Lay It Down…

It seems I’ve done in adoption what I do in pregnancy.  I have decided I am DONE with this process before it’s even over.  The end is in sight, with her arrival somewhere in the foggy distance, but I have no idea when “the day” will actually be (much like pregnancy when you don’t induce – which we didn’t).  And I have officially become a little insane about the whole thing.  I check email constantly.  And I restrain myself from emailing or calling USCIS because there’s a fine line between being the squeaky wheel that gets the grease and being the American whiner that gets stuck at the bottom of the stack.  If March weren’t such a crazy month I would seriously consider just going down there and camping out until she’s ready to come home.  I haven’t seen my girl since June.  It makes me hurt when I stop and think about it.

Like physical pregnancy, this is a growing process, both figuratively and literally (stupid anxiety-induced-eating).  The Lord is stretching me.  I can hear His voice faintly behind all the crazy in my head.  And He breaks through in unexpected places, like in this Elisabeth Elliot quote in a Facebook post last night from my friend Jenna….

God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to. 

And these things in my quiet time this morning….

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Psalm 27:13-14

And this gem from Jesus Calling

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 your 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.

And today as I’m driving I realize it’s time to repent.  Time to repent of my own timelines and trying to hold God to my schedule.  Time to repent of wanting my own way and release that to Him and trust in His timing.  Time to let it all go and lay it all down at His feet.  Because even though I may not always know what He is up to, I know that it’s something good.

Lord, I am sorry for my lack of patience in this process and for not trusting you and your timing.  I give this back to you, Lord.  I lay this child and this process at your feet and choose to trust that your plan is best.  Lord, give me the courage and the peace to do this every day and to continue to rest in you.

For His Glory ~

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7 – The Beginning of Our Experiment…

It all started as a conversation while running.  My friend Melissa and I were discussing a book to read together, something we like to do from time to time.  We were reading Sacred Parenting, but having just finished Sacred Marriage it felt like too much of the same.  So she mentions 7 and I admit that the premise of that book terrifies me and she agrees and yet, somehow, a mile later, we’ve talked ourselves into reading the book and doing the experiment.  I suggest that a month on each item sounds like too much but a week doesn’t sound like enough, so we settle on two weeks per “fast” (and right now, on day 3 of food, it’s quite possible her husband hates me and she may not be too fond of my either by day 12 or 13).

So she and I and our husbands (and hopefully another friend once her stomach bug goes away) began 7 on Saturday.  Tim and Mel go hard core and choose their seven food items for two weeks.  I’m just not spiritually mature enough to do that yet, so here we decide to do whole / minimally processed foods for our fourteen days.  This has been more challenging than one would think.  Like yesterday when I sat at a family birthday party and ate raw carrots and broccoli while everyone else enjoyed smoked short ribs, potato salad, and cake.  *sigh*  Or when I was trying to find a snack before church to replace my Sunday doughnut treat and I grabbed the jar of peanuts, read the label, and promptly had to replace it.  Who knew dry roasted peanuts had so many ingredients?!

Today was the first day I actually felt “deprived” though.  I had a strong craving for sugar, preferably chocolate.  And this evening, while cleaning the microwave with vinegar, I developed a desperate desire for salt and vinegar chips.  And I’m not even pregnant.  Sheesh.

Still, I struggle a bit with this whole thing.  I wanted to make a peanut butter granola this week to have on hand for snacks, but the peanut butter I had on hand had a second ingredient of “sugar” (even though it is a “better” peanut butter).  So, I went to the store and bought “even better” peanut butter so I could make my granola.  And somehow it felt wrong.  If I’m supposed to be involved in a “mutiny against excess”, perhaps I should have just done without the peanut butter (and by default – the granola). So I’m wrestling with how to recognize all we have and take for granted without losing my sanity at the same time.  I suppose this is why God wanted me to do this in the first place…

{More to come, I’m sure, over the next 14 weeks….}

For His Glory ~

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When Your Eyes Are Opened Once Again…..

Ann writes this post yesterday from Haiti and as snow falls outside this morning in Kansas, mixed with thunder and lightning, I read and God speaks somewhere deep.  This, this is what the Lord has been trying to show me.  Through discomfort, discontent, seeking, searching, 7, finances, and the hungering emptiness inside, He’s been calling me.  Telling me I’ve forgotten.  I’ve gotten comfortable in the world again and embraced it.  He tells me it’s time to seek His face more than I check Facebook.  It’s time to be about His interests more than I’m about Pinterest.  It’s time to turn my heart back out to the world, not to become more like it, but to love like Him.

And my heart breaks at the realization.  How do I so easily forget God’s goodness?  How do I become blind to His good graces?  How do I become so complacent and forget the poor and needy and hungry and hurting when my own daughter is one of them?  It’s a gradual thing to go from walking so close to wandering in the dark. Oh that this wandering heart would hold fast to what is really real.

And Ann writes these two things…

And the fast the Lord wants is to break free – free from indifference…

And the bare bottom line is that if you are going to keep company with Jesus, you are going to have to give up keeping up with the Joneses.

And in a Facebook-Pinterest world it’s a hard thing to give up the keeping up.  And I don’t know how to do it really, clearly.  Other than to throw myself at my Jesus’ feet and ask Him to keep my eyes open and my heart raw and teach me to love like He does – to love people more than things, souls more than status, His kingdom more than this world.

Lord, have mercy on us…

For His Glory ~

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Gifts on a Wednesday

In my efforts to embrace flexibility and be reasonable with my time, it seems some habits have fallen by the wayside, among them writing, taking real pictures (as opposed to odd things for Facebook), and listing the gifts here.  And, oh, I miss those things.  But if I do this all for God’s glory then I must follow the Spirit’s lead and not make a god of this space or my schedule. And I am thankful for the peace He gives in the midst of this, resting right now in the fact that there will be time for what He makes time for and I only have to accomplish the task I have been given right now.  This attitude is new and the flesh may creep back in and I may soon be in full panic mode because I can’t stay caught up on anything, but for now it’s all okay and for today I have time to count more of the endless gifts, as His word says…

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

~ Colossians 3:15

2394.  cold that keeps me from running

2395.  sore back that makes me long to get in shape

2396.  talking to Amania – and her actually talking back!

2397.  quiet evening – couch, laptop, KU game on television

2398.  Roomba running happily in the kitchen

2399.  more hard struggles with kids

2400.  in-laws headed off to Haiti

2401.  fine arts competitions and practice, hard work, nerves, and ribbons

2402.  hard seasons that leave you breathless, head spinning

2403.  listening for God

2404.  thinking clearer

2405.  thoughts on paper – a plan

2406.  a husband who listens long and asks good questions

2407.  60* in January and playing at the park

2408.  a passport – hallelujah! – for our Haiti girl

2409.  eight weeks?

2410.  glorious 75* day – windows open, kids outside

2411.  husband reading long to kids

2412.  good talks

2413.  timelines so fast they’re scary

2414.  trust – peace – flexibility

2415.  snow, wind – winter returns

2416.  releasing my schedule to the Lord

2417.  seeing Satan’s attack – more evidence we’re on the right path

2418.  staying calm in the storm

2419.  husband so very present this week – the difference it made

2420.  peace – so much peace

2421.  date night – always a gift

2422.  warmer temps

2423.  a daylight run

2424.  tales of Haiti

2425.  a Bible study with my bigs

2426.  a super-productive Monday

2427. continual praying for peace

2428.  big girls laughing loud on trampoline, on my bed

2429.  all their beauty

2430.  an evening with my beloved and our third-born, sweet memories made

2431.  long, busy week ending

2432.  home school choir in Capitol rotunda – beautiful music

2433.  sound of the second-born singing quietly in her bed

2434.  shopping with my girls

2435.  peace right where I’m at

2436.  loved ones near

2437.  good conversations

2438.  a God who is always faithful

We are able to have as much of God as we want.  Christ puts the key to His treasure chest in our hands and invites us to take all we desire.  If someone is allowed into a bank vault, told to help himself to the money, and leaves without one cent, whose fault is it if he reamins poor?  And whose fault is it that Christians usually have such meager portions of the free riches of God?

~ Alexander Maclaren

May the rest of your week be full of the great riches and overwhelming peace of God.

For His Glory ~

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Week in Review {2013: Weeks 6 & 7}

The past two weeks have flown by and yet they drag as we continue to await news from Haiti.  I am thankful for this busy life as it really doesn’t leave much time to think about how long this gestation is.

Last week was a whirlwind and I wondered early on how on earth we would get any school done.  Somehow, the girls did it though, in spite of the crazy.  Wednesday of last week we had a field trip to the local children’s museum.  It was my first time, although the girls had been previously with my parents when we were in Haiti.  It’s a lovely place that I really wish we had had about 8 years ago when my girls were all little-little.  We would have spent many a cold winter day there passing time.  Thursday the home school choir sang at the state capitol building in Topeka.  Oh, they really should do all of their performances there in the rotunda.  I was moved to tears more than once by their beautiful voices joining with the incredible acoustics of that magnificent structure.  I should have recorded some of it…but I just wanted to stand and soak it in.  Saturday Matt had a meeting all day so the girls and I did some cleaning around the house and then went out shopping for the afternoon.  This is the first time I’ve attempted recreational shopping with them in quite some time.  Shopping with four children is absolutely exhausting and I have avoided doing it alone as much as possible.  But we had a really great time. After four hours, we were all definitely “done” and ready to come home, but great deals were found and fun memories were made.

