Thursday, February 15, 2018


8 years ago today, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, an 8-month-old baby boy named Misikir entered our world, was placed in our arms, and captured our hearts.  He was so sweaty from being in the car all day as one by one babies were delivered to anxiously waiting parents all over the city.  After accidentally trying to give him to another family, they finally made it to us.  We were the last stop of the day and with arms wide open, we received a beautiful baby boy.

Misikir came to us with the girl clothes on his back and several bottles of medicine for his many different illnesses.  Get him home and get him well was our first mission, but little did we know that pneumonia and a double ear infection would the least of our worries.  Our journey to help Miles Misikir get well ended up revealing that he was struggling in ways that medicine can’t fix.  There is no pill for Autism, no cure for Intellectual Disability, and the little boy that captured our hearts ended up wrecking our family in the most beautiful way.

When we said yes to adoption, we didn’t realize the journey God was about to take us on.  3 years into it, I found myself in the darkest place my mind and heart had ever been.  After losing two babies, God called us to open our hearts to adoption.  We received Miles with open arms and 3 years later, those arms were covered in scars, scratches, and bite marks.  I was called to love, bond, and build trust with a child that I was scared to death of and every interaction with him was physically painful for me in one way or another.

I hit a breaking point one Sunday morning at church.  I dropped Miles off in the nursery and found my place beside Keith.  They start singing the words, “You are good.  You are good.  You are good.”  And that was it for me.  Those words.  I didn’t believe them, I didn’t like them, and I didn’t want to hear them.  I was in a room with thousands of people but I had never felt so alone.  I frantically grabbed my stuff and got out of there.  I walked to my car, threw my stuff in the passenger seat and lost it.  “This is the rest of my life” is all I kept thinking.  “This is the rest of my life and God knew THE WHOLE TIME!”

Knowing that God allowed this and even purposed it made me feel so helpless and so hopeless and that is a bad combination when your life and circumstances have forced you to isolate from the world.  So I sat.  Suicide was the only way out and I had known it for a long time.  And that morning, with everyone safe in their own space at church, I found myself at a crossroads.  I put the car in drive and had to make a choice.  Turn left and go home or turn right and just drive.  I have never struggled with a decision more than I did with that one that day.  I was suicidal with a plan and I knew if I went home I was done.

I turned right.

My thinking was drive the opposite way from the house and make space.  I knew Starbucks was open so I drove straight there like my life depended on it, because it did.  I ordered a Venti White Mocha with an extra shot and sat in the parking lot holding the warm cup in my hands.  Warm hands and the smell of coffee.  That was enough time and space to help me get out of my head and start telling God how incredibly disappointed I was with His plan for my life.  I told Him if those words were true, if He really is good, He better show me.  I could not and would not do this the rest of my life if He didn’t seal that truth in my heart.

Get Miles home and get him well was our mission,
but get Miles home and get Jackie well was God’s mission. 

That was 5 years ago and it was the beginning of God putting this broken mama back together.  He used His life-giving Word to breathe life back into me.  He knew that Miles would require more of me than I could give and getting me to the end of myself was always His plan.  We are called to die to self, to be living sacrifices, so why are we so surprised when that pain seems like too much to bear?  I can remember telling God, “This is literally going to kill me!”  His response?  “That’s the whole point!  The cross I have called you to bear is supposed to kill you.  That’s the whole point of the cross!  Less of Jackie, more of Jesus!”

So as I sit here and reflect on the last 8 years, I am in awe and overwhelmed at the journey that God has taken us on.  It is far from over and it is still incredibly difficult, but I’m not the same person.  Eight is the number for new beginnings.  Isn’t that fitting?  Isn’t it just like God to call us to something bigger than ourselves, allow us to struggle and wrestle, and then produce something new and beautiful?

If I could go back, knowing what I know now, I would do it all over again.  I never ever want to be the me before Miles.  If that means that Jesus is not going to rescue me from this, if that means that I will get bit, scratched, hit and be forced to change diapers the rest of my life, then I pray that Jesus’ charge to John the Baptist in Matthew 11 will be true of me, “Blessed is He who does not fall away because of Me.”

Today, we celebrate God’s gift of Miles into our family.
Today, we remember the hard and the pain.
Today, we acknowledge the fact that God is indeed a good God.

Happy Gotcha day, Miles Misikir!  You are a gift worth celebrating!

5 years ago, God used a cup of coffee to save my life.  5 years later, God is using a new coffee to give me the energy to live that life.  He is using coffee as an outlet for me to share my story and speak life into people who are struggling.  He is a personal and intentional God.  Coffee helped me make the choice to stick around for my people and now God is using my coffee business to financially bless my people.  He simply amazes me!  I am excited for year 8, for our new beginning, and I can't wait to see what God is going to do!

1 comment :

  1. I love you and I'm proud of you!