Thursday, January 17, 2013

Filled up...

Today my soul literally feels hungry for the words of God. I am so thankful for scripture, God's words to me. I'm thankful to have them in a language I can read and understand- many in the world still do not have this gift. I'm thankful that God's word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). I am thankful that I have been given the Holy Spirit that will guide me into all truth (John 16:13). In my intense hunger today the Spirit led me to Psalms. David often was hungry for God. He pleas with God through out the book to come close to Him. Grateful that this was the Spirit's guiding. I gobbled up the first 19 chapters of the book and am OVERFLOWING with what I read. There are 150 chapters in Pslams alone- He is so gracious in the amount of Himself that He has revealed to us! I just wanted to share a few of the highlights of my reading so as to hopefully encourage you in the same way I was encouraged. To be obedient to what I read in 8:11, "Declare among the peoples His deeds." This will not have much flow to it- other than that God is good, just, loving, abundant in kindness...and the list could go on.
9:9- The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble
The term oppressed can be applied to so many different people. There are many that are oppressed. I know that the orphans are oppressed. He is a stronghold (a well fortified place) for our next child- even though I do not know them yet. Even when trouble comes to them that I am not aware of, and am helpless to do anything about- God is a stronghold for them. God is a stronghold for the 27 million in our world this very day that are trapped in slavery. They are oppressed. They need a stronghold. They are in times of trouble at each moment of their lives. I am grateful that in the overwhelmingness of all the evil in the world, God is a stronghold for the oppressed.
9:15- The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made; in the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught.
America. This country provides us with a lot of freedoms. But it is clearly also a country in a state of decay (as any country on planet earth is), and it makes me very disheartened at times. We have stepped in the trap we ourselves set. Decisions are always followed by consequences. I need to pray for America more. I need to pray at LEAST equal to the amount I complain about it. If I am not begging the Lord to work in a powerful way more than I am complaining about the officials that run this country then I should be more than prepared to know that nothing will change. We need to petition the Lord before (and MORE than) we petition the government. (Proverbs 21:1)
12:5- "Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, now I will arise, " says the Lord; "I will set him in the safety for which he longs."
Grateful that the Lord knows an orphans desire and groaning for family and community. Thankful that he will set them in the safety for which they long. Praying for many other families to travel the road of adoption, and be a safe place for orphans.
15:1-3- O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes reproach against his friend;...
I want to abide in God's tent with Him and to live on His holy hill. So I must walk with integrity (soundness of moral character, honesty). I must work righteousness. Act in a way that is right according to God. I must speak truth in my heart. I must know truth and dedicate myself to learning what that is according to God's word so that I will speak that to myself instead of the lies of the enemy. We are given the Holy Spirit at salvation, but He guides us into all truth- it is a leading and a following- not a one time deposit of all truth and we must no longer read God's word to know what that truth is. I will not slander (defame someone, lie about someone) with my tongue. I will choose to use words that build others up and give them a good reputation and standing with others. I will not do evil to my neighbor. This is a hard one with the grumpy neighborhood association that prowls around our complex. I will choose to do good for others, not to just NOT do evil to them. I will make cookies for them on Thursday mornings because I know that's when they walk the campus. I will bless them in a proactive way. I will not take reproach against my friend. I will not discredit or destroy the reputation of my friend. This often happens in anger. I will choose to build my friends up and not to tear them down. This is not even the full list in the chapter, but these need to be descriptors of me if I am to dwell in the tent of the Lord.
17:5- My steps have held fast to Your paths. My feet have not slipped.
If we fall away from the Lord it is because we have not held fast to HIS paths. We have wandered to our own which lead us away from Him. Obedience to Him does not result in slipping. It will result in standing firm. A good gauge on where I see myself and how I think I have been following.
18:19- ...He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
God delights in me. In my insecurities and lies of the world I can hold to this truth that God delights in me. And He delights in me to the point of action. He rescued me. A heroic, messy, complicated rescuing that I deserved no part in! Praise be to God.
18:28-29- For You light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness. For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall.
When darkness goes before me God has promised to make the path clear. And the path will involve great acts that on my own I would never be able to accomplish. He will enable me, and I must choose obedience.
19:1-4 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world.
No one is without excuse. God's glory stretches to every corner of the earth. There may not be people in those places that declare His glory yet, but His works do- and they do so day and night. Taking the gospel to those who have never heard is of utmost importance. I heard someone say the other day that, "Faith is the work of the Holy Spirit that is made known by the preaching of the Gospel." The Gospel must be preached and declared verbally so that people will know the name of Jesus and call upon Him for their salvation! I read recently about a family that got the chance to proclaim the name of Jesus for the first time in a place that has not known who He is yet. What an awesome honor! It reenergizes me to prayer for their ministry and for those that need Jesus and now know of the name to call on!
19:7,8,11- The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes... Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
So grateful for my time with Jesus today. Thankful that His law is perfect and did restore my soul. I'm so grateful that He gives me what I need for my heart to rejoice-His words. I'm thankful for my eyes that were enlightened through my time in His word. And I pray that I will keep these words, because with that comes great reward.
I am so grateful that my earthen vessel, my dixie cup, was filled with HIS treasure today. And I pray that what you encountered in this blog post was the surpassing greatness of the power of God, and not just me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Alphabet Dates

As a stay at home mom I don't make lots of money. I know. Big surprise. But it is true. I actually make $0. I wish presidential candidates would address people of my financial state... just kidding. I am blessed to be able to choose to stay home and not work. And I am blessed to have a hard working husband who has a job that supports our family.
Christmas presents for Adam are difficult when you have $0 to spend. It calls for creativity- which is not my strongest attribute. :) This year I decided to make a book for him. The book has 26 pages. On each page there is a letter envelope. Inside the letter envelope is a date corresponding with that letter. There is also a room for a picture of each date we go on. These things do not cost very much money at all. I tried to be creative with them- not things we would typically do on a date. He has to wait to open each card until the week we are going on our date. We have one for every 2 weeks of the year.
Adam is excited about the book- and so am I! Since having children- date nights are few and far between. Also with the busyness of life- it is hard. We experienced last year more than ever that having time with just the two of us is very important. Hopefully this tool will assist with that.
Today was our first date. A. A was for the Cummer Art Museum. The museum is free on Tuesday afternoons. JACKPOT! I am off to a good free start. (Not all are free- but most are cheap) Adam came downstairs in a suit with a bow-tie on. He figured that's what classy art looking people wear. I looked like a hobo next to him, but I was already dressed and not in the mood to fancy myself up. Haha. It gave me a good laugh- and he looked very handsome. We just pretended he had just gotten off work at his fancy job and we were going to browse the art gallery...We ended our evening with tacos (no association to the A theme but it sounded good to the both of us- and a quick stop by Amy's (my sister-in-law) house since we were in the neighborhood. Her name starts with the right letter so it was a bonus.

 Adam's first question was, "Why do they all only have one eye?" We clearly don't think outside the box!

 The gardens were so pretty. I loved all the flowers!

 Beautiful tree. This is just a part of the twistiness of it. Wish I could've captured all of it!



 One of my favorite non painting things.

 In the children's interactive center.

 Carved out of ivory! Unbelievable!

 Helen Keller had sent a letter to the museum at some point!

 Thankful to the person who took our picture of us together.

 We are classy. Clearly.

 Halos. Or modern art. You decide.

 Multi-racial families. Cool since always.

 Pretty sky and sticks. 

Yummy tacos and queso to end the night.


I am beyond excited right now! I talked to a person on the phone today. I got a phone number for a state-side contact for the babies home we want to adopt from in Uganda. I called today during nap time and expected to have to leave a message. HE ANSWERED! We had a little chat time and he explained to me how this babies home had placed 80 children in American homes over the past 10 years. He explained how their process works and what our next steps are. I emailed the person I am supposed to tonight and am now waiting (again...) on a form to be sent to me. I'm so excited. He actually lives in Florida too. Funny how he was so close for something that needs to take place so far away. Continue to pray...and please PRAISE the Lord with us for this connection. He is faithful. He is good. And his timing is perfect.
I have been doing SO much study and research on adoption in general and my heart is so overwhelmed with the goodness of the Lord in my personal adoption as HIS child. The more I learn- the more evident it is to me that caring for the helpless and fatherless has ALAWYS been on the heart of God. There were verses I always knew existed, but there are SO many that I had no idea about. My sweet friend gave me the book Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore. I have just begun reading it- but it is awesome so far. I love how it is not just for those who are wanting to adopt, but for all those that have been adopted into the family of God. I'm grateful for the ways my heart is being stretched for adoption. And how it is being shaped to better love others in ALL areas- not just adoption. God did not rescue us to be inward facing. We are to be about others for HIS glory. Those options really are endless...and I often miss about 99% of them. Frustrating...but I feel myself growing- which is not alway enjoyable- but it is for a good goal.
Please please please. Educate yourself on God's heart for the orphans. Read your Bible. Watch out for the words helpless or fatherless. Be prepared to be blown away...and changed. Seriously. Be prepared... We can never say that we didn't know- He gave us HIS words in the Bible. It has all we need for life and for Godliness. Ignoring it will not keep you from being held responsible for what you do with it. There is a reason sanctification is such a long process- there are many many many things we have not mastered- or any really. Thankful for grace, mercy, and the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Time really does fly...not necessarily because you're having fun, but because you're old! At least that's how I feel.
This year has held a lot for me. Happiness and sadness.
2012 started off with a bang! It seems like just yesterday and yet here I am...sitting in the first day of 2013. Adam and I took some of the college kids to Passion in Atlanta. It is one of my favorite things in the world. That was followed by time with my family and then a vacation in the mountains with friends. We even got snow-lots of it! A rare thing to see for us from Florida. February was filled with preparation for our new baby and Matthew's 2nd birthday. March brought us another sweet little blessing named Andrew Caleb. April brought much sadness and praise in the death of my Grandpa. Sadness because I was CRAZY about my Grandpa. And much praise for the ability to celebrate with assurance that my Grandpa is now at the feet of Jesus, praising Him for the rest of eternity! I have had countless moments since April 20th that refocus my mind on an eternity of crying out, "Holy! Holy! Holy! Is the Lord God Almighty! Who was, and who is, and who is to come!" and the fact that Grandpa is already experiencing that. I am SO grateful for the quickness of the journey of Parkinson's for him. I know it can be so much longer than it was. The summer was a hard time. Adam was gone a lot. We did gain two sweet friends in those months though, Nate and Laura. Adam's interns and now a part of our family. We also had to say goodbye to good friends, the Potters, as they moved to Naples. We miss them lots. September brought the time I had planned to start researching adoption. WOW! Overwhelming, discouraging, lonely, confusing, exciting, sad, happy, impatient, urgent...there are too many emotions that flow through me concerning this topic to even type out. God is so gracious to me. The two countries we had felt God was leading us to for adoption were Ethiopia and Uganda. Two little boys came to Jacksonville with Samaritans Purse from Uganda. They needed life saving heart surgery. They and their moms were here for a little over a month. They also had a translator from Uganda who works at an orphanage and has such a personal heart for orphans. My heart fell head over heels in love with Enimi. He was 6 years old with dark skin, big eyes, sweet smile, skinny little body, tight hugs, infections giggles, fingers that fit perfectly between mine, and a sick physical heart, but a larger than life, loving heart. Matthew and Enimi became fast friends whose hugs were precious and the  bond they had was amazing even though they didn't speak the same language at all! Helen is now the avenue we are using to pursue adoption from Uganda. So many gifts that God provided to me in what would seem a trip to benefit many others. I feel most blessed out of the whole thing! He is MUCH TOO GOOD TO ME! In the beginning of December Enimi also went to the feet of Jesus and is now worshipping our Savior with my Grandpa and a few other saints I knew that passed away this year. The hurt my heart felt and the tears I cried the morning Enimi died are unlike anything I've ever felt. Complications of his disease were too much for his little body to handle. Enimi was a vessel for Jesus though. He ministered to many in his short 6 years. The night before he went home to Heaven his mom and dad entered into a relationship with Jesus. Once again...I was standing in the doorway smack dab between praise and sadness, just as I had been at my Grandpa's death. I am SO grateful that I have a hope for eternity, and that I can mourn in such a way.
This year has been home to a lot of recognition of my MASSIVE sin before a sinless Savior. I am a proud person, and am learning the ugliness of that daily. I am thankful that God softened my heart to that, and taught me to realize that. Others that know me may be thinking, "Duh! You're just now learning this?!" but it is true. I thought pride was an attribute of people who brag etc... and that is not me. But pride is when I don't want to apologize or admit I am wrong. Pride is when I view myself as anything other than NOTHING without JESUS. There is not one day that goes by (maybe because I am now a mom of a 2- almost 3 year old) that I think I can survive the day in my own power. I am in need of His patience, grace, forgiveness, mercy, wisdom, strength...the list is endless. I am this year, more than ever, thankful that Jesus is MY PERSONAL SAVIOR. That I can have an intimate relationship with Him.
In 2013 I really do just want more of Jesus. I want a more consistent relationship with Jesus so that His glory would be made more known through my life. I do not want to distract with myself. I want to gain confidence in verbally sharing the Gospel with those that desperately need Jesus. I want to be committed to prayer in a way that rubs my knees raw, and causes me to lose sleep. All of these things sound scary and hard, but I know that this is the purpose I survive by His grace, and to not live in that is a waste. I do not want to know there are 364 days that lie ahead of me that will just be a waste. I want to know that in 364 more days that God's name will be more famous, not mine. I want to know that others will know the hope that I cling to.
The other thing I desire for 2013 is that I would be able to see the face of my next child. Adoption is slow moving and scary. I know that God WILL do more than I can ever ask or imagine. To me, the idea that I would know the face of my 3rd child by this time next year seems impossible. BUT GOD! He can have a child in my arms if that is HIS will. That is my little desire, but I am excited to see what He makes reality in this next year.

I pray that your focus for the next year would not be a better body, more money, nicer things, or happiness. Don't seek will always fail. Seek Jesus. Seek joy. Jesus fulfills- it may look different than what you would imagine- but you will be filled. Resolve to seek Jesus EARNESTLY ( serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous). Let those be the words that others would use to describe the way you pursue Jesus. I pray that for my life.