James 1:27

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the
Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let
the world corrupt you.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Gospel of GRACE

First I would like to share a blog post from my dear friend, Carrie Lantry. You can find her over at www.simplyhomeblog.com. LOVE her, FOLLOW her! I am pasting this post below because it touched me so deeply. First, I am going to share my thoughts. I didn't intend it to be a blog- it's just an email that I wrote to friends and family. Since I haven't written on my blog in SO long I figured it would share this email here on my blog, because it really is powerful (the whole concept of worship and grace....). Hope you are all having a beautiful Sunday!! First is my post, then Carrie's post. Kinda long so grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and ponder His goodness! 

Oh how complicated I make worship and grace and forgiveness. this is just so beautiful. thank you Jesus for accepting us and loving when we come to you in the exact shape/form/state we are in. This is so so beautiful and awe inspiring in its humility and simplicity and in her total and utter acceptance of Jesus love and grace and forgiveness of her. She knew she was bringing him/giving him her ALL; and she knew that HE knew it- and accepted it as pleasing and beautiful and worthy. Because of who HE IS.  She didn't say oh this isn't enough, or what about all my crap and sin and hurts and bitterness and questions and confusion and what ifs....NO.. She trusted and ACTED upon what He said was Truth. She didn't let the lies, the enemy, the chaos around her drown out the voice of the Holy Spirit. And man, little did she know that this simple yet courageous and incredible act of worship would be recorded in the Book FOR ALL OF TIME. That thought just astounds me. She was simply and humbly acting on the compulsion of her heart to pour out all she had for Jesus. NO CLUE SHE WOULD BE FAMOUS! HELLO! And when I truly ponder this...that this is recorded for ALL of us to read for ALL of time- tells me that He is desperately wanting us to grasp and understand and believe that His love is enough. That HE makes me enough. That its NOT complicated when it comes down to it. Simple obedience and adoration for our Savior- so pleasing to Him, so powerful. And THIS IS AN EXAMPLE FOR US TO FOLLOW FOR ALL TIME.

 Humility. grace. risking embarrassment and others talking about you. risking rejection (but believing what He said is so). risking it ALL really. Not great acts. Not giving huge amounts of money. Not being a missionary. Not living our lives as Pharisees believing our good works are doing something, that they make a difference in the way HE sees us. Not judging those around us. not caring about the judgement around us for that matter. Not afraid. Not ashamed. Simply overcome, completely overcome, by HIM. because HE IS GRACE AND LOVE AND PEACE AND JOY AND FORGIVENESS AND FREEDOM, and HE IS WORTH IT ALL. We don't understand, but we don't have to (or at least shouldn't have to). I truly believe when we grasp this concept that this woman shows the world, all else falls into place. The giving comes. The missionaries come. The adoptions come. The total surrender and abandonment of will comes. The joy and peace come. The freedom comes. The trust comes. The giving of our lives for WHATEVER He calls us to comes. Obedience comes.

 But, BUT FIRST, we have GOT to decide to believe and act on His complete adoration, love, grace and acceptance of us- JUST AS I AM. When my heart cant help but pour out my tears and wash his feet with my hair, then I KNOW his HEART. and my heart follows His. And I am forever changed. And all good things, all things that I long for, all things that I STRIVE AND WORK AND STRIVE AND WORK for- they fall into place beautifully and gracefully, with ease. Because my heart and soul and mind understand who I AM BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS...and that I cannot add one ounce of a spec of the smallest grain of sand to His love and pleasure over me. And even more extravagant, nothing I do can lessen it either. AMAZING GRACE. He dances and sings over me. He really does. NO MATTER WHAT. Do I truly believe that? I honestly believe that in order to be set free to live free, we must believe this fact. We must believe what HE SAYS ABOUT US IS TRUE. We can't add to the Bible. We have to take His promises at face value; knowing He is a covenant making God that is not capable of not fulfilling His promises. That His Word never goes back to Him void, but accomplishes the purposes for which He sent them. 

 As I sit here and ponder this, deep breaths overtake me- literally. Breaths of truth and peace and release and letting go and believing and surrendering. And this surrendering, - sometimes it has to take place 100 times a day. But, BUT, that is the whole point. That is what grace is. I sin, I surrender. I doubt, I surrender. I question. I surrender. I get bogged down. I surrender. I totally lose focus. I surrender. It becomes. about me and my works. I surrender. It becomes about me and my failures and shame. I surrender. And each and every time, IF I ALLOW HIM TO, He takes it.  He removes it AS FAR AS THE EAST IS FROM THE WEST. EVERY SINGLE TIME. It is lost in His SEA OF GRACE. And my heart is pure and white and Abba looks at me and sees His Son. Sees righteousness. Sees worth. Sees beauty. I am convinced that this is the place where transformation happens, over and over again. Not in the beating myself up to do better (lies), not the in the striving (lies), not in the yea I had a good day I can go before God now (lies), not in the crap I have been a "bad Christian" (lie).  I need to do this and that to get back in His good graces (lie), not in the pulling myself up by my bootstraps to get on some level of "worthiness" and then I approach him (lie), not in gaining others understanding (lie), not in gaining others approval (lie), not in ANYTHING but WHO I AM BECAUSE OF JESUS. THIS IS GRACE.  

This grace that is taught about again and again and that we speak of all the time, but has it REALLY touched my heart and soul? Has it really made its way into my heart so that I know how to walk and live in this grace? THE GOSPEL OF GRACE is central, is what everything else is centered around, yet I miss it. I get waves of it. I get glimpses of it. But most of the time it feels like it's flying by me and I am striving, grabbing, reaching on my tip toes to take hold of it but can't quite take hold of it kind of thing. It's beautiful before my eyes, it's so so desirable and I so wish I could catch it, but it alludes me. I want to learn to daily, though His grace alone, learn to accept grace (man, that's a mouthful...but it's true!). THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE I CAN START...and then stay here (and come back to this place a hundred times a day, when I leave this place over and over)....and from this comes a-  no, THE wellspring of life. Abundant life. Freedom. Joy. Peace beyond all understanding, regardless of circumstances and the chaos of life around me.

