The journey of a wife and mom of 4

Why we chose adoption… — May 25, 2015

Why we chose adoption…

We are adopting! Wow!! The things God did in my heart to bring me to this point amaze me daily. afa99dbabd0dde33917092f264b1b153

Adoption is something we have talked about since we got married. Jc has always said he wanted to adopt and I would always agree and say “yeah let’s do it,” thinking we never would. When we were newlyweds we agreed we would have 4 children, close together and then be done. Since Kenzie was born in December 2013, I had it settled in my heart that our family was done. We would move out of the no sleep, baby phase and just enjoy watching our children grow.

About 6 months after Kenzie was born JC started asking me to pray about more children. I responded with, “I prayed about it 5 years ago, God said 4, I’m done!” He asked me to pray about it again and I decided to do it even though I didn’t think it would do any good. Slowly, ever so slowly God began to change my heart. Isn’t it funny how He will do that when we seek Him?! After several weeks I was ready. I could see myself carrying another child. I envisioned the excitement of a positive pregnancy test, the suspense at the gender reveal, the waiting and complaining towards the end and then the total joy of bringing a new life into the world. I told JC I was ready to add another blessing to our family, let’s go for it.

About 2 days later he brought up adoption. I thought, “I had just gotten used to the idea of a 5th child, now he is going to throw this at me?!” I promised him I would pray about it but didn’t think it would do any good. Man did God ever work in my heart! I started looking at statistics like this: In the U.S. 397,122 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. 101,666 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 32% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted. That is mind blowing! I also started digging into my Bible and found verses like this: “And whoever welcomes one child like this in My name welcomes Me.” Matthew 18:5 Also this: “Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy.” Hosea 14:3

God also started revealing to me that adoption is one of the most vivid and practical representations of what He did for us! He saved us!! He rescued us when we had no family and could not save ourselves. He gave us a forever family! He paid the cost for us to have life in Him. He is our Father.

I felt God changing my heart and pulling me to obey Him but what about the money?!! Adoption is a VERY expensive process. What about all the paperwork? What about all the waiting? What about our children accepting this new baby as their sister? My logical brain could not comprehend how we could possibly do it. One night JC and I were praying together and I started praying for our Kylie Ann by name. Tears started flowing that I could not control. Then I started praying for her birth mother and the brave decisions she would have to make and the tears started flowing even more until I could barely speak. At that moment I knew this is what God was calling us to do. There was such an overwhelming peace that past all my understanding. My brain no longer worried about the logistics because I knew in my heart God would prove Himself faithful yet again as He has done time and time again in the past! I knew we would need to step out on faith even if we didn’t have all the answers. I knew that giving this sweet, precious baby girl a family was no longer simply a great idea, it was a calling!

Kylie Ann Groves, I don’t know when… But, I cannot wait to meet you! I know God has placed a special calling on your life and I cannot wait to see how you will impact this world for Jesus through your story. Your brothers and sister are so excited about you! Your brothers ask when you will be here nightly. I can’t wait to be your mama!

This is the one and only song that JC And I have been singing together for 9 years now. Awesome that this is the song we have been singing as God has been preparing both of our hearts with the truth of these lyrics!

Listen and enjoy!

Try a little kindness — May 1, 2015

Try a little kindness

What has happened to kindness lately? What happened to living by the golden rule? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This week has been rough for me because I have been so burdened about this issue. Rudeness and unkindness are so prominent in our culture these days, it hurts my heart! Growing up I was more sheltered than most and perhaps this has affected my outlook on life. I am completely appalled with the way people treat other people. What happened to manners?

I have really been praying about this this week and asking God to reveal to me why people are so unkind and how I can be a better display of His love to others. As I have read God’s word and studied this week I have come to this conclusion. One of the main reasons people are unkind is selfishness! We look out for ourselves. We don’t want anyone messing with the way we’re doing things. How dare they treat us like that or do that to us.

Listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew – “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt, let him have your coat as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to the one who asks you, and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?” Matthew 5:39-47

That kicked my tail this week! It is easy for us to love those who love us. The test of love and relationship with God is how we treat people who mistreat us. The Holy Spirit has to be present and alive in us to give us the strength to put down our natural responses and love them with God’s love. God’s love says “You want my shirt? Here, take my coat too!” God’s love is going the extra mile even when we are completely justified in acting mean and ugly.

