Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Forever I am Changed

Oh Happy Day, Happy Day
You washed my sins away
Oh Happy Day, Happy Day...

This Saturday, four of my dear friends threw a shower in honor of the twins.  They are amazing ladies and sweet friends.  They had the room decorated with beautiful traditional Ethiopian decorations.  We drank Ethiopian coffee and enjoyed delicious fruit and muffins.  And most of all I enjoyed the company of those that were there to celebrate the journey of bringing home our little boys.  It was a Happy Day!

As these ladies were planning the shower, they were also praying for our journey.  One of those prayers were that we would get a court date during the week before the shower.  God is so good - and I have already posted about how He answered that prayer. It's so neat find out later others were praying for the same thing we were and we didn't even know it!  So, coming off a week of still doing the "Happy Dance" in celebration of getting the news of a court date it was so fun to gather with friends and family to celebrate what God is doing in our lives.  As I visited with friends on Saturday morning I was overwhelmed with thankfulness to God who has blessed me with so many people in my life that simply love.  Words do not adequately describe how it feels to be surrounded by people who love and support our family.  I also received calls and notes from people who could not make it, but I know are there for me.  I am so blessed to have all of you in my life.

The ladies who put this shower on all have followed the ministry in Africa, Drawn from Water. We thought it would be a great way to share with children in Africa.  We asked that people would donate to Drawn from Water  in honor of the twins.  People were so generous - thank you!   The twins also received cute little outfits, cute little toys and beautiful baby books.  It was all so sweet.

Each of the ladies at my shower, and many ladies who were not at the shower on Saturday have been part of my life forever being changed.  Family and friends who have journeyed with our family on many stages of our lives and now are there with us as we bring home our two little boys.  Friends and family who have unconditionally loved us, prayed for us and pointed us to the Lord.  Forever I am changed by the love that has surrounded me - the people that Jesus has used to show me how He is the One that forever changes us.  Now that's a Happy Day!

I'll never be the same
Forever I am changed. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Big News

It's a snowy day here today.  The kids are home from school due to the weather outside.  There is much talk about "spring" and how it still feels like winter - and indeed it does.  Yesterday it rained almost all day.  Then it snowed all night and there are still flakes coming down today.  A sweet friend of mine that grew up in Africa told me today that when it rains in Africa it is God's blessing raining down.  I feel like today God's blessing have been pouring on our family.

Yesterday, Amanda and my mom were invited to a have a authentic Mexican meal with a friend of my mom's here in town.  Amanda came home so excited and said that she just ate the best meal she has ever had!  While they were eating, this neat women was sharing with Amanda and my mom about prayer.  She shared with them that there has been times when she was was hungry in Mexico that she would pray for food, and guess what... our awesome God provided.  Food would "show up" at their door.  Amazing!  Well, as Amanda was sharing with me, I said ... Amanda, maybe we should pray to find out about our court date for the twins ... and maybe we should pray specifically that we will find out about our court date TOMORROW.  Amanda and I continued visiting - which was so special to me.  Amanda is a busy teenager and the time that her and I just get to sit together and talk seems to be getting less and less.  Then we went to bed ...

We woke up this morning to Awesome news!  Our agency notified us that we have a court date scheduled!  We know that we will be in Ethiopia on May 18th for court!  We know a day that we will be able to hold two little boy's hands in our hands while we stand on the ground of their birth country.  We are one step closer to bringing these little ones home to our home.  It is sooooo exciting!

So, after I read this email I thought about Amanda and our conversation last night, I wondered what she would have to say when she woke up to this new news.  Grace woke up first and heard the news.  She went down to Amanda's room and told her... and Amanda came running upstairs and gave me such a big hug I can still feel it in my ribs - she almost picked me up off the ground - and her words to me are still echoing in my heart ... "MOM, I prayed about that last night!  I prayed we would hear TODAY when our court date was".  And we did!

I have some dear friends that are putting on a shower in honor of our boys this weekend. .  I found out today that as they were meeting and working out the details of the shower they prayed that we would hear the news of our court date this week.   Thanks ladies for praying and for all the work you are doing by throwing this shower.

