Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Go into ALL of the World

This is not a guilt post.

Well, it really is not meant to be.

It is simply me trying to work through some thoughts on my China trip.

You see for months I thought I had a team of FOURTEEN with a handful of others thinking on it.

I did not mean to, but maybe I was patting myself on the back.

Not being thankful enough for a team BIGGER than last year, signed up earlier than last year at this time.

I BRAGGED about how GREAT it was going to be having SO many of us. How much we could do! How many kids we could hold, what a testimony a larger team would be for the staff at Chenzhou.

I actually EXPECTED that we would DOUBLE the team size even from those 14.

No one ever accused me of having an issue with confidence.

Because I have this dream. Of not only having SO many arms to hold babies IN the orphanage.

But to get outside the orphanage into the city.

To make connections on many different levels.

To become known in that area as the ones who love.

And give.

And most important? Return.  

So maybe in the midst of all those dreams I left out someone very important.

Slowly my 14 started to dwindle.

I was not that worried when one dropped. Or even another.

But then it was SEVEN who could not go.

And I get it. I am not mad at any of them. Life happens.

To be honest, I felt peace about my group of 7.

For a few days I decided that with only 7 it would be easier on ME.

It sure would be easier trying to get around in China.

Y’all remember the lost purse, luggage, saga of last year.

7 of us, EASY!

But then our sending team encouraged me that 10 is really the ideal LOW end of a team.

Under 10 our trip costs each of us a whole lot more than we originally planned.

Which is not good for ME, because all along I was budgeting based on a full team.

Considering there are 2 of us in this house going.

Much less the others on my team who are working to save.

Funny how this news comes the day after I post about money.

God enjoys that I know.

But in reality, I am not worried about the money. THAT I do have faith about.

Even with my husband having panic attacks about it now.

We can skip vacation if need be. We don’t want to, but we can. Again.

Because for me?

NOT going back is not an option.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what is going on there.

That the kids don’t flash through my head.

That I don’t picture a nanny and say a quick prayer for her.

I believe God has planted that orphanage inside of my heart for a reason.

For ME to say no, to let life get in my way?

It is just not a choice I have.

Well of course I guess it IS. We all have choices.

But there have been times in my life I KNEW, times I KNOW,the Lord is saying THIS is my plan for you. 

When I agreed to lead this trip to Chenzhou last year, I did not take it on as a “this is my one time mission trip so I can check it off my list that I did it trip”.

Well Ok, maybe a little of it was that I had promised Makenna we would go on a mission trip.

But last year was a season of searching. I was restless.Trying to listen and learn.

Then I went and I KNEW that I would return. How could I not?

Yes, going once is a good thing. An AMAZING thing.

But going back? THAT is what makes an impact.

THAT, I believe, is what will change things for those kids.

THAT is what the nannies will remember.

Because I watched closely when we arrived and the staff saw the 2 girls on my team who had been there the previous year.

(Visiting Orphans had sent the first team to Chenzhou in2010. The leader was not able to take the trip on again. I was the leader of the 2nd team to ever work there)

They recognized them. And they smiled when they saw them.

And then I saw the children see them.  THEY recognized them.

I was convinced right then and there NOTHING is going to say Jesus loves you like that.

To come back again, and again.

Now I am NOT pointing fingers or demanding everyone return.

I am saying that God gave ME a glimpse of those moments to confirm MY role.

WHATEVER it takes, I am to go back.

So, where does that leave me in trying to fill up the restof the spots?

Well that is the question. I attend a church of over 500 members.

Over 30 of those are going on a foreign mission trip this year.

TWO of us are going to China.

Yep that would be myself and Makenna.

A big group is going to Uganda. An OVERFLOWING trip. 

2 teams are going to Peru. We have a family from our church living there.

Others are going to Haiti, Bulgaria, and Chicago.

I am THANKFUL that those teams are FULL.

But yet a little sad.

THIS trip? We are IT as far as teams going in.

We are it as far as believers ANYWHERE in that city.

So, once a year is all this orphanage knows of Christians.

I guess it is hard for me to grasp WHY it is so hard to get others to go.

Knowing that we are the only ones.  That this reason alone does not bother everyone like it does me.