“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death even to death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8) I think every time you say the word servant people’s defenses automatically go up. We don’t want to be anyone’s servant! We don’t want to be a doormat! We don’t want people to mistreat us! Jesus became a servant. Jesus, who was God in the flesh and had every right in the world to act superior, took on the form of a slave. No it wasn’t fair! No they weren’t kind to Him! But He loved us so much He was willing to do it. So if we are suppose to be like Him and show His love to others why do we always feel like it needs to be fair? Sometimes its not. Sometimes people hurt us and are mean and rude and unkind. What would happen if we responded like Jesus?

I want to end with a quote I read today that convicted and challenged me – “The greatest test of being a servant is how we respond when we are treated like one.”

Stretching — April 26, 2015


So tonight I did something for the first time. I spoke in front of a group of people for the first time ever! Now I have been on a stage all of my life and singing in front of people, for me, is not that nerve wracking. But talking, that’s a different story.

When my good friend messaged me to ask me if I was interested in sharing my first thought was, uh, NO!! Then I read on to where she wanted me to talk about my weight loss journey. I was thinking, “So you want me to get up in front of a group of women for the very first time ever and talk about weight?!! This is designed for failure!” As I was praying about whether to say yes or no I remembered that I have been praying since January for God to stretch me and take me deeper in my relationship with Him. Isaiah 43:19 kept playing over and over in my head. “Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” I decided to be obedient and to say yes.

No I couldn’t eat the delicious meal they provided because my stomach was in knots. Yes I went to the bathroom 15 times before it was my turn to speak. Yes I brought my mother in law and nanny for comfort. But you know what also happened? I felt God using me in a new way! I was up there doing something that I have always said I couldn’t do and I was actually enjoying it.

Stretching is not always fun! Sometimes it requires us to do things we have never done before. Sometimes it involves talking to people we don’t normally talk to. Sometimes it involves getting out of our comfort zone. Here are some of my favorite quotes about comfort zones:

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new” – Brian Tracey

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there”

I want to challenge you tonight to ask God to do something new in you. Ask Him to make you uncomfortable. Ask Him to take you places and have you do things that you wouldn’t normally do. When we get in situations like these we realize several things.1) God is faithful and will give us the words we need at the right time  2) God is trustworthy and all we need to do is yield to His leading   3) Obedience = BLESSINGS!

So just fyi everyone, when you ask God to stretch you for His kingdom, TA DA, He will!

Excuses or Changes? (My Lifestyle change) — April 20, 2015

Excuses or Changes? (My Lifestyle change)

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. The “eat whatever you want and stay skinny” gene did not exist in the Yoder household. When I was 16 years old I went on a very unhealthy diet that resulted in me losing about 40 pounds. By the time I had met my husband at 20 some of it had crept back on but most of it I had kept off. Then enter 4 babies in 5 years!

In February of last year I weighed 202 (I can’t believe I said that out loud!!) pounds at 5 ft. 2 inches. I was miserable and when i say miserable I mean MISERABLE! I had borrowed bigger clothes from others because I simply could not bring myself to spend money on clothes that were the size I needed. All I wanted to do was sleep and sit.

In March of last year my husband decided to go on a diet so I begrudgingly decided to do it with him. I ended up losing 14 pounds and then fell completely off the wagon and returned to my old way of life. I felt SO hopeless and figured I would just be this way for the rest of my life.

The week after my birthday I had what my aunt calls a “come to Jesus meetin’!” It was a Sunday night and I was fed up. My friend/neighbor Emily and I had been texting and she told me how she had started walking at 6 in the morning. Now you have to know that I come from a family of night owls/late sleepers. I thought when my children got up at 7 am that something must have been wrong with them. 6 was completely unacceptable! So when this opportunity presented itself my first reaction was it’s too early. However on this Sunday night I did the unthinkable and invited myself to walk with her the next morning. This began my journey. Tuesday morning I was so sore just from walking for a few miles that I could barely move. I couldn’t believe how far I had let my body go!

For several weeks we continued our walks. I did a major diet overhaul that included cutting out most processed food and eating whole grains, veggies, fruits and lean protein. I started seeing results and I wanted more. One morning we were walking and I commented how I had not been feeling our walks as much as I used to. Emily said she hadn’t either and maybe one day we should incorporate running into our morning workouts. I said “How bout today?” She said, “like right now?” Oh yes, right then! We ran for maybe 5 minutes and had to stop. We were so proud of ourselves though. We walked for a while more and then ran for another 5 minutes. We did this routine for several weeks. The only thing that could make us run at an undesignated spot was if someone happened to drive by. We would always start running so we would look hardcore whenever they passed us and then we’d stop and die as soon as they turned the corner!

