Monday, July 5, 2010

Little History Boy

This photo has a powerful story ..... my heart is full of gratitude as I hear and now get to "see" a bit of how God is using my precious far-away-son in Ethiopia. "Little History Boy" ..... I cannot wait to hear more of how God has protected you and I know He has a wonderful future for you.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

When the storms come

Last night as the storm rolled in ..... it got me thinking. Storms, much like life, are unpredictable. We might have some warning through weather reports, or circumstances, but when we're right in the midst of the storm everything can seem so out of control. I watched the trees out my front room window wondering if they were gonna come crashing to the ground with the extreme winds that came through. Shortly after, the winds took down a great big branch from the tree to the east. Yet the tree still stood. It got me thinking about our lives. Each of us have had times in our lives that we experienced broken branches. Just like that big 'ole tree that is rooted so very deeply and broadly into the ground .... I need to be deeply rooted in God's truth. If I'm not, I won't stand when the storms come.

Just as the winds were coming from every direction, swirling about, taking plants, lawn furniture and anything loose to places they didn't belong, that is exactly how it can feel when our lives are ripped up and blown about by tragedy, heartache and despair. God is still God even in the storms of life. His goodness does not change. He is just as good when we get to see the amazing miracle of new birth as He is when we lose a loved one to a sudden death. He is just as loving when a child is welcomed into a family as He is when another child becomes an orphan. He is just as faithful when we land a new job, or get a house sold in record time as He is when there is month after month of unemployment and we fall into financial despair.

I want to be like the tree outside my front room window that is still standing today in spite of yesterday's storm. I want to stand strong when the storms of life come crashing around me and the Enemy of the universe tries to get me to give up. I want my roots to be so firmly rooted in God's Truth that NOTHING of this world can destroy me completely.

You and I will have broken branches as we journey through life on this earth. There will be things in our lives that are completely out of our control. Sometimes our trees get out of balance and need pruning. But if we are rooted in Truth, we will weather the storm.

How about you .... are you feeling like the storms of life just leave you feeling out of control? Are you frightened when the high and unpredictable winds come? Do you wonder where God is when you see destruction? Be encouraged, that He is still there ... He is still the same loving and merciful Father that He has always been. He is worthy of our absolute trust.

Lord help me to weather the storms well, being rooted in your Truth. Help me be a tree of LIFE.

Proverbs 3:18 (NIV)

18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who lay hold of her will be blessed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Caring for Orphans ...

James 1:27 NIV

27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

There's a certain boy that lives far, far away whom my heart both loves and breaks for. His legal status is orphan .... but his love status is son. In my heart, he is my son .... no different than the sons who reside here in my home with me. It was over two years ago now that I met him in an orphanage in Ethiopia. He's been there many years. No doubt he went to bed many nights over the years wondering if he'd ever have family again.

He has dreams and ambitions. He longs to make a difference for his people. He works hard to flee from the immorality that surrounds him. At times he finds a way to write to me. One morning this week after talking with our kids at VBS about orphans I got one of those emails. Part of it reads ... "you are not like Ethiopian mother you are from somewhere that God only sent to me. I swear to God,Mom you are so special to me." Oh how TRUE, my son ... only God could have brought us together. He wanted me to know he's waiting on his testing scores which determines if he can get into the university .... his only hope for a future there.

We're called to care for orphans. That will look a little differently for each of us. Caring for orphans doesn't give you some "warm and fuzzy" feeling. Caring for orphans breaks your heart .... it shatters you ... it leaves you feeling like you can never do enough. We can't do enough. We can't solve the orphan crisis over-night. What we CAN do is obey what God gives us to do EACH day.

There is so much I want to do for Getahun. I want to provide a home for him. I want to hug him goodnight. I want to wash his clothes. I want to cook him a meal and provide enough food for him to feel full. I want to hold him in my arms. I may never get to do any of these things this side of heaven. There are times I lose heart and wonder why God ever had me meet Getahun if I cannot do these things. If I cannot fix his situation.

The painfully hard reality is that not all orphans will be adopted. (at least not yet!) Will I trust God to show me HOW to CARE for ORPHANS? Will I trade in my fleshly desire to have a heart that feels content and warm and fuzzy ..... for one that BREAKS? Oh Lord that I might TRUST you more and understand more clearly HOW to CARE for orphans. Caring for orphans is not to be about ME ... it's to be about HIM! Because of what Christ did for ME ... how can I not care about His children?

This last week we had the amazing privilege of sharing with our VBS kids about orphans. Their questions and interest were so awesome. I smile just thinking about how God was honored as they gave sacrificially to make a difference.

My heart is so grateful that this precious one is no longer in an orphan bed. Yet so many still are.

I would love to hear about how "caring for orphans" is being lived out in your life. Link your blog in the comments below. :) Maybe you've never given much thought to your responsibility in caring for orphans. What do you think God is asking you to do?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Paint chips, Puffs and Praise

Finally the rain stopped awhile so I could get back to scraping the paint off the porch on this big 'ole house we're trying to make home. The children were all busy playing out back and it allowed just enough time for the flood gates to open once again. Something about working on this house reminded me of "the other house" that we still are waiting on closure for. Perhaps it was remembering all the long, hard months we worked on "the other house" to make into home ... knowing how it seemed to be all in vain now, that really hit deep once again. If I allowed myself I could believe any one of the crazy lies that flash through my head on a given day.

As I willed my mind to think on truth I went back to recount all the times I could think of in the past few years that God has shown Himself sooooo faithful. Quickly the Lord brought to mind waiting in a surgery prep room as I signed papers for a procedure that was so against everything I wanted. Doing so gave us a fighting chance on escaping a full-blown illness of cancer. I remembered how I had wrestled through the journey and how God has shown Himself as the God of all Comfort to me. Even when I felt so empty, He was there. He would NEVER ask me to face something without Him. By His precious grace we'd later have the privilege of bringing home TWO orphans.

