Thursday, December 17, 2009

meeting Mesfin

"Come to me all who are
weary and burdened
and I will give you rest."
Jesus of Nazareth
Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

This is the photo that captured our hearts a little less than a year ago. Liam, actually, was the first to recognize his brother from half-way across the world.

"That little boy, with the puffy hair, that's my brother!"

His words were spoken with both sincerity and deep conviction. I felt myself start to cry and laugh at the same time.

Puffy hair? Um, big curls, maybe?

I had noticed his gorgeous hair. But honestly, it was his big, brown, teddy-bear eyes that pulled me in.

My mother's heart immediately recognized his fear and bewilderment, but, I also saw something else. A glimmer of hope.

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls."
v. 29

When we called Michelle to inquire about this precious boy, she shared her special connection to him. She wrote about her heart-wrenching experience in her ministry's newsletter. (See: "Facing the Lion: The Ethiopian Famine")

Over the past year, we have received updated photos of our precious son, and watched him grow from a frightened little boy to a now energetic eight-year-old.

We have been assured that he is doing well, but that he really needs to be home with his family and have parents.

We've completed each of the necessary steps as quickly as possible, but adoption takes time and the process has been painfully slow. Especially for Mesfin.

As our family both celebrates the gift of a new son and brother, we are also cognizant that there are sure to be challenges ahead. For all of us.

But, God is good and we completely trust His plans for our family. We have already experienced the incredible miracle of adoption with Sara. It's absolutely indescribable. The best thing we have ever done. Sure, it's been hard, but it's been so worth the struggles.

We are excited, but truthfully, a little bit apprehensive. As I'm sure Mesfin is. (If not a lot apprehensive!)

My faith rests in the words of Jesus found in Matthew 11. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. I've experienced that over, and over, and over in my life so far. I will cling to that promise as I prepare myself for the incredible adventure ahead.

I am the proud Mama of four beautiful, loving, intelligent, creative and amazing children. This brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.

My God is so good and His blessings leave me humbled to the core.

Trust His love for you, my Friend. It is better than anything this world has to offer.

He loves you with a fierce devotion and will never leave you abandoned and alone. His love and life claim each of us as His very own adopted children and heirs.

He is the reason for my joy and in Him, I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!
Sweet blessings & JOY,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

truly wise

"The LORD looks down from Heaven
on the entire human race;
He looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
if anyone seeks God."
Psalm 14:2 (NLT)

I love sitting at the feet of my Master. This morning I woke up at 4:45, feeling giddy for all the adventures 2010 will bring. Most especially, my new son HOME! I knew it was going to be a long day, so I tried my best to put the thoughts of my ever-growing list of "to-do's" on hold and go back to sleep. Didn't work.

So, I brewed a cup of coffee and pulled out my Bible. Unfortunately, my kids were excited for their day to start (friends were coming over,) so they decided to wake up early. BUT, the fifteen minutes of quiet I received were especially sweet this morning.

A couple of years ago, my sweet friend, Sarah, shared her love of the Psalms with me. She invited me to pray through the Psalms, one a day, along with her. Since then, Psalms is usally the first book I turn to when I open my Bible.

Today, God drew my attention to Psalm 14. Many times, I think the second verse made me cringe because I didn't have God's perspective on what David was saying.

As I allowed the words to wash over my spirit, I began to understand that a truly wise person is one who seeks God. When I seek God I am looking at Him. A truly foolish person (which, unfortunately, describes me on too-many-a-day) turns away from God.

When I am looking towards God, I am bathed in His light and able to see Him, myself, and my world clearly. When I turn away, my vision is clouded by darkness. That is when I stumble and fall.

When I am looking towards God, I am assured of His presence. When I turn away from God, I begin to doubt His existence, and believe the enemy's lies.

When I am looking towards God, His love completely fills me. When I turn away, my flesh takes over and I feel abandonded and alone.

The reality is that when I turn away, God is still there, He still loves me and I am forever His cherished child. The darkness blinds me and my flesh fails me, but God will not. He is trustworthy and true. His love never fails. In Him, I am truly wise.

Have you had a chance to sit at your Master's feet today, my Friend? If not, I encourage you to grab your Bible and find a quiet place to meet with Him. He's still there and He always loves you. No matter how many doubts and fears are filling your thoughts.

God is good, all the time, and He loves you, with an everlasting love!

Choosing to seek God and not turn away allows me to keep LIVING A BLESSED LIFE! Praying you are as well. :-)

In His presence,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

introducing Mesfin!!!

"Faithful is He that calls you,
and He will also bring it to pass."
1 Thessalonians 5:24

A friend shared this Scripture verse with me this morning before our agency called. It is most definitely fitting. God is true to all of His promises.

