Thursday, October 27, 2011

In the thick of it.

I have not been a faithful blogger lately.

I have a lot of excuses.
I am really busy. With newly homeschooling our kiddos my time is extremely limited. I have to be much more intentional about what I do with each moment. It has taken some time to find a schedule that works for us. Like for instance, at first I admit I was wondering if I was ever going to find time to clean my shower again. (Not that I value cleaning my shower more than blogging. It is by far more fun to blog but there is something very soothing to my soul about taking a shower in a freshly cleansed area.) I have finally come to some sort of routine that seems to be working for us. And I even find there are a few moments where I have nothing planned that I could sit down and blog.

But then I think about what I will say. And this is where it gets tough. Do I say we are still on the waitlist? Do I say we still have 20 months until they say we could get a referral?

Do I just skip all the emotional turmoil swirling around in my head and tell you instead what the girls are being for Halloween? Not that I think its bad to blog about what your kids are dressing up as for Halloween. I will probably end up sharing that and sharing pictures because they are seriously so stinkin cute and they designed the costumes themselves.

But the truth is I long to share more but my heart aches and I am just not sure I can.

So here it is. This is me in the thick of it.

Some days and weeks go by and I barely think about it. (Well almost barely)

But there are other days and weeks when it hurts and it sucks and I just wish I knew when we were going to get to meet our son.

And in these moments I find myself leaning and flinging myself out on my God.

I read this the other day and it filled my heart with peace.

"When looking back on the lives of men and women of God the tendency is to say – What wonderfully astute wisdom they had! How perfectly they understood all God wanted! The astute mind behind is the Mind of God, not human wisdom at all. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who were foolish enough to trust God’s wisdom and the supernatural equipment of God."- Oswald Chambers (My utmost for His Highest)

If I am a fool I hope it is in the sense that I trust my God and His timing impliciltly.

Monday, September 19, 2011

School is in session

Last week we had our first official full week of homeschool. It was fun. It was chaotic. And I have a few thoughts on the whole issue. One thing is I have felt completely like our family is right where we need to be. Homeschooling is perfect for us right now. It works great. I have said over and over this is what we will do until it doesn't work any more. And right now it feels like the exact place, time and thing for our family.

That being said it is hard. It is a lot of work to prepare lessons that are fun and actually teach. On top of that we still have other parts of life. We are a part of a co-op that meets once a week with other homeschool families. And that has been really fun but it has been a challenge to navigate new material. I was beginning to wonder this week if my house was ever going to recover. It stayed a mess most of this week. Part of it was new schedules and trying to get everyone and all their stuff where we needed to be this week. And my normal cleaning schedule was the morning which is now filled with school. So I am trying to figure out how to do all the things I need to in our new schedule. And how to get done all those things I planned to get done.

I am also learning that I am going to have to say no to some things. I like to be liked. I am a people pleaser so to say no to people or things can sometimes be hard for me.

But on another note we checked out a church gathering last week that is being lead by some old friends of ours. During the gathering the speaker was talking about how all throughout the old testament God would say to Israel "I will be your God and you be my people." Israel would complain and demand their own way and God would say no. "I will be your God and you be my people."

I am learning that I cannot control things. I cannot do everything. And honestly I am a little scared to death of the thought of homeschooling my kids all this year, let alone throughout the rest of their lives. But I sat this afternoon with my Bible open and thought about those words the teacher said. And I prayed that God would be my God and I would be His people.

In the end I will probably disappoint someone. I will probably not teach my kids everything they should have learned. I will probably forget something really important. I will probably forget to do something I told someone I would do. My house will not be spotless. My kids will watch tv and eat junk food. But this one thing I want to get right. I want God to be our God and I want our family to be His people. And if my kids learn that I will count it a success.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Waiting Game

August 31st, 2011. This is our official wait date. This means on that date we were added to the waiting list for our agency. We are being told that our soonest time we should expect a referral is June of 2013. Ugghhh. It seems so far away. But I know that our God has a perfect timing.
Here are some random thoughts of mine.

* God is faithful and could provide a referral sooner than that if he so chooses.

* God is faithful and if we wait two years or even more he will sustain and provide for us during our wait time.

* God has lead us every step of the way up to this point and I am not certain where this road leads but this is the path He has lead our family on. And He is faithful.

* I cannot wait to see my little guys face for the first time.

* I have plenty to do in the waiting time. Homeschooling, mothering, working, being a wife. I will be keeping busy. But my heart still has a little piece that is missing our baby boy.

*This week I have felt incredibly grateful that God has chosen our family to be entrusted with this task of adopting. This has been an incredibly hard journey and we have only just begun. But I have known God's provision, presence, and peace more throughout these past months than at any point in my life. And I can tell you with certainty that my God is faithful.

I am so filled with joy and gratitude to be able to say we are now officially paper pregnant!

Friday, July 22, 2011

First World Problems

Yesterday I caught myself in a bit of a tantrum. Most of it was internal. But it was a tantrum anyway. I was irritated to start with because Claire lost one of her sandals. We were at my parents house for the day and Claire and Elizabeth went with my mom and dad across the street to swim at a neighbors. They came back and the kids laid down for some quiet time. Later, when it was time to leave, I started packing up our things and then I went to get the kids shoes. I found 3 shoes. Both of Elizabeth's were there but only one of Claire's. So then I began to search for the missing shoe. We were pretty sure that my parents new puppy had carried it off. I looked all over the house and after about 20 minutes of looking inside my mom went to look at the neighbors house. The shoe was nowhere to be found.

I left the house without the shoe. I was pretty irritated. Not with anyone but just aggravated. And to make matters worse it was 100 degrees outside. We were supposed to stop at the mall on the way home because I needed to return something. We went into the shopping center and I was carrying Claire because she was shoeless. Of course the moment we get into the store the kids need to use the bathroom. And it is pretty difficult to help a two year old use the potty while not being able to let her touch the ground. Needless to say poor Claire's little tush went into the toilet. I was feeling quite irritated and generally crabby. We finished our business and made our first stop at the discount shoe store to get sandals for miss Claire. We bought our sandals and made our return and left the mall.

Somewhere within this time frame God spoke truth into my heart. It was not audible. But it was clear. I need to be thankful for these problems. The reality is many people in the world live their whole lives without shoes. They cannot afford them. So they do without. My kid loses one and I can go right to the store and buy a new pair. Many people have no running water or toilets. Let me remember that the next time I complain about having to take my kids to the potty. How would I feel to have to take them to a hole in the ground? And then have to get water from the lake less than 20 feet away?