Right, right, I get it. THE MONEY. The TIME off. The fact that rocking babies seems so POINTLESS to men. The fact that it is CHINA and it is FAR. The fact that we have to leave our kids, or our husbands or WHATEVER. I have heard it all.

And I have to do the SAME things.

Oh right, this is not a guilt post.

Of course.

 I guess what I am looking for is some prayer. Some peace. Some help in passing the word about the trip.

Because I KNOW that the Lord will take care of EVERY last detail. 

 And it is not about the guilt honestly. I don't want anyone going out of guilt.

What I want is people stepping up who have a passion to serve those who have not heard of the One who created them.  

For more trip details please visit my Chenzhou blog here..

Mark 16:15
  “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's not about the money, money, money...

Or is it?

How often IS it about the money?

Oh we would LOVE to adopt, if only we had more money.

Oh we would LOVE to go to China on mission, if only we had the money.

Oh we would love to help out that needy family, if only we had THE MONEY.

Sometimes, I hate money.

Yet, I love money.

It pays my house payment each month.

And my phone bill.

Money allows me to drive my van full of gas.

 It allows me to eat. There is no doubt in that when you look at me.

Or most people I know. I mean that nicely of course. But I have yet to meet someone that has the look of missing many meals, much less barely surviving from starvation.  

Money pays my cell phone bill. Oh and my cable bill.

Things many people MIGHT not have, but most do. 

What is funny is how some will read that and say, well WE don’t have cable. Or WE don’t have an iphone.  Or WE don’t buy this or that.

We all choose to buy what we WANT to buy. We can say we don’t HAVE. But really, we do. 

And so when someone tells me they don’t have the money to go on mission?

It just makes me wonder.

Should it BE about the money?

It is a WHOLE bunch of money.  Almost $4000 a person to be exact.   That is not pocket change for any of us that I know.

It does take work and sacrifice. We know this firsthand in our family.

But the pay off? Is priceless.  

Some will say I am naive when it comes to the money.  That I really do not have a clue.

Well I do know this.

We gave up a big vacation last year for our China trip.  

We cut our budget in areas to put away cash specifically for the trip.

We worked our tails off to do a trivia night, a roller skating night, a babysitting night, sending out letters begging for support, and spent LOTS of time in prayer.

Here is the thing. IF God wants you to go? He will help YOU find the way. Oh sure, I have heard AMAZING stories on my own team about the money just flowing in. And THAT might be exactly how He gets you there.

OR He might ask you to sacrifice and trust and have faith.

Does God call ALL of us to go on mission.

Well yes, I believe it is simply part of our lives as Christians.

We are missionaries.

BUT does He call us ALL overseas?

Probably not. 

Yet He might. 

And I hope that if He does, we are open to His voice, willing to go and able to let it not be about the money. 

I hope that our focus can simply be this. 

 Sweet little faces that wait for people to play with them.
Tell them they are special.
 I promise you, money means nothing to them. But being held and loved on? Priceless.

***No need to get on to me about how you really DO NOT have the money, or that I think I am so great blah blah blah.  Please don't miss the point of this. I am simply a Jesus loving girl with a passion for orphans who wants everyone to experience the joy of this opportunity. And yes, we still have PLENTY of room on Team Chenzhou for YOU to be a part! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Goodbye is not easy...

Our little cutie was supposed to go home on Monday. Mom was not quite ready and instead of going home, we gained her big brother. He had been with another safe family who could not keep him any longer. When they (Bethany Christian Services) asked us if we would be able to take on big brother, who is 3, we said sure. I mean really, WHAT IS ONE MORE? I figured if I survived a week of Mark out of town and stomach flu, then another child with him home would be no big deal.

And it was not so bad. I mean besides it was SEVEN kids. A 2 year old not that excited to have her 3 year old brother coming in stealing her thunder. A 3 year old who is a bit more clingy than I am used too.  A Safe Families informational meeting to set up for. You know, just the usual craziness we live anyways, so one more, bring him on.

He came with a bit of wariness of us but warmed up quickly and decided I was it for him. He really REALLY attached to me.  And yes, he also called me mama.

Today, though, we had to be done. We had reservations to get out of town, just Mark and I, ALONE. Hotel booked for months, and so we had made plans to get the kids back to mom on our way out of town.

The kids could sense something was going on with the packing and little man was not excited.

