Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thoughts... (on the day we mailed our adoption application) “What I wonder” vs. “What I know…”

What I wonder: “What are you doing today?”
What I know: “God knows every move you make.”
“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” Psalm 139 1-3 (NIV)

 What I wonder: “Could today have been the most difficult day of your life?”
What I know: “God will make it okay.”
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

What I wonder: “Are you hungry?”
What I know: “God will provide for you.”
“He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free.” Psalm 146:7 (NIV)

What I wonder: “Are you feeling rejected?”
What I know: “God is always with you, and He will never reject you.”
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35, 37-39 (NIV)

What I wonder: “Are you feeling hopeless?”
What I know: “God is the source of all hope, and I am asking Him to fill you up!”
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NLT)

What I wonder: “Are you in danger and afraid?”
What I know: “God is with you. He will take care of you.”
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

What I wonder: “Do you have anyone to tuck you in tonight?"
What I know: “God will do it, and He will sing over you.”
"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

What I wonder: “Has anyone ever told you God loves you?”
What I know: “God loves you, and He wants to show you how much.”
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Eph 3:17-19 (NIV)

What I wonder: “Are you wondering what will become of you - and if anyone even cares?”
What I know: “God cares about you and will sustain you all your life.”
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)
“The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow.” Psalm 146:9 (NIV)

What I wonder: “Can we handle this?”
What I know: “God will give us the wisdom, love, courage and strength we need – as we need it.”
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 (NIV)
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

What I wonder: “Will we be able to give you the love and understanding you need and deserve?”
What I know: “God will show us how…”
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NLT)
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)

What I wonder: “What amazing things does God have planned for you?”
What I know: “God knows His plans – and they are AWESOME!!”
"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 (NIV)

What I wonder: “Will you speak any English?”
What I know: “God is able and will give us the understanding we need.”
“But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.” Job 32:8 (NIV)
“For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37 (NIV)
(And someday - and for eternity – it won’t matter at all!)
“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’" Revelation 7:8-10 (NIV)

What I wonder: “Will I be able to learn to fix your hair to look cute?”
What I know: “God made you beautiful - no matter how unqualified I am to do your hair!”
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)

What I wonder: “What will God teach us through this, and how will it change our lives?”
What I know: “God’s wonderful plans are beyond our wildest dreams.”
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)

What I wonder: “What if our plane crashes and our other four become orphans?”
What I know: “God can handle it. He won’t be surprised by it. And he will meet all their needs.”
“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.” Psalm 68:5-6 (NLT)

What I wonder: “How much does it cost to feed 6 kids?”
What I know: “God owns it all and will provide.”
“I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.” Psalm 50:9-11 (NIV) (That’s a lot of burgers!)

What I wonder: “Can I handle more laundry?”
What I know: “God will help me – and help me do it with a good attitude!”
“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV)

What I wonder: “How will God pay for this?”
What I know: “We’re stepping out in faithful obedience, therefore we are trusting that He will do it.” (So, I guess "how" doesn’t really matter, now does it?)
“Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.’” Genesis 22:13-15 (NIV)

“You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” Joshua 23:14 (NIV)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

We're mailing our adoption application tomorrow!

Finally, it's happening! We are so excited!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Peanut Butter Jelly Time! Peanut Butter Jelly Time! "

Today was our first “PBJ day”! So what is “PBJ day”? It’s one day a week (we chose Sundays) when we only eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and dinner.

We know that our yet-to-be-adopted kids likely understand something that we probably never will - what it means to truly be hungry. (I can't even imagine...) So we wanted to do something that would remind us of that in an ever-so-tiny but tangible way. We also take some extra time to pray that they would be kept safe, warm and fed, that God would comfort them and show Himself to them, and that He would prepare our hearts for each other. It’s also a way to save a few bucks on food each week to add to our adoption fund. So far, so good. Lunch was fine. Dinner is on the way soon…

Saturday, January 2, 2010

How We Got Here - Part 2

One morning while I was walking in the neighborhood, I was meditating on a verse of Scripture that I had chosen before I went. It was James 4:17: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.” As I walked, I was also praying off and on about money for adoption. As I came around a traffic circle, I saw some trash in the street. It was a tied up Subway bag with some trash inside it. I thought about picking it up. I could take it to our trash can at home – it wasn’t really that far - but I really didn’t want to touch it. But as I argued with myself about whether to pick it up, James 4:17 just kept coming back to my mind! So, I did it. I walked a little way further and I heard a jingling coming from the bag. There was money in it! God said, “This is the first part of your adoption fund, and the promise for the rest.”

I love it when God uses the unexpected to teach us invaluable lessons! He’s so amazing! There were so many lessons in that one simple, crazy event. Here are just a few:

1) God has a plan. (It was no accident that bag was there when I came by.)

2) God wants to meet the needs of others through us. (Someone threw out some money with their trash.)

3) God has it all under control, and He wants us to KNOW that He has it all under control. (That money was a tangible reminder that He will meet our needs in ways we never expected.)

4) Obedience, even in small things, is blessed by God. (If I hadn’t been obedient in that one little thing, I would have missed God’s message to me.)

So… 44 cents (that’s the amount that was jingling around in that bag) isn’t exactly enough to adopt. But it was a promise that God has provisions in place even before we get to the point of being able to receive them. And that obedience, even in small things, is the key to unlocking God’s blessings in our lives.

Later that day I e-mailed my “adoption fund” story to our Sunday morning Bible study class. A couple in the class with small kids of their own gave us a very generous gift to add to our adoption fund. What a blessing! And Mattea brought me $10 of her own money a few days ago. I know that God is going to do it in His time and in His ways. We are believing in faith that He will.

After all, “faith is believing God is who He says He is.”

How We Got Here - Part 1

Our journey actually began years ago when we were first married with a “maybe someday” attitude about adoption. That’s all it was. Over the years we had our 4 biological kids, and adoption wasn’t really considered during that time at all. We were busy. Busy doing all the “stuff” that comes with babies and little ones.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago. I (Melinda) began to feel that adoption was something we were supposed to do. Wherever I looked, whatever I read, all kinds of things kept bringing it up. Adoption was everywhere. I started to seriously considerer it as an option of something that actually “could” be done.

The kids all thought it was a great idea – especially Mattea, who has always been outnumbered by the boys. (She had a sister in mind, of course!) Michael was a different story, however. He always wants all the facts and all the details to be lined up before he agrees to anything. I brought it up a few times and didn’t get a warm response to it. But I didn’t push it. I just prayed. I quietly researched all I could about adoption and prayed the prayer that I have prayed during other times when we didn’t see eye to eye on things: “Dear God, please change his heart or change mine.” Then one night, he unexpectedly brought up the subject! Yeah! We were still a long way from action, but it now was a subject that we talked about occasionally. That’s when I believe it became more than just a “maybe” that we would adopt – it was only a matter of “when”.

Over the next few months we talked about it more and more. Still, there were so many unknowns. We prayed that God would work it all out, but things sure didn’t seem to be moving forward. There are so many unknowns with adoption, but money seemed to be the hurdle that we couldn’t move past. But God is powerful and always knows how to remind us of that…