Just say “Yes”

What is keeping you from saying, “Yes” to God?

When I look back over my life I realize it is the times I have said, “Yes” to God that has brought me good, the good that God intends for my life.

But saying, “Yes” to God hasn’t always been easy. Often there are reasons, excuses, and fears that cause me to want to say, “No.”

The Israelites experienced this when God called them to the Promised Land. God told Moses to send out twelve men, one leader from each tribe, to explore the land that He was giving them. Those twelve came back from the land with two very different reports. Ten of them reported that the land was indeed good…

“But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!” Numbers 13:28

These ten men who gave this report heard Moses say that this was the land God was giving them, but they said, “No.”

They saw reasons and excuses why it would never work. They saw things that scared them and caused them to consider it impossible. They compared themselves to the people of the land and saw themselves incapable of conquering them.

The two men, Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand also heard Moses say that God promised to give them this land and instead of looking at the problems, they looked at their God. They saw the same things the other ten men saw, but their faith was in God, not in themselves.

Twelve men explored the same land, saw the same things, experienced the same situations, but had two completely different reports.

Ten said, “No.”

Two said, “Yes.”

As the story goes on the “No”s” won the vote of the people. Their reasons, excuses, and fears of the things they saw influenced all the others. As they described the things they saw the people believed their report and took on their fears.

Though Joshua and Caleb gave a similar report, they chose to focus on God instead of what they saw. They chose to see God as bigger than the obstacles. They chose to see themselves as God’s chosen people who had God’s favor on them.

They chose to see victory instead of defeat!

But as hard as they tried; their “Yes” couldn’t convince the people to have faith to believe for the impossible.

Their “Yes” couldn’t convince the people to see God as bigger than their enemies. 

God promised to give His chosen people a good and fruitful land, a land flowing with milk and honey. He chose this land just for them and wanted them to say, “Yes,” to His provision for them. God was well aware of the powerful people, the walled cities, and of the giants in the land. They weren’t too strong for Him and His people to overcome. God wanted them to be strong and courageous, to keep their eyes on Him, and to trust Him to empower them to conquer the land.

Fear weakens and paralyzes!

Faith strengthens and empowers!

Saying, “No” to the good God intended for His people caused them to wander in the wilderness for forty years, never enjoying the Promised Land.

Saying, “Yes” to the good God intended caused Joshua and Caleb to remain strong and courageous, to enter the Promised Land, and to enjoy its fruits.

My journey through adoption so far was somewhat similar to the Israelites. When things were going well I had been praising God for His goodness. Then when things fell apart I was hurt and complaining.

Interesting how human nature tends to react to circumstances rather than to rely on God.

The “word” I received at the conference and the experience of “God’s glory” at Bible study left a huge impression on me and were reminders that I had put my dream into God’s hands, and I would trust Him with my desires.

Two months after my experience at Bible study, in April of 2003, I was visiting a friend from church when she asked me a question…

Wait…I need to back up a few months to fill you in some…

In December of 2002, while the little girl we were hoping to adopt was still with us, another family from our church received a three month old foster baby. One of the first days she arrived her foster mother brought her to church during youth group. We were having snacks with the teens and I offered to hold her. It was such a joy to hold a baby again and when I looked down she had fallen sound asleep in my arms!

So, back to my visit with my friend…

I was changing baby Kayla’s diaper when my friend asked me a question.

A question I will never forget!

She said that it looked as though baby Kayla’s case was moving towards adoption and she was wondering if Mark and I would be interested in adopting her.

Oh my goodness!!!

“Yes!!  Of course we want to adopt her!!”


“Will Mark agree to adopting a baby?”

“Do we dare go there again, will our hearts be broken again?”

I think I was actually in shock!

The question came out of nowhere, it was so unexpected.

My wheels were turning and since coffee makes every important conversation better, I asked Mark if we could go out and have coffee together. I skipped the small talk and went right to explaining the time at my friend’s house earlier that day. I described how when I was changing baby Kayla’s diaper my friend came over and asked me “the” question.

Mark and I were no spring chickens. Our youngest son was fourteen. It had been a long time since there was a baby in the house. How old would we be when she graduated? When she would be married? We actually laughed at what it might look like as Mark walked her down the aisle!

We heard “reports” of how difficult adopting through the state can be. It could be years of legal battles only to have the child placed elsewhere.

We heard “reports” of the probability of learning difficulties and worse from being born addicted.

There were reasons, excuses, and impossibilities that could have caused us to say, “No.”

But after discussing some of these I asked a question that I believe the Lord put on my heart…

“Didn’t we agree to open our home, our hearts, to any little girl the Lord brought us?”

