Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas my little Congolese cuties...

My sweet little ones...
my heart breaks as it is Christmas and two empty stockings hang here without you.  I don't even know where you are, if you are with your mom or family, or tucked away in an orphanage. All I know is that I am missing you more than ever.  I know those two stockings symbolize such a great gift Jesus has given our family in you two.  I hope you feel tonight that you are extremely valued.  I pray you feel love like you can't understand. I am so thankful for your mother's, that carried you nine months in their bodies, trying to do the best they could to give you the life they had to offer.  I pray your mother's feel the favor of God as they have done the most selfless of things.  If they did not bless me with you by choice, I struggle to say thank you to God for the way he has orchestrated her story to collide with mine.  If this is how our stories have met, through death, I pray your mothers knew Jesus closely, prayed sweet prayers over their growing bellies, and are now dancing at the foot of the throne as the master's story unfolds. I thank God for entrusting me two more precious little ones that he has intended for us our whole lives. Our family prayers for you, every night for the last 3 months, have been this.  For the Lord to protect your mind, heart and body. For the Lord to cover you in his love and joy unexplainable. For the Lord to knit us together in our hearts so you know we are coming for you and you know we are a family knit together by our amazing creator. It's so hard to pray when I don't know who, where, or what you are going through, but I consistently ask the spirit to intercede for me on your behalf.  I cannot wait until the day I lay eyes on your precious pictures, and even more so, the glorious day when I get to hold you both in my arms, kiss your sweet brown skin and look into those dark eyes and tell you that "You are mine, You are His, and our family is forever." So Merry Christmas my sweet ones. Rest well tonight knowing that joy is coming this evening. A precious baby entered the world into a situation similar to yours... humble beginnings, a rough journey, a family knit together by so much more than DNA. He is holding you tonight and giving you the only gift that will ever matter to any of us...his love and salvation.
You are a valuable treasure, of immense worth.
Merry Christmas my little daughter and son.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Congo

Quick Facts about Congo
- 71 million people (Kinshasa has over 8 million)


-Congo has world's second highest infant mortality rate

- At war from 1998 - 2003, yet militia fighting still continues today.

- 1,500 people die per day in DRC because of the conflict

- Deadliest conflict since WWII

- Over 5.4 million people have died since 1998 due to the war


- 37% of population (approx 18.5 million people) have no access to formal health care.
- Life expenctancy is 46-50 years

-over 5.2 million Congolese children receive no education

-over 1.2 million people are infected with HIV-almost 60% of those infected are women

-Malaria kills 400 children a day, medicine to save these children can cost less than 2$.


-54% of the population is below the African national poverty line of $1.25 a day (456$ a year), many rural families live on less than 0.18$ per day.


-There are more than 10,000 child soldiers. 15% of combatants are under age of 18, a substantial number are under the age of 10.


-800-900,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS


-over 400,000 children have no access to education.

-issues like child soldiers and children sold into sexual slavery are rampant.



-the sexual violence against women and female children is the worst anywhere in the world, children as young as 2 are getting gang raped by militia men or by their guns. It is some of the worst war crimes in the world.


Please read this post for a snapshot of orphan life in kinshasa from a lady who adopted from there a year or so ago.




Kinshasa is home for our kids, Congo will forever be a part of their history.  The facts are hard to read. Sometimes I wonder why I have been given so much. Just to think that 35 million people in Congo make less than 456$ a year... a year... America has often missed it.  We so often, especially around this time of the year, complain of what we don't have, can't afford, or wish we had.  We go in to debt to buy unnecessary things. And these people aren't even living in a year on what many people make in a week or two here. 


Please pray for Congo today.  Just this week, there is violence springing up around  a controversial election that occurred this month where two men are claiming to have won and some corruption in voting and power is going on.  The government offices are somewhat closed lately (which remotely affects adoptions) and people are at risk of violence already breaking out in the cities. Please pray for the orphans of Congo, for God to do big miracles in this country.



Quick update

We are now #13 on the waiting list. Sadly though things are slowing down in Congo for a while due to some political issues. Please pray for the Congolese government. The elections have some corruption going on with voting not knowing which candidate won. There is some violence going on related to that. Please be in prayer for God to move us through this process in his timing, for my impatience, and for the health and protection of our kids while we are apart.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

the gospel of adoption

Each year, I feel like God gives me a new lens to view Christmas through.  Last year, I posted this about really seeing God as father as he “gave up” his son to come to earth, knowing he would be crucified by the very people he sent him to save. Thinking about giving up my own son in that way, really deepened my view of the Father’s heart. 
This year, God has given me a new perspective to view this amazing season. I have learned so much and journeyed through so much this year. Now I see Christmas through the lens of Jesus’ adoption.  After reading Russell Moore’s “Adopted for Life”, I learned so much more about how the entire Bible is threaded together through the lens of adoption.  One lesson has stuck out to me and has been brought to life even more this Christmas.
The Jewish people had knowledge of a Messiah coming. They thought he would be the grandest of kings the way that the world views Kings; riches, triumph, valor and success. They had memorized scriptures of His coming, they knew he would be coming from the line of David, one of the greatest kings.
This prophesy is what ties the old testament to the new. The prophesy of Jesus and the fulfillment of that prophesy is the good news of the Gospel.  However, I had missed how this prophesy was actually fulfilled.  Mary was not from the lineage of king David….it was Joseph.

The prophesy of the Messiah was answered through adoption.

The Gospel was fulfilled through adoption.

Joseph’s adoption of Jesus.

Moore recalls a question he was asked about one of his adopted sons. “Are you his real dad?” He expands on what it means to be a “real” dad and relates it to scripture.
He relates it to Joseph’s role in Jesus’ life: 
“Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father…no amount of Joseph’s DNA could be found in the dried blood of Jesus peeled from the wood of Golgotha’s cross…Joseph is not Jesus’ biological father, but he is his real father.  Jesus would have said “Abba” first to Joseph…And perhaps most significantly, if Joseph is not really the father of Jesus, you and I are going to hell…Joseph’s adoption of Jesus means Jesus belongs to “the house of David just as truly as if he were in a physical sense the son of Joseph”. It is through Joseph that Jesus finds his identity as the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise. Joseph’s fatherhood is significant for us precisely because of the way the gospel anchors it to the fatherhood of God himself.”