This week was much more manageable on paper, but still felt just as busy.  We purged and cleaned and organized a bedroom belonging to a certain pair of children.  It took all week and I posted to Facebook that it will not surprise me at all if one day one of my children ends up on Hoarders.  However, when I told this child that her closet looked like an episode of Hoarders (in a loving way) she looked horrified and seemed to recognize a need for improvement.  Time will tell.  But, oh, it feels so good to keep cleaning out and organizing and minimizing.  I feel like I’ve been purging for most of the last year and yet there is still so much stuff.  How is this even possible?  We don’t really shop or collect or gather or hoard.  I’m convinced that the stuff multiplies when we are sleeping.  That’s the only reasonable explanation.  Regardless, the love/hate relationship with “stuff” is a strong one.  On a different note, Friday night Matt and I took a lovely date to celebrate a belated Valentine’s Day.  We enjoyed a long evening of talking and planning and processing and connecting.  He really is my favorite and I am so blessed.

God has  been so gracious the past couple of weeks to give me an overwhelming sense of peace and flexibility.  He has allowed me to just roll with so many things that would normally make me panic.  Hopefully it’s a sign of maturity.  🙂

This past week is the first time since last fall I’ve felt forward progress in my running.  A friend and I have been doing a C210k program and I finally felt like we had a breakthrough this week.  Such a good feeling after feeling so out of shape for so long.  Still a long, long way to go, but progress is good.  I’m considering a 10k in Manhappiness in March.  We’ll see how this week’s runs go.

The kids have rekindled their love affair with the trampoline recently.  It makes for lots of noise outside, but better out there than in here.  I know in theory they are burning more energy by being out there for hours, but they sure come in just as energetic as ever every night.  Ah, what I wouldn’t give for some of that boundless energy….

I think that’s it for me tonight.  Have a great rest of the weekend, friends!

For His Glory ~

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Week in Review {2013: Weeks 4 & 5}

Two Weeks in Review

The girls’ local fine arts competition consumed last week.  Even with all of my efforts to have things finished ahead of time, it still felt like that one event ate up the whole week.  I ended up in bed on more than one occasion with ocular migraines, something I’ve had very rarely in the past but I seemed to only be one extra thing from having last week.  That said, the event was wonderful and the girls did quite well.  I’m still awaiting the email of what exactly moved on to the regional competition, as the awards were read so quickly even the girls aren’t sure what they won!  🙂

This week began with wonderful Spring-like weather and the news of Amania’s passport being printed.  That news combined with the thought that she may be home this spring has brought a lightness to the whole week.

I was also reminded this week what a gift my husband is.  To be married to a man who asks good questions and genuinely listens to my answers is a privilege.  We talked long this weekend about so many things, and to see him take those things to heart and put them into action this week has been a wonderful thing.  Sometimes life gets so busy and we get so bogged down in just surviving that we forget how amazing the people around us are.  I am blessed.

That’s it for me.  Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

For His Glory ~

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A Reflection on Lies We Believe

Last week was wild busy and I didn’t have time to think about the downward spiral my mind was caught in, the rapid free fall my thoughts had given way to.  How does a depression that I can count on coming always manage to catch me off guard and suck me in before I realize how bad it’s gotten?  It came early this year with the realization that the holidays would be spent without Amania and I just couldn’t ever get off that emotional roller coaster.  And last Saturday night it all came crashing down.  Matt and I sat at dinner and I cried over my chimichanga.  We talked long about kids and marriage and life and ministry and so much more.  We went to bed, depleted and numb, and I opted to stay home on Sunday morning, unable to come up with the energy to put on my “church face” and pretend like all was well when absolutely nothing seemed “well” at all.

So, God and I, we sat and talked over coffee and the Bible and a legal pad.  I listened and I took notes.  And I recognized the lie that the devil had been whispering to my soul for months.  I don’t know when it happened, I know it sneaks in from time to time, but I picked up that old lie again – that lie that I have to be someone else, we have to be someone else.  That their marriage is better; that their kids are better behaved, better adjusted.  That her home is  cleaner, better decorated, more peaceful.  That she’s in better shape, seems to have it all together, never gets discouraged.  That her husband does this and their kids do that and she never seems to struggle, so what’s wrong with us?  That in everything, in every way, I have failed.

And God, He so gently reminded me that He made me just the way I am.  Yes, I am expected to grow, mature, and become more like His Son, but that doesn’t mean becoming some other created being.  When He made me so long ago, He knew what my bent would be – how I would love, how I would mother, how I would teach, serve, live.  He knew I would struggle with patience and I am confident that He laughed just a little as He placed each girl in my womb and in my heart at my general intolerance for drama (other than my own, of course).  When He gave me a husband whose primary love languages are physical touch and encouraging words, He knew that those would be the two love languages hardest for me to give.  He knew.  And I can rest in the fact that He knew.  I don’t have to compare our home, our family, our school to the family down the street or across the country or on the other side of the computer screen.  I can rest confidently in what He is doing right here, right now, in our home, in our family.  He knew exactly what our strengths and our struggles would be when He brought us all together.  I can also trust that He’s not finished.  He will keep working in us and through us and for us – for His glory and our good.  So I choose to rest confidently in Him and in His promises.  He is faithful.

For His Glory ~

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