It is with great JOY that we introduce our new son, Mesfin Berhanu!!! It took three different court dates, but last night, while we slept, we passed court!!!

God is SO good!!! We are so thankful for this incredible adventure God has brought us on and know that it will only get better!

We should know our court date next week and hope to travel to Ethiopia mid-to-late January to bring our precious boy home.

Don't you just LOVE his big, beautiful eyes?!? I told you it would be worth the wait. If only you could hear his sweet accent. :-)

We are thankful to have had several friends travel this past year and meet Mesfin. One of them asked him if he wanted to keep his Ethiopian name, or if he wanted an American name as well.

We still have to confirm with him in person ourselves, but at this point, our plan is to name him Luke Mesfin Ivey. Our desire is to welcome him into our family and do all that we can to keep the memory of his beloved birth parents alive for him.

We are just so full of joy and thankful for God's blessing of another precious son.

More photos and news will be forthcoming, but I couldn't wait another moment to share our exciting news!!!

We are so very thankful to all of you for your faithful and persistent prayers!!! May God bless you abundantly. Especially those who are going through difficult seasons or waiting for good news yourself. In the midst of our joy, our hearts are aching with you for breakthrough and healing.

You are loved and treasured, my Friend!

God is good, all the time, and I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE! May you experience the richest of His blessings this Christmas season.

A smiling new Mommy,

Monday, December 14, 2009

round three!

"But I keep praying to you, Lord,
hoping this time you will show me favor.
In your unfailing love, O God,
answer my prayer with
your sure salvation."
Psalm 69:13 (NLT)

It's funny, because I thought God taught me patience with our first adoption process. Waiting for Sara seemed to take forever! I think our wait for Luke M. has been more difficult because we fell in love with him a whole year ago.

We received another DVD of our sweet boy this week. It was only about five seconds long, but it was still fun to see his sweet face and briefly hear his voice. Our friend and orphanage direction said that while he is doing well, he seems to "have a mind of his own" and has been causing mischief. Oh my.

We're not surprised by this update. All children need parents to love them and set healthy boundaries. Luke has been on his own for close to two years. I know that while the wait has been difficult for us, it's been excruciating for him.

While I most definitely cherish your prayers for our family and the challenges we may face in the future, I also share this on behalf of the other 147 million orphans worldwide. Perhaps you have been contemplating doing something on behalf of one of those orphans.

Maybe you sponsor a child, but haven't written them in awhile. (Note to self: send a care package to Tengetile in Swaziland, Joseph in Uganda and Aubrey in China!!!)

Maybe you want to sponsor a child, but haven't found the time to do so. (Note to self: take next steps on sponsoring an Ethiopian widow.)

Maybe your family has been talking about adoption, but you're not sure if it's really God's will. (Note to self: continue praying for families looking into adoption.)

Or, maybe you are a family like us who is patiently (OK, maybe not-so-patiently!) waiting to bring your child home and need something to do during the l-o-n-g wait. (Note to self: be persistent in encouraging and praying for families in-process.)

As passionate as I am about adoption and caring for widows and orphans, sometimes my motivation gets derailed by apathy, procrastination, selfishness or just pure laziness.

As I try to wrap my heart and mind around the needs my new son will bring with him, I remember that he is only one of 147 million orphans. The need is great and they never end.

Now is not the time to get lazy. Now is the time to put my words into actions and do something to make a difference. To reach out to a child in need and be a blessing.

Tonight is our third court date. Our agency has communicated that everything appears to be in order and we should pass this time around. (Yay!) If all goes well, we should be traveling in early 2010.

As excited as I am, I know our trip will be emotionally difficult. We'll be experiencing poverty in a way we can only imagine through the photos we've seen and stories we've read. So often, my flesh gets tired and am my heart overwhelmed.

I'm thankful that when God gives me a burden, He also gives me His grace and strength. He's not expecting me to do anything on my own. He is, however, waiting for me to step back up to the plate and do those things He has already placed upon my heart.

As I think of how long Luke has waited and the effect it's had on him, I'm inspired to make a bigger difference in the lives of orphans.

Today I did a little Christmas shopping online. There are so many opportunities to shop for a cause. Below are some of my favorites:

There are lots and lots of fun opportunities for us to make a difference in the world. Of course, some of the things God calls me to do require more than my credit card...

Friend, today I pray that God would continue to give us His heart for others, especially those in need. And, that we receive the burden not as an obligation, but as a passion fueled by His amazing love and joy!

Thank you, again, for continuing to pray Luke home with us. Your love and support are such a priceless gift. We are eternally thankful for each and every one of you and pray God's sweet and abundant blessings upon you and your family.

Waiting expectantly and LIVING A BLESSED LIFE for His glory!

With JOY and thanks,