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

Count the Cost July 10, 2012

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Life — Lori @ 11:08 am

I am a little out of practice!  I have not written here since January.  It isn’t that there has not been plenty to write about, there is just not much free time where my brain has enough energy to put thoughts into a coherent form.  I was talking with my counselor (psychologist) today about some issues with Levi and the dearth of good resources for parents with adopted kid issues.  She said that I should write a book!  I may just do that. 🙂

It is hard to know how to share some of the struggles of adoption.  I wrestle with the decision of what to write and how much to say.  The thing is, it often feels very private and personal.  And yet…we need to be honest about adoption.  Adoption is wonderful.  I love it.  God loves it.  It is a good thing.  There are children all over this world who are without a family.  I firmly believe that the best place for a child is to be with a family.  If they cannot be with their own family, they need another one.  That is just the way it is.

I have talked about a person’s motivation to adopt before.  If you are considering adoption there are a lot of things you should ponder long and hard.  I have written a post on adoption related books that are must reads for true and needful information before and after going into an adoption.  There are no fairy tale endings.  That is not to say that things cannot be wonderful and that there aren’t a lot of blessings for you and your child in adoption.  But, you have to be realistic.

You see, you go into adoption the first time (at least we did) with a lot of enthusiasm and frankly, rose colored glasses.  You read about issues associated with adoption and you think, that won’t be our experience!  And, it won’t be your experience.  Not exactly anyway.  There are as many difficulties in adoption as there are children who are adopted.  You really need to assume that there will be difficulties.  Maybe lots of them.  Ones that may take years to work through, or they may never be conquered.  I am not being melodramatic, this is fact.

The girls have been in our family for over four years.  They are a daily blessing and we love them intensely.  We are still dealing with learning issues and problems that undoubtedly stem from early malnutrition, trauma, and who knows what.  Our hope for our girls is that they will learn what they need to function as independent people and have fulfilling lives.  This is not an insult to them.  This is fact.  Our expectations for our adopted kids have to be adjusted from our typical parental expectations.

I often read a blog, Urban Servant.  It is written by a mom of eight adopted children.  She is very honest about her children’s struggles and I know there are many adoptive parents who are so thankful for her honesty.  We can’t be a support for each other – as adoptive families – if we don’t share our struggles as well as resources we have found.

The other piece of this is our Christian walk – our discipleship to Jesus.  Being a disciple means that you are following someone.  You are emulating their life and you believe what they believed.  Have you ever thought how absolutely scary it is to say you are a disciple of Jesus?  I have said that I am a follower of Christ, but I do not think that I ever, until very recently, considered the full impact of that statement.

Think about the life that Jesus led.  Did He have a lot of acceptance on earth?  How was He received by His own people?  Was His life a walk in the park?  How did it end?

I could write a book to answer those questions, but I don’t have to!  Just read through one of the gospels, say the book of Luke, and they are all answered.  Only a handful of people accepted Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God.  Many followed Him around, but most of them just wanted what He could do for them.  His own people thought He was a blasphemer and should be killed and eventually they had a part in His death.  His death was the most horrific event you can imagine.

Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 16:24-26

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

In another place (Luke 14:25-31), he tells the crowd who is following Him – waiting for another miracle or another meal:

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

So, let’s recap those facts.  To be a follower or disciple of Jesus we need to 1) deny our own desires, 2) Be willing to lose our life, 3) Hate our own families (This doesn’t really mean to hate them.  It means that we love them less – or do not put them above our devotion and  love for Jesus.), 4) Bear our own cross, 5) Follow Jesus, and 6) Count the cost.

That is a pretty good list for how you need to think before going into adoption.  It is really a good list for ANY Christian.  And, yes, it is a bit scary to think about it.  Thankfully, if we belong to God through Christ we are not asked to do all of that on our own.  Unfortunately, as Americans, we tend to think in terms of everything in life turning out with a certain good/happy conclusion.  The therapist I was talking with yesterday said that most Americans go into adoption thinking that love will conquer anything.  That just isn’t accurate.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t adopt – it means we need to be realistic about it.

A friend was recently speaking at our church about the ministry she and her husband have devoted their lives to.  She talked about making a commitment to the Lord that she wanted to give all of herself to Him and to His purposes for her life.  I remember making a similar vow to the Lord many years ago when our bio kids were very young.  I did not take that vow lightly.  However, I had no idea how it would actually play itself out in my life either.

