Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Show me the way I should go

"Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in You.
Show me the way I should go,
for to You I entrust my life."
- Psalm 143:8

As I have written before, adoption blindsided us in a way that we knew had to be God. The timing was wrong, the call too strong to ignore. It was something I had never even actually considered doing, so it shocked me when I started feeling this pull towards it. Praying, we weren't receiving any definite direction, so we felt we needed to make some sort of step in faith. Which is why we signed up for the DCF classes. We figured even if He leads us toward adoption in a way other than the state, the information would be valuable. And we were right, the classes taught us so many things that we would have never found out on our own. But during those 6 weeks of classes, despite prayers, neither of us felt a leading as to what to do next. We agreed to become licensed, because we can always say no, and if we felt called to come back to it later and hadn't been licensed, we would have to start all over again.

It was the day of our last DCF class that I found out I was pregnant. I thought, okay, God has revealed the direction He wants us to go in. Another beautiful baby for us, adoption will come in time. Yet just weeks later, I lost the baby. I was left with confusion. I wanted to adopt, and still do. But now I want a baby. I want to be pregnant again. Why would God give me that, just to take it away? In a way, it feels like it was stolen from me and sometimes doesn't feel fair.

I was talking with a close friend a few weeks ago about this confusion. She brought up a good point. Maybe, God doesn't want us to adopt right now. Maybe, He gave us the strong desire because He wants that to be fulfilled in the future. Much like how many people in the Bible received a prophecy that wasn't fulfilled until many years later. Yes, that makes sense. But why? Why would God give us a burden on our hearts for something that won't be fulfilled until later? It hurts my heart every single day when I think about all the orphans suffering. It literally aches. Aren't we called to look after the fatherless? It's hard not to feel a strong sense of urgency when it comes to this. Which is why I have a hard time even considering letting it go.

It is my daily prayer that God will use me for His glory. I will go where He wants me to. Every day I do my best to offer Him all that I am. I believe my family is my first ministry; taking care of my husband and children come before any other commitments and ministries. But I can't help but feel that there is more. That, even though my life is crazy sometimes, in a way it's just too...comfortable. I don't believe God calls us to a comfortable life.

Without a doubt, I know that He is faithful and will direct our path. I know He has great plans, and I continue to pray that He will reveal what is next for our family.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Redeemed

How can I possibly put into words all of the things God has been teaching me? Through the pain of my miscarriage, and the millions of other stressors and issues that come up daily, God has quietly been making His presence known. I can honestly say, I don't understand why He chose to take our child before we had a chance to truly know him or her. I know that I cannot change what has happened, and so I must accept it. I know He does not want me to go down the road to bitterness and anger. So instead, I chose to lean into Him for comfort.

I try my best to see difficult times as opportunities for growth...the fire refining my faith. It's so easy to say that you will stand strong among the storm when you aren't in the middle of it. When the storm is raging around you, it's a lot harder to hold on...but totally worth it.

Things are moving along on the adoption front. The DCF worker came for a visit. She is wanting to license us quickly. We had our water tested this week, and I still have paperwork to fill out and physicals to schedule. And of course, there is the issue of the van. We cannot take a child until we have a vehicle large enough to accommodate our entire family, plus (at least) one. I truly believe if this is His will, God will provide, and so I am praying and researching options that will work for us.

My 28th birthday was on Sunday. I decided to celebrate by finally getting one of the tattoos I have been wanting for a long time.


I chose this word, and this location, as a reminder to me that God has redeemed me. He paid the price and I no longer need to be bound by the chains of my past sins and mistakes. I am free! This word has stood out to me so many times in scripture, it's a word God has impressed upon my heart. It's also from my favorite Bible verse, Isaiah 43: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Grieving A Loss

This wasn't hard to write, but I hesitated in posting it because of the personal subject matter. I know when most people go through something like this, they choose to do it in private. However, for me, writing is how I express myself best, and I feel strongly that writing and sharing this will actually help me to heal.

Three weeks ago, we found out we were expecting. Although unplanned, we were totally excited. I even started brainstorming four-letter names to match our other three kiddos. We planned to tell family & friends on Easter.

Last week, I had symptoms that sent me to the ER. All day, I had cried and prayed, begging God to not take our baby. By the time we were on our way to the hospital, I told Justin I was 99% sure I was losing the baby, and only that 1% remained because I believed in miracles. I had prepared myself emotionally the best I could in a few hours. During the ultrasound, we saw a healthy yet tiny baby, we saw the heart beating, they told us everything looked perfect and sent us home with no explanation for the symptoms I was experiencing. Unfortunately, the symptoms persisted for the next 5 days, and I remained unconvinced everything was okay.

An ultrasound this morning confirmed what I believed deep down in my heart - that I had lost the baby. Although I was only 7 weeks pregnant, emotionally it was a hard hit. I honestly never ever thought that such an early miscarriage would cause me to grieve like I am. But through it, God is giving me so much peace. It truly is the peace that surpasses all understanding. I know friends and family have been praying for me, and those prayers mean the world.

I want to say sorry to all the other women who have gone through this. People don't know what to say. I never knew what to say. It's something we seem to brush under the rug and pretend like it never happened. It's awkward, and sad. But not saying anything, I think, is almost worse than saying the wrong thing. Everyone grieves differently, but no matter how, we all do. Miscarriage is common, so I know there are literally millions of women who have been through this. By sharing this, I hope to at least make someone else realize they are not alone.

I refuse to allow this to dampen my joy for others. I am praying specifically that God will help me to grieve in a healthy way that will not result in jealousy or getting stuck in a "why me?" rut. It hurts, but I know I will get through it. He will never leave my side. All I can ask for is for anyone reading this to save a prayer for me, every word spoken to Him for me is so appreciated.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Scattered thoughts

Life is crazy sometimes, isn't it?

We have less than 5 weeks in the homeschool year and I am burning out big time! I feel like every day, all day, I just keep going and going. There's always something to do. I'm sure other parents can relate! Sometimes I wonder if we're ready to adopt, because my hands already feel SO full some days! But I know there is no rush and I just need to trust God. We were just contacted by the social worker licensing us (who was also one of the workers at the class) about setting up a visit in April. She said she needs to visit with us once a month until we are licensed. I still have lots of paperwork and whatnot to catch up on (physician's statements for us and the kids, vet statement for our dog, CPR class, etc). As Justin says - "add it to the list!" We plan to get licensed and just continue to pray for God to reveal His will for us.

One thing I know, and I say often, is with God, expect the unexpected. So I have learned to try not to visualize how something will play out over months or years. How often do our plans match up with what actually happens? Not that it's bad to make plans, but don't get too attached to them. I try to stop myself from picturing how this whole adoption thing will work out, because as soon as I am connected to a plan that is from my own thoughts, I find it harder to keep myself open to God's plans for me.

Through this journey so far, God has taught me so much about myself, about others, about His character. I have a greater awareness of the needs of those around me, and those thousands of miles away from me. I have met the most amazing, giving, caring people on the face of this planet. Seriously. The things these people will do to rescue these orphaned children...they literally go to the ends of the earth and back. I have never been so inspired. I can only hope God can use me in such a way to influence others for His glory.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Minivan Needed!

Hey, we've hit just over 2,000 page views, pretty cool for my little blog. :)

So, we need help.

It's becoming pretty clear to us that we need a minivan. We should be licensed by summer, and theoretically, we could receive a call for a child anytime after that. Even if God doesn't lead us that route, adoption is in our future, and with any luck, sometime we will host a Ukranian orphan for the summer. (I'm working on hubby. LOL) We have our Camry filled with three kids in the back, and unless they make it legal to stuff kids in the trunk, we need to upgrade. We had been planning to save up once we're out of debt. We do not want to finance one if possible. So please, just keep an ear out if anyone is getting rid of one. We are trusting that God will provide if it's in His will, so we just want to keep an ear out for a good opportunity. Even if you can't help in that way, please just pray for us.

Thanks!


Monday, February 24, 2014

And you want another one?!


When I came out into the open about the calling Justin and I felt to adopt, I had no idea how people would react. Knowing it is really a decision that only affects our own family and people we see on a regular basis, I didn't expect much. Thankfully, most everyone has been very supportive, which is SO appreciated. I've had people praying, sharing links & great information, and just encouraging us.

But of course, there are those who don't understand. The ones who look at me like I have lost my mind.

I think they expect that someone planning to add another child to their family should have everything under control. They should never get impatient or frustrated with their children, have everything perfectly balanced. They shouldn't every look like a circus in the middle of Target, with the mom attempting to be the ringleader. (Not that I know from experience or anything.) "And you want another one?!" I hear as they watch me go through the crazy motions of trying to meet the needs of three terribly needy and sometimes demanding little people all at the same time.

The answer?

Yes. I want more kids. I love watching them grow up, I love cuddling and reading stories, I love the kisses and hugs and the insanity and bittersweetness of it all.

Most importantly, I want what God wants for me. I want Him to take my crazy little life and make it something that brings Him glory. Are there times I doubt God's calling for me? Absolutely. When I am cleaning up the milk and cheerios all over the floor while my kids fight in the next room and I lose it and yell at them because we had been trying to leave the house for the last 45 minutes...I can start to doubt. I'm not perfect. I mess up a lot, but that doesn't mean that God can't use me.

I know the comments and stories are meant to be helpful. It seems that once people know you plan to adopt, they feel compelled to share their horror stories with you. (I like to compare it to expecting a baby...everyone tells you the most terrifying and painful birth stories, as if you aren't scared enough!) I understand the intention behind it, I really do. People want us to know what we're getting into, that it's not all butterflies and rainbows. But trust me, all the horrible scenarios you have described are nothing compared to the number of ones I have run through my own mind. Yes, I am scared of the unknown. Aren't we all? But I have full faith that God will lead us down the right path. Fear is not a good reason to abandon God's will.

So yes...I know it looks crazy. But you know what? Not following God's calling on my heart is even crazier.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

"Your calling isn't meant to be easy"


Nothing seems to drain me like these foster/adopt classes. They are so full of great information, but a lot of it is very heavy and difficult to hear. Today, one of the speakers talked about brain development and the effects of alcohol and other drug use during pregnancy. It was SO informative! She even gave us a chart that explains each behavior, how it is commonly seen, and what the actual issue may be. For example: Not following directions - commonly seen as willful disobedience - actually can be a child's inability to connect the directions with actions, or they are unable to understand.

The second speaker talked to us about sexual abuse. It was disturbing, to say the least. Some of the examples she used from actual cases were so insidious and horrifying, I actually became flushed because I felt so angry. But it was necessary, and we learned a lot about how to handle children who have been sexually abused. The homework we have every week has been great in helping us really think about our own upbringings and helps us to relate to the children in foster care.

As far as adoption...Justin and I are still unsure of what God wants us to do. We are trying to focus on the step we are on, which is attending these classes. The information we are gaining has been SO helpful and will relate whether we choose domestic or international adoption. I do feel like the enemy has really been attacking us lately and it seems to be focused on the weekends and days following these classes. I feel like everything in the future is foggy and the only thing we are sure on is what is right in front of us. Maybe God doesn't want us to know which direction He plans to lead us, and that's ok. I love to know all the plans before they happen, but God certainly doesn't work that way. But that keeps us open to whatever is in store. It's been a great way to demonstrate our trust in Him.

A few days ago, an article from Relevant magazine showed up in my newsfeed. It was entitled "Your Calling Isn't Meant To Be Easy." The title says it all. I think inside I still believed the lie that if your are called to something, it will be easier for you. That if you are met with difficulty, maybe you "heard God wrong." But that is NOT the case! Yes, you may be called to something, and it may be hard, but God will always equip you. Most of the great men and women in the Bible encountered difficulties, some were even fearful or doubtful. But with the obedience of following their calling, they were able to carry out God's plans. THAT is who I want to be. I want to be faithful to His calling. No matter how crazy people think I am, or how much they try to talk me out of it.

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8

Right now, I am waiting for definite directions. But I am trusting that I am waiting for a reason. I trust in His timing.