Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Becoming less childish and more Child-like

Sometimes I feel like such a fool. Like these past two weeks as I have been worrying about money and provision which I cannot control. And trying to hand out my ideas of what to do, how to fix, how to provide. As I listen to myself I feel like I sound a bit like a whiny teenager, maybe even childish in my plans.

It's a bit embarrassing to admit.

And then, while I was madly cleaning our house yesterday, I stumbled upon OG's book from school--the preschool one that has pictures of her family, her self portrait, her fingerprint, pictures of heaven (a blue blob), and the baby Jesus. I was paging through it, not taking much note of anything extraordinary, until I stumbled upon her last page. A picture of what her family looks like that she drew/painted at the end of the school year, about 4 weeks ago.

Notice, my 4-year-old has complete confidence in what we desire--so much so that her new brother and sister are already a part of our family. See, her new brother is hiding behond a bush (on the left) and her new sister is not shy (on the far right). This picture stops me in my tracks. It brings tears to me eyes. It reminds me to have faith like a child: a beautiful-not-doubting-not-worrying kind of faith. The faith that believes that God said there will be two more in our family.

That's my goal: to be less childish and more child-like with the hopes that as time passes I become more Christ-like. 

To end tonight, I want to give to you a gift that God gave us. A music video by Third Day. In it we see a picture of what our family could look like one day, but also a clear visual image of the fact that every single one of us has been adopted by our great God, the one true God.

We are the saints, we are the children,
we've been redeemed, we've been forgiven,
we are the sons & daughters of our God.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Continuing Journey, and God's Provision

This past week has certainly been an interesting week. If you know me, you know that I do not handle stress that well and last week was full of it. There were two ear infections, adoption education, homeschool cirriculum fairs, meetings, a quick trip to chicago, bathroom work, and the rest of life as we know it.

And the most stressful thing: Eric & I took a long, hard look at our finances as we continue to refinish our bathroom and pursue this adoption. We are working hard to pay for everything with cash. We don't want to take loans to finance any of this. Knowing this, we realized a hard truth. We will not have enough money to do both of these things.

And this, to me, is a paralyzing realization.

There are things I know about God's provision, things I trust about this call to adopt and following the heart of God. But then, right now, there are many things I don't know about how it is all going to happen. In this past week I was very discouraged. The question I kept (and still keep) asking is: HOW? How will we pay for it all? How will we have the money for our first adoption payment? How will the timing work out? How can we cut our budget to make enough room?

We still don't have answers, but we have seen bits of provision: bathroom cabinetry at a fabulous discount, the gift of swimming lessons for the kids, coming in under budget at the grocery store and farmer's market.

And we will start fundraising. Our first big payment to the adoption agency is $6,000 and we believe it will come due in about 2-3 months. So, to get there we are planning a garage sale (july 8&9--we're accepting donations of your stuff!) and we will have a backyard barbeque/pig roast. I am also working on creating something to sell--produce bags. More on that to come.

To help all of us visualize where we are in the fundraising process, I am going to add a fundraising thermometer to this site, so we can all track God's provision & faithfulness and the deep love of others.

We value your offers to help in any way, and we covet your prayers.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

163,000,000-2 = 7

Today's thoughts are deeply personal, but I need to share them. I may stumble over my words and not have the right words for everything, but I ask that you read with an open heart and try to hear mine.

Right now, as I write this there are an estimated 163 million orphans in the world.

163,000,000 kids without a mom or dad to take care of them.

Think about that for a moment.

They can be found in every single country in the world. The United States, throughout the continent of Africa, in increasing numbers in Asia and the former Soviet bloc countries. In the poor slums in of South and Central America, in foster and group homes in the United States, in orphanages everywhere.

They are orphans for many different reasons. Some reasons have to do with disease: HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria. Some have to do with armed conflicts that have stolen parents from kids who need them. Some have to do with cultural norms that doom a child who is not recognized by his father. Some are because law in a country forbids multiple children. Some are because of poverty, substance abuse, and an inability to parent in the face of great difficulty.

Over the span of many years, God has been breaking my heart: for the broken, for the lonely, for the motherless. Then over this past year, I read the history books of the Old Testament in conjunction with my kid's history studies. What I found was fascinating, challenging, eye-opening. One thing: God cares deeply about the plight of the orphan and the widow. Deeply. And I began to know that it was time to act. To put movement on my feet and action to my hands and act out this love.

Now there are actually a myriad of ways to act for those 163 million orphans. That number of orphans indicates that there are huge, monumental problems that countries, the world, God's church need to address and work together to solve.

But for me and our family: our call to action is to bring two orphans into our home, our family. To be a family that is united by marriage, by birth, and by adoption.

Why? Because God loves me. He took me into his family though I was sitting in a corner dying in my sin.

Eric & I have walked separate journeys to come to this place. I have had to realize that I am called to be a mother, not resigned to it. Obviously, Eric didn't need to go to that place, but we both had to be moved by God to acknowledge his will, his provision, and then to act upon it.

Together, our family has just started a long road. It will probably be a while before we have a referral and even longer to travel to pick up our kids. We have a lot to learn between now and then: lessons about grace and provision, how we parent, how we are as a family, the importance & place each person has in our family and how to balance everything. Oh, don't worry, our eyes are wide open as to the positives and negatives associated with adoption. We have seen both the beautiful and the heart-breaking.

But you know what? We've actually started! And we're excited. And a teeny bit freaked out. Somewhere out there, there are two kids (or one if that's what God wants) that are meant for this family. Crazy to understand and even harder to imagine.


It's not much, but it's a start.
"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come for you."
John 14:18