And, as we were worshiping at church last Sunday standing next to a family that we treasure, the worship song "Mighty to Save" started playing I couldn't help but reflect on their experience of waiting for a referral for their little boy.  I am so thankful for this family and the wisdom they have been able to share with us as we have walked through this journey.  And, as we sang "Might to Save" I found myself prayerfully asking God to "please give us a court date soon".

I have to admit, with all the things going in in Ethiopia these last few weeks, I have struggled with doubt.  I have spent time worrying.  I have thought negatively about things.  I will still be on my knees in prayer for Ethiopia and all that is going on.  I will be in prayer about the rest of the journey we have to walk down before we can call these little boys "our children" legally and bring them home.   But God is reminding me that He is in control and that instead of spending time doubting, worrying and thinking negative I am going to work on focusing on spending my time asking what He would have for me to do - what my part in things is and how I can help to be a light and share truth.  Because the truth is, it is not about me - It is all about Jesus.

To God be the Glory! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World Water Day

It's World Water Day today! Today, I am thankful for the water that comes out of our faucets - clean and ready for us to drink, wash clothes with, cook with, wash dishes with, take a shower under... along with the many ways that we use water.  Interestingly enough, today, our daughter Amanda woke us up letting Ryan and I know that NO water was coming out of the shower, or sink and the toilet would not flush.  Luckily, Ryan figured out a way for the kids to take a shower and get ready for school and the "well" people will get a call today and I'm sure they will come and fix the switch that is broke.  We will soon have a full supply of water again.  Until then, I will hold off on washing clothes but I can go to the fridge and get water to drink still.  I really can not image not having a clean water supply to be able to nourish our body with, let alone all the other things that we do with water.  Ryan and I often talk about how to go about "digging a well" in Ethiopia.  I'm praying that God will lead us in His direction as we are in Ethiopia to see the things He would like to use us for - and maybe that will include bringing clean water to a village that doesn't have any.

And, it's pouring water from the sky here today!  While we didn't have water coming out of the shower this morning, it sure is pounding against the windows in our living room.  While it is "raining down", I'm praying that the Holy Spirit is "reigning down" on many situations and circumstances today.  Life does feel overwhelming some days - I'm thankful that I have a God that I can go to and set all of those things at His feet.

One of those situations I'm praying about brings up the word Water again - Drawn from Water.  Drawn from Water has taken care of children rescued from Water - children that have been deemed mingi or cursed and some of them literally thrown in the river of water to drown to death.   You can click here to read their story. Drawn from Water is reporting many  "changes" and circumstances that are going on right now.  We are praying for all involved, especially the precious children that live in the orphanage and have had so many hard things happen already in their short time here on earth.  It is my prayer that not only will know they are loved here on earth, but that God is a never changing, steady God who loves them more than they could ever comprehend.

"He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life."  Revelation 21:6

 Praying that many will drink in the "water of life" today.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Strength Will Rise

There has been so much happening and so much speculation and possible "rumor" of things happening these days with adoption in Ethiopia.  Up to this point, we felt like the adoption we are in the process of was flowing so "smoothly".  We are still waiting for a court date and not really any longer than we expected to wait.  But, with the MOWA cutting the "letters" they write from 50 a day to 5, we felt a slowdown that seems to be happening take the "wind out of our sails".  It sent me to a weepy emotional state while sharing about the boys and our adoption journey rather than beaming with smiles and anticipation of having the twins home with us soon.

Then I was reminded...  God is still God.  By a complete stranger that has NO idea that we are adopting or what we are going through right now.

God is still God.

So, because I believe God is still God, I felt like the thing to do is remain as calm about the situation as I could.  Someone said "Pray, don't panic".  That is what I've tried to do.  I have to admit that because I already feel such a strong connection with these little boys it felt like "letting go" of my children.  I needed to hand them over to God.  It spoke to me in many ways ... It really has shown me that I have 5 children living here that I think I have control over - and I do have choices to make in parenting - but I believe ultimately God is in control of their lives.  God has shown me areas that I need to hand them over to Him.  Then, a friend asked me to get together to pray.  She reminded me about a verse that the Lord gave me at the beginning of this adoption journey.  "About Benjamin he said: Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders."  Deuteronomy 33:12.  I was reminded that God is protecting all children and has a plan - much better than I could ever dream up myself.  After God gave me this verse when we started this journey He brought me to Genesis and showed me who Benjamin was - the child that Rachel died giving birth to.  I wrote about this here.  I really want to get myself out of the way to see God work out the details.  And, then I was reminded by the same stranger that reminded me that God is still God that God is still Good.

