Friday, August 8, 2014

alabaster jar

it's a jar i've always kept with me
i've held it close
i've guarded it
i've placed my worthiest treasures in it
i've pretend it's value immeasurable





















the more i cling to it, the less i can cling to His feet though



in these days, my spirit has been crushed, i've wept, crippled on my knees for the sweet lives lost-taken...no, stolen, in violent manners.  they were children. and now they are children worshipping in His presence.











my "alabaster jar" seems just ridiculous now. what filled mine was not a sweet fragrance or prized oils. doubt and fear is neither sweet smelling nor valuable.

i can't focus on "me" right now. i mustn't deter slobbering, exhausting, knee prints in the carpet prayers for those whom at the moment are passing from our presence to His.

relinquishing the control: fear of provision for our adoption, fundraising, the focus on "me". it's all so silly in comparison to the pain no words can even touch in description families and children are facing right now in a distant land.

i'm going deep in to my prayer closet. the fundraiser auction that ends this saturday will be the last, for a while. He loves these innocent children and their families who exiled themselves just to survive to mountaintops just to await uncertain starvation, and He loves our daughter who is waiting on us to bring her home. He is preparing a home for the children whose lives are lost, and He is preparing our home for our daughter. i can strive and strive to bring her home, but ultimately, it's going to be Him doing it. it takes too much of my focus, which turns into insecurity, which turns into doubt.  when in reality, His love for me, you, my lucy-girl, your child, and these children waiting (un)certain death on mountain tops is great enough to continue on without my fervent attempts.













it's too much to hear.

i will emerge with bruised knees, tear-stained cheeks, and a throat sore from impassioned plea filled screams, and my lucy-girl will still be coming home; but at least i would have devoted the same passion to persecuted children and families exiled for survival.



Saturday, August 2, 2014

fundraiser to bring lucy home!

to help raise the final cost to bring ours sweet lucy girl home, we've organized this little fundraiser:

so many lovely items have been donated by generous people loving lucy with us, take a look, see if you like something and claim it by bidding on it!

rules:
1) opening bid is listed in the description
2) please increase bids by $1
3) when bidding, leave your contact email address for us to notify you :)
4) you may bid on as many items as you'd like!
5) bidding wars are fun
6) we will try to get these items out aasap, but some items may be shipped by different individuals, we'll put you in contact with them if needed :)
7) AUCTION ENDS SATURDAY, AUGUST 9TH AT MIDNIGHT CENTRAL TIME (1 a.m. eastern, 11 p.m. mountain, 10 pacific...i think that's all right ;))

CLINCK ON THE PICTURE OF THE ITEM YOU'D LIKE TO BID ON AND LEAVE A COMMENT ON THE NEW PAGE IT TAKES YOU TO-EACH ITEM HAS IT'S ON PAGE FOR BIDS (COMMENTS).


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matilda jane size 12 tunic, bid here
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Friday, July 25, 2014

why

"we live in a perpetual and hopeless struggle to satisfy our longing on trifles.  so our soul shrivels. our lives become trivial. and our capacity for magnificent causes and great worship dies".  --john piper: ruth, a sweet an bitter providence

what do you live for?

most my life, i had convinced myself i lived for God. that wasn't the complete truth. i had been living for acceptance, approval, validation and assurance.

so much i wanted to be:
i wanted to look like my sister: beautiful and captivating
i wanted to speak clearly: instead i had a speech impediment and was in speech therapy from 3 yrs old to high school
i wanted to just be "happy": instead i was bitter at myself for everything i wasn't

my whole existence consisted of my thoughts focusing on what perception others had of me. what value i had to THEM.

i not willing to be satisfied and assured through His love for me, His design in me, and His calling on me.

but then that changed. with this sermon. technically, i was 2 when he first gave it, but i heard it when i was 27/28.

specifically, i was hiking when he said this:

"Christian Hedonism teaches that the desire to be happy is God-given and should not be denied or resisted but directed to God for satisfaction. Christian Hedonism does not say that whatever you enjoy is good. It says that God has shown youwhat is good and doing it ought to bring you joy (Micah 6:8). And since doing the will of God ought to bring you joy, the pursuit of joy is an essential part of all moral effort. If you abandon the pursuit of joy (and thus refuse to be a Hedonist, as I use the term), you cannot fulfill the will of God."

