Thursday, January 27, 2011

The best is yet to come ...

Hope.  I've been thinking about hope over the last weeks.  I've been thinking about what I hope for, what others hope for and what happens when we don't get what we hope for.  Or, what happens when we do get what we hope for.

Over this last year, I've had the thought that "the best is yet to come" come to my mind several times.  And, as I look back at my life I know that there have been LOTS of "bests" already.  Really, I have a mom and dad that I know love me, grandparents that are amazing ... aunts, uncles, cousins that I have so many great memories with.  I have a better brother and sister-in-law than I could have ever asked for.  I have in-laws that have accepted me into their family and I'm so thankful to have them in my life.  I have a husband who has loved me through "thick and thin" and 5 children in our home that are the most awesome blessing I could have ever asked for.  I have awesome friends that I can not even begin to explain what they mean to me.  And now, we are in the process of bringing home the precious little boys that we have been waiting for.

I hope that we get a court date soon.  I hope that court passes while we are in Ethiopia.  I hope that the boys are doing okay where they are at right now.  I hope that there are not any hitches with getting a visa for these boys after we have passed court.  I hope that getting the visa is a quick and swift process.  I hope that their hearts are going to heal from the reasons that they have been separated from their family in Ethiopia.  I hope that their family in Ethiopia heals from not having these precious boys next to them.  Guess what ... none of that is in my control.

Then I think about the heart of the orphan.  What does the orphan hope for?  A mom?  A dad?  Food?  Love?  Shelter?

What about the young girl who is sold into human trafficking?  Where is her hope - maybe in a rescue?  Maybe in someone to love her for who she is?

I think about those living in marriages or relationships that seem to be destructive or that are dangerous.  What is hope then?

Then I think about those living with illness and disease?  What is the hope in ...  A cure?  Medicine?  A Doctor to see?  Money to buy the needed medical supplies?

There are just some questions that will not be answered on this side of eternity ... some things that just do not make sense and that I can not understand.  But, what happens when the things that we hope for don't come true?  What happens when the orphan dies with out a mom or the young girl isn't rescued from human trafficking.  What happens when a marriage or relationship never gets better or a cure isn't found?  Our family has walked through many things in life that I would have never hoped would have happened.  Illness and disease, death of family members, broken hearts, bad choices, relationships that are strained... and at times, I feel like I have lost hope. Things at times just seem hopeless.

Through this journey of adoption, I have learned many things.  One is that adoption is not unfamiliar to God.  We all have an adoption story - or we all could have an adoption story.  I am so thankful that that my Heavenly Father has chosen me. He has adopted me. I'm thankful that I accepted that call to be adopted into His family.  I'm also so thankful that He doesn't limit those that He invites into His family - we are all welcome!  And, what I find even more neat, is that he does it for His pleasure and will; He really wants me - He really wants you!

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[a] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will" Ephesians 1:4-5 NIV

So, as I again think about hope, my hope is in Jesus Christ.  He has adopted me, and with Him in my life there is hope overflowing.  It is my prayer that God uses me to show HIS hope to those that cross my path whether that be an orphan, my family, those I meet while I'm grocery shopping ... whether that be someone across the world from me, or right next door.

I have a friend who gave me this cup.

It was sitting on my desk at our office and I opened it up this week.  I am so blessed to know this amazing lady.  She has taught me much about being positive, working hard and knowing where to have your priorities.

It was again a reminder that "best is yet to come".  It brought me such hope!  I don't know what the future holds, but I know it is going to be awesome.  I also know it won't be without struggles here on earth.  But, I know my story will end in heaven because I was adopted ... which really will be the best there ever could be!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gods Timing

Whew!  Like I said, it has been a crazy few weeks.  Here are some of the details that God has been working out in our lives over the last few weeks.  

Ryan and I took a trip.  Alone.  Just the two of us.  We spent a week on the beach in Cancun Mexico.  We discovered that God gave us a new beginning to our marriage.  Not that things were bad but marriage is not always easy - or at least ours has not always been easy. It was an amazing week and I love Ryan more today than ever.   I know that as we started this adoption journey God told me that I needed to let Him build our house.  This journey so far has involved a lot of "letting go" of control of things.  God showed me clearly that I need to die to myself and live for Him.  God has renewed my love for and has drawn me closer to Ryan in this journey.  I have to admit, I reluctantly like to spend money or take time to go away with Ryan.  Not because I don't have fun and enjoy that time, but because my focus seems to be on the kids.  I'm discovering that all too often I put being a mom before being a wife.  This week away was exactly what God had planed for us, and I'm thankful that Ryan pursues that time together with me and even sometimes has to "push" me out of the house.  Let this be an encouragement to all of you married people out there... take time to spend with your spouse.  Dream together, pray together, have fun together ... I do understand that better today that I ever have. 

And who wouldn't love things like these beautiful flowers to take in during the month of January

Or these awesome views in the Caribbean ...

Or stopping to smile at these children that wanted their picture taken the day we were on the island of Isla Mujeres...