God is still Good.

Yes, I believe God is still Good.  He knows the details of what is happening in Ethiopia.  There is so much more involved than I could ever understand.  God is justice - and I believe it is His heart to protect all children.  I need to trust God.  God works in all things.  I have seen how God has used things like heart attacks, tough situations with children and trips to emergency rooms to bring family together.  This journey has been no different and I trust that He is using this journey to bring our family closer to Him. There has been rumor that the MOWA has agreed to process 20 cases a day instead of 5.  That paints a whole different picture.  Our agency has assured me that things are looking much better this week than last week.  I am continuing to pray that we get a court date soon but I am also on my knees for God's plan to unfold for all the children of Ethiopia.  I am praying that God's justice reigns on this country - no matter how that looks.  I believe I can not even begin to understand what that looks like.

 My mom has had this picture hanging on her fridge for as long as I can remember.  I love it!  I am striving to be the "little girl" in the swing ... simply trusting the One who holds the master plan and not leaning on my own understanding of the circumstances.

I'm in awe at who God uses in our lives to reveal Himself to us - and just how He works.  So, back to the stranger that reminded me that God is still God and that God is still Good.  She ended this thought with To God be the Glory.  Thanks for reminding me of this profound truth, sister.

To God be the Glory

Strength will Rise as I wait upon the Lord.  Yes, To God be the Glory.  No more needs to be said.  

On another note - check out this video.  It really does tell the "story of adoption" as it is being revealed to me.  (remember to silence the music at the bottom of the blog while you watch the video)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Letters to God

This little girl picked out a movie for our family to watch tonight.  

Letters to God (http://www.letterstogodthemovie.com/) ...  if you haven't seen it you should - but do have a tissue box near you. 

There was much "talk" this week about Ethiopia and adoption.  The Voice of America website posted this http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/-Ethiopia-to-Cut-Foreign-Adoptions-by-Up-to-90-Percent-117411843.html

For those of us in the process of adoption right now it stirs many emotions.  Here is what the movie we watched tonight reminded me I need to do ...write a letter.

Dear God,
Thank you for children and what they teach us.
Thank you for sending your son for me and for everyone. 
You alone are mighty to save.
Will you please protect children everywhere - however that looks.  
You are justice. 
Will you please help us fight for justice while you set the lonely in families.  
Will you please work in the hearts of those that are making decisions that will affect children.  
Will you please permeate the hearts of all the people involved with the MOWA and Ethiopia courts.
Thank you.  I love you.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A weekend full of MN Fun

We spent last weekend outside.  It was a cold weekend here, but that didn't stop us.

On Saturday, Zachary was in a snowboard competition at Andes Ski Hill.  Here are some pictures from the day.  

On Sunday, we made our way out to Lake Darling and Ryan and Grace jumped in the hole that was cut through the ice.  They participated in the Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for The Special Olympics.  We were so proud of her.  Last year she went as a spectator and has been saying since then that she was going to be a "jumper" next year.  She didn't forget!  I'm thankful for her brave and awesome daddy to jump with her, because I'm not sure this mom could do it!  Thanks to all you sponsors - you made one little girl happy.  One of Grace's languages of love is "giving" and she thought it was really neat to see all of you give to this cause by sponsoring her - so thank you for making her day along with giving to the Special Olympics.

Here are some pictures.  I'm not sure if Grace really understood what it would feel like to jump into a frozen lake (sheer craziness in my mind) - and her face shows it!  But, she has not said she would never do it again and keeps saying, "well, it was soooo cold, but for a good cause"  Gotta love that girlie.

Here they are before the big "jump"

Still Smiling ... getting ready to jump in

Not so sure about this ...

Running to the hot tub!

Ahhh... on our way home to have hot cocoa.