So as my crabby butt was driving my air-conditioned van on my way to my air-conditioned house I remembered that the majority of the world lives without these luxuries. My first world problems would be a blessing to many. Did that automatically make me less crabby? Not really. Did my mood get dramatically better? No. And I had to stop on the way home because Claire threw up in the car. Added joy, right?

But it does add perspective. And I am still chewing on that one.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Emotionally I am in a rough place right now. My head is screaming this cannot be the right way, but then God speaks and says, "This is my way." We are still not "officially" wait listed yet. And everything within me is screaming and ranting about it. On the outside I still have to function normally. I have to do laundry and make meals and clean the house.

And I have the privilege of being entrusted two little precious girls that lean on me for their every need. And while I treasure them and am so thankful for every moment with them, I know someone is missing. I am longing to hold my precious son. I am longing for that moment when I see his face for the first time. And today is one of those days when I am just not ok with waiting. And my heart is broken by it.

But today is a day that I have to wait never the less. And even in the midst of this I am thankful that I can abide in my God. I am encouraged as I remember that my thoughts are not His thoughts (Isaiah 55). And that although this road is not leading where I planned or where I wanted, it was His plan all along.

And whether it will lead me where I want or not I am walking in obedience.

2nd Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)
"For we live by faith, not by sight."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Adoption update

I have been asked several times this week by random people if we were "done" having kids. People at the bank, people at work. Just random people. No, I reply. To some I share the story that we are adopting. But I admit my heart has a twinge of sadness when people ask. Not because I don't want to have more. Not because I don't want to share that we are adopting. But because my heart gets a little sad when I think that we are indeed missing a member of our family and I am not sure when he will be home with us.

Last Friday we were blessed to watch my dear friend's two week old baby for a few hours. Elizabeth and Claire were in love. And when the baby left Claire asked when we were getting her baby brother back. With all the adoption talk she thought that little guy was ours to keep. It was super sweet and she totally understood when I explained who he belonged to. But still my heart was sad. When our we getting our baby brother home? I can't help but wonder.

Our dossier is almost complete. We are waiting on approval from immigration and I have a few more items to gather. And then we send this set of paperwork out along with the agency fee of $1,700.00. And then we will be officially on the wait list. But that to me is bittersweet. Ethiopia is uncertain right now. Things are shaky and wait times are being lengthened. I am so ready to get our official wait time started. But we are still not clear how long it will be. We are uncertain of many things. But what I cling to is that God is not uncertain. He has us in this place at this time for a reason.

When I pray sometimes I just beg God to allow our baby to be home soon. Sometimes I get weepy thinking we may have to wait years to hold him in our arms. But yesterday after reading an email from our agency with more confirmation of longer wait times Todd reminded me that it does not matter what it looks like to our eye. We are walking by faith. We serve the God who created the world by his word in 6 days. The God who parted the red sea. The God who made barren old men fertile. The God who kept Jonah in the belly of a fish. The God who raised Lazarus from the dead. The God who healed the blind, sick and leper. The God who became a man and died on the cross and on the third day defeated death. We serve a God who calls things into existence simply by his word and calls dead things alive again. He takes men who are murderers and makes them saints. He makes things that are not into things that are. He is the God who lead us here. He is the God who is still leading. And we are following Him by faith that He is leading us.

When the Ethiopian government first announced that they were slowing down adoption approvals I was reading a book. In many ways that book was what kept me sane during that awful moment. The book is called "Hinds Feet on High Places". It is an allegory about a woman's (Much- Afraid) journey through life with God. During one part of the story the Shepard asks the young woman if she would follow Him even if it looked like he was deceiving her. She said she would. He then asked would she follow Him if He did deceive her. Much-Afraid looked at her Shepard and replied out of an honest but broken and confused heart that she believed He was incapable of deceiving her but that she would follow Him if He did. The book follows her journey and in many moments the way that the Shepard leads little Much-Afraid appeared to be wrong. At times it even appeared to go in the opposite direction of their ultimate journey. You have to read for yourself to see where they end up. But I choose to believe that God's purposes will prevail even if it looks like we are being lead away from the very thing we seek. Our God sees the bigger picture.

Psalm 48:14 "For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end." (NIV)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Days of Grace

The other morning the kids and I were having a discussion about grace while eating breakfast. It was clear to me that grace was not exactly something they understood. I tried to explain that grace was getting something that you do not deserve or getting something better than what you deserve. I am sure technically and biblically it has a more full meaning but I was trying to lay it out to them in the simplest terms. So I sat there trying to explain but sure that they were still not getting it and after a while I just prayed silently that God would give me opportunities to display grace to them tangibly that day.

Fast forward a few hours. I had all but forgotten my little prayer. We were frantically trying to get out the door to take dinner to a precious friend who had just had a baby. The girls were doing their very best to delay us and I was trying to do my best to not lose my patience. After a frantic scramble to get in the car we finally made it. While in the car Elizabeth asked if we could go in the house for just a minute so they could see the baby. In my mind we were already late for where we needed to be after we drop off dinner and these kids certainly did not deserve to get out of this car. It took me forever to get them in the car to begin with. It was then I heard, "Give them grace." Honestly I did not want to give them grace right now. I wanted to run in and quickly drop off the food so I could get to work quicker. But then I remembered my prayer and decided to tell them that they did not deserve to go in but I would let them go in and give them grace.

I am not sure that it clicked or them or that they understand grace really well.

But that picture clicked in my heart how often I get grace my my Lord. How often do I deserve the things he gives? I know my heavenly father constantly showers me with grace. He constantly gives me more than I deserve and forgives my faults. After getting the kids down for nap today I sat to read my Bible and do my daily devotional. The devotional was talking all about how we are to love others with the same love God has shown us. His love for us is inexhaustible. And it clicked for me. I do not love my children like that. I do not shower them in grace. I want to. I want to love them the way my heavenly father loves me. But so often I am impatient and get "huffed" with their failures. My heavenly father thankfully does not parent me the same way I parent my children. He is slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8) May I learn to love them with the love of God. And make each day a day filled with grace.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A prayer a day

A couple of years ago I sat down for my devotional time and was heaped with a load of guilt. My heart felt really heavy. I was feeling super guilty because of the lack of prayer for my husband and children. So I sat down and I talked to God about my feelings. What came from that moment was an idea straight from the Lord. Every day of the week I pray one thing for them. Every week it is the same 7 things and every day it is something new. I sat down with my Bible and tried to find out what seven things I thought were on God's heart for my family. I will share today what I pray for Todd.

