Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Bigger Picture

Aren't you glad God sees the whole picture.  He not only has a glimpse of our little family, our little world, but a great big world full of his children whom he loves.  His plans for us include those others too!  As His creation we are intertwined with one another.  Sometimes I get so caught up in my little world, I forget to see the bigger picture.

It would be so much easier if we had all the money we needed without having to fund raise or ask for help.  It would be a lot less headache if we could handle the responsibility all on our own.  It would be a lot simpler if we could juggle the kids, the house, the paperwork, the travel without relying on others.

The problem with this picture is that it doesn't include God or others.  There is a bigger picture........

  • What if through this whole thing we grow closer to God
  • What if we learn to trust more
  • What if our marriage is tested and strengthened
  • What if we grow closer to our family
  • What if the church is able to work together as the Body of Christ
  • What if one other family is led to adopt
  • What if one neighbor excepts Christ through a witness
  • What if one less orphan has to live without a family
  • What if one adoption brings glory to God
  • What if................

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Perfect Peace: When Plans Change

It feels fantastic to be sure of what God is saying and how he is leading you even if it is a tough road; and then the plans change.  You begin to question everything you have ever thought you heard God speak in your life!   Sometimes His perfect peace means trusting each step you are shown even when it is a new direction.

We are nearing the completion of our homestudy, praise be to God for this milestone.  We are one step closer to bringing home our child.  Through this process we have learned that sometimes plans change and even when they do, God can bring enormous peace!

Our hearts were drawn to a little girl with a difficult past and I can only believe that God revealed her to us for a reason.  I thought the plan was for us to be her Mom and Dad.  We began to prepare our home for the arrival of a girl, a big transition for a family with 3 little boys.  And so we continued with the homestudy and the paperwork, but during one of our interviews we found out the plan was changing.  We would not be getting a referral for her. Our family was not a "good match" for her special needs.  What on earth was God saying?  After our social worker left we pondered these things, we looked back at all the steps we had taken thus far and wondered "now what?"  We thought back to all the children we had seen on the waiting list and Reeces Rainbow and wondered what the new plan was.

Many of you are praying for this little girl and we ask you to continue to do so as her family has still not found her.  Continue to pray that God heal her and that he fulfill his promise to bring "beauty to ashes", in this we have great peace.  What comfort there is in knowing even though we are not her parents, maybe her family is one step closer to finding her now.

When you look back at the journey that God has laid out for you, there is perfect peace in knowing God reveals things in the right time as well.  He is never late as we perceive time, but precisely on time.

So standing in our kitchen that day, thinking about "the list" and watching our boys run around like mad men, the answer came.  It was like waking up and suddenly it was all clear; a boy.  Not two weeks early neither one of us was open to that idea, but God knew.  His timing is perfect and He knows us so well.  We were ready to except the plan he had laid out.  We didn't need to know why it had twists and turns, we just had to hold on tight to His promise of perfect peace!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Perfect Peace

Perfect Peace is more than just a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. The true peace that comes from God IS the healing balm. 

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything,
 through prayer and petition with thanksgiving; let your request be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought,
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I see these words in my Bible and then look all around me and it is no wonder many struggle to feel that peace that surpasses every thought.  As a nation we are engaged in a war, both a physical one across the seas and a spiritual one here at home, that is tearing us apart.  Cancer is spreading like a plague among our loved ones, church members and strangers too.  Relationships are strained in the midst of financial insecurity, marital unfaithfulness, and the pressure of uncertain futures. Yet Jesus promised

Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you. 
 I do not give to you as the world gives. 
 Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”  John 14:27

Don’t think for a moment that was real easy for Jesus to say!  He shared these words of comfort with his disciples on the eve of his death.  He made this promise in the shadow of the suffering he was going to endure on the cross in our behalf.  His future was not uncertain, he knew what lie ahead and yet he promised peace for those who trust in Him. 

You will keep in perfect peace the mind that is dependent on You. Isaiah 26:3a

Like never before in my life, I desire to be a peacemaker.  I used to revel in a good debate or argument, especially if I won, but I have lost my taste for it.  It no longer holds the satisfaction it used to.  In Psalms we are encouraged to “seek peace and pursue it” and again in Romans “if possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone”, now that is a tall order if I ever heard one!  Currently I am doing a study of the book of James and in it I came across this little nugget “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy….” and in seeking this sort of wisdom we are blessed.  Not only are we given enough peace for ourselves, but we overflow with joy to share it with the hurting world around us.