I told him he was going to get to see his mommy. He pointed at me. I said no, mommy A, and he cried. Now I am certain at 3 he had no idea what I meant. In his little mind I think he just figured he was being passed on again.

We drove to the office and as soon as I opened the door he started crying, big ole tears. Unfortunately mommy was not able to meet at the office so he was just switching cars to go and meet her. But he did not get that. He screamed and  locked his little arms around me. And so of course I lost it. As they peeled him off of me I am not sure who was crying harder.

His screams will haunt me for a very long time.

I had to go back and re read my post that I wrote just a week ago. 

Because my heart ached and I was not sure that I had done the right thing.

I don't like to hurt. I don't like crying. I don't want to have this spot in my heart that will always hear those screams or feel them prying him off of me.

Just because I KNOW that it is the right thing to do, that I CAN do it maybe quicker or easier than some, does not mean I hurt less. In fact if we had to base it on feelings I am probably the WORST person to do this ministry. When I feel, I feel it with a passion. I can't just let go of things quickly or easily, and so even 10 hours later, I am still teary over that goodbye. And I probably will be for a very long time.

And really, isn't that how it SHOULD be? 

I brought those kids in and loved them like a mommy would. I gave everything I could to them.

I would not change a thing.

And we will do it again, and again.

Though I did tell Bethany to send me a newborn that won't scream when they take him.

But reality is, God calls us to DO HARD THINGS.

And I am thinking, if it does not hurt, I probably need to work harder. Because the times when my heart has hurt the most, are the times when I KNOW that I am in HIS will.

Little Ms Cutie? She just goes with the flow and looked at big brother like he was crazy. She gave me her big ole grin as I covered her in goodbye kisses & tears.

Word on the street is he calmed down and fell asleep as they drove and I had a text from their mommy that things were good, they had just gone for ice cream. 

And our kids? They were very excited about signing their names in the bible we sent home with them.  They did not go to the drop off, and I am glad.  They were eager to send us on our way with visions of Grandparents to make their day! Did I mention that Mark and I have a weekend ALONE? So thankful for amazing grandparents & good groupon deals. If we EVER needed a weekend away it is NOW! Some might find it amusing that he happened to pick this weekend, a weekend full of non stop basketball on TV.  A TV with no kids around screaming while he watches. Fine with me, he suggested I go next door and get a pedicure tomorrow at exactly 3:30. Who am I to argue when he suggests a pedicure, which has happened, NEVER?

Will keep you posted on our next placement, we know there will be more.

And we will be ready!

Updates on Chenzhou Kiddo's

I have had this blog started for a while and just had not finished it up. During this past year I have asked for prayer, advocated and shared about many different Chinese children. I knew you all would probably enjoy reading updates on them. 

What prompted me to finally sit down and finish writing was reading today about one of our Chenzhou girls.  You might remember her. I advocated for her when we returned. She turned THIRTEEN and her chance of finding a family before aging out at 14, were getting slim. She has been on the list for YEARS. Well, her family found her and what a family it is! There are some people/families that I look at and think, THAT is who I want to be when I grow up! And this sweet family is on my list. I hope you will take a minute and read this story, a story only God himself could orchestrate. The faith that this sweet girl shows, AND that her family LIVES, is such an encouragement.  Fair warning, BRING THE KLEENEX.  I could go on and on about how their story has touched me, but for now, just run over there and be blessed!

Do you remember Makenna’s special baby in China? We have become online friends with the family, and you might remember that they had a 13 year old daughter.  Well they just traveled to bring home their beautiful Lulu and we are just thrilled she is home.

And then here is sweet Ellie. I started following their blog because they adopted a baby girl from Chenzhou right after we came home with Sage, they are the same age. They returned for another Chenzhou cutie that we loved on.

I know you remember our Angel.  It was almost a year ago exactly that I found her file and we wrestled over if she was ours. We searched our hearts and Gods heart. We WANTED her to be ours. But God said no. He was so gracious though, a family stepped up with NO DOUBTS she was theirs the day after He told us no. While in China I was able to love on her and snuggle on her. I have been in touch with her beautiful family. And I have LOVED watching them meet her.  I will admit though, I am thrilled for them, but a tiny bit sad for me. She really did steal my heart. This is the blog for the Butterfly House, where she lives now and you can see some recent photos of her. This family that runs this is just AMAZING! To give up your LIFE as they knew it, to go and care for dying orphans? WHO does that? Thank the Lord some do.If we take our vacation as planned, we are going to meet them this summer! And Lulu and Ellie!!

