Archive for July, 2014

  • Faith Like A Child

    Date: 2014.07.20 | Category: Faith

    Recently I had to make a chart so we could keep track of who was supposed to say the prayer at meal time.  It got me to thinking about the faith of a child.  What does it mean to have the faith of a child?

    photo

    Well, when was the last time you exuberantly fought over the right to say the prayer at mealtime?   When was the last time you threw your arms into the air and shouted “Amen!”?  When was the last time you sang out a song of praise just because you were rejoicing in all the Lord has done in your life?  When was the last time you didn’t worry and instead said, “God’s got this!”?   When was the last time you jumped out of bed at the chance to go to church instead of rolling over and hitting the alarm and wishing you could just sleep in?  When was the last time you clapped your hands over the chance to put a dollar in the offering plate?

    I am amazed at my children’s love for the Lord.   I watch them trust the Lord and His plans and not question the whys.  I have learned so much about faith and trust just by watching them.  I have seen them take the teachings I have shared and plant them firmly in their hearts. I have heard them claim God’s promises with such assurance that it brought tears to my eyes.

    Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  – Deuteronomy 11:19

    I have watched my children walk with confidence because they know God is in control.  My children love God with a radical love.  My children share what they have and care for others.   My children anxiously await adding two more children into our mix.  They aren’t afraid of having to share their food or their toys or their parents.  They are thanking God for the chance to have two more siblings.

    How tightly are you holding on to what you own?  How often do you show compassion and caring to others around you?  How often does your life look radical?

    “I could not help but think that somewhere along the way we had missed what was radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable.” – David Platt

  • What Changed Your Mind?

    Date: 2014.07.07 | Category: Adoption

    family

    All the posts and pictures on the 4th, of the sweet children we have come to know through adoption, got me to thinking about what makes people adopt and also wonder what makes people hold back when they’ve considered it.  I’ve heard it over and over again.  “I’ve always wanted to adopt, but….”

    When we adopted Hope, it was out of the blue.  It wasn’t something we had planned.  We saw a child in need and stepped in to help.   Maybe that is part of it.  If a hurting child was right there in your front yard, you’d do something.  If you saw a malnourished child, abandoned, needing love and attention, you’d do something.  Even if you weren’t called to adopt that specific child, you’d do something.  You’d find them help.  You’d support them.  You’d help others who could adopt them.  You’d step up because that is what we do, but because these children aren’t right in front of us we pretend it isn’t happening.

    When we started talking about adoption again, it was Dan who wanted to proceed.  Dan had read Max Lucado’s book, Outlive Your Life. and decided we should consider adopting.  There was a need, we could help, and we could no longer pretend it wasn’t happening.

    I, on the other hand, considered everything everyone else would think.  I was 45 years old.  People started being grandparents at my age.  My life was stable, happy, comfortable even.   It was crazy to think about adopting and I wouldn’t budge.  And then I read the words in Mary Beth Chapman’s book, Choosing To See.  Her daughter asked, “Is it better for an orphan to have an older mother or no mother at all?”  I cried all night.   Those were the words that changed my heart.

    I knew some where there was a child that God was asking me to parent and I was refusing to proceed because of the fear of what others would think of me.  Some where there was a little one who needed a mama’s love and I was leaving them alone, afraid, frightened, with little hope for a bright future because someone might think I was too old.   I hate that those were my thoughts.   God started working overtime on my heart.  Little did I know where God would take us over the next three years.  What an amazing “stand back and watch God” ride this has been.

    My heart was forever changed for the better that night.  I learned to follow God’s lead.  I learned to trust Him even when it didn’t make sense.  I learned to let go of my fears and I deeply regretted all those moments that I drug my feet and refused to trust God’s plans for my life.  My post on Facebook from the other day says it all.

    Rick Warren describes Dan and my past few months (past couple years actually) perfectly!

    “As a follower of Jesus Christ, he expects you to obey whatever he tells you to do — even if it appears foolish to other people, even if it doesn’t make sense financially, even if you don’t understand it and you’re scared to death.”

    Pretty much describes the past 130 days – following in obedience, not truly understanding how it could possibly work, and standing in awe of the faithfulness of God!

    On that same post another adoptive mother commented the following:

     “It was one of his daily devotionals 3 years ago that my hubby and I felt was an answered prayer and helped us finally make the decision to drop all our excuses and just jump on board with our first adoption.”

    Which made me wonder about other parents, did they always know they would adopt?  Were there words that changed their hearts too?  You know I believe in the power of the written word.  God reaches us through other’s words.   What words changed your heart?  Was it a devotional?  A book?  Another adoptive parent’s words?  Song lyrics? What words made you proceed when you were once unsure?

    I would love it if you would share your words in the comments. When we are done, I will make a blog with all the books, quotes, music, and words that moved our hearts.  Who knows who may be out there sitting on the fence about adoption and the words you write may be just what their heart needed to hear.

    family 1

    Adoption update – We have received our 1-800 and we are now waiting on the NVC to issue our letter that will go to the American Consulate in Guangzhou so they can start the children’s visas.  After that is done, the Article 5 can be issued, the consulate appointment will be made, and travel approval will come.

