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Seeing Love Multiply: Hope

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Seeing Love Multiply: Hope

Weeks ago, my Jesús left this world and went to live in heaven with Jesus. From the moment, I lost him I have clung to the Lord declaring there is hope. I may be crushed, I may struggle to breath, the room may be spinning but in the midst of all this there is hope. Today, the room still spins sometimes and it is still difficult to catch my breath when my thoughts wander to what it would be like… I still hold onto the truth; there is hope. There is always hope. Our Father will not leave us hopeless. I know that. There have been many days, though, despite believing and knowing it, I have not seen it. I have learned much these weeks of what it means to stand firm. To believe truth when everything you see and feel speaks the contrary.

Today, I see hope.

Seeing hope has more to do with perspective than I realized. Seeing this hope encourages me through the days that feel less hopeful. I see hope and I want you to see it too.
For two years Jesús and I visited a local children’s home every week; sometimes multiple times a week. With time and intention, the 86 children at this home became like family to us. Through times of play, crafting, projects, tutoring, coloring, adventures, and more we bonded and they came to know and love us; and expect our visits. I know now we became family to them.


After Jesús went to heaven I wrestled with how I would share this with the kids. I love them so much and I want nothing more than for them to know God. I want them to experience His love and hope in their lives. I prayed somehow, in a way only God could, that He would use this loss as a way for them to know Him more. I cried out for them to experience him. I prayed for hope.

My first day back we celebrated Jesús’ life together with a beautiful release of over 100 balloons. 100 friends and family releasing a symbol of their love for my Jesús towards the sky. We prayed together and shared his favorite cookies with everyone. The youngest children colored a drawing of Jesús in heaven, full of joy, running free.

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We talked endlessly of our favorite memories of him, how he made us laugh and of heaven. Heaven became a real place to everyone that day, because heaven is now where their friend Jesús lives. 

Now I continue my visits without Jesús. The oldest ones understand that he won’t be back. They often ask about heaven and tell me they imagine he is eating his favorite cookies, running, or playing somewhere fun. The oldest ones have learned that heaven is a place free of sickness and pain. Because of our conversations, they now know heaven is paradise and the only way there is through Jesus and the salvation He offers us. 

The youngest, though, do not quite understand. “What do you mean he won’t come visit? What do you mean he isn’t back at home?” When I come in they still ask me where he is and through the sting of the pain I remind them of heaven. We talk about God and His plan for us and how one day we can all go to heaven if we accept Jesus into our hearts.

This ongoing conversation has sparked a flame of interest in the hearts of the littlest children here. The questions have begun to flow: “Where is heaven? Who is God? How do we get there? What does God do? How do I know God?” You can imagine.

This is where I see God faithfully answering my prayer for hope.

Because their friend, that was more like a brother to them, is suddenly gone and with someone (God) they don’t know well, they want to know Him. They want to know about God. They want to know why Jesús is with Him. They want to know where his home with God is. They want to know what God has done and continues to do. They want to talk to God. They want to know about heaven and know how God created the earth.

They want to know. And they want me to tell them.

Hope

An opportunity for the love that brought my son to life to live on in the hearts of many. Seeing love multiply. Hope.
My visits continue to be without my Jesús, but they are not empty. They are now full of Bible stories, songs about God (and Father Abraham, a favorite of Jesús). They are filled with questions and wonder.

These children I love so much are filled with wonder, amazement, and hungry to hear more about the God that loves them. 

And that is just a glimpse of the hope I know I can hold onto. There is always hope.

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Four Lessons I have Learned from a Growing Vision

This blog was originally written as a contribution to Reach Out Orphanage Ministries staff blog. You can check out ROOM’s blog here: ROOM Blog. For those of you whom follow me more closely here, I wanted to share my latest thoughts with you.


 

This week’s contributor is Kacey Bolin.  Currently, Kacey is serving as a missionary in Honduras fulfilling many vital roles for ROOM’s day-to-day responsibilities as an Administrative Assistant to our Country Directors.  Her main focus is her role as a full time foster mom to Jesús, a fighter of a 7 year old boy.  Her post this week tackles the challenge of learning how to walk in the vision the Lord sets before us. 

