Impossible, Difficult, Done

I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God; first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.

Hudson Taylor

Thank you – each and every one of you who commented on my post about not losing heart.  Gosh, life is just hard sometimes, isn’t it?  Today I am happy to report that the sun came out and I even saw a few signs of spring poking up through the soil in my gardens.  I just may survive, in fact, I’m pretty sure I will.

Today is the first day of Honeybee and Dimples’ spring break and we were supposed to leave for Seattle.  Russ got hit with an unexpected deadline for a large project and told me Wednesday night that he couldn’t come with me.  I spent 24 hours agonizing over whether or not I should make the trip on my own.  In the end, one minivan, six kids, six hundred miles, a potentially snowy mountain pass, and multiple commitments gave me such a knot in my stomach that I canceled the entire trip.

The sad thing is that there were numerous bright spots I was anticipating including time with my family, a cousin visit for my girls, a cousin visit for me (the first in ten years), and time with very special friends.  I longed for all of that — but the risk of it all going terribly wrong was more than I could take without Russ by my side.

Not to mention, a certain little girl desperately needed her appointment with a certain incredible therapist.  God knows what we need and I am trusting that we can make it a few more weeks.  Russ and I have learned so much, we just need to dig deep and apply what we know — and a bit more prayer would probably do us a world of good.

Speaking of Russ, he had to rescue me today when I got a flat tire on a quick trip to Eby and Little Man’s Latin class.  Yes, they take Latin, but it is all fun and they love it — I promise I’m not an over-achieving homeschooler who demands that her four year-old learn Latin.  To add to the complications today, I had Sweet Baby Girl with me and her mom was just about to get off work.  Russ arrived with our big van, we swapped cars and kids, and I made it home only a little late.  I love that guy.

I found the quote (above) tucked at the end of a friend’s signature on a recent email.  When I read it, I choked out a tearful laugh, and then smiled as I thought of my life.  Perhaps raising my family is not a great work of God, but it is my greatest work for Him.  There is nothing more important to me, more precious to me, or more meaningful than the work Jesus has given me as the mother of my eleven children and wife to Russ.

Two years ago parenting some of our children seemed impossible, now it is difficult, but one day, I pray with all my heart, it will be done (or at least the healing won’t consume so much of our lives) and they will be healed of their deepest wounds.  I can almost imagine what it might look like, what they might look like with peaceful, whole hearts.  I believe that with the help of God, even the most wounded children have the capacity to heal – sometimes I just have to repeat that over and over to myself —  I believe that with the help of God, even the most wounded children have the capacity to heal.

Thank you for sharing my life and my journey.  I wish I could sit down with each one of you and chat over coffee.  I admire so many of you and enjoy getting to know you through your comments.  I love what you have to say and I love your emails too — even if I’m terrible at answering them.

Have a lovely Saturday.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Amy
    March 12, 2011

    praying for you and your smiley girl. pray for sun, for spring, for playing outdoors and for peace. i believe it is a great work. every day, our day to day, is the greatest work.

  2. Jennifer
    March 12, 2011

    Had such a vivid dream about you and your family last night. I was so relieved to see your latest update this morning. Hugs from sunny, muddy, snowy Ithaca.

  3. Sharon Wheeless
    March 12, 2011

    Lisa, thank you so much for that quote, and for Psalm 27 the other day. We are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia and are praying for a quick resolution to the current delays. Reading your posts helps me remember that there will be an end to this stage, and then the real work begins.

  4. othersideofthestars
    March 12, 2011

    Just yesterday I went for a walk and thought about how true some statements are. Like, 'Raising teenagers is hard' or 'Raising adopted kids is a lot of work'. I remember when we were compiling our dossier five years ago, we would say "I know its going to be a lot of work". MAN, we had NO IDEA!!! There is really no way to know how truly challenging some of these things are until you are living them!. Then I was thinking about another statement we hear often, "They never really leave home". Made me wonder what that will look like in our lives, wonder how truly personal that statement will become! 🙂
    Hang in there Lisa. You inspire SO MANY! Not just in the successes you post, but in the fact that you admit how hard it is, but you keep on! That encourages me!!!

  5. Donna
    March 12, 2011

    Praying with you my friend. God's stretching is not easy.

    But we know–

    He will never give us more than we can handle, and will always give us a way out and will always give us just enough strength for the day.

    I am preaching to myself here.

    Praying with you through the rough spots.

  6. darci
    March 12, 2011

    praying with and for you..loved reading this, loved that quote…and loved what you said…it may not be a 'great work' but it is our greatest work for Him…

  7. Margaret
    March 13, 2011

    Lisa, I am so thankful to you for sharing your journey, even and especially the hard parts. It is a good reality check for us because it is can be challenging and hearing how you think it through, rely on God and prayer, etc. is an inspiration. I am thinking of you now as you dig deeper.


  8. charity
    March 14, 2011

    good for you girl, glad you made a hard decision, and moved on. some days all we have to rely on in those moments of decisions is that impression we have from somewhere inside of us that this is going to take more than i can give. and to choose to change the course, and protect ourselves, our energy, our children, our ability to withstand and manage the crisis that MAY come…is a great place of empowerment. but it doesn't make the hard choices any easier.:) i hope you get to raincheck some of those wonderful fun plans another time…and really enjoy being with those kids this rare week to have them all to yourself. we can all do something hard for only a week right? the week after that is it's own challenge, to meet when you get there~ happy scheduling!

    1. One Thankful Mom
      March 14, 2011

      Thanks Charity – yes, I can do anything for a week and I'm feeling much better this morning than I was on the weekend. The sunshine helps!

  9. Julie
    March 19, 2011

    What a great quote! God really does the heavy lifting, but He requires us to put in some sweat equity, too. Praying for you over this "break". May He give you strength and encouragement and wisdom and grace.


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