 So, this is where I must start- as many times a day as it takes to "start" at this place- and then move out from THIS place of truth.....it will all fall into place. I truly believe it will. Revelation comes and we can act or not. We can act and then forget ten minutes later. And then bc of that forgetting, we I,....wherever I say we I mean IIIIIII ) can choose to beat ourselves up for forgetting and fall deeper into the pit of forgetting, that the cycle continues and soon there seems to be no way out and truth evades us and the LIES ARE SCREAMING AND WINNING. Or, we can feed ourselves the gospel of grace every day, all day...to ourselves, our children, our spouses, our friends, our family, strangers, the lost, the hopeless, the dying...this dying world. And from this place, GOOD (GOD) things WILL COME. IT IS NOT ABOUT ME. I live like it is, but is not. I don't know why it's such a battle (for me at least), but I do know that I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE UP, NO MATTER WHAT. I WILL GET BACK UP AS MANY TIMES AS IT TAKES, no matter how many steps back I take....I will get  back up, bc if I don't, I am denying Jesus and the Cross and everything it stands for- and that I cannot do.  (I do it all the time, daily....but ultimately, I WILL get back up as holds my hand and pulls me out of the mire).

Of course I didn't intend to write all of this, but I have been praying as I have been writing- and if it speaks to even one of you, then praise the Lord. Most of you know I am at a...what do you call it....not easy place in life.:) I am in the process, in the Refiner's fire...but there is purpose in the pain and loneliness and everything else. Things that He is showing me and teaching me and I am holding dear to my heart, pondering them all like Mary said in the Word. I have hardly written or shared much, which many of you know is very unusual for me. And I had to pray about sending this- bc it is deep and raw. and it's my struggle. BUT, I feel today that He is saying to me "Brenda, it's everyone's struggles, in one way or another....share what I am putting on your heart. And then come back to me and ponder these things in your heart. I will guide you in your sharing." It's hard for me to share this, which really is a good thing. 

 I honestly feels like 1 step forward and 10 steps back....but I know that my Father is saying I must learn more and accept more and understand that it is ALL ABOUT THE GOSPEL OF GRACE- and I am going to continue to let Him show me this so that I can become more like Him. I may send this email and five minutes later this may be gone, this feeling of purpose and peace. BUT- because He is insanely faithful, He will somehow lovingly (although often painfully) draw me back into a place of truth and rest and grace...a place where He is. Because He does not and cannot exist in many of the places that I do, or at least that my mind does. I don't want to just pray my struggles away to FEEL BETTER, I want to be transformed into His Likeness....that the very core of who I am, the Holy Spirit, is what shines through me. That ALL parts of me are completely transformed by truth and for the rest of my life this process will continue...and I will continue to fall and splat on my face and fail, but those hurt parts of me, those lying parts of me, those deep dark parts of me that haven't been transformed by truth- they are on that journey. And I will continue to be made more like Him, as He (often painfully) sheds light onto the broken places, the hurt places that are not functioning from the Truth, but from the lies and the pain....I know we all have these places. And I will see then, when HE shines His light, that those places are often but SHADOWS of the valley of death- not TRUTH. And HIS TRUTH WILL BRING TRANSFORMATION (however slowly or quickly or painfully or full of ease it may be).

Thanks for "listening". You are all wonderful and made in His Image and I pray for each of us today that we may be touched by the truth of what Carrie wrote about below and that we may offer Him, humbly and sincerely, every part of us today. 

Simply Home Blog

Posted: 16 Mar 2013 08:13 PM PDT

I was stretching, reaching, lifting my hands as high as they could go, as if I could somehow touch Him- the music pounded.  In that same instant I felt like I couldn’t get low enough.  Like I just needed to get lower than the ground would allow.  The throng of voices around us going after Jesus in adoration and exultation, praising Him, worshiping Him.  I was so caught up in the moment, no longer in a concert of praise – I was standing before His throne crowning Him with many crowns…  And that is when I saw her.
The women in Luke 7 who had lived a sinful life (she may as well been me).  LIke a movie flashing across the walls of my heart in vivid display, she walked quietly into the room with her head down and eyes searching for Him.  The one whom she was coming to serve, to lavish, to waste herself on.  Wanting not to be noticed, wanting to just get to HIM and to his feet.

Quietly kneeling, taking those God feet into her hands, she begins to pour herself out, right there for everyone to see.  Her pain, the years of broken bleeding hurt pouring out of her, falling onto those precious feet.  The bearers of good news for her, for us, for me.  She lets the tears fall hard one after the other - a torrent of baptismal water,her pain and hurt – the vehicle for her worshipWithout the pain there would be no offering, no stream of water for the washing and the worshiping. Then without a sound she releases the long strands of hair that cascade towards the floor as if they have been freed from a life of bondage. Her hair is her rag, and she wipes the feet of her Savior.
And that is when I see her most clear, vivid and true- her head moving back and forth to the rhythm of the beat.  Her hair swinging from side to side. The hair that He fashioned on her head, the strands that he has numbered and counted and knows by heart cleansing his perfect, wet, tear soaked feet… And the worship in this room is pounding in my chest like my own emancipation proclamation.  It is in the releasing of the pain that worship is at it deepest most purest form.  This offering poured out is the ultimate act of worship.  Back and forth she dries his feet with her wet hair, tattered from this act of love. She is composing a music all her own, the rhythm of sacrifice and wreckage poured out for Him, on Him, to honor Him…. This is worship.

And as I look around at the mass of people standing with me I can see her heart here. I can feel it, battered and bruised and given away.  Lifted up to Him in song and in spirit, laid low before Him in pure surrender.  We have gathered to waste ourselves on Him, to release all that we have before Him.  We have come to worship.

Or have we?

Because here in this place with chest pounding and ears ringing it is easy to release what is already His-to surrender the pain and the past and the life that we hold so dear.  To lift hands and hearts in that moment of blissful fullness.  But when the music begins to fade and our tired feet must walk the streets toward home, are we worshipping then?  Because worship is not what we feel, but what we are willing to give away.  Are we willing to turn our lives into houses of worship if it requires loss?  Or do we hoard what we have and live luke warm love just trying to sooth our own hurts and mask our own pain with the next fix.  The woman I saw, the one at His feet, she lived brave and bled red-hot, because what she had and who she was – she gave away to Him.  She knew that giving up the NOTHING of her life to gain the EVERYTHING of His – is always the ONLY choice if you want to really live.  She lived her worship, she didn’t just sing it or feel it, SHE LIVED IT, GAVE IT, SPENT IT, She was wrecked unto worship.  The question is, are we?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Life is hard= FACT.