A year-and-a-half ago, Kacey planned a short visit to Honduras.  During this visit, a dying boy fighting malnutrition, profound mental and physical disabilities and years of neglect was placed in Kacey’s arms.  In her heart, God placed a “growing vision” of His will for Jesús and the role Kacey would play in His plan.

Over the last eighteen months, the Lord has begun to unravel this plan for Kacey and Jesús’ family.  Walking through her calling, Kacey has learned a great deal about responding to a vision from the Lord.  She shares her unique perspective and wisdom below.

First things First…

  1. The vision really hasn’t grown- you’re just seeing more of it.

When I decided to follow Jesus I committed myself to His vision, His desires, and His heart. As Christians we are living for Christ’s vision. We could never fully grasp the enormity of this vision. We are committed to a vision of the Divine; it is beyond our scope of understanding. When God reveals more of His vision for us it feels like the vision has grown. However, we are just seeing more of it. God gives us bits and pieces along the way. I’m thankful for that; honestly, if he had given me all of what I see now on day one I don’t think I would have jumped in so quickly. It is important to remember whose vision this really is, especially when God reveals more to us. It is His vision, His way, His plan, His strength, just our yes.

When you start to see more:

  1. Keep it between you and God for a bit.

This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn. Recently, God has shown me new depths to the vision He has for my life. As soon as I really grasped what He was asking of me all I wanted to do was talk to someone and get their thoughts. But it was not the time for that. I had not yet committed to the vision. I had not yet accepted and embraced it. I was overwhelmed, a little scared, and nearly convinced everyone would think I was crazy. The last thing I needed to do in that moment was go to someone other than God. It’s like when a couple has to make a decision. The discussion time for a husband and wife is essential for making a decision together; pulling outside opinions into a personal decision would be detrimental and possibly sway them from making the correct decision for themselves. Allow yourself to have that discussion time with God. Let Him be the one that convinces you it is possible. Let Him be the one you bring your doubts and questions to.

This is essential, because the vision is His, you are His, and saying yes to Him is what matters.I needed this time because the vision seemed too big. I needed this time because I was unsure of my capabilities. This time has been invaluable to me because the deciding factor in my “yes” to this vision has been God, not any encouragement, criticism, or thoughts of man. When the vision gets bigger it must be set on a solid foundation; it is an essential place to begin. From there I have been able to begin sharing the vision without being swayed by the thoughts (good or bad) of those closest to me.

The advice we all love to hear (not):

  1. Wait.

Seeing the vision grow does not always mean it starts today. Take a breath and wait.

Sometimes God will show you more of the vision and He will put a strong conviction in your heart that it starts now. More often than not though He will ask you to wait on Him. This is a struggle to say the least. I am in the waiting stage. There are few times in my walk with the Lord that he has given me vision and asked me to wait. This is not the norm for me; I am used to leaping without looking, diving head first into the whispers of His will. Not this time. This time I wait, I pray this vision forth, and I prepare for the day we leap.

  1. Make it sustainable.

Surprisingly enough, the vision grows but the number of hours in a day do not. Sleeping less is not a viable option. Consider how a ‘bigger vision’ sits in your ‘same size day’ is a healthy thing to do; it is respectful and considerate. Going back to the first lesson, we must remember the vision is not yours, it is of the Divine. Just like parents prepare for their families to grow, this vision is a precious gift from God that deserves the utmost consideration. Make room for this vision in your life. Prepare for it, catch up on sleep, adjust your routine and be ready for the moment it arrives.

 

These are just four of the many lessons I have been learning during this season of growing vision. God has challenged me to look to Him, His promises, and His heart. I hope by sharing these with you, you will be encouraged to continue to accept the new facets of the vision God has for you. It is a humbling experience to carry the vision of the Divine; together we can do it with excellence.

10 Things all about Jesús

These past six weeks Jesús and I have had multiple visitors and during this time I have found that I desire nothing more than for everyone to know Jesús.  I want everyone I know and love, or have even crossed paths with for a moment to know him, because knowing Jesús changes things. Knowing Jesús puts the miraculous works God has done into perspective. Knowing Jesús makes those miracles even more miraculous. Knowing Jesús makes that love God has shown him personal and knowing Jesús allows you to see the miracles that God continues to do in our life.

This is my fun attempt to let everyone, near and far ,know Jesús a little more. I had a lot of fun reflecting on who my little guy is and what 10 things I would share. There are so many more, but these are the 10 that I decided on this time. I hope you have a moment to enjoy getting to know Jesús a little more.

Jesús loves music.

It’s not uncommon to see Jesús with the speaker of my phone pressed against his ear, he’s drowning out the world and soaking in the tunes. He has headphones too that are always close by. He loves to listen to music, make music and sing along with the music. He knows so many songs (like the alphabet in two languages) and if you put anything to a tune he’s going to remember it. Music calms him when he is overwhelmed and is an essential part of his day.

He loves water.

One of Jesús’ favorite things to tell me is that he wants to take a bath. “Voy a banarme” and “quiero banarme” come out of this child’s mouth nonstop. He knows what he is saying and he will grab your hands, stand up, and have you walk him there. He plays in a little pool outside, the shower, and the sink almost every day. When he plays in the water the mischievous 7 year old comes out. I promise you, it is no accident that there is water all over the floor, the cabinets, and you- he knows what he is doing and he thinks it is hilarious!

This boy can eat!

This is something we celebrate every day. Our first month together was plagued with battles at meal times, (at that point he was so sick he refused to eat or drink). Force feeding traumatized us both a bit; but it was a battle we continue to celebrate having overcome. This child can put away some food and it is one of my favorite things to see. Some of his favorite foods include: Chicken, rice and beans, baleadas, pizza, French fries, arroz con pollo, chicken Alfredo, and mashed potatoes.

He has mastered using eating utensils.

He happily drinks from a straw and now usually insists on using a big kid cup. He manipulates a fork and spoon like a pro and even tries to reach for the knives… I love this about him because he just started eating and using utensils independently a few months before and from that day on he has had no problems and wants no help. Once he figures something out he wants to do it himself.

He’s not a huge fan of babies/toddlers.

This is in a way a delightful thing about Jesús. It may seem sad that he does not enjoy the company of little ones but I love it because he has made that known. His expression changes when a little human is crawling towards him and if they get close enough to touch him all emotions in the world are expressed. These situations have pushed him to speak more and use kind words like “no thank you” and “no más”. For me I love that his distaste for little humans provides me with the opportunity to teach him how to express what he doesn’t like and evaluate what he can do to change his situation.

He is determined.

Jesus is always watching, learning and taking new information in. He is determined to grow and advance. His determination leads him to independence. A neat thing about Jesús and his determination is that he wants to do things well, and right. So much so that he is not going to try until he is confident he can. He is determined, driven and brave.

He understands.

I’m not referring to English and Spanish- although he understands both. I mean he understands; I speak with him, correct him, encourage him, discipline him and communicate in words with him like any other kid. He understands and often the biggest strides he makes are a result of reasoning with him over and over again.

He has strong opinions.

If he’s happy you are going to know, if he is mad you are really going to know. If he is ready to leave he will show you, if he wants to stay he will tell you. He has his favorite foods, toys and even sippy cups. Currently his strongest opinion is about what he drinks. He had Sprite for the first time a few months ago and recently that is all he insists on drinking, that of course is not an option, but when I hand him a cup of water instead of “fresco” he looks right at me and says “quiero fresco” (I want soda). I smile, laugh, celebrate that he is telling me what he wants… and then usually give him what he asked for.

He loves to play ball.

This is such a boy thing. He loves to play ball. He throws it, rolls it, and bounces it. He will play with you or all by himself. When he catches the ball he usually laughs so hard he almost falls over. Playing ball has taught Jesús so much about interaction with people and the confidence he has gained by playing ball with people has really changed him. The joy that overflows from this boy when you play ball with him will flow right into you. It is one of my favorite things to do with him.

He says his prayers every night with me.

Every night, together, we pray. We take turns praying and declaring God’s continued healing over him. Every night, from his heart he declares that he has faith in God and through His power will continue to be healed. We thank God for being with us and pray for our family, friends, and the days ahead. We thank God for His love for us and tell God we love Him too. This is very well likely my favorite moment of every day.

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Merry Christmas Friends! I hope you enjoyed discovering a little more about this little man!

 

 

The Warrior Has Risen

Upon meeting Jesús, I was delivered into the trenches of a battlefield. The life of this little was the object of a great war. Seemingly alone with a fierce battle before me, I chose to fight for the life of this little one. A little one who appeared to have already given up. Joining this team I was aware that I would very well end this battle defeated and heartbroken; because when the one you are fighting for has given up, it is hard to imagine you will be making a comeback.

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Those moments are etched on the sacred places of my heart. The tears I cried still sting my cheeks today as I reflect on the moments when I told the Lord, “if it is your will to have him with you now, take him.” I, however, also recall my prayers that said, “Lord, until that moment comes, I will fight for him. That’s who I am; you placed me here and you know who I am.”  God knows if anyone wants to see the fighter in me they better place me in the middle of a battle worth fighting.

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So with the odds against us and the God of miracles at work, I fought. One month later Jesús was released from the hospital and the battle for his life was won. Until just weeks ago I believed that was the battle. The rest was simply recovery. However, I learned that was just the beginning. We were only going deeper from there as we began fighting a battle for his heart.

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For a year I have believed in him, and until recently, between the two of us, it has only been me, standing on my soapbox with my mega phone pointed to his ear screaming, “You can do this! Please believe me! You can do this, I promise.” Of course, my approach has been slightly less dramatic and more along the lines of practical practice. However, the feeling is the same. I have been pushing, begging and pleading with a boy who didn’t believe. I fought for him to believe he could live, I have fought for him to believe in love, in a life worth living and I fought for him to believe he could overcome. I have fought and fought, I have been driven to tears, to anger and the feet of our savior. I wrote many months ago,  “At some point I won’t be able to do this any longer. I can’t be the only one believing forever, and I need him to choose to believe for himself.”

That day came just a few weeks ago. As I watched him stand there, contentedly. “Look at him,” was all I heard and that’s when the tears came and reality set in.

He believes.

And everything changed: the imagery of a battle field may seem to be simply that, imagery to better describe the story I relate. But for me this is no literary painting: the battlefield has been my reality and the battle, a worthy fight.

Between my daily warrior duties and fighting off fear’s relentless attempts to overcome, my eyes were drawn to the horizon. In the distance I saw a warrior rise. I saw one who was once fallen rise, and as he rose everything changed. No longer was I fighting alone, but with him standing there with me, we became a vast army. Just the two of us, with the God of miracles on our side.

After all this time, the warrior boy rose.

I called him a warrior boy as soon as I saw the fight before us and I saw it there in the depths of his distant eyes. Today though, the warrior has risen. He chose to embrace the warrior deep inside. He rose, and confidently we stand, a warrior boy, warrior girl and the God of miracles.

No longer do I wake up saying you can do this, but I am greeted with an, “I’ve got this” attitude. I am no longer saying, “come on, just try it, you can do it,” but I am living life joyfully on my toes often saying, “Hold on mister! Careful! You aren’t walking yet!” and my favorite (not) “Your face is about to collide with our tile floor!”

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I claimed it over him, as we battled for his life, I told him he was a warrior boy, and I prayed that he would know the truth of who he is. One year later tears again sting my cheeks, tears of joy and thankfulness as I taste the sweetness of a longing fulfilled.