i stopped in my tracks and i wept.
ugly cried. lips quivering. and i apologized to God.
i apologized for telling Him, all these years, He was not enough, there were more "valued" opinions.
i told Him that i wanted to delight in Him, and Him alone. everything else in life was like that useless parsley used as garnishes on plates ordered at restaurants: you don't eat it, it doesn't season your meal, it's there for a split second and then you brush it mindlessly out of the way to nosh on the steak and potatoes.

you can ask (adoptive) families, and most every one will have a story to tell of a family member questioning their decision to adopt. oh my, add on to that, making a conscious decision to adopt a child "with special needs" and people look at you as if you've lost your mind. i've mentioned some of the heinous comments in previous posts, so i won't relive them here, but they're ugly.

here's the thing: WE DON'T WANT "THAT" LIFE.  we don't want a life lived so comfortably we never have to press into God. we want our life to scream His story. we want our life to be one that shows the greatest joy is found in Him. we want lucy to be loved. we want lucy to know her value is infinite, that her name was written on His hands, and pressed through His heart.

this process has stretched and grown our souls, it's pressed us firmly against the cross.

there are times where i cling to it, as one lost at sea would a life raft that has floated toward them. there are times where i'm sure i've gone under and His cross has drifted in the vast ocean toward me, just in time for me to grab, and Him to breath new life into me. then i have been made stronger by His breath, and those two pieces of wood.

i will swim the ocean toward our daughter, because i know she is mine. i know she is His. i know that in the long and treacherous swim, that each time i go under, His cross will keep me afloat, and breath make me stronger should i lose mine.

having made the tragic mistake of looking for my acceptance and affirmation elsewhere, but in His grace having been shown where true joy comes from, i am here, on the other side, to hopefully shield our sweet girl from that.

we adopt because we love our daughter, lucy.
we adopt because our lives are worship, not just sunday mornings, but each moment.
we adopt because we can and our daughter deserves a mommy, a daddy, breakfast in bed on her birthdays, surprise mommy/daughter dates, and so much more.

we adopt because our lives are centered in Him, and we don't want anyone else's idea of "normal"
there is nothing normal about a life sunk in Him.

<3

Thursday, July 17, 2014

the hardest word to say

it was a word i tried to force out on my drive home
each time i mentally prepared myself to say it, my throat closed and a lump arose. i tried to force it out, but tears came instead. 

white knuckles gripped the steering wheel as i thought of her broken heart and languishing away, without a family. i thought of the joy that she held for so long despite, and i prayed He would maintain it.

i told myself all my go-to lines and reference passages-the ones i dole out to others when they are hurting, the reassurances i give them affirming God's promises when THEY feel as if their heart is wrenched. 
this only made my eyes sting.

my spirit whispered to Him: 
You are good
You are good
You are good
nothing passes before You without You allowing it to pass
i wanted those to be the words of my flesh
instead, it was the Spirit interceding in my weakness

You love them more
You love them more
You love them more

i thought of Him hardening pharaoh's heart
and i pleaded with Him to change another's heart, "soften" it to this

they love too
their hearts are good and pure
this makes my anger, bitterness, and hurt even more difficult to hold onto

i think of the mountains He moved, the hearts He spoke to
the ones that originally doubted
when two newly married individuals, with no children prior
stepped up and said ""lucy" is our daughter!" 
the ability of us to parent an older child with special needs was questioned, but He moved in their hearts then too, and now we are months away from bringing our sweet girl home

all our circumstances defy logic
our dreams and visions don't match up with the majority of other families

we want the kind of faith that makes people do a double-take
we want the kind trust that can leave our cares, fears, worries, and heartbreaks in His hand
--and do just that, leave them there
and then say
"hallelujah"

but i still weep
yet He holds my tears in a bottle
He was a man of sorrows and too was acquainted with grief

He has my grieving heart in His hand
and as He comforts it back to health, 
with it's pitiful beats, it will cry out: "hallelujah" 






Sunday, July 13, 2014

i'll become even more undignified than this

something happens when you go from being "just a christian" to a "christian that is adopting a child with special needs".  it's as if you change species. you go from being, "oh, yeah, they're a christian" to  someone transposing you into dana carvey/"church lady" in their mind. i wonder if it's an optical nerve issue with them? weird how it happens....

i am NOT an exemplary christian. especially in traffic. and when i'm hangry. and when i let a pedestrian cross the parking lot in front of my car, and then they walk dead center of the aisle, in front of my car, not hurrying, and not moving to walk on the side....those times.

