2 Years as Team Barker Party of 4

TWO Years of Team Barker Party of Four! 10.19.19-10.19.21
Our family’s story is suffering. It’s a gift we have been given to show the Glory of whom it is due.

Jesus did not die for our comfort. He died for His Glory. I believe that God entrusts us with gifts. And sometimes that gift is suffering and giving us the strength to show God off.

Have you ever stopped to think that pain is a gift? God created us to feel pain to know that something is going on in our bodies. How amazing is he? Physical pain, emotional pain, spiritual pain. Our pain prompts us to receive the help that God has provided for us. I choose to thank God for my pain. I thank Him that He created me to know when I need to seek help. Does that mean I enjoy the suffering or pain at all times? No. But, knowing that God will get the Glory for my pain and suffering outweighs the negative of these circumstances.

I choose that no matter the circumstance. No matter the mountain or valley. God is going to get ALL of my Glory.

Khalil Gibran said, “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” I have found this to be true.

“A steward is someone that is entrusted with someone else’s resources. God, according to His Grace, gives His children gifts. They are completely unearned. And the primary purpose of these gifts is to serve one another. He equips us to fulfill the role in the body of Christ that He has for us. And ultimately, it is for His glory!” – Preaching the Gospel to Yourself by Joanna Kimbrel and Stefanie Boyles

I loved this part of their study— I truly believe my gift of suffering and pain was given to me to use it ALL for God’s glory.

The gospel promises purpose in confusion and joy in suffering. When we understand the beauty of the gospel, no area of our lives can go untouched by the Hope and life that it brings.

The gospel gives meaning to laughter and tears, and transforms hard hearts and hard days.

The gospel allows us to be freed to love and serve God and others, not to earn our salvation, but as an outpouring of the grace that we have been given.

I stand on what He has already done.
His past faithfulness demands my present trust.

I have been loving the Maverick City Song-Refiner. It has been on replay for me.
“If the altar’s where you meet us
Take me there, take me there
What you need is just an offering
It’s right here, my life is here
And I’ll be a living sacrifice for you.

I wanna be tried by fire
You take whatever you desire
Lord here’s my life

Clean my hands, purify my heart
I wanna burn for you, only for You
Take my life as a sacrifice
I wanna burn for you, only for You

Burn me beautiful
Burn me lovely
Burn me righteous
Burn me holy”

Oh, how I desire this song to be the anthem of my life.

This picture only tells part of the story.
It shows that God has entrusted Reid and I with 2 beautiful, incredible, resilient boys who have unique dispositions, special gifts and divine purposes.

It shows you that there is a whole lot of LOVE in our family.

What it doesn’t tell you is where we struggle.
It doesn’t tell you the prayer requests that we entrust to our closest family and friends and counselors.

It doesn’t tell you the insanely beautiful chaos of this season.

It doesn’t tell you the thousands of different ways we desperately need Jesus.

It doesn’t tell you the difficult season of adoption and processing trauma and loss for all four of us. It doesn’t show you our counseling sessions and the way we desperately seek to make sure we are all growing + becoming healthy emotionally and spiritually.

It doesn’t tell you how our weaknesses put God’s strength on display.
It doesn’t tell you how much Reid and I rely on the strength of the Lord to guide us through each day and how we fully rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us as we guide these boys.

But by God’s beautiful grace—THIS.IS.US!
God’s faithfulness holds us together and is the firm foundation on which we choose to stand. And hopefully, HIS LOVE is the story our lives always tell. I pray we evangelize always with our actions and when necessary, use words.

We pray our Family Mission is lived out daily:
To always be obedient to what God calls us to. To use our gifts, our home, our money, and our time to serve, encourage, love and support each other and those around us all for the Glory of God.

Thank you, God for TWO beautiful years of Team Barker Party of Four! We are eager to begin year three together and be obedient to what you call us to while being devoted to what is right in front of us. 💙💙

One Year HOME!

365 days as Team Barker Party of FOUR!

Our family was created through loss and I will never take for granted the gift of stewarding Frank & Blaise’s story, our story, of tragedy and beauty, loss and finding, brokenness and healing. Adoption is a journey of hard and never ending beauty. What an honor to discover how to walk that tension. 

October 19, 2019 changed our world completely. Reid and I are not strangers to our worlds being turned upside down. Our adoption journey would change our lives for the better. 

Going from the two of us with no children to overnight becoming parents to 4 & 5 year old boys was a whirlwind. Those early days were full of us trying our best to understand Kirundi (the boys native language) and helping Frank and Blaise adjust to an ENTIRELY new environment halfway across the world. Everything was new and exciting for them. The boys adjusted better than we ever could have imagined. They were showered with so much love from our family and close friends and all of you who have supported and loved us through it all. 

January 2020 rolled around and we were so expectant for a year full of so many firsts with our boys: spring break fun, summer trips, the zoo, waterparks, etc. and while COVID-19 changed many of our firsts…it was actually a sweet time for our family. Before Quarantine hit, Frank was able to start Kindergarten in January and have 2 months of full time school. Walking him into school that first day revealed to us just how brave he is. He walked in speaking very little English, having no idea what school in America would be like, and having only a couple of new friends. He.is.SO.brave!!! He rocked Kindergarten and finished strong through the pandemic. 

Quarantine was surprisingly a gift for the Barker Household. The first 8 weeks they were home and I was on maternity leave was beautiful but so very difficult at the same time with the language barrier. Fast Forward to March 2020 and the boys were speaking English and were completely bonded to us and trusted us 100%. We had the best time growing our bond even stronger and spending every waking second together. Although their first year has proven to look so different than we EVER imagined…I would not trade it for anything. We received the unexpected gift of time together (a second bonding period) and that is a huge PRAISE! 

We had a fabulous summer that included the boys first beach trip and they spent time this summer preparing for starting school. Blaise is in Kindergarten and Frank is in 1st grade. Blaise has Frank’s kinder teacher, Mrs. Fields and she is a complete GOD SEND for Team Barker. She loves and adores our boys and is truly the most perfect first teacher in America for our sweet boys. 

We knew from the beginning that our family dynamics and appearance would lead to questions. Reid and I have always been OK with those questions because those questions always point to Jesus! 

Friends, as believers, our lives should be a beautiful disruption in this chaotic world. I encourage you to do the things that God has laid on your heart. Do what scares you because if HE has called you to it, He is faithful to see you through it. We cannot shout from the rooftops loud enough just how much beauty comes from obedience. 

Is adoption hard? Without.a.doubt!!! Are there hard questions? Difficult discussions? Tears? Yes, of course. However, on the flip side of that, there is so much love, respect, deep joy, laughter, and deep, special bonds that are unexplainable. I cannot imagine if we would have missed out on this calling. Our lives would not be the same without our boys. 

Adoption continues to reflect the Gospel in every way and that is a special gift that we have the honor to open every morning. 

Frank and Blaise— When we look into your eyes, we will never see a reflection of our own eyes. However, what we do see is just as powerful: A reflection of our complete and unstoppable love for you. A love that was grown in the midst of our tears and laughter. 

You two are BRAVE and RESILIENT. Thank you for letting us in. Thank you for opening your hearts and making room for us. Thank you for allowing us to love you. You have changed our lives in the best way possible. We are proud of you and we are beyond proud to be your Mama and Papa. The privilege to be called Mama and Papa by you is never lost on us and are roles we hold with the highest regard. We are so expectant of what year #2 as a family has in store. 

I trust the next chapter for our family because I know the author. He writes the best stories. He is faithful. He is kind. He is generous. He lavishes His gifts on us when we are so undeserving. I pray as a family, we will continue to walk in obedience. That we will continue to be strong and courageous because God’s past faithfulness in our lives demands our present trust ALWAYS! 

Thank you all for your love, support, prayers, and encouragement to us throughout the last 3 ½ years when we began our adoption journey. You have been with us through so much and we are grateful for everyone’s role in bringing our boys home and loving us since! 

Oh, The difference a year makes!

ALL our love,
Team Barker Party of FOUR

Reid, Lisa, Frank & Blaise