    Tomorrow we have 40 days left.  I am hoping they issue the letter on the first day they receive it.  The tracking number says they should receive it on 7/8/14.

    I believe big things are going to happen in this 7th month of 2014.  I have a thing about the number 7.  My father-in-law started it years ago when we discussed the numbers that show up in the Bible over and over again.  Numbers that had special meaning and were considered holy.  The number 7 and the number 40 are two of them.  The number 7 is used in the Bible 735 times.  Seven is considered the number of completeness and perfection, both physical and spiritual.  So tomorrow on the 7th month of 2014 with 40 days left, it would be a perfect day to receive our very next step, don’t you think?

    Here is a devotional I received from our social worker a couple months ago.  As I have said before, I love quotes and inspirational sayings.  I love words that move your heart and encourage you.  This devotional brought a smile to my face and encouraged my heart in trusting where God was leading us.  We didn’t plan on having 14 children, but I love the way God works.

    2014 is a powerful year of “Double Portion.”

    The number “7” means “Perfection.” 

    The number “14” means “Double Perfection”…a Double Portion!

    Isaiah 61:7,

    “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.

    Everlasting joy will be yours.  I like those words because it means joy in the Lord.  It doesn’t mean that every day will be easy or filled with happiness.  It means that I will be content and filled with joy in the Lord for following His lead, knowing this is the journey we are meant to be on.  That is a special kind of blessing.  One I don’t take lightly.  You’ve heard me say it before….

    I am, without a doubt, seriously blessed.

     

     

  • Your Epitaph

    Date: 2014.07.03 | Category: Faith, Family Life

    Thinking about how fast life passes by and about what I want to accomplish, about what I want my life to say, and about how fast everything can change.

    About 20 years ago, I wrote a poem entitled “What Do I Want to Accomplish”.  I have it hanging on my refrigerator as a reminder not to let the busyness of life take me away from what is really important.  I believe you have to give thought to what you truly want your life to say.  We do mission statements for our jobs, for our volunteer work, our schools even have them.  I believe it is just important to have a mission statement for your family and for your own life.  What do you want your life to say?  What do you want your family to stand for?

    In life, others will judge you for what you do, but in the end it is just between you and God.  People have thought we were crazy, our family is too big, too complicated.  But if you spent just a moment with my treasures you would see what I see, that they are worth every bit of the complicated and so much more. My life may be busy but having them as my children is a far cry from crazy.  My life is full of love.  I’ve known for a long time that my gift was working with small children.  There are many ways to use that gift.  I have chosen to use mine caring for children with hurting hearts and I chose to do that through adoption.

    The truth is I didn’t set out to adopt for that reason.  We chose to adopt because we felt God leading us to Maisey and Ben.  We felt it again when we set out to adopt the next four and again this year.  I didn’t set out to use my gift in that way, but I see how God’s ways are so much better than mine.  I love my life.   I love what He has allowed us to do.  I love being a part of the big miracles of bringing them to our family.  I am blessed every day to be allowed to be their mother.  What a gift.  What a blessing.

    This morning when I opened one of my on-line devotionals, I read Os Hillman’s words “What will be written on your epitaph?  How do you want people to remember you?  What type of legacy will your life leave behind?”

    This is exactly what I have been thinking about these past couple of days.   How much thought have you given to what your life says?  Your life is your biggest testimony.  You can quote scripture until you are blue in the face, but if you don’t live your life with love, it is all for naught.

    I challenge you today to take a couple of minutes and truly give some thought to what your life is saying, what you want to accomplish, and if you are truly living a life filled with love.  Here are my words from 20 years ago – they are as pertinent to my life today as they were then. (Please be kind.  I am not a professional poet.)  My eyes are on the promise of forever while living in the moment of today.

    “What Do I want to Accomplish?” 

    “What do I want to accomplish?”

    plays over and over again in my head.

    What do I want them to whisper about me

    when I’m long gone and dead.

    I want them to mention my faith

    and how every year it grew.

    I want them to mention the words

    loving, honest, caring and true.

    I don’t want sins to rule

    my heart and my mind any longer.

    I know though I am weak

    My God is most certainly stronger.

    I want to take up the cross

    so why do I resist it so?

    I strongly believe in God’s plan

    so why can’t I just let go?

    I know I should apply

    God’s word to every situation.

    To pass the tests He places before me

    and avoid earthly temptations.

    I am here to work on the log in my own eye

    and not the sliver in my brothers.

    I am here to worship my Lord with praise and thanksgiving,

    placing Him above all others.

    I am here to help the downtrodden and the poor

    with gifts blessed to me at birth.

    I want to stand above and not be consumed

    by the things of this earth.

    Father, I ask for your help.

    Please give me wisdom and grace.

    So I can hear “well done, faithful servant”

    when I first see your face.

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