Monday- I pray for our marriage.
Ephesians 4:21-33 is the basis for this prayer. I pray for us that we could learn to submit to each other. I pray that I will learn to respect him the way I should and that he could learn to love me the way I need. I pray that we will become more unified and that God would help us to grow more in oneness.

Tuesday- I pray for Todd as a father.
Ephesians 6:4 is the basis for this along with Proverbs 22:6. I pray that Todd will have wisdom to raise our children well and to teach them to follow the Lord. I pray that he will have patience with them and that they will always have a close bond with their daddy.

Wednesday- I pray for Todd as the leader of our home.
Again I look at Ephesians 4:21-33 and see that Todd is the head of our home and I pray for him that he will lead us more to the Lord and that God would give him wisdom in regards to all decisions. Along with this I pray for work and that he would have wisdom to lead our family well financially. I pray that he would give generously to others and to the work of the Lord.

Thursday- I pray for Todd's friendships.
If we look at Psalm 1 we see how valuable having the right people around us is. I pray for Todd that he would have men in his life who love the Lord and will hold him accountable and encourage him.

Friday- I pray for Todd's thoughts.
2nd Corinthians 10:5 is the basis for this prayer. I pray that Todd would daily soak himself in God's word and that God would convict him and help him take captive any idea that is against what God wants. I pray for the holy spirit to bring scripture to Todd's mind that will lead him in making Godly decisions.

Saturday- I pray for Todd in regards to his sexuality.
The basis for this prayer is Proverbs 6:20-29 and Proverbs 5:15-19. I know that for a man sex is a need and lust is one area that Satan has taken control of so many men's lives. So I pray for Todd that he would have victory over lust in his life. I pray that God would help him divert his eyes when he sees images that will harm him. And honestly it is not his fault that he sees many of the images. Most of them are thrown at him everywhere from billboards to the woman walking down the street. But I pray that God would shield him from temptations and when he is tempted will show him the way out. Along with this I pray that I would be quick to satisfy his needs and not withhold affection and the love he craves. I pray God would bless our marriage bed and make it something holy and pleasing to Him.

Sunday- I pray for Todd that he would be a man after God's own heart.
I suppose I could use the whole Bible to point to the fact that God longs for communion with my husband. And so I pray that Todd would not be content with normal or average but that he would thirst and hunger for God.

These prayers have really given me a whole new love for Todd. Daily I pray and beg for God to impart more of himself to my husband and daily I find my love for my husband growing. I think when we pray for someone we really begin to have God's heart for that person.

I have shared them with the hopes that these prayers could bring freedom to someone. Maybe you are like me and you are so hit and miss with praying for your spouse. Maybe you need something tangible and easy to remember so when you think to pray for them you aren't just praying "God please bless them." Not that it is wrong to pray that, but I think God longs for so much more for our husbands than just his blessings. He longs to give them more of himself.

I purposely gave only scripture references and not the actual verses. I hope you will search God's word for yourself and see what He longs for your spouse. And I challenge you to either use these or find your own things but pray for your husband each day. You will be so glad you did.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Big Girl Bed

A couple of months ago we made the leap and moved Claire into a big girl bed. I was apprehensive. She is our limit tester so I believed we might have some issues on our hands with staying put in her bed.

And although she has pushed the boundaries a little more than Elizabeth did with her bed she overall has done well. One thing we have going for us is this girl loves to sleep. She enjoys her sleep and will certainly let us know when she needs to be in bed.

At first she started getting up super early only because she could. But I quickly took her back to her room and let her know that we don't get up until a decent hour. At first it was a bit of struggle but now she stays put if she wakes up and it is still dark outside.

We have found her with some pretty interesting things in her bed.

I cannot believe that we do not have a crib in our home right now. I cannot believe my baby is going to be three soon. It makes me sad to see her grow up. I keep warning the kids I am going to stop feeding them so they stop growing. But they continue to talk me into giving them nourishment. Sadly they are going to grow up. It makes me want our baby boy home even more. Will that ever go away? Wanting to have a baby in the house. Maybe but right now I we are planning for a bigger house so we can fill it with babies. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Wedding Verse

1st Corinthians 13 has become known as the wedding verse. It has been read at countless weddings. And I think it is with good intentions. After all God is the creator of love. He, of all people, would know how to do it well. And although that verse is read at a lot of weddings, I do not see it being lived out in many marriages.

I was challenged yesterday as I listened to a radio broadcast to think of what I would want my husband to say, many years in the future, if he were to give the Eulogy at my funeral.

My mind went to 1st Corinthians 13. As I read these verses though I was more struck at how much I am not like this at all when it comes to my marriage.

1st Corinthians 13: 4-7
" Love is Patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

The very beginning strikes a cord in me. Am I patient? Sure I would say. But am I patient even when I feel like Todd is not listening to me? Am I patient when I feel like he has forgotten to do what I asked him to? Am I patient when I ask him to take out the trash and he does not do it the moment I want it done? I am not. I am patient as long as he does things in my timetable. I am patient as long as he is patient with me. But love it says is patient. No patient if. No patient if they deserve it, patient if they earn it, patient if you feel like it. Love is patient.

Am I kind? Sure. Most of the time. But do I speak with kindness and love if I feel hurt? Do I speak to him with tones that are kind when he is not acting how I want him to? Do I treat him with the kindness I do to total strangers. Sadly many times I am more kind to the grocery store clerk than my own husband. Love is kind. Love is kind. I want to love.

Love does not envy. How many days do I think about how good someone else has it? Or wish that Todd did this or that. (Insert wishful thinking for whatever here) Love does not envy.

Love does not boast. How many times have I told him that he should do something this way or that. I know the best way to bathe the kids or feed them. My way is better than his, right? Love does not boast.

Love is not proud. Love does not think it has the best way. My way is not the best way. My way is simply different and love would not act like it has everything figured out.

Love is not rude. Have I ever been rude to Todd? Sadly more times than I want to admit. I find myself being more rude to him than anyone else in the whole world many days. But I justify it as just being real with him. I am just being honest about how I feel, right? Love is not rude.

Love is not self-seeking. Do I seek his best interest in everything? Do I even seek his best interest in most things? I am not sure I do. I am, in fact, sure I do not.

Love is not easily angered. How many days is my fuse very short with him? I blame him most of the time. Doesn't he get what I am feeling. Doesn't he understand me at all? Does it matter? Love is not easily angered.

