Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ethiopia anyone?

Shed finally gone down for her nap and for me that meant a few moments to myself. Id decided with my precious time to paint my nails as I am a strong believer that it doesn't take much to feel beautiful and sometimes a fresh coat can make all the difference for the week ahead. I sat down in the bathroom floor and had selected the perfect shade of navy blue. I could sense his presence there, waiting, longing for a moment of peace and quiet with me eager to share. So I sat with my back against the tub, put my head back and took a deep breath, "Hi Holy Spirit-Im here,and im listening." It didn't take but a few seconds before I could clearly see their tiny bodies sitting in the orange clay colored dirt. 2 girls, 1 maybe 4 or 5years of age ,and the other perhaps only 2. The littlest one sat in the others lap and they were undressed with beads around their necks and with dusty twisted hair. How is it possible to experience such deep compassion over a mental image? When I saw them my heart felt something profound and difficult to explain.I needed to see them. I needed to hold and kiss them as my own, I needed them to hear they were loved, I needed to see it in their eyes that someone cared. Seconds later the image was gone but not forgotten. I had to ask the Lord what is this? Id felt my heart shift once before when being called to adopt and I couldn't help but wonder was this that feeling all over again. I wasn't sure,but in that moment if it was,my mothers heart was eager to find them. I couldn't help but hear a tiny voice in my head that said "Some woman are called to bear children, and some are called to find them." Only I wasn't quit sure which one I was.

It was only 4 days later December 22nd when I opened an email from an organization in Colorado. Ferrill and I have sponsored a girl Hannah (pronounced like Hawnah) for about 5-6 years now. Our $29 a month provides her a meal each day as well as schooling and hearing about Jesus. Her and her mother live as bean farmers in Ethiopia and shes about 9 now. The organization is called One Child Matters (previously know as Mission Of Mercy) anyway the group has planned a trip to Ethiopia this September and I was extended the invitation to go and meet Hannah.

Even as I read it all I could see was the faces of those 2 little girls. Without even taking more than a few breaths my little fingers where flying through the application. I called Ferrill to "ask" what my heart had already decided and like any good man he gave his approval. You see I am not a very passionate person by nature, very little moves me to do anything quickly and its only done after a lot of thought, also im not a traveler like my roaming husband.Im a homemaker and although I have done missions in the past this felt incredibly different than that. Before I knew it I was quickly cleared to travel as 1 of the 10 who would be going and it wasn't until they sent me the itinerary with the breakdown of the cost that my brain started trying to reason with my heart. What kind of mom/wife spends $3400 to go see someone else's child instead of benefitting her own? Aren't you and Ferrill needing a newer vehicle? That sure would go a long ways to help your hard working husband? I wonder what Finley will think has happened to you being gone for 10 days? Isn't that where the Ebola is right now? My thoughts were blitz like a hail storm as Satan quickly tried to formed a plan to undue what God had begun. But it was too late.
September 17-26 ill be in Africa and to be honest ill need help to get there. I've made my deposit and paid for my background check but im looking for the Lord to provide the other $3000 needed to go. If this journey moves your heart and you'd like to help you can contact OCM directly to pay over the phone.Otherwise I will be sending them cash or checks directly. Am I a little crazy? Is this the Lord or am I just some desperate house wife with imaginary money to spend seeking an adventure? Hmmmmm....Either seems good to me.

In other news you may have noticed something looks a little different about the blog. Right before the year ended I felt the Lord telling me to "testify." Weather it be for my own good or for your benefit Im not sure but he reminded me of specific stories he wanted me to share. My family is full of rich stories of miracles, healings and angelic encounters and the Lords faithfulness doesn't change. It is from generation to generations.I have a bag full of seeds called hope, and its about time I started to sow them. I am eager to share ,so much so that im going home to visit in March and will be spending 3 days with my grandparents (both 83) to be able to not just hear those stories but to see both their faces while they again recall the sweet promises of God, and the incredible adventure they've lived belonging to Christ for 70+ years.

I wanted to change the name because the blog is no longer just about informing people about our adoption but... what was it exactly? Not a mommy blog, not a fashion blog, not parenting or self help.... I had an idea of what I wanted to share but didn't know how to explain it. After talking to a friend and agreeing it needed to take on a new freshness (the picture of us on their was actually almost 4 years old, and I chopped my hair off this past April so I don't even look like that anymore) I was going to be taking a few days to "pray" about what to call it. But it didn't take long, not long at all actually. That same day I was sitting in a meeting and I heard Holy Spirit say "Foxes In The Vineyards" "whoaaaaaaa-that's so cute I thought" I typed the phrase into my search engine and Song Of Songs 2:15 came up. "Be careful of the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, the vineyards that are in bloom."  I know that book is all about romance but this one verse alone was almost too perfect. I read it like this "Be careful of your thoughts, the little thoughts that come to ruin the season of life you're in and take away any good fruit from it." YES! This was what I wanted any writing I did to be about. About thoughts (good and bad) and seasons (good and bad) and I hope you've been able to see this from anything I've shared previously. So that's the word people. New year, new season. I cant wait to share what the Lord has done and unfold the pages together of what he's doing now.

Lets go see Hannah....
To contact OCM directly and support with a card payment
Christi @ 719-481-0400x205
or make a check out to One Child Matters with the memo blank
I will be collecting any funds received and sending them together
If weve never me,t friend request and message me on FB for me to share how to get in touch

Sharon Gallaway

Friday, January 2, 2015

Freedom & Captives (A story about my mom)

I stepped outside the house to take my dads call. "now Sharon" He paused, "Don't be scared ,but your mom has had a stroke."

I sat myself down on the front grass during the hot Florida midday sun and pinched my eyes tightly as I held my breath and listened to every slow detail he shared.

"Id pulled into the drive way and your mother was standing on the front porch with her hands gently folded together." "Ronnie (my dad) something happened." She said almost embarrassed as if she had just bumped into the back of his car or something avoidable.

"I could tell right away" he told me." Ive seen many people who've had strokes before and your moms face was drooping down on her left side as she stood there, She said shed had a sharp headache along with dizziness and then she couldn't use her left arm hardly at all."

My dad has been a hospice Chaplin since I was a little kid. Hes an expert at communicating perfectly at the most challenging of times in peoples lives. I experienced that as he coached me through the situation. "Now her numbness may change. We wont know its full affects for several more days. Ill take her to the hospital and they'll do brain scans to tell us more of exactly what happened and where in her brain it took place. We are very blessed Sharon, often people don't survive strokes, or at best they are present, but never again with us in mind. Ill inform you as soon as I know more."

I layed all the way back onto the yard trying to decide how to feel. Do I feel scared? Sad? Grateful? I tried to take deep breaths as if I were gulping air to save my life. Finally I gave into all the what ifs that flooded my mind and I must have looked as though I was being electrocuted by my own yard. I remembered how fearfully my grandmother had looked at me in her hospital bed not knowing who I was, a moment I've chosen to forget. I feared the worst at the thought that my mother... MY MOM... the woman who brings you your life support in every way may never be the same. The woman I love most, gone in some ways forever.

"Jesus help. Help me decide now how you feel about what has happened!" I cried out needing to regain control, both in body and in spirit. "Sharon... do you see that tree over there?" Through watery eyes I saw the big oak across the street."Yes Lord. I see i.t" "I made that tree. With one word I spoke that tree and with one word I could make it move do you believe that?" I was breathing much deeper now as his peace started to rest upon me. "Yes Lord. I believe that's true." "Then how much more do I love your mother than you? I am able to do all things." He didn't say much or go into any personal depth, but I was so aware of his goodness, of his control in what seemed like a tragic event. It was such a sad and scary moment of 2014.

The brain scans that followed actually showed my mom had had 3 strokes, 1 of them being very very old, possibly from when she was a little girl. Days later I finally was able to speak to my mom on the phone. She sounded different. Tired. She was sleeping a lot, her brains way of trying to recover from the jolt. The nerves on her left side (arms,hand,fingers,face) remained numb for many months. She had the best attitude about it. "Apparently id had the strokes in my sleep doctors say, because I never even knew theyd happened. I guess if your gonna have a stroke that's the best way to do it." Shed say almost proud of herself as if it was her own clever idea. Dad was more honest with me than she was. Shes different hed say. In ways that don't really matter but different all the same. Time and days are hard for her to keep track of. She hangs the laundry in the closet with all the cloths facing right now instead of left. She folds my dress pants differently. He told me of changes that I  should expect. Her memory was affected although only slightly from what I can tell. She wont be able to drive anymore (legally you cant for 1 year after a stroke if ever again) she wont be able to watch your nephew alone anymore while you sister works (This the most difficult by far. Her first grandchild now 2) Its not safe. She may forget and leave something dangerous out or not be able to pick him up. You can expect your mom to struggle with depression .Of all the things id researched, depression was the common enemy among all survivors although depression was no stranger to my mom.My heart could have never imagined what she told me next.

"Mom" I said over the phone wishing I wasn't 16 hours away. "How has today been?" I brace myself for the sound of sadness at her lack of independence. To feel like your body no longer works for you and I could only imagine the frustration she must feel. "Sharon, I loved today." "Loved?" I repeated sure I had heard her wrong. "Yes. loved." She went on for a very long time, explaining the hard times shed been having for decades before the stroke. My mom had had a difficult childhood and one could say the same for the early part of her married life. Shed always suffered from depression. Its hard to explain in such few words but, she had so much bitterness .Life was full of regrets and hard times that life felt dull to her. My mom waited for the day when shed be with the Lord. She longed for it in a way that was... at many times in my life sad and hurtful to me. No one would ever say that she was a woman full of life. But today she was.

I listened for hours as she told me about every sunrise shed sat and watched from the front porch since the stroke."I watched the tulip's in the front yard today as they woke up and followed the sun. I felt the coolness kiss my face as it dipped behind a cloud. I felt my hair blow across my face as though I was being kissed and I thought of God. How he has been kind to me to help me forget." I could hardly believe what she was saying. "I think this stroke was one of the best things that's happened to me.( said with a very slight slur) I cant remember the bad stuff anymore." and when she said it she said it in a way that sounded like she was free. Free in some beautiful way id never seen or heard her be free before.

Sometimes the stroke shows its captives. She used to have the most beautiful penmanship. Now what little she does write or sign in a card looks as though my daughter wrote it. I looked through my old shoe box full of letters from her when I moved away and hold them tight to my chest. This lovely cursive is my mothers, and I treasure now more than ever that my own is almost identical to hers.

They visited us 2 Septembers ago to meet for the first time their only granddaughter. I saw the look of total embracement on her face as I placed my daughter in her arms and she looked at me full of tears and said "Im so sorry. I cant remember her name." I kneeled in front of her and said "Oh good- then ill get to see your face when you hear it for the first time. (a moment I would have never had over the phone)We named her Finley." "Finley" She muttered as she closed her eyes gently and moved her mouth as if tasting something rich and sweet, then opened them. "I love it."

I don't know that iver ever told anyone this story before.I find myself writing this now because my spirit is so desperate to testify of Gods goodness. Were all in times of having difficulty,hardship and not knowing the future and yet God never changes. Only God can take a woman who felt no life and give her life through something satan intended for evil. I am remembering so many times of Gods goodness and faithfulness and... well... I think perhaps for me personally, its just time I told some people.