I feel like I am rambling here and please forgive me as I kind of work through all of this as I write.  You see, my life is not neat and tidy and separated.  I don’t have my Christianity over here and my life as a mom of adopted children over there.  It is all entwined.  I am muddling along trying to do the job the Lord has asked of me and I find that I am failing miserably much of the time.

I have found in the last six to nine months that I have been feeling beyond exhausted.  I have felt like my energy was being sucked out of me both physically and emotionally.  I have actually pictured in my head that scene from “Princess Bride” where Wesley is having the life sucked out of him by that machine.

Last Sunday as I sat before the service began I was again thinking of the “life sucking” machine.  All of a sudden a verse popped into my mind.

Philippians 2:17  Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.

It occurred to me that my thinking was very self centered and negative.  If I could just change my thinking to a positive and remember that my life is not my own, but has been purchased with great cost and that it is my act of worship (gratefulness to God’s gifts) to give of God’s grace and mercy that He has given me to others – willingly and with joy.

Romans 12:1-2  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I realized that the correct attitude as a believer is to be filled – with God’s love, grace, and mercy through His word and the Holy Spirit – and then to willingly pour it all out into the lives of others.  It was more of an attitude correction and looking at the idea of what is going on in my life in a positive way rather than a negative.

I am sure I will have to remind myself and have an attitude check on a regular basis!  But, I was so thankful that the Lord opened my eyes to my heart needing to do an about face.  That is always a good start.

All that to say, Levi has been having a hard time adjusting.  We began to worry last fall when we weren’t seeing signs of his attaching to us as we had seen the girls attach.  We began to look for resources and talk to professionals.  We just got back the results of Levi’s testing and we are indeed dealing with RAD, Reactive Attachment Disorder – as well as some other issues.  In talking with psychologists we have relayed situations and have learned that there are good and positive signs that Levi will have some kind of attachment to us and will hopefully be able to have attachments to other people in his life in the future.

There is a very long and difficult road ahead of us.  We have complete faith and trust in the Lord that He will guide us.  We also have complete trust that the outcome will be the Lord’s sovereign and good will for us and for Levi.  We would greatly appreciate your prayers joining ours as we tackle these issues.

Advertisements
 

A “Word” from the Lord January 12, 2012

Filed under: Faith,Life — Lori @ 12:20 pm

It is my belief that the way the Lord continues to speak to His people is through His Word, the holy scriptures.  What a blessing and comfort that is!  Our only disconnect from His words to us are when we do not read them, memorize them, meditate on them.  It is to our detriment that we do not.  Because it is through His alive and powerful words in scripture that He teaches us, admonishes us, comforts us.  His words are life.  How powerful are God’s words?  Well, he spoke and all creation came into being!

I shared the following story with a friend and decided to share it here as well.

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed last week as I was getting back into our school routine and feeling like the task God has given me is more than I can handle.  In my daily Bible reading I read the first two chapters of Joshua one day.  The words that were meant for Joshua from the Lord, to give him confidence and strength for the task ahead, were just what I needed the Lord to speak to me.

Joshua 1:7-10  7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

I needed the reminder that God’s word is all that I need and I cannot turn from it – looking for answers somewhere else.  It is because He is always with me, always guiding, always supplying, that I can be strong and courageous in the face of what sometimes seems like an insurmountable task!

The verses mention prospering and success.  It is very important that we see those words in context.  If we see those words in the verse as a promise, well, they come with a condition – that we obey perfectly all of God’s law.  That is not possible.  However Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior did obey God’s law perfectly!  Praise the Lord, it is Jesus’ righteousness that I am wearing before God and not my own!  Of course, this promise was made to Joshua and in turn for the Israelites.  God had a plan for them and He was telling Joshua that His plan would have success.  There is a principle in that for us as well.

I believe God has given each believer a task that He has prepared for us:

Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

If God has called us to do something, He will prepare us and He will provide for us and He will give us success.  We will always reach the end of our own ability – probably quicker than we are willing to admit.  We will prosper and have success in those tasks God calls us to because they are the Lord’s tasks and He will accomplish His good and perfect will as the sovereign and almighty God.  Will the world measure prosperity and success as God does.  Probably not.  But, if I have faith that in all things God is at work for my good and His glory, I can see God accomplishing His will which will ultimately be success in my life.  It may not look like the world sees prosperity and success.  But, we must have eyes that look beyond the temporal of this world.

