Chippin' Away

Moving one day, one minute, one step at a time.

Help my unbelief September 18, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 1:17 am

The fact that I haven’t written a post all year is telling.  It tells of how freaking busy a mom of four little kids is.  It tells of the lack of time I have for putting ideas on paper.  And it tells, really deep down, of the immense struggle I’ve been walking through during this year of parenting a child who has a history of trauma.

Parenting any child is difficult.  I am not, by any means, saying otherwise.  I have friends with biological children who are walking through extremely difficult times.  But, parenting a traumatized child is uniquely challenging.  I don’t want this post to be about my child, but rather about me.  Many of my faults, sins, deficiencies, and scars have been exposed during this season.  It’s been a time of immense pain and doubt.  Doubt of God’s goodness, love, control, everything.  I have been exposed to be a doubting Thomas, an arrogant Pharisee, and a luke warm believer.  Where I once ran forward in faith, I find myself paralyzed by fear.  Where I once held tightly to faith in things unseen, I find myself demanding to see, and feel, and taste, and touch.  Where I once ran freely in the paths prepared for me, I find myself back in chains.

Friends, I once felt shame admitting those things.  What kind of Christian screams out at God, accusing him of not being there?  What kind of Christian claims to believe, yet is filled with anger at the God she believes in?  How dare I question?  How dare I make demands?  How could I waiver so?

One of the verses in scripture that has brought me great comfort in this time has been Acts 9:24: Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  This man was begging Jesus to heal his son and when Jesus says “All things are possible for one who believes” this is what he says.  There is so much power and freedom here!  This man was a believer in Jesus, but knew, in his humanness, he was not capable of believing fully all the time.  Jesus heals this man’s son, even after admitting he has unbelief.  This is HUGE to me.

You see, if I believe that scripture is true and that all of scripture is God breathed, then I have to believe that this small statement was intended for my good, to fulfill a purpose.  In this season I am going through, I believe Jesus is telling me, “Child, come to me, even if feebly, and I will help you believe!”  God knew I would doubt, question, and struggle.  He knows my heart is deceitful (Jer. 17:9) and my flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).  He gave me the brain I have and the feelings I have.  If anything, this should be pointing me to His great unmoving love for me.  He wants me to cling on for dear life in all of life’s circumstances.  And His love doesn’t shift as I do.  It’s constant.

So, while I’m shifting and groaning and stretching and being refined, He is constant.  He loves still.  He still pursues.  He still makes a path for me.  And He still goes before me.  My ways are not His ways and my thoughts are not His thoughts.  And He knows that, and He loves me.

I am clinging to these truths today and hopefully tomorrow.  But when I fall and when I fail, He is not falling or failing.  He is loving and moving.  And that brings me comfort.


Papa Loves You December 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 4:39 pm

Here is the tribute I did to my Papa at his funeral on Sunday.  I miss him so much already.


Papa Loves You

As one of the oldest grandchildren, I have had a unique relationship with Papa.  Chris and I had him all to ourselves until little Amanda came along.  During that time, he was a steady ballgame goer, concert attender, marching competition watcher, and kickball game cheerer.  I can’t remember a single time when Nana and Papa weren’t at one one of our events.  Even Chris’s attempt at football and my attempt at basketball.  It wasn’t pretty, but he was there.  As I’ve been trying to think about what to say about Papa, a short phrase keeps coming to mind: “Papa loves you.”  Every time we got in our van as kids, he would walk to the window, do one last outer, and say “Papa loves you.”

When sweet Mandums came along, I noticed quickly that she got the same Papa I did.  Even though it was years after he became one.  He and Nana drove miles and miles to see that sweet baby.  He was there for her as she rode horses, practiced softball, and broke that infamous ornament she apparently didn’t like.  He still looked at her, did one last outer, and said “Papa loves you.”

After that, it seems, my 2 sweet Aunties were in a competition to see who could pop out the most babies!  Emily’s sweet face joined the family and, oh my word, was she loved.  Nana and Papa drove again to see her and, if I’m not mistaken, Papa actually saw the birth of this one!  She must truly be special.  I remember when they finally moved back home to Texas how excited Nana and Papa both were.  Emily, he loved to watch you cheer and was so so proud of you.  Ryan came along shortly after that and Papa got his second grandson.  A sweet baby that Papa loved with all his heart.  He loved to scratch your back and tell you stories and run around the yard with you.  Then came Katie, another precious granddaughter.  Katie, Papa loved you so much.  He enjoyed your continuous performances with the other girls and even up until recently I could see in his face how much fun he had watching you beat box and play your flute (and even do both at the same time!) for the family.  And then came Adam, the last grandson.  He took such joy in caring for you and taking you to McDonalds.  Even though you aren’t as old as the rest of us, and Papa got a little sicker and a little older the last couple of years, he made every effort to be there for you.  He loved you so.  I was amazed to see, as each of you came along, that he still played with you, just like he played with me and Chris.  Playing the bop up game, the pen game, asking us to tickle his hand, and hiding that toothpick in his mouth, convincing us that he swallowed it.  He loved us all so very much.

I would be leaving out a very special person if I didn’t mention Chris.  He came before me, but we grew up with Papa together.  Chris and Papa would share some amazing conversations that I wish, now, I had been a part of.  Chris, Papa loved hearing from you, even in his last days on mom’s phone.  Even though you’ve been far away the last few years, he would always talk about you when you werent’ around.  About how much he loved you and missed you.

And I am one lucky momma because my sweet children, all 6 of them that I’ve had, have gotten to know Papa.  Even though the first 5 came to us in a nontraditional way, he loved them as his own great grandchildren.  Mari, Bella, Addie, and Davis, he was so proud to be your Papa.  Even with my own, children we would load up in the car to head back to Austin and he would come out to the car, do one last outer, and say “Papa loves you.”  And they loved him so so much.

Dear sweet brother, and cousins, and my sweet babies, Papa loved you.  I hope and pray you remember that as we all get older and begin to have our own families.  Remember how he would come out of the garage, walk over to the car, and say “Papa loves you.”

In this season, it’s easy to think that death and suffering is unfair and wrong.  It’s easy to ask “why?” and “couldn’t we have more time, Lord?”  But I truly believe that the Lord wants us to still remember that baby, laying in a manger.  The loving God we have who came down to be like us so he could experience grief like us.  That in sending His son to us, God was reaching down from the heavens and saying, “Papa loves you, child.”  Remember that before Christ raised his friend, Lazarus from the dead, he wept.  He knew he was going to heal him, but he wept with Mary and Martha first.  And before he took Papa home, he wept with us.  Because our Papa God loves us.

I believe Papa is now a member of the great cloud of witnesses, cheering us on as we run our race to the end.  I am comforted knowing that we will meet again someday and that he is up there cheering me on saying, “Papa loves you.”


Family December 11, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 7:02 pm

It has been a full year since we had our family photos taken following Davis’ birth.  He was just a little tiny thing!  Look at us a year ago!



My friend, Travis, just took a new set of photos for us.  Y’all, I am so so happy with these pictures!  I will send you his contact info if you ever need some photos.  You will not be disappointed!!  Here are a few new family pictures for all of you to enjoy.

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Happy 1 year Davis! November 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 3:24 pm

Guys.  I can’t believe my baby boy is one.  Where in the world did the last year go???  Oh, how I wish I was the scrapbooking, baby book keeping, organized mom right now.  Looking back, I realize I haven’t posted about Davis since 4 months.  Y’all, that’s me.  I just can’t keep up with that stuff.  So, here is a catch up.  Little D from the last 8 months!

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Sweet Davis, you may be a super tiny guy (3% weight, 15% height), but you are a mighty addition to this family.  You’ve been a source of bonding and joy for me and daddy and your sisters.  You are so smart with 18 words already at one year old!  You’ve devoted your brain power to talking instead of growing it seems!  But, I know that the Lord has great plans for you.  You are a silly, joyful, opinionated, loving little boy and I can’t wait to see how you grow over the next year!


Give Away! November 1, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 2:57 pm

Hey y’all!  So, the holidays are in full swing and I just know you need to do some Christmas shopping!  My friend, Jamie, over at Dreaming Big Dreams is posting daily about some great places to shop that will make a difference in someone’s life and/or support a small business.  Let’s try and shop smart this year!

Her first give away is for a great easy shop called Ink Of Me.  Go to Jamie’s blog and read all about this great shop and enter to win!


Lies, lies, lies September 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 1:05 pm

It has been ages since my last post.  I wrote a guest post over at a friend’s blog several weeks ago, but otherwise I’ve been MIA.  The main reason, other than I have 4 stinking kids that take up all my stinking time (and that’s ok!), is that it’s been a really hard season around here.  Our oldest is experiencing some major effects of her trauma and it’s causing a lot of hurt, tears, arguments, tantrums, more tears, talks, more tears, and major exhaustion.  I will protect her story, but you guys have to know, adoption is hard.  Parenting is hard, and throw in an older adopted child, and it just adds a whole other layer of hard.