I think of Mary- a “good” girl, following what society says you “should” do. Engaged to a righteous man. Plans of a wedding, a future, just like society approved of. But God had bigger plans for Mary, however, this came at the sacrifice of comfort and societal approval.  Joseph would have been deemed right to leave Mary since she was pregnant with a child that was not his while engaged. But Joseph put aside his comfort and his reputation for God’s glory. He adopted God’s son as his own. This act fulfilled the prophesy of Jesus. Joseph was the earthly father that God had planned for Jesus since the birth of time. Joseph’s surrender, submission, and obedience to that call of adoption on his life allowed such Glory and Grace to be revealed to the world.

I keep thinking about their thought process through all of that, Mary’s surrender and seemingly quick “yes” in obeying the Lord.  I wonder if Mary questioned if this was really God’s plan for her as she gave birth to the future King on a bed of hay next to barn animals.  I think of Joseph’s strength and humility as he accepted what the Lord had for his life, which I’m sure differed from his plans greatly. I think of Joseph’s bravery in the rescue of Mary and Jesus as he led them away from Herod as he tried to kill his newborn boy.

I think a lot of times we cling to our plans, what is comfortable in our lives.  Sometimes we miss out on a greater glory the Lord has for us because of our fear to obey, our fear of society’s approval, our hesitancy to step out in faith and surrender.
I pray this season you rest in God as the author of your story, you take bold steps where he is asking you to, you revel in the sacrifice and the Glory of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection, and you reflect on how that will impact your life so that you can then make an impact on the kingdom.
Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trials and Attacks

That is pretty much what I should call November... November has left me wiped, defeated, and beat down just to be honest! I feel like I have been into the rink with Satan himself.  From the little instances to the huge catastrophic events, that has characterized my November. I got an email from a total stranger, a friend of a friend of my mom back in August when news went out about our adoption. He said "be prepared...you will have spiritual attack like never before". I shrugged it off, knowing that I probably would but still gladly walking forward. Man. Isn't that the truth.
Picture this, I am in the Kroger parking lot hoping people won't look inside my car, I had pulled off the road because of the looks I was getting at stop lights as I cried my eyes out.  So I was in the midst of a boo-hooing session to my sweetest friend, when she really changed my perspective. She pulled me out of that pit.
She said something like this...
"remember that book we read by Donald Miller about living a great story? Remember how he said great stories are rarely easy and smooth? That kind of story would be boring and less than impactful... great stories have resistance and opression, climax and sadness. They are often characterized by - struggle -. You've been praying to live a good story, one that will impact the kingdom, and maybe just maybe God is writing this into your story to bring him more glory."
She also shared with me James 5:13-16.
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
And then the verse in 1 Peter 4:12-13 came to mind...
 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 


Satan wants nothing more than to destroy us right now. Weirdly enough, that is where I have found comfort and strength.  This is my opinion only, but I think Spiritual attack is a good sign that you're right in the middle of God's will, otherwise...what threat am I to Satan? He knows two lives are about to be changed. A little boy and a little girl, somewhere in Kinshasa are sitting on a concrete or dirt floor right now, lost and abandoned as can be. Who knows what their path could have held. Prostitution, fighting in a rebel army, drugs, a life of begging or poverty. I don't know. But I do know that something is going to change for them. Yes they will still have hardships in our family.  They will have to grow through years of trauma and neglect, but their path will be changed. They will have an opportunity to know God intimately. They will be loved and provided for. And apparently that is not on Satan's agenda. 
So I guess he can let it loose on me. I am learning how to really put on the armor of God and try and get back up when I am down. I am learning how to depend on Him in new ways each day. I still fail like you'd never believe, let out my frustration on my kids or husband, or just feel defeated instead of resting in HIS victory. But I will be patient, as best I can, as I am here and look back to times knowing He is always faithful and look forward to a time when i see his glory revealed.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Entering In

First off...this post comes out of a lot of things God has been doing in my heart. Funny enough, he has been working on me through some blogs I have been reading. As I have followed along with sweet Ruby Grace's story here, God has really softened my heart to the needs, physical and emotional, our kids will have when they get here.
      (Quick paraphrase of her story: her parents have adopted 13 kids or more and she was 6lbs when they met her in an   orphanage and almost a year old. They adopted her and brought her home and thought she had hydrocephalous. Once they got her checked she had 12 cysts in her brain (doctor had never seen more than a kid with 2 in their brain) that needed draining with multiple brain surgeries. After the first surgery they discovered she is blind. She has had close death calls and still pulling through surgery by surgery. They have moved their lives and left their ministry to move to be close to the best children's hospital for her)

I have gone from being somewhat "scared" of these needs, to really honored to meet these needs with the best of our abilities. Then, I read two posts from a family who adopted Miles from the same city in Congo that we are adopting from, over a year ago. I was reading this certain post she put up this week about a minor corrective surgery he went through, then I clicked into the link from an older post about trauma and triggers. As I read her very vulnerable and powerful description of this account of his trauma shortly after bringing him home, God really spoke to my heart in a strange way.  I read that terrible experience and felt no fear but actually felt this weird......

excitement....

Really God?

Now, I was not excited my kids would go through this or have been through such trauma that would lead them to banging their heads against the cabinet to get food. No. That broke my heart as did several other parts.
But, I was excited to be a part as God re-wrote their story from trauma to unconditional love. That trauma will always be there as a part of their story, but soon it will be the history of their story instead of the current.  I am privileged to be a small part of their healing. I am excited to embrace a child that may not trust my embrace yet. I am honored to tell those children each meal that this will not be their last, that I will always feed them and clothe them. I am excited to tuck them in to a bed and say yes, this is your forever home, forever siblings, and forever family.

I was reminded of James 1:27.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

In...their...distress.

Yes... we will gladly enter in.


In their distress. God is calling me sweetly to THAT place. And he is making me strangely and unexplainably excited to go to that hard place.

USCIS approval!

Yay!! I got an email from the United States Center for Immigration Services that our approval went through on Friday and is on its way to us!! Hooray! This took a lot longer than I thought it would...but our dossier is sitting translated in French at our agency waiting for this slip of paper before it can be sent off to Congo! Please pray for a speedy process and for a gracious, efficient, good hearted person to receive our dossier! Christmas has been a challenge thinking our kids are over there and not here cozy and celebrating with us....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

25 days of kindness...starting now!



