Sunday, November 30, 2014

More good news! Rejoicing in His sovereignty..

Just in time for Thanksgiving we received more good news...our Homestudy has been approved!! We don't have the hard copy yet, that will come in early December, but we are Very excited to have the study behind us! So for better understanding, I turn to analogies, I am quite fond of them. They aren't perfect and this one won't be either, but hopefully, it will give you a better idea of where this puts us. So, if there were 'trimesters' in this adoption process, I think the first trimester would be everything leading up to and including the Homestudy. The Second trimester would be everything from the compiling of documents for your dossier to the dossier being received in country and the wait for a child referral. The third trimester would be from the receiving of a referral to coming home with your child. That said, December will be the crossover from the 1st to the 2nd trimester, so to speak. This is definitely a time to rejoice! We have learned so much in our journey in relationship with Christ, and this adoption has only amplified that learning and growing. It also continues to humble us, to feel God has chosen us for adoption is surreal and amazing, it has also opened up conversations with other people who have adopted or are going to adopt.  I had the privilege of speaking with a wonderful adoptive mom this past week and I was so uplifted. I have been a little all over the place the last couple weeks, not really sure if it's ok for me to be excited, or how much i'm supposed to hold that at bay, it seems impossible and also terrifying not to do at times. Anyways, this mom talked through pieces of their families' adoption story and she came to the part where this beautiful baby boy was born. They were blessed to be at his birth, hold him, care for him, their hearts open and in love. Then came the two day wait while birth mom made her final contemplation of what she was going to do; parent her child or entrust him to these to-be first time parents. She explained how in those 48 hours her and her husband together needed to surrender before their God this child, they prayed for the child they loved, and his dear birth mother. I left there struck to the heart. They are all God's kids, he knows their parents, and his choice is right, even if we don't understand it. It also doesn't change that they are a gift, and worth celebrating, whether we get to parent them or not. When is a time to not rejoice over their birth, knowing the God we serve has a specific plan for their lives? Is not every moment with them a gift? And if there is joy only when that child comes home to stay, when then can you fully rejoice? I have met moms of dear babies who they carried full term and lost in delivery, my own grandmother twice. Mom's also who's babies they carried full term, brought home, and lost suddenly weeks after. Mom's who's children died in their teen years. Their loss, incomprehensible to me, but isn't that because their life was such a gift? Yes, their life was a gift. Even our baby who we only carried for 15 weeks, what a gift. I am proud to be that baby's mama, and blessed that He choose me to carry him, even for a short time here. Point? I am to rejoice in life. Children born and unborn, ours or others, it is not my call. I have no right to motherhood, only the hope of the calling, and the wait for it's fulfillment. I may love and loose, but the love I am called to give, regardless of if loss is coming, that is my Father's example. So what is it then that i've been stuck on besides fear? I then began to ask myself where i'm putting my hope, what am I focusing on, if i've let it wander. You see, so often I walk focused on him and then get sidetracked, slowly fading to focus back on myself again and what I want and fear I can't live without. I loose sight of the fact that He is still completely sovereign, good, and worthy of all I am, he holds me purpose, and my trust needs to reside in him, as well as my hope. If my hope or trust is in anything else other than in Jesus, it will be misput and destined to disappoint and fail. He lovingly reminds me that this His story, one that we get the of being apart of. His love for us is so great, so unfathomable, it is perfect, and His plan for us is too. His plan for us is not only just, and purposeful for us, but also for the watching world as well, for generations so come. Not that our story will be famous or even spoken of often, but that our story will reflect Him, and His great work in us. That He will use it for his purposes. And for me, even if all of the honesty he calls me to share only draws one life closer to him, it will be worth it all, all the hurt and scary exposure. We are here to be used, to Glorify Him who is worthy, through his blessings, and the pain he allows at times. Our lives are to be lived in thankful response to His finished work, we are the drink offering to be poured out. As I'm writing this post, this song has been in the foreground of my mind. The lyrics come rolling out in my head over and over so I will share and think on the words.

Jesus, lover of my soul

It's all about you, Jesus
and all this is for you
for your glory and your fame
it's not about me
as if you should do things my way
You alone are God 
And I surrender to your ways

Jesus, lover of my soul
All consuming fire is in your gaze,
Jesus, I want you to know
I will follow you all of my days
For no one else in history is like you
And history itself belongs to you
Alpha and Omega, You have loved me
And I will share eternity with You

As I sit and think on what is to come, I surrender, I let go. There is freedom here. I hate that I still find myself with the brakes on, after all of it, all of what he has done for me and pulled me through, I fight to trust him, my default is still defense. But again and again, and again, he reminds me of his love, goodness, his faithfulness. He doesn't need to, I don't deserve him to, but he does because he is tender, he is patient, and he never gives up on his kids. I can look up at Him completely exposed, vulnerable, and not be ashamed, for he continues to wash me clean, the biggest waves I can barely catch my breath, over and over again his grace and sufficiency come, they cover me. He is that big, that great, I get lost in his grace. He is teaching me that I don't have to fear what is to come, or worse yet, try to protect my heart from him. I know this, but I still catch myself looking ahead and thinking of all that in unsure, instead of looking at Him who is my firm foundation, has always been, and will always be. I am so excited for the coming months, I'm excited because of him now without refrain, because I know this is going to be good, as He is good. That our roots will grow deeper as we stretch to trust him more, as his spirit moves in us, as he tenderly teaching us. We will be emboldened in him, and become more of who we were created to be, a living testimony to who He is. 

Please, Join us this week praising Him for his goodness and amazing and unfailing love, for He alone is worthy and to be praised!! 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Abundantly blessed, THANK YOU for your support!

So for those of you who don't know, we were able to be apart of a Vendor and Craft Show at the Avenue Coffee house in Cloquet this past Saturday. Kayla Leveille and Brook & Mandee Carlson put it all together and graciously decided to bless us with a booth at the vendor show free of charge. We used our booth to sell girls skirts, pacifier clips, dresses, and other sewing items that i have made my myself and with the help of friends and family, knit mittens, vanilla and hazelnut extract, wooden stars that Jan Dewey and Sarah Clifton made to donate, and many other items made by supporting friends and family.  Also, 30% of Kayla's Jamberry sales at the Vendor show and through the end of the month on her Facebook party, and half the proceeds from the booth fees and the silent auction, the other half going to The Raining Season Orphanage in Sierra Leone, West Africa. John and I can personally attest to the awesome ways God has been moving there, it is an orphanage that only God could create, with 'aunties and uncles' (names they call their care givers) that love on those kids everyday with all that they have. Traveling there a year and a half ago to spend 10 days with those kids is something John and I will never forget, and we will always long to go back and miss all those children dearly. When asked by one of our friends if we 'were feeling the love' from everyone, we can honestly and whole heartedly say YES, WE DO! We have no words for how much we feel lavished on, how thankful we are for our friends and family who so readily ask 'how can we help', 'what can we do', and mean it, for everyone who was apart of putting it together, who came to the show, or prayed for God to move, who have donated online or sent checks, we THANK YOU!!! This week, between Thursday and today (Sunday), a total of 4 days, we raised $9,427.50!!! We are blown away, and humbled to our cores. You are reminding us what a great God we serve, what awesome friends and family we have, and for that we thank you as well. My heart is so full, not to get goey people, it's just that we are so intensely encouraged. And at the risk of sounding strange, I will tell you that I feel just as pregnant as I did when there was a child growing inside me, know why? Because there is, the saying a some of you may have heard 'growing a child not under my heart but in it' is not cliche, it is a true, raw, real emotion. Even though I don't know how this going to turn out, and I know all the uncertainty of adoption, I still feel blessed in it. Everyday I wake up with the realization that I have been called to adoption, I don't know if I can adequately explain how humbling that feels. The idea that someone would entrust us with the child they grew inside of them, walked with, talked to, birthed, well, that is insanely humbling and continues to humble me, and instill in me a profound feeling of love, and a huge sense of responsibility. I pray for birth family, let me rephrase that, I get the profound blessing and gift of praying for them, everyday. How can you love and respect someone you have never met? Adopt. For a family to have the wisdom, the selflessness, the courage, the Love, the faith, confidence and trust in God and trust in us to chose to give their child in hopes of the opportunity of a better future for them, that is amazing. That is crazy love. I have been day dreaming this week of meeting our child, but also meeting their birth family, and I am shook to the core, in the best kind of refining way. I want them to know that I love and respect them, not because they are giving us their child to raise, but because they are brave, they are worth loving and respecting. This is such an amazing journey, and i speak for both John and I when I say we feel the love, we feel the support, we are insanely blessed and humbled to call you all friends and family. Thank you again for being apart of what God is doing in us, for sharing in our journey, we love you all!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