We recently decided that it was time to start counseling.  She and I will be working on attachment, she’ll be working through some trauma stuff, and I’ll be going to a mom’s group full of other adoptive moms that feel the same feelings as I do.  It’s going to be really good.  But deciding to start this was extremely difficult for me.  Admitting I need help is difficult for me.

I am realizing during this time that there are a lot of lies I am telling myself and believing.  Here are a few of them.

I think I have to be perfect.  I think other people need to think I have it all together.  I think that I’m a failure if I need help.  I think there is no way other moms would ever think or say the things I’ve said or thought.  I have feelings that I never thought were possible for this sinning soul and they are scary.  I think my husband needs a perfect wife or he’ll be less in love with me.  I think I wasn’t cut out to do this adoption thing.  I tell myself this was a mistake.  That my kid doesn’t love me and will never love me.  I tell myself this will never change.  I tell myself that I can’t do this anymore.  You see where I’m going here?

I was drawn to a verse recently that says, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9).  Friends, I have believed all of the things I mentioned, and more, and here’s the thing.  They are lies.  I can not trust my feelings.  In John 8, there are some words written about Satan.  “When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  Jesus reminded me that I’m also fighting a spiritual battle here.  Not only is my heart deceiving me, but Satan is telling me lies.  He is attacking us because we are displaying a small picture of Christ’s love.  He wants to destroy it.  Satan does not like any picture that tells others of God’s love.  Marriage and adoption are two big ones.  He will always want to destroy those relationships.

Friends, we need to fight against these lies!  We need to cling to the truths that have been revealed to us in God’s word.  When my flesh is weak and my faith is running dry, I will cling to the One who gives living water.  I will pray with the psalmist “I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”  I will remember Christ’s words when he says, “In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  I will remember that God is good, just, merciful, and faithful to the end.  I will remember that even on my best days I’m a sinner in need of a savior.  And on my worst days the grace of God does not run out.  I will remember that my hope is not in this world or this time, but in knowing this is not my home.  There will be a time when my daughter doesn’t cry or yell or say hurtful things.  There will be a time when we won’t have abuse and neglect and orphans and pain.  I will remember who I am in Christ.  An heir to the throne of the King.

And on the days I can’t make myself remember, I reach out and rely on my brothers and sisters who God gave me.  My FAMILY.  My family who was meant to help carry my burdens.  When my heart is deceiving, and satan is lying, and my flesh is screaming, may the Lord draw me near community, to the Church who will lift my eyes for me when I can not.  I will fight against the lies!


4 years and 4 kids later… June 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 9:33 pm


Today is me and Jeff’s 4th anniversary.  In some ways, I can’t believe it’s been 4 years already.  But mostly, I feel like it should be way more than that!  Not in a bad way, of course, but it kind of seems a life time ago that I walked down the aisle to the most wonderful man God could have ever picked for me.  But, maybe that’s because in those 4 years we have moved across the country, graduated from graduate school, bought a house, became temporary parents to 2 boys, forever family for 3 girls, and birthed 1 sweet, sweet little boy.  That’s 6 different kids in case anyone is counting.  I’d say the last 4 years have been more of an adventure than either of us anticipated on that day.  But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Jeff Griswold, I never knew it was possible to love you more than I did 4 years ago.  But, here I am, blown away by the love I have for you.  You are an amazing husband and father.  You are dedicated and committed to learning your role as husband and father, and I admire you so much for how much you’ve grown in both.  You let me dream and plan and be a bit spontaneous and crazy all while grounding me when I need it, being a steady leader and loving me through some of the hardest moments of my life.  You have stood firm at my side, guiding me, loving me, listening, gently rebuking, and loving me better than anyone else could.  I am so thankful for you.

Jeff, the last year has by far been the hardest.  We’ve gone from 0-4 children and with 3 of those kids being from a difficult past, it’s no wonder we are stretched so thin.  I am so thankful that you are walking this crazy path with me.  I’m certain I’d be in the nut house by now if it weren’t for you.  You’ve loved me so well through all of the crazy.  I love you, J.D. Griswold.  I am super excited to see what the next 4 years will bring……but, let’s be honest.  I’m kind of thinking less crazy would be nice.

Happy anniversary sweet husband!!