So we had been thinking of ways to really focus in on Jesus this Christmas with the kids, now that they are a little older and understand even more. I think the temptation is to make it all about Santa and gifts and all of that. Here are a few ways over the years we have tried to keep our focus on the right things...
DISCLAIMER: In no way am I saying that I am doing things right and Santa/wish lists/whatever are wrong. Everyone has Christmas tradition, some from your family of origin, some you create as you go along your journey as a family.  We have tried to be very strategic to come up with a plan to make sure our kids are exposed to a Christ centered Christmas perspective.  I don't have all of the answers, nor am I doing everything right, but this is where we are right now. I am passing no judgement here.

1. We have tried to stay away from the idea Santa or pretend that he brings the gifts:
Yes...bah humbug I guess. But I don't know. The show of it all gets me down somehow. I had a hard time thinking about pretending that a man will come down our chimney and bring our kids gifts. Plus, Santa is exciting. So much so that we may just miss Jesus if we did Santa justice in the eyes of our 3 & 5 year old.
What we do: we have a book about St. Nick. I love St. Nick. St. Nick would fill the little orphans socks as they dried on the line with special gifts on Christmas eve. We talk about how Santa is reflecting generosity. But we do not celebrate Santa because that is more about what he will do for me.
In addition, i think the temptation as a mom is to withhold gifts or threaten to lose gifts "if you're naughty" or when you have a behavior issue with your child near Christmas, I know i am tempted to threaten to take gifts back or whatever. But I have to remind myself God doesn't show his love to us conditionally based on if we are naughty or nice. God blesses us with his love and forgiveness even when we are at our worst. This is why I give my kids gifts at Christmas, not because they have been nice that year/month/day.  I give them gifts as a reflection of Christ giving us the best gift, no strings attached, unconditionally.  That is why our three gifts sit under the tree from us.
Another reason I steer clear of the jolly man in red is the disappointment I felt as a kid when I found out it was all a hoax. And I also feel like I treated God like santa claus from about the ages of 3-13. I guess that is the only un-seen person I had to compare God to. So i would pray God my wish list and wait for it to come true, until I really understood who God is.

2. We have strayed away from wish lists: The idea of asking my kids to sit down and write out what they want just hasn't set right with me. This plays right in to the mess in our hearts, my own very much so included. Plus it plays up there little hearts to think they will get exactly what they wish for...and life rarely works like that. Thankfully so. It puts a lot of pressure on me to just get what they ask for instead of what the giver wants to get for them. So we do 3 gifts from John and I and a stocking. They don't know what they are getting nor do I ask. So far, even this year, Reese hasn't ever told me something she wants. I know this will change as she gets older and that will be a great discussion point about what Giving is all about.
One of the kids gifts this year is a sponsor child each in the AMAZIMA (amazima.org) program. They will be able to write letters to them through out the year, and I may be able to visit them when I go in April. They've already written the kids so that will be an awesome gift that gives both ways this Christmas!


3. We do a birthday party for Jesus- and we do it big! I let the kids make the cake mostly on their own and ice it, sprinkle it, put a big J in candy on it, etc. We sing, blow out the candles, re-light it and blow them out again, and sing. Its been a tradition since Reese was 4 months old and we love it! Its such a good reminder of what we are actually celebrating.


4. We want to have a spirit of giving: Since reese was our only, I have tried to make this month about giving. We clear out toy buckets and give away toys we don't play with and I ask the kids to part with one special toy that we can give to another. I don't want them to get used to just giving the leftovers or unwanted toys, so I ask them to part with a special one of their choice. We pack lunches for the homeless men and pass them out when we see them at the corner. We also do operation christmas child boxes and they pick all that goes in them and what age and gender they want their box to go to. Now this year we are doing.....
25 days of kindness! I am super excited about this and got this idea from the Christmas Angel and Lillightomine.com
http://lillightomine.com/light-em-up-2011.php
You can follow along with ideas of how to light up your community with giving!

Today was day 1 for us and they both took apples to their teachers with a picture they drew for them. We talked about why we are giving and doing acts of kindness and the kids were totally pumped for it! I was helping wheeler scribble down what he loves about his teachers when Reese handed me her finished artworks. One said:
"Miss Chiu- i lik beig with you. God loves you. Mary Crismis."  and the next...
"Miss Pedrs (peters)- i lik yur hugs. God loves you. Mary Crismis".
Heart melt! I love that little girl's heart and how she boldly shares the love of Christ much better than I do.
Wheeler of course wanted me to write "I like throwing the ball with you Miss Beth." and "miss Gail is nice and fun". :)

So join me this month as we celebrate the best gift anyone can receive!
(and don't judge me for not liking santa... :)
Kylie

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

vocal processing from a single mom for the week....

so...my hubs has been out of town for 8 days over the last week and a half. this is not normal for us thankfully. Otherwise, I would be in an institution most likely... Satan has used this time to attack me. On the first full day he was gone, i was supermom. Got our daughter to school at the bright hour of 7:30am on time, lunch in hand, hair cutely put up, etc. Got ready and got our son leave the house at 8:40. Grocery store, cleaned the house, dropped off dry cleaning, back to pick wheeler up, then off to pick reese up. All with a great attitude that spilled over into my kids as we jumped on the trampoline, painted christmas trees (i rarely paint in our house with the kids because it takes 20 minutes to set up and clean up and they are done with it in 5), dinner on the table at the dark hour of 5:15, baths, tons of bedtime stories etc. I called my friend the next day and talked about how amazing it all was and how I was determined to have a great week, blah blah. Tuesday came and wednesday and it was all another story. The kids know what to do when Dad is out of town. They argued, made huge messes, went to bed terribly, wet the bed, and so on. Satan kept whispering in my ear...and you think you can do 4?
Fast forward to a great weekend together as a family and then John heads out of town again for these 3 days. Man, I am wiped. I am not designed to be alone. I don't just miss John bc of the help he is with the kids, i need some adult conversations as i plop on the couch, I enjoy laughing with him about some part of our day, I need a good snuggle/back rub to calm me down sometimes, I even just like sitting next to him. Instead, i caught up on Greys, read blogs for hours and hours, and went to bed early (for me at least, by 10:45/11 each night).
Its just been one of those days. The kids were making mad faces at each other in the car as soon as i picked up reese today. Reese was crying about it. Finally i slightly raised my voice and said "wheeler, stop it!". Then a voice from the backseat calls to me and says, Mom, "A soft answer turns away wrath. Proverbs 15:1". Shoot. Guilt sets in, apologies go around the car, and we pull it back together. Let me tell you how it is getting put in your place by a 5 year old, but I am still thankful for it!
So, I have one more day on the count down... but I am choosing to not let this take me down! Even though I have pee on my clothes from cleaning another wet bed and I have not showered today... Yes, even on a day like this, I still want 4 kids. I know the adjustment will be hard, I know that I will be fighting years of trauma, loss and hurt with those kids. But I am excited to walk through it. Fearful at times, but excited mostly. Someone told me they will be so lucky to have parents like us.  They are not "lucky"... They have been abandoned, they have been in some form of neglectful situation in an orphanage with no consistent form of love and comfort. That does not sound lucky to me.  That will forever be part of their story and I will not try to hide it away from them. We will have to work through it.  But, I will be blessed to have a chance to enter in to their story and be a part of what the Lord has for them...for all of us.
I probably should just delete this post, but since John isn't here, I needed some vocal processing time...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Adoption Update