While I kept scraping the porch and wiping the tears with Puffs, my mind traveled to another hospital room. This time it was when God spared my amazing middle son's life from a deadly sledding accident. I don't know HOW many times the doctors told us in that week stay just "how close" he was and all the "ifs". But instead this guy now towers over me and is so solidly standing on a firm foundation with a heart for many to know the Lord. Oh what PRAISE fills my heart.

That memory of course brought me to a more recent "close call" with my oldest, which you can read about here. Again, God spared that son's life. Lord, your MERCY is more than I can even comprehend.

Many of you have faced your own hardships.
  • Trusting God for finances for your adoption.
  • A medical diagnosis.
  • The indescribable loss of a loved one.
  • A lost job during the crumbling economy.
  • The fear of the unknown.
  • A broken marriage, by a spouse who got up and walked away.
  • The loss of a dream.
No matter what we face there is someONE there if we will choose to look to Him. We have to choose to look to Him though. He never forces Himself on us. He not only knows our name and the number of hairs on our head, but He knows every detail of what we're going through. He even knows the things we can't voice out loud.


3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion
and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those
in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

HELLO!!! .... there is PURPOSE in what He allows in our lives.

5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ
our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation;
if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance
of the same sufferings we suffer.
7And our hope for you is FIRM, because we KNOW that just as you share in our sufferings,
so ALSO you share in our comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7

I deserve NOTHING, yet He cares enough about me to SHARE in everything going on in my life!

I continued scraping all that paint away, leaving a trail of wet Puffs behind me. I must choose to REST in HIM knowing that all the chapters of our story have not been written yet. It is NOT up to me to make that house sell. It is NOT up to me what the future brings. It IS up to me to TRUST HIM, to WALK WITH HIM, to LOOK TO HIM.

God isn't "good" because the house sold. GOD IS GOOD because He's THERE on the front porch in the midst of paint chips, wet Puffs and a host of unknowns. HE is the very REASON there is PRAISE.

Maybe you're in the midst of your own storm. He knows every tear you've shed. HE wants to be your comfort.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Two Years With Family . . .

Oh sweet Arsema's hard to believe you've been home with us now for two years. We have watched you change in many ways. It seems so long ago you were our precious orphan babe fearful of much, highly guarded and withdrawn.

I think back to the year long journey of bringing you home. The paperwork ..... endless paperwork. The HUGE financial mountains we had to climb. The THOUSANDS of hand-made cards that were designed, made, distributed and sold to help bring you out of the status of orphan and into the arms of family.

I'm so thankful for all that God has done in your life. You bring such JOY to those around you. Your eyes still speak volumes. It's hard for me to comprehend sometimes just how God brought you into our lives. That He would choose us to step out in faith ... so many odds against us ... so that you'd be surrounded by family. Every mountain, was worth the climb, my precious child.

When we first met you your heart was so broken, your body so stiff, your demeanor so cold. Now I get to hear the pitter-pat of your feet in the mornings as you come to find me and offer me huge hugs.

I think of your dear sweet birth-momma who gave you life. When I close my eyes I can still feel her snuggled into my shoulder and enveloped in my arms. When I look at you and your sometimes timid and shy eyes I know where they come from.

What a blessing it is to see you settled into family life. As long as big sister (who you've pretty much caught up to in size now) isn't bossing too much, or we don't leave you behind a closed door (like in the Sunday School class) ..... you are the happiest girl on the block. You absolutely adore your big brothers and you pretty much can get them to do anything you want. :) Unless you throw a fit. None of us are really into fit-throwing, but you are catching onto that as well.

God has a wonderful plan for your life, sweet Arsema. I am so humbled that I get to be part of it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

In a moment ... everything can change

Yesterday the phone rang. It was one of those calls a parent hopes to never receive. The shaky voice of my first born .... "We had an accident." At that moment I drifted into a fog that I haven't quite made my way out of yet. It was hard to even grasp the next part of the sentence ... "we're all okay".

I think it's impossible to prepare for such a moment. This type of event sends your mind into a whirlwind that just has a really hard time stopping to rest. A momma's heart envisions the incomprehendable of preparing for your child's funeral. While caught up in that moment you remind yourself once again the reality that everyone is OK ... and someday there may still be that wedding you've dreamed of.

A time such as this sure brings about a lot of reflection. All the "what ifs" flood your mind and heart as if it's been taken over by waves of the ocean. What if the car had crashed into that telephone pole just a few inches over? ... is one of them.

To say that I'm thankful that everyone is okay just does not even begin to try and describe the gratitude within me. No one is exempt from tragedy. We could easily be planning a funeral(s) this week instead of looking forward to the future.

All praise to God for His overwhelming protection over these precious teens. It's hard for me to grasp what must have taken place in that accident in ways we cannot see with human eyes.

Oh Lord, may I never forget your power and great mercy. Thank you for giving me more time to hug my precious son and watch him grow into the man you created him to be. Thank you for sparing these kids' lives. I know you're working in them to bring good from this and glory to yourself. In a moment everything can change. Help me trust you moment by moment as we journey through together.

C ... if you read this ... I love you more than you could ever imagine possible. Someday when you hold your child, you'll understand. I'm so glad we get more time together. I can hardly wait to see more of the ways God will use you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Family Photo 2010

Never dreamed years ago this is what our family photo would look like. We are so blessed beyond measure. Embracing 2010 and excited to see all that the Lord does!