Love keeps no record of wrongs. Ouch. This one stings. How many times have I replayed something he has done that hurt me? How many times do I remember his faults and quickly point out how often he does a particular thing? Love keeps no record.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love cares about truth. Truth is Jesus Christ. Truth is the word of God. Do I side with God's word? Do I rejoice when God is given glory? Do I rejoice when Todd obeys the Lord even when it costs me something? Ouch. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Love always protects. Do I protect my husband? Do I protect his reputation by the way I speak about him? Or do I let it slip to my girl-friend how wounded I am over what he did last night? After all I need to vent, right? Love always protects. Always.

Love always trusts. Do I trust Todd? Yes. Do I always trust his judgement? Do I always side with him when battling over something with the kids? Do I trust that he is wise and has our families best interest at heart? I want to. But so many times I find myself thinking I have a better way and if he would just listen to me. But love always trusts.

Love always hopes. Do I hope that things will get better when things are dark? Do I hope that he will make wise choices? Do I hope our marriage will be thriving and wonderful? I do but many times I find my hope wavering. Love always hopes.

Love always perseveres. The reality is marriage is not always easy. Our relationship is not always fun and filled with life. But love perseveres. Love perseveres when things are rough. Love perseveres when my spouse makes a bad decision. Love always perseveres. Sadly, I do not.

I am sorry Todd. I know we have had a very good marriage. But I look at this verse and it does not describe me. I am sorry for that. I am sorry that I do not always love you. You are good man. You are deserving of my trust in your judgement. You are deserving of my protection of your character. You love me so well. And many times you love me much more than I deserve and much more than I love you in return. You do not deserve the brunt of my bad days or crazy hormones. Forgive me for not loving you wholly and completely. And thank you because I already know that you are far more willing to forgive me than I am willing to forgive you. Thank you for being a man of integrity and honor and for seeking after the truth of Jesus Christ.

Many people might look at this verse and say it is impossible to always do all these things. You may be right. In our state of brokenness and in our fallen world we will never love perfectly as our heavenly father has loved us.

But at the end of my days I want for my husband to be able to say that I tried. And so I want to give God my brokenness and ask Him to redeem. I want to give Him my strength and willingness to love Todd and ask Him for His strength and willingness to love Todd.

2nd Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


It was the end of the week. My kids had just eaten home made (as in store bought from the freezer section) chicken nuggets for dinner. I had to run out to the grocery store and Todd was staying home with the girls. I left the house and sat in my car with tears in my eyes. The source of my emotional up-heavel was simply this: I felt like an awful momma because my kids are not eating the most healthy of meals at every moment. I admit it. I am not an organic, gourmet, vegetable puree hiding mom. I am a mom who feeds her kids chicken nuggets and hot dogs and potato chips. I try to make sure they eat lots of fruits and veggies. I try to make sure they eat yogurt and drink milk. But some days I just do not measure up to the standard I have set in my head.

I think part of the problem is I know many women who are very gifted in this area. They know nutrition like the back of their hand. And they feed their kids organic, healthy food 98% of the time. I love these women and I aspire to be more like them. But I am not them. And most of them honestly do not judge me for it. But I judge me. And when I do I fail by comparison. So here I was in the parking lot crying because my kids had chicken nuggets for dinner yet again. And I found myself crying out to the Lord. I poured out my heart and told him how awful and guilt ridden I felt. And then I wiped my eyes and went in the store.

Fast forward to the next morning. I got up before everyone else and opened my Bible for a devotional time. The very first verse I read was this:

Proverbs 17:1 (NIV)
" Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife."

What struck me in that moment was that instead of condemnation God was offering me freedom. Instead of hammering me with "You are right, you are an awful mother" He spoke words of encouragement. You see what matters more to the Lord is not what I put in my children's belly but what we put in their soul. If I make a home where there is love and God is worshipped it is far more worthy to Him than a home filled with the most organic and healthy food where strife and selfishness abide. I believe we can do both. I believe many women are currently doing both. I know many women who love God with all their hearts and feed their kids great food all the time. But in some moments I can only do one or the other. And if it takes macaroni and cheese to help me make a more peaceful home that day I will choose the dry crust with peace over the feast with strife.

And this lead me to think of how many other areas in my life I am holding myself to the standard of the world instead of the standards of the Lord. And in so many areas I am. I would love to be 20lbs thinner but in this moment I am not. I am striving to eat more healthy and working out. But in this moment I do not have the body I think the world thinks I should have. And to be honest if I lost the 20lbs I would probably still compare myself to someone and fall short.

Or my home. I see magazines and pictures of these perfectly tended homes and feel this twinge of guilt when I look at the piles of laundry and mess of dishes. I feel like I am failing to measure up to some standard I have for myself. But then I have to ask, who set up this standard anyway? I have never felt a genuine conviction from God for not having done my dishes. I have felt lots of condemnation from myself. But God has never spoken to me about the cleanliness of my floors. He always speaks to me more about the matters of my heart. He cares if I am loving my neighbor and speaking words of encouragement to others. He cares about the unforgiveness I hold onto far more than how long it has been since I cleaned my toilet.

I am not saying it is not good to eat healthy or to have a clean house. Certainly I do try to keep my house organized and clean. I try to make healthy food choices for my family. I spend hours each day cleaning and cooking and organizing something. But the point I am trying to make is I have this standard that I set in my head and if I fail to measure up to it I feel the weight of condemnation. I am sure I am not the only mother who has felt this. But I want to start living in the freedom of the Lord. The freedom to have people in our home even if there is oatmeal on the kitchen table still from breakfast (And it is 3:41 and there really is oatmeal stuck on the table still). The freedom to have an ice cream cone with our kids and enjoy it simply for the sake of having a treat. The freedom to care more about my heart than what size jeans I am wearing. I want to live in that freedom. And I think when I start walking more in that freedom I will find it easier to make the good choices I want to make anyway.

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Anywhere else?

It was one of those days. The kids and I were in the car. I would have loved to have headphones or a tranquilizer gun. (Just kidding I would never wear headphones while driving.) But the kids were doing their normal "she is touching me, she is pulling me, she bit me" and I was at the edge of my patience. It had been a very long day and this 30 minute drive home was going to do me in. And then it hit me. Even though these kids were driving me mad. Even though I was so tired. There is no where else I would want to be right now. Being married to the man I love and being momma to my two precious girls. So I stopped and thanked God for my little ones and the life He has called me to and then I pulled out my favorite "quit bugging each other in the car" trick. And it made me laugh and made them laugh to.

Want to know my trick?

If the kids are fighting and won't stop their craziness I make them look at each other and say loudly, "I love you." They have to say this over and over and over and over and over and over. (Get the idea?) By the end they are usually both giggling like crazy and I get a few minutes peace.

So where would you rather be?

