Friday, May 29, 2009

redemption



Yesterday was a totally crummy day.

Lost my peace. Lost my patience. It wasn't pretty.

Today, I've listened to this song--over and over and over. :-)

I'm so thankful that my God is peace. He is patience. He is all things good. He's all that I'm not. And, He loves me through the good days and the bad.

If you like this song, you'll love the rest of Kristene Mueller's CD. (BTW - I don't think this is a video that the artist made herself. At least you can hear her sing it. I like the heart and hope pics towards the end.)

"Redemption is so much better than perfection." It's because of that, that I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Imperfect and yet oh-so-loved,



Thursday, May 28, 2009

waiting

Waiting requires a great deal of faith and hope in the One who loves us all. If you've ever pursued a precious child through adoption, you know by personal experience that waiting can feel like absolute torture. Really.

When we were in the middle of our adoption of our youngest, Sara, we completed our paperchase and homestudy before we received her referral. While we had dreams of having another daughter in our family, we had no idea who she would be or what her sweet little face would look like.

Once we received our referral, our hearts instantly bonded to the little we knew about her. Her name was Wei Kang Xia and she was born in Tianjin, China. The birth date they gave her (the day she was found) was May 24, 2005. She was a beautiful little girl. We received our referral in August 2006 and traveled to receive her in November 2006. And so it was, the torture of waiting began. Four long months.

This time, however, we kinda went into the process backwards. We decided to adopt again and requested a DVD of waiting (older) children.

Our family immediately fell in love with a seven-year-old little boy with the initials M.B. We know some very basic information about him, but are awaiting his official referral.

We are now five months into our process. Our dossier (paperwork) is almost complete. We are getting our fingerprints done next week and will then await approval from US Homeland Security to bring our son home.

Lots and lots and LOTS of waiting.

While the waiting is hard for us (yes, I did say torture, didn't I?), our real concern is not for ourselves, but for our son. He's been waiting for a family for over a year. We know that both of his parents have died and that he lived with a distant relative for some time. She is the one who brought him to the orphanage and asked that a strong Christian family be found for him.

I can't even begin to imagine the devastating pain and loss he has already experienced. I pray that he is safe and being well-cared for. It's my understanding that he is.

I do trust that God is watching over our new son. But, like all parents, I can't wait to have my son safe at home where we can shower him with our love and help him to heal.

As with our first adoption, I am going through this process with many other families. I am blessed to be a part of a group of women who communicate daily, offering support, encouragement and most importantly prayers for each other.

They too are waiting and most have been waiting longer than we have. As they receive reports from Ethiopia that there is yet another problem with their paperwork, that their case didn't pass court or that their court date was rescheduled, they know the wait definitely feels like torture.

And yet. We continue to put our faith in the God of All. We wait expectantly and with hope. We trust that He loves our children even more than we could possibly imagine. And, we believe that in the midst of the (long) wait, He loves us.

I'm thankful that God instructs us to not see things with our human eyes, but to trust in what He is doing in during the wait.

There is always a reason. He is always working.

He is teaching us. He is nurturing us. He is growing us. He is loving us. Deeply.

He is calling us to wait upon Him. Wouldn't you know that the Bible is full of verses that teach us about waiting:

"In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."
Psalm 5:3

"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."
Psalm 27:14

"We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield."
Psalm 33:20

"Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him..."
Psalm 37:7a

"Moses answered them, "Wait until I find out what the LORD commands concerning you."
Numbers 9:8

"I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God."
Psalm 38:15

"I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry."
Psalm 40:1

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope."
Psalm 130:5

Isn't it amazing when we look to the LORD for His truth, the torture of waiting dissipates and we left with hope and great expectation.

Yet another of God's secrets to LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Waiting with hope for my God,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

on the move

In yesterday's post, I included a powerful quote from On the Move. The book is actually a speech given by U2's lead singer, Bono. The speech was addressed to faith leaders and politicians at the 2006 National Prayer Breakfast.

I bought the book for my husband's birthday. Within minutes of unwrapping it, he read it cover to cover. Watching my man get choked up while he read moved me beyond words. I love a man who is tough enough to cry. :-)

The heart in which Bono speaks is powerful, convicting and inspiring. If you haven't heard his speech, yet, you can watch it online, read it online or buy the book. (I highly recommend that you do all three! The book, however, has the added benefit of beautiful photos taken in Africa by Bono himself.)

Perhaps, you too, will be moved to tears. And laughter too. I had no idea Bono was such a comedian. ;-)

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

"This is what happens when God gets on the move: crazy, crazy stuff happens."

"...God may well be with us in our mansions on the hill. I hope so. He may -- may well be with us in all manner of controversial stuff. Maybe, maybe not. But the one thing we can all agree -- all faiths, all ideologies -- is that God is with the vulnerable and poor.

God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them."


"Look what happened in South East Asia with the Tsunami. 150,000 lives lost to the misnomer of all misnomers, “mother nature.” Well, in Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every month -- a tsunami every month. And it’s a completely avoidable catastrophe."