I have always loved 2 Corinthians.  Even before I had really suffered much in my life I loved that book.  I think it was God’s way of preparing me – as I said, He is always faithful to do that!  I want to quote some of the fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians, but can’t decide where to start. 🙂  There is so much there that pertains to what I am thinking about today.  Honestly, I should give more room to God’s words than to mine.  His are much more effective.

2 Corinthians 4:7-18; 5:1-10

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Hear the word of the Lord!

 

 

Contentment March 28, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Life — Lori @ 11:04 pm

Don’t you love it when you are feeling all satisfied with some counsel you just gave your child on a wrong attitude and that satisfaction with your wisdom is wrecked when you suddenly realize that you do the exact same thing you just corrected them for?

That just recently happened with Kalindi.  The girls were going to play at a friend’s house and Kalindi asked me what time I would be there to pick them up.  I said the time and she immediately made a disapproving noise and started to complain that it wasn’t long enough.  I stopped her and talked to her about being happy for the time she could spend with her friend instead of complaining about it not being longer.  (I also told her if she didn’t immediately change her attitude that she wouldn’t be going at all and that would be worse than too short a visit.  Amazing how that changed her reaction. 🙂 )

There is something that I have asked God for since Kevin and I decided to have children.  I wanted MORE children.  However, because of fertility issues, we were only blessed with two biological children and despite our best efforts and medical intervention God chose not to bless us with more.  It was a very hard time for me.  I had the added bonus of having a lot of friends around me who were not having any trouble having as many kids as they wanted.  I found myself getting jealous of the babies God was giving them – instead of being happy and content with the children God had given me.  I mean, He might not have given me any, right?

I didn’t learn that lesson back then.  In fact, I just kind of shoved the thoughts and learned to live with it – I am ashamed to say.

I found myself contemplating that old bad attitude not long after Kalindi and I had our conversation.  I realized that there are many areas of my life that I tend to see the glass “half empty” instead of being thankful for what I have been given.

I honestly think that it is a choice to be thankful – and when we go out of our way to speak our thankfulness to the Lord in our prayers and throughout our day, we are reminded of the many blessings God bestows on us – who are worthy for none.  I have made this effort off and on, but never made it a daily habit. 

One Sunday when I was in charge of the music in the worship service I set up a time of prayer and music and we used scripture to pray at intervals the ACTS method of prayer.  I have learned that idea long ago, but in working on that service I realized why taking the effort to go through those steps was so effective.

In adoration, we make time to praise God for His character and works.  There are plenty of things that we can come up with for this area and using scripture can help us.  In praising God and contemplating His character we are naturally led to consider our own hearts which leads us quite naturally into confession.

After confession, and knowing that our sins are forgiven because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we are led right into thankfulness.  What greater gift do we have than forgiveness?  Through Jesus’ atonement for our sins we can stand before the Father in prayer and be accepted on the basis of Jesus’ righteousness.  What a blessing that is!

Once we express our thankfulness, we can confidently bring our requests before the Father.  I have found, though, that when I use this prayer outline, I rarely get to the supplication portion. 

And again, something I know and yet do not regularly make a part of my life and practice.  Why is that?  Because, like a spoiled child, I immediately go to the Lord with my wants and desires.  I like to list off the injustices I suffer or the list of demands that I have and perhaps complain about the things I have been asking for and not received.  Yikes!  When will I learn?  When will I grow up?

Philippians 4:11-13  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Hebrews 13:5-6  Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

I Timothy 6:6-8  Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

Philippians 3:7-11  But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—  that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

It all comes down to perspective, doesn’t it?  What do as I see as most valuable in my life?  That last verse says it all.  I want to say with Paul that I count all things – every thing on this earth – as rubbish in order to gain Christ and to be found in Him.  I want to rejoice in knowing that I share in the power of the resurrection.  But, it also means accepting with thankfulness and contentment suffering in this life – knowing that it leads to my sanctification and the molding of my character into the image of Christ.  And, those two things go together because the power of the resurrection is new life.  A new life that is “in Christ” when we surrender ourselves to Him. 