Monday, March 14, 2011

A new sense of direction

I shared last week that Ethiopia's Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) announced last week that they would be cutting adoption approvals by 90%. This news shocked us and left me very disheartened. I immediately found myself heartbroken. After spending sometime in prayer on the day of finding out I felt like the Lord was speaking to my heart that this would be used for good. The voice was not audible and honestly I felt no sense of what we were supposed to do.

So I searched and prayed and emailed and asked a gazillion questions. I literally emailed our agency like 3 times a day sometimes with new questions. I am sure that they probably are sick of me by now. Right away both Todd I and I thought of possibly changing countries. We did a ton of reading and asked our agency which countries would be possible. There were only two choices for us with our agency because I am not over 30. Ethiopia and another country which is not African. We both prayed about the other country and felt like that was not where God was leading. We then thought about leaving our agency and adopting independently. We would lose some money but if this was where God was leading we wanted to obey. Again, we emailed, researched and asked a gazillion questions. Nothing seemed to be working. There were dead ends everywhere.

I felt utterly dis-heartened. We knew very clearly God was calling us to adopt now. He wanted us to begin this process now not in 2 1/2 years when I am 30. So if he wanted us to do this now why was He not leading? I honestly felt like that. I spent one night last week sobbing and crying and praying asking God why He was not leading us. I felt like we were willing to do whatever He called. I felt like we had been obedient up to this point. But I also felt so uncertain about what He wanted. I shared this with Todd and my very wise husband told me maybe God was leading. Maybe all along He had been speaking and asking us to still choose Ethiopia. Even though it looks dead and even though it looks like there is no way. Maybe just maybe that was what He wanted us to do after all.

I went to bed and gave my heart to the Lord. I asked Him to show me if that was what He was asking. Did He want us to walk through this storm? I told Him I would if I knew He was in it. That was Wednesday evening. Thursday came and sometime throughout the day I logged on to read a blog by an adoptive momma from Ethiopia. She said she had been praying for the families who were adopting from Ethiopia and the Lord gave her the story of Lazarus. It is in the Bible in the book of John 11: 1-45. One verse stuck out to me while reading it. It was verse 4 "When he heard this, Jesus said, 'This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.'" It stuck out because the very first thing I heard from God before anything else was that this would result in good. In the story a man named Lazarus was sick. Lazarus and his two sisters had been very close with Jesus. So naturally when Lazarus was sick his sisters sent for him. And said to Him, "Lord the one you love is sick." Jesus heard that and responded with verse 4. This will end in good. But what happened after that was hard. Jesus did not come to Lazarus right away. In fact Lazarus died and was dead four days before Jesus showed up. And when He did come Mary and Martha had already given up hope that their brother could be given life. But Jesus did give Him life. He called Lazarus out of his tomb and gave Him real actual life. He was living and breathing and walking around again. And many people followed Jesus as a result.

So fast forward to Friday morning. I woke up very early and sat with my Bible reading this passage. I read and prayed for God to speak to me. Again I did not hear an audible voice but I knew never-the-less that God was calling us to Ethiopia. To continue on the path we had been on. I cannot say what will happen tomorrow. I only know what we have been called to today. And today I am walking in obedience.

After I finished my devotional time on Friday morning I went to the computer and checked my email. I recieved an email from a friend that she had gotten from an agency. Here is a little snippet of that email.

"From the sources above and others, we are feeling confident that this MoWA limit most likely will not stand. The Adoption Network in Ethiopia (composed of agency representatives) is meeting this coming week and we hope to have more information after that."

It was a sweet encouragement to my soul. But it was sweeter because it was only confirmation of what God was already speaking to me. This will end in good! Our God is a God who calls dead things to life!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

He Has Overcome

I cannot fully explain with words the depth of hurt that has occurred in my heart this week. Almost at once all my best laid plans were stopped and we were forced to reconsider everything.

In the light of all that has happened God has really been so faithful to walk beside me. He has sent encouragements in the forms of notes and phone calls from friends and family saying, "I love you and we are praying."

He has given me scripture to specifically answer every fear and longing of my heart. I won't share it all but here is what I read today as I did my devotional time.

Psalm 52: 8-9
"But I am like and olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name, I will hope, FOR YOUR NAME IS GOOD. I will praise you in the presence of your saints."

On more than one occasion God has brought to my mind the number of people who are praying for us and for our little boy. This has held me up. If you are praying, Thank-you, from the bottom of our soul.

And I have been reminded that every tear I cry is precious to my God. He holds every single one.

We have no plans yet for what the future holds and no new direction to share. But I wanted to share that we know that our God is good!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

She Speaks

I just found out about this conference called "She Speaks". It is a conference put on by Proverbs 31 ministry. I just recently found this ministry and daily follow the blog. It has been inspiring and thought provoking. The conference is for Christian women who are interested in speaking and or writing. At this point I know very little about it except that when it asked if you have thought of doing any of these things (writing a book, speaking in public) my heart skipped a beat because I thought that it described me perfectly. It described someone who had a desire to share God's word and truth with other women but lacked the proper skills and information to make it happen. I have long felt a desire to share the truth from God's word with other women. I have even started writing a book. But I must admit that I lack the confidence and real knowledge of how to get it done. And I am not sure if I even did finish and found someone to publish it would I have the guts to do so. My mind has long said, "who would care that much about what I have to say?" But still within my soul is a longing to encourage my sisters in Christ and to call them to a deeper more intimate relationship with our savior. Not because I am better than them. But because I am struggling right along side of them and want to share the truths God has imbedded in my soul.

The reason I am blogging about it is because I am entering to win a scholarship to the conference. The sholarship would pay for my entrance to the conference and my hotel stay while I am there. So here goes nothing.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sweetly Broken Wholly Surrendered

Yesterday we received news that the government of Ethiopia has planned to cut the inter-country adoptions by 90%. They currently have been processing 50 adoptions per day. With the new plan in place they will now only process 5. 5 families per day. 5 children. And if our wait would have been 1 year we can now give a good estimate that it will be 3-4 years. I am not going to explain the ins and outs. I think the government has good reasons to reconsider their adoption process. Although I do not necessarily think this is the best solution. But being someone who is immediately affected by it makes it just seem crushing.

So what does this mean for us? We are not sure at this point. We have not heard directly from our agency and have no idea if they are even accepting applications for Ethiopia still. I emailed our agency the moment we heard the news. That was Saturday morning. We will most likely not hear anything until Monday or Tuesday.

In the moment I have gone through a variety of emotions. Sadness, fear, anxiety. Those are just a few. When I heard the news Todd was working and I called him to share. Honestly he could not even understand what I was saying because I was sobbing. When he finally understood what I was trying to convey he immediately said, "Let's pray." He prayed and then told me that God had this under control. He is right. And Todd has had an amazing faith that has helped to hold me up.