Last, but not least is my Rosebud.  Talk about being blessed.  I have been beyond blessed by this family who brought her home.  I feel so much a part of their family. They are so great at sending me texts of her pictures, I even got a video of her taking some of her first steps! (yep, it required more Kleenex!)Last month we received the sweetest package in the mail from them with lots of goodies. By far my favorite being a framed photo collage of her that we keep on our counter. Right by my sink so that I can always see her.

Sadly we also found out that one of our Chenzhou babies that we held and was adopted in November, has cancer. I am so thankful that she is HOME and has a family to love on her and to fight with her. It is something so shocking and devastating to bring home your child and find out there is so much more than expected.  I know this first hand. But when we can get over the shock and see what might have been had they NOT come home… Pray for her if you will. They do not have a blog they are writing on at this time.

It makes me think of all of those who wait who have so many things wrong, but no one to fight for them.

Besides our Chenzhou kiddo’s, I have some Team Chenzhou baby news to share. 

My friend Lori  is FINALLY leaving to pick up her daughter. I hope you will follow along with her. Not only is she going to Shepherds Field (one place we went) but she also gets to visit the Butterfly House! Of course the important thing is she will meet her sweet girl whom she was matched with BEFORE our trip.   Not to mention she is a fabulous writer and a whole lot of laughs.

On Team Chenzhou last year was a family of 3. Mom, dad and their teen daughter. Personal friends of ours. They went to serve. They did NOT go to think about adoption. But God… Spoke clearly to them while there that there next child was IN China.  So as soon as they stepped off the plane on the return home, they listened! And they already have a picture of their to be baby BOY!!! Oh my goodness he is ADORABLE! We are so thrilled to add some chinese boy cuteness to our church family! Take a peek!

Hopefully I did not miss anyone. My brain is a bit slow this week. I have not been able to share that our 10 day visitor stayed a bit longer AND had her 3 year old brother join in here. Yep, we have had the exhaustion joy of SEVEN children. Praise God Mark was in town for this AND we all have been healthy. Anyways, that is another whole post I hope to share soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Galatians 1:10
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?
 Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, 
I would not be a servant of Christ.

Something has been on my heart lately, that I have been thinking about, praying through.

I think it is obvious from my blog or my Facebook, I am not a private person.

Sadly for some. ;-)

Part of that is I feel it is part of my testimony.

I might not be great at going door to door trying to win others over for Christ with the 5 step plan to salvation.

In fact, I stink at that.

But I AM great at telling the world all of the amazing things the Lord is doing in my life.

I am not ashamed of that.

I know there is a debate within the adoption world. Some get angry when asked questions about their children.

I have never been that way.  I have always looked at our adoptions as an amazing story of Gods grace. A story I want to shout to the world.

Some people are just more comfortable with being private, and that is ok. I believe if God lays it on your heart to be that way, then you are following His lead.

But He has NOT given me that permission.

My kids can talk to their therapist about me when they are old.

 I am always willing to spill every teeny tiny detail of the things I am doing.



Safe Families.


Youth parties.

Trips to China.


I never thought much of it. I shared because I want to sing what the Lord is doing. He is amazing and I am amazed to be able to live this life He has written for me.

But then I get the comments..

You are amazing!

So proud of you!


How do you do it?

I don't have time to do anything, how do you get it all done?

Let me start by sharing a little secret of how I do what I do..

Mark and my mother in law will die at the site of this photo I am sure! ;-)

The #1 thing that suffers around here is my house. This picture is beyond normal, but it just gives you a small idea. On most days if you drop by, you are going to see piles. Floors not swept, dished piled up. Laundry needing to be put away. Some of us still in our PJ's, not showered, dinner probably not made.

But we are ok with that. Sure I WANT a clean, organized house. I DREAM of that. And it gets there for parties. (which is the result of the closet, the dumping ground) But it IS last on my list of priorities. I figure someday the kids will be gone, (maybe, I actually don't care if we have a house full forever) OR I will learn organization maybe be able to afford a maid, or someone will pity me and come fix me.

