Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Waiting.....With No Expectations!

Matt and I started the "waiting" period of our adoption journey in mid-June.  Our homestudy is all done and approved and now we are patiently waiting with many other resource families that are adopting through Bethany Christian Services as well.  What this means is that we really have no idea when God will bring us a baby to welcome into our family.  It could be months or years, only time will tell.  What we do know is that God knows just the right baby for us to parent and we can trust in His perfect plan.

I was just thinking back to my childhood and how most of the time being the third and last child of the family, I did not have to wait for many things.  Since I had two older sisters who were both much older than me, I always got my own room and was able to do most of the activities growing up that I wanted to do, plus I was the only child left at home when I was in 7th grade.  Therefore, I had my parents attention most all of the time and they were able to come to all of my activities etc.  Let's just say....I was a very blessed child and for this I am thankful.

However, after getting married to a wonderful man, God has challenged me in many areas of my life and waiting for things that I have desired has been one of them.  At first when I found out about my infertility and the realization that there was nothing that I could change....I was angry with God.  These are natural emotions and feelings and I believe God wants us to cry out to him when we have these emotions as many of the Psalms are like this in the Bible.  Also, in my 11 years of being out of college, I have had quite a variety of jobs and workplaces....Panera and Chick-fil-A doing marketing/catering, a year in a middle school as an assistant in the library, working at our church and at a coffee shop.  Many times, especially during my first 5 years of employment, I was not always content in where God had me and I was always looking for something more.  I believe that one of the main reasons that I was discontent was because I did not find my fulfillment as a person in my savior Jesus Christ.  Even though I had been a follower of Jesus since I was ten years old, I don't think I really thought I needed him as life was pretty good already. When I am not consistently reading my Bible, everything and everyone else's life around me often looks so much better. 

Now as we wait to see what God is going to do through this adoption journey, I am excited.  That is what trials like infertility, my mom's death and so many other hurts and struggles in the past 6 years have given me.....a trust and peace in God's plan and not my own.  The brokeness that I have experienced at times have brought me that much closer to my savior Jesus Christ and I am the most content in my life as I have ever been.  I have no expectations because I know that what God's will is for our family is also my will.

I love what it says in Mark 2:17:

"On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

We are all people in need of a relationship with Jesus.  When we have lost hope....that is when we find hope in Him!   

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Tribute to My Mom

"Grief never ends...but it changes.  Its a passage, not a place to stay.  Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith...it is the price of love."  - Unknown

As many of you know, my mom passed on from this world to be with her Savior late on Monday, May 18th.  She died from cancer a horrible disease which was hard to see her suffer through.  It has been exactly two weeks from today and yet everything is still so raw.

Some of the hardest thoughts to work through are ones such as, "I feel so overwhelmed, who can I call?"  "My mom will never meet any other children that we will have or adopt."  "Why am I going through all of this?  First infertility and now my mom dieing.  I don't think I can handle much more."

As I sort through all the emotions and thoughts going through my head it has helped me to also really think about death.  Death is a horrible and terrifying thing as it should be because it is the final consequence of sin in this world.  It says in an article entitled, "Die Well" on the Desiring God website:

"For the Christian, death is not gain because it gives us something great, but because, even though it takes away everything else, it can’t take away Jesus. Death is gain because when all is lost, we still have all we ever really wanted, and now we have him in a deeper, richer experience that, as the apostle Paul says, is “far better” (Philippians 1:23)."

As I am grieving, I can say with all truth that this is what has been made more clearer....the only thing that matters here in this life on earth is the depth of our relationship with God and our relationships with others.  Isn't this what it says are the two commandments that God gives us, to Love Him and Love others?  One of the places it says this is in Mark 22:

 "37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Life is so full of distractions, comparisons, entertainment and pride.  We are broken people in need of a relationship with God who wants to fill us up so we can be made whole.  All this requires of us is to openly admit that we cannot control our life and don't know what is best for us.  I do know this is not an easy task but such a rewarding one when finally humble our self and ask for help.  

As I was reflecting on the last few months of my mom's life here on earth on the way home this evening, I was thinking about how thankful I was to have so much time with her, serving her and taking care of her with my dad.  It was extremely hard and many times I thought....it would be easier to just stay away and try to forget this was all happening.  And yet...so many people kept telling me that this time was so special and the process of walking alongside her and ushering into heaven would be a blessing to me and that I would see God working.  They were all right!  In fact, God even had it worked out for our family to be in Des Moines the afternoon of when my mom really started to be unresponsive.  I was able to go and talk to her and hear friends of hers sing worship songs to her and pray over her during her last hours of life on this earth.  She was surrounded by so many people that loved her that evening before she passed onto glory!  

