Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Overwhelmed

I am overwhelmed today and couldn't NOT post.

I am overwhelmed when I sit here and see all that God has done in our family the past couple of weeks. Why do I ever doubt?? Why do I ever lose sight of who He is?

I am overwhelmed by how BIG our God is. Our God moves mountains, completely transforms hearts, performs miracles, and has a plan that is so huge and detailed that I can't even comprehend.

I am overwhelmed at the power of prayer. God has been SO FAITHFUL. God has been SO GOOD. And He answers every single prayer. I know, sometimes it feels like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. I have been there. But i have also seen and experienced God answer prayer and it is awesome.

I am overwhelmed by the love and support that God has given us. When I got home from work I had several emails in my inbox from dear friends. They were full of words of encouragement that touched my heart. I love you all so very very much.

I am overwhelmed with the thought of the journey that's ahead of us. I follow a gazillion adoption blogs and I read daily of the ups and downs of the process. Yet at the same time the Lord has been preparing me for this for YEARS! I have prayed for this very thing since I was 6 years old when God first touched my heart for the orphans. So while it's going to be long and hard I couldn't feel more ready for us to do it.

I am overwhelmed at the thought that somewhere, my little sister is in an orphanage. In fact if I dwell on this thought for too long I start feeling panicky- like I HAVE TO GO FIND HER NOW!!! Maybe some of you fellow adoptive families can relate. Or this is just a weird thought that I have.

I am overwhelmed at the thought that God cares deeply for each one of His children. He saw me when I was struggling on Sunday and Monday with the news about Claudia. He gave me little kisses from heaven today and has restored my mourning for rejoicing and hope of another little girl who will join our family. I thought of Isaiah 61:3, "bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." He truly did this for me today and I am so thankful.

So today I encourage you to look at our God in a fresh new way. To see Him for ALL THAT HE IS. To remember His miracles. To remember His plan. To remember His word. To remember His Son. To remember His love. Because we serve such an awesome God.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Forever loved

video

MUTE THE MUSIC ON THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN OF THE BLOG BEFORE VIEWING!!

When I need to express myself I always create something- a video, picture, poem, or scrapbook page. I was feeling sad so I made a slideshow. Just thought I'd share it with you. It made me laugh and cry at the same time. How can you not laugh listening to her giggle?!

The Journey Begins

This is my new desktop that I made right after my parents told us that God was calling them to adopt. You can click to enlarge it and read the scripture verses.

The big picture was taken of my brothers and I in Arizona in 2007. I had asked my dad to take the picture like that and I made a scrapbook page afterwards about how I had prayed as a little girl that this picture would have another little girl in it (at the time I was praying it'd be Claudia). Lord willing, that picture will have another little person in it in the near future. :)

Rollercoaster Week

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend!

So much has happened in the past 9 days that I don’t even know where to start. It has been such an emotional rollercoaster.

The day before Mother’s Day, my dad saw this little boy in the ER. He was about 11 years old, in the foster care system, and very depressed. My dad told us about him while we were at my aunt and uncle’s house Mother’s Day afternoon. My heart was breaking for this little boy as my dad told us about him and I started to cry. My mom said, “Wow. This makes me want to get a foster care license and do something to help these kids out.” I didn’t really think anything of her comment, and the conversation turned to other topics. 2 Thursdays ago, out of the blue, my mom said, “I called DCSF today to inquire about foster care licenses.” I was shocked. My parents had made comments in the past about adoption but I thought that this was another “false alarm.” Part of my heart was leaping for joy at the idea that maybe God was doing a miraculous work in my parents. The other part of me was building a wall. I have dreamed and prayed SO LONG for us to adopt, and I was so afraid of having those dreams crushed again if this “adoption talk” was just a temporary idea.