Before I Met You

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Before I met you, I had a vision of you. A vision of what was to come, a vision of you, not in your present state, but of the you no onlooker could see, not even you yourself.
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I’ve prayed it and I’ve sang it- I ask the Lord to let me see with His eyes all the time, but there are few times where I can see that God really gave them to me.
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It’s only His eyes that see the truth, that look past the brokenness of this world and one’s current state and sees the creation, plan, and purpose beneath.
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Before I met you I saw a vision of you and I saw you through His eyes.
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When it comes to you, Jesús, human eyes have failed, they have condemned and given up on you. Human eyes can only do such a thing. Without the hope of God living in our hearts we have no chance to see life when looking at death. Without the blinding love of our Father we stand no chance with our human eyes.
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Before I met you I was blinded. I had a vision of you and the truth of who you are burned so deeply in my heart, my human eyes were blinded to what you were all I could see was what you are.
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You were sick, dying and merely dry bones; I saw life, legs standing strong and a head held high.
You were done, no longer willing to fight: I saw drive, authority and the power of our living God.
You were silent, no longer hoping to be heard: I saw you speaking, I heard a testimony of miraculous love that saved you.
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Before I met you, God gave me a vision for you.
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I saw you for who you are. I still see you, for who you are.
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God gave me His eyes, to be your eyes, to stand in the gap and to fight for you when you could not. With His eyes I could look at dry bones and see life, a life that would be a testimony to the power of God, the love that rescues and saves. The love that overcomes death.
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I believe you can see it now too.  
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Looking back on that time it’s easy to think that you were forgotten, that you were abandoned and condemned, but that’s human eyes.  God’s eyes saw you in the perfect position to be raised up, to become a who you truly are through a miraculous testimony that started long before that time.
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Before I met you, the Lord remembered you and gave me His eyes for you.
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While you felt alone, silenced and condemned, I saw a vision of who you truly are, I saw you with the eyes of our Father and loved you; before I met you.
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My heart in sharing these moments before I met Jesús is to give God the glory for every moment even when we don’t sense His movements. I am in awe of God as I reflect on the moments the Lord used weeks, months and even years before to prepare me for what was to come. He is a good and faithful Father; as I reflect I can’t help but write out with my mere human words these simple yet supernatural experiences.
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This vision the Lord has given me for Jesús has spurred us on every day, it is always there when we doubt if the obstacle before us can be overcome. It is there reminding us of God’s faithfulness when we look back at how far he has come. We are humbled when doctors who said he never would watch him do beyond what they deemed possible. We celebrate with those who have stood by us and believed in this vision with us. We celebrate with you, as you have joined us and spurred us on to keep faith in our God of miracles, grace and so much love.  We continue on, into our second year of life together, celebrating what God has done; always moving towards the promise, the vision and the plan God has for this little one.

A Year Ago; Today

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“I trust you Father. You are good and I know you are working. I pray you will give me eyes to see your will and show me how to honor you… stir in me Lord; my life is not my own.” I wrote a year ago today.

A year ago today I was in Honduras out of obedience. I didn’t particularly want to be here; I was tired of going from one place to the next, I missed my family, I liked a boy back home more than I wanted to admit and I was feeling very little direction from God.  I knew He wanted me here but I was counting down the days until I could be there. A year ago today.

I was fasting, praying worshiping and sometimes screaming out in tears to God. I was slightly demanding that there was more; there was more to God and more to the the life He planned for me. Describing the way the Lord opened my heart, stretched and pushed me to surrender all, the way He did simply cannot be done. I have never experienced such a time like I did a year ago today. It was painful, tearful and all the while beautiful. That time, the days that turned to weeks of pressing, stretching and surrendering brought me to a place where I could write those words, a year ago today.

“I trust you Father. You are good and I know you are working. I pray you will give me eyes to see your will and show me how to honor you… stir in me Lord; my life is not my own.”

The now worn pages of a journal I filled a year ago today have been sustenance to the life I often feel I tripped over and by the hand of God alone have graciously fallen into. These pages have daily reminded my that meeting Jesús was no accident and instantly loving him with an indescribably love resulted from that day, a year ago today. The stretching, pressing, shaping, and agony of vulnerability left a Jesús shaped hole in the depths of my heart I would discover in the days to come.

I can write about this now because I understand; I must write about it because it’s just another way my loving Father can be glorified. A year ago today He was preparing me for the days and weeks ahead; He was preparing me for today.