If you have yet to learn about the AIDS pandemic, I strongly recommend that you take the time to do so. No, it's not easy information to process, but it does weigh heavily on the heart of God. It's not something that we can (or should) ignore.

One of the books I read to prepare for our current adoption is There is No Me Without You. (Actually, my family and I listened to the book on CD while we were driving in the car.) Melissa Fay Greene poured her heart and soul into her book, which is a personal account of life in Ethiopia.

Obviously, HIV/AIDS is one of the biggest tragedies that Ethiopians face on a daily basis. Because of this, Melissa has included a great amount of research data and facts about the devastating disease in her book. It's a great place to start if you want to learn more.

As I seek to know my God more intimately, I long to know those things that move His heart. Reading and researching is a great place to start, the next step, however, is to move with God and be a part of the solution.

Here's the second part of Bono's quote from yesterday's post:

"Well, let's get involved in what God is doing. God, as I say, is always with the poor. That's what God is doing. That's what He’s calling us to do."

In doing so, my Friends, we will find that we are most assuredly LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

On the move,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"oh my" moments

I've heard it said many times that where parenting is concerned, days can go by so slow, butthe years fly by. I had many of those "oh my" moments this past weekend as we celebrated Sara's 4th birthday.

I can't believe how fast this last year has gone. Oh my.

On Friday night, we took Sara out for dinner at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants. She loved it. Especially the rice. :-)

After dinner, we drove to Toys-R-Us to pick out her first "big girl" bike (aka, not the tiny little trike she's been trying to ride the past year.) I was feeling a bit nervous putting her on an actual bike even with training wheels. I imagined we would buy her the smallest bike available.

Until Geoff measured her and found out that our little girl is now BIG. Oh my. When did that happen?!? And, how come no one told me?!? :-)


Seriously, we found the right bike size (it looked huge) and she hopped on. What happened next made me laugh and cry at the same time.

My little girl rode the bike all around the store, without help! Seriously, I was in complete shock and was so proud of her. My little girl's growing up. Sniffle...

As she pedaled away, I imagined a backpack on her back full of her belongings as she rode off to college. (I know, I know. She'll be driving by then, but my heart just couldn't take in that scene quite yet!)

Our next stop was to get ice cream for dessert. Do you even have to ask what flavor she chose? :-)
That night, we let Sara open a gift early. Our sweet friends The Strands has sent a package that day with goodies for all of us. Sara was thrilled with what her beautiful friend, Esther, picked out for her.
The next morning, the first words out of Sara's mouth were, "Where are my birthday puppies? I need to go find Charlie and Esther!" (Yes, she named that after her precious friend and her baby doll Charlie, also a girl.) Oh my.
The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind of fun. Sara had selected a Dora theme and when she came down from her nap to see the dining room decorated, her little hands (at least one part of her is still small!) flew up to her mouth as she giggled with pleasure. Adorable.
She helped me pick out her cake and frosting at the store last week. Chocolate. Just chocolate. (Ah, a girl after my own heart.)

Her birthday breakfast was chocolate donuts and chocolate milk. Oh my.

Her birthday party was supposed to be at the roller-skating rink with our good friends. Unfortunately, they weren't open that morning, and so our friends suggested bowling. The Birthday Princess loved it.
After bowling, we sent our friends off for a date and took their precious kiddos home with us. Sara enjoyed her lunch with a chocolate cookie and then took a nice long nap.

That afternoon, she woke up to see her Daddy building her bike. Pink and purple, of course. (They don't make orange and green bikes, so she had to go with her second favorite colors.)

With only a slight hesitation and getting stuck in the grass, she rode off like a champ. Giggling and squealing the entire bike ride. It was hysterical.

Geoff and I both had to wonder if she'll do the same thing when she gets her driver's license. We'll need earplugs for sure!

We enjoyed watching all five kids happily playing at the park for over an hour. (We're really looking forward to seeing our new son in the mix. It is so true--the more the merrier!)

Sara later informed us that because she is four (said with a New Jersey accent), she should be allowed to play Wii. And so she did. Giggling and squealing the entire time she beat her big brother at boxing. And again, when she bowled 142 her first game. Oh my.

Seriously. Our lives have gotten even more rich in just a few days. Our little girl is growing up and she is continuing to blossom before our very eyes. So hard to imagine back to November 2006 when we first met our beautiful Chinese daughter. God is so good. Oh my.

I read this quote today in Bono's speech (and book) On the Move:

"Stop asking God to bless what you're doing. Get involved in what God is doing--because it's already blessed."

Indeed. God gave us hearts for His children in need. There are estimated to be 147 million orphans worldwide.
If you feel a tug to invite one (or more) orphans into your heart, home and family, I strongly encourage you to respond with a passionate yes. No, it's not easy, but it is truly one of the most incredible adventures God will ever take you on. He's already blessed it.

If you truly feel that adoption is not something God is calling you to, there are countless other ways to help a child in need. My blog is full of lots of ideas. :-)

Getting involved in what God is doing is the key to LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

On that note, here are a few more priceless pics of my little-BIG girl:

Joyfully,