Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Long but Not the Short of It

We learned in kindergarten that February is the shortest month of the year. Only 28 days. I always felt kind of bad for February. Remember the little chant, " Thirty days has September, April, June and November. All the rest have thirty-one...except for February. " ? I think that is why I started feeling bad for February. So left out!

Anyway, because February is actually a shorter month, I thought it would just fly by. Easy peasy. In reality, February has been the longest and toughest month for me on this adoption journey so far. If you were a student in my English class, this is where I would pause to discuss the irony of this with you (Don't you miss middle school?).

Instead, I am going to talk to you about God's provision in my life over the last 28 days, some of the longest of my life.

1. Adam and I started reading Jesus Calling together this month. We were starting to feel worn down and needed something to help refocus us on the goodness and Sovereignty of God. So we have been working through Jesus Calling for about two weeks now, and it has been incredible. We were talking last night about how God has really been using this book to minister to us in a very specific way and how crazy that is because the book was mass produced, not written with the Knotts in mind. We are pretty much awestruck by how the Lord is using Jesus Calling to speak directly to our hearts. For example, here is last night's message:

"KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME!  Waves of adversity are washing over you, and you feel tempted to give up.  As your circumstances consume more and more of you attention, you are losing sight of Me.  Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand.  I am fully aware of your situation, and I will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear.

Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow.   If you try to carry tomorrow's burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat.  You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today.  It is in the present moment that I walk close to you, helping you carry your burdens.  Keep your focus on My Presence in the present." 

Is it just me, or does that seem pretty spot on for what Adam and I have been feeling over the last several weeks? Each night, we read the book, talk about the Scriptures used in that night's message and pray together. This is really transforming our lives and our hearts. You see, I had gotten to a point where it was getting hard for me to pray and turn to God. I felt like I had said it all before. But I am learning that God still wants to hear it and that Jesus is right there with me, interceding to God on my behalf. That is a pretty crazy thing. The Son of God is praying to God for me. For you, too. So this new part of our daily life is a huge blessing that has come out of a hard time. 

2. We are officially moving forward with opening up our parameters to siblings. Our interview was actually today, and it went really well. Yay! It was also just really good to see Lynn, our home study social worker. She is fantastic. We are so excited about the possibility of two little birds coming home with us forever! Will you pray with us about this? We don't know what God's plan is, but we know that it is a good one! For the sake of clarification, this does not mean that we are guaranteed to adopt a sibling set; it just means that it is a possibility. A really fun, awesome, super-exciting possibility! 

3. God did something awesome. And I mean really awesome. One of the reasons we felt so burdened to pursue opening up to a sibling set was because of three sisters. You see, each month when we get our waiting list update, we also get a list of waiting children. These are children who are paper ready to be adopted, but they do not meet the parameters of anyone on the waiting list. Most of the children on this list are older (10+), and a lot of them are HIV+. But there was also this set of three sisters on the list. Ages 3, 6, and 8. And they have been on the waiting children list for months. God first started laying them on my heart when we got our January update. I could not stop thinking about these sweet little girls. So I talked to Adam about it. We decided to pray. Then February 1 rolled around. We got our new number, and there they were again. Still waiting. We started talking about the possibility that these girls could be our daughters. More prayer required. It became clear that at the very least, we were supposed to start the process of widening our parameters to be open to a sibling group. Still praying. We decided that if these girls were still on the list on March 1, we would ask about them to find out more information. Well, they were adopted last week! How incredibly amazing is that? We are so grateful to God that these three girls have a home and family who loves them. And we are grateful that God allowed us to pray for them and that He used them in His divine plan to open our hearts up to a sibling set. Man, He is good! 

As always, there is more going on behind the scenes, and we are waiting to see what the Lord does next. Whatever He is planning, it is FAR beyond anything we could have come up with on our own, and we are so excited to see what it is. He is moving. 

" In your heart you plan your life, but the Lord decides where your steps will take you. " 
Proverbs 16:9


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

So Fast! A Say What? Post

I am struggling to come up with a clever introduction for this one, so I will just jump right into it.

