Monday, December 27, 2010

[quiet moments]

This has been a season of great loss for so many God's amazing grace, my family is rejoicing this holiday season in knowing that we are blessed with so much.  But ~ I can only imagine that this year certainly hasn't ended how many people pictured it. 

My grandfather is rejoicing in heaven this Christmas...a friend won a long battle with cancer [in heaven]...a series of unexpected losses have brought friends, co-workers and acquaintances to the feet of Jesus.  No, none of how this year has ended the way many people expected it to...and yet God alone is Emmanuel, God with us. 

I have often wondered in the days before my papa's heaven-going...if after 65 years of marriage, he and my grandmother held each other in bed and spoke of what was to come.  If in the quiet moments they remembered loss and love.  victories and defeats.  joy and sorrow.  What did they whisper in those quiet moments?  It is well with my soul?  My heart hopes so. 

This season, my mind has often been drawn back to those questions....and other moments.  Two thousand years ago, in a corner of a lambing cave in Bethlehem...there were other moments.  Holy moments where a mother cradled her son, Emmanuel, with more love than we maybe could ever imagine.  In those quiet moments of great joy, I cannot help but wonder what Mary whispered to Jesus.  What loss and love mingled together.  victories and defeats.  joy and sorrow.  beauty and pain.  I don't know if any of the rest of Mary's life is what she expected.  Maybe it was.  Maybe it wasn't.  But she always had the quiet moments with the King of Kings. 

I pray earnestly that however my year your year ends...that our quiet moments with Emmanuel are vulnerable. real. beautiful. honest. painful. fruitful. hopeful.  He IS with us. 


Friday, October 29, 2010

rumblings in my heart...

To be darn honest with you, I don't know if anyone still reads our blog since Joshua is home now from Iraq.  To be frank...that's kind of okay with me, because now I can let 'er rip with the rumblings and ramblings of my heart and mind. 

I was so blessed today to have lunch with 2 incredible men of God (and a family that I adore) that we worked with in Egypt and Jordan this summer.  It brought back to my mind so many of the amazing things that God did during those few weeks... 

newsflash:  I always have struggled with insecurity...*like lots of you didn't already know that*  Thankfully, God has always given me an abundance of grace on this issue and I constantly have to stay in the Word to speak life and truth in that area.  There are so many things I wish were different about the way that much of my life was dealt to me, and while we were teaching the conferences in the Middle East, I felt that compounded in my heart again in a strong way.  I love Brenda and Rachel SO much...hear my heart there...but it was almost tangibly painful at times to listen to their testimonies.  Their stories of great love, strong family bonds and beauty were almost too much to bear at times.  And then...the insecurity began.  Because then there was my story.  A story of something completely different.  A story of emotional abandonment on many levels.  A story of brokenness and pain.  And as I cried out to God in my heart and prayers, I wondered why?  Why wasn't my life picture-perfect like theirs?  (please read that with the knowledge that I COMPLETELY know that isn't true--no one's life is picture perfect!!!)  And as He began to deal with me...He began to show me incredible truth.  The Bible says that He will make known to you the paths of life and will fill you with joy in His presence (Acts 2:28).  Isn't that good?!  As I prayed over that verse, He began to reveal to me that maybe, just maybe, my story was a story that these women needed to hear, too.  Maybe my story was one of hope.  of healing.  of redemption.  And aren't ALL of our stories that? 

One of the most simple and yet profound lessons I took away from this trip was the knowledge that although our stories may begin quite differently...some of them good, some of them hard, some of them heart-breaking, some of them hopeful...we ALL get to end up in the same place because of the love of Christ.  And that friends, gives me great hope.  great security.  I am blessed beyond measure to know that because of the relationship that Joshua and I have with Jesus, we are changing the legacy of our family.  So as I am thoughtful tonight, I pray that you all reflect on your stories...our testimonies are some of the most powerful things we'll ever have 'ownership' of.  Steward it well.  Wherever you began...I pray that Jesus has you ending well. 


