book ends

Jules —  January 3, 2016

House of Hope Kansas City

Well, I’ve boxed up the decorations and put away the gifts. Christmas is over, and the New Year is here. There were so many “feels” this Christmas, especially on December 19, the one year anniversary of Jessica’s placement at House of Hope. It was so wonderful to be together as a family. I felt so thankful for all that God had done in 365 days.

Jessica officially came home on December 7. It was one of the most magical evenings I’ve experienced. House of Hope had a lovely Christmas open house. Both houses were beautifully decorated. There was a great turnout of people prettily dressed for Christmas. The Christmas cookies were yummy as the girls lined up on the stairs to sing Christmas songs. As they finished, Miss Marilyn the founder, said she had a special announcement. To Jessica’s surprise, she announced in front of everyone that Jessica would be coming home that evening! We all cried tears of joy. We were suddenly the focus of the party as people congratulated us and inquired about our success.

After the party, we went to the main house. As Jessica packed up her things, we marched them out to the car! One of the girl’s Grandmas had bought matching pajamas for all the girls. The girls sat around the tables in the kitchen with the glow of Christmas lights from the living room in the background and opened the gifts and then it happened. . . God recreated a scene and I was awestruck by His gift to me.

The night of Jessica’s placement at House of Hope was easily at the top of my most difficult things I’ve ever done. It was horrific to say the least. When we walked in that night, the house was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Holiday music was playing as the girls were sitting around the tables joyfully making wreaths for their families. As I stood in the kitchen, they all stood up and began introducing themselves. One by one they gave their name, age and phase. As this was taking place, I felt “out of body.” It was like, “is this really happening?” As they were encouraging us, the scene burned into my memory.

So back to December 7. The girls, as I said, were sitting around the tables after the open house with Christmas wrap everywhere. I was standing in the kitchen, when a guest walked into the room. The girls all stood and one by one began introducing themselves by name, age and phase. Our last moments at House of Hope were exactly the same as our first few moments. God created book ends for our story. I felt like I was a character in a storybook. It was so surreal. I can’t give adequate words. As I stood there, all I could think was everything is the same but everything is different. It’s the same scene but our family is in an entirely different place than a year ago. Jessica is happy and healthy as she introduced herself; “I’m Jessica and I’m on Home Phase!”. The girls scream and cheer as I stand there . . . with a new scene burning into my memory.

After saying goodbye, our therapist had a special party planned for our family in the carriage house. She had pizza and pop for the six of us. We sat and reminisced about the year and told serious and funny stories and we all laughed. I couldn’t wait to tell her what had just happened at the house. I’ve always wanted my family to live in such a way that we would have a great story to tell!

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” Brad Paisley



4 responses to book ends

  1. I’m reading this with tears, Julie. Happy tears. You share so clearly and honestly that I can almost picture this. Your family DOES have a great story to tell. Thank you for letting us turn the pages along with you, no matter how hard it has been to be vulnerable and bare your soul. Love you all and look forward to how the Author of all Life continues your story for His glory.

  2. WOW! God is good!

  3. This is a wonderful story. You and James are wonderful people, and I am so very glad to see the successes you have had.