wanderingwithmary wanderingwithmary

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Mary McLeod  Writer & Photographer & YL Oils //Choosing vulnerability for God's glory // Uganda, Africa πŸ“

https://goo.gl/hSq7O9

It's so easy for us to make excuses when it comes to getting away as family. Work, baby, money... especially in this season of saving for our daughters adoption. But today we decided to make the most of this Friday before school starts again on Monday.
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We set out for a nice lodge on the Nile River called The Haven but due to road construction we missed the sign for the turn off. We ended up at our favorite place in Uganda called Wildwaters instead. It's somewhere I didn't think of going assuming it wasn't very kid friendly but it ended up being a very special lunch. Our oldest daughter kept saying "Mommy, this is the most beautiful place I have ever been". Her adventurous side came alive and I can't help but think of how wonderful it will be once she has a passport and we can show her the rest of the world
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Today reminded me of how God works. How we set out on our own destination but He always has something better planned. It's no mistake we missed our turn off. God wanted us to have the most special family getaway, even if it was just for a few hours. Even if we didn't think we deserved it, He totally did. I am reminded to not only make intentional time together as these years are going fast but also trust that God will lead us on the most beautiful adventures no matter how much planning we do on our own.

There is this way she looks at me. It's as if she knows the deepest parts of my soul. Like she has the ability to look past all of the ugly and see the purest parts of my identity. Not the identity that I have worked on creating every single day of my life for the last 30 years, but the parts of me that God so specifically designed before I was ever born. The parts I have no say in no matter how hard I try to recreate myself. She sees what He sees. A beautiful daughter in Christ that is more than enough. She feels what we are all meant to feel. Unconditional love that is able to sink to depths of her heart because there is no insecurity, pride, fear or pain holding her back from feeling it all. When I look at her, she smiles. It's a subconscious smile that overtakes her every emotion. She can't hold back her joy even if she wanted to because she feels it all...there is no other feeling in her way. I believe we are all supposed to be able to feel that way. A childlike faith and joy. Uncontaminated. Yet as adults it is up to us to forgive to feel that. Forgive others and forgive ourselves. She reminds me that God created me perfectly and I don't have to try to be anything beyond that. She reminds me that I am so loved and so capable of loving others. She reminds me that if we push all fear aside, joy can overtake every single part of our being. She reminds me that a simple, genuine smile can truly change someone's life.

#hearttohearthumpday

Up late thinking of when it all felt so new. When all there was were "firsts." First time walking around the block as a family. First time seeing the Nile River. First time eating broccoli. First time riding a bike. First time staying in a hotel. First time drinking a milkshake. First time getting braids. First morning waking up as a family of three...
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Now we wake up as a family of four every morning and there still are so many "firsts". First time laughing. First time riding on a boat. First time holding onto my finger. First time sisters playing with toys. First time seeing a movie in the theater. First time having a sleepover.
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I look forward to many more "firsts"...I am dreaming of them tonight actually. First time my girls board a plane. First time they get their passports stamped. First time they climb a mountain. First time they swim in the ocean. First time they step foot in Disneyland.
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This world is full of so many beautiful opportunities. Chances to experience things for the first time or maybe even the hundredth...I pray that we never take it for granted. That when we experience things we have always longed for that we soak up every second. That when we are in a season of waiting we praise God that it's making us stronger and the end result will be so much sweeter. That dreams evolve and grow bigger. That we don't lose hope and our faith only strengthens knowing God is well aware of the desires of our hearts. Not only does He know but because He is such a romantic, He is planning on dazzling us in the most unique ways. Ways that we could have never written in our own stories. Ways that will only make sense once we have lived it. Ways that point back to God's deep, relentless love.

Instagram has a really amazing way of bringing God's children together. Met this beautiful soul today and couldn't help but walk away feeling inspired. Jemi, you shine so bright. ⭐️

Everything I do, I do it for them.

