May 24, 2012

Two Years

Two years ago this week we officially began our adoption journey. I remember making those first phone calls and exchanging initial emails with our agency. I never dreamt that two years later we would still be a family of five. It has been a very long road and we are not through. We have yet to even see our next child or children's face.  I am not sure if I were told back then that it would take this long I would have been on board. I think I would have looked at other options. Today though I am glad we said yes.

You see the Lord we serve is good and faithful. His love endures. His loves continues even while we wait. His love refines, reshapes, and changes us each day.  In the last two years He has asked us to step out on a limb over and over. He has searched our hearts and saw more work to be done. Sin that I thought was not there, was there, hidden. For myself it has been selfishness, pride, and unwillingness to release control. The way I see it now is if you deal with any of these things the best way for it to be dealt with is for God to 1.) open your eyes to the plight of the orphan,  2.) ask you to fund raise the money to adopt, and then 3.) make you wait at least 100 2 years! LOL!

The wait can be difficult. We continue to pray for those that He will bring into our family. I long to see the face of my child(ren), to hear their name spoken, to know their story, and to experience that first embrace. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about them. Our days are filled with laughter and many memories and I am thankful for that, but my heart aches for those that are without a family to call their own.

Three bright smiles that continue to bring the sunshine throughout the long wait.

God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that. 
1 Corinthians 1:9  -The Message

Feb 28, 2012

What are we called to do?

The second month of 2012 has come and gone. Still no referral. We still don't know if we will be adding a boy or a girl or a set of siblings to our family. I can't even remember now if I had posted or not about our parameter changes back in October. It was time to update our homestudy after a year of waiting. We had been praying for several months about opening up to any possibility that God might have for our family. In late August we made the decision.
Our current parameters are 0-24months boy, girl, or up to two siblings.  How exciting, not knowing!
We continue to pray each day for our child(ren). We ask that you too might join with us in prayer.

I wanted to share with you something that I spend most of my time thinking and talking about these days.

In Luke Chapter 10 it is written:
 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"  He answered: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself."  "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."  But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. "Look after him," he said, "and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have." "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

The first part of this scripture is something I think most believers expect to hear. I think that the man of the law expected it as well. That Jesus would say that we are to love God. He goes a step farther though and says that we are to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind.  Essentially every bit of our being should be wrapped up and focused on our love of God. Point blank. There is nothing left. The only possible extra we could have is overflow of what He has added to us.

He doesn't stop there. He continues to say that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. This leaves the man of law asking more questions.
When first reading this I was brought to some of questions of my own.  If Christ says that I am to love my neighbor as myself , who is my neighbor?
As we read through the scripture Christ demonstrates that anyone who could receive an act of kindness is our neighbor. Not simply the people on our block or even those that live in the same town, but anyone and everyone that we are given an opportunity to show kindness too. Including those of different backgrounds, races, religions, or cultures.  Possibly anyone on the planet could be our neighbor. 
He also stated that we are called to love them as ourselves. So how do I love myself? What things do I do for myself that demonstrates my own self love? I guess for me it is easier to look at the things I wouldn't allow because I do care for myself. I know I don't allow myself to go hungry, I don't allow myself to live on the street, I wouldn't sit idly by if my children were in need, I wouldn't allow myself to knowingly walk into a dangerous situation, I wouldn't want for myself to be hurt by the words of another, and I wouldn't want to live life alone. These are just a few. So if I believe what Jesus is teaching here is truth, why do I or do we as believers obey part of what he has commanded and why do many of us continue to forget the second half?

I often say and proclaim that all that I have been given or blessed with is God's but more often than not that is not how I live. I strive but fall short. He has blessed me and my family with much and it should all be for the taking and using for his kingdom. My neighbors should not be in need if I am in excess.

A quick pic at the end of our date night on Sunday in STL. The next day we had an appointment to get our fingerprints redone.


Jan 7, 2012

Christmas thoughts

Today is Christmas in E*thiopia.

While in E*thiopia there is some celebrating going on, in our home there are many thoughts and prayers drifting about. Today we consider the Christmas we experienced just a few weeks ago. We think back to the day of celebration, gifts, and food. Are those we love in ET celebrating the same way today? It is truly unlikely.  You see the ones that we have grown to love over the last year or so are probably experiencing the day much differently. 

Firenesh, the young girl we sponsor in ET, comes from a family who has been in great need for several years. Her family has not been able to maintain a steady amount of food,  receive medical treatment, or provide a substantial  education for their children. She is 9 years old and from her letters you can tell she is just like our girls in many ways. She has a child's heart and truly just wants to be a kid.

The others that we have come to love, we hardly know at all. They are the faces we see over and over again on the waiting child list of various agencies.  We also, of course, have grown to love the child or children that will some day be ours. We have yet to even see their sweet faces but they hold a special place in our hearts and our prayers.

Today is a day of celebrating the birth of Christ in a country whose people have endured much affliction. A day for us to reflect and remember the hope that was born on that very day for all the people of the world including those we love in E*thiopia. 

We are called and commanded to share that hope and come to the aid of those that are suffering and afflicted.

Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17

 Blessings my friends and Melkam Gena!
(Amharic for Merry Christmas)