We are officially on the waiting list!!! We are currently at #15! I don't know why this made me so excited when I saw the email in my inbox, because we have gone from one form of waiting to another....BUT this feels like major progress! instead of just waiting on paperwork or waiting on a home study, we are actually on a list waiting for our children! We may not travel until summer/fall 2012, but it still feels like we are moving toward it!
In other news, I am going to UGANDA! This has been a dream of mine since high school. I have tried twice to go to Africa and for random reasons (one being a positive on a pregnancy test as I was awaiting my yellow fever shot) it has never worked out, once even my money was raised! I am excited to go on this trip with Visiting Orphans and get to serve the orphans of Canaan's children's home, children that will never be adopted. I am also excited at the opportunity to help at the feeding program run by Amazima and Katie Davis. That book and blog has been a catalyst for so much in my life, I am excited to see the hands and feet of it as it serves the "least of these". I am also praying God moves in huge ways of clarifying my role in the orphan crisis beyond adoption.
Please be praying for these things, as well as for the rest of the clearances/approvals to come quickly since being on the waiting list is pending those things! I just sobbed at church yesterday while we were singing thinking "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come for you". Jesus' words. I interceded them for my sweet children. I hope they know we are coming for them!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christmas Gift Ideas with a purpose

So, Christmas shopping has left me feeling a little conflicted.  The idea of how far our money goes here versus how far it could go to feed children or bring them home has left me a little troubled when it comes to buying gifts. My friend challenged me not to get bitter about it, but to tell a story with it, and it still be an expression of love in the giving, but it can also help another person in a hard place. So I decided to share with you some ideas I had that could be giving someone on your list an awesome gift, while giving back to communities in Africa, guatamala and India. Hope this helps as your Christmas shop for someone you love, all while serving the least of these!

Jewelry
There are tons of options here! I love noonday collections at www.noondaycollection.com/. See below for some ideas in the 20-30$ range (one is 70$). Not pictured, but tons more great necklaces and bracelets to choose from at redearthtradingco.com



Or head over to Amazima at www.amazimastore.org/ to help change the story of a lady in Uganda with these cute buys (they also have a cute bracelet!), all for 19.95$...



If the lady on your list is more into scarves and bags... try these from noonday collection and 147millionorphans.com





Need something for a teenage girl or boy? Or a trendy twenty? Check out watches and hoodies from hellosomebody at http://hellosomebody.bigcartel.com/ These go to change the story of kids in Rwanda. The mini watches even fit kids!

Can't leave out the shirts! Try one from visitingorphans.com! They also have tons of colors of earrings and necklaces for 10-20$. This is the ministry I am traveling to Uganda with in April.


Cant miss the shoes... I love my Toms and I love that every time i buy a pair, it gives a pair to a kid in a poverty situation. Check out these cute styles for kids, men and women!




And lastly, for the reader in your life... I suggest Radical by David Platt or Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. Who knows, the 10-20$ you spend on a book for someone, God may use that gift to change their story! 
Also, for kids, there is nothing greater than teaching them to love and serve the least of these, beautifully written by Francis Chan in Ronnie Wilson's gift. He also has a great book called the Red Tractor for kids as well. 



Happy Shopping! I hope we can tell a powerful story in our giving this Christmas! 


Monday, November 7, 2011

heavy hearted

My heart has been heavy the last week or two.  It has hit me in a whole new way that MY son and daughter are laying in an orphanage somewhere, thousands of miles from me.  Talk about no control...
I have felt a lack of control before.  Tying on Wheeler's hospital gown as I signed a waiver saying I wouldn't sue if he didn't wake up from anesthesia, watching as Reese jumped out of the car on her first day of kindergarten.... but nothing like this.
My son may not have eaten today, my daughter may not have been hugged or kissed today, my son may have hepatitis from drinking water with fecal matter in it, my daughter may not be getting the nutrients she needs or go to bed hungry tonight, my son may not have been told I love you today, my daughter may cry herself to sleep, or may have learned to stop crying because no one comes.  I.dont.know.
I have had a heavy heart lately. I think as a mom, our first gut instinct is to care for the very basic needs of our children. I cannot do this for our children right now. It has forced me to trust and cry out to God in a whole new way. It has hit me in a new way that I am totally out of control. But, it has brought me to my knees so quickly to realize that I can't hold my children, but He can. I can't make them laugh today, but He can. I can't tell them they are loved today, but He will for me. I am praying all of this in Jesus name. That they are fed. Filled with Joy. Comforted. Overwhelmed in love and a feeling of value despite what society has told them. I pray they feel adopted and not abandoned today. I pray they know God is holding them tonight when I can't. I pray in Jesus name that He is already knitting their hearts to ours. I pray they feel in their souls that their family is coming for them.
Then I pray for the other 147 million that may not have someone interceding for them. I pray God calls families to action on their behalfs. I pray they do not have to look at a cement wall instead of a mother's face for any longer.
Please join me in praying for our son and daughter,  the 26,000 children who will die tomorrow of hunger,
 and the millions and millions of orphans around this world. Only a BIG God can do something about this, I have no control, and I surrender that to the one who is in full control.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

GRACE abounding in love

This post is dedicated to my GG, Grace Henderson.


She has lived in the same 3 square miles for 86 years. She had lived in the same house for the last 55. Her first love she married as a teenager. Warren Nichols. They had a beautiful life together and two kids. He battled with lung cancer until he died when my mom was about 27 or 28. GG was alone for about 15 years or more. That was my early childhood, to drive down to Alabama (or up when we lived in FL) and do thanksgiving or Christmas with my GG. As I got older, she met a man named Jack, who also lost his wife to illness, and they were married. They just celebrated 20 years I believe! For the last 6 or more years, Jack has progressed with Dementia. Over the last 4 years or sohe has lots control of bodily fluids, stumbles frequently, and nearly cannot walk even with a walker. I used to get so frustrated that my GG was so far away doing all of that on her own. Helping him get to the bathroom, changing his clothes, picking up a 200lb man when he fell, showering him, feeding him, etc. It took what felt like years to convince her to get home help then to put him in assisted living. She was so resistant to it and I used to not understand why. I felt like she was going to deteriorate trying to help him. Her back started hurting more and more, etc.
This summer, we moved her from her longtime home in with my parents when they moved here to Durham. We found Jack an awesome Alzheimer's care facility. She spends hours EVERY day there and just sits with him. He doesnt know her name most days, doesnt know any of us, often can't put a sentence together.

But GG loves him. I realize why it was so hard for her. She was loving, sacrificially, and honoring a covenant she made to love and serve him in sickness and health. I have never seen such sacrificial, self-less love, as knowing my 85 year old GG was changing diapers, cleaning soiled linens, and bathing him. She would not have it any other way. Even still here in NC, she sits with him. He may not know who she is, but she sits there every day, being available, loving him in her own way. I realize how selfish I was to think she should just take care of herself and put him in a nursing home when she wasn't ready. Even now, sometimes, she won't travel with us so she won't be gone from him for days. My parents took her away this weekend to visit my uncle in TN and she texted me (i love that she texts and has a facebook account) to go by and check on Jack. I stopped by the nursing home to find him with his bib on, eating dessert. He didn't know who we or the kids were. He barely said anything. He did look at wheeler and say some semblance of "he will be a good sports player".
I was nervous to tell GG we were adopting African children. Just a few short years ago we taught her to not say the N word (she always said it with the word "sweet" before it...ahha) or negro. So I was afraid how it would go over. She was born and raised in deep south small town alabama. Do you know what this woman said to me when she heard?
"Jesus loves the children of the world and he will love yours too, and love you for giving that child a wonderful home. I love you dearly. Any child that you have will be loved by me."
Jaw dropping love. That is why our next daughter will carry her name as her middle name. Grace. It represents so much in her little life. The grace God has given her to stay alive in impossible conditions and allow us to bring her into our family. The grace he gave her on the cross. The grace he gave us as he gave us the joy to raise this little girl we will bring home. The Grace example she has in my grandmother. The self-less love that GG shows and the triumph of love over racism. The love that came from GG to deprive self and love and serve another, when getting NOTHING in return.
I love you Grace Henderson and what a legacy you have left.

Tying my story together...

WOW! Ok so I was looking for an old Bible I had gone through in 2002 and 2003. I had a plan to read the whole new testament and I can't remember if I finished or not, but anyway. I found it finally and was flipping through it. The thing was covered in underlines and notes jotted down. Keep in mind, 2002 I was a sophomore in college, had just started dating my future beloved, and had totally different plans for my life then. I think they included my Ph D, not getting married for a while, definitely no kids til I was 30, etc. I laughed out loud then promptly teared up as I turned to the page of John 14.

Seriously GOD? I dont even remember writing this. I drew a line to the verse," ask whatever you wish for and it will be given to you, this is my father's glory" to the word AFRICA. Beside that verse is the one of "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. Underlined. Then a little below it, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.......and your joy will be complete." Sure enough, God, sure enough. MAN!
I just laughed as I thought about my life. I used to think of it in separate compartments. Growing up, my inner city middle school experience, High school, college, relationship with John, working at Cafe 1040, Chick-fil-A, being and becoming a mother. My desires in each area I also saw as compartmentalized. Now, I watch as the great author ties it all together in a beautiful and messy story. Desires from childhood, now realized and living out. Lessons from being a minority in my middle school, now making sense, my unfounded desire to go to, live in, raise a child from Africa, now making total sense. Understanding God's heart for the lost as I traveled to a country closed to the gospel, now making sense. So I just laughed and cried as I saw the word AFRICA on the page of my Bible from 10 years ago. I was 18 years old. Was I asking for something regarding Africa then? I don't know. But apparently, somewhere in my heart, the Holy spirit helped write my story and my desires and now he is giving it to me for my Father's glory. Any my joy IS and WILL be complete.

Learnings (mostly ramblings) Lately...

I feel like i could explode, God has been revealing so much to me. It reminds me of when Reese asked about God making the whole earth/sky/space. He is big enough to make all that and he fits inside our hearts? How can something so big fit in my heart so small? EXACTLY!! IT CAN'T! It will burst out and overflow everywhere. THe beauty of the design.
I am about to finish up Radical, by David Platt. And that is what it is....Radical.  I shared with someone about Katie Davis (blog is here kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com) and their response? She is crazy. At first I took offense. Then I thought, well YES she is. Do we want to look like the world's definition of fitting in? No thanks. But that is what we have been doing for years. I'd rather look a little crazy.
In the preschool pick up line on Tuesday a woman asked me how many kids I have? I answered 2, 18 months apart. She said wow, that mustv'e been tough. Yes it was, tough, amazing, challenging, and beautiful all at the same time. She said "well you must be done having kids then!" I laughed to myself, and answered, "well I thought so, but we are in the process of adoption". Her response, "that is so admirable! wow!". Admirable? Really? To obey God's command to care for the fatherless? Its not admirable. Its MY priviledge to follow him in obedience. So I proceeded to answer more of her questions. "yes, two treasures from Africa." The look on her face was priceless. TWO?? AFRICA?? Her admirable comment quickly was retracted based on her facial expression and then I got the "You're crazy" look southernly sugar coated with her words that reluctantly spilled out..."whoa, wow, well good...for...you" I could see her trying to keep a smile on her face but struggling! I just kept chuckling inside.
Thank you God for rescuing me from myself. Thank you for taking me away from that place. Thank you for teaching me that my comfort is not your number one goal for the world. I'll gladly be crazy in everyone's eyes if it means I get the joy and honor to give the ultimate discipleship to 2 children that would be staring at the walls of an orphanage for the next 13-16 years. Seriously? I get to do that? I'll take crazy any day.
So, the book radical is "radically" shaking my walls down of what I was taught Christianity looks like and what we see it as today. Is it seriously just a Christian spin on the american dream? Are we really missing the God of the Bible? There was a part in the book that really stood out to me. He was talking about how we cling to the verses that "He has a plan for our life" "he wants to let our joy be abundant" "he will give us peace that passes understanding" etc. Yes, those verses were written just for us. But then the verses about Defending the cause of the fatherless, pure religion being the care of orphans and widows, that really loving him is serving the least of these, that God wants all his lost sheep found. Well these verses you have to pick and choose what the Lord has "called YOU to". Oh man have we missed it! God has not only called the missionary or the adoptive family. God has called A-L-L his followers to this kind of radical obedience.
Do we really want to get to the end of our lives and say, yep God, i had my 2.4 kids, lived in a nice home, ate great food, saved our money well for retirement, tithed most of the time, and payed off our credit cards? Man.
Jesus has so much more for us if we truly follow his lead. He cared for the diseased, the dying, the atheists, the hypocrites, the children, the sinners, the homeless and prostitutes. My life sure doesn't reflect that very well.
John and I sat on the couch last night and I balled my eyes out as we talked about radically responding and shifting our lives around the lost, the least of these, and the orphans. Just because we are adopting, I don't want to feel like i can put a check mark on these things. This is just one way we are reflecting it. But I want to give 'til it hurts to these things that Jesus valued. I want to look back on our life and say that we lived well yes, comfortably at times too, but we poured ourselves out to the least of these. Because if I really want to love Jesus, he told me how. FOR ME, not for my neighbor or the missionary down the street. It is a command, not an optional buy in for Christianity. And the cool thing is, is that the command doesn't burden me. It frees me. It fills me with joy and purpose, it is actually delightful. It is not just a chore on a to do list. The more I have obeyed, the more God gives me of himself. And let me tell you, it is WAY better than food, the newest clothes, iPad or vacation. I have been EXPLODING and bursting out as Reese says, with the Love of God and It is such an honor to walk towards him in obedience and delight!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Big prayers from a big heart

Our conversation as I tucked Reese into bed tonight:
R- Mom- are there more than 100 orphans in Africa?
M- yes, there are millions of them.
R- why can't everyone just adopt all of them?
M- a lot of people are, but God is going to have to call a lot more to adopt if we are going to get them all into a home.
R- what will happen to them if they don't get adopted?
M- Some of them will grow up without a mom and dad.
R- will some die?
M- yes, a lot of them will not have enough to eat or get sick and die.
R- then I think I will adopt all of them.
M- that would be a big job Reese!
R- well then I will pray for God to get people to adopt all of them so they don't die.

My girl has such a big heart. Adoption has stretched the boundaries of her heart even wider. She prays big prayers and it makes me realize how small mine are. If God is who he says He is, then he can handle a lot bigger prayers than I am praying.  It may take  a 5 year old for me to keep learning this lesson over and over again, but He uses her to challenge me. Yes we may only change the outcome for 2 children, but that doesn't have to stop us from praying that the other 147 million get forever families too.
Thank you God for speaking through a childlike heart to my heart that doesn't trust you like it should. You did not create too many orphans. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your redemption of the fatherless.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Even the seasons reflect Him...

We just spent a beautiful weekend in the mountains with John's family on a kidless retreat. It was 180 degree views of blue ridge mountains covered in the colors of autumn.  When I woke up each morning, I would step out on the deck and just take it in. You couldnt see any other houses, just rolling mountains and beautiful colors.  
Fall is my favorite season. As I reflected on this season which is fast upon us, I thought of the great parallel of the seasons to seasons in our walk with God. Fall, to me symbolizes a change. A publicly marked difference in something the Lord is doing inwardly. He is making areas in our life brighter, he is revealing different things to us. He is preparing us for what is to come.  Fall is so beautiful from the outside, but it also represents a dying from the inside out. The tree is about to shed its leaves. They are turning brittle and about to fall to the ground, where they will die and return to the earth. It is much like that of what is going on with me. It is somewhat beautiful at times on the outside. But that is what is shocking about it all. Death is often beautiful.  God has revealed spots in my life that I need to die to myself and let go and let them fall to the ground. Winter is coming, where it is a stripping of sorts so that new life can come in spring. The pruning process doesnt always have to be painful, but it often is. I feel like I am in the autumn of my life at the moment. Shining bright in some areas, dead in others, and getting a renewal from the inside out. God is revealing new truths to me, God is carefully pulling away things he doesnt want in my life. It is invigorating and somehow, what is dying and falling to the ground doesn't sadden me, because I know it is soon being replaced by new life and new truths. Winter is a dormancy of sorts. You are waiting for what is to come. I do not know the reason for some of the things God is taking from me and revealing to me, I am fine to wait in the dormancy time until God is ready to spring forth new life in those areas and new purpose. 
What a beautiful God who expresses Himself through his awesome creation@

Saturday, October 8, 2011

my commitment to you

Reese and Wheeler-
     I need to write this down, mostly for myself, but as a commitment to you.

1. We will love- we will love each other. We will learn to work as a team. To stick up for each other, to fight for and protect each other. We will not just talk about love, we will live it out. There will be lots of times I miss this. I'll be cleaning the kitchen instead of showing you I love you by reading with you, or my voice will raise, instead of affirm your preciousness when you are having a hard time. But know this, I love you with a fierce love and nothing could ever change this. Because of this great love, it has challenged me to do things I never thought would come into our story... We will not only love those in our family. We will love others. We will love others as best as we can just as we love our own family. We will love those who don't look like us, talk like us, dress like us. I pray I can faintly (as inaccurate as I do) model this for you, so that you will grow up loving with no boundaries of race, status, or location.
2. We may not always be comfortable- I have found that this is an underlying (and not so hidden) value in society and even in the Church. Comfort may look like many different things. Comfort to me used to look like an easy day with 2 well behaved, semi-quiet children. God exposed that idol in my life. He has taken me to a place and asked me to sacrifice comfort. He has asked me if i really feel like my #1 on this list is something I will hold to. Because of this great love he has given me and thus I have given you, We will continue to love others. It may sometimes come at the expense of our comfort, but is this what we will live for? Will we live for comfort or love? I choose love, I hope you will choose it with me. 

3. We will sacrifice- these next few years will be a team effort. We are embarking on a new journey as a family. We will sacrifice pleasing others. God calls us first to follow him, even if that means we choose his path over the path our family would have chosen for us. We will sacrifice an easier way life with getting second looks, ignorant comments made about our family, and walk in the joy of having a beautifully painted family. Our family is God's artwork on display. When given the choice, would we rather be a family and have comments said about us, or not be a family and make others more comfortable when they see us...we choose to be a family.  However, when I say we will sacrifice, it doesn't quite sound right in my heart. It is really not a sacrifice at all in my heart. I feel so privileged and honored to walk forward in what God has called us to and the "sacrifice" seems so small compared to what we have to gain. I know you both will have to pitch in in ways like never before and adjust to new ways of doing family, but I know God has prepared your hearts for such a time as this and I am thankful that such a small sacrifice will let you live out love and live out the Gospel in a way I couldn't teach you with words.

4. We will center ourselves on the Gospel, on Jesus. When we lose sight of our focus, we become aimless and purposeless. Our family will have a purpose, a mission. We will follow Him with reckless abandon and I pray we keep what Jesus has done for us at the forefront. I pray that the Gospel isn't a story before we go to bed in our house hold. I pray it is our life-breath. I pray it defines our family, focuses us in our mission and I pray it is something we reflect to others. 
5. We will have fun! If we go through life while missing this, then we miss a lot! I look forward to the memory making that is to come. I look fondly on the times we have had together, just laughing until we cry and enjoying the beauty of God's creation. I pray you never see yourselves as a side note or distraction or bother to me. You are a precious treasure, my reward, my undeserved blessing straight from my Father. I pray I parent you in a way you can see the depth of your value to me and to your God. 
6. We will be generous- we will give sacrificially. We will welcome people into our home. We will be available to others. We will give to our mission and give sometimes until it hurts. We need to all get better at this and work at it as a team. I don't want to just teach you "the value of a dollar". I want you to know hard work and I want you to know responsibility with money. But even more so, I want you to know what impact we can have on the kingdom when we give. Because in the end, is it really just about getting another toy? Or could it be about giving a child a meal who hasn't eaten in days, or welcoming a child into our home who has no concept of what a family is. We will give generously because life is pointless if we don't. We will give generously because, God gives us more of Himself when we do. We will give generously because we want to love others well. Just as much as I couldn't and would do anything in my power to never let you go hungry or uncared for, we also have to do that for our neighbors, whether they live in North Carolina, Brazil or Uganda. 

These are just a few of my commitments to you. I cannot uphold them alone, but I lean into a great God who, If we are about His business, he will be about ours. I will delight myself in Him and let His will shape my desires. I know I will mess up daily and I will need your forgiveness endlessly. But I wouldn't rather do this with anyone else.

Monday, October 3, 2011

a lesson in parenting

Over the last few months God has taught me a lot about himself through parenting.  As I prepare myself to enter a new phase of parenting (they are all uncharted territory right!?), I have thought about how the Lord perfectly parents me. As I think about adding more children to our family. Children who don't know our language, the tastes of our food, maybe how to go up and down stairs, how to snuggle, whatever it may be. I think of the phases of parenting. That first year where it is all about meeting every need, the high pitched loving voice as we coo at that little baby in our arms, snuggling for hours on end, meeting every cry with a dry diaper, a burped back, a tight swaddle. Then time passes, our parenting changes. The next year or two brings on a different phase. A phase of encouraging independence, cheering as they crawl, take their first step, drink from a cup, feed themselves cheerios. Following this, a phase of discipline added onto the love and encouragement we have been giving. Having to set limits, boundaries, and enforce them over and over and over. A new phase begins, one where our child spends more and more time apart from us, "needs us less" in a certain sense of the word, but needing us in a different way. Needing us to come along side them as they decide how they will treat others, how they will obey, how they will navigate the world. There is a lot less of that "high pitch voice" and coos that there once were, there are more heart to hearts. Discussing the purpose of our family, how to work as a team, how to serve others. I think about a few weeks ago when reese came home from school and i asked her if there were any bad parts about her day. She told me how she got her feelings hurt when someone made fun of her hair when she took it down after p.e. Someone called her ugly and that she looked stupid. I was so sad she had to experience that. I remember being aftaid to send her to school because i knew she would face that kind of stuff. After she told me i got an opportunity to speak into her tender heart about her value, her preciousness, and what the Lord thinks of her. If she would not have gone through that hard time, i wouldnt have had her attention to take that chance to speak value into her heart. I know we will face a lot more of that as a family as we become a family of different colors. Lots of people will miss the beauty of it. It wont make sense to many. I know it will bring an opportunity to speak the gospel into our kids that we wouldnt have gotten to live out otherwise.  I don't know what the next phase will look like after this. But I think about my spiritual growth as it relates to these phases. It helps me think about the times God has been "silent" or what I thought was him pulling away from me. I would get so discouraged as to why he wasnt speaking so constantly to me as he did when I was growing fiercely fast. But then I think, maybe he is a proud father sitting back and watching what his child will do with her independence. There to coach and mentor and direct when needed, but I am at a different phase of growth in my spiritual life than when I was a "baby". Similar to 1 corinthians 3, he gave me spiritual baby food when I needed that. He knows my growth and I know he wants my growth. It looks different in different phases. Sometimes he is right next to me, speaking words and hand on my shoulder. And sometimes he just gives me the paint and a blank canvas and says Go. I am learning to enjoy both and lean on him in new ways. I am learning to consult him in different ways than when I was at a different phase of growth. I am learning to interpret him in new ways. I am learning to let fact walk before my faith, so that my faith is always focused on the fact of who God is and what he says about himself. And I've learned (and am still learning) to let my feeling follow my faith, always keeping its eyes on faith who is keeping its eyes on fact. When I get that order mixed up, that is when I doubt God's presence in my life. I let my feelings dictate my faith and that is not rooted in the fact of the Gospel. Jesus in my place. I am so thankful for a heavenly father who is patient and kind, but wildly fierce in his power. I am thankful for the times he has let me walk into hard things out in the world because it has given him an opportunity to speak value, wisdom and affirmation in my life I wouldn't have been needing otherwise.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

7 years

7 years. What an amazing journey it has been. I love this man more now than I ever thought I could, and I am sure I will say that again in another 7 years. I love this picture because it represents what God has done in and through our marriage. I am still in love. I think I had an initial fear that after 3-5 years when you know "all there is to know" about a person, that things wouldn't be as exciting. I was afraid I wouldn't have that excited feeling when I heard the garage door open or his car pull in the driveway. It is so not true. I am still so excited, privileged, and honored to love this man! I pray it is a love that our children see. It is not a perfect love, but I hope it points them to our Savior. Marriage is definitely a process that will show our selfishness and cause us to lean on Jesus. I find that in the hardest of times, I have switched John onto God's throne. I have expected John to fill the places in my heart God only made for himself. John is an amazing man and I am not sure why God poured his grace over me so lavishly when he gave me John. But i am so thankful for a companion that knows me, balances me out, calms me down, challenges me, encourages me, is so in sync with me, and someone that we can walk the difficulties of life with and it actually still be fun! So we celebrated 7 years and I couldn't be more thankful for each day we have had together. Praying God makes an impact on his kingdom because we are stronger together than we would have been apart. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

God is stirring...

