Monday, February 27, 2012

Former-Orphans

Maybe for most of you this weekend was just a normal weekend. I know for my family it consisted of the normal stuff; work, family time, church, etc... But for 2 families it was much more than that.

The Ackner family got home this weekend from China where they have been for the past few weeks picking up their newest son, Aaron.

The Ribbens family FINALLY returned home after 11 1/2 months in Uganda where they were fighting to bring home their 2 newest children, Bauer and Nya. Their story is AMAZING, and I hope they write it down someday for those who weren't following along the whole time to catch up.

This weekend as I was looking at the pictures of these newly expanded families I sort of chuckled. The look on the parents face: ecstasy. The look on the newly adopted children, the former orphans who are now sons and daughters: ummm, not so ecstatic. I mean don't get me wrong, they look happy, but nothing like their parents.

As I looked at their little faces, especially Nya's, I wondered to myself if they would ever understand the lengths and the cost that their parents endured to bring them into their families. If they would ever understand the depth of the love their parents had for them that compelled them to spend literally tens of thousands of dollars, months of their time, oceans of tears, travel across the globe to seek them out, and for the Ribbens, to literally risk losing everything they had. The cost that was paid for their lives.

And then.... as He often does, my Father whispered in my ear....

            "Do you understand, my daughter, how costly your adoption into my family was? Do you understand the price that was paid? Do you understand the tears I wept for your soul? Do you understand the distance I sent my Son, to travel from His throne, through the cosmos to live on earth to seek you out? Do you understand that the First of all your brothers and sisters LITERALLY did lose everything for you? Do you really understand the depth of My love for you? Do you understand how much your Father truly loves you?"

There are times when the Father makes His love so real to His children that its palpable. This was one of those times for me. My heart was overwhelmed and full of joy in that moment.

Then my heart grew heavy as I thought about the orphans..... those who I know, who I love, who are surrounding me who have yet to be reconciled to their Father. Those people who I love dearly, because my Father loves them, who have never felt that feeling I had.... They have yet to experience the feeling of being truly, deeply, inexplicably loved by their Creator.

So to those who are former-orphans, those who have been reconciled to God through Jesus, take a few minutes to think on this truth. Take a few minutes to bask in the depth of the ocean of love that has been poured out for you.

To those who have not, do not look at me, or any other Christian for that matter... but instead look at Jesus, and take a moment to consider the length that He went and the cost that He paid, that you might know His Father, that you might be adopted into His family, that you might share an inheritance with Him.

"The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever." 1 Timothy 1:14-17

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spinning my tires....

Do you ever feel like you are so far behind in life that you just can't catch up? That's where I am right now, and I'm exausted. I really really really WANT a simple and quiet life, but for some reason I just feel so BUSY.

I don't want busy. I want simple.

A large part of this I've brought on myself. In an effort to earn money for this adoption I've been working overtime, which actually means I have doubled my time at work over the past couple months. I normally work two 12 hour shifts, but I've been working four 12 hour shifts. Before Ainsley came along I did this every.single.week. Actually, usually five shifts. But times were different then.

Now I have 3 1/2 days to get all the stuff around here done that I used to have 5 1/2 days to do. And in just in the spirit of transparency, I struggled THEN to get everything done, but now, I've all but thrown in the towel. One of my 3 1/2 days I literally just lay around all day (get off at 7:30 am from shift 4/4 in a row and come home to stay with Ainsley all day...), I try to do something fun or play with friends at least part of one of those days for Ainsley's sake, and the rest of the time I'm just spinning my tires at home. Since I've been working so much I've been tired, my husband has been frustrated and my daughter has been NEEDY. Let's just say when a little girl is used to only being away from her Mama around 5 hours a week (other than when she's in bed asleep) and all of a sudden Mama isn't around a LOT more than that... it makes for a very needy and attention starved baby, that makes it next to impossible to get anything done without a crying toddler attached to my leg like a baby monkey.

This is my last weekend of overtime. Starting next week I'm backing down to 3 days per week, which is still full time as opposed to the part time I was doing before. I may or may not continue to do that for a while.

I've realized something these few weeks though.

1) I've tried to convince myself that working so much was me trying to be faithful with opportunities that God has given me to make money for this adoption. However, I now see that maybe what I've really been doing is being self-reliant instead of trusting God to provide. I KNOW that as far as God's concerned, my first priority as a wife and mom is to BE a wife and mom. To serve my husband and my daughter. To nourish relationships with friends so that I can bless and serve them. To be available to serve those around me. It is NOT His will for me to pad my bank account just in case He decides not to provide for this adoption. Our pastor talks a lot about how there is a thin line between being financially responsible in saving and preparing for your future versus worshipping money and the security it provides for your future. I fear I have slipped into this second category in the past several weeks.

