Sunday, August 31, 2008

Living in the Shadows

I am reading an AWESOME book that I wanted to comment on. I hope that everyone will go get a copy to read. The book is called "Red Letters" by Tom Davis. I purchased the book from a discount place online, but if you purchase the book in a regular store, a portion of the proceeds goes to help orphans in Africa!

The book shares about the pandemic of HIV/AIDS and how it is affecting children all over Africa. It also asks the question, "Why is the church sitting idly by and letting this destruction happen?" It is so thought provoking and heart wrenching. I love how the author describes it...

"So why don't we do more to help others? Sadly, many of us live in a world of shadows. In the realm of shadows, we seek only those things that help us remain in the fog of comfort and safety."

Wow! That so describes me sometimes. I often find myself overwhelmed with the problems around the world, or the ones I'm dealing with here, and find myself retreating into my safe, comfortable little world where I don't have to think about it and don't have to respond.

I know the Lord is trying to gently pursuade me to quit living in the shadows...I feel like I am taking baby steps. I wonder where they will lead? :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What the future holds...

Yesterday, my almost 4-year-old son, Nathan, was singing a song he made up for me and his daddy. He claps his hands, then hits his thighs, back and forth making a rythem for his song. He sings about everything, from getting dressed in the morning, to cooking lunch, from taking a bath, to eating lunch at Chick-fil-a...literally. After his song was finished, he gave us a great big smile, looked at his daddy, and said, "How bout that?! You want that on your ipod, daddy?" I almost cried. It was so, so sweet. :)

Today, I was thinking about his song and the fact that a three year old knows what an ipod is and how it works. :) I thought...I can't wait till our son comes home from India. I think about everything he will get to experience and the opportunities he will have that millions of orphans will never get to experience. Only God knows what the future holds. I am so excited right now to be able to share this time with my kiddos and I can't wait till our other son finally joins us. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

One Heartbeat At A Time!

I was listening today to my ipod while I was cleaning house. :) I heard a song that I don't remember hearing before, but it's lyrics really caught my ear. It was a song by Steven Curtis Chapman on his This Moment cd. It was called "One Heartbeat At A Time." This is a song for every mother out there! The words to the verses are great and the chorus is such a sweet reminder to keep doing what we are doing. :) It encouraged me this morning, so I thought I'd share the lyrics with you and let you know you need to download this song to your ipods. :)

You're up all night with a screaming baby
You run all day at the speed of life
And every day you feel a little bit less
Like the beautiful woman you are
So you fall into bed when you run out of hours
And you wonder if anything worth doing got done
Oh, maybe you just don't know
Or maybe you've forgotten

You, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time

With every, "I know you can do it"
And every tear that you kiss away
So many little things that seem to go unnoticed
They're just like drops of rain
Over time they become a river

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bread Crumbs!

OK. I just have to share this with you. In his interview with Larry King, Steven Curtis was asked to explain about bread crumbs...something a counselor had shared with their family. He told how after Maria's death they kept saying, "We can't SEE why, Lord. Show us!" Then, after leaving the hospital, they walked into the house and saw on the art table, a picture of a flower that Maria had drawn. It had 6 petals and only one petal was colored in. There are 6 children in the family and Maria had already gone to be with the Lord when they found the picture. On the top of the photo she had written the word SEE. This was a word she had never written before and they didn't know that she even knew how. They said they knew this was a "bread crumb" from the Lord to them as they are walking on this journey toward their true home where they will join Maria (the colored in petal) who is truly whole now. Wow!

So, yesterday we received our reimbursement check in the mail from the organization my husband teaches for during the summer months while he is off school. Usually it takes several months to receive his reimbursements for expenses and they usually come in one at a time in smaller amounts. It was so strange when I opened the mail. It was a lump sum check for the 5 seminars he taught this summer. We were not even expecting the check to arrive till September sometime. David and I were so excited. Now we could finally send a check to our adoption agency for the remainder that we owe them up to this date! I stopped and thanked the Lord for His goodness and provision for us.

This afternoon, I turned in my devotional book and the key verse for today was..."My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 There was a bread crumb for me today! :) A visible reminder that He is watching over us...we do not have to walk this path alone. And, until we are home someday...together at last...His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) and His mercies are new each morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Suffering with the Poor

One of the new blog buzz questions of the week is..."If compassion means, "to suffer with," how do we attach ourselves to the suffering of the poor? What does it look like and how do we implement it into our lives?"

Wow. I was not sure about this one. It really got me to thinking. You know I don't suffer WITH or FOR the poor. Should I be? How would I do that? I began to think about what it means to suffer. I "suffer" when our air goes out and I am hot. I "suffer" with hunger pains when I don't get to eat right away. I "suffer" when we have used up my husband's pay check for the two weeks and we don't get paid for another 5 days. I realize that I am very blessed.

The Lord began to whisper to my heart that "to suffer with" the poor and to show true compassion, it should cost me should be life-changing. In America today, we are so blessed and really count the cost when something affects our lives, our time, our comfort zones, or our wallets. Now, my husband and I sponser a child in poverty from India through Compassion International and I love their ministry...but, it doesn't cost me anything. One time eating out with my family pays for the month for my child. That is NOT suffering for the poor. The Lord brought 2 passages of scripture to my mind.

First, I Chronicles 21:18-27. David wanted to offer a sacrifice to the Lord to protect his people, but he was away from home and didn't have a place to set up an alter. He found a man with a threshing floor and asked for permission to buy the site. The man offers to give it to David for free, along with animals for the sacrifice. What I love is David's reply. "...I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing."

Second, Matthew 19:16-22. A rich young ruler is wanting eternal life and lets the Lord know that he has kept all the commandments. The Lord knows his heart and so tells him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me." The sad thing is, the young man turns down the invitation to help the poor and follow Jesus because..."he had great possessions."

Now, to make it personal. I would have to say that our decision to adopt is probably the first thing we have ever done that has caused us to sacrifice our control, our comfort zones, our time, our finances, and will definitely change our lives forever. We have had to lay everything at the Lord's feet and say, "Lead us and we will follow." Now, I know that everyone cannot adopt a child. (Although, I must throw in a thought of my own that many more people CAN adopt than WILL. Usually when I am talking to someone about adoption the common responses are, "We don't have the money, or we don't feel comfortable with it." Both, I believe just mean we are not willing to sacrifice for this, and or we don't believe God is big enough to change our hearts and fill our wallets. Then my precious husband has to remind me that I am not the Holy Spirit for everyone else. :) However, I believe anyone can find a way to truly sacrfice financially, or give up precious time, or leave comfort zones, to make an impact in the life of someone else who has nothing. And, I can say for a fact that it will change lives! Are you up for the challenge? :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Not in control!

I have heard many stories of the woes people who are adopting run into with the various government agencies. You try so hard to get all your paperwork together and done correctly and in on time, and then some unknown person in some unfamiliar government agency messes things up and you realize once are not in control of this process called adoption. This week, we have come across a stumbling block of our own...although one I hope that can be quickly corrected. Immigration is saying that they have not yet received our home study and so they have not sent us our I-171H. For those of you who don't know what that is, don't worry, we don't either. :) We just know that it is another form we have to have and one that must go to India. The problem is that we DID send them our home study and it was in the same packet with the application we filed with them before we were fingerprinted. All that jumbled mess to say this...Aaaaaahhhhhhh! O.k. I know we will get it taken care of, but it is frustrating to have them lose something we worked so hard to get together. So, I am just praying that they will find our home study and I will rest in the fact that although I am not in control...and that is very hard for God is. :)