May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. 
 The Lord be with all of you. 
2Thessalonians 3:16

Our Baby Turns One!

Seth opening present from his God Momma
Big brother showing Seth how to shoot water out of his new toy

Last week we celebrated Seth's 1st birthday!  I can't hardly believe he has passed this milestone and at the same time I am so relieved to have made it this far.  I never thought I would tire of the baby stage, but as we pursue an adoption of an older child I find myself longing for the days I will no longer have a little one in diapers or snot all over my blouse.  Forgive me Lord for wishing away Seth's baby years and help me to enjoy these moments of simple joy and laughter that are so often present on his little face! 

"Happy Birthday Seth!"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

American Pride and a Father's Legacy

Sometimes I think I am married to Super Man.  He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, rarely complains and does so with strength and integrity.  In addition to working a full time job, Chris has been enrolled as a full time student for the last 2.5 years.  To his great joy and relief, he will graduate at the end of this year with a degree in Logistics and Transportation Management.

Recently he wrote a discussion board I would like to share with you.

Trying to place a label on what it means to be American or what defines the American spirit is impossible.  What makes this nation so unique is the wide variety of races, nationalities, religions and individuals that all come together to form one nation.  In my opinion American equals pride.  Pride in oneself, pride in ones country and pride in the knowledge that even though our nation may have seen better days than the ones we now live in that it is still the most revered country in the world.  Whenever I think about the spirit of the American people I am reminded of the days and weeks that followed 9/11.  That sense of pride was in overdrive.  Instead of hanging our heads in defeat we rose up together, waving American flags and standing together as one.  Those days may have faded quickly, but they were there, and they reflect the very best of what makes us unique as a nation.
As a father of three young boys it is easy to see what my legacy will be on a daily basis.  I watch them grow and I strive to give them a better world than my own.  Today’s America is a continually changing environment of the unknown.  Will there be more terrorist attacks?  Will the level of our debt rise to an even more unfathomable level?  These are questions that I ask myself as I look at my sons, and they are questions that push me to ensure that they are well educated and ready for the day when they are adults with children of their own. 

My wife and I are also in the middle of a foreign adoption process with the goal that we will be bringing a young child home from a Taiwanese orphanage at some point later this year.  This will give us the opportunity to show our biological children a new level of compassion while giving a needy child a home and a family.  To that end I also hope that my legacy will be that my children are exposed to a larger world than the one in their own backyard.  While I want to instill American pride in my family I also want to open their eyes to a world that is becoming increasingly codependent on one another.  After all, what would a legacy be if it did not involve lofty goals and high aspirations?  

I am honored to stand beside this man, to be his wife and friend.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Being Prepared

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. 
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone
 who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 
But do this with gentleness and respect.
1Peter 3:15

The other day I was standing at my sink doing dishes when I realized how filthy my microwave was.  I wrung out the rag I was using and got to work on the stuck on food.  It occurred to me what I had written on my planner last week:  a giant x over the day before our home study interview and visit.  Needless to say that didn't happen and to complicate things even more our refinance signing had gotten moved to that morning as well!  What on earth was I doing cleaning out the microwave?  Our social worker was coming to interview us, not question this kitchen appliance.  This is probably a good thing given the state it was in and the lack of attention and care it receives!  I was compelled to finish what I had started, but it did get me thinking.

If you read adoption blogs you are sure to hear at some point about the adoptive parents getting the house ready, spic and span to be gone over and deemed fit for the future adoptive child.  We even did a little mini re-do in our bathroom.  If you had ever seen our bathroom, you'd know why.  In truth the home is only a part of what the social worker considers in the approval process of a homestudy.  She considers the husband and wife, the stability of their relationship, the other children in the home, parenting styles and values and the ability you have to welcome in a new child.

I truly believe that God has been leading this whole process and given that our home is never a total wreck, why was I focusing so much on the outward appearance rather than preparing my heart and what I would say?  I wish that I could tell you I sat right down, pouring over the pages of my Bible and quieting my heart before the Lord.  I continued to clean and straighten and silently turn my thoughts and prayers to God. 

Ironically enough I woke up that morning unable to talk, I was a raspy mess, with a heavy burden.  Not only did I have to sign documents, clean house and prepare for an interview, but my uncle who had suffered a heart attack earlier in the week was scheduled for open heart surgery that day to remove four blockages.  I could not help but think of the promise given to Paul "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  God had shown me that I was weak indeed, but as Paul said in response to Jesus "For when I am weak, then I am strong."

If I had it to do all over again I would spend more time on my knees in prayer than on my knees cleaning!