Here is what I am resting in this moment.

When we began this journey it was never about Ethiopia. We felt called to adopt. We felt called to a child, specifically a boy. We had a heart and a love for Africa. We researched and prayed and researched and talked to people. And after much deliberation we decided to go with Ethiopia. All along we were wholly surrendered to God and asking for His input. With that being said, we never heard an audible or even a direct "Go to Ethiopia." We simply prayed for wisdom and made a decision. Not saying it was made lightly. It most certainly was not. It was an agonizing and big decision. And after sometime and even some trying to go in other directions Ethiopia was the only avenue that was working. And we made the decision to pursue it. I do not think we "misheard" God or that we even took control of the reigns. We made the best decision we knew and followed God the best we knew how in the moment.

Now here we are. Through no control of our own our home study paperwork took much longer than anticipated and we just received it a couple of weeks ago. And then we had a huge bout of flu and now here we are. So we have not done any real work on the adoption in a couple weeks. The next step is to file paperwork with immigration. This is the first official moment when you need to know the country for sure. We have not filed that paperwork yet. If that paperwork was filed it would be much harder to switch countries. We could still do it. But it would cost more money.

All of this being said we are not certain what will happen. Ultimately we are surrendered to God. We want His leading. And in this moment we are praying about the decisions we are facing. We may be called to stay with Ethiopia and wait the 4 years but there are children who need homes now. And maybe we are being called to another country.

I have learned that when you cling tightly to something it turns to ash in your fist. So our hands are open. Our hearts are broken. And we are wholly surrendered. My broken heart is in the palms of my loving God and our life is in His hands.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The worship of everyday

Sunday afternoon it started. Any mother knows that dreaded sound. I had just curled up in bed to take a nap. The kids were in their rooms and Todd was downstairs. And I had just asked him to listen so I could shut our door and shut out the world for a little while.

But I heard it still. I heard Todd taking Claire into the bathroom and telling Elizabeth "Your sister threw up stay in your room." I was kind of hoping it was a bad dream and it was not real. But as I got out of bed I realized it was true. My wonderful husband had already cleaned up the mess and given Claire a bath. And as we sat on the couch wondering if it was the flu or maybe just something she ate that disagreed with her we got our answer. Claire puked again and continued to throw up every hour for many hours. She threw up into the night and as the morning rolled around I hoped it would be over soon. As afternoon came she continued to puke and I called the pediatrician to ask what could be done. After realizing she had not had any wet diapers that day, (Why did I not think of that until they asked?) the nurse recommended we take her to the ER immediately. We spent several hours at the hospital and they gave her IV fluids. We took her home and she continued to throw up a few more times.

Now it is day 5 of our mess. Claire woke up this morning feeling much better. She wanted to eat and play and do all of her normal things. But just as she was getting better Elizabeth began to puke. And she is now in the thick of vomiting.

I am certainly going crazy at times. But God has spoken some great truths to my heart during all of this. Cleaning up puke can be worship. I can worship God by gently taking care of my sick baby. I can worship God by responding for the 1,000th time to a cry for help. It is not easy. And my heart is not always worshipful. But it can be. And I can be serving God by doing just that. Sometimes I think of serving God as the missionary in Africa or the pastor of our church. But the reality you and I can serve Him right where we are. We can serve Him by simply responding in everyday life the way He wants us. And today I am trying. And when I am tempted to throw in the towel I am trying to instead be thankful.

So today I am thankful that I have a working washer and dryer to wash another load of vomitty clothes and blankets. I am thankful for daddy who just came home with dinner in hand and "took" over so I could have a half hour of rest. I am thankful for Jeff and Heather who came to play with Elizabeth while sissy was sick. I am thankful for my parents who watched Elizabeth while we took Claire to the ER. And who brought us dinner last night! I am thankful that we live in a place where I have clean drinking water so I can give my kids healthy drinks to get them better.

I am learning more and more that so often God does not want me to do more but simply to do the things that are before with His power and grace.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Plans of the heart

We received word on Friday, of last week, from our agency. It turns out that when I read the original email I misunderstood it just a bit. The agency was not really saying they may not work with us. More or less they were afraid the Ethiopian government may turn us down. (That does not really sound much better, does it?) Well, either way. We received word that with a few changes in our home study wording we have a better chance of being approved. So our wonderful social worker is again changing our home study. For like the 20th time. She is a trooper though!

But I am reminded of how faithful God is to orchestrate every detail. We had reason to believe we would probably hear from our agency on Friday. And since the moment I woke up on Friday morning I was checking my email about every five minutes. And at 8:00 am ish my sister in law called and asked if I could watch my one year old nephew for the day. I agreed and shortly after my best friend called and said she had to go the the ER and asked if I could watch her four year old daughter. So on Friday I had four kids under the age of four and no time to check my email. But I really do believe it was God's sovereignty. I needed busy hands and a busy heart so I could not stress and worry about the outcome. And we did receive the email on Friday and it was good news. We now have no reason to believe that the Ethiopian government would turn us down.

So through all of this God is constantly reminding me that this is in His hands. And as crazy as it seems I still doubt that on some moments. I caught myself the other day in a furry of thoughts that lead to me thinking that we were gonna end up with some kid that God never intended us to have. I quickly took that thought captive and gave my fears to the Lord. And today the Lord so faithfully spoke to me in His word and reminded me that He does indeed have this all under control.

Proverbs 16:1
" To man belongs the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue."

Proverbs 16:33
" The lot is cast into the lap but its every decision is from the Lord."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Created for Care Retreat and adoption update

Friday through Sunday I spent time at the Created for Care Retreat. It was the most amazing weekend. The Lord spoke to me so clearly and met every need that my heart had been longing for. I heard from Him, I spent time worshiping and sharing my heart with other women, I was prayed for and prophesied over. My heart was so filled. I saw the Lord.

I would love to share with you some of the things God spoke to me about this weekend. The first night, my new hero, Susan Hillis, spoke. She talked about Hagar and how we have the choice to be known as women who wail or a woman of the well. Women who wail see their problems as huge and they see God's provision as very tiny. Women of the well know God is their provision and they choose to see Him even when their problems would love to be bigger. Another way the Lord clearly spoke to me was on the last day, Susan Hillis spoke again about the miracle Jesus did when he fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves and two fish. God spoke so clearly that I need to offer Him my little. The little time I spend praying for my kids, the little patience I have with them, the little resources we have for our adoption. I need to offer my 20% to Him and obey and allow Him to multiply it. I walked away with such confidence that despite what little it seemed I had God will provide.