we live in a world where it's okay to talk about shenanigans and exploits, but when you bring up biblical matters and more specifically the orphan crisis and our role in being the hands and feet Jesus, people think you have gone off the deep end, and suddenly, you look like this:


isn't that special? 

when you protest the phrase "adoptive mom", because there's no difference in "adoptive mom" and "mom" (except for our "labor" takes at least a year). why is there a need to differentiate. you don't see the similarity in features of my daughter and i? your issue, not mine. :) we are looked at with expressions to "chill" and "don't take it so seriously". but we do, because we are passionate about our children. 

they don't understand. i will say it again and again. i will say it when i am dying with a smile and peace resting on my face: 
the Gospel is foolishness to those that are perishing, but to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God.--1 corinthians 1:18

when we rejoice and cry tears of joy over a piece of paper stating: our waiver has been approved, we have PA, we have our i800a approval, our dossier is being submitted (DTC), it is out of translation (OOT), we have letter of approval (LOA), and finally we have travel approval (TA), of course it seems silly to so many! of course when we share our beloved pictures of our precious and beautiful children, we don't see the same joy on the faces of others (and they even think we're just a little bit crazy when we fall to our knees and weep when we find a young picture of our older child--because they just weren't valued and cherished before they came home to us, and the same way parent who bore their child in their womb). those are priceless treasures. 

when our "fall to our knees and weep" reactions are observed, and judged as being "over-board" and "unnecessary", our response should be that of david's as he danced (partially naked) before the ark and was judged by michal: "I WILL BECOME EVEN MORE UNDIGNIFIED THAN THIS! and i will be humiliated in my own eyes; but by these slave girls you spoke of, i will be held in honor"--2 samuel 6:22. 



there is a potential "God showing His grace and power" miracle in the working, and i will unashamedly dance naked before Him if these prayer pleas are answered. no concern except glorifying and praising Him, because He is God, and He has shown us how much he loves these children! 


side note:
what are we waiting on now?:
our biometric fingerprinting appointment is july 31st at 3:00
it takes about 10ish days for approval to come after that
once we get our i800a approval, we get that notarized, certified, and authenticated
then we send it (to catch up with the rest of our dossier packet) to the china embassy
then our dossier is sent for translation and to china
then it is accepted or additional changed requested
then we receive a log in date (LID)
then we receive a letter of approval (LOA)
then we receive travel approval (TA)
then we go get our sweet girl and bring her home! 
oh, and money too, that's a minor detail. :) 


Thursday, July 10, 2014

(it could be) a paralyzing fear

every day i want to punch satan in the face.

so much pain in the world.
so many lonely, abandoned, those who feel unloved.

(i will tie this story into adoption):
i once dated a jerk. and my heart was broken. wrenched. destroyed.
like a many songs state: "i wasn't sure i'd ever trust again".
(but i did, and am married to a magnificently splendid dude).
on our first few dates i hid my fears. i remained reserved in my mind, waiting for him to change his mind, turn, change his persona. but he didn't (and decided he actually couldn't contain himself and proposed like 5 weeks after our first date). we sprinted to the altar.
there are still times though, where those wounds peak up in my mind and heart and tell me "just wait, he's going to do the same thing". he hasn't, and won't (maybe beacaue he's afraid of my brother--he's crazy) (just kidding). the hubs has a pure heart for me. we work toward Christ, not each other (but it's that triangle thing, with Christ at the top...remember that from youth group?).
but the fear remains. because there is still a slight wound. the magnificent husband did nothing to cause the wound, he just happened to come along after it was dug deep.

imagine your similar broken heart/will i ever trust again story: and now think of our children we are bringing home through adoption.
abandoned in outhouse-toilets, train stations, sides of the road, in front of churches, left in hospitals, etc.
think of the bouncing around from foster home to foster home. orphanage to orphanage. the days filled with hunger. the nightmares not followed up by a comforting embrace. think of the lack of a consistently loving adult. the adult that was "there" but that's it, not really THERE.
we have all these fears:
"what if they hate me"
"what if they don't bond to me"
"what if they never tell me they love me"
"what if they never trust me"
"what if they aren't comforted by me"
"what if....."

it's okay and understandable if those fears are actually played out and real when our children come home! it's not about us. it's about them. it's about redemption.
we give it to God.
we leave them in His hands.
we work through that grieving process with them. they are not responsible for our happiness loving us back. we want their hearts to heal and be open to being loved and experiencing it, but ultimately that's where God steps in. He heals and restores what satan tried to destroy.

