Friday, October 28, 2011

Waiting

It's been almost 11 months since this adoption process started, and we are so far from bringing our children home.  Will that day ever come?  It's surreal. When I was pregnant, it was 9 months from conception till delivery.  This conception in our hearts was so long ago, and it will be far greater than 9 months till delivery of our children.  There's no big belly to show for it.  No baby shower, no listening to a heartbeat, no doctor visits. 

Our friend, Brandy, shared a quote this week in our group and on her blog, and it is so true:

"The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only “I’m sorry for your loss.” But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?"
- Laura Bush


Just pray God will sustain us.

Dear Father,   Thank you for the 3 children you have blessed us with so far.  They are precious.  Be with the children that are out there that are ours that we haven't met yet.  You know them and you know their hardships and fears.  Take care of them.  Help them to wait for us just as we are waiting for them.    You are in control, Father, and we praise you in all things. 
Amen.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Helpful Words

Brandy Wade posted a summary of things that adoptive waiting parents don't like to hear and would love to hear on her blog today.  Here's the link http://ourethiopiandaughter.weebly.com/2/post/2011/10/what-we-want-you-to-know-about-talking-about-adoption.html .  It may be insightful to those who haven't known anyone who has been through the adoption process before.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Preparing For My Daddy

"He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming soon.' Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20)

Alan went hunting this past weekend in Georgia.  He was gone 4 nights.  Yesterday was his homecoming.  The day was spent as a typical Tuesday usually is, but the children and I added some activities of preparation to our schedule.  We were preparing for Daddy to come home and we wanted everything to look nice.  Our home should be a peaceful place that Alan wants to reside in, a place he looks forward to coming each day.  Even more so when he has been gone for a while. 

We worked furiously for the couple hours we had after our schoolwork was completed.  The laundry was finished, folded, and put away.  Rooms were cleaned and picked up, the furniture dusted, and the beds made.  The trash was taken out, plants watered, and animals fed.  We lit a pumpkin candle so the house would smell good.  Jayde made brownies because we know how much Alan loves sweets.  As we lovingly carried out our tasks, we were full of anticipation and regularly exclaimed to each other, "Daddy's coming home!"

When I walked into my laundry room at one point during the morning, the Lord put a thought in my head which humbled me and caused me to meditate on it the rest of the day.  I'm still thinking about it!  He said, "I have told you I am returning again.  What are you doing to prepare for me?"  It hit me.  What AM I doing to prepare for the Lord's return?  If I go to such trouble to prepare a place for my children's earthly father, shouldn't I go to much more trouble to prepare a place for my Heavenly Father?  I can have a clean house, good looking children, and a stocked pantry full of treats.  But do those things mean anything at all if my heart isn't prepared for the Lord?  Absolutely not. 

In John 14:2 Jesus says, "In my Father's house are many rooms.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."  He's preparing for me.  What am I doing for Him?

"But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard, keep awake.  For you do not know when the time will come.  It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the door-keeper to stay awake.  Therfore stay awake - for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning- lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.  And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake." (Mark 13:32-37)  Staying alert and ready for my Saviour is hard when I live in a country where I am bombarded with "stuff". 

I should be sweeping out the cobwebs of my heart.  Taking out the trash of sin and worldliness.  Dusting up the bits of complacency with my life here on earth.  I am His Bride, the Church.  I say I am longing for His return, but if that is really true, what should my life look like?  It should look like the life of a servant, modeled after Jesus, the ultimate servant.  I should be loving others, especially the least of these.  I should be teaching and training my children to listen to the Holy Spirit.  I should be obedient to the Will of my Father as I wait to join Him in Heaven just like my children were obedient to my will while their father was away. I fail daily.  Over and over, I forget to dwell on the promise of Jesus' return. 

When I get to Heaven, I will see all my failures. My sins will be erased, yes, but I will truly know how lowly I am.  How much I needed Jesus.  Sometimes I know I don't comprehend the enormity of Jesus' love for me.  I can't.  My life is too good.  I live a life too comfortable right now to fully rely on God for every breath, every morsel of food.  That's my fault.  It's hard to leave your comfortable life and really get dirty.  This morning I prayed that I will know the ways God wants to use me for His glory.  I want the times to be minimized that He can show me I failed Him.  He will be able to play my life in rewind, saying, "See, this was my will for you.  You didn't make the right choice.  You took the easy way out instead of glorifying me."  But I want the movie of that part of my life to be as short as possible.

Dear Daddy in Heaven, You are an awesome God.  Thank you for reminding me that I need to prepare for you, just as you are preparing for me.  Help me be ready to carry out your will and help me see what needs to be done.  May your glory shine through me.  Help me to "not grow weary in doing good" (2 Thess. 3:13).  Let it be good that is done in your name, not my own.  In your Son's precious name, Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happiness......Really?

