Two months ago today, my husband and I stood before a judge in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and promised that we would care for our daughter forever. We promised to make her ours.
Today, two months later, we still wait to bring her home. In Ethiopia, you are required to make two trips in an adoption. The first visit is for court. The second is for the U.S. Embassy appointment and to bring the child home. We are still waiting on that second trip. We have had various delays--her medicals not being completed in time one week; an x-ray that was needed the next week; and then last week, a letter that the Embassy has requested. As each week passes, our emotions build as we desperately long for our daughter to come home and join our family. We wait and wonder what God could possibly be doing when we know that He has already promised her to us. Why would He delay? And the answer, simply put, is I. have. no. idea. I don't know why we're waiting. But, I know that there is a reason, and I know that whether I ever know that reason or not, it is part of God's plan.
In the Bible study I am in, we are studying Genesis this year. Today we were talking about the life of Isaac, and I heard it said that when Isaac prayed on behalf of his wife, Rebekah (who was barren), he was praying in accordance with the promise that God had already made. He was praying for God's will. Though it was 20 years between Isaac and Rebekah's wedding day and the birth of Jacob and Esau, it was the plan God had promised. And it was fulfilled.
I would imagine that Isaac and Rebekah did not intend to wait twenty years before their babies were born. I would guess that Isaac's prayer did not include the words, "Please let us wait for a really long time before Rebekah is able to have children." But that was God's plan. And even though it wasn't what they expected,--and probably not the timing they even hoped for--they trusted the Lord and remained faithful to Him as they waited.
The Lord has made a promise to my family as well. He has promised us this child. And I know that when the Lord makes a promise, He always keeps it. "The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." (I Thessalonians 5:24). It hasn't been fulfilled in the timing I would've liked, but it will be brought to fruition. Our daughter will come home--and it will be worth the wait.
What has the Lord promised you that you are waiting on right now? Do you believe He will do as He says? Like Isaac, are you willing to pray in accordance with God's will, even if it means that the answer to the prayer may not come for twenty years? What do you need to lay at His feet even now, trusting that He will answer at just the right time?
I know it isn't easy. The past two and a half years--and especially these last few months--have been the hardest wait I've ever experienced, but my God is the same God through it all. He loves me. He loves you. Will you trust Him in the wait?
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
My family just returned from one of our favorite weekends of the year! Every February, we spend a weekend at a cabin in Broken Bow, OK with some dear friends. What a great time we have not doing anything at all! We all look forward to the time we have together - that is what it is about.
We do not live close to these friends anymore, so this is a time that we have come to treasure, to catch up, and to encourage one another. We are able to share our lives and our faith and be real with these friends without the pressure of everyday life or the need to go somewhere or entertain anyone. Our kids have grown up together and are old enough now to monitor themselves. I love that because of our shared faith (which is what brought us together to begin with), we can continue in our shared lives.
I have thought quite a bit about this recently. It is so important to have friends that you can share life with. These friendships don't come quickly or easily sometimes. It requires sacrifice. It requires vulnerability. It requires giving. It requires acceptance. It requires time. It requires effort. If you are willing to do these things - and sometimes they are hard - you will develop friendships that will last the years and the miles.
If you don't feel like you have friendships like these, or if you are in the hard times of developing friendships, let me encourage you to keep at it. Do the hard thing. Invite people over. Give to people. Do this as a family! Family friends are the best and will bond you for life! They will be the ones that are there for you when life gets hard. They will uphold you in prayer when you need it the most. And before you can have a friend, you will need to be a friend. There is no greater treasure in life!
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity
John 15:13 Greater love has no one that this: to lay down one's life for one's friends
Monday, February 11, 2013
|See? I still have it!|
I am a recovering gold star junkie.
All through elementary school, I just had to have them.
And I had to be the one that got the gold star FIRST.
And I had to meet the requirements for maximum amount of gold stars... FIRST.
I memorized the Lord's Prayer in a week, so I could get all of the gold stars possible the first time instead of doing it verse by verse. Took everyone else four weeks.
I didn't eat any desserts for a month so that I could win the Healthy Heart challenge at school. Each time we turned in our points and they were below a number then we got a gold star. I won it.
I earned a hymn book with my name on it before anyone else by memorizing two or three hymns a week, singing them for our choir director, and relating all of the pertinent copyright information.
The Lord's prayer has come in handy a few times when everyone feels the need to say it together, or whenever someone brings up "how to pray" in church. I think that the dessert-less month might have scared me more than helped because I have spent the last year trying to "detox" myself from sugar.
But the hymns. Well, that's a different story.
The hymns are with me... all the time.
Mainly when I unload the dishwasher. Probably because that is when I remember my mom singing them. And when I say hymns, yes, I also mean songs by Jesus Culture or Chris Tomlin or Michael W. Smith. After all, the definition of a hymn is a song of praise or thanksgiving to God, and I'm purty sure that those songs qualify. Ha!
But, I'm specifically talking about the old school stuff...
Jesus Paid It All.Written on my heart as a child, those hymns ministered to me. Sure, gold stars might have motivated it. That, and my constant desire to want to make Mrs. Ware smile- our childhood children's choir leader... I can still picture her brilliant smile.
Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness.
It Is Well.
There Is Power In The Blood.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.
When I Survey The Wonderous Cross.
As I learned more hymns as a kid, the more I wanted to learn. And the more my mind would revert to those scripturally-based hymns, the more I realized that I needed to learn more. Because I could remember them and their truth when no scripture would come to mind.
Even this past week as I attempted to fight off the cake balls that I made for my husband's birthday, I said "Oh God, I need your power right now" and what popped into my mind instantly, "There is power, power, wonder working power... in the blood... of the lamb. There is power, power, wonder working power, in the precious blood of the lamb!"
And as long as I was singing that song, I was able to resist those cake balls.
Music I learned as a child... purposefully taught to me by adults that knew the benefit... still ministers to me as an adult. Cause, sometimes music ministers when sometimes something else can't. I went to this Fusion thing at our church sometime last year and an executive for PraiseCharts named Debby Berry spoke (side note: she was uh.maz.ing. if you ever get a chance to hear her speak). And one of the things she said just stuck with me (and I can't find my notes so I might be a smidge off of exactly how she said it):
"Music transcends the mind and goes straight to the soul."And when I think back on the "soundtrack of my life", sure there are plenty of songs by people and bands like Lionel Richie, Whitney Houston, The New Kids On The Block, Michael Jackson, The Black Eye Peas, Beyonce, etc. But the songs that have played through my mind during those times of trial and success have been the hymns... the "God songs"... taught to me as a child.
Learn a hymn.
Teach a hymn.
Write a hymn.
Listen to a hymn.
Internalize a hymn.
BE a hymn... a song of praise or thanksgiving to God.
Rise up, O Lord, in all your power. With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts. Psalms 21:13
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; celebrate his lovely name with music. Psalms 135:3
Be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. Ephesians 5:18-19
I will praise you with music on the harp, because you are faithful to your promises, O my God. I will sing praises to you with a lyre, O Holy One of Israel. I will shout for joy and sing your praises, for you have ransomed me. Psalm 71:22-23