when hugs are pushed away.
when screams fill the house instead of giggles.
when doors slam in stead of open.
hate satan. love God and give it to Him.

there is a cross begging to receive our troubles, worries, and pain.
we mustn't carry them with us. we mustn't let satan have a double-victory in destroying our children's lives and our hearts through that.

this world began to break the minute eve took the fruit off the tree.
it continued to crumble when mommies had to leave their babies, "forgetting" them (isaiah 49:15);
but it was restored when Christ hung upon the tree, taking the curse for us (deuteronomy 21:23)
and continues to be restored through the redemption of adoption (james 1:27; psalm 68:6; isaiah 1:27...)

it began with a tree and it ended with a tree

everything horrible, terrible, sad, and heart-wrenchign that occurs after the redemptive tree is begging to be laid at it.
including our children and their hearts.



Friday, June 27, 2014

the final countdown and a rat race. also, holiness.

this is how i feel right now.

i went to bed at 6:30 last night, after: 
8 hours
4 counties
3 county clerk offices
one state capitol/secretary of state office

also there was a car that exploded (not ours)
and we had to walk a mile in the rain
and i had a gas station hot dog (because i was getting hangry)

we finally accumulated all of the documents which make up the dossier packet: official copies of birth certificates, an official copy of our marriage certificate, really detailed physicals, verification of employment (letter from a boss), a detailed financial statement/breakdown, our letter of intent (to adopt our daughter), and final home study (well, the i-800a approval is part of the dossier too, but it takes a while, so we proceeded with what we had and will do that one later). all of these have to have been issued in the last 6 months and then be notarized. if they aren't notarized on the day they were issued, you have to attach a letter of authentic to them and have that notarized. then you have to go to the county clerk's office (of the county the notary was commissioned in) and have the notarization certified (a piece of paper attached that says the notary is legit and all that), then you have to go to the state capitol/secrety of state and have all that authenticated (verifying that the person at the county clerk office (who verified the notary) which is also a piece of paper with a fancy sticker seal on it. 

after almost 6 hours, 3 counties, passing a car engulfed in flames that shut down the other side of the highway, and having to eat a gas station hot dog (because i was hangry,) we finally were able to have the authentication done...but had to park over a mile away. as soon as we park our car (over a mile away), it began to rain. i can't even make this stuff up. at this point, i was not the virtuous wife. if anyone tells you this process is fun and they never felt stress, they're lying. or a masochist. 

it felt like this: 

but we won and are still married. 

this process is also a litmus test for your marriage. 
so are puppies. raise a puppy together before you raise a child together. 


we are mailing in our dossier packet today with a $7,000 check. pocket change. --not really, we're kind of at the stress out point right now. (if you want some pretties and fun things, you should "buy an envelope" as a part of our fundraiser, every envelope comes with a neat thing! :)

after a few tears yesterday (and eye rolls, not going to lie), when we were handed back our 8,000 sheets of paper, notarizations, certifications, and authentifications, i felt a relief, a lightness, and silly for stressing. there's a really neat vision described in isaiah 6:2-
seraphim is flying the Lord God on His throne, each has 6 wings, two covered his eyes, two covered his feet and he flew with the other two singing to one another, "Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord God Almighty! the whole earth is full of His glory!"

the Holiness of the Lord was so great, so beautiful, so powerful, even the angels-seraphim couldn't gaze upon him or show their feet. that's how i feel right now.
i think of all the stress, the worry, the frets, and now we are almost at the "waiting point", i think "how silly! how silly of me, what little faith i have!" would not a God with such might, power, and Holiness have control over our adoption, isn't He sovereign over a silly paper work process? the same Lord whose Holiness is blinding, He loves our daughter! the same Lord whose Holiness is too much for moses to directly see, who the seraphim couldn't bare his feet in front of loves our daughter, He has written her days and her name on the palm of His hand (isaiah 49:16).

when i stress, or fret, or fear, i think of His Holiness, and His love for us and our daughter. i think of how He wants to draw us near Him, the veil was torn from top to bottom (matthew 27:51)--He tore it! to draw us closer to him. all these stresses and frets seem just silly in comparison.

WE MUST ALLOW OUR CHILDREN TO STAY IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND! that is where they, and we, are safest. that is how He can do His greatest work. i want that kind of faith.