Venting.  That's a tiny bit of what I'm doing right now.  Here.  On this blog.  Because I can.  Not out of anger.  What adjectives can I use?  Hmmmm....sad, frustrated, pitying?  None of those are exactly right.  It's just that I have seen more than ever lately posts from people on facebook and heard words from people's mouths that I am aquainted with that have a lot to do with being happy.  They think that being happy is the goal, at the expense of what's right in God's eyes.  These are people who proclaim to know Jesus and follow Him.  Not that there's anything wrong with being happy.  Not that I am saying I am not guilty of this, too.  Because I am!  I want to be happy.  Everyone wants to be happy.  To "feel" happy.  What frustrates me is when people (including myself) focus their lives on doing whatever it takes to make themselves feel "happy". 

People in our American society are bombarded every day with images and slogans from the media telling us that we "deserve" to be happy.  That we should "listen to our hearts" and do whatever makes us feel happy.  Well, guess what?  The Bible says that, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:10).  If you listen to your heart, what you are possibly listening to is the Enemy whispering in your ear.  There is a difference between your emotional "heart" and your Spirit.  All of us as children of God should be listening to the Holy Spirit.  The world has lied to us.

What usually follows when you try to chase that happy feeling? Discontentment. You become discontent with your life. Feeling like your marriage won't satisfy you. Many people have left marriages because they weren't happy and used the words, "God would want me to be happy. Life's too short not to be happy." You become discontent with your children. You start to think that if they would only act better, you'd be happy. Then there's discontentment with the material possessions you are given. In your mind, you just know that if your kitchen was redone, you'd be happy. Or if you had that new car, you'd be happy. Or if your house had new furniture, etc., etc., the list can go on forever. That feeling leads to overspending. How about discontentment with your job? Instead of being thankful that in this economy you have a job, you gripe and complain. You forget that God says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." (Col. 4:23-24) My goodness. I'm guilty of all these examples sometimes but especially at the last one. I admit that frequently I wonder, "Am I really making a difference, Lord?"

Did you know that the Bible never says we are going to be happy?  Did you know that God never promises us happiness?  Did you know that God promises we are going to have trials and persecutions if we follow Christ?   Does this depress you?  It shouldn't.  You see, the Bible doesn't talk about happiness, but it does talk a whole lot about JOY.  Now, what's the difference, you may be thinking?  Happiness is a temporary emotion.  Joy is a permanent peace received from God.  You will rarely find happiness in the midst of a trial.  You will be able to find joy, though, through any circumstances.  

The word JOY is used over and over in the Bible.  Throughout the Old and New Testaments.  But it's not always the same word for "joy".  Maybe defining the words that the writers in the Bible used can help you understand it's awesome meaning.  

Nehemiah 8:10 says, "....the joy of the Lord is your strength."  The Hebrew word for joy there is "chedvah" which means joy or gladness.  That's an easy one.  Then we have JOY as it is used in Habakkuk 3:18, which states, "I will take joy in the God of my salvation."  That word is "Giyl", which means "to rejoice, exult, be glad, or tremble from fear."  Is is weird to you that joy would be associated with trembling?  Can your mind comprehend the kind of joy that would bring peace in the midst of trials so great you are physically trembling?  Wow.  Another form of JOY used in the Old Testament is found in Psalm 30:5, which says, "Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."  That kind of joy is called, "Rinnah" and it is defined as "a ringing cry of entreaty, supplication, proclamation of joy and praise."

I love the word used for JOY in the New Testament.  It's "Chara" and it literally means, "joy , gladness, the joy received from you, the cause or occasion of joy, of person's who are one's joy."  The word Chara is used 57 times in the New Testament.  It's kind of important, wouldn't you say?  Here are a couple examples.  "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."  Oh yeah, I want the joy that comes from Christ, and I want my joy to be full!  This one is sobering:  James 1:2 uses "Chara" this way, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.."  Did he say trials = joy?  That's the way it should be.  Boy, do I have a lot to work on.  How many of us count our trials as joy?  This next one is my absolute favorite example, though.  The same kind of joy that we are supposed to have in trials is the very same one that was used to proclaim Christ's coming!!  You all know this verse, "And the angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.'"  That gives me goosebumps!

There's no power in happiness.  It's great.  It's fun.  It's nice to feel it.  But it's temporary, not eternal.  The power is in JOY.  Joy comes from God.  Let's focus on joy.  The acronym JOY -Jesus, Others, Yourself - is a great reminder that to have joy you must focus on Jesus and take your eyes off yourself. 

Lord Jesus, help me to find joy in you.  Help me focus on you, love others, and take my eyes off myself. In Your Precious Name, Amen.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Helllloooooo ouuuttttt theeerrrreeee...........

Well, what-do-you-know. I said I'd be writing soon.  It seems as though I may have lied to you all, doesn't it now?  There are all kinds of posts in my brain.  Some notes are even down in my handy-dandy Droid phone thingy-majiggy.  Or on scraps of paper.  Thought provoking posts, boring posts, funny posts, sad posts, stupid posts.  I'm full of good intentions.  Eventually I will share these tidbits with you.  In the meantime, we have LIFE.  Life that I wrote was too busy and I'd like to do something about that. But apparently not this month.  This month has been full of Courtney and Matt's wedding, Ginger's baby shower, our fundraiser cookbook deadline, and a week of sickness, among other things.  Sometimes even good things in life can be stressful and overwhelming.  We'll see what next month has in store.