Today I snuggled with a sweet angel boy until his dreams swept him away to the arms of our Father. I kissed that sweet angel boy and tip-toed out of our room. I rolled up my sleeves and conquered our pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. I collected our laundry off the line and neatly placed his shoes on his side of the closet and threw my flip-flops on mine. I sat down and opened my journal and read those words from a year ago today.

“I trust you Father. You are good and I know you are working. I pray you will give me eyes to see your will and show me how to honor you… stir in me Lord; my life is not my own.”

I read those words, and thanked the Lord. He is so loving to prepare us. I had no idea, not the slightest hint of where He was taking me. He loved me through the opening of my heart and brought me to a place where I could think, write and pray those words from the depths of my heart, a year ago today. Just 2 weeks later Jesús was placed in my arms.

I couldn’t see it that day, what the Lord was doing. I am just beginning to see the depths of what He is doing today. But He started preparing me way before, when He was creating me He created me for these moments (just ask me my blood type). These past few weeks Jesús has been growing leaps and bounds. He has overcome so much and has set his mind on overcoming even more. With each accomplishment God is glorified. He deserves the glory for these moments too, these moments of preparation that happened a year ago sustain me and make the moments of overcoming that are happening today a reality.

a year ago & today Quite the visual for what God has been doing

a year ago & today
Quite the visual for what God has been doing

The turn my life took a year ago was a bit unexpected to say the least. None the less those first moments of what would become our life together are beautiful, tragic and filled with the presence of God. Those first days and months went by on fast forward and sometimes I find it hard to believe we both survived. Those days, however, are filled with moments I hold onto, because the presence of God was just so thick. His hand was just so evident. Those moments may have happened a year ago but they need to be shared. As Jesús and I celebrate and look back on our first year of life together I will be doing my best with to share with you what God has been done and is doing, a year ago and today.

Choosing Motherhood

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There’s something in my heart that is trying to get out, I have yet to find the proper words for it, but here goes another try. This week has set forth a wave of mixed feelings on my status of motherhood. Am I a mom? Do I celebrate this Mother’s Day? Is this my first Mother’s day? What do other people think? What does Jesús think?  (These questions are not rooted in a desire to be recognized or celebrated in the least, nor is this blog)

To help you wrap your mind around this place I find myself in let me share with you my reality:

DSCN0226When I met Jesús almost 10 months ago I chose to mother him, I said yes to motherhood. I said no to being called mom, I go by Kacey. As his foster mom and because of the uncertainty of what his future with me looks like I chose to go by Kacey (Mom is a sacred word, that should not be tossed around, it holds a lot of weight and for Jesús it will be used only in situations of certainty.) Despite choosing to be called by my name I have opened my heart to love him as if he is mine forever. I love him with the same love any other mother loves their child, I know this love because it’s how I was loved as a child and it is how my heavenly Father loves me. This is the kind of love that covers a multitude of sins, heals the sick and mends broken hearts. This is my Father’s love flowing through me. It’s been the key to Jesús’ healing and restoration. My love for him has never been held back for fear of losing him. He is loved.

DSCN0990Our daily life looks a lot like a stay at home mom’s life; therapy appointments, pre-school and meal time are always on our mind. At the end of the day once Jesús is off to bed I have few hours of quiet reflection or busy clean-up, depending on the day. That time of the day is where I find my self feeling more like a 21 year-old that is in over her head than a Mom.

And tonight I find myself there, stuck between that 21 year-old feeling in over her head and a mother, yet I am here proclaiming my state of Motherhood.  I chose motherhood 10 months ago, I said yes to the Lord and yes to Jesús.

And tonight I am seeing my heart wants to say yes before all of you. So that one day I can remind Jesús I had my first Mother’s Day with him and the whole world knew. There was no question of whether or not I saw myself as a mom or whether I saw him as my child.

And just like that I see what my heart has been aching to say, This Mother’s Day, I will celebrate my first Mother’s Day because I choose Jesús as my child. Call it what you want; Mothering, Fostering, Madre Solidaria, Foster mom, Child or Foster Child. Whether it is ever question or not I’m giving the answer.

Jesús you belong, today you are my child and I am your mom. I love you more than I could ever put to words.

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Happy Mother’s Day to me.