Can we all take a moment to do a "so happy it's Friday!" dance? πŸ‘―

πŸ‘§πŸΏ: "I know this is the lake and not the ocean but can it still take me to California?" πŸ‘©πŸ»: "No, sweet girl...a plane will take you to California one day." πŸ‘§πŸΏ: "Okay....what about Paris?"
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I cannot wait to show her the world one day. πŸ™πŸ»

"I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much."- Mother Teresa
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Amen Mother...amen.
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But God, thank You for trusting me. I wouldn't be where I am and who I am today without all of the heavy things You have asked me to experience. Thank You for helping me carry the weight and not expecting me to do it all alone. πŸ™ŒπŸ»

"Can we put this in the front of the house so when people walk in they want to stay longer?" πŸ˜‚
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This sweet girl is a huge fan of the smell Lavender and having guests in our home. When I asked her where we should put this diffuser, she opted out of her room so everyone could enjoy it!
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It's been amazing to see her fall in love with oils as well! When she is tired she asks for Lavender, when she is feeling sick she asks for Thieves and when a bug bite itches she asks for Tea Tree oil. Not only does Young Living help eliminate toxins and medicine in our home but it is also supporting her adoption! When you join my team you are helping our family in such a special way and for that, we will be forever grateful!

I like to watch people. Not to be creepy but to learn. I observe how they go about things and how they handle situations. My favorite thing to observe is women in a mother, guardian, teacher, aunt, sister role. The women who care after children, whether they are blood related or not. Women who step beyond their own needs to serve others. Women who lay down their lives so children can have a chance to know what love on earth feels like.
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Since I was a little kid, I have had women from all different walks of life teach me what being a mother really is. They have taught me how to handle experiences that come their way with astounding grace. They have taught me the courage in asking for forgiveness when they know they have caused pain. They have taught me to have real conversations about what is on our hearts rather than pushing emotions down. They have encouraged my passions allowing my dreams to grow and be known. These random women...some mothers of my best friends, teachers, aunties at a babies home, aunts or sisters of my clients, strangers I sat next to on an airplane and some of my closest friends now...have truly taught me everything I know. I feel encouraged in my role to raise these beautiful girls to be the most honest, kind, brave, loving and adventurous souls. I know God has placed these women in my life for a reason even if all I did was observe them across an aisle in the grocery store with their children or get a glimpse into their life over social media...I am more equipped because of the women who go before me and walk alongside me. Women are unbelievably strong but I truly believe we are because we have one another. Our stories all have something that we can teach to one another.
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You are strong, brave and wonderful. Maybe you are raising kids or loving on them in a whole different way. Your heart and love is so important. Keep sharing it with everyone around you, especially other women. We need one another to get through this hard but beautiful life.

I know this picture can cause pain for people. Maybe you have been trying to get pregnant. It could be a few months that have passed. It could be a few years. Maybe you are waiting to get matched with a child or are waiting for all the legal logistics to align to finally be able to be with them. Maybe another child just left your home, on to the next and you have to figure out how to make room in your heart for another any day now. The pain is real. The longing is real.
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I don't mean to share this picture or words to hurt you. I share them to give you hope. Last year, it was the first month we tried to conceive after losing Skye. The test came back negative and my heart hurt terribly. The year before, I laid in bed crying. Knowing my daughter was thousands of miles away but the timing wasn't right yet for us to be with her. The longing is so real.
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But the day will come where the longing is far from your mind and you are holding your littles with gratitude and joy. Those desires, God knows them. Not only does He know you want to be a mother...He has already made you one. He knows you have room in your heart for more children. He knows the perfect timing. 2015 was not the perfect time for me and neither was 2016. He knows the perfect way. Whether it's the first time you try or the 22nd. If it's IVF or adoption. Surrogacy or fostering. He knows even if you don't.
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This weekend I celebrate you. The women who might not have a child in their arms but are already mothers. This is your day too. You are strong and courageous. You are resilient beyond measure. Your love for your one day child or a child you have lost is growing tenfold every single day. You are one amazing mother fighting for your family. Fighting for hope and fighting against defeat. This season, as long and dark as it might seem at times, will not last forever. But let me tell you how lucky your son or daughter is to have such an incredible warrior as their mother. Keep on fighting and don't lose hope.

"I want a lifetime of holy moments. Every day I want to be in dangerous proximity to Jesus. I long for a life that explodes with meaning and is filled with adventure, wonder, risk, and danger. I long for a faith that is gloriously treacherous. I want to be with Jesus, not knowing whether to cry or laugh."- Michael Yaconelli

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