If you have stumbled across this blog looking for recipes or craft ideas, you should turn and run right now. You won't find any of that here because I'm not that kind of mom. I used to wish that I was, but I'm finally at an age where I have embraced how God has gifted me, and those gifts do not include cooking or crafting. And it's o.k. Like any good adoptive mom, I actually started blogging as we we prepared to bring home our baby from Ethiopia. As you can see from the picture, that little one has now been part of our crazy clan for quite some time. The blog name, Leaving it all on the Field, came about because my husband and I both played college sports (soccer for me, baseball for him), and at our core, we are athletes. As we outgrew collegiate athletics and transitioned into real life, this seemed like a fitting motto for our family. We were young and naive and it was a cute slogan... but we didn't truly grasp that this was actually how God was calling us to live.

Life is hard. I'm not sure what I expected, but reality is not for sissies. I adore being a mother, but I didn't understand that part of the reason these kids were entrusted to me was to reveal how much selfishness and yuck is in my own heart. Apparently there is a significant amount of sanctification that needs to happen. We seem to have kids with some challenges and we have faced varying levels of discomfort in finding the new normal for each of those situations.  Our middle two have anaphylactic food allergies, so learning to feed and protect them, and yet not live in terror of a hidden peanut or dollop of dairy, has definitely been stretching. Anyone who has adopted or fostered knows that children from hard places need to be parented a bit differently, and we have found that to be the case with our littlest as well. And when our oldest was ten, she was diagnosed with cancer and, because of that agonizing battle, is now an amputee. They were unexpected valleys and they have tested our marriage, our parenting skills...and our faith.  

But here is the good news, His grace has been enough. I look back and cannot fathom how we made it on some days, but we did. And we not only survived, but we have thrived. Yes, we are battle worn and weary and there are many tears, but the joy is also so very big. We laugh hard. And we laugh a lot. We love and treasure time together in ways that we never could have without the struggle. Our perspective and purpose is incredibly clear. What we are learning is that life isn't about surviving the valleys to get back to the mountaintops. It is about living in the tension of the both and. Joy and sorrow. Excitement and fear. Gratitude even when you want to grumble.  Faith even when you want to doubt. And hopefully that is what you will find here.  You may get some practical things too...I pray that we can be a resource for some of the communities in which we've had experience...adoption, childhood cancer, food allergies. What you won't see is a doctored up social media picture of the perfect family, but rather the timeline of a mama wrestling through what it looks like to live authentically and to make a difference. One who is struggling to live radically and to be obedient to how I am called, even when every inch of me feels exhausted and overwhelmed and really just wants a nap.

Life doesn't look like it did in our dreams. And since we are busy being grown ups, we can barely manage to squeeze in a daily workout lately, let alone train and compete for anything.  But many of the same principles apply. Life is grueling, there is discomfort and getting stronger can be incredibly painful. But the struggle also makes your team more cohesive and it makes the successes so much sweeter.  And as my husband and I collapse on the couch each night, after the marathon that is bedtime with four kids, the exhaustion feels much like it did during athletics. We are totally spent. But I feel confident that this is how we are called to live...

Leaving it all on the field. 

"The place that God calls us is that place where the 
world's deep hunger and our deep desire meet." 
-Frederick Buechner