Redemption. Revelation. ::a new year::

“I’ve been walking around with a lump in my chest for the last three days, but I am not asking myself why I am doing this, I am asking myself why I ever questioned if I should.

The air is thick with redemption.”

August 14, 2013. I put those words to page, somewhere between baby cuddles and baby cries and baby wonder. We had brought our son home, and my mind was whirling with it all…the newborn wonder, the new mom uncertainty, the new parent questions. This precious boy was in my arms and I loved him so much that my heart hurt.IMG_2385



There were those first days that were so hard. We were in the process of buying a house, so I was packing, packing, packing and living out of boxes. He cried a lot and I didn’t even realize then how much he fussed. When you’re living in the moment, you don’t think about how bad it is, you just deal with it, and that’s what I did. One night, Ryan went to a men’s meeting at church and Leo screamed for an hour-and-a-half-straight. I had him all swaddled up and I sang and I sang and I sang while tears streamed down my face.

I remember staring into his eyes and feeling heartbroken, because his eyes looked so lost. I prayed so hard that he would find his place in us. That he would bond and make us home. I prayed so hard that this would happen, because you know what they say about kids who don’t bond? I begged God for that, even while it scared me to think that he would bond to us and then what?

What would happen when his biological mother was released from prison and we had to give him up? How would I ever live with no little man Leo? An empty crib and an empty green and brown and yellow bedroom haunted my mind.

I didn’t pray about these things. I begged God for mercy. Mercy on Leo’s biological mother. I will never forget her sad good-bye to her son. How the big tears could no longer be squelched, how they rolled down her cheeks and dripped off her nose. How her hands shook and how she whispered, “I’ll always love you,” into his ear before she handed him into my arms, one last kiss on his little nose. Mercy on Leo, who was born into a broken world, a world all ripped open, torn apart and bleeding out. Mercy on us, who loved him more than any other little person we’ve ever known.Shaferfamily2013

But it’s true. Two days after the birth of our precious son, Leo, I wrote it, that the air was thick with redemption. I wrote it and I believed it, and the passage of time has only proved it.

The redemption was only beginning on August 14, 2013, God working and shaping our hearts, turning us, sifting us, moving us, calling us out as we became parents.

I remember that moment of stillness, the sacred moment it dawned on my heart, that I would truly never regret saying yes to Leo. He was a swaddled up, six or so months of chubby, way-too-cute, sleeping bundle and I was rocking him just a little bit longer. Rocking him and thinking about what will happen when I have to say good-bye.

My finger stroked his soft cheek and the tears came and he sighed contentedly in his sleep. “I will never regret loving you,” I whispered. “My heart might ache, and I dunno how I’ll go on, but I will never regret loving you.”

Part of my story holds the grief of infertility and the pain of miscarriage and the sharp pain of loss. There is a loneliness in my soul that many women can never identify with or understand.

That grief is still there, and the loss. The aloneness is real.

But so is the redemption.

Redemption never erases the ugliness of brokenness. It reshapes it.

I don’t know what your story is, but I’m sure it’s broken somewhere. Maybe your husband left you for another woman, left you to fend for yourself and the kids? Maybe your best friend betrayed you or your coworker used you to get himself a promotion? Maybe you’re still single and feeling so alone? Maybe you’re so locked up you don’t know how to feel anymore?

Brokenness is part of being human and that’s downright ugly, and I know that we all wish to find a way to forget.

To rewind. Erase. Start over.

It’s okay. I get it.

But stop right there. Brokenness is a right of passage we all get to live with and there isn’t any point in starting over.

So begin again. A new year is dawning and a fresh chance is calling – you.

You right there. The air is thick with the redemption of Christ, the powerful redemption that breathes courage and strength into weary bones and whispers hope to aching hearts and speaks love to hungry souls.

Jesus came, in a lowly manger, and He brought life more abundantly than you could ever dream or imagine. Believing that God has a good purpose for your life, doesn’t happen when the ducks all get in a row and things start making sense. Believing begins when you dare to stand in the brokenness of your humanity and begin again.

We’re just three days away from beginning again. Are you ready to live 2016 as though you believe that the God of the universe is on your side?

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that His life may also be revealed in our mortal body.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7-11

 Your story may be wrought in pain, but God takes pain and brokenness and He redeems it to only be a revelation of His goodness, His greatness, His unfailing, unfettered amazing love. He is all grace, only over and over again. He is grace and He is mercy that saves us from death and restores us to righteousness.

On December 15, 2015, we testified in court. We told a judge and our lawyer and a handful of friends and family why we wanted to adopt Leo and make him forever ours. We were granted our petition and I, like Hannah from thousands of years ago, can say that I have gotten a man from the Lord.

This story, still not finished yet, for is any story ever done unfolding? This story is wrought in the pain of loss and hurt and grief, but I have seen the salvation of the Lord.

I would have never chosen infertility, you know? Would any of us have chosen our hard roads and our heartache?

But God, he is rich in mercy and He came, our Jesus, to save us from ourselves.

And it’s a new year coming and the air? The air is thick with day


We’re doing it again. Yeah, before we’d even had our adoption day, we’d said yes to another baby. A girl this time. Coming soon, due on February 3rd. We don’t know how long and we feel all those “what if”, “how can we” feelings all over again.

But blessed assurance, there is one thing we know that anchors our souls and holds us fast in a world of unfettered brokenness – Jesus is ours.


One thought on “Redemption. Revelation. ::a new year::

  1. I love this!!! I love redemption stories and I absolutely love seeing the miracles that come with the redemption story!! Blessings!! So much stirring in my heart these days as I watch it happen for someone else!!!

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