" I heard that the reason so many people adopt from Ethiopia is because it is so fast. I bet that's why you chose to adopt from there. " 

Hmmmm. OK. 

There are a whole lot of factors that go in to choosing a country when you decide to pursue international adoption. And I would say (at least for us) that "time frame," while one of the most difficult parts to endure, ranks pretty close to the bottom of the list of factors to consider. International adoption is a decidedly long process. You really cannot expect anything different when you are working with multiple agencies and organizations on two different continents. There are so many moving parts with an international adoption and so many unexpected things can pop up and cause delays at any given moment that even the timelines given by adoption agencies are extremely fluid. Truly, nothing is concrete (which in incredibly aggravating). For example, when we sent in our application on April 10, 2012, the projected length of wait once on the waiting list was 6-9 months. And I will say that is short for an international adoption. By the time we finished all of our paperwork and got everything to Ethiopia, the wait bumped up to 10-12 months. Today, I think it is about 12-15 months. That is just the time you spend on the actual waiting list. Prior to that, you have about 4 months of paperwork. Once you are matched with your child, you have several more months until he/she is actually home with you. 

So... No. I would have to say we did not choose Ethiopia because it is such a lightning quick program. 

And for people to make the assumption that we did so is incredibly hurtful. 

We spent a long time trying to figure out where God was leading us in this. Initially, we felt drawn to China (a program with an incredibly long wait, the longest I have heard of actually), but we found out that we are not currently old enough. So we had to table China for later, you know, until we grow up! We continued praying and felt God lay the continent of Africa on our hearts. We knew that we wanted to adopt through Lifeline Children's Services, and Lifeline only adopts out of three countries in Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia. At the time of our application, the DRC program was closed to applicants. It is a pilot program, and our agency had reached the maximum number of families for the pilot. So, DRC was out. We looked first at Uganda and were very interested. However, a Ugandan law changed right at the time we were looking. The new law would require us to take our child back to Uganda for about two weeks every five years and appear before a judge until he/she turned 18. Knowing that we wanted to adopt more than once and that our goal was for me to stay home with our kids, we did not feel like we could make that sort of a commitment. Additionally, we found out that we would only be legal guardians of our child and not be recognized by the Ugandan government as the child's legal parents. We felt like this was not the right fit for us. So we turned to Ethiopia. We met all of the requirements and felt like God was confirming this path for us. 

Our original plan was not Ethiopia; it was not even Africa. But this is what God has for us. And so I hope you can understand why the implication that we are just taking the easiest road does not sit well with me.

More than that, I will say that this path has been anything but easy, anything but fast. Each day stretches out in front of us. Each day is another day we are apart from our child(ren). And for that reason, each day is hard. We are trusting in God to carry us through this. This is His plan for our lives, not ours. We are following God's lead. If you know me at all, you know that this is not what I thought our life would look like at this point. It has been way harder than what I thought would happen. I was ready to be a mother four years ago. And I am still waiting. And we will be waiting for a long time. 

Now, all of this does not mean that I do not want you asking me why we chose Ethiopia. I love when people ask that question. 

" What made you choose Ethiopia? " 

I love it. 

I love it because it gives me the opportunity to talk about what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. It gives me the opportunity to talk about how God led us to Ethiopia, not about how we picked it because it would be so easy for us. It gives me the opportunity to talk about His grace and how He has sustained me through what has been the longest wait of my life. So keep on asking. 

We are still waiting. We are running this race that the Lord has laid out in front of us. It is the hardest thing we have ever done. And there are days when it feels like it will never end. But we are trying to trust in the Lord and in His plan, His flawless plan. And we know that one day this part of our race will be over. That will be a joyous day. 

"I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7


Monday, February 25, 2013

Adoption Tees Around the U.S. : Post #5

Today's adoption t-shirt post comes to you all the way from Colorado! A few weekends ago my parents made a trip out West to visit some of their oldest (not in age, but in length of time) friends. Allow me to introduce Mr. And Mrs. Lofton!