The next day, the Lord was really convicting me of my response to my mom’s comment the night before. As I prayed I realized that my lack of encouragement to her the night before came from unbelief and fear. I didn’t believe that God would create a burden in my parent’s hearts for the orphans. I didn’t believe that God would finally say yes to my prayers for our family to adopt. I was so scared of being crushed with disappointment and scared of what this journey would hold for our family. God was gracious and granted me a new attitude and I approached my mom that night with excitement and awe of what God was doing in her heart. She told me that she and my dad were interested in trying to get Claudia, my little Guatemala girl and would like to get a foster care license. WHAT?!! The people at the orphanage had told my dad and I in March that they were going to try to get her through final court and into the US to a foster family until the paperwork could get switched over. I was elated. So we sent an email off to Guatemala to let them know we would like to be her foster family if she got out of court. God had done a miracle in my parents’ hearts and it is AMAZING. I am praising Jesus still.
Everyday last week dragged on and on and on waiting for a message back. I had my mom checking her email hourly LOL. No response. No answer. I prayed some more. I prayed for patience. I prayed that God would move the mountains and do a miracle for sweet Claudia and allow her to be my sister- something I’d dreamed of ever since I met her. My mom and I spent Saturday cleaning out our basement and building some simple shelves to store boxes on in an effort to prepare for getting a home study done.

Then yesterday afternoon I checked facebook and there was a short little message that hit me like a punch in the stomach. The judge has decided to transfer Claudia to a government orphanage and she will not ever be available for adoption. This simple sentence held SO MUCH and I felt myself go numb. If I thought my heart couldn’t break again I was wrong. My heart broke for Claudia. I couldn’t even take in all that this means, and I feel like I am still reeling. It made me angry that a judge can just stamp “ORPHAN FOREVER” on a child’s life. Who gave them that authority? It is so sad. I am so disappointed and I feel helpless. There is nothing at all that I can do to keep Claudia’s life from being turned upside down in the next months. There is nothing at all that I can do to save her from the bleak future that she has. Nothing I can do to get her here with a mama and papa. We have emailed to ask when she will be transferred in hopes that I will be able to see her one last time when I go in 3 weeks.

So I have been “on the mountain” and “in the valley” the past 10 days. Right now, I feel like I’m still in the valley. I know that there are people with MUCH HARDER valleys than this. But none the less, it is still very painful. But looking back on the past years, months, weeks, days, and hours I can see that God is faithful, sovereign, and good. I told my mom yesterday that we picked the best life verse. I keep saying it over and over to myself and it is like water to my soul. “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 He has plans for Claudia and He has plans for our family. I really am so excited to see what God will do now. My parents are still very commited to going forth with something. We are not sure exactly what we’ll do- foster, adopt, international adoption??? But God will guide the path. I started praying even last night for whatever child God will bring into our family instead. He works in mysterious ways, and has really used Claudia to spark the spirit of adoption in all of our hearts. I am so thankful for a loving God who will take me in His arms and hold my hurting heart. I am so thankful that He is going to be Claudia’s Father no matter where she is taken. I am so thankful for the work He has done in my parent’s hearts. We praise you Lord for what you have done, are doing, and will do. We know that this is just a chapter in the story that You are weaving.

“ Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather them from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back!’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth- everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:5-7

I am so proud of you Mom and Dad! God has a plan for our family that He will reveal in His perfect timing!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Oh so busy.

Goals for Weekend:
1. Sleep
2.Relax
3. BLOG- so all of you can hear what God has been doing! :)
4. Build shelves in basement.

Some exciting posts coming soon.... whenever I find time to write. :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Today...

Today I am alot of things.

I am thankful for another day of life. Another day of praising Jesus for His goodness to me.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good." Psalm 34:8

I am thankful for my amazing friends and family.
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

I am thankful that in 28 days I will be back in the country of my heart. I don't think I've talked about this on the blog yet. For some reason I felt like people would think I'm being extravagant. But really, come on! How can you serve orphans (and all people for that matter) TOO MUCH? Our church is taking a group down to the same orphanage in Guatemala. God totally opened the door and I jumped in the group at the last minute. So.... I will get to hold my girl again. I just can't think about leaving her down there again though. SO HARD. But like I said. We're not thinking about that right now!! I'm just thankful I get to go there again! God is too gracious.
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

I am thankful that the Lord continues His good work in my heart even when I fail Him. His grace is EXTRAVAGANT. His love is RADIANT. We serve an awesome God.
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

A little look into my heart today. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you awesome moms out there!


