Tuesday, February 21, 2012

i give up.

I am challenged each year by the season of Lent...when we refocus our spiritual eyes on the sacrifices and great Love that was given for us. 

Sometimes I have chosen to give things up.  A quick recap of prior years, if you will:  Coke (my roommates hated me), tv, fast food, Facebook (best thing I ever did)...

These small sacrifices on my part do help me in some small way to realize my flesh rules more than I want it to.  Discipline is spurred.  Relationships strengthened.  It is good. 

But it is not enough.  Friends, we can never match the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.  Not ever.  But there is a part of me that says it is not enough.  Not for me.  Not for that nagging voice inside me that always is critical of my motives and my heart.  It lies to me...you could do more, you could be more, you are not able...

I have struggled for years to know one singular truth - I am enough. 

Who the God of this universe made me to be.  Who I am.  Who I want to be.  Its all enough. 

I don't have to please the world.  I don't have to earn love.  I don't have to be perfect. 

And yet, sometimes, I still don't quite believe it. 

So this year, I give up.  [This year for Lent, I hope in some way, you join me in giving up, too.]

I give up...

Worrying what others think about me. 

Striving for perfection. 


Fear of the unknown.

Stress over things I cannot control. 

Self - condemnation.


Lack of discipline. 

I could go on...but that's quite a list already, don't ya think? 

Believing the promise of Romans 12:2 - "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." 

Give up the lies the world feeds you.  The lies the devil wants you to accept as truth. 

We are sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.  And if the very Son of God thought enough of you to die on a cross on a hill...we must learn to accept that truth. 

Here's to giving up.  Renew your mind.  Fill it with truth.  I'm with you. 

[And hey...if you need to give up Coke, tv, fast food, Facebook, etc...you do that, too.  Go for it.  That's between you and Jesus.]

In God We Trust

Many of you have asked me about our biggest spiritual take-aways, thus far, as we traverse this process of adoption.  Really wanna know?  Here it is: 

Yep.  Trust is such an interesting thing.  I often times fool myself into thinking that I don't have trust issues.  (Insert your own LOL here)  I can think of dozens of situations and circumstances that I have lived through where my trust and faith have been shaped and molded into something that seems almost tangible at times.  Going on 5 mission trips.  Difficult family situations.  Living without my husband for a year while he was overseas.  I could go on...but in each of those situations, God has taken my faith and changed it into something real.  Something strong. 

Then I encounter a new situation.  A new circumstance.  And everything I know is challenged. 

The beauty that I have found in this is that our salvation is a living thing.  Our relationship with Jesus is alive...and it is either well or unwell. 

So I rest in knowing that I love and serve a God that is bigger than paper-chasing.  I trust a God that MAKES adoption possible, because He first adopted us. 

I can't trust in our social worker, although we think she's great.
I can't trust in our case workers, although we think they're pretty awesome, too. 
I can't trust in the post office, although...wait.  No.  I just can't trust in the post office.  ;-) 

I want to control this situation, this process.  But I can't.  I won't.

I lay down each day, sometimes with tears in my eyes, and give it to my Abba Father.  He knows a precious baby girl is meant to live out her life with purpose - and we will be waiting, trusting, with open arms. 

Oh, and by the way.  A hug if you see me wouldn't hurt, either. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Old News, New News....

Please forgive the hodge-podge of thoughts, random jumblings, and musings of my mind...this is how it came out...

For those that maybe missed the memo *wink*...

We're having a baby!!  (in about 12 -15 months...) 

We were in such a season of discouragement - waiting.  Spinning our wheels.  A dear new friend counseled me one night.  She told me that I needed to grieve for my expectation of how I thought this process would go.  I needed to stop worrying about "stepping off the boat" and sit down and row for a while.  We needed to rest.  We needed to lay down our hearts, expectations, and hope at the feet of Jesus.  Because even though He is the God of hope - He was not our focus.  And He wanted to be.  It was such a sweet, bitter, painful revelation...but those are the ones that bring about the most growth. 