Another reason why I can do more? My husband is AMAZING. I wish he could teach a class on husbandry. Because I don't know many, if any,  that can compare. Most husbands I know believe that the wife's job is the home and kids. And if the wife is good with that, so be it. Unfortunately my husband married a woman who is not. Yes God called me to be a wife and mother. BUT He has called me to many other things too. Mark supports that. He ENCOURAGES that. He believes in my wild and crazy ideas and pushes me to follow my dreams. He is GOOD with being a hands on dad and never, ever resents it if I am out of the house multiple evenings a week serving, doing, helping.  We are a team and that is why I can be who I am. We homeschool together, we parent together and we serve together. It might look like it is ME, because I am louder. But He is the one behind the scenes making it all happen. While working a very demanding job. Yep, he works from home, which is a huge blessing. But it does not mean the job is easy. Yet I never get guilt from him if I have 17 meetings at church in one month, or throw another wild idea in his ear, or plan one more party.  Or spring on him we have new kids coming to stay for awhile. (which I did, baby girls brother coming next week!!)

Also, we are not big into our kids being involved in "stuff".  They do church activities, but beyond that, we have really had to say no. Yep, the girls miss gymnastics. Sawyer sometimes asks about karate. We toss around music lessons and the benefits. And then we look around at our friends with kids in sports and it makes us so tired we know there is no way, with 5 children and now more at times, that we can do that.  Besides that we can't afford it, we just simply do not have the time. And in reality? We are not willing to make the time.  One of my new motto's has been, if it is not going to build them up in the kingdom, they are not doing it. This theory I suppose will be tested as we enter into High school next year, so we will see.  Even with church activities we feel busy. Am I saying sports are wrong? Of course not. (though I do have some thoughts...) I am saying for my family, with 5 children, at this point in our lives, it is how we are able to do what we do.  We limit what we do. We refuse to live life on the run and not be able to hear what God might be calling us to do next.

Not to mention the Lord has given me the "gift" of ADD I believe. My brain NEVER stops and I cant' concentrate on one thing for long. So, I seriously THINK in my sleep. I wake up with ideas pouring out, that I will jot down. You should see the look on my friends faces when I say, "Ok, I have an idea!". The smart ones RUN!  It is a blessing and a curse.

So, that is HOW. But the part that I want to be sure is understood.

I do NOT do what I do to get a pat on the back. To get a good job. To hear the praise of man.

Sure, every once in awhile, I enjoy that, maybe I even WANT that.  I am human and as a mom we know that much of what we do goes unnoticed. We all just want our children to simply ACKNOWLEGE what we DO for them. We want our husbands to appreciate if we do cook or straighten up the closet. (true story, I spent the ENTIRE evening Friday working on that closet. I showed Mark the before picture and he said "wow, is that really what it looked like?" Obviously a messy house does not phase him!)

But if I realize I am enjoying it to much, if I always WANT it.  I realize I need to stop.

Because I serve an audience of One.

My motivation is because I love God.

I want His love to pour out of me through my actions.

I want others to ask WHY, so I can tell.

I never ever want it to be that I do all of the things I do, to boast.

I never, EVER want anyone to think it is about ME.

I am not amazing. Just ask my kids. They will be sure to tell you that I yell too loud, I nag to much, I am the "strictest mom of all their friends".  

But I am willing, open, listening and always asking God to use me in ANY way He can.


Phillipians 2:3
3 Do nothing out of selfish
 ambition or vain conceit. 
Rather, in humility value others
 above yourselves

Thursday, March 08, 2012

She calls me Mama

Yes, she does.

And Mark is Daddy.

This would bother some. Because I am NOT her mommy. She has that.

But she is 2, and she knows that when she yells mommy, I answer.

And really, have you tried to reason with a 2 year old? How did that go for you?

Comments have been made. "I could NEVER (oh how I despise the word NEVER) do that. I would get so attached and it would hurt so much to send her back."

"Isn't it hard on your kids?"

"Isn't it hard to take care of someones kid with no return? Isn't it frustrating? "

Hear my heart on this.

 If you avoid doing something because it would be hard,

Because you are afraid it would hurt?

Because it might UPSET "your children".

SHAME ON YOU. ESPECIALLY if you call yourself a christian.

And I mean that in the nicest way. Of course.


There are children, created by God our Father, who need help.

And would we seriously, as believers, IGNORE them, because of fear?

Well obviously the answer to that is yes.

One can simply look around at the orphan crisis and see that is clear.

Is it going to be hard to say goodbye? Well yes, a little. She is a cutie and she has us all wrapped around her tiny finger.

BUT she is not ours. And we know that. Her mama loves her and that alone makes it EASY to say goodbye.

Am I causing trauma for my children by brining kids in and out?

I don't think so. I pray that what I am bringing them is a hands on experience of Jesus in flesh.

We love, even though we can't keep.

We help, because God calls us too.

We embrace the opportunities when they are given to us to share His love with strangers.

We sacrifice things to serve Christ. Maybe it is our time, our freedom, our money, maybe even our FUN.

And no, I get "nothing in return". I don't get the joy of seeing this child grow up. I don't get to claim her as mine. I don't get to include her on my Christmas card.

But I feel I get so much!  For 10 days I enjoy baby giggles and the hair I always wanted on a baby!

I get to pray over a child for TEN DAYS, day in and day out,  that is not my own.

I get to watch my kids enjoy their role as big siblings to someone they never met.

I get to pray for and interact with her mama, and prayerfully share the reason WHY I do this.

I am reading the book Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. AMAZING book I challenge everyone to read.

Today what I was reading was so perfect with this blog I had started.Here is just a small paragraph, please take time to read her whole post here. You will need to go to November 2009 on the sidebar. In this post she is talking about how we hurt for all children of course, but when it is OUR children, it is different.

Its just different when its your child who's suffering. But should it be? This is what I have been struggling with. I believe that this is a normal human reaction. I also believe it is WRONG. I believe that each human on the planet is God's child, perfectly made and beloved and cherished by Him. I believe that His heart hurts like mine does, even more than mine does, when my baby is hurting for EACH and every one of the hurting, dying, starving, crying children in our world at this moment. So I HAVE to believe that if my heart was truly seeking to be aligned with the heart of God, that I would have to hurt for each of these children as well. But sometimes, I forget. Sometimes I'm busy. Sometimes hurting for my very own children just feels like enough. I believe that the world says that this is ok. And I believe it is wrong. And this keeps me up at night.

I think that God surely had me to read THIS part of her book on this day. A day when I want to share my heart on WHY we would do this program. A week when I am struggling on if we will continue to homeschool next year. A month when I am planning my trip to China, and feeling as if my heart will never stop breaking for the orphan.

I love my children. They are MINE. There are days they drive me batty and I am tired and yell and complain about them all. But I would die for each of them. At the rate we are going today, one might MAKE me die to be honest! (that was a joke) I would give up ANYTHING for them. But what about all the others that have no one to give even a little? The ones who have never heard I love you, who are infested with lice and no one to pick it out of their hair? Or puking with no one to clean them up. Or have heart surgery with no one to love them through it. What about them?

It has been suggested to me that motherhood is a season, and when the kids are grown THEN I can focus on other things. I disagree.

Am I supposed to continue to homeschool my kids, when it might keep me from taking in more who need a home?

Am I supposed to stay home, because I am the mom and we don't leave our children OR go on mission to serve those who have no one?

Am I supposed to put them in sports and extra activities because it is FUN for them, or say no because it leaves us no time to serve and do things that God places on our hearts?

Bottom line, are MY children MORE important than the kids who have no one?

Are MY children more important than what God places on my heart.

It is a hard one isn't it? When you read Katie's thoughts, it makes you think.

Are our hearts seeking to be aligned with God? And would God be ok, if we said, I took care of MINE.

Obviously it is a journey He is taking me on that I don't know the answer. And I also believe the answer is different for everyone. God calls each of us in so many different ways, thankfully. Katie is a beautiful example of that. At 18 He called her to Uganda and she is the mother of 13 little girls! We are not all called to Uganda. Or China, or to even be a part of Safe Families.

But we are called to Love. Even if it gets messy. Even if it is uncomfortable.

And yes, even if it hurts....