Our family had a great day at my aunt and uncle's house, filled with good food and relaxing outside (i'll post pics of that tommorow hopefully).


As we drove home from my aunt's house I watched this sunset the whole way home, thought about my day, listened to worship music, and attempted to sort out all of my thoughts from the day:



This was kind of a different Mother's Day for me. I have been very contemplative and reflective all day. I will attempt to write it all out. It might make sense and it might not but either way it will do me good to sort out my thoughts. Writing always does!



First of all, I'm so thankful for my mama! I have definitely been blessed with a mommy who loves, cares for, supports, and listens. She knows me best and reads me like a book. She has encouraged me in my passions and dreams and continues to do so as I make more plans for the future. I love you Mom!!




Right after I'd gotten dressed up for church, did my hair and makeup, etc. I sat down to do a quick email check before leaving. I opened my Google Reader (the best invention for blog readers EVER lol) and saw that our friends the Arnolds had posted. A year ago today, they got their precious Libi in China. Mrs. Arnold's post was so sweet and it just made me cry. Seeing how far Libi has come in the past year is amazing. God has been so gracious. Sweet Libi Faith has a forever family and the best mommy. And very soon, her big sister Haddie Hope will come home to this same family, and will be wrapped up in the arms of this special mommy. Praise God for bring the orphans home!



Our friends the Semlows left for Ethiopia on Wednesday and it has been incredible watching their family's journey to get their 3 precious children. Today, on Mother's Day, they met their kids for the first time. 3 orphans met their new mommy and daddy for the first time. They will forever more celebrate Mothers Day with their 5 other siblings.



So many miracles on Mothers Day. My heart leaped for joy and delight at the blessings from the Lord. Yet I couldn't help but have a heavy heart at the same time. I am alway so ambivolent!! Happy at some things, yet broken over other things. All at the same time.

I thought of the little girl who has stolen my heart. When I was there in March she called me her "mama." My sweet Claudia is in Guatemala still. Without a mommy. That sentence just breaks my heart. Need I say anymore?


And thinking of her makes me think of all the others. The millions of children who have no woman to call mommy. Nobody to painstakingly scribble a card to. No mom who will squeal with delight at their littlest of victories. No mommy to tuck them in tight at night. No mommy to rock them to sleep. Sometimes these thoughts are all too much for me to bear. But this is the reality of our world. This is the pain of the fall- that there are children left without the nurturing touch of a mother. And this is not how God intended it to be. But as I grieve for these children, I know that what breaks my heart is breaking God's heart. When tears fall as my heart breaks, there are tears rolling down the cheeks of the Father's as well.

So I watched the sun dip lower and lower in the sky, until all I could see was the pink glow above the trees. I thought of our dear friends who would just be waking up to that rosy orange sun in Ethiopia. I thought of Haddie Hope who would be rolling out of bed, waiting another day for her mommy and daddy to come get her. I thought of all of the children and prayed. I prayed for the mother of my future children, if the Lord chooses to allow me to adopt. She is probably walking around somewhere. I prayed for my future, and where the Lord might lead me. My heart SO LONGS to DO. GO. HELP. There's so many options. So many possibilities. So much need. But I have one BIG God who has a BIG plan. And I'm trusting in Him to show me the way. The sun can go down and close this Mother's Day and I know that it will rise once again tommorow in all it's radiant beauty, bringing the hope and joy of a new day. My heart is burdened but is steadfast, anchored in the firm foundation of the Lord. I'm trusting my God for today, tommorow, and forever. Maybe someday I'll be able to make a difference. And give a child a mommy.
"For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Friday, May 8, 2009

Check it out...