One morning we decided to start working on connecting all our spots and seeing if we could do around the whole neighborhood once. It was hard. We wanted to quit. We got up and ran on Saturdays even if we didn’t want to. We sent each other texts with pictures of what we were eating and were completely honest when we failed. This amazing thing started happening to us, we started getting stronger! We started running farther without being exhausted. We started dropping pant sizes. Other people started to see the change in us. We had so much more energy!

So that’s how it happened. Here I am today, 8 months later, 53 pounds and 4 sizes lost. I feel incredible! I have energy to run after my kids all day and then I drop into bed and sleep like a log all night. People asked me how it happened and the number one reason I give them is I simply stopped making excuses. I got up and worked out when I didn’t feel great. We ran through drizzling rain. I got up even when the kids didn’t sleep all night and I was tired. I ate salads when my family ate spaghetti. Anything less than getting up and doing it was completely unacceptable.

If I can do it with 4 kids and absolutely no time I believe without a shadow of a doubt that anybody can. Find a good accountability partner and that makes you get up when you don’t feel like it. An amazing thing starts to happen whenever a healthy lifestyle becomes a habit. It no longer feels like a punishment! I now look forward to my morning time routine that includes my workout, shower, coffee and Jesus time before the kids even get up. This allows me to get myself together first and then be able to pour into them and others all day.

Stop making excuses and just do it! You don’t need a magic pill, expensive gym membership or new shake. Just get off your butt and start! I can guarantee you it won’t be easy and it will be 100% worth it!

What it means to have a “big” family in today’s world — April 19, 2015

What it means to have a “big” family in today’s world

My husband has been begging me to blog for some time now and so here it is. This blog is going to be completely raw, honest and real. I am going to share struggles, triumphs, funny moments, recipes, etc… I would love if you would take the time to read and share in this wonderful life that God has blessed me with!!

So let’s lay it out there, I have 4 kids. 4! My children range in ages from 5 to 1. This does not make me a crazy person, although at times I feel my children have sucked all the brains out of my head! When I was a child it was my dream to have 12 kids. As I got older, got married and started having children that number got less and less. What happened?

When we announced 9 months into our marriage that we were expecting our first child everyone was SO excited for us. Then about 9 months later when we announced that number 2 was on the way we were met with a lot of WOW’s! Then when Colton was 5 months old and we announced #3 we started getting the “Do you guys know how that happens?”, “How are y’all plannin on paying for all of these?”, “was this an accident?” and my all time favorite “do you know how hard this is on your body?” When our Corbin was 7 months old and we announced that yet again God had blessed us people started getting downright rude. One lady actually told me one time “you guys need to stop!”

So what has happened? What has made people so hard and cold that having children no longer fills them with a sense of wonder and awe? When did a fat wallet and clean house start meaning more than innocent eyes looking into yours with such love that it makes your heart burst? When did we start being so judgmental of the amount of children people have?

So what does it mean to have a “big” family? It means your children might have to wear hand me downs and you might have to eat at home a lot. It means you might grow a garden and pray daily that a milk cow would mysteriously wander into your neighborhood without an owner. It means that when you take all your children grocery shopping people might look at you like they have been hit with a poop gun. It means your house might have ketchup on the walls and cereal all over the floor. It means that when you actually get a date night with your husband you treasure it like each moment was actually worth a bar of gold. It means their best friends will most likely be their siblings. However, when your 2 year old grabs your face and says “I love you mommy” all the negatives disappear and all I can think about is how very blessed I am. These babies remind me daily how much of Jesus I need! They remind me daily of the sacrifice He made for me in giving His only Son to die for my sins. They remind me daily I’m not in control and I don’t have enough strength and I need to run with everything within me into the arms of my Savior and let Him be my strength and guide.

I in no way mean someone who has a large family is more spiritual or holy than a family who has 0,1 or 2 children. Everyone has the God given right to parent as many children as they want. I am simply asking you to think about how you react to people who have a lot of children. Do you silently pray that they don’t sit next to you at a restaurant? Do you feel a wave a relief when they pass your row on an airplane? Do you get annoyed when a mom’s trying to check out at the store and it is taking her 15 times longer than it needs to because her son will not stop hitting the credit card machine buttons?

One of the predominate reactions when I tell people how many children i have or they see me out and about with all of them is pity. They act like these blessings were somehow shoved on me and I was powerless to stop it. Don’t feel sorry for me!! Sure Easter was the first time I have been shoe shopping since before I got married almost 7 years ago. No I don’t always talk to my children in a calm, loving, God glorifying tone. Yes I sweep and vacuum my house at 5 times daily. No, I wouldn’t want to do anything else! This is the life God has blessed me with and I am SO thankful.