I have been wanting to start a new blog for so long. I think I want to put this one in the archives of Isaiah's amazing story. Since this is an adoption blog, I thought I should start a whole new one. Makes more sense. Blogging/writing is very cathartic for me. I don't do enough of it and really want to get back into it.
I am pasting a link to a blog below that I LOVE. I echo so many of Glennnon's thoughts...about living life out loud, being real even in the hard times etc. That is just me. That is my personality. I can't be any other way. I know at times it can overwhelm people and often people don't know how to respond to blatant honesty or hard issues presented......but IT IS LIFE. The older I get, the more I realize that LIFE IS HARD. It's not going to get any easier. Yes, there are mountain top moments and valleys. I know they will come and go. But, the fact remains, this life is hard. Especially when we are trying to really LIVE it and not numb ourselves to all that goes on around us.

I think I have spent the last year or two (and am continuing on this journey) of processing the fact that life is hard. That there are no promises of an easier tomorrow. That pain is a given. That there are NO GUARANTEES of any sort. Except the guarantee of God's goodness and His sovereign plan. I am continuing to wrestle with this fact.....to hold onto the Truth that God is good and I can trust Him- NO MATTER WHAT. I don't want this to be head knowledge, I want it to be bet my life on it heart knowledge. I want it transform my thinking and my view of this life. I am getting there. But it is not easy. There are no easy answers for my type of personality. Some people are just ok with life, just okay with the fact that it is hard, just find it easy to trust in the goodness of God no matter what the circumstances may look like. I don't know why, but this has been hard for me. I won't pretend it hasn't. I won't give the "pat answers" that make light of the things that I feel, struggle with,, and wrestle through.

Life is a process. I KNOW God is in the process. I know He is weaving my story. I know it will all result in good things, ultimately. But the day to day moments- they are hard sometimes. And I wrestle with them. And I don't have easy answers. And I want to be real. And I want to let people know that they are not alone. I know that feeling alone is one of the worst feelings in the world. When you know that there are others like you struggling with the same thing- that brings comfort. For some people, there isn't so much wrestling. But for me and for many others, there is a lot of it. God has made me the way I am. I can't be anything other than that (while working on all my shortcomings, of course). I am not one to pretend everything is ok when it is not. I simply cannot put on a happy face and make small talk. I times I have to and I do...but inside I am empty. And inside I know I am not being true to myself. But, I know it can be a lot for others to handle. I know it can overwhelm people. So it's a struggle to find the balance of being "real" but also functioning in this world on a level that people are able to talk to me without feeling completely overwhelmed.

Reading Glennon Melton's blog (momastery.com) has been an awesome thing for me. Although I don't agree with all her view points, I have learned so much from her. I have learned so much about myself. I have learned that it is OKAY to live life out loud...okay to be bone honest in the struggles...okay to say everything is not okay.....okay to let the world know it......and that these things about me- they can be a gift to others. Life has been hard. And it has been amazing. And beautiful. And brutal. Glennon calls it brutiful and I whole heartedly agree with that- beautiful and brutal all wrapped up into one. Worth it- definitely. Amazing- for sure. Painful- you bet. Confusing- oh my yes. But, I will not give up. I won't give in to the lies that threaten to overtake me. I will battle. I am victorious because I have Jesus.

I have so much I want to say. So I am saying that I am going to start a new blog. It may not be until after the holidays, who knows.

Moving has been hard. SO much harder than I thought it would be. I thought I was all adventurous and free-spirited. I guess I am in some ways. But, I realize more and more- I do not like change. This change has been harder for me than I ever thought it would be. I have and am experiencing deep loneliness, struggles with depression and anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and the list goes on. That is not to say I am not glad we moved here. I know God brought us here. I have already learned so much. And He has provided in awesome ways with friends and a church and community etc. But, it's just hard. Making new friends is hard. I realize that I just long to be known...to be understood. Like I said, I don't do good with small talk. I left a community in Jacksonville where I was known and couldn't hide and was called out and held accountable and encouraged and taken care of. It feels so good to be known and to be understood. More times than not, I have realized, "wow, it's me and you  God. That's it. You say you are more than enough, so I guess I need to learn what that really means". Because it hasn't been easy. There have been so "escapes" to fill the void when I feel empty. Going to see a friend or staying busy has not been the option that it was before. So, when I feel that void, I am left with a hole; a hole that I could normally and easily fill with conversation, idle chatter, busyness, even Bible study (of course good things).....but, He has and is bringing me to a deeper place. A place where there is nothing in immediate reach that I can grab onto to make me feel better. I want instant gratification. I want to feel better NOW. I don't want to wrestle through it. But, I am forced to. And I know, in the long run (and short run), that is a good thing.

I don't know why I thought it would be easy. The first month or so was hard, but right now it feels even harder. I think the newness has worn off. The leaves have all fallen so the beauty of all is gone, life is settling in, the excitement is wearing off......and I am left me with ME. They say you take you with you wherever you go. SO TRUE. And with less things to fill that space, ME is a lot more than I thought I was. I don't know if that makes sense or not. I am free writing here. And I am not going to go back and re-read this to make sure it sounds okay, to make sure my punctuation and spelling are right, to make sure I don't sound too wacko....I know I am not supposed to start a sentence with "And", but I don't care right now. I just want to write. I just want to be real, unpolished, not trying to impress anyone. I just want to be me.

I thought my struggles with depression would get better upon moving. I don't know why I thought that. And it's okay that they didn't. I am ok with that. It's just that it's hard. And it has sucked trying to find new drs, as over a dozen drs have turned me down bc of the medication I am on. There is a huge demand of drs here and not a good supply. So they get to be picky with whom they accept. And it's easier not to accept someone that is "damaged" (I am okay with this term), someone that may require more care or more follow up. Phone call after phone  call I was denied a primary care doctor....even psychiatrists denied me. But, thankfully, I have found an awesome primary care doctor who loves my kids (he has a special needs child of his own, and his compassion is amazing), and who is very empathetic to things like depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.

I am having surgery for endometriosis on Dec 12. The pain has gotten continuously worse over the last year or so. Sometimes it is excruciating and debilitating. I have an amazing Jesus loving ob/gyn who is supposed to be great at surgery for endometriosis. I also have had multiple throat infections since being here (nothing new, if you know me). I saw an ENT who told me my septum is completely deviated and he is shocked that I have not had surgery. He was SO emphatic about it that I had to get a second opinion, just to make sure he wasn't just trying to make a buck by convincing me I needed surgery. The second ENT that I saw indeed confirmed that my septum is pretty much awful and completely "deviated", and that I have reflux (first ENT also said this), and that my CONSTANT and recurrent throat infections and PAINFUL sinus infections are most likely due to these issues. He wanted to take the approach of doing a CAT scan and also putting something down my throat to make sure I didn't have throat cancer...I didn't like this approach so much. From past experience, I know that CAT scans open up a whole can of worms. Not to say that of course there is a place for them and they are amazingly helpful in the medical field...but I just DO NOT want to go down the road of CAT scans, follow up apts, checking for cancer etc etc. That road was NOT a good one for me (if you remember my lymph node issues). I got my tonsils out a couple years ago thinking that would help with my chronic throat/sinus issues. It has not helped at all. I just get strep less often. The dr back then told me I had a deviated septum, but we gave no thought to it for some reason. I guess bc we were watching my lymph nodes to make sure it was not was lymphoma, so that took a back seat.

I have been sick so many times since being here. It has been SO hard being away from family and friends. I have amazing in laws who have watched our kids for us all the time, since they were born/adopted. I rarely had to go to a dr apt with one or either of my kids. I often got to grocery shop and put the groceries away alone (I esp. love putting the groceries away alone part). I got time alone with friends, dinners out, bible studies, prayer times, connections, etc. SO many luxuries that I am so thankful for. It has been months since I have had a "babysitter". I think I am a bit exhausted and drained. I know this is commonplace for SO many moms and this experience has given me even more gratitude for the past years and more empathy for moms that do not have family in town. Eddie and I haven't been on a date in months and months...can't remember the last time. And to be honest, we have had our struggles since we have been here. It has brought us closer, but it has also brought out some crap. It is not a great or entirely healthy thing to go so long without any alone time with each other, away from the kids, just spending time focusing on the other. This is something we need to work on changing. I realize now how important this is in a marriage. You always hear that, and counselors and books and everything else always tell you how important it is to keep your marriage first and to have "date night", even if it just means walking around town together without spending any money. We haven't done this in I don't know how long. And we desperately need it.

Eddie has been working so hard and has done an incredible and amazing job at balancing his new job as general manager, at being there for our kids, at being there for me and putting my needs above his own. He is always encouraging me to go off by myself to read the Word, to read books I love, to nourish my soul. I am so thankful for that.  I am so thankful for him.

There are wonderful things about Asheville. We feel God led us to an amazing church home called "Fellowship Asheville". Such real people, such open and accepting and honest people. It's been such a blessing. But no matter how great a church family is, it's just hard starting over. It's just harder getting to know others and getting to be known. That is just the way it is. I am thankful for connections that I have made with friends. Allene is one of the most amazing women I have met in life and I am so thankful for her and her friendship. Also, she has a 5 year old daughter, Keeley, who is incredible (their whole family is, really), and has developed an awesome relationship with Leah. Heather, a fellow adoptive mom that has reached out to me and made me feel ok in my own skin, ok to be real....any others that the Lord has blessed me with. I am so thankful for these relationships. Again, it's just that change is HARD. Developing new relationships is HARD.  I remember going through it back in Jacsksonville when we first moved there. I longed for friendships yet it was just hard to put myself out there. So even when people reached out, it was hard. Now, years later, they are some of my best friends in the world, and it is hard to remember those times when it seemed difficult and lonely. I know the same will be true of my relationships here.

Leah is doing awesome in school. She is completely excelling and loves it so much. Literally not one complaint about anything. She is just an amazing kid. So sensitive and kind and giving....so thankful for her school, West Buncombe (yes, totally a country name!), and for her new friends and teachers. Isaiah is totally turning into Mr. Mischevious, getting into something he shouldn't every second that I turn around. His personality is showing through and it's awesome to see. I love having time home with him. I love picking up Leah from school and hearing about her day. I love coming home and reading with her and hearing her sound out words and then get them and then get so excited because she learned new words! Being a mom to these two amazing kids is a blessing beyond measure and I am so thankful.

So, I am thankful for so many things. Yes, this is a hard season in life. But, I am realizing, that is ok. I don't have to be ashamed of it. I don't have to hide it. I don't have to pretend that everything is dandy. Some days it is and that feeling of depression seems like a distant memory, and the next day it is right there and it's hard to imagine it ever not feeling so hard. But, it's ok. I am learning- it's all a process and it's all ok. God is IN THIS. He is meeting me where I am. He is growing me and changing me and challenging me. He is making me rely on Him in ways I haven't had to before. He is showing me that He is enough. That I can trust Him. That hard is ok, not something to be afraid of. That I can let go and let Him take care of the details. That it is worth it.

So, all of that to say, I am going to start blogging again. I am going to probably start blogging at a new spot, so I will let you know (whoever "you" is, my ten readers:)) when that happens. I was just about to say please excuse all spelling mistakes etc (I wrote it out but then pressed the delete button), but then I realized that is me people pleasing. It's ok to make spelling mistakes or not make total sense or be all put together. It is OK. It is REAL. And that is what I want. Here is the link to Glennon's latest post that I would have written a lot of myself  word for word, if I had had the words to say.:) Maybe it will help you understand me a bit more, and why I think/act/speak/write the way I do.


Monday, June 4, 2012

isaiah chaper 1

So I decided today I want to start reading through Isaiah (I said this a long time ago in a different blog as well). I have read it Isaiah before and I love this book so much. I can't tell you how many times in sermons, bible studies, conversations etc, verses are quoted from Isaiah. This book has such profound love, compassion, mercy, and truth in it. It is also full of prophecies to God's people who had turned against Him. Many times it is not a comfortable read, as I examine my own life when reading what the prohet Isaiah has to say to the people of Israel and Judah. Bear with me here in this first part.

Chapter one begins with Isaiah bring a message of divine judgement against Israel and Judah.  They are called a rebellious nation. Isaiah brings the message from God in stating thing such as "ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their back on Him"...."why do you persist in your rebellion? Your whole head is injured and your whole heart afllicted"...
He talks about their sacrifices and outward acts of "religion", saying He has no pleasure in them. He says, "who asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me!..I cannot bear your evil assemblies...they have become a burden to me and I am weary of bearing them. When you spread our your hands in prayers, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen"!! The people were doing many of the outward acts the Lord required of them, but He saw their HEART behind it all and was displeased- disgusted even. This chapte is full of many strong words of judgement.

Yet, He is still a God filled with compassion and mercy. Isaiah then tells them that the Lord says, "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool..." He hates the evil he sees, the religious activites going on despite evil and deceitful hearts;  yet he longs to reach out and forgive, and to gather His flock back together in His arms.  It's amazing to me that in the midst of such evil and all that the prophet Isaiah was saying, interwoven into his message to the people is instant forgiveness and acceptance- if only they will repent. God doesn't say- do this, this, that, and that, and then this, and THEN MAYBE I will THINK about forgiving you. No, he is begging them to be reasonable, so that he CAN forgive them- INSTANTLY. Amazing to me.

But what struck me most about this chapter are the following verses:

vs 16-17 "Your hands are full of blood. Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! stop doing wrong, learn to do what is right! Seek justice, DEFEND THE CAUSE OF THE FATHERLESS, plead the case of the widow."


vs 23-24 "Your rules are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love brides and chase after gifts. THEY DO NOT DEFEND THE CAUS EOF THE FATHERLESS; the widow's case does not come before them. Therefore the Lord, the Lord Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: Ah, I will get relief from my foes and avenge myself on my enemies."

The reason these verses struck me so hard is, well, obviously, first because God has given me a heart for the fatherless- so of course those words are like bold/underlined/italicized print jumping off the page right at me and into my heart! But beyond my own heart's bent towards orphans, it is one of ONLY THREE THINGS God says they are not doing. Seek justice, defend the casue of the fatherless, and plead the case of the widow. That is just simply shocking to me. There are a thousand things that the Lord could have said they needed to do or not do. He didn't say things like where is your money/tithe/offerings?  Why aren't you telling people about me? Why aren't you being kind to one another? Why aren't you displaying the fruits of the spirit? Why don't you stop doing this or that? I am not implying that these things are not important! But, he could have said something like "keep doing all the things you are doing- keeping the sabbath, keeping the feasts, continuing to bring him sacrifices, keep doing the right things that are you are doing etc; but change your hearts! Obviously He wanted their hearts changed; but what did he imply would be an outward act of an inward heart renewal- three things, and one of them was taking care of orphans. Wow- that that is one of the three things that would show the Lord that they had repented and turned from their evil ways! If you really truly ponder that- that says a lot! They were an evil nation, full of things that the Lord hated- and he questions why they are not taking care of orphans and widows! To the Lord, that would prove a return to Him and a cause for his compassion and forgiveness. The Bible also states that pure and genuine religion is taking care of orphans and widows and keep oneself spotless in this world. Again, he could have said SO many other things that would prove that we loved him and that we were making him Lord in our life.

This tells me, once again, that the Lord's heart is completely for the orphans. I am not saying that everyone needs to adopt, but I am asking each of us to look at and examine our hearts- and ask him to show us ways that we CAN please him in the way we look after orphans and widows. We could be doing ten mission trips a year, tithing 50%, going on outreach after outreach etc etc...BUT- are we defending the cause of the fatherless? This chapter seems to imply that if we love and are serving the Lord, that is just a given, along with all of the other things that we know please the Lord.

So I just want to put out the question- what are you (and me) doing today to defend the cause of the orphan and widow? Are we giving to families that want to adopt? Are we open to adoption ourselves? Are we praying for orphans and widows? Are we really doing ANYTHING for them at all?

I don't feel at all as if this mandate from the Lord has been fulfilled in my life just because we have adopted. I feel it's only the beginning, the tip of the iceburg, of what the Lord wants us to do and to continue to do our throughout our entire lives. I don't think it's about one act for orphans and being able to wash my hands and say "I have done my part". I don't think my part should/will ever stop. That doesn't mean I know what it looks like, but it does mean I will seek the Lord on it and listen for his direction and voice telling me what it should look like; because, honestly, I don't know what it should look like. I just know I want to be a part of the things that are closest to his heart; and orphans are definitely one of them. It may be uncomfortable to really examine this and look at what we could be doing, but I think it's clear that if we are seeking the Lord, this should be a part of our prayers.

Reading Isaiah makes me even more thankful for Him. We still stand in awe, on year later, of what the Lord has done in bringing this precious life to be a part of our forever family. Next time I hope to blog about the fact that he is ONE, and post pictures!:)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I simply cannot believe it has been SO LONG since I have blogged! Every time I think about it I get overwhelmed because there is so much to say, since it has been over half a year! I have decided to just pick up where I am and start blogging again. I miss it!

The reason I have been thinking about blogging is because Isaiah turns 1 in less than one month!! I just re-read all my posts about him and am in tears. In awe. It's so good and so amazing to read again the miracle of Isaiah in our lives....to relive the details and remember the little miracles all along the way. I needed that this morning. It reminds me how GOOD He is, how BIG He is, how His plans are SO much better than ours.

We have settled into a life of a family of 4 so smoothly. That is not to say that this year hasn't been without hardship (I have struggled a lot), but Isaiah was always meant to be a part of this family. I can't even remember life with one child. It must have been so easy!:)

Isaiah is just the sweetest baby ever. Seriously, and I am not just saying this, pretty much all he does is smile (in the midst of crawling all over the place and babbling away). He smiles the biggest smile that he possibly can everywhere we go, to anyone that will give him a smile. It is so fun to watch him eat up the attention. He is such an easy-going and fun-loving baby boy. Thankful for him every day (as he is staring at me right now from his jumparoo smiling away with such love in his eyes!).

Here are some recent pictures of our loves.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It just keeps getting better.

I have wanted to blog SO many times lately but just feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting my thoughts/heart into words. The longer I wait, the harder it gets. I want to write more. I want to take the time to ponder and share our continued story in words.

Isaiah is almost 5 months old. At his four month apt he was 75% for weight and 90% for height. Today, I changed all of his 3-6 months clothes out for 6-9 months. The other day I put a 3-6 month onesie on him and it was so small. I was shocked.

Time goes so fast, too fast. I have said many times in the last month that I feel like I am now just beginning to grasp this gift that the Lord gave us. No longer sleep deprived, no longer floating thru the newborn stage, no longer so dumbfounded- I am able to look at what God did, and stand in awe (although dumbfounded and awe mean similar things...so I am at a loss of words here). Not that I didn't before. But I mean, seriously, this story God brought together is amazing. I have this deep deep thankfulness and gratitude. I look at him during worship and cry. There was one time while worshipping that he was staring at me the entire time. I just stared back, crying. He loves to hear my voice. I love to see his smile.

My friend commented tonight that there is love in his eyes when he looks at me. We were at Community Fellowship at Harvest (Leah's school) and every time people would clap, he would startle awake, confused and afraid.  His eyes would dart around in fear and then he would find my face and smile. Beam. His eyes would light up, then he would go back to sleep.  He adores me and I adore him.

This makes me think of the love of our Heavenly father. He adores me. He longs for me to seek HIS FACE when I am startled, uncertain, scared. And when I find His face, I find peace, and I am able to rest...no matter what the circumstances around us are, no matter what the noise of life is, no matter what the fear and confusion...to rest in Him. How great His love must be for us. I have experienced more and at a deeper level because of adoption.  We are so humbled that the Lord gave us the gift. We would not change a thing about what we went through. No, the road wasn't easy. But the glory FAR outweighs it all. It talks about that in Scripture...how our light and momentary troubles will far be outweighed by the glory that is revealed. I know it is talking of eternity with our creator, our Father...but it also makes me think of how His glory is revealed here on earth. How he allows us to experience that and how He redeems our pain. He turns mourning into dancing.

I wish I could explain how amazing adoption is. I wish more people would do it. I wish that people would know, yes it is hard. But it is WORTH IT. SO worth it. I wish I could help people that are hesitant, to understand- you WILL love this child. It was love at first sight with Isaiah but I read something that totally struck a chord with me. It was more like lust at first night (obviously not lust, using a comparison here).  And after all of that fades away, what are you left with? I was left tired, unsure of how much I loved him, questions of what ifs- what if i dont love him, what if he isnt cute, what if this turns out terrible etc etc. But it was a process. The typical bonding process takes 4-6 months. And now I am so in love with him...those what ifs seem a million miles away. I think the what ifs keep people from adopting. But if you could only know that they fade into oblivion and what you are left with is pure love, pure joy, and just truly being humbled that you could be given such a gift.

Yes, we saved Isaiah's life, in a way...but WE didn't, God did. We were just willing vessels. I know the Lord is looking for so many more willing vessels for His precious children- special needs or not. It is amazing how blessed we are by Isaiah. It is amazing to watch my husband with him, so in love (the bonding process was much quicker for him). Eddie, who a couple years ago thought he would never want to adopt.... he told me the classic "maybe one day down the road". Little did we know, God would totally transform his heart and bless us so much in the process.

Isaiah is doing amazingly well. The only struggles he has are gastrointestinal. He spits up a lot and seems like he is in pain at times...esp when it comes thru his nose (you can tell it burns so bad). Yet, he continues to thrive. He sleeps at least 12 hrs at night, has started taking great naps, and in between sleeping and eating- he smiles and laughs. This boy belly laughs. A lot! I make silly faces and crazy sounds at him all day long and he cracks up! When he is about to lose it crying I start doing that, and he just just laughs away. It's the best.

I am thankful I decided to stay home this year. I am with him all the time, yet time still just flies away from me. We needed/need this time together.

Thank you for continuing to keep our family and Isaiah in your prayers. God is so good. We finalized in court the other day, and he is now officially and forever a White. On this day I thought about how once we choose surrender our lives to Jesus, there is nothing we can do to make him reject us, love us less, throw us aside (no matter how badly we mess up). I was thinking about how Isaiah is now a White, and no matter what he does, we will love him and he will be ours. The only way that would change is if he went to court to change his name. It has just been such a picture of the fact that as believers, we are adopted as sons and daughters of God. There is nothing- NOTHING- we can do to make him love us any less or any more. Praying for a greater revelation of this kind of love that He has for me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Faith like a child

I learn so much about faith from my daughter. Through the things that she says, I see a glimpse into what Jesus meant when He tells us to have faith like a child...let the little children come unto me. One of my favorite times with her is snuggling in bed....when I remember to slow down and not try to rush through the songs...when I really treasure the moment. We chat about different things and I absolutely love it. Tonight she said "mom, guess who my best friend is." I said "who?" She said " it starts with a g-g-g sound and an 0-0-0- sound. GOD!" I asked her why and she said "because he loves me so much and is so sweet to me. When I am bored he helps find things to do like a tea party. When someone is sad he hugs and kisses them. When a child doesnt have a mommy or daddy, he takes care of them..." The list went on. The other day driving in the car she said " Mama, I can't WAIT to go to Heaven!" I asked her why and she said "Because I get to give God hugs and see Him every day! And it's going to be SO beautiful! ...hmmm....I wonder if God will be standing or sitting...." :) Then another time later that day I was not talking so nicely to my husband. Leah later told me that God wanted her to tell me to talk nice to daddy, bc he is my husband from God.".

She blows me away. We pray that we can be the kind of parents that make our home such a fertile ground for her to grow up so in love with Jesus....that he truly is her best friend all of the days of her life. Having these talks with her reminds me to slow down, and just be with her...I often ask her "do you have any questions about God?", and she will say "yes, um mama?....." and we will have a great conversation.

I am so thankful for her heart. I love her more than words can express. She is just a bundle of love and compassion and is constantly affirming Eddie and I in her extreme love and thankfulness to us. She is tender hearted and so full of life and creativity. She is our little miracle baby girl.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

journal entry

Below is a journal entry I wrote back in January. Reading it I am like, man, I was at such a raw place. But in so many ways I am still there. I still search for so many things other than the Lord to fill me up...even just in seemingly little and inconsequential ways. All I know is the only time I am at peace and full of true joy is when I am resting in Him. There is no other way. This was such a good reminder to me to daily, continually, lay my burdens at His feet. I absolutely love the verse in Isaiah at the end of this...whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear my voice behind you saying, 'this is the way, walk in it'." I need to memorize this verse. Thank you Lord for your grace.


 You won’t relent until you have it all…..

Lord I know you won’t relent until you have my whole heart. You keep me empty until I fill myself  with only you…and then the rest of your gifts are just overflow. There is love that is strong as death and jealousy as demanding as the grave. That is the kind of love you have for me. Not only is that the kind of love you have for me, that is the kind of forgiveness. Come be the fire inside of me, come be in the flame upon my heart. Lord, don’t let me go. I need you.  I long for wholeness. I am scared. I am weak. I can’t do this. But, you have spoken to me that that is good, bc you are saying my precious Brenda, I can’t be strong for you if you are strong for yourself. If you can do it by yourself, then you don’t need me. So let go, let me be your strength.  Your yoke is easy and your burden is light. You desire me to lay my burdens at your feet…to lay my burdens at the cross. I had a vision the other day of me going to the cross, looking up at you, and laying my bags of burdens down before you. There were so many of them. You smiled at me and your eyes shone with joy, and I felt peace.  I walked away, but then I turned around and decided to go pick them back up. I decided that I wasn’t worthy of your forgiveness. I decided that what you did for me wasn’t enough to cover MY sin. You looked at me with pleading eyes, begging me to leave them at the foot of the cross so that you could take them from me. Saying…look at me Brenda. I am dying for those burdens. I am dying for your sins. I was brutally beaten and tortured and I am here because of you. Please, my daughter, I love you. Leave them for me. Leave them and I will trade them for a peace that surpasses all understanding and a joy that cannot be contained. You will never hunger or thirst with me.  But I wouldn’t let you. I didn’t fully trust you. I didn’t feel worthy. But the thing is, I am NOT worthy. But YOU have made me worthy. You have made me whole. You have made me victorious. Your mercies are never every morning.  When I picture leaving my bags at your feet and see your tears of joy falling down your face and landing on my hands and I put them down, it makes me want to release it all to you Jesus. Please keep this picture in the forefront of my mind. Let it to be so real and so tangible to me that this is literally what I need to do with my worries, fears, insecurities, doubts,  depression….Thank you for taking them from me. Thank you for allowing me to leave them at your feet. Thank you for dying that I may experience fullness of life and not have to carry these heavy , so heavy, burdens with me anymore. I release them to you and I thank you for taking them as if it is the first time I have laid them down.

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” - Psalm 86:5

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Exodus 14:14The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

“For the battle is not yours, but the Lord.”

"God is my only circumstance.”

Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Friday, July 29, 2011

Grafted In

My friend sent me this website. http://www.wearegraftedin.com/

I read the article I am pasting below and just love it. Throughout this year the concept of being grafted in has been something the Lord has continually brought to my attention and deepened my understanding of. Because of Abraham and God's covenant with his people, we (gentiles) are given the opportunity to be grafted in (adopted) into the kindgom forever. In understanding more of this, it has given me a greater measure of thankfulness for being adopted into Jesus' family. Understanding more of this has made Eddie and I more passionate about adoption. Truly, we are all adopted children of God, and the adoption of Isaiah is just an earthly example of that.

Grafted In
I’ve been doing some research about grafting lately. And, believe me, research is needed because gardening is not my thing. Maybe it will be my thing when my kids are a bit older. But, as I look out my back windows and see my garden overtaken by grass and weeds, I have to remind myself that I’m growing kids not prize-winning tomatoes.
So, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Grafting by a master gardener takes two separate plants and binds them into one so that they now grow together as one plant, a more beautiful plant at that. You could graft two apple trees to make one tree that produces two different kinds of apples. Or, you could graft rose bushes to produce a plant with many varied colored flowers. Rather than create a genetically new plant variety through grafting, the plant actually keeps the two separate genetic codes but grows together as one, maintaining both the two original identities as well as creating a new identity as one.
Besides producing an interesting or more beautiful plant, grafting is also sometimes necessary. For example, if a plant does not have a good root system, it will die. Grafting it into a larger, more established tree which will become its root system will save the plant. Furthermore, grafting enables a plant which is no longer fruitful but has deep roots to become fruitful and useful again.
In order for grafting to be successful, 4 conditions must be met:
  • The two plants must be compatible to begin with. And, sometimes the only way of knowing this is through research and trial by a master gardener.
  • Each plant must be at the proper physiological stage. The plant grafted in should have buds that are present but dormant. The plant receiving the graft must be healthy and have strong roots—often determined by the quality of the soil surrounding the plant since you can’t actually see the roots. The best time of year to graft plants is late winter, on the cusp of spring when new growth is close. If the plant to be grafted in has a disease, the receiving plant will be affected and the graft a fragile one. But, if the receiving plant is healthy and the graft is done well, success can still be experienced.
  • The cambial layers of both plants must meet; they cannot simply have their bark touching. They cannot be attached on the surface; rather the plants have to be attached on a deeper level, under the bark, a process that is painful for both plants but absolutely necessary. Without the peeling back of the top layer and a connection at the core, the graft simply won’t take.
  • The graft union must be kept moist and warm until the wound has healed. It must be watered, nurtured, cared for carefully and regularly until the wound has healed. If you neglect the graft, the wound may not heal. And, even if the plants are able to grow, the growth will be poor and the scars on the plants apparent.
Now, read this:
But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree.” (Romans 11:17, New Living Translation)
Do you get that? Do I really get that? As a Gentile believer in Christ, I have been grafted into God’s family, a full member of God’s family, receiving the blessing promised to His chosen people. I grow there; I bear fruit there; and I am pruned there as all branches should be—not as a punishment but as a way to keep me fruitful and productive.
Now read this:
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” (Ephesians 1:5-6, New Living Translation)
Do you see the word synonymous with being grafted in—adopted.
Now, read again about the gardener’s rules of grafting and consider not only our spiritual adoption but our adoptions as lived out in our families on earth.
God’s word is so rich, so absolutely applicable to our lives.
We are grafted in. We are grafted into God’s family, an adoption process initiated by our Father and one that brings Him great pleasure. He has poured out His glorious grace on us and made us—even in our dead state—His own, a coheir with His son.
My earthly family is also grafted. We believed God was calling this rooted family to become fruitful again. We researched and prepared and then had to simply take the leap of faith. We peeled back our layers as our daughter was forced to peel back her own. No doubt, this was not comfortable for either of us. But, comfort without roots is short lived. And, comfort without fruit is purposeless. We’re still quite aware of this new graft and daily caring for the wound, nurturing both the branches (new and old) and the roots of all of them and keeping the wound moist and warm in hopes that it will heal in time and produce a fantastic tree, one with two distinct identities—Chinese and American—but one root system, one life together.
Is this easy? No. It can be scary and overwhelming. But, not only is the end worth it all, but the process of getting there is worth it as well.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

2 months

Isaiah had his two month check up today. I am always so excited to see how much he weighs! It seems like each day he gets healthier, happier, and chubbier! Today he is 10 days past his 2 month mark so the numbers may be a bit high, but who cares about that. J He weighed 12 lb and 2oz, and was 23 inches long! He is now somewhere in the 25-50% range which is AMAZING! At birth, Isaiah was under 2%. At his 1 month he was around 20%. So it just keeps getting better and better. He has rolls all over and they are just too cute.

He still is just such a good baby. He is rarely fussy, is sleeping 7-8 stretches most nights, is smiling and cooing, and loves to be held. It is amazing being his mommy. Every day I truly love him more. I can say that this HAS been a bonding process. I loved him from the start, but the depth of the love continues to grow and grow. “They” say on average it takes 2-6 months fully bond with an adopted child. There is comfort in knowing that most moms go through similar things and struggles with adoption. My friend and I were talking about starting an adoption support group! It would be for people who have adopted, are interested in adopting, or just want to hear more…the Lord has placed that on our heart and we hope to one day begin doing that.
The other day at the park with my friend Stephanie and her two kids, I took the girls to the bathroom. Steph and her 7 year old son were just standing over Isaiah in his stroller staring at him. Josh said "He is going to be something real good someday. I just know it. I can just tell". Prophetic words over Isaiah! God has such a plan for his life, I just know it!

I can’t explain what an honor it is to adopt. I can’t explain how thankful I am to the Lord that He called us to be Isaiah’s mommy and daddy, and Leah his amazing and wonderful big sister. I am so so thankful. I think the thankfulness is still just shitting…because it’s SO crazy how it all happened!

Since adopting, our heart and desires have opened so much more, and we know that God is capable of more than we could ever think or ask or imagine. How amazing is that? Any plan I can come up with, on my best day- His is infinitely better. And it is so comforting to know that He sees beginning to end. There is no time to our Father. He knows what is best for each of His children, and I want to continue to learn to rest in that fast. Eddie and I still believe we will have another biological child, but we also want to adopt another child too. Reading my friend Laura’s blog who adopted special needs girls from China…oh man, my heart is there!!  I spent some time on her page reading and watching their family videos (a family of 9!), and my heart melted! What joy- what true and pure joy- they have. Joy that the world may not understand, but that it can’t take away.

I often wonder what our lives would look like if we really truly embraced all that God had for us…if we didn’t wait until it felt right, or made sense, or we could afford it….if we didn’t think about things like it will be too hard, there is no way, it will mess up my family, what if its too much….what if we just let go of all of those questions- in complete surrender to Abba Father; trusting that He is who He says He is. Trusting that he is the author and perfector of our faith. Trusting that He gives us all good things and more. Trusting that every part of Him is good and trustworthy. Trusting that if He asked us to lay it all down for the sake of His calling, that it would be worth it. Oh, it would be so worth it, I just know it.  I think…we could adopt special needs girls from China. I would LOVE to. Then the what ifs and the hows and the fears creep in. What if we said no to fear and what ifs EVERY SINGLE TIME. What if we didn’t wait for the feelings to come to do what we believe we are supposed to do. What if we stepped out in total faith (and without a warm fuzzy feeling) just because God told us to; and then the feelings arrive because we obeyed and we are able to say “thank you so much Lord for not allowing me to miss out on this best thing you had for my life.” We miss out on so much, I just know we do.

I want to learn to relinquish total control. I want to learn what it means to live in complete surrender.  I want to come to a place of utter reliance and complete trust in my loving Heavenly Father. At this place, I know we can do anything. We can endure anything. And through it all we will have peace and joy that does not make sense to those who don’t know Him. A peace, that the Bible says, surpasses all human understanding. Truly, often the hard and agonizing way, is the best way. It’s where we are broken. When we are broken He is able to step in and be our strength. Paul said he delights to be weak bc when he is weak, Christ can be strong. Jesus desires to be our strength. He longs to give us every good gift (that may not come packaged as a pretty gift, but as a special needs child that would seem anything but a gift).  I think we miss out on so many good gifts that our Lord wants to give to us. I don’t want to miss out on those gifts anymore.

I pray He continues to awaken our hearts to HIS HEART. I want what He wants, bottom line…..and I see more little ones in our future, that’s for sure.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Mom

My mom was here for 9 days. She left yesterday. It was so amazing having her here. There is just something about moms...they make everything better. She played literally nonstop with Leah, she encouraged her, she praised her, she took her on special outtings, she read endlessly to her- she even slept in the same bed as her!!

She fell in love with Isaiah. I think everyone wonders how they will feel about an adopted, not biological child. I know it is different for everyone. For some people the deep love is instant, for others it takes a lot of time. My mom was not sure how it would feel....although of course she knew she loved him already.

I watched her, before my eyes, fall deeply in love with him. I would see her holding him, rocking him, crying....

My mom has been one of my biggest supporters and encouragers. She has prayed endless hours for me. She prayed me through the toughest experiences of my life. She is the first to be SO excited about good news, or to cry with me about the bad.

Watching her fall in love with her grandson, whom she has prayed fervently for for years, was amazing. It was so humbling to see God not only answered OUR prayers but hers (and many others) as well. Isaiah's story has touched her life in a deep way. What God has done for our family has caused her to know the love of Christ in a new way. It's amazing that when the Lord does something good for someone, the effects can reach so far.

She is part of  Isaiah's story. I love that. She was here in May for our Shine conference. The last day of the conference she had her arm around me as I was sobbing..she was praying to the creator of the universe, our Abba Father, to please bless us with another child. She left a few days after that to go to Taiwan to be with my sister who just had a baby.

A couple days after Everett was born across the world, I called my mom to tell her we might have a son soon. She spent the next week in constant prayer for us. It was an amazing day when I called her, crying, telling her we have our son in the backseat of our car! God added two grandsons to her blessed life, only two days apart.

My mom bought a gift for Isaiah's room- now one of my most treasured possessions. It is a plaque that says

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

The more I ponder this verse, the more perfect it is for Isaiah....the more in awe I am of the Lord. Remember the verse the Lord gave me in Isaiah about being with child when I was in the midst of the fertility struggle and crying out to the Lord? It hit me....I looked up every verse in Isaiah that had the word child. The verse He gave me was the only verse that would have showed me what He wanted me to see. No, I did not get pregnant (yet:)). But, it was so personal that I KNEW it was from Him. Because of that verse, I declared that we would one day have a son and name him Isaiah; and that I would tell everyone what God had done. God would be glorified and magnified!  I declared that Isaiah's life would be a testimony and that he would be a warrior for Jesus. When I read that verse above, I am amazed that truly, the Lord redeemed Isaiah. HE SUMMONED HIM BY NAME. He told me his name would be Isaiah. It is hard to put into words what I am trying to explain here...hopefully it makes some sense.:)

I am so thankful for my mom. I am thankful she is here every time I need her. I am thankful for our growing friendship. I am thankful for the example of the amazing mom that she is. I pray I can be the same kind of mom to my children. I love you mom.

next post: my dad