Dad, Mom, Mrs. and Mr. Lofton

My mom and Mrs. Lofton knew each others growing up and were actually in each other's weddings. So basically, I have never not known the Loftons. They used to live pretty close to my family down in Florida but moved out to Colorado several years ago. Way back in the day, I would watch their kiddos, Alex and Jillian, both of whom are now grown, which totally makes me feel like an old lady. The whole family has traveled to Honduras with us on different occasions, and we love it when the opportunity comes along for us to spend time together. I am hoping that someday soon we will be able to take them up on that offer to head out to Colorado for some skiing! Maybe once the babe gets here. They are such great people, and we are so happy to have them on our side during this adoption process. 

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Lofton! We love and appreciate you! 


P.S. Random aside: This is our 100th blog post! Woot woot! That is pretty crazy, right?

P.P.S. We are still selling the lovely adoption t-shirts pictured above. Please let me know if you are interested! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordy Wednesday... As in God's Word

These last few weeks have been the most difficult for me so far on the adoption front. Today, following the advice of wise people I love, I spent a good bit of time in the Word, and I am walking away feeling refreshed. I can only credit my great God with that. There is nothing in my human heart that is jumping for joy these days, but the Lord used His own words to remind me that He can fill me with joy and peace, even especially when I cannot bring anything to the table on my own.

So I want to share with you what He shared with me this evening. As you will soon be able to tell, He parked me in the Psalms tonight, and He used my mom to get me there. I have shared the passages below and tried to offer my thoughts on each.

"For the Lord is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!"
Psalm 84:11-12

This is the one my mother shared with me tonight. We were just talking about how difficult the wait has been lately and how I struggle to understand what God is doing during this time. She read verse eleven to me over the phone, and it reminded me of God's goodness. I know Him. I know that He is good. And because I know that, I know that He is not allowing me to hurt like this for no reason.He is withholding children from us right now, but that will not always be the case. He has a purpose, and one day this part will be over. I just have to trust in what I know about His character.

"Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in You? Show us your unfailing love, Lord, grant us your salvation. I will listen to what the Lord says; He promises peace to His people, His faithful servants, but let them not turn to folly. Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land." 
Psalm 85:6-9

I love the picture of God reviving us. I don't know about you, but I need it. I need to be revived, refreshed. I have grown weary in the wait. There are days when I feel like I am just being dragged through the mud. But I know that if I call on the Lord, He will revive my soul. He might not end my trial right then. In fact, He has not yet done that for me, but He has revived me and refreshed my soul when I need it. He is always near to me, even when I don't feel Him. I will be honest about the fact that there have been a lot of days over the last year when I have felt so isolated and alone. It is nothing that anyone has done. I think it is just part of what we are walking through right now. And if I did not know beyond the shadow of a doubt--and I mean the kind of knowing that happens when you absolutely do not feel anything; you are just trusting in what you know to be true--if I did not know that the Lord was right here with me, I might go crazy. But He is here, and He promises to give us peace.

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." 
Psalm 90:14

This is more of a cry to God for me. I know that my desire to be a mother will not be satisfied until I have our little one(s) home, but I know that God can satisfy my heart while I am waiting. Please don't get me wrong here. I am not saying that God will just tide me over until I get what I really want. That is not it at all. I firmly believe that the Lord gives women the desire to be mothers. It is part of what He created Eve to do. She was Adam's helpmate and the mother of all nations. God planned that for her. So I do believe that the desire to be a mom is a Godly one. What I am saying is that God can sustain me in this wait; He can carry me through. And then He will keep right on carrying me once we have our babies home. This verse reminds me of my need to cry out to God, my need to ask Him to satisfy me.

"I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'" 
Psalm 91:2

This one is a reminder to me of who God really is. He is the one I give my life to, the one who truly protects my heart and my life. I need to remind myself of this truth much more often.

