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.

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.