Goodbye Ordinary

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7

Out of the Darkness May 28, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Grief,Kid Sayings — Lori @ 10:14 am

I found this post that I never completed.  It was from February 18, 2010.  Anywhere I have added something in the old post is in parenthesis:

I have been in a dark mood for the past couple of weeks.  Ever since the phone call I received letting me know that there was a snag in our adoption progress I have been fighting depression.  I really go back and forth in what I say to myself. (Here is the post where I wrote about our news.)

I want God’s will for our family in this adoption so, of course, if this is not God’s will for Levi to be our son then I don’t want it to happen.  However, my heart is already so in love with that little guy and I want to be his mom so bad!

Thus, all my musings on God’s sovereignty (I was referring to several posts I wrote during this time of struggle.  You can see them here  and here ) – which I completely cling to with great hope!

So, let’s talk about something else okay?  🙂

I was laughing to myself yesterday as I did school with the girls.  Kira’s reading lesson threw something new in at her.  Her stories she has read so far have had one sentence per line.  You always know that at the end of that line is the end of the sentence.  Well, yesterday her stories had a sentence and then started another sentence on the same line.  She read through the whole line as though it all belonged together and so I stopped her and explained that she needed to pay attention to the punctuation.  We had a talk about punctuation last week when commas were introduced. 

The second time she read through the line she got to the period and said, “Punctuation”,  paused, and then went on reading the next sentence.  It was so funny!  I had explained that a period, exclamation point or question mark would end a sentence and that she just needed to use her voice to show what it was marking.  Ha!  Every day is something new.

I was talking with a friend last night about depression and the need for medication.  I am NOT saying that no one should ever use medication for depression or other mental health issues, however, I wonder if many times our “depression” is spiritual and not physical in nature.

I think that is where I have been and this morning as I woke up I purposefully started to recite a song, “Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul” – it just came into my head.  I prayed thanking God for a new day and for His blessings to me and praised Him for His character.  I can’t say that it was a magic pill, but I think it is a good start to my making a decision to be thankful and to make my focus God and Who He is instead of focusing on my circumstances.

It is interesting that my anxiety about our adoption of Levi and letting myself get upset about it possibly not working out, led me into thinking about Grant and dredging up intense feelings of grief and pain that crop up now and then.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Grant and miss him, but I am thankful to say I do not have deep grief on a daily basis. 

I think this was a really good lesson for me.  When I let myself become so focused on earthly things I make myself vulnerable to discouragement, fear, lack of trust, and a lack of faith.  I am  asking God for His grace and strength to help me keep this up.  I also have a responsibility to perform!  I need to make sure that I am feeding myself on the word of God.  If I am not immersing my mind with the truth of scripture I am leaving myself vulnerable to lies that Satan or my own sinful flesh tell me.

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

I wrote the above on Feb. 18, 2010.  I do not remember what interrupted me that I didn’t finish it.  I am not in the same place that I was speaking of above.  But, it is a good reminder and warning to me.  I think we are always vulnerable to letting life’s temporary circumstances take over our hearts and minds.  When we do this, we turn away from the ONLY thing in our lives that can keep us stable and secure. 

Psalm 57:1-3, 5, 7 – 11 
1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
  for in you my soul takes refuge;
  in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
  till the storms of destruction pass by.
2I cry out to God Most High,
   to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
3He will send from heaven and save me;
   he will put to shame him who tramples on me.
                         Selah
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
   Let your glory be over all the earth!

7 My heart is steadfast, O God,
   my heart is steadfast!
   I will sing and make melody!
 8 Awake, my glory!
    
Awake, O harp and lyre!
   I will awake the dawn!
9I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
   I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
   your faithfulness to the clouds.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
   Let your glory be over all the earth!

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Our Silent Auction was great!! May 27, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Fund Raising — Lori @ 11:31 pm

Me and my "Dream Team"

I don’t even know where to start.  I have great friends.  My friends Lori and Jen put a ton of time and work into this event and I am so thankful for them.  The thing is, though, that it was a total labor of love for them and I SO appreciate that.  They are amazing!

Some of the beautiful flowers on the tables! Thanks Mollie!!

Kalindi and Kira wanted to do what they could to help out and so Kalindi made some pretty, bright colored potholders and I added some things to make a basket.  She loved knowing that she was contributing and also helped out with serving.

Kira went to work making stretch bracelets to sell.  She does a great job with color choices and patterns.  We decided to just set her up and say donation instead of a set price for her bracelets.  She did very well.  I think it helps to be cute. 🙂

The girls and Maggie man the bracelet table

So many people donated auction items for us and we are touched by their generosity.  We were thrilled with the attendance, especially when we weren’t sure how many would come since RSVP’s hadn’t really come in. 

We made a good sum of money and we are pleased with that.  I think, though, that for Kevin and I, what we really enjoyed was being able to share our adoption journey with our community and also to be able to talk about adoption and what a blessing it is.  I was asked what goal I had for this evening and my answer was, that one orphan would have a family because of a seed that was planted tonight.  That is what it is all about.

I feel very blessed tonight.  The Lord has been good to us.  I have no worries that He will provide all that we need.  And, I also trust that He is in complete control and will get Levi home exactly when he wants to.

Keep praying!!

 

Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer May 19, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Music — Lori @ 10:58 am

There is a beautiful song that I have been listening to lately that has spoken to my heart.  It is written by Margaret Becker, music by Keith Getty and I listen to it on an album by Keith and Kristyn Getty called “In Christ Alone”.  You can download their album at their website.  They have really thoughtful, beautiful worship songs that point you straight to the Lord.  I highly recommend them.

This particular song puts to words the truth I feel in my soul about how God uses trials in our lives.  These trials of life are not just pain and sorrow, they allow us a special glimpse and touch of our Savior and loving Father.  They work things in our character that are beautiful before the Lord.  Trials are blessings.  I know that doesn’t mesh with what we naturally want to believe.  The things of the Lord do not always make sense in human terms.  Here is the song:

Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer
Words by Margaret Becker, music by Keith Getty

Jesus, draw me ever nearer
as I labor through the storm.
You have called me to this passage
and I’ll follow though I’m worn.

May this journey bring a blessing,
may I rise on wings of faith;
and at the end of my heart’s testing,
with Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus, guide me through the tempest,
keep my spirit staid and sure,
When the midnight meets the morning,
let me love You even more.

May this journey bring a blessing,
may I rise on wings of faith;
and at the end of my heart’s testing,
with Your likeness let me wake.

May the treasures of the trial
form within me as I go.
And at the end of this long passage,
let me leave them at Your throne.

May this journey bring a blessing,
may I rise on wings of faith;
and at the end of my heart’s testing,
with Your likeness let me wake.

May these truths encourage you wherever you are in life’s journey.

 

The Latest – From India May 17, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Family — Lori @ 8:10 pm

I got the phone call today I have been waiting a month for.  The India director for our agency was in India visiting orphanages and taking care of business.  She was there for about a month.  We were hoping that she was able to find out whether there was any progress in our case.

In case you do not remember the hold up, the sitting District court judge in Delhi is being very picky and is throwing out adoption cases that come to him where the family has three children in the home.  Levi’s orphanage has had a case thrown out and has been dealing with appealing to the High Court and then to the Supreme Court.  We are waiting for a determination on the case that is now in the Supreme Court.  When this is settled, the lawyer and orphanage feel like we will have a much better chance to get our case through without incident. 

The case we are waiting on could be resolved any day.  Please pray with us about this and that it would resolve in God’s time.  We are also praying for this family who has also been waiting longer than they should have to for their child to come home with them.

There was some disappointment in the news we received today.  The orphanage would not let the director visit Levi.  It seems that the Sisters finally told him that there is a family who is in the process of adopting him.  He is seeing his friends all leave and go home with their families and it is making him very upset.  They felt like he would be too upset to see her and it not be his parents.  There is actually good news in that as well.  You see, we have been worried about how Levi might feel about being adopted.  He has lived his entire life at the orphanage.  We weren’t sure what he might think about having a family.  It is encouraging to us that he is excited about having a family.  Now, we aren’t happy that it is upsetting to him.  That is a concern.  And, all the more reason to triple our prayer efforts on behalf of our case getting going. 

Here is a Mother’s Day photo of me with my beautiful daughters.  We had a fun day going out to dinner after church and spending the afternoon with my parents and my sister’s family. 

My gift for Mother’s Day was a sterling silver pendant that I picked out – actually had custom made by a wonderful jewelry designer with a heart for adoption!  Check out her Etsy site.

I contacted her and asked if she could make me something for India and she was happy to personalize one for me.  What was really interesting about it was the pride that the girls took in choosing it and in my wearing it.  They saw it as my honoring them along with their country of birth.  It was really important to them.  I hadn’t really thought it would have that kind of impact.

On the front is a map of India with a heart on it, behind the map are the words, Blessings from India.

On the back she inscribed the names, Kali, Kira, and Levi.  I now wear my precious gifts from India on my heart!

I do not believe that God has promised us anything specific in regards to Levi.  Of course, Kevin and I felt God’s leading in our decision to adopt him.  And, I certainly feel great hope that he will be raised in our home.  But, I have no claim on God that this HAS to happen, nor that it will happen in my idea of perfect timing.  Our faithful Creator God, our loving and merciful Heavenly Father is in control of this and it is in His hands.  We want His perfect will.  We trust Him implicitly. 

Psalm 116:1-2   I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

 

Adoption and Orphan Care May 11, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Family — Lori @ 10:04 am

I am reading this amazing book called, Adopted for Life, by Russell D. Moore.  (You can read the first chapter of the book at the previous link.)  He is explaining how our adoption by God as sons/daughters and heirs with Christ should effect a desire in our hearts to see the fatherless in families.  I heartily recommend you read this book – not just if you are interested in adoption, but if you are related or a friend to someone who is in the process or has adopted.  You should read this book if you love the Lord and have a heart for the gospel.

I just read this blog post on Russell Moore’s blog that included a resolution that he has submitted to the Southern Baptist Convention.  I am copying the entire resolution here, because I think it is worth reading and because the orphan problem of the world is for ALL of us to solve.  We need to think rightly – biblically – about this issue and act on it.  All of us can participate, whether we adopt, support and encourage those who are adopting, or give to orphan projects.

“On Adoption and Orphan Care”

WHEREAS, in the gospel we have received the “Spirit of adoption” whereby we are no longer spiritual orphans but are now beloved children of God and joint heirs with Christ
(John 14:18; Rom. 8:12-25; Gal. 3:27-4:9; Eph. 1:5); and

WHEREAS, the God we now know as our Father reveals himself as a “father of the fatherless” (Ps. 68:5) who grants mercy to orphans (Deut. 10:18; Hos. 14:3); and

WHEREAS, our Lord Jesus welcomes the little ones (Luke 18:15-17), pleads for the lives of the innocent (Ps. 72:12-14), and shows us that we will be held accountable for our response to “the least of these my brethren” (Matt. 25:40); and

WHEREAS, the Scripture defines “pure and undefiled religion” as “to visit orphans and widows in their trouble” (Jas. 1:27); and

WHEREAS, the satanic powers have warred against infants and children from Pharaoh to Moloch to Herod and, now, through the horrors of a divorce culture, an abortion industry, and the global plagues of disease, starvation, and warfare; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have articulated an unequivocal commitment to the sanctity of all human life, born and unborn; and

WHEREAS, a denomination of churches defined by the Great Commission must be concerned for the evangelism of children—including those who have no parents; and

WHEREAS, upward of 150 million orphans now languish without families in orphanages, group homes, and placement systems in North America and around the world; and

WHEREAS, our Father loves all of these children, and a great multitude of them will never otherwise hear the gospel of Jesus Christ; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, June 23-24, 2009, express our commitment as a denomination of churches to join our Father in seeking mercy for orphans; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we call on each Southern Baptist family to pray for guidance as to whether God is calling them to adopt or foster a child or children; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we encourage our pastors and church leaders to preach and teach on God’s concern for orphans; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we commend churches and ministries that are equipping families to provide financial and other resources to those called to adopt, through grants, matching funds, or loans; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we ask our International Mission Board and North American Mission Board to prioritize the evangelism of and ministry to orphans around the world, and to seek out ways to energize Southern Baptists behind this mission; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we encourage Southern Baptist churches to join with other evangelical Christians in recognizing November 8, 2009, as “Orphan Sunday,” focusing that day on our adoption in Christ and our common burden for the orphans of the world; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we hope what God is doing in creating an adoption culture in so many churches and families can point us to a gospel oneness that is defined not by “the flesh” racial, economic, or cultural sameness but by the Spirit unity and peace in Christ Jesus; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that we pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit on Southern Baptist congregations so that our churches increasingly will announce and picture, in word and in deed, that “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.”

 

A Birthday Observed May 6, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Family — Lori @ 5:14 pm

Kira just celebrated a birthday on Saturday, May 1.  That little girl has grown about four years worth in the last two years and I, for one, do not think that is fair!  Kids grow up too fast as it is. 🙂

We began her birthday with a special breakfast of strawberry and cream cheese homemade crepes.  This was a hit with the whole family!

Kira had wanted to get her ears pierced for her birthday so we did that on Friday evening because it was a time when there would be two people working at the place in the mall so they could do both ears at the same time.  We were afraid that if they did one, she might not want them to do the second one! 🙂

She actually did very well and only kind of exclaimed, “Ow!”  This was a big departure from the last time she got a shot where there was much wailing and screaming and me holding her between my legs while they hurried to get it done before I couldn’t hang on anymore!  So – we have come a LONG way!  Yeah Kira!  She looks so pretty with her little pink heart earrings.

On Saturday afternoon we went to watch a play that our best friends’ son was in – Anne of Avonlea.  It was great – well done as usual!  The girls really enjoyed it as we have watched all the Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea movies and they love them.  We need to read that book aloud – I think the girls would really enjoy it.

We had a party on Sunday afternoon with her birthday dinner of choice, hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad and her very favorite – baked beans!  She is an easy kid to please – you have to love that!  Add to that a double decker Funfetti cake with chocolate frosting and she was happy as can be.  I love this photo of her with a look of excitement with a gift:

We should be hearing something next week from the India director who is just coming home from her India trip.  She was gone almost a month and we are hoping to hear some kind of news about where we stand. 

Mighty Acts of God: A Family Bible Story BookLast night the girls and I read a chapter in the book, Mighty Acts of God by Starr Meade, and the chapter was about God’s promise to Abraham.  I really like this book as it goes through some Bible stories, but with the intent to show God’s power and character.  Each short chapter has some verses that go with the reading and also has some discussion ideas or questions at the end.  I like that she writes the discussion part not as something you just read, but as something you read to yourself, digest, and then use as a jumping off point for discussing the principles with your children. 

I just felt so encouraged as I read through the chapter thinking of God’s covenant with His people and His faithfulness to complete it.  The chapter we read the night before had talked about God making His covenant with Abraham.  God told Abraham what He would do, but Abraham asked how he would know this would happen.  God graciously went through the ceremony that people in that time would do when they made a covenant with each other.  God wanted to show Abraham that He would keep His promise.  As part of this ceremony God had Abraham lay out a cow, goat, sheep, and two birds – the larger animals split in half with a walkway between them.  All Abraham contributed to this was the animals.  Once he did what God asked him to, God caused him to sleep.  While Abraham slept God passed between the two halves, which Abraham saw in a dream as a flaming torch and smoking fire pot.  This signified the binding nature of the covenant – which God would fulfill on His side as well as fulfilling what would be required of Abraham.  I just LOVE that picture!  God is so good to us, isn’t He?  He took care of what we needed to fulfill our part of the covenant – which was perfect obedience to God’s law.  We could never do that.  Jesus did it for us.  Wow.

Well, back to the chapter we did last night.  It is about God keeping His promises.  I am sure you remember the story – Abraham was promised that he would have heirs from his wife Sarah.  Now, they waited a LONG time.  After ten years Sarah took matters into her own hands and gave her maid Hagar to Abraham and they had a son, Ishmael.  That is NOT what God had intended for them.  It was twenty five years after God’s promise before Sarah gave birth to Isaac. 

I got to thinking as I was reading that how impatient I get waiting for God’s answers to prayer or movement in situations.  I can certainly not claim that God promised us our son Levi.  However, this adoption is something that we feel we are doing in obedience to God.  We would have liked for everything to have gone like clockwork and for Levi to have already been here, but that is not how it is going.

Are we faithful while we wait?  Do we try to take matters into our own hands?  It is easy to get discouraged and assume God isn’t going to take care of it so we had better do our best with it.  God has a plan and purpose in everything He does.  We have had some great opportunities to teach the girls about waiting and that we trust that God listens to our prayers and we ask for His will – not our own.  It has been really sweet listening to their prayers as they ask God to bring Levi home when He thinks it is best. 

I am so thankful that God uses these times of waiting and hoping to work in us the character He wants to so that He can use us for His glory.  What a blessing that is!  It is actually mind boggling if you think about it.  The eternal God, the creator of the universe desires to use little ol’ puny me in His grand design for His creation!  All I do is show up – just like those sacrificed animals – and God does the rest.  Amazing.

Philippians 2:12-13  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Hebrews 10:23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

 

 
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