Friday, November 29, 2013

The Day Before

One year ago today I received a phone call that a birth mom had picked us. Ten hours later I found out she went into early labor and we needed to book a flight because our son was going to be born soon. The next morning he came into this world and I was holding his hand after lunch!

Let me rewind 1 day prior to all of that excitement.
I was sitting across from my dear friend in her play room telling her what I was praying for. My prayers lately had been extraordinarily deep, almost unending, as if I was constantly talking to the Lord. I felt His presence so close to me and it was such a sweet time that I will never forget. It is hard to explain, but I felt like He was sitting next to me and we just talked. I opened my heart, and His Spirit responded. Almost as if we didn't need words to communicate. I was utterly dependent on Him and I knew my heart was aligned with His!

I had always struggled to understand the will of God. I mean, how do we know if we are following His will or walking in His will? It was such a foreign concept and such an abstract thought. We make decisions all of the time, every single day, and they might or might not be what the Lord wanted us to do. But how do we know?

"I desire to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart." 
Psalm 40:8

"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground."
Psalm 143:10

On that day, however, I learned exactly what that meant. You see, as I sat and waited, talked with, and prayed to the Lord, I felt so deeply that He was telling me "yes!" Everything I was praying, He was encouraging me, speaking to me, and helping me understand His goodness and will. 

So I shared with my friend the following:
I have been praying and the Lord has told me He is going to give me a baby before Christmas. It is going to be a boy like I have asked for, and it is going to be sudden. Also, it will not be close to our home so that we will have some extra bonding time just the 3 of us before anyone else meets him.

Yes, those were my prayers, my outcries, my desires.
As crazy as it seems, I had reasons for all of them and I was going to pray BIG prayers because what did I have to lose? I knew God could do it and He already knew my desires, why not ask for them?

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

And as I sat there, letting the Spirit do the talking for me, I felt a "yes child, yes." 

Only in that moment did I understand "I desire to do Your will" and "Teach me to do Your will". Only when I was walking that closely with the Lord did I understand how my will and His will can be one in the same.

So I shared what the Lord was telling me. I shared with a handful of people, and all thought I was setting myself up for potential disappointment, but were excited with me the same. Of course, all of these people were praying with and for me. And the Lord knew. I'm sure He was smiling because only He knew what was about to happen.

When I received the phone call that our son was on the way, tears of excitement, joy and praise were streaming down my face. You see, when the Lord answers every single prayer down to the smallest detail, He and only He receives the praise! Only He could grant this, orchestrate this, and pull this off in a manner where all of the glory would be given to Him.

It was through this experience that I realized my God is one who can move mountains. He can grant miracles. He, and only He, can answer prayers. Nothing is outside of His control. He is just sitting there waiting for you to ask. Waiting to sit and talk. Waiting for you to come to Him humbly and say "I delight in You Lord! I desire to do Your will...and only Your will."

It is in those moments where you will see His unmistakeable power, love, and grace.

It is right there where He will gently align your heart with His.

My testimony is forever changed by trusting Him and watching Him move mountains for me.

I am forever blessed by His love.

If you wanted to read more about Lex's adoption story, you can read about it here:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A New Thanksgiving

I woke up this morning at 5:45am and could not go back to sleep. I took that to mean the Lord wanted to spend time with me extra early today. As I read and worked on a study I'm going through, I ended by praying thanksgiving to the Lord for His many blessings. When I paused to just sit, the Holy Spirit whispered to me "What about the hard things? Are you thankful for those?"

Wow, in all my 31 years on this earth, how many times have I thanked the Lord for the times that I did not enjoy, the times I hurt, the times I normally try and forget? I don't know if I truly have.
I sat and reflected. In my life I have buried my best friend and cousin, I have been deeply wounded by an evil act of Satan that made me want to lose my trust in the good that should reside in humanity, I have almost died in two different car accidents, and I have been told that I could never bear children. I have seen friends suffer, I have suffered, and I yet here I am. Still standing, still alive. But when I thank God, I thank Him for the "blessings He has given me." 