So here's the super encouraging good news!!

First off, I have to apologize for my long delay in updating this blog.  The past two months have been full with an adoption education class, home study meetings with our social worker, psychological evaluations of our marriage and me personally. Good news: our marriage is stable, was praised, and I passed the psych evaluation with flying color as expected :) We had a delay in receiving all the documentation and letters from the psychologists, but all and all the worst of the home study is behind us, and this coming Monday, the 10th is our Last meeting! Our social worker and one other social worker will be coming to our home here in Esko, checking out our living arrangements, and discussing adoption parenting, what we've done for training, and what more we can do. After that she will then write our official Home Study, present it to a board of her peers, and we should be approved to move forward with adoption!!

Next, around the beginning of 2015, we will be working with the Republic of the Marshall Islands coordinator to put together our Dossier and other documents, and if all goes well we could be receiving a referral (RMI government matching us with a child pending our acceptance) around May-June, which would mean we could be traveling this July/August!!! (We then would be in country for a few weeks before arriving home with child)

We are over the moon excited! Let me be the first to say about this: that our God is AWESOME. No, not just because we got great news, but because his timing is perfect. The past couple weeks I've really been struggling with our infertility, feeling old, and I've just not been seeking Him. I've instead turned to sugar and TV shows for distraction, a lot. I've binged watched shows, and eaten too many hot tamales and I'm not real proud of it. But you know what's so radical about my Father? He still loves me, wants me and pursues me. When I fall or get stuck in a rut of negativity and hermit-like behaviors, he still draws me back to himself. He does this because it brings him glory, and because he loves me, and when you truly love someone you want the best for them, and he is it. In him Alone do I find true peace, joy, hope, agape love, freedom, refuge, and abundant life. Sunday I was really
convicted in my much needed quiet time that I have viewed part of his character wrong. Let me explain, time and time again in the Old Testament God allows and even sends famine, distruction and devastation to the people of isreal. Why, people have asked, would a loving God do that? Well, because he loves us deeper than we can comprehend, he knows us best, and what he longs for us is a deep and abiding relationship with him. Why? Because that is where we find all what our hearts and minds seek so deeply; identity and purpose, and everything only he can provide. He is willing to allow his children to suffer for a time and run back to him, for the fate without the famine is worse, a life without knowing our creator. So, with that background as an example, I have seen and can attest to the fact that emotional suffering can be extremely refining and amazing in the fact that when we seek him in it, we grow deeper roots in him, he shows us more of who he is and we can't help but be changed by it.  Just as the disciples were changed by their relationship with Christ for all to see, so are we too by abiding in him. We can boast that because of his finished work on the cross and his continued refining work in us, we can say with all confidence that in all circumstances; he is worthy, love, good, righteous, faithful, just. But where I've been stuck is thinking that this is my reality now, my mission, to suffer this emotional roller coaster well, for his glory. To hopefully show people through my one life a price of who he is, and the sufficiency of our God, to let his story for my life unfold and to respond with thanksgiving with the end in mind. And that is still true, although my God has been teaching me that he loves to lavish blessing on us as well. I look at my life and see more
clearly all the time the blessings I've been so freely given, and after this last adoption meeting I just wanted to fly, and I'll tell you why...:). To see what my God has already blessed me with and to feel him completely reignite our hope again that this process will bring us to our child, and sooner than we had anticipated, well let me tell you, I feel lavishly blessed on!!