"If you say, 'The Lord is my refuge,' and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 'Because he loves me,' says the Lord, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him for he acknowledges my Name. He will call on me, and I will answer him in trouble. I will deliver and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.'" 
Psalm 91:9-16

This one speaks for itself. I can only, very humbly, say, "Thank you, Lord God, that this is who you are."

This is what the Lord had for me this evening, and I am so grateful that I serve and love and know a God who knows me so well and loves me this deeply.

What about you? How has the Lord spoken to you through His Word lately? Crack open that Bible and find out just how much He loves you.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Running the Race

This weekend has been insanely busy, but incredibly good. Yesterday morning I had a the privilege of attending the much-anticipated "Birmingham Area Ethiopia Adoptive Moms" breakfast at the home of one of our adoptive mom right here in the city. I have been looking forward to this for several weeks, and I was right to do so, because it was amazing. I was able to catch up with two ladies I had met our agency's open house back in September of last year and meet several new friends who all share the same heart for adoption from Ethiopia. We spent a whole lot of time talking and praying, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet together with other women who are on the same path. Sometimes it is just refreshing to know that you are not running this race alone. There are other people out there (some very nearby) who get you and get what you are going through and how you feel without you having to explain it. We were all in various stages of the process, so it was cool to learn from those ahead of us and encourage those behind us. We also had one mother there who just brought home her son about four months ago. She was so great at answering our questions and offering encouragement. And I have to say, it was such a blessing to be encouraged by someone who has done exactly what we are doing. To have someone who has been there tell us that it is a long and unbelievably challenging road, but that it is completely worth it. And even just to see physical evidence that it really does happen. People really do bring home their children from Ethiopia. We won't have to be on this waiting list forever. We just have to be on it now. This is what God has called us to, this incredibly long race. It is testing our endurance, but we know that He is here with us.

Here we are! 

That wonderful event was quickly followed by a surprise birthday party for one of my sweetest friends, Caroline. And we pulled off the surprise. I mean, really, how often does that happen? Hats off to her husband, Steven. He did a great job putting everything together. Sadly, we had to leave a little early to get to sleep, because (like crazy people) we signed up to run in the Mercedes Half Marathon here in Birmingham today. 

We woke up just before 5 this morning, got dressed and headed into downtown B'ham. Now, I am from Ft. Lauderdale, a Florida girl through and through. I love warm weather, and winter, in my opinion, should hit about 55 degrees at the coldest. However, when we parked our car for the race this morning, the thermostat read 26 degrees. Yes, 26. It was SO cold. But we stuck it out, and I am so glad we did. 

I was nervous about the race, because we never actually ran 13.1 miles during our training. Our longest run was 10 miles, and our goal for the day was to finish in under 2 & 1/2 hours and to not stop running. We were golden for about the first 10 miles. And we especially appreciated the cheers from our good friends, Bob and LC. But around mile 11, my head started telling me that I was done. I told Adam that I needed him to tell me I could keep going. You see, I am a very decisive person. Once I decide what I want to do, I want to do it right then (You see why adopting has been such a stretch for me? All this waiting around!) And at that moment, my mind decided that my body was done. So my dear, sweet husband started telling me that I could keep going, that we were so close, that we were not going to let the fact that we were running a long race keep us from finishing. 

And at that point I don't think he was only talking about running. Mainly because he cut his eyes at me and smiled. But also because he knows how much I have been struggling with the wait, especially this past month. So once again, I was reminded of God's faithfulness to me in giving me such a fantastic man for a husband, but also of His sovereign goodness. He does not set us on a purposeless path. The race He asks us to run might be long, but it is a race worth running. I wanted to stop running today (stop waiting for our child to come home). I was tired (we have been waiting for so long)! It was hard (impossible). But I did not stop. God used my husband to remind me of His goodness. 

And we finished. We finished in 2 hours and 14 minutes and we did not stop a single time. And it was sooooooooo worth it. Hearing our names called when we crossed that finish line. Yeah. It was worth it. 

We did it!! 
Treasures for finishing. 

