Sunday, December 18, 2011

Roller Coaster Ride

I feel like we are at the amusement park and  today we are almost to the end of the long wait to get on the giant Roller-Coaster. Though we are thrilled and excited  to get on this ride we know we will scream and hold tight and yell at the top of our lungs. 

On July 5th we jumped in line to get on this ride called International Adoption and we have been slowly working our way through that LONG line.  We have done all of our paperwork no fewer than a million times.  We have had appointments and home visits and sent a million emails back and forth to Ukraine.  We have prayed and cried.  We have jumped up and down with excitement and slumped in feelings of despair.  Some days we wonder if this is ever going to really happen and then God does what he always does and encourages us.  

We still have a ways to go.  Please pray that the final bits of paperwork get finished. We know it is all in God's timing and we trust that, but we know He desires us to pray.  So we ask you to pray with us.  

We are so close to getting buckled into this roller-coaster, so close to no turning back, so close to "keep your hands and feet in the car at all times".  My stomach gets butterflies of anticipation and I get so excited I feel like I just might throw up.  I can't believe we are so close and I still can't believe we are doing this.  I know this is just the beginning of the ride and we have many hills and bumps and drops and curves to maneuver through.  God continues to guide us and direct our paths.  He continues to be our strength when we get tired and frustrated.  He is our hope, we know He has a plan for our girl and we trust and pray that His Will will be done. 

Thank you for your encouragement through this long line of paperwork.  Thank you to all of you that are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our girl.  We appreciate so much everyone's excitement and support.

I can't wait to hear that click, click, click of the wheels.  To begin that climb up that steep hill ahead.  The hill of the travel and the paperwork in Ukraine.  I can't wait because I know once we get to the top we will begin to fly.  We will fly around the curves and up and over the hills.  What a thrill it is and when we finally land at the bottom if we haven't peed our pants I will probably yell "let's do it again".

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Learning to say "?"

For many years I have been learning to say "No"

Many years ago after God worked on my heart, a lot, I finally learned to say "no".

I have always been a people-pleaser and somewhat adventurous, so saying "yes" was easy for me, actually almost impossible not to say "yes".

Well after some time of learning to have boundaries and learning that if I say "yes" to one thing then it may limit me from doing other things, I finally started to get the point that I sometimes needed to say "no".

For example, at church a LONG time ago, Jeromy and I were asked to teach a teens Sunday School class.

We prayed about it together and discussed it and neither of us felt it was what we should do.
Well, normally I would have said "yes" and made a way to fulfill the commitment.

This time we said "no". We took some flack and the person that asked "jokingly" said to me, "oh so you go on a mission trip and think you've done enough for God".

I was hurt and upset, but we held our ground and did not say "yes".

Later, I was asked to teach the 5th and 6th grade class. This time I said "yes". I felt very much like this was were God wanted me. Jeromy was asked to take the college age group and he said "yes" as well.

As time went on and we settled into our Sunday School classes we both felt a sense of contentment. We truly loved teaching our classes.

I enjoyed preparing for mine though it was very challenging.

I had a kid in there that knew everything there was to know when it came to facts. Living it though was a totally different story. He challenged me to always be WELL PREPARED.

I loved all of the kids in there, but there was this one sweet kid that was extremely quiet. He sat and soaked in every word. I often thought he thought I was nuts. Sometime during the time I was teaching the class he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He totally committed his life to the Lord.

He was a boy that came from a home with a Christian mom and a dad that wasn't interested.

He became passionate about sharing his faith with his dad.

Eventually we moved to a new church and I said my sad goodbyes to the kids that were embarking on their teen years.

Later as we have kept in touch with our former church family I have seen the kids from my old class.

The boy that asked Jesus into his heart is one of the most on fire youth I have ever met. He is going to Moody Bible Institute. He has done international missions and ministers to those around him.

He is passionate about sharing the GOOD NEWS and has a huge heart for children around the world that are in desperate need.

He has big dreams and big plans and is willing to do whatever God calls him to.

(Don't worry I wont tell your secret :)

I am so thrilled that God gave me a front row seat into the life of this dear friend.

It would not have happened if I had said "Yes" for the wrong reasons. If I said "yes" to the youth class, I would have never had the chance to be his teacher and I would have never gotten to be part of this wonderful story if I had said "no" when God was nudging me.

I finally learned to say "no" and in so doing I was able to say "YES" to the very thing God had for me.

Now once again I feel like God is working in my heart. This time he is teaching me to say "Yes".

I have been reading a wonderful book called Kisses From Katie.

While in Uganda our group of 18 women went to her house for dinner.

I wish we had gone to minister to her and her neighbors instead of just eat dinner, but I know that had we not gone there I would not have known about her book or been so determined to read it. God used that visit to open my eyes to new things and I pray someday that God will spout the seeds that were planted that night at her home.

While we were there I had a brief visit with her.
She was just about ready for her book to get released, but they had not yet decided on a title.

She wanted the title "Saying Yes". I think it would have been very appropriate.

She has learned and continues to learn to say "Yes" to God, "yes" to helping those in need around her. She says "yes" to loving babies and sick people and she says "yes" to getting in the muck and mire and lending a hand even when she doesn't feel like it or even when it doesn't make sense.

Through reading this and through what I feel God has been laying on my heart I am learning I need to say "Yes".

Not "yes" to stuff and programs and busyness. Those things I am still practicing my "no's" on, but "yes" to people. "Yes" to relationships, "yes" to time with my kids, "yes" to whatever God has for us and "yes" to whomever he puts in our lives.

I want to quit putting limits on God, I want to quit trying to figure it out.

I want to, as the pastor preached on today, learn to deny ourselves and be willing to say "no" to the things of this world and "yes" to the things of God.

I have no idea what this is going to look like and I have no idea what God is doing, but I feel He is preparing our hearts to start saying "Yes"!