitterness, hate, and fear. He created it to be one of love and respect.

I will very likely be taking on the same last name that you yourself hold. There is a reason that I change my last name to my husbands. I become a part of your family. And while God said that a man must leave his parents and cleave to his wife, I have left my family to become a part of yours. I humbly ask that you treat me as your own flesh and blood. Take me in as you would your own daughter.  And if you have no daughter, let me be the one you never had. Let me be your Ruth.

I ask you to be my Naomi. Give me wisdom and no criticism in times of turmoil. Pick me back up when I feel defeated. Show me grace and mercy in times of failure.

I will be your Ruth. You will always be welcome in my home. My children will know and love you. My husband and I will respect your wisdom and input. You will find yourself valued beyond compare when in my presence.

I want you to know that at the age of seventeen, I am already praying for you. I pray that we will have a bond that is not stepped upon by the evils of this world but shows the love and light of Christ. What better way to show the world God’s immense love for us, than taking one of the most difficult things in this earth and making it full of joy, peace, and goodness. What a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness it will be.

I am so excited to meet you.

Love,

Grace

The Value of an Open Door

I recently wrote this paper for my composition class. I thought I would share it here for all of you to read. Enjoy! 🙂

 

Can one single act of kindness decide the fate of an entire nation? The choice that a man must make regarding being a gentleman has been decided by women. Politeness and chivalry were deemed as actions that made women look weak and incompetent of caring for themselves. Men decided that it was not worth the fight to be chivalrous. Why should men go out of their way to be kind when it was obviously not wanted? In fighting for a society that would make men and women the same, society lost the very thing that made it unique. It lost people who were responsible for and better suited to particular jobs, assignments, and ways of life. The lack of chivalry created a culture that is the same. Society is constantly telling people to be themselves, while simultaneously discouraging individuality. Chivalry can assist in changing this mindset. Chivalry is an act of service that can lead to an entire culture valuing and respecting each individual that is a part of it. It creates an environment that has regard for each and every life.

Women are largely responsible for the lack of chivalry in public places, which can be ironic, as women then question where all the gentleman have gone. It is difficult to maintain a balance of men and women being equal, while men must still be gentlemen and women must be ladies. In doing this, you have eliminated the qualities that go into making a man a gentleman and a woman a lady. There is no service to the other person required, rather a ‘do it for yourself, by yourself’ mentality develops.

“Our generation is becoming so busy trying to prove that women can do what men can do that women are losing their uniqueness. Women weren’t created to do everything a man can do. Women were created to do everything a man can’t do.” (New Wave Feminists)

Women need to love who they are and find beauty in who they were created to be.

A friend and I were exiting a mall when a man quickly walked past us right as we were about to reach the doors. The man opened the door and slid his hand along it, giving the appearance that he was holding it open. Assuming that those were his intentions, my friend continued walking to the door. The moment she reached it, the man looked back towards us and let the door go. It slammed shut in her face, almost causing her to fall backwards. The stranger then jogged to his car and left. While women are largely responsible for the disappearance of chivalry, there are many times that men show an utter lack of respect and decency for the female gender. The lack of chivalry that was displayed in the story above prompts the asking of two questions. First, would a person want their son to be the one slamming doors in the faces of young women? And second, would a person want their daughter to be the one slammed by the door? The average person would most likely answer no to both questions. Frank Sinatra said,

“I may sound old-fashioned, but I want to think all women should be treated like I want my wife, daughters, and granddaughters to be treated. I notice today that good manners – like standing up when a woman enters the room, helping a woman with her coat, letting her enter an elevator first, taking her arm to cross the street are sometimes considered unnecessary or a throwback. These are habits I could never break, nor would I want to. I realize today a lot more are taking care of themselves than in the past, but no woman is offended by politeness.”

While many women today are actually offended by politeness, that does not change the over-all meaning of what Sinatra said. The point of being a gentleman is to set an example for the next generation and to show respect to women who may not even be deserving of it.

Imagine a world where chivalry is put into action on a day to day basis, it is seen as just a part of life. I have seen glimpses of this and it is a beautiful thing. My mom and I were exiting a building that had a narrow hallway and to get in and out, there were two single glass doors right in a row. As we got closer, a young man was entering the building and saw us. He opened the door nearer to us and then proceeded to stretch himself so he could open both doors at the same time. My mom and I were amazed by the forethought and thanked him immensely. My mom and I felt valued and the young man obviously has a great deal of integrity. The culture that chivalry creates is one of respect and love. That is the kind of place I want to live.

Women are worth the fight. This fight is not like many others. It requires doing simple tasks that women could easily complete on their own. It consists of opening doors, pulling out chairs, and walking closer to the street.  While this is a fight that will primarily consist of verbal beatings from the very people that men are trying to serve, it is a fight that may also produce men of character. The reward could very well be a woman who appreciates him and sees the character, kindness, and drive that is within him and decides he is too special to forget or dismiss. The reward could last for the rest of his life. Chivalry becomes a lifestyle that encourages women to be ladies and men to be gentlemen. It is an action that has the power to change a nation. And that is the value of an open door.

Dear Future Husband

“Dear future husband,
Here’s a few things
You’ll need to know if you wanna be
My one and only all my life.”

I’ll be honest; I have a pretty long list of requirements. (I’m only going to share a few.)

The most important being having a relationship with Jesus.

The second being loving me. 🙂

And the third is having a love for special needs kids.

*Yes, I know I will be lucky to just find these three things let alone the rest of my list. But God.

I feel a need to share my reasoning behind number three. And I have three reasons.

1. Faith – my sister

My sister has special needs. Someday when the Lord calls my parents home to be with Him, Faith will need someone to live with. I refuse to put her in a “home” so she will be living with me or one of my other three siblings. I do not know which one of us will be in a place to take her, but with me being the oldest, it very likely could be me.

Faith can be a lot of work. Hopefully by the time my parents pass on she will be able to walk, talk, and eat by mouth but that is not what she is capable of right now. So yes, future husband, when you sign that marriage certificate, you are signing up to assist in caring for Faith. She is seriously one of the sweetest people you will ever meet though, so even if she has an accident all over our brand new couch, she will smile and giggle as her form of apology.

p.s. She will have to come over for sleepovers too!

2. Me – family history

My mom and both of her sisters each have a child with some form of “handicap.” So odds are I may have a child with special needs myself someday. It is just a reality that has to be faced. I love special needs kids so having one of my own would be a joy.

I do not wish disabilities upon any on my future kids but if we were given a special needs child it would not be the end of the world. So, future husband, I warn you of two more things. First, I want a Duggar sized family. Second, the odds of me having a child with special needs are probably very large; especially considering the amount of children I want.

3. Adoption – yup

I would love to adopt a special needs child…or two…or three. These children need love. There are circumstances where the parents cannot or will not take care of the child and it is in situations like those that I would love to adopt. Just wait, it gets crazier. I want to adopt the ones who cannot walk, talk, or eat by mouth. I know, I’m insane. But those children are the hardest to find parents for and considering I have some personal experience, it would not be too bad.

Future husband, get ready because I want a Duggar sized family, I want to homeschool, I want special needs children, and if that has not scared you enough yet, I love the pro-life movement and am determined to stay involved no matter what. So, yes, we will be “that homeschool family.”

*Watching every man on the planet run away from me*

I do have faith that God will send the right one in His perfect timing. I just pray that God gives him strength…and possibly an extremely well paying job. (That’s a lot of mouths to feed!!!)

So, future husband, there are just a few of the things that you need to know if you want to be my one and only.

“All I want is a Healthy Baby”

“So are you hoping for a boy or a girl?”

“It doesn’t matter as long as the baby is healthy.”

This is the conversation that I listened to as I stood next to my special needs sister.

I bet you have heard this line before; or possibly even said it yourself.

Most people do not seem to think through this statement, so I am going to bring up a few things that you may have not thought about.

My biggest question for those who say this is, “What if the baby isn’t healthy?”

My sister was born with Trisomy 18.

“Edwards syndrome (also known as trisomy 18 [T18]) is a chromosomal disorder caused by the presence of all, or part of, an extra 18th chromosome. This genetic condition almost always results from nondisjunction during meiosis. It is named after John Hilton Edwards, who first described the syndrome in 1960. It is the second-most common autosomal trisomy, after Down syndrome, that carries to term.

Half of the infants with this condition do not survive beyond the first week of life. The median lifespan is five to 15 days. About 8% of infants survive longer than 1 year. One percent of children live to age 10, typically in less severe cases of the mosaic Edwards syndrome.”

I apologize for the lengthy description, but I thought that it was important to show how serious my sister’s “disability” is, so you don’t think that I am so random person commenting on this topic with little to no personal experience.

And my sister clearly is not what most people consider a “healthy baby.”

I want to explain what I believe is the mindset behind the statement, “…as long as the baby is healthy.”

Please keep in mind that this seems to be a society mindset; not necessarily the mindset of every individual.

90% of babies who have Trisomy 18 are aborted. 90 percent!!!

Our culture tells us that children who are different and require more help are not worthy of life. In a culture where “normal” people are constantly told to be “unique” and “be yourself” we do not want to accept those who their “normal” is extremely unique.

In my sister’s case, unique meaning 1 in every 5,000 live-births.

Society has told us that if there is a problem just “get rid of it.” That there is no need to “fix” something if you can get a new one with minimum trouble.

“Abortion is an ‘easy’ answer to solving the issue of a special needs child.”

“You do not want to make yourself or the child suffer.”

“You can get pregnant again and it will be a healthy child.”

I have said it before but I will say it again. I have more compassion, love, understanding, and hope because of my sister than I would ever have without her. She lights up my life and even when life is rough and it feels like we are going to hit rock bottom, that little face will look up at you with the biggest smile and so much admiration in her eyes, for you, that you know that all will be well in the end.

It breaks my heart every time someone says, “…as long as the baby is healthy,” mainly because my sister is not.

It hurts so much to hear someone say that, especially when they know that my sister is disabled.

They know that I have a sister, who I love very much by the way, that has special needs, and yet, they say to my face that they do not want a child like her. They basically say that they will take anything but a child like her.

I used to get extremely upset over this and it will still hurt sometimes but I have come to the point where my mindset is, “If they do not get to experience the wonderful love of kids like my sister, they are the ones missing out.”

Please keep in mind that I did not put any of this to condemn anyone but to show them how simple phrases that are used all the time can be hurtful and that there is a stigma that people have against special needs children. Our culture needs to uproot this thought process. It is time to stop being hypocritical about ‘acceptance’ and instead realize that every life matters and has value.