Rachel, me and Brenda by the Jordan River *about 20 feet from ISRAEL*  We would have waded through the river to the other side if it weren't for THIS guy...

Don't mind the AK-47 behind his back.  *wink*  No big deal. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mr. Smart-Guy...

Driving in the car on a random day...

Caleb: Mommy, why do people (ahem...YOU, mommy) yell at other cars while they're driving?

Mommy: *sheepishly* Um, because sometimes other cars aren't driving safely and its dangerous if they aren't paying attention.

Caleb. So they can hear you?


Caleb: So why do you yell at them...?

Mommy: *eyeballing him in the rear-view mirror* Um...

Caleb: *satisfied that he's completely admonished me at this point...ends the conversation*

Well, ok...thanks for the kick in the pants, Mr. Smart-Guy...

Monday, January 18, 2010

our heart...

Warning: semi-venting zone...(I don't mean for it to be....I just don't know how else to explain this topic!)

Its funny to me as we start to explore this adoption journey, how much we have to explain ourselves and our decisions through the process. I suppose sort of a natural curiousness...I also know that many people are asking because they are sincerely praying for us, which is greatly appreciated. Either way, for my sake and peace of mind, I need to blog it out. Here are the top things we've been asked, and hopefully the answers will help make sense of our decisions:

Why not just have another baby of your own?

First of all, we are. We're just choosing to do it another way than most. My personal health problems taken into account, we feel like this is the wisest way for us to build our family at this point. There's all that...AND the fact that we both feel like God is calling us to build our family through adoption.

Why do you want to adopt?

Adoption has been a call on my life for the last 11 years...and J has felt God pulling him in line with that over the last few years. Its been a miraculous thing. There are 143 million orphans in the world...and the Bible says very specifically that it is the responsibility of believers to look after them. We feel that our family has been called in this direction and we will continue to pursue it.

Why do you want to adopt internationally?

Because I have been fortunate enough to travel fairly extensively with missions, I have always had a heart for the world, and have seen real need in many countries. It just feels like a natural fit with God's heart.

Why don't you just adopt domestically?

We did look into it. Unfortunately, the cost is about the same as international adoption...but the unknowns and the ability of birth mothers to change their minds (up to a year after giving up parental rights) was too much for us to want to emotionally handle.

What does Caleb think about this?

Caleb. My sweet little boy...I don't think that we could have been blessed with a more sensitive, sweet-spirited son. He is smart, and self-aware, and has such a neat perspective on the world. When I went to Cambodia in 2007, he would pray for the children there at night. When our church began the Clear Blue Water project, he wanted to take home a bottle to put coins in, because he can't understand someone not being able to have water when they want it. When he learned about the earthquake in Haiti, he asks continuous questions about them. When we talked with him about God choosing a brother or sister for him through adoption, he had questions, and we did our best to answer them. He's excited about the entire process...and could care less if they look like him, because he loves them already.

Where are you now in the process?

Right now, we are looking into a new agency that comes very highly recommended...and they have a lot of other programs aside from just adoption that sit well with my spirit. They support orphan care year-round, have several sponsorship programs, and a missions program that runs continuously. We are currently seeking God for direction on 2 specific countries, and won't say much more until we feel His confirmation. A lot depends on timing, work situations (my job doesn't have adoption/parental leave....well, it does....but its not good), finances, etc. Either way, we believe in a big God that has big plans for our family...and we trust Him entirely with that. Will some question our decisions? Probably. And that will probably always be the case, but we stand firm knowing the promises that God has called us to, and we will be as faithful to this calling as possible.

There. I feel better. :-) Will I have to answer these questions again? Maybe. But I think that covers the basics for now. I hope that as you read that, you didn't read it with a critical spirit, for that certainly wasn't my intent. For the most part, everyone we know has been supportive and prayerful with and for us. I just know that as we choose to do something considered a bit outside the box...people will have questions. I just hope those answers are good enough, because they are all I have! Feel free to email me and ask more!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

the end.

and the beginning...