I changed up all of the songs on the playlist with some really good ones that I had never heard before until recently or I'd forgotten about...... so if you don't have your volume up listen to some of the new tunes i've discovered and be encouraged! :)

Devotion



Devotion
by Hillsong United

Verse 1
I've been running, trying to be one who sees
I've been working salvation out on my knees
There is nothing better than knowing
that we are redeemed
I'm believing, trusting in creative hands,
I am praying for our world to bow to your plan
And this one thought is unmistakable:
I take up my cross and follow you Lord

Chorus
When you stand the tall trees and mountains bow
When you speak the fiercest of oceans is still
And I see the sinner seek devotion
The lost become chosen, and I fall to my knees

Verse 2
I'm forgiven; my Savior who did not deserve death
He was blameless and I was lost in shamefulness
I'm delivered, but it doesn't seem right
unless I keep my eyes focused on the savior who gave his life
In the middle of a world that denies it believes
It is breaking apart at the very seams
There is one thing to be alive for
And it's to take up my cross and follow you Lord

Bridge
I will take up my cross and follow Lord where you lead me
And I will take up my cross and follow wherever you go

I heard this song for the first time today and thought it was beautiful. The lyrics are so good. Our God is so amazing. I just can't even express it. He is truly indescribable and I am falling to my knees today when I consider all that He has done. I am redeemed, my sinful heart has been transformed to one of devotion, the lost have become chosen, I'm forgiven, I'm delivered. The tallest of trees and mountains bow to our God.

THIS is why I love my Savior. As the song says, there's only one thing to be alive for, and it's Christ. Everything else in this world leaves the soul feeling empty and needy. But He wants us to live life to the fullest- and He will fill us up with the joy of the Lord. Praise the Lord!!

Water for the soul

"Just think- you don't need a thing, you've got it all!! All God's gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the finale. And not only that, but God Himself is right alonside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up in Jesus. God, who got you started on this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of His Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that!!!"
1 Corinthians 1:7-9 (the Message)

Does that not bring a smile to your face? A breath of relief? Joy to your heart?

It did for me!! The Word just pours into the soul and refreshes. I was getting a little weary in my "spiritual adventure" this week and was so encouraged by this scripture. God got me started on this and He will NEVER GIVE UP ON ME. Not when I mess up. Not when I disappoint Him. Not when I run out of strength to keep running this race. He will never give up on me. Instead He just lavishes more grace, love, and mercy on me. It is amazing!

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
Philippians 1:6

Friday, May 1, 2009

This Summer....

Summer is coming SO fast. With every day that passes, my list of chapters left in school keep decreasing (though I never understand why teachers must assign the huge papers and projects at the end of school when you just CAN'T concentrate anymore lol)!! Anyways, AFTER I'm done with school, I'll dive into summer. And of course, summer couldn't come without a list, could it?!

So here's some things I'm hoping to accomplish this summer. Check back with me in September and see if I got any of them done lol!

1. Build some basic wooden shelves in the basement to try and organize my mound of sewing/craft/scrapbooking supplies. It is driving me crazy.

2. Finally sew this "exposed seams" quilt I've been wanting to do for over a year. I got an instruction book for it but haven't made the time to do it.

3. Memorize Scripture. I've been SO SO SO bad about this. My mentor and I are going to focus on this in the summer.

4. Take long walks with the dog.

5. Go to the pool alot.

6. Read LOTS of books.

7. Start volunteering at the community center here in town. They have a Hispanic Outreach Program so I'm praying I'll be able to put my Spanish to use! :)

What are some of your goals this summer?? Share with me!!

Dangerous Surrender


I just finished one of the best books today. It is entitled "Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God" by Kay Warren. Wow what a book. It was so good.


God has taken Kay on an incredible journey these past few years. He broke her heart for people suffering with HIV/AIDS and, as she writes in her book, has been "gloriously ruined." It was so good to hear her insight and hear her story. I also felt like she articulated much of what was storming in my heart after my trip to Guatemala. This is a challenging yet encouraging book and definitely a call for Christians to rise up and minister- wherever God has placed us.


If you are going on a missions trip I highly recommend reading this book before you go. I wish that i had read this before ever going on a trip and I feel much more prepared spiritually and emotionally to go on another one. However, she applies this book to ministry of ALL sorts. Everyone will find gems in the chapters of this book.