Shouldn't blessings also be the fact that He brought me through those things as only He could? That he saved my life? Was infertility a blessing? Was losing a loved one a blessing? 

We live in a broken world, but the Lord is still in control. He was the one that brought me through my grief. He was the one that sent angels to surround me when I should have died wrapped around a tree. He was the one that blessed me with two amazing sons because I couldn't have any in my womb.

Often I forget to thank Him for carrying me through the hard times, but more than that I forget to thank Him for sitting with me during those times. My faith was strengthened enormously then, my walk and heart forever changed. Had I not gone through the pain, I would not have seen the true identity of my Heavenly Father. His face was made known to me in those moments.

So today I sit in a state of thanksgiving for going through the fire, sitting in the den of lions, in the body of a whale and living to tell the testimony of His grace, His strength, His love. Forever I am changed by those experiences...for the better. And I would walk through them all again because He was always beside me and that was and is all I will ever need.

So what are you thankful for today?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

National Adoption Day

Today is a special, but also an especially sad day for me.

It is a day when we celebrate all of the families that were made or expanded through adoption. 

It is also a day where we become more soberly aware of how many children there are without a family. No place to call least not a forever home.

Here are the facts:

Worldwide there are roughly 18 MILLION orphans without any parents.

In the US, there are approximately 420,000 children in foster care and over 100,000 are adoptable and just waiting for a family to say yes.

In Texas, there are about 28,883 children in foster care and over 10,800 are ready to be adopted into a forever home.

To those that have been called to adopt, thank you for saying yes.
To those that have been called to be foster parents, you have a special crown in heaven waiting for you!

To those that have given money to help someone adopt, have babysat a foster or adoptive parent's children for respite care so they could have a night off, have brought meals when a placement happens, have cleaned a parents house because you know they need to spend time with a child more than they do cleaning, have brought supplies and necessities after "usual" hours, have supported the weird parenting techniques sometimes children from hard places need, have prayed for children and parents alike, have helped a teen aging out of foster care with a job or apartment application or helped them fill out college paperwork and helped them shop for the basic necessities...
it is you I want to thank!

You help make burdens lighter.
You get it.
You understand that the command to care for orphans does not mean you have to adopt, but that you have to care for orphans!

We are the body of Christ and your hand is a perfect example of how that is supposed to work.

- - - 
I celebrate this day as a mom of two adopted sons.

My oldest is my comic relief, my son that is wise beyond his years from the heartache he has seen that I cannot even begin to imagine, a rock on the outside and a heart full of gold on the inside. He became part of our family when he was 17 and now 3 years later sometimes it almost seems like he has been here all along. He loves his little brother more than I thought was possible. One day he will be an amazing husband to a lovely young woman and a wonderful spirited father to his children. I love him more than he will ever imagine.

My youngest is a gift from God. He displays more happiness than I ever knew a child could have. He loves life and all people (especially his older brother!). He is loud and crazy and brings such joy to our entire family. I cannot wait to see how his personality develops and the man he grows up to become.

And yet, my heart still aches.
It aches for the children I can't adopt. I wish I had a huge home or island and adopt them all! But I can't. I can't be a mom to 18 million. Only God can parent that many children.

It aches for the children I know are out there that we will one day add to our family in the future when we adopt again. Are they in care yet? What kind of pain are they suffering besides just the loss of parents? Why can't I stop it from happening? Why can't I help the parents out there struggling to keep their family together?

I can't fix the world, but I can try, pray, give, support, and continue to look for ways to help.

If you are not moved to act, maybe these stories will help.

And if you are looking for a place to support, I highly recommend Embrace Ministry. They work with parents, teens aging out of foster care, with churches starting and continuing ministry in orphan care, along with advocacy for them before our local, state and national government.

Also, here are some stories from National Adoption Day resources: