Wednesday, October 21, 2009

adoption update (or not)

Imagine if you will, a photo posted here of a handsome Ethiopian boy with big brown eyes and a beautiful smile. Oh how I wish we could share our latest photo of "M." :-(

So, our update is—like many other families—we are still waiting.

The courts opened after an extended closure. Some families were reassigned new court dates, so things are a bit backed up right now. Our agency expects our court date to be assigned any time now. Possibly this week. We'll see.

The director of our son's orphanage recently returned from another trip to ET. She said that "M" is "doing really well, but is quite ready to come home." Sigh. We are quite ready for him to come home! :-)

We truly do trust God's timing and know it is always, always perfect. That doesn't make the wait any easier.

We pray that God is protecting him and keeping him well. We pray that God is preparing his heart for all of the loss and changes he has yet to experience. We know that God is working in our hearts and preparing us for the exciting adventure ahead.

That said, it's still very hard to wait. It's hard to see our little boy quickly growing up with every new photo we receive.

I have many friends in the adoption world who are also waiting to bring their children home. Some have experienced devastating delay after delay. It's a tough thing, especially for the orphans waiting to be claimed.

Please continue to pray with us for all of the waiting children worldwide—that they will know God's love and provision for them and that all of their paperwork, court dates, etc. will go smoothly.

God is good. All thing time.

May He bless you abundantly today. You are loved and oh-so-valued. Keep LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Sending germ-free hugs & blessings your way,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

in sickness & in health

"Think about the things of heaven,
not the things of earth."
Colossians 3:2 (NLT)

My day started out at 2:30 this morning after all of three hours sleep. Once the coughing fit starts, it's hard to stop.

Grabbed my pillows, quilt, Tylenol and cough medicine and made my way downstairs to the couch. Geoff had to wake up early for work and I was hoping to let him get some sleep—and stay healthy. Only I forgot to close our bedroom door. :-(

Five-thirty rolled around and I found myself sitting in the bathroom inhaling steam until the hot water ran out.

An hour-and-half later, I was on the phone to my doctor's office. Thankfully, they were able to get me in—as long as I agreed to don a little blue mask.

This little piggie went to the doctor...this little piggie shoulda stayed home.

An hour in the car, trying to talk three kiddos (two sick, one barely hangin' on to healthy) into wearing blue masks along with me while the other non-feverish patients looked on in terror, was really not my idea of fun.

After all of the effort to get there, endure the unpleasant looks we got, (as well as my seething eleven-year old who was beside herself for having to wear the mask,) it turns out my doctor's office has opted not to test for different strains of flu. They are treating all patients symptomatically and hoping for the best. (Me too!)

From the little piggies or not, I have never felt so miserable. Whatever 'this' is that we've got, it's awful.

And yet, as I sat with my head in the shower this morning trying to clear my airway, I was reminded of the above verse from Colossians—in sickness, and in health, I want to think of things of Heaven.

One day, all of the sickness, struggles and pain will be behind us. I know it. I believe it. I'm counting on it.

Until then, I'm thankful that I have hot water, meds to treat me symptomatically, my online friends who commiserate with me and pray for my family (thanks, Ladies!) and a husband (my HERO!) who hurries through his afternoon meetings to pick up my prescription, come home early, make dinner and put the kids to bed!

It's just the flu and we will recover. So many of my brothers and sisters around the world are starving and dying as I type this. Oh, how I wish I could share my hot water and soft tissue with them.

Friend, I pray you are staying healthy. If not, I pray that God blesses you with family or friends to take good care of you!

On earth and in Heaven, in sickness and in health, I am thankful to be LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Stay healthy, my Friends!

Monday, October 19, 2009

careful consideration

"When you judge another person,
you do not define him or her,
you define yourself."
- Wayne Dyer

A writer friend of mine used this quote on her blog last week. I have no idea who Wayne is, but his thought on judging others hit me right between the eyes.

If you're anything like me, the opportunity to judge others happens countless times every day. Unfortunately, it comes instinctively for our human flesh.

Take the photo above, for instance. This would be Liam's creative interpretation to our snack-of-the-week. It was supposed to be whipped cream with blueberries, bananas and kiwi. Liam's not too hip on blueberries and kiwi—so he opted for bananas—and pretzels.

His sister on his left thought he was disgusting. His sister on his right thought he was a genius. I'll let you decide for yourself. :-)

Our flesh has many, many reasons why we judge others. The obvious one is self-preservation. Our flesh can often struggle with fear of being 'less than'—and so we judge. Most often, judging happens before we even give it a second thought. Like breathing.

We turn on the T.V., we judge what's on, what the characters look like, if the news story is true. Within a split second we decide to either keep watching or flip to a new channel.

Open the front door and we quickly judge the weather—or maybe our neighbor's front lawn. "When are they going to mow it?" (Not your house, Susie! Your renters are doing a great job. Just thinking up examples.)

We meet a new person and we make a quick judge of their character by what they are wearing, how they carry themselves and what they say.

We walk into church and we judge the environment, the worship, the community.

We hear someone else's interpretation of Scripture and we quickly ascertain whether it lines up with our personal theology. If not, we start to question their character.

We watch our children act up and we judge their behavior.

While I never really paid much attention to it, judging wastes a lot of time and energy, wouldn't you say? And as the above quote points it, when we judge others, we're really only defining (and hurting) ourselves.

Jesus said it very clearly in the Gospels:

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven."
Luke 6:37 (NIV)

He definitely wasn't wishy-washy in His viewpoint of judging—or what the consequence is when we choose to judge.

So how do stop? How do we get ourselves out of the tangled web of judging others—and therefore—ourselves?

We begin by confessing that we are, in fact, guilty of judging others.

We acknowledge that we want to change.

We ask Jesus to forgive us.

We receive His forgiveness and we allow it to spill over onto those who have judged us.

We look to Him as our example of pure holiness.

The key is to seek His heart towards others—and ourselves. We our sinners, but we are sinners with a Savior. He has already paid the price for our sin. Our job is to allow His sacrifice of love to be enough for us—and for others.

In Him, we are set free. In Him, we receive a second chance (and a third, fourth, fifth...) In Him, we are loved and able to love others—without judgement.

This one feels pretty big, my Friend. The truth is that I really do love others. My heart's desire is to love others and be 100% accepting of others. My problem, however, is that my flesh has had it's way for far too long.

That brings us back to Jesus.

In Him, we are more than conquerors. In Him, we have victory. I'm so very thankful for His grace and sin-shattering LOVE.

After all of that, is there actually a God-given reason why/when we should judge? Maybe a better word is to allow God's Holy Spirit to help us discern God's truth. In order for us to make good choices, discerning what God's will is for each of us is important.

The mistake we too often make, however, is when we take it one step further. When deem ourselves worthy of judging our brothers and sisters, we allow our pride to lead us. And we start thinking like our enemy—believing that we are as knowledgeable and as trustworthy as God.
Ouch. That one got me too! I'll save that thought for another day.

Until then, I'm thankful that God already has my path sorted out and that He has makes great allowance for my flesh.

In Him, we are forgiven and free. In Him, we are LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Now, to allow Him to stop the vicious cycle of judging...

On my knees daily in prayer,