No human being can tame the tongue.

July 23rd, 2013


Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.


12:00 am:   <stre-e-e-e-etch>  It’s midnight.  I didn’t accomplish all I’d hoped to, but I can’t focus my eyes on my work any more.  It’s past time to wrap up my Planning Night.  Just need to wash my face and brush my teeth, and I can snuggle in bed for Ben’s dreamfeed and then sleep.

Ah, blessed sleep.

Walking through the hallway, the air rushing past my face on its way up to the attic fan feels refreshingly cool.  I detour through the boys’ room.  When I bend down to look at my newest boy, I’m surprised to see bright eyes shining back at me through the darkness.

“Hi Tommy!  What’s keeping you awake in the middle of the night?”  He grins in response to my smile, my teasing whisper and pat on his belly.

Maybe he’s chilly in his shorts and short sleeves.  And I can give him a dry diaper at the same time. 

“Come here, buddy; come to mama.  Let’s go get you some warmer clothes.”

Huh.  Good thing I checked on him; he’s wet through already.


12:15 am:  I lay Tommy on the bathroom floor and flip on the overhead light.

Oh my.

Repulsive black goo is oozing generously from around his waistband, front and back.  He flaps his arms and legs and shrieks with glee.  I hastily clear the area of anything within his contaminated reach.  He giggles, immediately jerking his body, twisting and reaching for the objects I moved and scooting on his back toward them, leaving a black smeary trail.

“…no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

I wash my hands with anti-bacterial soap and scoop all movable items out of the lower half of the bath and shower area, then lift him into the bathtub.  I wash my hands again and clean the floor.

He grows more and more delighted about this unprecedented middle-of-the-night social occasion and begins to shriek happily over and over again, flapping his hands and feet, slapping them onto the front of himself.  As he flaps and slaps, little black splatters appear all around him on the tub, walls and shower curtain liner.  Black ooze spreads all the way up to his shoulder blades and down one sleeve and arm.

“Children, did you know that our sins of the tongue are more offensive to God than Tommy’s diaper fails are to us?”

Quickly gathering his clean diapers and clothing, I flip on the light to examine his bed.  By some miracle, there is not one sign of the latest explosion.  How can that possibly be?  His bed isn’t even damp; it smells just as clean and fresh as when the Amish girl changed sheets that afternoon.



12:30 am:  Explain the untimely shenanigans to a bleary-eyed Joseph.

Smile at Tommy and chat about what I’m doing as I commence to peel the repulsive garments from his body and wash him amid enthused splashings and shriekings. Help a warm, stiff and slippery little person out onto a thick towel and drop his soiled clothes into the tub.  Dry him briskly.  Fasten the inner diaper (size 6) snugly.  Fasten the outer diaper (youth size XL) snugly, holding everything in place with two tapes on each side.  Help him to a sitting position and pull the clean, long-sleeved shirt over his head.  Help him lie down again and pull the elastic waistband of his sweat pants up firmly, making sure his shirt is well tucked in.

“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!”

“There now, Tommy-boy, doesn’t that feel better?”


12:50 am:  Wrap my arms around my little boy and sing “Jesus loves Tommy,” rocking him back and forth as I perch on the edge of the bathtub.  He smiles into my eyes, giggles, and pulls the snap clip out of my hair.  Carry him back to his bed and give him extra squeezes and kisses.  He accepts his pillow and hugs it to himself gladly.

“Goodnight, sweet boy.”


1 am:  Rinse disgusting garments in cold water; wring them out well and stain treat them.  Spray anti-bacterial bathroom cleaner thoroughly over entire bathtub and shower curtain liner.  Scrub and rinse.  Scrub my arms and hands with anti-bacterial soap and put on fresh pajamas.

Ugliness spreads outward from the undisciplined mouth, defiling everyone it touches.

Wash my face and brush my teeth.


1:25 am:  As I re-enter my room, I remember–oh yes, the dreamfeed.  Ben gets a dry diaper and then instead of snuggling in bed, I grab the Boppy pillow and nurse baby boy while typing this post.


2:05 am:  Ben burps on my shoulder, then suddenly fills his diaper while gushing sour curdled liquid down the front of my pajamas.

Yes, I do need so many reminders every day…

I change his diaper, swaddle him, and place him back in his wee trundle bed with many kisses on his little soft face.

Then change to fresh pajamas once again.


2:15 am:  All is clean and peaceful once more.

[Now I’m wide awake and hungry.

Good thing, because next came Stephen, knocking at the door with a fever and a tale of a biting spider and pincer bug in his bed, “so that’s why I have to sleep in here.”

I finally fell asleep just past 4:30 am, to be wakened by Ben at 5:30.  Did you know that four can fit in a full-sized bed?

Heh heh.]


Note some of our Strategic Additional Measures under Tommy.   IMG_0968






“Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.

Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?  But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.”




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28 Responses to “No human being can tame the tongue.”

  1. Amy Lucas says:

    I am in tears this morning reading your blog. Everything you wrote… was Jesus telling me, to take it all in and learn from you. I too have an older child ( 8 1/2 with Ds, recently adopted from Russia) who is not potty trained. I too have encountered times like yours with Tommy last night. Today Jesus whispered to me the word “Grace” as I read your post. My little guy has a bm almost every night in the tub and sometimes while he’s sleeping. It’s gets tiring….as I wonder will he ever be potty trained? Literally last night, I sat in tears as I cleaned the bath tub once again and washed him all over. I was tired of this nightly task. But by reading your words this morning, written so gracefully, I am reminded how sweet and precious every moment is with our children, even the “poopy” ones. Thank you for writing this post. It really spoke to me. I hope you get a chance to rest today. God Bless you….

  2. Big hug to you Susanna.  Walking the same road beside you with a smile on my face.  Yes, those times take a lot of time.  But those are precious moments given straight to the Lord.  Just like your Tommy my Antonio always has a smile on his face and it is my pleasure to serve him.  It is not their fault.  The blessing is that our children have a mommy that can clean them up in love now.  That blesses me so much.  My son is now 18 years old and 120 pounds…. who I have to give a shower to every time he vomits when he has the flu over and over again.  Same with diaper fails…His bed, diaper, two underpads, sheets and water proof sheet needs washing almost daily from urine over load in the night.  I love seeing him all dressed, clean and dry after one of those episodes.  God is so good.  I have the best job in the world and you do too!  May God abundantly bless you for sharing with others.  Taking the blinders off so others can see real life in our families.  Showing the truth.  Pulling down walls.  And showing Gods love to all your precious blessings.  Much love from the North Georgia Mountains.

  3. Maureen says:

    Oh my!!! I am praising Jesus these children have *you* for their Momma!! And a prayer for sleep for you–hoping you catch an afternoon nap!

  4. Rebecca Ketcherside says:

    Reading your post truly opened my eyes to how selfish I have been lately. I am a new mama to an almost 2 year old daughter and sometimes I let the little things get to me. My husband is currently out of state for his grandmother’s funeral so it is just me and our daughter – our first overnight experience by ourselves. This morning my daughter woke up at 4:15 am, I brought her in bed with me and she tossed and turned until 5 when I finally resigned to the fact that she is up for the day. When you have a long, busy night like you had, how do you function the next day and still stay calm and peaceful? Reading your blog is such a refreshing thing for me. I eagerly check each day to see if you have a new post up. Please keep your wonderful posts and blessed thoughts coming – they truly are reminders and help to those of us who read them. 

  5. Blessed says:

    Lord bless you all.  I loved hearing your positive tone and choice to love. over and over and over in this story.
    May today be an easy day in all other ways!  But no matter what happens today, God is good! And He is with you!

  6. Kathy says:

    God continuously blesses me through your posts – your honesty, sincerity, and love always shine through each one.  I am so awed by how you connect Scripture to your activities, whatever they are, in such an articulate way – it paints such a picture for me.  I know it comes from continually putting Scripture in your heart.  Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.  Thank you for sharing…it truly changes the color of the lens my eyes are using.  Wishing you rest today.

  7. Debbie Marks says:

    This is one of the sweetest blog posts I ever read.     I was so very touched by this.. but then again, your blog always does that to me!

  8. StarfishMom says:

    Susanna, 2 weeks ago I received a call from our case worker. We brought home a 6 month old baby girl from the PICU.  She has DS, VSD and a feeding tube.  As I have held her and fed her and loved on her I am PRAYING for those left behind in Tommy’s and Katie’s countries.  Your blog has been such a blessing and I feel so privileged to care for this sweet baby.  Thank you for your honesty in this post.  I pray God’s richest blessings on your family!!   

  9. Julia Nalle says:

    Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart… I too just blogged about the tongue in a round about sort of way.  Praying all the time that God would give me grace to speak only that which is edifying and building up of the Body of Christ.  It is right now a daily struggle.  Thankful that you are walking this road with me.  Grace.  Grace. God’s grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.  Grace. Grace. God’s Grace.  Grace that is greater than all our sin!

  10. Deanna says:

    Just like you wrote about and we talked about on Sunday…contentment in whatever circumstances God places us in.  We all know these are not the pleasant, romantic tasks but the ones that are the nitty gritty of motherhood.
    God’s grace is a beautiful thing, and it looks beautiful on you.