Thanks for the "pity"you all have sent. We are doing better. Praise God! And I have not YET had the stomach flu. Instead I showed off how graceful I am yesterday by slipping on the baby's high chair tray. (because I am just not used to high chair trays that 2 year olds just carry around!) I took a slide across our tile and fell back on a corner of the wall.  I felt blood and just lost it. Thankfully my nurse friend came over and declared it to not need stitches. I think I stopped crying 3 hours later, or really today. Makenna asked if I was crying from pain or frustration and it was both.  It DID hurt! But the mix of no sleep and pure exhaustion from taking care of a sick household alone just did me in. Thankful for sweet family & friends who dropped off dinner, juice, took the baby & mopped up my blood. ;-)  Today is a new day & Mark is trying to get back in town sooner than planned. I left the house with the non sick ones (Malaine and baby) and it felt good simply walking around Walmart and stocking up on movies! There is a certain child in this house who does not do well off her schedule and it is enough to make me want to bang my head against the wall. But that would not help my head feel better for sure. Hence the need for a Walmart run and movies.  Mark and I talked last night how EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. he goes, not just little things happen but MAJOR things. Well major to me. Lice and Stomach flu are major in my book. We were trying to figure out the lesson we know God must SURELY be trying to teach us. Are we doing something wrong? Should we NOT be taking in MORE kids? Is THAT the lesson? Because let me tell you, adding a 2 year old that is not yours in with stomach flu is not a fun thing. I started doubting. Is this REALLY what He wants? Isn't it enough that I have FIVE of my own to clean bodily functions up after?? But God is always so quick to stop those doubts with truth. Ok, honestly He might be quick but I am SLOW to listen.. But with a night of sleep I was able to see what He wants me to always remember. Even when it feels we are walking through the fire, He loves me and He is here.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; 

   I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 
2 When you pass through the waters, 
   I will be with you; 
and when you pass through the rivers, 
   they will not sweep over you. 
When you walk through the fire, 
   you will not be burned; 
   the flames will not set you ablaze. 
3 For I am the LORD your God, 
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; 
I give Egypt for your ransom, 
   Cush[a] and Seba in your stead. 
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, 
   and because I love you,

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Pity Party

I have all these posts to share, things on my heart. But today (or technically yesterday since it is almost 2am now, and I have not been to bed yet because really what is the point when you are going to get up any minute to hold a child puking) we have been slammed with the stomach flu.

I would rather have strep and lice at the same time. I HATE puke.

I have to wonder if the cutie that has come, did not bring it with her.

 Kids are always so good at sharing like that.

And unfortunately, this year, we seem to be really good at receiving.

So pray for me if you will. I am a single parent of SIX. 3 1/2 who are ill. So far. Not to mention Mark has it, while on a business trip. UGH. Though I am thinking how bad can it be to have your own bathroom and bed in a hotel during stomach flu??

I am begging God to spare me on this one. 

And especially pray for my Sage. She is so miserable. She asked me to pray over her tonight and I could not even choke out the words. I have not seen her feel this bad. I hate seeing my babies hurt.

Life has just been like that lately. Let me give you a glimpse...
  • One of my dearest friends has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is not much older than me. She had a mastectomy last week and the start of reconstruction today. 
  • While at the hospital with her I saw that one of my old childhood friends, and a friend from church lost their dad suddenly that day. AND another family we were in Bible Study with lost a sister the same day.
  • I mentor a sweet 15 year old girl. She was raised by her grandparents and her grandpa passed away. 
  • My dad is losing his job. Been there 35 years, and 6 months from retirement. Don't bother being loyal to your company. It won't necessarily pay off in the end. My dad is totally fine, but I think that stinks they did that to him. 
  • One of my good friends I met through adoption has had some major struggles with her son's health. I was able to visit him at the hospital last week. I feel so bad for him. So young to have to go through the surgeries and pain he has been through.
  • I thought I had a full team for China. It appears I do not.
  • I am struggling with if we are to continue homeschooling next year. That is weighing on me. 
I could go on and on. Funny, yesterday I was THANKING the Lord for the craziness that is our lives right now.  It is BEYOND crazy and I am loving it. I am busier than ever and feeling closer to God in every way.