...or gathering shells off the amazing ocean beach

We landed in Cancun on Jan7th.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Jan 7th is Christmas Day in Ethiopia.  It was as we were checking in to our hotel that I was interrupted by a phone call from our agency letting us know that we were "matched" with two precious little boys.  Twins.   Perfect timing.  God always does have perfect timing!  

Ryan was pondering the thought of having 7 kids.  We have 5 in our home now, and with twins that makes 7.  We were then took the 7th floor, where our room was number 2707.  We spent the week thinking about the 17 years of marriage we have enjoyed.  We are both 37 years old.  We started seeing the number 7 everywhere.  Kind of funny how things speak to you differently as you are walking through different seasons in your life.  We are so excited to have 7 children and can not wait until we have a court date set so these little boys will be legally ours.  As I am trusting in the Lord's timing on a court date, we are praying that it will be soon and that these boys will be legally ours as soon as possible.  Please join us in that prayer.  

After our week in Cancun, we were so excited to go home and tell the kids about the twins.  We planned a family breakfast, making sure everyone was home and shared the news.  Each one of them was so excited to see the faces of their new brothers.  It has been such a blessing to watch them go through all the different emotions on this journey of adoption, but that morning was shear joy.  They were all happy.

We had the weekend together and had an appointment to notarize paperwork and get it sent off.  As I was walking out the door to the notary my dad called letting me know that my mom had a heart attack.  I spent last week next to my dad and brother taking care of my mom in the hospital.  God is doing amazing work in my whole family.  My mom had 5 stents put in her heart and is now home and doing great.  She is such a blessing and despite the pain of watching as she was so sick, it always amazes me how God gives us such strength as a family.  I love my family and am so thankful for them.

And, in God's timing, our paperwork was notarized and sent off this last Friday, Jan 21st.  We are now awaiting a conference call from our agency to find out what to expect next.  They are telling us that court dates are about 1-5 months out right now.  We'll wait and see what God's timing in that is.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grace!

Today is Grace's 10th birthday.  

Grace is a sweet, generous, gentle little girl!  She is has a tender heart and is an encourager in our family.  She has a keen sense of knowing who is having a "not so good" day and comes along side whoever it is.  Grace is so excited to bring her two little brothers home.  She just asked last night if I could please get her a picture of her new brothers that would fit in her little locket so she could wear them around her neck.

 God has blessed us richly when he gave us Grace.  We love you sweetheart.

Grace and Grandma Linda love to be "funny" together.

Playing in the outside in the summer time.

Grace loves horses.  She got to go to "horse camp" this last summer.  She had a blast!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Melkam Genna!

It has been a crazy few weeks at our house but I do have something to report on our adoption journey - and it is exciting!  We have seen the faces of the children that will be ours.  And ... it's twins.  Twin boys.  They are adorable and I can't wait to share pictures after we pass court and they are legally ours.   The day that we found out that we were matched with these precious boys was January 7th which is Christmas Day in Ethiopia!  Melkam Genna! Indeed, an awesome Ethiopian Christmas present.

I have much more to share later!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Psalm 107:1 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Everlasting God

Our family loves to be in the outdoors, especially in the summer.  We love time at the lake.  Often we see sites like this picture that we took this summer when we were camping in northern Minnesota ...   A bald eagle watching over it's nest.  We often see eagles soaring in the sky, too.  It is so majestic!

I can not help but think of this song as I watch the eagles and be thankful for my God who never grows faint or weary and lifts us up on wings like eagles.

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

"Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  Isaiah 40:30-31

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Psalm 27

Someone shared Psalm 27 with me yesterday.  How great is our God!

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— 
   whom shall I fear? 
The LORD is the stronghold of my life— 
   of whom shall I be afraid?

 2 When the wicked advance against me 
   to devour me, 
it is my enemies and my foes 
   who will stumble and fall. 
3 Though an army besiege me, 
   my heart will not fear; 
though war break out against me, 
   even then I will be confident.

 4 One thing I ask from the LORD, 
   this only do I seek: 
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD 
   all the days of my life, 
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD 
   and to seek him in his temple. 
5 For in the day of trouble 
   he will keep me safe in his dwelling; 
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent 
   and set me high upon a rock.

 6 Then my head will be exalted 
   above the enemies who surround me; 
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; 
   I will sing and make music to the LORD.

 7 Hear my voice when I call, LORD; 
   be merciful to me and answer me. 
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” 
   Your face, LORD, I will seek. 
9 Do not hide your face from me, 
   do not turn your servant away in anger; 
   you have been my helper. 
Do not reject me or forsake me, 
   God my Savior. 
10 Though my father and mother forsake me, 
   the LORD will receive me. 
11 Teach me your way, LORD; 
   lead me in a straight path 
   because of my oppressors. 
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, 
   for false witnesses rise up against me, 
   spouting malicious accusations.

 13 I remain confident of this: 
   I will see the goodness of the LORD 
   in the land of the living. 
14 Wait for the LORD; 
   be strong and take heart 
   and wait for the LORD.