So i just finished reading Kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com. Started backwards in 2007 and worked my way to present. (I highly reccommend you do the same, or just go to amazon.com and pre-order her book, it comes out Oct 4., seriously, just do it now.)What a challenging, heart wrenching, beautiful picture of the Gospel with hands and feet.  It has challenged me in ways I never have felt before, it has made me frustrated, made me rejoice, and God has used it to breathe a new breath into my heart.  Alongside of that I have been digging into scripture, Isaiah, Psalms, Job, John. And i started the book radical by david platt. Wow. I have been inundated with what following Jesus can really be like if we grab hold of it in the way God intended.  This has been an awesome month and a half of God emptying me of self and filling me up again.  I have never felt so close, communed with, spoken to, affirmed, directed, and fulfilled. What a picture of abiding he has given me. Man, what a perspective change when i am fully focused on him.  "things"of life just fade away without effort of trying to "put them away". This past 6 months has been the process of God answering 3 major prayers in my life over the last 2 years.
Prayer #1- What is our family mission? How will this guide our giving strategy? What are 3 areas we want to focus in on giving and do it well with kingdom impact in mind?
Prayer #2- What is the next step in the story you want to write for us God? We don't want to miss it and settle in the mundane.
Prayer #3- Is our family complete? If not, put a desire so deep in our souls we know it is you, and fill our capacity, take away our selfishness, and multiply our wisdom.

Prayer #3 was answered with a resounding clarity back in May. Prayer # 2 was answered partly while answering #3, yet this has taken on a much bigger answer. Part of that answer was answered in adoption, but I still feel like there is something bigger God is bringing into our story or asking of us. I am not sure what it is, but i know it is big and I am excited and terrified (in a good way) of it. Prayer #1 has been being answered since Christmas. We know our family is about these areas, and we will all (kids included) sacrificially give to it.
1. The unreached. We have a heart (thank you God for exposing us to it in ministry together with Cafe 1040) for those who have little access to the gospel, live in areas hostile to the Gospel, or have no way of knowing of Jesus. This is God's biggest heartbeat. To save the lost, and we believe he wants us on board with that.
2. College/Young marrieds- this one is still developing and morphing. We know we want to pour into young adults the perspective God has developed in us of how to have a healthy marriage, fight for it, and stay committed to it.
3. Orphans- God asks us all over the Bibles to care for the orphans. There are currently about 147 million of them. There are currently 2.1 billion people professing Christ. Look at the odds here, we could totally fulfill God's heart to love and care for the orphan if less than 10% of us heeded these verses. I used to use the cop out of "well we are all called to different things, that just may not be something I am called to". I have now learned that was Satan keeping me from answering the Lords call on all of us! (*Not only to adopt the orphan, but more so just to care for them in some way- financial, physical, etc) I think God was not picking and choosing followers which would follow this command. See James 1:27, Deuteronomy 24:17-21, Psalm 82:3-4, Psalm 68:5-6, Exodus 22:22-23, Psalm 10:14,17-18, Isaiah 1:17, Proverbs 31:8-9, Matthew 18:5, Matthew 25:40, Job 29:12, Psalm 146:9, John 14:15-21, Hosea 14:3, Jeremiah 49:11, Malachi 3:5, Jeremiah 22:3, Jeremiah 7:6, Jeremiah 5:28, Isaiah 1:23, Psalm 94:6, Job 31:16-18, Job 24:9, Job 22:9, Deuteronomy 14:288-29, Isaiah 10:2, Ezekiel 16:49. I was shocked at how many times the Lord commands it or says he despises when the orphans are oppressed or have injustice. We are also called to love our neighbor as ourselves. This doesn't mean our next door neighbor. This means the children God created in his image. I love a way that I read about this, God did not accidentally create too many children, too many orphans. We just have a calling that we are ignoring... I think too often we see images and hear statistics and are numb to them. Satan wants us to be numb, for it not to affect us. He wants us to see that image of the malnourished orphan on TV or the internet and not think of her as our own daughter. He doesn't want us to feel for her as if it was our "neighbor". Satan has won for far too long.

This is not a rant and rave intended for you, just the intensity in my heart of what God is showing me and what I am finally responding to after years of trying to turn it down in my heart and being blind to it.
Thank you God that you are a God who answers prayers, draws close, and is patient when I do not understand what your heart beats for.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Brave boy




He did it! Now for those of you who don't know my kids, a little description. Reese is my fearless, take on the world child, speaks to anyone and thinks their her best friend, loves new situations, big rollercoasters and jumping from high places.
Wheeler is my analyzer, he is timid in new situations, takes a little while to warm up, is soft and kind (most of the time) and likes to observe a lot (unless their is a ball in the mix). I blame part of it on his 27 trips to the doctor and ENT for 27 ear infections in 26 months, 2 surgeries and lots of adults holding him down most visits to dig wax out of his ears while he screamed and looked at me like why in the world am I letting this go on. Needless to say, that is what i attribute to his hesitation around adults...rooted in reason or not...i am not sure. 
Anyway, be it church or school, wheeler hasn't always done real well with the drop off.  Even at school last year where he went 3 days a week, if he caught sight of me leaving he would cry and run towards me. We had many talks, bribes, discipline, love and hugs about it. Needless to say, gearing up for a new school, new location, no kids he even recognized... i had my doubts. 
For the last 3 weeks of him crying as we went to his room at church, i was reminded of this verse and prayed it over him. Preparing for school, i told it to him. 
Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you."
Wheeler did awesome. He walked right in that class, put his lunch in his cubby and didn't take a second look back. 
Miracle.
Small miracle it may seem, but big for Wheeler. I am so proud of the man he is becoming.  When he has courage in his heart, i know he will be a man God will use. He is so kind and thoughtful. He has good things to say, he just sometimes needs that push of boldness to know it is worth saying. 
I hope my little guy remembers this verse for many years to come! Happy first day of school Bud!