And as satan would love to directly contradict everything the Lord spoke to me this weekend, I came home and Monday received an email that basically said our agency may not approve us any further for the adoption because of our finances. Even though we successfully raised the $5,000.00 needed for the beginning of the adoption process and even though we assured them that we were applying for grants and doing fundraisers they may choose to not approve us because of our monthly income and our lack of savings. This has nothing to do with whether or not they think we can adequately support another child. It seemed from the phrasing that it was all about whether or not they thought we could pay for the adoption. I am so thankful that I had just so fully heard from the Lord.

I immediately took that email and turned around and emailed a few people to tell them what is going on and to ask for prayer. I immediately knew this was not from the Lord. It is by His hand and His hand alone that this adoption will happen. I trust His hand. My life is not in the hands of an agency or a government.

At this point we have emailed the agency and asked, "What amount of money do we need in the bank to be approved?" Here is why I am telling you now. We still have not heard back from the agency. But my confidence is in the Lord. If the agency says "$15,000.00" I am confident that God will bring us that, if it is His will. If the agency says "no amount find another agency" I am confident that God will lead us to where He wants.

He is our hope. I am reminded of the verse God gave me to be encouraged while Todd and I were waiting to be together.

Psalm 33:20-22

"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

He Giveth More Grace

I found this today on another blog and it so perfectly encouraged my heart. I had to share.

He Giveth More Grace
By: Annie J. Flint
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Created for Care

So Friday morning my dear friend Katie and I will be winging our way to Atlanta, Georgia for the Created for Care conference. It is a three day conference specifically for adoptive mommas! I am just bursting at the seams with excitement! Three days to worship, rest, and spend time with other women who are on this adoptive journey! God orchestrated this conference for us so specifically!

Of course I will miss my family! And the thought of being away from them for so long is hard. But I am leaving little gifts, treats and notes so they can think about me lots! How many more exclamation points can I fit in?

Praise God for this moment of rest in this very busy and wearing season!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jars of Clay

So I know that everyone will be so excited to hear about the week we have had in this house. Lets start at the beginning.

Saturday: The morning began with a shopping trip ALONE to the grocery store. It was a much needed break and I enjoyed every second. Little did I know it was the calm before the storm.

In the afternoon, Elizabeth and I baked cookies and we had a relaxing family evening at home.

Saturday night the whole house fell apart and the plague hit us.

Sunday: Kids and I stayed home while daddy went to B's (our nephew) baptism. And Sunday night both kids were up coughing half the night.

Monday: Kids and I home while daddy was out making money. (Lucky him)

We receive an email from our agency wondering how we planned on paying for the adoption since our monthly budget obviously does not allow room for an extra $20,000.00. Through tears I replied something about fundraisers and grants. And then quickly emailed a friend and asked her to pray.

Monday night was the worst of the coughing. With me sitting on the couch with Claire from about 11-3AM. I ended up holding her in my lap and dozing off for a bit. She was coughing so bad she threw up and was gagging. I held her upright so she could catch her breath. I dozed on and off while she slept and woke up at about 3 AM with my butt and back in agony. I decided coughing or not she was going in her bed. And about 4 AM Elizabeth got up. Thankfully I was WAY too tired to even hear her and Todd got up with her. (I have an awesome husband)

Tuesday: After the awful night before I decided it was time to go the doctor. Both kids had bronchitis and Claire had a double ear infection. (I think the doctor used the term "raging infection") Steroids and anitbiotic for both. Yipeee!

Wednesday: Steroids are in full effect at our house! Coughing has reduced and craziness has ensued. I caught Claire climbing up my ladder shelf in the living room. I am pretty sure that the "roids" are affecting their brains. They are certainly affecting mine.

Thursday: Thankfully we gave the last dose of steroid!!! That deserves a double yippee. I was able to leave the house for a bit and have dinner and a shopping trip with my mom. And my great husband put both kiddos to bed even though I was home. This caused great stress and chaos for Elizabeth who cried for 5 minutes straight because daddy was putting them both to bed. (Not really sure why. We take turns putting both girls to bed each night so they both get lots of times with daddy putting them to bed. Maybe its the "roids.")

Lots of things have been crazy this week. The kids and I were pretty much stuck in the house for 5 days straight. I have not worn a stitch of makeup since last Friday. (Seriously not even coverup) And it was not like some noble I want to try going au natural thing. I was just so tired and really had no place to go. I did not even put on makeup to go out with my mom tonight. I was just too tired and chose to cuddle on the couch with Claire bug until it was time to leave instead of getting prettied up.

One thing I know though. satan (not capitalized on purpose) is tricky. And when we received that email in the chaos of this week I started to doubt. I started to think that maybe we can't pay for this. Maybe we can't handle three kids. Maybe we should not be adopting. I honestly did. My heart was in a real rough place. I cried a lot of tears and I prayed. And I read the book of Proverbs for about 5 minutes and then I took a nap. And when I woke up this verse was in my head.

1st Corinthians 4:7-9

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

That is the truth. We are not anything great. We have no special thing to offer a baby. We are not saints because we are adopting. I heard it put this way and I love this "I am equally a blessing and a curse to all my kids." Our little man will endure a mom who is, at times, exhausted and at her end. He will get me at my best and at my worst. But we have one thing we can offer him. One thing we can bring to our little man. We can show him the Lord. We can introduce him to the one who can heal all his wounds and can wipe away every tear. We can show him one who is ever patient and ever loving. One who is slow to anger. The one is who is completely and wholly different from everyone he will ever meet, including his momma.

satan would love to distract us from that purpose. He would love to stop or even stall us from showing the Lord to that little one. But we are obeying. We are moving forward to do what God has called us to do.

And in the end it will be worth it. I will leave you with telling the sweetest story of my week. This one made the whole week worth it.

Wednesday evening after bible story I was tucking Claire into bed. Our ritual is that I always hold her and sing to her and pray for her and Lizzie. If I forget anything she reminds me, "Sing baby mine and pray for me and pray for Lizzie." I sung to her and was praying for her. And within my prayer I said something about God living in her heart.

Claire: "My heart too."

Me: "You want God to live in your heart?"

Claire: "Yes"

So in the best way I knew how I explained to my 21/2 year old that we all have sin. Jesus came to the earth to die for our sins and if she believes him he can forgive her and live in her heart. I asked if she wanted to ask him to live in her heart. And she did. My sweet girl prayed, with pacifier still in her mouth, that Jesus would forgive her and live in her heart. And thank you for your shed blood. It was the sweetest moment and it was so holy. So simple and so filled with faith. She simply believes. I pray that as she grows God's word would grow in her heart and the cares of this world would not push it out.

So as we go through this process now. Whether hard pressed or perplexed I cling to God. This is all about Him. He has done bigger things than provide $20,000.00 for an adoption. He parted the sea. He healed the sick. He made the blind see. He came to the earth as a baby and took on my sins. He died on the cross on the third day was raised from the dead. He chooses to use jars of clay, so that when the power is displayed people will see that it was from Him.

It is not from us.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Gate

I received a message the other day from a friend. She sent the picture above with a little note that said, "Soon you will be driving through these gates in an old van packed full of luggage, to meet your son." This gate is the entrance to the orphanage where our son will be. The message brought me to tears. In this place that looks so cold and lifeless our baby will be waiting. And our God will redeem! That iron gate that looks like a prison will be a gate of hope. Hope for us as a reminder that we have a goal and one day, Lord willing, we will get through that gate and reach our baby boy.

But also hope for him. You see I love the story in the Bible of Joseph. You can read about it in Genesis chapters 37-45. Joseph's brothers were extremely jealous of him. They hated him. And one day they threw Joseph in a well and sold him to some slave traders. They came back to their father and told him that his son had been eaten by a lion. A lot of really awful things happen to Joseph after being sold to Egyptian slave traders. But through it all Joseph served God and remained faithful to Him. He was even falsely accused of rape and thrown into prison. God allowed Joseph to interpret dreams and many years after he had been sold into slavery God allowed Joseph to interpret a dream that the Pharaoh had. The dream meant that the land of Egypt would have 7 years of plenty to be followed with 7 horrible years of famine. The Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph that he put him in charge of storing up food and ultimately giving out rations during the famine. It was during the famine that Joseph meets his brothers for the first time in almost 20 years. They came to get food from the stores. When they realized they were dealing with their brother that they had treated so harshly they were terrified. Joseph responded to them in this way in Genesis 45:5-7

"And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance."

What Joseph's brothers intended for harm God used for good.

And what Satan intends for evil in the life of our son God can redeem and use for good!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why Ethiopia?

Many people have asked us why did we choose to adopt from Ethiopia. I never fully answer because if I am honest I never really knew why myself. But today I was writing down some of our journey. I want to remember some things so I can tell them to our boy later but also I want to remember God's faithfulness. And it struck me that we were absolutely lead here. We were lead to Ethiopia in this moment. We were lead to this agency. And we are being lead to our son.

You see I know this because in May of 2010 Todd and I asked a group of family and close friends to pray 3 specific things for us. One of those was that God would lead us to the child he has for our family. We knew he was calling us to adopt but we were not sure if that meant domestic, or international. We prayed and I researched. I researched and called and emailed so many different people. And amazingly hardly anyone responded to me. And the one person I did talk to from one agency seemed very disorganized and I had an awful feeling about it. I would come each night with a different idea to Todd. And one day he said, "you are so swayed every day as to what you want to do." He was right. I was striving and planning and nothing was working right.

One day I had a conversation with a friend about her adoption. She told me about her agency, Wide Horizons and Ethiopia, the country they adopted their little boy from. I came home and shared our conversation with Todd and we began to pray about what was the best decision. After looking into the agency she used we both felt really comfortable and excited about going in this direction.

But the problem was with this agency and this country we needed about $5,000.00 to even begin the process. So we began to pray. We asked God if this was his plan and direction and if it was would he provide the $5,000.00 we needed to begin the process. After a few weeks of praying a friend offered to help us do a garage sale fundraiser. Let me stop here and share that we had not talked with this friend about our adoption since we had given her the request to pray for us in May. But for some reason 5 months later out of the blue she offers to help us do a fundraiser. We did the garage sale. And that garage sale raised $5,200.00.

I was trying to plan and research my way into God's plan. And all the while he had it under control. He was leading us.

So why Ethiopia? Because that is where our son is.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The one about the sweat suit

I am not a fan of this picture. I know everyone probably has pictures of themselves that they do not like. I don't like how I look in this picture. I could dissect it and I will. I could tell you how humid it was that day. You can probably tell. I had gotten up way too early and straightened my hair. It is clearly not straight anymore. I also had a massive head cold that day. And I was really exhausted. So for all the things I really hate about this picture I still love it.

This was day one of our yard sale. I was already sooo tired. We had spent that whole week gathering items. It was a ton of work. Here is what our house looked like.

It was a massive display of the provision of God. I was tired. I was exhausted. But I love the photo because it reminds me of how God so carefully and tenderly orchestrated our every need.

This week has been a little stressful. We are working on all the paperwork for the adoption. It is time consuming and sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all the information I need to gather. We also have decided to put our house up for sale. So in the midst of this craziness I found myself doubting. I found myself doubting that God cares for me. Doubting that he has my every need already cared for and doubting that he cares about the desires of my heart.

I was in such a moment on Monday. I was trying to clean out our bedroom closet. I was folding clothes and came across the sweat suit in the picture above. And I remembered the sweat suit story. I have not shared the story of the sweat suit. And I think it is time I did.

I bought that sweat suit the week of the yard sale. It was laundry day and I was out of clean clothes and we needed detergent. I threw on some really old ugly sweats and a sweat shirt and the kids and I ran into Target to get some detergent and while we were there I saw that sweat suit. I decided to buy it. It was cute and looked comfortable and I knew it would be something easy for me to wear while working all day at the yard sale. So as we are getting ready to leave Target I get a phone call on my cell phone from a lady that says she is from a Gift Shop. She heard about our sale and wanted to donate. She wanted to know if I could meet her at her shop right then. I, of course, said yes. We got into the car and I immediately thought. "I cannot meet her wearing this." And then I remembered the sweatsuit that I had just bought. It was cute and looked nice and I was able to change quickly and get to the store.

It was one of the very many ways that God provided that week. It was a little thing. Something that did not have to matter to the Lord at all. It was not really a necessity. But it mattered to me. And the Lord for some reason cares about what matters to me. And before I even knew that I would need that he provided it.

And honestly I can remember so many times in my life when he provided exactly what I needed at exactly the moment I needed it.

So while in the moment I could choose to worry about every detail. I could choose to worry about how our house will sell or how we will be able to move and get settled before our baby arrives. I could worry about how we will pay for all of the adoption fees. I could worry about all of that. But I am choosing not to. I am choosing instead to cling to the word of God. I am choosing to seek the kingdom of heaven and allow God to work out the details. He is a far better God and orchestrator of plans than I am anyway.

Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."