After we got home and showered, we headed out to a baby dedication for Steven and Caroline's sweet daughter, Ella Kate. It was a beautiful time of prayer over Ella Kate's life. She is a precious girl! After a quick stop for dinner, we got back home for the night. 

The aftermath. Yeah, I'm in pajamas at 6 P.M. 
Don't judge. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3


P.S. Another super cool thing happened today. Remember the woman we met during the Red Nose Run who asked about our adoption? She had also adopted through Lifeline. Well, we were beside her again today for a little while. She asked us how everything was going and even remember our January waiting list number. She told us she was still praying for us. How crazy/cool/awesome is that? 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Reminder

And this is why I have the best sister in the entire world.

After I posted my Debbie Downer entry earlier today, my amazingly beautiful and fabulous sister shared this link on my wall. A simple reminder that God is with me in this. He will not let me be overcome by this because I am His.

Thank you, Jesus, for giving me people like her, people who remind me who You are, people who do not give up on me.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:2-3


The Adoption-Moon is Over

You know how right after you get married you go on a honeymoon? Ahhhh, the honeymoon Isn't it just wonderful? Everything is exciting and new. Relaxing on the beach. Sleeping late. Enjoying using the phrase "my husband" as often as humanly possible. "Oh, I am just waiting for my husband." No stress at all. Each day that passes is another day that you, yes you, have been married. Oh, how marvelous it all is! I think we have a similar experience with anything new. New job. So exciting! New house. Make it your own! But eventually that phase ends. You still love your job, but the new has worn off. You love your house, but you have made it yours. You love your husband, but you are no longer on the beach with a good book in one hand a frosty beverage in the other. You have to do life. You have responsibilities. Like that new job and that new house! You still love what you are doing, but you have to live in the meantime. I have to tell you that I went through an adoption-moon.

When we first started, each new day or week brought something new, something we had to do to get our little one home. So began Phase I of the adoption-moon. Fill out eight hundred pieces of paperwork. Gladly! Get fingerprinted twice. My pleasure! Read books and take classes. Why, I'd love to! And I did love it. Don't get me wrong, it was hard and frustrating and kept me running in circles for pretty much the entire summer of 2012. But I did not care, because all of that work was bringing us closer to our child. Then we sent off all of that paperwork. Phase II of the adoption moon began. We were a waiting family! Officially! Our paperwork landed in Ethiopia. That was one of the best days we have had on this journey so far. To know that all of our hard work had paid off and landed safely on the other side of the ocean. To know that our name was on a list that would bring us closer each day to having our little one in our arms. Talk about an emotional adoption high. I was on cloud 9. Maybe even cloud 10. Then we got our first waiting list number. It all felt so real. For the first time, I felt like were actually expecting a child. 

But now we are ten months in to the adoption process and five months into the officially waiting process, and I have to tell you, the new has worn off. I am over it. I want my kid(s) home with me. I want to be their mother. I am tired, so physically and emotionally and spiritually tired of waiting. I am starting to feel like we will always be waiting. I feel it stretching out in front of us. And I am exhausted.  Add to that the fact that I do not think there have been any referrals so far in the month of February and you get one hot mess of a adoptive mom.

I spent the better part of yesterday holding back tears and letting tears go. The phase of our life has completely overwhelmed me. It has emptied me out.

And maybe that is where God wants me. Completely dependent on Him for everything. I would love to be able to tell you that I am just embracing this feeling of emptiness. But I am not. This is so hard. It is so hard to wait for an unspecified amount of time for your child, who is on the other side of the world, to come home. There is a big part of me that is rebelling against what God is doing in my life right now. A part of me that screams about how unfair this is, how much pain I am in, how I just don't think I can do it anymore. That part of me feels caged, trapped. Because I know that I cannot do anything to fix it. Only God can do that. Again, maybe that is where God wants me. Maybe He wants me to be in a place where He is the only one who can do anything about this. And I have to trust that He is good.

I will be honest; that is the truth I am hanging on to for dear life these days. He is good. He is good. He is always, only, ever good.

God is love. And if He is love, then He acts out of love. He does not make mistakes. And if I believe that (which I do), then I also have to accept that what is happening in our lives right now is not a mistake. It is an intentional part of His plan. And the only way that this much pain could be part of a good plan (a plan that is rooted in love), is if the end result of this plan is far better than anything I can get my little mind around.

So if you see me and it looks like I might be forgetting that truth for a moment, please remind me. My husband, God bless him, did a wonderful job of this last night. Calming me down, persevering in talking to me through my tears (angry Baylor is not an easy person to talk to, much less rationalize with), refusing to let me forget that we serve a great God and that He has great plans for our family. Then my mother followed on his heels, listening to me as tried to work through it all and taking me right back to God's Word (where I should have been all along). I will leave you with what she shared with me last night.

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken."
Psalm 55:22


P.S. Happy Valentine's Day to you! We are going on a silly, fun date tonight. Hopefully, I will have good pictures to share with you tomorrow.

P.P.S. We are taking t-shirt orders for a few more weeks. Let me know if you are interested! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

More T-Shirts!

It has happened again! We have had some more people express interest in purchasing adoption t-shirts! Woot! We are, of course, thrilled about this. If you are interested in getting one, just let me know. You can leave a comment below or email me ( or Here are some pictures of the shirts to help you get an idea.

 Aunt and Uncle-to-be
Uncle-to-be with a bird :) 
 Alabama Grandparents-to-be
Florida Grandparents-to-be

The t-shirts cost $20 (That includes shipping if you don't live in Birmingham, and it includes personal delivery with a smile if you do live in Birmingham!), and 100% of the profits go directly toward our adoption.

Thank you so much for your continued love and support! We are getting closer to having the little one(s) home with us!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Adoption Tees Around the U.S. Post #4

I am becoming aware of my level of slackerdom as it pertains to the blog this week. I have not shared an adoption t-shirt post in forever!! But this realization comes at an opportune time, as one of the people in the following pictures just got MARRIED this past weekend!! Woot woot! Allow me to introduce John and Abby...

From the front! 
From the back! 

Adam and I met John and Abby in college at Auburn. Abby and I are sorority sisters, so that is how we first met. She came down to the chapter room the night of bid day with one other Pi Phi sister and they informed me that they would be taking me to church the following morning. So glad they did! That was the avenue through which I met virtually all of my college friends (including my man) and how I found my church home in Auburn. Abby also introduced me to her brother, John. We were friends all through college, and then Adam and I ended up doing Tigerettes and Tiger Hosts with John for our last two years at Auburn. We were blessed enough to be able to attend John's wedding last Saturday to watch him marry his beautiful bride, Whitney. Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Schenk!

Thank you, John and Abby, for your love, prayers and support! War Eagle!


P.S. If you bought a shirt, send me your picture so that I can brag to the world about how awesome you are!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Circle Maker Part 6: A Vision Beyond Your Resources (Chapter 6)

So I have been a book study slacker. Not to offer up excuses, but I have been doing a LOT of reading in my life lately and it sometimes gets hard to keep up. But I am back in business today with chapter six of The Circle Maker. And let me just say that only God can work beautiful timing within the context of my procrastination/forgetfulness. I say that because this chapter of The Circle Maker fits beautifully with the door that the Lord seems to be opening in our lives right now. More on that in a minute.

The primary focus of chapter 6 is how God works miracles in our lives when we have a vision beyond our resources. When we have a God-centered dream that far exceeds our human capabilities, God shows up and we get the miracle while He gets the glory.

"Having a vision beyond your resources is synonymous with dreaming big And it may feel like you are setting yourself up for failure, but you're actually setting God up for a miracle."

I think a lot of times we have these God-sized dreams and we talk ourselves out of them because we can't see how we could ever possibly make the dream a reality. We laser-focus in on our abilities, and when we don't stack up, we forfeit the dream. What we should really be doing is going to God and saying, "You have laid this on my heart and I want it. I want it, but I cannot do it. I need You to do it. You are the only One who can. So I am going to pray until You move, because I believe that you gave me this dream for a reason." I think we might spend a whole lot more time with our jaws hanging open in shock if we prayed and lived like that.

But we have to have the patience to pray like that more than once. More than twice. We have to adopt an attitude of prayer and belief in our lives that demonstrates our commitment to believing God's ability to perform true miracles. We cannot lose patience or endurance and try to force God's hand. Batterson speaks to this.

"When God doesn't answer our prayer right away, we try to answer it for Him. Like the day Moses took matters into his own hands and killed an Egyptian taskmaster, we get ahead of God. But when we try to do God's job for Him, it always backfires." 

We have to be willing to trust in God's ability for the long haul. Not just for a day or a week or even a month. Sometimes God takes years. I am often reminded of this as we sit in the middle of our adoption waiting. This is not a short process, yet there are times when I grow weary of praying. I feel like I have said it all a thousand times. I have cried and begged, but I am still waiting. I have pleaded with God on behalf of our children, but I do not know if the Lord will answer me in the way I want Him to. I don't know if I my desires align with His time table. But I do know that He has brought us here, and that is not without reason. He laid Ethiopia on our hearts. He has this May 2013 referral idea stuck in my head. Is that His plan? No idea. But it is what I am praying for until either it or something else happens. And that takes a boldness that I do not inherently find within myself. This idea of drawing a circle in the sand and telling God that I am not moving until He does because I believe He is able to do anything and everything. I am not naturally that courageous. But He is teaching me. He is teaching me that boldness also comes from being willing to not know everything. A very difficult notion for a teacher, who, by definition, is the one with the answers. God is revealing to me that it takes a whole lot more faith and courage to step out when you do not already know the answer.

"Are you willing to be perplexed? Are you open to holy surprise? Do you have the courage for God to move in unpredictable and uncontrollable ways?" 

Can I? Can you? Can we let go of our lives in order to give them back to the One who gave us life? Can we let go of our pictures of the perfect life? I''ll tell you right now that the life Adam and I are living is a FAR cry from what we thought we would be doing by now. But it is better than what we planned on doing.

And God is moving our hearts again. When we started this process, we were approved to bring home one child, birth-2 years old. Well, the Lord is stirring us and we have contacted our agency to let them know that we feel like we need to expand our parameters to be open to a sibling group. Yikes! We are nervous, but oh so excited! There is, of course, more paperwork to do, but we can work on that while we are already waiting. This does not mean that we will necessarily end up with a sibling group, but it opens to door of possibility. Talk about a vision beyond our resources. If this is what the Lord ultimately has for us, then this is way beyond what Adam and I are naturally capable of doing. It is going to take some super serious spiritual intervention by the Almighty, but we are so anxious to see that happen. So we are praying. A lot. Because we might be going from a family of two to a family of four or five. How crazy is that? That is a God-sized dream.

"Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you." Jeremiah 32:17


Friday, February 1, 2013

Waiting List Number: February 2013

Well, it is the first of the month, and you know what that means around here. Time for a new waiting list number! Here it is...

 We dropped three spots to #63!
Sorry for the blur; Daisy did not want to sit still this time. 

Did your heart sink a little? Mine did, too. Just a little. We are, of course, always hoping for monumental movement each month, but we know that cannot always be the case. This is the fewest number of spots we have moved thus far, but we are always happy with any movement our monthly updates may bring. And we are trusting in the Lord to bring us our child, not just a child, at the right time. My sweet, sweet spiritual mentor, Betty, said it very well via text convo today. I text her each month as soon as our number comes in, and her response today hit the nail on the head:

"OK, making progress for sure. I was hoping for 30 but don't want you to get the wrong kid so I'll be patient! Love you." 

How perfect is that? Love you, too, Betty! 

We are continuing to pray for God's guidance and protection over our sweet bird as we wait. Thank you for praying right alongside us. Adam and I cannot adequately express how much we love, appreciate and need you going before the Throne on our behalf. 

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord Himself, is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation." Isaiah 12:2


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