And so, it was settled that evening over several cups of coffee…no wonder Kayla loves coffee!…that though we had no idea at the time what the journey would look like, and if it would even lead to the fulfillment of our dream or not, we were willing to begin this journey by saying, “Yes” both to the foster family, and to God.

That “Yes” lead us on an incredible journey that was more like an intense roller coaster ride; filled with twists, turns, dark tunnels, drops that left us breathless, and screeching stops that looked like the ride was over…

As intense and heart wrenching as it was, to think that we could have said “No” and stayed “safe” and kept our hearts protected from more pain, I’m so glad for the verse that reminds me…

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

I praise God that He determined our steps to say “Yes!”

 “For we live by believing and not by seeing.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 

God has a Promised Land, filled with “milk and honey,” for all who are willing to say “Yes” to the journey He has called them to.

It is a journey often filled with suffering, difficulties, and impossibilities. It is a journey that will test your faith and will try your heart. It will require you to walk by faith and not by sight, to keep your eyes on God and not on your circumstances, to rely on God’s promises and not on your own understanding.

Saying,”Yes” to God requires great faith!

Saying,”Yes” to God takes you to places you never imagined!

Saying,”Yes” to God sets you up for the impossible!

Saying,”Yes” to God allows you to see the miraculous!

Saying,”Yes” to God enables you to realize your dreams!

When I put my dream into God’s hands and trusted Him with my desires, He provided an opportunity to journey with Him, but it all began with a, “Yes.”


Me and baby Kayla, 7 months old, April, 2003


Do you love Me more?

The death of a dream…

What should I do with all the hopes I had?

What should I do with the things I prepared for my dream to come true?

What should I do with all my doubts about whether I heard God or not?

Looking back, I’m sure some of my responses came from a wounded heart that put up a wall of protection. I didn’t even want to think about adoption because it hurt too much. I didn’t want to go there again because I couldn’t trust whether I was hearing from God or running after my own desire.

But it is in that wounding of the heart, that sifting as wheat, that the prayer Jesus prayed for us brings about the good He intends, the good that will strengthen our faith, the good that will give us a story to comfort and encourage others.

God has His own “loving ways” and “perfect timing” that  always amaze and overwhelm me!

Several weeks after the “death of my dream” I went to my weekly Bible study. We had a quest speaker that day who I heard before and was looking forward to what she had to share. About fifteen women were gathered in my friend’s living room in anticipation of the “word” God had for us. Into the circle of women the speaker walked with a pillow stuffed under her shirt saying,

“It’s time to give birth to your dreams!”

Hearing those words brought instant tears to my eyes and harsh words in my mind to God.

“My dream didn’t work out, my dream died, why are You taunting me like this?”

I didn’t realize how angry I was at God until that moment. I had just “lost” a dream! I put it to death on the cross! I couldn’t handle hearing those words.

My pain was too fresh.

My heart was too wounded.

My walls of protection were high around my heart.

The woman went on to say that God plants dreams and desires within us. She said that God works deep inside; knitting together the desire that He has in store for us. As with a pregnant woman, we see the evidence that something is growing, something is developing, and so with a spiritual dream, we are to make room, to prepare to give birth.

I cried and silently argued with God through most of her talk. I was angry and upset, yet, there was this still, small voice that reminded me that I did say if this dream was of God, He had to resurrect it, perhaps this was the beginning of resurrection.

When the woman was finished sharing she said she was available if anyone needed prayer. Well, there was no question I needed prayer and though she didn’t know everything going on inside, she came and prayed a comforting prayer over me. It was a good prayer, but when she went on to the other women I pleaded with God that she would come back. I needed to hear something specific from God. But, those protective walls were still up, and I was still in pain, so I pleaded with God, “Please, bring her back to me without me asking her.”

What seemed an eternity as she went around the room praying with other women, I was secretly waiting for her to ask me if I wanted more prayer…

Thank God, she came…

“God, You are always so loving and gentle, even when I am so undeserving!”

With her kneeling beside me I was so expectant, my heart aching to hear whatever God had to say to me.

As she began to pray she quoted “the” verse I had been praying concerning adoption. Out of all the verses in the Bible what are the chances she would pray this one over me?!

“And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants.” Jeremiah 32:39

As she prayed that verse the sun suddenly shone in through the skylight and flooded us with God’s glory!!

It was definitely a holy moment! 

As Peter, I was reinstated that day!

My love for God was compromised with a love for a little girl. I was looking for and striving after the desire of my heart to fulfill and satisfy me.

When I heard the woman speak about God placing dreams and desires within us there was a battle in my heart. The dream He put within me was intended to be knit together by Him as I carried it within me. It was intended to be something I trusted Him to create, to weave together, according to His ways, and according to His timing. I was to be the safe carrier of the dream, thrilled with the evidence of His working, eagerly preparing for and anticipating the birth of the dream He would bring about.

But, I had been a lot like Peter. I “went fishing.” Peter loved to fish, it was what he knew how to do, it satisfied him and brought him fulfillment.

How often do we take things into our own hands because “we know how to do it”?

We desire something, we believe God wants us to have it, so we “go fishing,” we “knit it together.”

We can love the results of our desires more than we love Jesus.

That day in my friend’s living room God met me in my pain, and in my anger. He showed me how loving He is…in spite of my arguing with Him, in spite of my anger for what seemed to be taunting…He responded in love.

He so graciously shifted my focus off of myself, my disappointment, and put my eyes on Him.

By God’s amazing love and grace I was able to see that the dream of adoption deep within me was indeed given to me by Him, but I had allowed my heart to love the desire more than the Giver.

God opened my eyes that day!

That was a defining day concerning my dream of adoption! 

It was as if Jesus asked me, “Wilma, do you love Me more than adopting a little girl?”

“Yes, Jesus, You know I love You!”

“Then trust Me with that dream, leave it in My loving hands, and I will give you the desire of your heart.”





Sifted as Wheat

“A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:25-27

“Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

“After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” John 21:15

What do all these verses have in common?

Jesus is addressing the heart.

These verses show that…

You can love others more than Jesus.

You can love yourself more than Jesus.

You can love money and material things more than Jesus.

You can love your job or position more than Jesus.

Peter thought he loved Jesus more than anything, even more than his own life. He said he was willing to die with Jesus, but when faced with the reality of Jesus’ arrest what he really loved, his own life, was exposed.

Jesus told Peter that Satan had asked to “sift him as wheat.” Sifting was something they did to the grains of wheat after it was threshed from the chaff. The grain was scooped up from the threshing floor and sifted to separate it from any rocks or debris from the floor. Sifting purified the grains of wheat so they could be ground into flour.

The sifting process required a great shaking as the grain and rocks and debris were jostled together.

Sifting came suddenly upon Peter.

Peter’s world was shaken.

Peter’s faith was jostled.

Peter did something he never thought he would. He denied three times the One he had left everything to follow. The One who showed him the power and love of God, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

But, that night when Jesus was arrested and taken before the high priest, Peter’s world was shaken…his expectations, his desires, his faith, were suddenly challenged with fear for his very life.

This suddenly…this sifting…this shaking…brought Peter to the end of himself. Looking into the eyes of Truth, the loving eyes of Jesus, Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Satan’s agenda for “sifting Peter as wheat” was to shake Peter of what he believed…

to jostle him with fear so that his faith would fail…

then to accuse and condemn him so that he would completely forsake Jesus. 

But, Jesus had given Peter a promise…

“Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” Matthew 16:17-19

And, Jesus had prayed for Peter…

“But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32

In this place of doubt and uncertainty Peter decided to do what he had left three years ago. He decided to do what came naturally and that which was comfortable. Peter went  fishing. His friends came with him and though they fished all night their nets came up empty. In the morning a “man” on the beach told them to throw their nets on the right side of their boat. Immediately their nets filled to overflowing!

Peter knew in a moment it was Jesus!

I’m sure he remembered the first time this happened…when he first met Jesus…

“When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.”For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught,” Luke 5:8-9

This was where Peter first believed!

This was when Peter first fell to his knees in worship of Jesus!

This is where Peter’s faith was born!

Jesus saw beyond Satan’s agenda for “sifting Peter as wheat” and prayed that God would use it for Peter’s good. He used what was meant to turn Peter away from God to be the very thing that drew Peter closer. Jesus’ prayer for Peter used the strategies of the enemy; fear, lies, and shame, to bring Peter to the end of himself; to show him the sin he was capable of, to humble him. Jesus’ prayer that Peter’s faith would not fail gave Peter grace to confess and repent of his sin.

Jesus was jealous for Peter; He wanted his whole heart, soul, strength, and mind.

Jesus intended for Peter’s faith not to fail, but to become even stronger, and for his heart to be purified of all that Peter loved more than Him.

“After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. John 21:15

What Satan meant for harm, God intended for good!

Sifting didn’t disqualify Peter!

Sifting purified Peter!

Sifting strengthened Peter!

Sifting promoted Peter!

The next time you find yourself “sifted as wheat,” when your world is suddenly shaken, your faith jostled to the point it is about to fail, remember…

Jesus knew about your sifting, it has passed through His loving hands.

Jesus has prayed for you, that your faith will not fail.

Allow the sifting to bring you to the end of yourself. If you have sinned, look into the loving eyes of Jesus, and weep bitterly. Godly sorrow over sin brings cleansing and healing. Confess and repent of your sin. Embrace the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Ask Him to remind you of  when you first fell in love with Him, and to purify you of all you love more than Him.

Sifting can be harsh and painful. It can be heart breaking and confusing. But, when you trust your Heavenly Father and yield to the working of the Holy Spirit, you will come through your season of sifting with greater faith, a purified heart, and a story to tell others that will encourage them.

I praise God that my faith didn’t fail when my world was shaken by the death of my dream!


*The cinnamon rolls were a surprise made by Kayla for our 36th wedding anniversary! She’s an amazing baker!







Adoption was “Dead.”

The “word” I received in the stadium that day said that God had brought me through two years of difficult times so that the comfort He showed me, I would then be able to bring to others. In hind sight I see that the “word” was given to me half way through those two years. The year before had been one of praying and believing for a desire that had become an obsession, but with no evidence of an answer. The year ahead proved to be one of the most confusing years I have ever lived through.

Soon after receiving the “word” I became more and more drawn to a little girl who was in foster care living with a family from our church. I became aware that she was hoping to be adopted. I began to connect the dots. Mark and I were praying about adopting a little girl, she was hoping to be adopted into a family…

It seemed so clear…

Mark and I continued to pray…

Then we stepped out in faith…

We attended foster care classes so that our home would be available to her.

We had some construction done in our home to make a bedroom for her.

We believed this was the answer to our prayers.

June, 2002, my heart was overwhelmed with joy as this little girl came into our home!

My desire for adoption was finally becoming a reality!

With intense desire comes great expectations.

But, what do you do when the images and expectations you had while praying and anticipating are very different from the reality that you are facing?

I found that my desire came from a heart that was about fulfilling and satisfying me.

Adoption had become all about “my little girl.”

But, that’s not how God intends us to treat the desires He puts within us.

I needed heart surgery! 

After seven months in our home it became evident that it wasn’t a good fit. She was very attached to her foster family and was returned to them.

I knew it wasn’t a fit. I knew she wasn’t happy, and I knew it was difficult for us as well.

“But, Oh God! Why?” 

My heart was devastated!!

“God, it seemed so clear. Everything seemed to fall into place. I saw You work in so many ways to make this happen. Why would all these these come together just to fall apart? Why set me up for such a great let down, my heart can’t take it!”

It shook my faith.

It caused me to question my ability to hear from God. 

But it was at this place, this place of brokenness, that God was able to do heart surgery.

This place of hurt and disappointment tested my faith.

Peter’s faith was tested…

Peter was filled with passion and desire to follow Jesus wherever He went; he said was even willing to die with Him. Desire and passion come from a heart of faith, but often our hearts need to be refined to rid them of self. Jesus gave Peter, and us, an explanation of what it looks like to have our faith tested…

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” 

Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”

But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Luke 22:31-34

What the enemy meant for Peter’s harm, Jesus intended for his good. Jesus prayed for Peter, that his faith wouldn’t fail. Jesus encouraged Peter to repent of his sin and to turn back to Him, and then to encourage his brothers.

What Jesus said came true. Peter was humbled and broken when he looked into Jesus’ eyes as the rooster crowed. Peter had indeed denied Jesus three times that night.

But, Jesus had prayed for Peter…that his faith would not fail. Even though Peter was disappointed in himself, and realized how weak he really was, it was a defining night for Peter. A night he would never forget!

While it is true that God gives the desires of the heart; what I have found is that desire can become all about me. I can allow the desire to become something that I look to to satisfy me. I can become so obsessed that I begin to connect the wrong dots, assume things, and run ahead of God. While God is sovereign and I believe He works all things together for my good, there were things God wanted me to learn from this heartbreaking experience.

I needed heart surgery to remove the “me” out of His desire for the little girl He wanted to bring into our family. 

It wasn’t about “my little girl.”

It was about “God’s little girl” that He wanted to bring into our family.

There is a big difference between the two and God wanted me to learn this lesson.

It began when I nailed my desire to the cross.

Yes, I literally nailed adoption to the cross. I drew a cross in my journal and wrote the word, “ADOPTION” across it. I drew a big spike that nailed it to the cross and wrote a prayer that basically said,

“Lord, I have nailed my desire to adopt to the cross. I am tired of my obsession that keeps me striving for a little girl. I am sorry for connecting the wrong dots, and for assuming Your will. I am confused, hurt, and disappointed by the death of my dream. I realize that if this desire is of You it won’t come by my obsession or my striving, and so I lay it down and refuse to take it up again. The only way it will rise again is if You bring it back to life.”

That is where I left my desire of adoption, nailed to the cross.

That is where I left my heart, no longer obsessing, striving, or expecting.

Adoption was dead!