My mom touched many lives.  She loved kids and cared for everyone that she met.  She taught my sisters and I so much about taking care of our home, cooking, sewing, eating healthy and she and my dad were/are always our biggest cheerleaders.  Most importantly, my parents pointed us to Jesus and helped us to learn what having a relationship with God meant and for that I am forever grateful. 

As much as this grief and loss hurts...I am forever grateful for that love that I received from my mom.  All glory to God, great things he hath done.  


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Living In Constant Change

If there is one thing that seems to be a reoccurring theme in my past 33 years is the fact that I constantly struggle with change.  I don't think I am alone in this sentiment and most humans truly struggle with this too.  However, I feel as if the past 4 months of life have really made me think about this more as I process what is going on in our day to day lives at this current time. 

As Americans, we desire to be "busy" so that we have purpose.  An article today reminded me of this thought and how now as I process this even more with me being a stay at home now,  the temptation that I am "less of a person" or am not accomplishing much in this chaotic time is even easier to believe if I don't fight against those thoughts or feelings.  Here is the article.  This sentence really struck me, "I am created in the image and likeness of God, yet somehow that isn't good enough for me. So I fill my Facebook feed and my calendar with self-important busyness to avoid just being." 

What two commandments does God call us to do?  Love God and Love Your Neighbor.  Does he tell us that our children need to go to the best school and be the most successful in school, sports, and spend every waking hour at church?  No. Period. Paragraph.  Comparison is everywhere around us and we will always be sucked down into sinfulness when we start down that path.

Recently, I have seen God grow my heart for reading his word, the Bible.  This is his love story to us and how we grow closer to Him and his son Jesus so that we can know his ways.  This is where he wants us to spend our time....reading his Word, listening to him and praying to him.  When we spend time with him then we can be spend the time we share with others; our children, co-workers and neighbors/friends with a refreshed servant heart and seeing them through a God lens.

It says in Matthew 5:14-16:   “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

If our lives and hearts are truly being transformed and changed by God then people cannot help but notice.  For me personally, I need to stop "doing" so much to find purpose but instead spend time with God so I am confident in my purpose which he has already given me.  Then I can spend each day, despite the constant change in our lives, loving others as he equips me to do his will for his glory.       

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Living a Life of Gratitude and Influence

The year of 2014 was a fairly tough year for me and a year of refinement.  God brought me through some huge adjustments in my health, gave me emotional, spiritual and physical refreshment on a trip to Germany with youth from our church, took away and brought new friendships and helped me to see the path at which I was to go at this season in our life.  When I wrote our Christmas letter for 2014, I actually had a really hard time writing it because looking back at 2014 at that time, it was a struggle to be grateful for that year.

Now as 2015 is starting off, I have a whole different perspective on where I am at and our family.  I am so grateful to God and his grace and mercy as he continually guides us and gives us the peace that only he can give.

First off, I am so grateful for the opportunity to stay at home with our 3 year old son.  I have never wanted to stay at home full time but God started impressing it upon my heart that this is what I was supposed to do back in September of last year.  I absolutely love the time with him, all the fun things we can do together and just being able to be at home more to cook and take care of the house.

Another thing to be grateful for starting this year is the peace that God has given me about only having one child so far.  We are wanting more children but are not sure if that will happen biologically and also desire to possibly adopt but are not sure if that is God's plan either.  To truly be content and ok with just having one child is such a blessing.   That desire to have more has been so strong and painful at times as I hear of another person being pregnant and mourn my own loss of this not being our reality.

Today, I had the opportunity to go and volunteer in an elementary school in the office.  I did some filing and other various tasks for them for a couple of hours.  What I was reminded of while I was there was just how much we all are influencers.  Our schools are the hearts of our communities.  The teachers, administrators, secretaries, para-professionals and all the other people that work in our schools are doing a hard and important job.  The hustle and bustle of the school is the life of each and every child and family.  Pouring into these kids is an opportunity to show the love of Christ and the fruits of the spirit.....Galatians 5:22-23 reads,

"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

What better way to be an imitator of Christ than to serve and have a positive influence on these children and staff?  I am excited to continue to help in our son's school when he starts school.  I challenge us all to get involved in a school in your area.  They are always in need of people to read to the kids, help provide resources for the school etc.  I also want to give a big thank you to all of my friends and family that are in education.  You are making a difference in people's lives.   

Last but not least...God has reminded me of how blessed we are to have his Word, the Bible at our fingertips.  This book gives us hope and has everything in it that we need to navigate this life here on earth and beyond.  I am hoping to memorize this one verse for the year.  It has been a verse that has always resonated with me.

Romans 15:13 says, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Do you have Hope in this life?