So, refocused after that season, we jumped in with both feet.  Jesus moved in so many ways...showed himself faithful through others when I was feeling faith-less.  He revealed what family is in a beautiful way.  And now?  We. Are. Ready. 

And by ready....I mean a mess some days.  Lemme tell ya.  Adoption is hard.  And super awesome.  J and I laugh all the time about how adoption babymaking is sooooooo different than the babymaking we know.  Don't blush.  It is.  I'll be straight here...sex is WAY more fun than filling out paperwork.  For reals.  Don't judge me.  We know the outcome of all the paperwork.  We know the purpose, the beauty and the reality of it all will be wrapped up in our beautiful baby girl. 

But seriously.  See for yourself: 

Old school babymaking

uh...yeah.  that's it. 

(***PLEASE know that this is sooooo tongue-in-cheek.  It is our experience only.  It is not meant to make light of the struggles of those that adopt because of infertility, miscarriage and great loss.  We were in that boat, too...and understand to some degree...what your journey looks like.***) 

Adoption babymaking                                                                     

Applications - for home study agency and int'l agency                      
Home study (4 interviews)
Adoption petition
Financial application
Medical physicals (x2)
Blood work
Fire inspection
Fire evacuation plan/extinguisher
Employer verifications
Financial statements
Documents (birth, marriage, etc.)
USCIS I800A forms
smoochin' (I said, don't judge me!  He's cute...what do you want from me?!)
certification of forms
Emailing caseworkers
Police Clearances
Child Abuse clearances - OH/TX
References (x5)
12 hours of parent training (each)
Well water inspection test
Writing checks
Going to living at the post office
Researching/hiring a courier service

I'm sure I'm forgetting something.  But I think you get it.  :-) 

Friends, this is an intentional process.  Adoption by its very nature is intentional.  When God says in Ephesians and Psalms and Hosea and James and all throughout the Word that He adopted US into His family through our salvation...that He places the lonely in families....that in Him the orphan finds a home....that pure religion is one that looks after orphans - it all leads to an intentional God.  I for one am humbled to know that the God of the universe...He wanted me.  It brings tears to my eyes.  It overwhelms my heart.  God, that we may ALL know such love.  

Church, this is our call.  For Joshua and I, personally, it was a very real call.  One we couldn't ignore. 

This is our moment...as a church.  As a family. 

I have been SO challenged lately by David Platt, author of Radical.  He very matter-of-factly says that Christians are so quick to claim the promises of the Word, such as, "Come to me all of you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest..." Those promises are for them.  We own them.  We proclaim them with conviction.  But we are quick to dismiss mandates like the Great Commission - to go into all the world, or the outline in James 1:27 - to look after orphans and widows.  Those are only for those that are "called."  Friends, we are all called.  We are called holy, dearly loved, sons and daughters...we are called. 

It might begin as a whisper.  It might begin like a thunderclap.  But we are called. 

Now hear my heart here.  I am challenged by this as much as you might be.  There is no judgement here.  Search your heart.  Seek after Christ.  What does that mean for you?  Should you open your home to foster?  Is your family in a place to adopt?  Can you provide respite, or meals, for a family that can or is?  Is it time to see the world, God's world, on a mission trip?  Working with the least of these?  Can you financially provide for someone else to go and pray for them?  Is there a talent that you have that you can use creatively for the Lord?  Is your church in need of volunteers in the children's ministry or ushers or greeters?  Is it time for you to tithe regularly and faithfully and with great joy? 

Be intentional in this new year.  Don't dismiss the promises and mandates of the Word. 

They're for you. 

They're for me. 

They're for all of us. 

And I think what we find that in giving ourselves away to the Lord with intention...we find out that WE are the ones being filled and blessed in return. 

God is good.  All the time. 

And all the time...?  (Let's hear it, friends...!!)