Tonight, I am not sure how to feel. Maybe a teensy tiny bit of me would just like to ask WHY. I don't have TIME for sickness, AGAIN! Have we not been hit enough? Seriously my stuffed animals are still bagged up, I am still checking hair,  and now I get to clean up puke when Mark is gone AGAIN? And during that little whine fest I then fall quickly into the Whys of all of the SAD things that I saw this week. I do'nt like hospitals or funeral homes.  I don't like that my friends are hurting and there is nothing I can do to take those things away. I don't like the hurt I feel for them. It can crush me. I certainly do not FEEL thankful.

I have never longed for Jesus more than I have this past season.

All those why's though, won't get me anywhere. And I know why. This is not our home! These sad things are what draw me to press into Him. I think Cancer and death and even puke make Jesus sad too. I think He gets it when I don't feel thankful and want to ask why. I think He is ok with my pity parties. As long as I get over them, and turn around to look at the good.

And I will. Hopefully soon I will share the good, because I know there is a whole lot of good going on.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

We are a Safe Family

As I have been trying to figure out how to share what Safe Families is, one thing that has come to my mind is this. We often here comments such as ...

"Why would you adopt from another country when we have SO many children here who need homes".

"If I were going to adopt, I would adopt from here. There are so many kids here who need help."

"Shouldn't we take care of our own before we take care of other countries".

Now typically I just blow these off. If there is anything I have learned through our journey of adoption it is this. People don't mean to come across as idiots uneducated when it comes to orphans and adoption, they just are. And so I look at it as part of our calling to break these ideas that some have and show them TRUTH. Really this is a whole post on it's own. In most situations I can handle the comments with grace. Though I will admit in my head I might be thinking "If YOU are SO worried about the children here stop talking and DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING." But those who have dumb opinions are most often the ones who have a big mouth & that is all they have.  I digress, where were we.. Oh yes Safe Families.

We are starting an orphan ministry at our church. We were approached about this program called Safe Families and it seemed like such a GREAT idea. A way to prayerfully help keep kids out of foster care. A way to care for Families in Crisis, to PREVENT orphans? AND a way to help those in our own back yard. 

 So.. What is a Safe Family??

Websters Defines Safe as:

  -free from harm or risk 

  -secure from threat of danger, harm, or loss

  -not threatening danger :harmless  b : unlikely to produce controversy or contradiction

There are many verses in the Bible that talk about being safe. Here are just a few...
 Psalm 20:1
May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:3
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

Psalm 32:7
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

So what is this Safe Families for Children all about?? And WHY in the world would a family who is obviously already coo coo, sign up to take in MORE children?  
Let me start by giving a brief overview of what Safe Families is. According to their website
A Movement of families giving hope to children and parents in crisis.  

It is NOT foster care, but it looks similar. 

You get licensed, but the process is not nearly as intense as foster care. 

Parents have made the choice to place their children. Maybe it is a single mom who is struggling. Maybe it is a family looking for a place to live. Maybe it is a mom who needs to be in the hospital and is unable to care for the children. It is a way to minister to the mom, while being certain the children are safe.

This is a growing movement and we are becoming involved through Bethany Christian Services. Through the orphan ministry we are starting, this will be one of our big areas to support.

So, the question, WHY would WE take in MORE kids?
Well to us it is simple really. Yes, we are a bit stressed at times. Yes, we have much on our plate. The last few weeks a bit more than the normal of course. 
BUT, we CAN do this.  I am reminded often, Jesus did not call us to live life comfortably. Easy. Calmly. He called us to live like Christ. 

And more than anything THAT is what I want. I want to love as many children as He will allow me to in as many ways as He will call me too. Be it by parenting, by mentoring,  by traveling to China, or simply by opening my door and my arms to more.  

Today we took in our first placement. How it works is we receive emails when there is a need, along with all the other families registered. If we can take the child, we call. So, despite life & the insanity of it, (so much to share...) we decided we were ready. We needed some baby giggles to brighten things up!

The great thing is there are LOTS of ways other can step in and help. Maybe it is becoming a Safe Family. Maybe it is supporting those who are safe families with help financially. Because you can imagine diapers and formula and clothes and food can add up!  Maybe it is signing up to do respite care, helping out with the kids at times. There are mentor jobs, and much, much more. In fact on MARCH 13, our church will be hosting an informational meeting if you live near me. I encourage you to come and at least hear what this is all about. 

So pray for us if you will. More than anything we just want to be a light and share the love of Jesus. And even if it looks crazy, as long as we are shining bright, that is just fine.