2) My main contribution to my family is NOT financial. Folding clothes, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, going on playdates, singing ABC's and 123's, reading an incessant amount of books about Minnie Mouse and farm animals, playing on train tables... these are ALL more important than the money. Today, literally THIS morning, I have been praying and asking God to change my heart and my attitude and to show me and to make it real to me that I am not JUST serving my daughter and husband though these tasks(ALL of which I am currently behind on by the way) but that I am FIRST serving God through these seemingly mundane daily tasks. It is for HIM I am working, it is for HIM that I am scrubbing dishes, it is for HIM that I am doing all of these things. At this point in my life, in this chapter, it IS my act of worship.





As it's been said “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” (This quote has been attributed to BOTH Martin Luther, the theologian and Martin Luther King Jr, the civil right's activitst... I don't know which one is right.)

3) Finally, my goal is to remember and to strive for these things for my home and for my family:













OK.... Sorry for the long rambling post... but I need to go now... to go play, to go fold clothes, to go clean toilets... :)




Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sometimes....

I'm such a fruitcake... seriously... just ask my husband... I'm seriously an emotional mess sometimes.

Can I just tell you... 6 months ago I said I think EVERY.SINGLE.PROFESSING.CHRISTIAN needs to adopt.... I know now that that is not totally true. I do know, because of what the Bible says that every.single.professing.christian.NEEDS TO BE A PART OF ORPHAN CARE... but I can tell you one thing... not everyone is cut out for this adoption stuff... this past week I have wondered if I am.

I have NEVER in my life felt such a roller-coaster of emotions.

Sometimes I feel so excited I seriously think my heart might beat out of my chest.

Sometimes I feel so emotional that I just burst into tears.

Sometimes I MISS these 2 kiddos so bad I can't stand it. How is it you can miss someone you've never met? I have no idea, but you can.

Sometimes I'm so overwhelmed with working, mommy-ing, wife-ing, friend-ing, home managing, that I think I must be CRAZY to be seeking out 2 more kiddos... to be a mommy to 3 kiddos under 3!

Sometimes I'm so exausted all I want to do is sleep.

Sometimes I'm SO happy for other families in the journey that I literally jump up and down!

Sometimes I'm jealous of others further in their journeys.

Sometimes I questions God.

Sometimes, ok oftentimes, I am so aware with His love for me and His love for orphans that it's palpable.

Sometimes I feel like us adopting 2 kiddos isn't even a drop in the bucket when considering that there are 147 million orphans in the world.

Sometimes I want to fill our home with like 20 former-orphans, like NOW.

Sometimes I'm scared of what is to come... What if our kids are sick? What if our kids don't bond with eachother? What if they don't bond with us? What if they grow up to hate us? What if we don't come up with the money to do this? What if we have to wait 10 years for a referral? What if, what if, what if?


But there's a bigger what if?

What if God's word is true?

What if God always keeps His promises?

What if God really did call us to this journey?

What if God is as good as He says He is, and is as kind as He has shown Himself to be?

What if God really does love us?

What if God really does love orphans?


"...may the righteous be glad
    and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.
Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him—his name is the LORD.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families..."
Psalm 68:3-6



So today, I'm going to sing.... I'm going to sing to the One who has all the answers, to the One who holds my wrecked heart, the One who holds our children, both here and in Uganda, to the One who is writing this story.... One day at a time....


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Suffering...

I feel like there are so many people I know right now who are suffering. So many people whose marriages are failing, health is failing, family is feuding, their finances are a mess, they've lost their job, they've lost their children...

I know these things aren't new, maybe I've just been more aware of those around me lately... or maybe these things are just hitting closer to home than normal...

I keep going back to this message in my mind. This was preached a long time ago at our church by one of the assistant pastors on staff at our church. Now he's the lead pastor of a church plan called City Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This guy knows suffering. He goes over it a bit in the sermon. I remember when he and his wife lost their son that my heart was literally aching in my chest and I held my daughter tightly to my chest and literally sobbed for them.

Since my Daddy went to heaven over 14 months ago, I've gone back to this message many times. You know, those times when the sorrow is so heavy you feel like you can't catch your breath. And I remember, that we are waiting...

This issue is one of the biggest reasons people don't believe in Christianity. How can a good and loving God allow so much suffering? How can he allow His children to ache, and bleed, and hurt, and weep... when He could do something about it?

Well let me tell you... He is good. He is loving. He bled for you. He weeps with you....

And guess what.... He DID do something about it.... Something greater than you can imagine...

As my daughter's little Bible (called the Jesus Storybook Bible) says so beautifully.... Jesus came to "make every sad thing become untrue."

Listen while you're eating lunch, listen while you're commuting in the car, listen while you're folding clothes. But whatever you do, just listen....



Why Suffering? from The Summit Church Sermons on Vimeo.



Wednesday, February 1, 2012