our work

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Power of Words

I have been so deeply challenged by a passage of scripture I read this week that I simply have to share it!

"I tell you, on the day of judgment, people will be held accountable for every idle word spoken. For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:36

EVERY idle word? I did a word study on "idle" and found the English word that most closely resembles the Greek here is the same as our word "careless" . . . ouch!
I LOVE words. I love to read them. I love to write them and I have certainly tossed them around carelessly. When I think about the idle words that I have uttered in just the past couple of days, I cringe. The notion that I will be held accountable for those words is just painful. I KNOW there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We won't be eternally condemned for our idle words.The Bible is clear that if we belong to Christ, no one can take us from his hand (John 10:28-29) so the condemnation that our words can heap on us is not the same condemnation the lost will face at judgment but I have no doubt it will be painful, unpleasant and shame-making for us.
There's a hard-rock Christian band my older children listen to called "Flyleaf". They have a song based on this verse that gives me chills. It's called "In the Dark"
and you can listen to it at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b80-ce_cVc&feature=fvst (cut and paste into your browser window)
Lord, help me to utter words that justify and not words that condemn!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Insert Clilche Title Here And Read On

Much like writing a paragraph called "My Summer Vacation" upon returning to elementary school each fall is the post I am preparing to type. Any blogger worth her salt will have an entry on what she is thankful for today. Is is, after all, Thanksgiving! All facebook statuses that I have seen thus far today echo the same sentiment - mine included. I am SO very thankful for my walk with Christ, my family and the provisions we have. I am bursting with thankfulness at the prospect of being allowed to adopt Francis and I am eternally grateful for the living and active word of God that strengthens and challenges me each day. Those are things I would hope we are all thankful for daily. This year, Thanksgiving is a little different for our family and, although I blog unabashedly about all things adoption, I do seek to protect those inner most parts of my family from too much scrutiny. I am going to share the one thing I am most thankful for and please know that I have wrestled with sharing this for many reasons. Here it goes: our 12 year old adopted son has been spending time in a residential treatment center since early October. He came to us at 8 years old already significantly challenged by his early life experiences. We KNEW we were getting in deep with this guy just by reading his file but we also knew that when God calls, He equips so we pressed forward. I could fill novels with the approaches we've tried, the tears we've cried and the prayers we've prayed over him.
I could talk for hours about the ways we've mishandled this young man in his struggles and erred on the side of imparting justice when it should have been mercy.
This is my private little shame. For many years I have considered mothering my profession and have strived to do it with excellence. I also like to think that I know a thing or two about adoption and that our family could work wonders with even the most challenging case. THIS child has been used by God to humble me in ways I can not explain. Now that I've confessed the hard part, let me get to the THANKFULNESS . . . he is home for 5 days for Thanksgiving and I can see the amazing work that God is doing in him and in us. The bonds that have always felt tenuous are
strengthened! The child who once lacked the ability to articulate anything positive is laughing, smiling and the eye contact . . . it is 100% improved . . . there is a genuineness there that I have never seen in him before!!!!! All of these changes have been prayed for for years. For the first time since he came into our family, I have genuine belief that he is going to be "just fine." He has always belonged here, he has always been "mine" but there are parts of him that are so hard to reach. I was learning to settle for a mediocre, lackluster relationship with this child and, praise the name of Jesus, I now know that he is going to thrive in this family. I am eager for him to come home full time (in just a couple of months) and
take his rightful place as 3rd oldest, big brother, friend and most of all, son.
Of the many lessons this relationship teaches me, I am most thankful to be reminded that "God is not slow in keeping his promises as some would count slowness but he is PATIENT". The prayers for this child felt unanswered for years and yet, God was waiting for just the right time to show HIS power in our son's life. He made sure to do it in a place that we could not even begin to take credit for it . . . yes, there is much to be thankful for!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Bottom Line

Our Chick Fil A fund raiser continues to have a ripple effect and, as the "ripples" slow down, the final count is in. We were able to raise $730 from that one evening alone!!!!!!! I am so excited about this!!! Normally, I wouldn't be blabbering all over the internet about money-related issues. It would be pretty tacky under most circumstances but I'm choosing to be completely transparent on this blog for two reasons. First, I know there are families in the process of adoption fund raising reading this blog. I have been contacted by some. I want them to be encouraged by what works and warned off by reading what doesn't. Second (and maybe this should have been first), God has moved the hearts of folks to help our family and I want to make sure He gets the glory for every cent that has come in so far! I am unashamed to share with the readers that we don't have an extra $22,000 lying around because I want it to be known that God "pays for what He orders". Be encouraged! Our total donations to date are as follows:
Chip in $1270
First fund raiser $730
Private donations $1750
Total = $3750
We are also being considered for a grant by a large, reputable granting organization in December. We covet your prayers for that!
I have often fantasized that some generous benefactor would hear about our family and drop the whole sum into our hands anonymously! I have since come to understand that every donation, grant or fund raising event is an opportunity for Believers to do "good works that God has prepared for them to do" Ephesians 2:10. I also believe that our family having to work, fill out grant applications, fund raise and pray HARD are important parts of the bonding process for us. I can't remember the exact context or chapter but there is a Bible story where King David declares "I will not offer to the Lord my God that which costs me nothing." That certainly applies here.
How much more precious do we treat even the material items we had to work for as opposed to those just tossed at us for free? I realize Francis is a precious human life and not a "material item" so the analogy falls short but I think the point remains true. We value what is hard-won. Thank you, Jesus, that your ways are not my ways (if they were, we'd be on that plane with a fully funded adoption right now).
We wait. We trust. We lean wholly on Him.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Success!!

Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God's blessing in everything you do, in all your work and ventures." Deuteronomy 15:10 (MSG)
The scripture above came to my computer this morning from an online devotion I receive and it could not have been more timely . . .

Our Chick fil A fund raiser last night was an amazing success in so many ways!! We raised about $350 from the raffle portion of the event and have not yet heard the total from food purchases! We could not be more grateful to Steve Rumley,Jr. for opening his restaurant to us!
To all the friends from church, co-op, the Triangle Down Syndrome Network and the local homeschool online group who came out to support us . . . THANK YOU!!!!
I was blessed to meet several adoptive families who heard about us from various friends and came out just to support fellow adoptive parents.

I never fail to be humbled and awed all the way through an adoption. God's people really DO care about life and truly ARE willing to support one another - even a stranger - as I saw last night.

I have said this before and it seems so inadequate but, THANK YOU for your prayers, support and for helping us bring a new son into our home!!!! May God bless you immeasurably!!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Getting There . . . UPDATE

Our homestudy update visit is over and went well. I received emails from two of the organizations I applied to for grants letting us know we'll be considered for grants in December and most of our required paperwork has been sent to the agency . . . aaaaah . . . add that to the chip in donations and the $750 in private donations and I would say that things are moving along well. Every adoptive parent knows that this part of the process is the uphill climb. . . getting your dossier on the desk of the foreign country for matching. Once that happens, it becomes a "downhill slide". The process is officially "out of your hands" (as if it were ever IN our hands) and we wait on the US immigration service and the foreign entity to do their "thing". I am ready for the "downhill slide" because the "uphill" part is a lot of work but one thing I know about myself is that I lose my mind a little during the "downhill" part.
I have nothing to do related to the adoption except to pray and wait. I spend much of each day checking the clock and imaging what time it is in The Philippines and what Francis might be doing on a given day. I check the whether over there, the flight conditions and keep my eyes open for political unrest in the Pacific Islands. As pointless and "goofy" as those things sound (and they are!), they keep me tied to my new son. They remind me of the adventure we're about to take and they keep me prayerful.
That's the update today. I am looking forward to posting that we have the official match in just a few weeks!!!!!!!