I turned to Psalm 63 since Dan was taking the Series 63 exam today. Look at these beautiful words:
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Good news: Dan passed his test!! Praise the Lord!
Today I got to see my friend, Ale, who I met while having chemo in 2015. She is currently taking an oral chemo, and told me that some of the side effects have been very icky. It was so good to see her smile, and I love her spirit! She told me that when she is feeling crummy, she would prefer to at least go somewhere and have fun and feel crummy rather than sit home and have a pity party. I know that some days while fighting cancer you have no choice but to rest and stay home, but I admire and so love her spirit as she continues to face hard things and fight with a smile.
Yesterday I saw a beautiful sunset that caught my attention immediately. Over the period of a month, I have now seen three similar sunrises, and each time it feels personal. It feels as if God is showing me His beauty on purpose, and giving me hope that something good is coming. The sunrises have all been pale, pastel shades of blue and pink! When I have seen it, all I can think is: BABY. I have hope our baby is coming. God is knitting together our child and will deliver this baby to us at the right time.
This guy passed the Series 7 test today! We had a celebratory evening of riding the light rail Uptown to eat dinner. We thank God for His faithfulness!
Way to go, Dan!
One could say that sin is an attitude that lacks reverence or fear of God expressed in hostility towards God (Romans 8:7). Not everyone thinks of themselves as violent, but not all violence is equally obvious or visible. Violence should not be measured in how loud and visible it is, but by the extent of the damage it brings. When you disobey God, you harm yourself. The good news is that Jesus Christ provides a pathway to peace. Peace with God comes through repentance and faith. -Rev. Andy Schuster
I attended the Created for Care retreat for Adoptive and Foster Mom’s at a beautiful retreat center in Buford, GA this weekend. I met some strong and beautiful women. I was blessed through music, learning, fellowship, and food. And, I was able to visit with my friend, Shanna, who came to hang out with me on her birthday! Below I recorded some points that I want to remember.
I am the daughter of the King, precious to God. Every child is that precious.
In Jacqui Jackson’s session (The Battle for your Child’s Heart) she shared that she was called to journey through infertility which taught her to pray her children home. Regarding orphan care, she encouraged us to quit praying as a victim and pray victoriously. God will hold it together. We are to bathe our child and their story in prayer. Pray for each child home to the family where that child will know Jesus. It is safe to surrender your child into God’s loving arms.
In hard situations, know the Lord has a plan and He is standing by your side.
I attended classes on building boundaries with birthparents, creative quiet time, and using play to connect with your child.
It was a tremendous gift to hear the story of Lisa Qualls. She was vulnerable and shared the amazing story God has written for her. When sharing about her daughter, Kalkidan, who was adopted from Ethiopia, she had wanted a happier story. She wanted conflict to end. Or she wanted someone else’s story. But God gave her a different story. While she felt like a failure and as if she had done something wrong, that wasn’t the case. It was God’s story, and He writes it for our good, even when it doesn’t feel good. He doesn’t leave us for one moment. She shared beautiful words that she repeatedly spoke over Kalkidan: “You are not an orphan. We claim you as our own. You are ours. You are our daughter.”
It was fun for Annie to get her hair cut by Ms. Rhonda today! It’s a family tradition, because I have a similar picture from my childhood.
I am packing and preparing to head to Atlanta this weekend for the Created for Care conference. I’m very excited to meet other Adoptive and Foster Moms, and excited to learn and be encouraged by the speakers. I actually learned about this retreat through reading a blog of an adoptive Mom. Please pray that I would make at least one friend and that I would have a clear, rested mind to retain lots of information from the classes.
An organization called One17 Foundation is offering a $1500 grant to one of the women attending the conference. I applied by submitting our adoption story. What a difficult choice it will be for them to choose one story out of hundreds of unique stories that God has written.
I look forward to sharing about the retreat soon!
“I praise You for Your sovereignty over the broad events of my life and over the details. With you, nothing is accidental, nothing is incidental, and no experience is wasted. You hold in Your own power my breath of life and all my destiny. And every trial that You allow to happen is a platform on which You reveal Yourself, showing Your love and power, both to me and to others looking on. Thank You that I can move into the future nondefensively, with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead, for You hold the future and You will always be with me, even to my old age…and through all eternity.” 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers
Reading this devotion today was timely. During this season of waiting on our child, I have found myself struggling to trust God. Father, forgive my unbelief! (Mark 9:24) Sometimes I feel overcome by fears of the unknown, and I imagine horrific scenarios. Today I will praise God, “with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead” because my God has planned all of the details intricately for His glory and for me. Thank you, Lord! Your grace is sufficient. Whatever I face, even if it is the “worst” in my mind, You will provide the grace needed. I have seen You do this time after time.
Learning the Father’s Love…Elisabeth Elliot
Learning to pray is learning to trust the wisdom, the power, and the love of our Heavenly Father, always so far beyond our dreams. He knows our need and knows ways to meet it that have never entered our heads. Things we feel sure we need for happiness may often lead to our ruin. Things we think will ruin us (the chariots of Egypt, the waters of the sea), if we believe what the Father tells us and surrender ourselves into His strong arms, bring us deliverance and joy.
The only escape from self-love is self-surrender. “Whoever loses his life for Me will find it” (Matthew 16:25)
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.” Psalm 146:3
We have seen the Lord work and even surprise us in the past few weeks. On December 17, Dan and I went to run an errand by ourselves (which was equivalent to going on a date since we were by ourselves.) For the special occasion, our first stop was the Starbucks drive-through for coffee. Seconds after we turned out of Starbucks, we were rear ended, which resulted in our coffee flying out of our hands, and Eliza’s glasses flying off her head. It was quite a shock to be hit as well as be covered in hot coffee. We were immediately thankful that Annie was not with us, and thankful that no one was injured. Praise God! Being in a car accident is never welcome, however God used this to bless us in multiple ways.
My parents have a car that they have been ready to pass on to someone for some time now. They graciously offered for us to have the car– what a blessing for us not to have to shop for a new car, and also a huge gift to not have the expense to buy a car! The insurance company determined our car was a total loss, so we will be given money for the car, and that is a gift we were not expecting! The Lord is providing for our adoption and other expenses at this time!
There is another story, relating to the car, in which we clearly saw God’s hand. We took the car that my parents gave us to an auto shop to have it inspected. When we went to pick up the car, it would not crank because the light inside the car was staying on and would not turn off (which drained the battery.) This had not been happening when we brought the car to the shop. In fact, the light inside the car would not turn on at all. The workers at the car shop did not have a solution, and it was close to 6 pm when their shop was going to close for the Christmas holiday. They decided to take out a fuse from the car, which would turn the light off in the car, and would solve the problem temporarily. (This also disabled the windows from functioning.) We brought the car back to them when they re-opened, and their solution was to run a diagnostic test to determine how to fix the issue. We would have to pay for them to run the test as well as fix the issue once it was determined. I’m not proud to admit, but I became upset and angry. I vented my anger to Dan as well as my Mom. Why should we spend money on this issue that was not even happening before we brought the car to their shop? I had spent time and energy thinking it through, tried to think from their point of view, and spent time discussing it with Dan. It had definitely caused me frustration and angst. I made a decision to pray about it, and ask God for his help. Over the course of about a week (over Christmas time) I noticed He had changed my heart. It was clear that the change in me was from the Lord! I had gone from being angry to accepting. When we brought the car back to the shop, and made the decision for them to run the diagnostic test, they discovered that when they replaced the fuse, the light now worked!! The light was not working when we received the car, then the light stayed on and would not turn off after we had it inspected. And now, the car seemed to be working completely! This may seem like a coincidence, or just a squirrely electrical problem, but I had no doubts that God fixed the car, and had brought me peace in the process. I couldn’t believe it! We did not have to pay for the diagnostic test after all, and the car was functioning well! Praise God!