  11. sabrina says:

    Tears welled up as I read this. One of those God’s perfect timing things. I had just had to confess and ask forgiveness for complaining about this very thing this week and then you write about it and display such a beautiful example of a Christ-like outpouring of love and service. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Missy says:

    Oh my oh my oh my! I hope that Tommy’s explosions are from a temporary bug and it won’t spread through all your littles. 
    Where did you find the quote at the end? I like it a lot.

  13. Jenny O (from momys) says:

    Oh Susanna…
    I have been struggling the last several days. As you know, my oldest (12 years) has a rare genetic disorder.  She requires full care.  But, her disposition over the last several days has not been good (Stomach bug.). She has been exhausted and aggressive toward me, much of the time.  I miss my loving child during these times.  I have not not even thought to relate anything scriptural to my struggles, besides looking for my own comfort, in God’s Word.  And praying for my daughter as well.  She is going thru prolonged exhaustion and increased seizure activity.  This has been going on a year and a half of this.  I am so thankful when she feels well.  She has six younger siblings under her.  They are doing well :-)    And you know we are pursuing adoption thru Hong Kong.  Just received requested information about a boy with multiple special needs.  For two days, I thought about him.  In my mind, I was trying to fit him in our family.  It was not hard for me to “see” him here!  But I do not know if he could be ours.  I feel that I need a revival in my heart lately.  Being tired and having so many little ones is wonderful, but hard.  I know these seasons don’t last forever ;-)

  14. Susanna says:

    Missy, I made the whole quote into a hyperlink, so you can click on it and it will take you to that passage on the Bible Gateway site. I guess I make the linking too subtle. Anytime the text looks pink, you can click on it for more info.

    I’m waiting for one more test result and then I hope to blog about Tommy’s current medical status. We should have more understanding of the cause of the explosions then. There’s more than one thing it could be. :) Until then, we’re learning by trial and error how to manage them as best we can.

  15. Christie M says:

    Oh such loving words….. those moments of exploding excrement are very hard….. My heart went right back to where Tommy used to be, thinking, nobody probably changed him, like that… bathed him and loved on him in the process.
    You are the hands and feet of our Lord to your children.

    And as for me, after a night like that I would have been naked. I only have 2 pairs of PJ’s. :)

  16. Danielle M. says:

    Susanna, your posts inspire and convict me at the same time.  Please know that you and your family are so often in my prayers.  I love the real glimpses into both your heart and home.  God is so evident in both. 

  17. Rebekah says:

    Thank you for being so open.  This post has blessed me once again.  God bless you for the way you love those precious little (and not-so-little) ones!

  18. Missy says:

    Thanks Susanna, I have read that book of the Bible but I don’t remember that at all. And it is just perfect for so many instances of rule vs. heart. 

  19. Cindy says:

    What openness you show by posting about the “real” moments, not just the seemingly perfect ones. Another commenter said it just right, “your posts inspire and convict me at the same time.” Thank you for your willingness to share and to make time for blogging in your busy life.

  20. Cindy says:

    I hope you got a looooong nap today :)!

  21. Lori says:

    Beautifully written, and inspiring, as always.  Thanks for sharing.

  22. Star says:

    Thank you *so* much for sharing your struggles, your heart, and your encouragement with us. There is so much discouragement in the world, especially when ones path does not follow the societal norm. I get so tired sometimes, and have not done so well at having a good attitude. Reading your blog encouraged me today. You are a blessing!

  23. Stori says:

    I want to be like you; I have hardest time being gracious about night time interruptions and also… guarding my tongue!

  24. Tami says:

    You are such an encouragement and inspiration to me; thank you for sharing words of wisdom. 
    I hope it’s okay to ask this here – but I really couldn’t help wondering if Tommy had this problem at the orphanage also, or if this is due to finally getting enough nutrition in your care.  I just can’t imagine what would happen with a problem like this at the orphanage with no one to care.  I know things have changed recently there, but before – ??? That whole issue just breaks my heart.
    Much love to you and yours!

  25. Katie says:

    Perfect, perfect, perfect.  I knew there was a reason I liked you :P

  26. Hannah S says:

    ouch… what I needed to hear tonight! This little tongue can shoot out some nasty stuff.
    Get rest, friend! He is rest for our hearts, now and forever.

  27. Melissa says:

    Susanna, you have blessed and convicted me as well. I’m getting over bronchitis and a sore throat, and I snapped at my hubs the other night for presuming to leave me alone with our two littles and go repair a friend’s computer. Despite my churlish attitude, God gave me such a wonderful gift; my normally rambunctious two-year-old was fairly well behaved and the baby went to sleep after a bottle. by the time my husband got home (having been well compensated for his time) everyone was well asleep and the awful night I’d imagined never happened. God is indeed very, very good. I will think of you and Tommy’s, um, midnight adventures the next time I’m tempted to open my mouth in complaint.

  28. NaCole says:

    I can’t even begin to tell you, just how much this post spoke to me.  God bless you.

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