Thank you God for everything you bring into my life.  Thank you for molding me and using me for your glory and purpose.  Give me ears to listen and a heart that desires above all to seek after you in all things.

 

Encouragement for the Day February 8, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Life — Lori @ 9:33 am

Psalm 121

1I lift up my eyes to the hills.
   From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
   who made heaven and earth.

 3He will not let your foot be moved;
   he who keeps you will not slumber.
4Behold, he who keeps Israel
   will neither slumber nor sleep.

 5The LORD is your keeper;
   the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
   nor the moon by night.

 7The LORD will keep you from all evil;
   he will keep your life.
8The LORD will keep
   your going out and your coming in
   from this time forth and forevermore.

Amen!!

 

A Lesson I am Still Learning January 26, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Life,Ministries — Lori @ 1:09 am

I was reading a new blog post at The Journey, Katie’s blog about her ministry in Uganda.  She has taken on so much in her short twenty years of life and she was made aware of a widow, very sick with AIDS, who needed someone to care for her and help with food and medicine.  She writes about her struggle to make the decision to ask the woman to come live with her.

This is Katie’s family – the fourteen children she is mother to.  I love this photo:

What I appreciated about her words was the fight that goes on in all of us.  Every day we are presented with choices.  Many times we talk ourselves out of doing something we think might be hard or inconvenience us. 

At the end of her post she came to the conclusion that what was really happening was that the Lord was working on her heart – the woman actually turned her down and did not want to move in.  But, in her wrestling with the decision she realized that God was asking her to be willing to obey even when it felt hard or inconvenient. 

She quoted from Matthew 25 where Jesus is talking about the judgment and separating the sheep from the goats – those who saw people in need and did something about it and those who either didn’t notice the needy or chose not to help.  Forgive my very succinct, condensed version! 

What hit me when I read it was that it isn’t our deeds that save us.  That is NEVER Jesus’ message.  We are saved by grace, through faith in the work of Christ – nothing in ourselves at all!  But, it is apparent by our works that we are saved or that we aren’t. 

I really want to be willing and open to obeying God in any task He would ask of me.  To do that I need to be ready.  How can I do that?  I need to be immersing myself in the Word of God daily.  That is the daily bread that is necessary in order to live the life God wants me to.  The more I understand Who God is and breathe His Word into every part of my life, the more my responses will be like Christ.  I need to die to myself – put aside what I think is so important and lay my life at the foot of the cross – a willing and humble servant.

The Christian life is a fight every day.  We are saved when God does the work of regeneration in our hearts and makes us into a new creation, but we are still plagued with the sin nature.  It is a battle and we have to take it seriously.  We must arm ourselves.  Again, the way we do that is with God’s Word. 

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 Please do follow the link and read her entire post.  Katie is an inspiration and God is using her mightily.  And, look around you for the needy – those who may just need a kind word or a smile.  Be Jesus to those you come in contact with!

 

New Year’s Resolution December 28, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Life — Lori @ 12:09 pm

I found this at Justin Taylors blog:

Resolutions and Regret

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, p. 35:

Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression?

The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past.

Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ.

Never look back at your sins again.

Say: ‘It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ’.

That is your first step.

Take that and finish with yourself and all this talk about goodness, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you.

What you need is not to make resolutions to live a better life, to start fasting and sweating and praying.

No! You just begin to say:

I rest my faith on Him alone
Who died for my transgressions to atone.

Here’s the “one thing” Paul wanted to do: “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

Also remember this rule from Robert Murray M’Cheyne:

For one look at yourself,
take ten looks at Christ!

 

Good News December 22, 2009

Filed under: Family,Life — Lori @ 11:19 am

My mom’s surgery went very well yesterday.  In fact, we had the very best of results.   Before surgery they injected a radioactive blue dye that travels from the duct where the cancer cells were found in the breast and find the “sentinel nodes“, the first lymph nodes that that duct drains to.  Click on the link on the word “sentinel nodes” and you can read about this process if you are interested.

They removed those nodes during surgery and did a biopsy on them, letting them know whether or not there is cancer in those nodes.  If they are negative, they assume the rest of the lymph nodes are negative as well.  Mom’s sentinel nodes were negative for cancer!!!  We are so relieved at this news.  From what we understand, all the treatment she will need after recuperating from surgery is some radiation.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragment in regards to my mom’s diagnosis.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: