Friday, May 31, 2013

Waiting List Number: June 2013

Without further ado...

We are #55 for the month of June. 
Wardrobe courtesy of Color Me Rad, which we will be participating in tomorrow. 
Silly outfits to distract from our disappointment with the lack of movement. 
This might be my favorite Daisy picture yet. 
She does not look amused. 

OK, so yesterday I told you that I felt like this month was going to be big(ger) in the way of movement. It appears that I was wrong. On this final day in May (the month during which I prayed we would be matched with our child), I find myself feeling sad. Sorry about that. I know I should be strong and faithful and joyous in my suffering. And I do want to be those things, but my heart is hurting too much right now. We knew going in that this journey would be long. But it has been so much more difficult than I ever dreamed it could be. I think about our babies all day every day. If I am not actively talking to someone or working on something, you can be sure my mind is in Ethiopia, right next to my heart. 

I am sure you can imagine that I was upset when I got our monthly email this morning. I'd had such high hopes that there had been more movement. Each part of this process has stretched me more than I thought possible. On days like today, it seems like if I get stretched any more then I will just tear. 

And I will be honest with you, there is a part of me that is not just sad, but angry. It is the ugly part of me. The part of me that starts comparing. A dangerous game. This part of me rages, screams and cries about how unfair this is. How everyone else in the world (love a sweeping generalization) gets to have kids and we don't. 

And then there is the part of me that is both defeated and deflated. The part of me that is begging the rest of me to just give up. The part of me that truly believes this is never going to happen for us. The part of me that is fighting back tears while I type this to you. This part of me feels like there is simply nothing left to give. This part is broken, weak, empty. This part looks around and doesn't even recognize her own surroundings. 

And then there is a tiny part of me that tells the rest of me this is possible. This can happen. This will happen. And this part is about the size of a mustard seed. I like to call this part Faith. Faith was given to me by God. And without her, I would have given up before we started. Faith keeps me from going to absolute pieces on days like today. Faith reminds me that God is always only ever good, and that even though He is allowing this hurt to continue, He is not doing it arbitrarily. No. He is doing it for a greater purpose, and Faith reminds me of that truth. 

Faith prompts me, while at the gym the morning, to open my Bible app and just see what Psalm 55 (in honor of our new number) has to say. 

Verses 1-8:

Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea;
hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
and assail me in their anger.
My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter far from the tempest and storm."

Verses 16-19
As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God.

Verses 22-23
Cast your cares on the Lord
 and he will sustain you;
he will never let  the righteous be shaken.
But you, God, will bring down the wicked
 into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
 will not live out half their days.
But as for me, I trust in you.

Further evidence of God's sovereignty, no?

My faith and assurance come from God alone. Still, I do not ever want to give you the impression that this is easy or that I have it figured out. Not even close. An enormous part of me wants to head for the hills, to run as fast and as far as I can away from the hurt and the pain and the sorrow. God holds me here. I am nothing without Him. My faith in Him keeps me hanging on, and I am certainly learning to walk by faith and not by sight.
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." 
Hebrews 11:1


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer is Here!!

Summer is here!! That is the battle cry of teachers all across this nation. Whew! We made it. Last week rounded out year 6 in the books for my teaching career, and it was a fast one. The last week of school is always insane. Certifiably so. The kiddos are ready to be done; the teachers are SO ready to be done. We are packing up our rooms, cleaning out lockers, signing yearbooks, patrolling the halls, attending assemblies, monitoring the cafeteria, guarding the crosswalks, dealing with squirrelly teenagers who think they can get away with everything simply because it is the last week of school. Seriously, universities should offer a course in crowd control, perhaps taught by bouncers, as preparation for the end of a school year. You think I am kidding.

But now all of the grades are entered, and there is nothing left to do.



Summer is off to a great start, and I am very much looking forward to RESTING this season after the crazy homestudy paperchase of 2012 last summer. Still, we have lots going on, so I am sure I will manage to stay busy. We do have a new number coming our way, probably tomorrow, so that is exciting. I think there has been a bit more movement as far as referrals go this month, so I am actually looking forward to (instead of dreading) this month's update.

I have spent a lot of time this week praying and reflecting, and I am hoping that I will soon be able to share with you what I feel like God is sharing with me. Assuming I can get my words out right. My head has been a very busy and crowded place this week, so I am hoping to empty some of that out here soon.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Circle Maker Part 9 : God's Favor (Chapter 9)

Batterson opens this chapter talking about a prayer that he prayed for 8 years waiting for God to respond. Yikes. I don't know about you, but waiting 8 years for God to answer my prayer is not something that makes my heart leap with joy. But as I was thinking that while reading, Batterson's next assertion hit me right between the eyes:

"In retrospect, I'm glad the coffeehouse (what he was praying for) took eight years of hard prayer because it stretched our faith in the process. When you have to pray that long, you aren't even tempted to take it for granted." 

I love that. I have often thought something similar in my own mind, and I have shared it with Adam on more than one occasion. All of this waiting is so hard, and I often feel like I am just praying the same thing over and over with no change in sight. But in this process, God has allowed a thought to bounce around in my head. All of this waiting, praying, suffering, hurting, begging, pleading, longing means that when Adam and I finally do become parents, we will realize what a miracle it is. And that is something I will treasure. I always thought that becoming a parent was a given right, something everyone had the ability to do and do easily, but I am learning that this is not necessarily the case. And so what is the natural course for many will be a miracle for us. And maybe God is letting all of this happen so that we will realize that truth.

All of this leads me to ask you a question.

What are you praying for? Waiting for? Longing for? Begging for?

Could it be that God longs for you to understand that when whatever you are waiting for comes to fruition that He is the One responsible? That His miracle working is what brought about the conclusion to your years and years of prayer? I am asking myself this as I ask you, and I am hoping that my tone here is clearly encouraging and not at all antagonistic. Because believe me, dear friend, I am struggling right alongside you.

Sometimes, when I am having a particularly difficult stretch, I start to feel like maybe God just doesn't want to bless me with what I have asked for. I start to think that I am just hurting for the sake of hurting and that He is withholding for the sake of withholding. These moments are not my most graceful. But our author speaks to this.

"God is not holding out or holding back. It's not in His nature to withhold any good thing from us...If you take God at His word, you'll make the joyful discovery that God wants to bless you far more than you want to be blessed. And His capacity to give is far greater than your capacity to receive."

If I know that the Lord longs to bless me, then I can also know that He is withholding because it is in my best interest. I often have to look back at Jesus' lesson in Luke 11. Jesus tells a story about a man who comes knocking at his friend's door very late at night, asking for bread for a guest at his own home. The man is persistent in his asking even though the friend has made it clear that getting out of bed to get bread is not what he wants to do. BUT HE DOES IT. And he does it because of the man's boldness (some translations use the word audacity) in asking for it. Jesus goes on to ask which father would give his son a stone if the son asked for a fish, and finishes by stating that if earthly fathers (who are inherently sinful) give good gifts to their children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give good gifts to His children. I am always encouraged by that chapter, because it reminds me that God is not just a distant God up in the sky, but rather He is a Father to me. And fathers take great joy in providing for their children.

This chapter concludes with a resounding truth.

"The more opposition we experience, the harder we have to pray, and the harder we have to pray, the more miracles God does." 

I just love that. Mostly because it is true. I feel like the last two and half years of my life have been one enormous uphill battle. But for God and His infinite grace, I know for sure that I would have given up by now. I am simply not strong enough. But He is. And I can lean on Him. Shoot, most of the time I think He is carrying me. And I am OK with that. Still, I need to work on doing a better job of turning to Him to meet my needs instead of searching (albeit fruitlessly) for the strength within myself or turning to others before turning to God. He alone is able. And that is why I need to pray to Him. For His guidance, His love, His peace and His favor. Because when we have God's favor, we do not need anything else.

Back in March I wrote about attending the Created for Care conference with my mother. In one of our sessions, the speaker quoted Beth Moore.

"Blessed are you when what takes the natural course with someone else means that a miracle has to happen for you." 

That has stuck with me over the months since, and it has been a source of encouragement to me on more than one occasion. It's not how we usually think, is it? It's certainly not how I usually think. I want easy all too often. I want what others have. It is hard to watch the people around you get what you want and sit there wondering, "Why not me?" And so I appreciate this different look at the same situation. Maybe all of this means that I will absolutely know, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that our little ones are walking, living, breathing miracles. Maybe I would know that anyway, because all children are miracles when you really think about it, but I am pretty sure I would not appreciate that truth as much as I will if things had been easy. So even though it does not really feel like it, maybe God's favor is resting on us in this way. Not the traditional way, but in a way that is for our good and His glory.

Some things to consider:

1. Is there something you have been praying for for a long time?

2. What are the things you have learned in your wait? What has God revealed to you about Himself? About you?

3. What is your tendency when you face opposition? Run to God? Run to self? Run to friends? Run to mom? Are you like me and in need of some work in this area?

I would love to pray for you about whatever it is you are walking through these days. You can leave a comment below or email me at if you are looking for someone to pray with or for you. The school year is almost over, so I am about to have a good bit of time on my hands, and I am hoping to spend a lot of time in prayer this summer. I would love the opportunity to pray for you in the days ahead.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

5 Sparrows for 2 Pennies

I know it is late, but I have to share what just happened to me. The last week has been a struggle for me. Mainly I have been feeling very anxious about the whole becoming a mother issue. This is something I have been hoping and praying for for a very long time now, and sometimes it seems as though we are just at a total standstill. When I start to get overwhelmed by this, one of the main things I struggle with is feeling alone. I don't mean alone in the, "Oh, I have no friends" sense. I have wonderful friends (love to you all!). I struggle with feeling alone as in apart from God. Sometimes (being very honest here), I feel like we have been forgotten by God. Now, I KNOW that is not true. I absolutely know that. But I do FEEL that way sometimes.

And I hate it.

I hate feeling like God has forgotten us, not only because it is a miserable way to feel, but (mostly) because it spotlights my lack of faith, which makes me feel worse.

Fun times.

Well, tonight was one of those nights. And as I was praying, I told God that. I told Him that I sometimes feel forgotten. It was a hard sentence to say out loud, and I am grateful that no one other than our dog was around to hear me have to say it. Still, our gracious Lord tells us to come to Him with anything. So I took Him at His word. I told Him that I feel forgotten, that I wonder (to borrow from King David) "how long, O Lord!" will I have to wait, hurt, long, desire. I asked Him to speak to me. To say something, anything that would bring me comfort, let me know that He is still there, that I am not forgotten, that I am still His, that He is still working all things together for my good and His glory.

I would love to tell you that an Angel of the Lord appeared in our bedroom and began with, "Do not be afraid." But that did not happen.

Here is what did happen.

I took out my phone to do my daily Bible reading. Adam and I are in the process of reading through the Bible in a year, and we are currently in the Gospels. So I open my Bible app (YouVersion, which I highly recommend) and click to my reading plan. Today I find myself in Luke 12-13, so I start reading. Jesus is talking in these two chapters, so I see LOTS of red letters, which I love.

I make it to verse 6.

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet NOT ONE of them is forgotten by God."

Heart starts to beat a little faster.

Continue to verse 7.

"Indeed, the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth far more than sparrows."

Shaking my head and suppressing a smile because this is so like God. People always say that God speaks through His word. It is something that is easy to shake off and think, "Yeah. OK. Maybe for other people, but not me." Please let me tell you, right here and right now, that He absolutely does speak through His word.

Luke 12 goes on to talk about worrying (something I have a gold medal in when it comes to becoming a mother). Luke records the words of Christ:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Dear friends with troubled hearts, I hope these words of Christ lift you, encourage you, speak to you. This same Savior speaking here can speak to your heart and to mine. We would do well to remember that and to rest in the fact that we can always, ALWAYS lay our worries at His feet. 
To the Lord of all there is, you are worth far more than sparrows. 
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