"We are all handmade people created by a God who is not safe or small." Rend Collective Experiment

Monday, July 21, 2008

Philippians 3:20~

"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." ~ Phil. 3:20

We had so much fun preparing for Eben and Joel's homecoming. We picked out as many shirts with soccer balls as we could find. We bought toys we hoped they would like. We purchased the softest blankets we could find. We desperately want them to know that they were "Home" and home was a wonderful place to be.

One day as I was folding their clothes to put into their drawers I was reminded of the Scripture in John 14:2 which says, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."

What a beautiful promise Jesus left us with. What an encouragement and what an inspiration for the hard times Jesus knew we would endure.

Jesus is so awesome that He is preparing a place for each one of His children. I did not know that Eben's favorite color is yellow and Joel's favorite color was green before they arrived home, but Jesus knew. I didn't know that Eben hates oatmeal and Joel hates watermelon, but Jesus knew. He knew, and He knows and He is preparing a place for each one of His Children.. a perfect place made by the Perfect One.

There are days and times that I especially long for heaven. When I read about Darfur.. I long for heaven. When I read about the food crisis in Ethiopia.. I long for heaven. When I heard the news of Steven Curtis Chapman's dear precious daughter... I longed for heaven.

The Bible tells us that this world is not our home and that we are only passing through. I can't wait to meet Jesus face to face and I can't wait to be in a place where there is no sin. A place where I will be free from sinning and where there is no evil being done. A place where there are no good-byes, no tears, no hunger, no disease, and no evil...

Evil. There is evil in this world. People we love dearly were victims of evil last night. Armed men attacked the orphanage where Eben and Joel lived. An innocent and incredibly brave woman ( A woman my boys call Auntie Esther) was brutally and repeatedly raped and others were traumatized.. including children. A horrific crime was committed against them. What kind of men would hurt defenseless women and orphaned children? Depraved men who need the Lord.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 10: 18 That God executes justice for the orphan. I pray that these men will turn to Christ and seek forgiveness for what they have done.

Our fervent prayers are with the victims. Esther who was so brave and sacrificed herself to protect the children in her care. I pray for the sweet children who awoke during the attack and who prayed from the men to leave and for them to be forgiven for what they were doing. Oh to have a pure heart like that! I pray for families who are desperate to get their children home. I pray for the workers who lived through the horror. I pray for the program director Anita (Please visit her Blog and give her a word of encouragement as she travels this Sat. to minister to the children and Aunties) whose heart is for all of those at Eban House ..So many hearts broken and so many needs. Jesus is more than able to bring hope and healing to the Aunties, the children, and the families.

Today we are longing for heaven. We are grieving with our Eban House Family, and we are believing God will bring restoration and hope and blessed peace.

Please pray for healing for all involved. Pray that the valuable resources that were taken will be replaced.

AAI has set up a fund to help Auntie Esther and to help Eban House. If you feel led you can go to adoptionadvocates.org and click on "Donate Now" then click on Eban House or Esther to direct your proceeds.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor...

I am absolutely amazed that I have the opportunity to write this. I don’t usually make comments or suggestions on Renee’s blog. She writes to encourage and inspire, where my job is to be controversial and confrontational. The reason I am writing this is due to a seemingly common obstacle that I have noticed when it comes to adoptions: The husband.

Number one: Please don’t force your husband to read this and try to manipulate him and make him read something that he does not want. Don’t make him read this when he is tired. Warn him that it may take anywhere from 5-15 minutes to read this. Too much information can be overwhelming, especially when it is all words and no pictures. Don’t let him read this and then expect a reaction from him such as tears, that he bursts with excitement, or even just wants you to hold him. A simple grunt is all you may get.

Number two: I have said “no” to so many things it is not even funny. When I say that I have said no, it was an emphatic NO, no way, I am not ever going to do that, kind of “no.”

Here is a condensed list of many of the things I have said "no" to.

  1. I am not going to get married. I am going to go to Daytona Beach to party, become a pilot and travel the world .
  2. I will not work this job long-term, it is not in my field, and I will work it until I find another one. I will not stay here any longer than 2-3 months.
  3. If I ever have kids, I won’t have more than 2 or 3.
  4. I will not be some bible thumper.
  5. I won’t give up my beer or drinking.
  6. I will never stop watching my movies or listening to my CD’s.
  7. I will not tell a woman she cannot have an abortion.
  8. I will not allow my children to be homeschooled.
  9. I will not adopt. I do not want the controversy surrounding me why there are a mix of kids in our family. There will be too much baggage from these kids, they are going to be too much of a burden emotionally, financially, etc., besides, we already have enough kids.
  10. Even if I adopt, it will not be older children, there are too many issues with them.

If God can change a very foolish heart like mine, He can change anybody’s. This post is not about me, it is about the Creator of the universe that holds the heart of man in His hand, and if you submit to His will, there are blessings waiting that you cannot imagine.

Here is what happened:

  1. Partied in Daytona, met Renee in the first week of school, got married one week after graduation, flew once with Renee and made her puke; haven’t flown since.
  2. I have had the same employer for the last 14 years and have had a very blessed position as a sales representative for a national company. This job has funded every child (biological, and especially the expensive international adoptions). Never thought it would be amount to anything other than a paycheck to get by, just a temporary job.
  3. I have given up on the kids thing. Thought that would be all of them at 3, 4 5, 7, 9,11…..and so on it seems. Maybe 18 will be it???
  4. I became a born-again Christian in 1999, not by any good works on my part, but by the grace of God, he saved a wretch like me.
  5. My desire for alcohol almost instantly went away, have not had a drop of alcohol since 1999.
  6. I smashed all the music and movies that did not honor Christ (even PG ones, just in case you wondered)
  7. It should be obvious there was a change of heart about abortion due to the amount of kids we have now. I want to help preserve life, not destroy it.
  8. I have found having anti-social, nerdy, and weird kids has many advantages. Homeschooling has been a blessing for our family :)
  9. These kids are just the same as if they were biological. All of the concerns and doubts and fears are unfounded. I was foolish for thinking that way. They are a blessing, not a burden. I love our children adopted and biological the same.
  10. Older kids have a great need. I wanted it to be easy with younger kids. It turned out that the older children have been easier in many aspects, and they don’t need diapers!

I said all of this to encourage anyone who has a spouse that may not be on board with the adoption process. My problem is that I have a very convincing wife. She really makes it easy for me to change my mind. When I saw how she loves children, how she sacrifices her time and energy for them, gets totally whipped from them, and still wants more, all I can do is go along for the ride. I believe it is how she lives for Jesus and how she raises these kids is the greatest motivation to give her what she desires. I am challenged to do whatever it takes to accommodate her and her needs. I wish I could say I have done a good job on my part, but God reminds me that His grace is greater than me. This should be encouraging for anyone who thinks that you have to have things altogether and perfect in order to be a vessel useful to God. If God can speak through Balaams donkey, he can surely use someone who is about the same as the donkey.

Husband: If your wife told you she was pregnant right now, what would you do? Would you be happy? Would you go to your worry place and say, ”how are we going to do this, how are we going to make it, there is no way, I don’t see how it will happen” (that is what I said after our first). What if your wife said she wanted to adopt, she is totally willing to make the sacrifice and expend her time and energy to help raise, nurture, and care for this child? Can you trust her to do her part? Maybe if she is ready and you are not, pray that God will show you the bigger picture. You would deal with the fact that she would have a baby if she were pregnant. Can you look back years later and laugh at what you were worried about? I know I still do. Would an adoption be any different? You must not do this on a whim, God MUST lead you to adopt, but don’t limit God with all the excuses and reasons why you can’t make this happen, since Paul said, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).

Wife: Are you raising your children that you may currently have in such a way that when your husband sees you, he thinks that you are doing an awesome job? I did not say things are perfect, but at least raising them without referring to the kids as burdens, brats, and barbarians, and complaining on a regular basis how difficult things are. Instead of trying to convince your husband that you want to adopt a child while things are just being made to stay afloat, how about praying for God to change the heart of your husband according to what His will is. Show your husband that you can be trusted by being patient with him. Lovingly approach him that it is your heart’s desire to adopt, but don’t plead with his emotions. Show him that you can practically care for him and any other child that is brought into the family. Tell him to think of the tax benefits, the extra help around the house, someone to wash the car and mow the grass (That last part was a joke).

I do not have all of the answers, but again, with all of the husbands out there who say “no” to adoption, maybe through prayer, living your life as a godly example around your husband and children, he may be like me, and say finally say “yes.” You would think that Renee has this whole thing licked by now and has me in the palm of her hand. She just asked me to adopt again, so what did I say? After all of past experiences, what do you think I said. I wish it was a yes. I said No, of course. After some prayer and seeking God's wisdom , I realized that this woman is crazy (in a good way) and I was not going to stand in the way of this one. There is one Scripture that keeps coming back to me from Proverbs, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” (Prov 3:27)

I will conclude by saying that I do not want to have any regrets in eternity. Don’t worry, I already have regrets over things I have done, or not done, for the kingdom of Heaven. I look at it like this; if God can bring an outsider into His family, turn this stony, hard heart around, and turn a “no” into a “yes” all for the glory of His Name, how much more should I be motivated to live for Jesus, and be willing to do what He has called me to do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday~

They just make me smile.

Coming up Next~ Jim has a word to share on the call to adopt.

Have a Blessed Wednesday!~

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

1Peter 1:3~

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1Peter 1:3~

We are rejoicing with the angels in heaven! On Sunday Evening Eben asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior! Thank you Jesus for allowing us to witness your love and mercy in our son's life! We missed his first birth but the joy of seeing his new birth is indescribable.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A happy family is but an earlier heaven. George Bernard Shaw~

We were blessed to have a spontaneous mini~family reunion last week. God blessed us with an amazing time!!!

Thank you all for blessing us with your presence..and to those who were unable to come you were dearly missed. We are so blessed to have such wonderful family. We love and miss you ALL!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Psalm 122:1~

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD Psalm 122:1~

It took
2 Hours to get
18 children ready for church
in 1 house
with 3 bathrooms
36 shoes worn
18 outfits ironed
3 boxes of Pop-tarts consumed
2- 15 passenger vehicles used as transportation

Watching our children worship the Lord with their cousins.. Priceless, Timeless, and a Blessing from the Lord!!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July to YOU!!

From all of us... and our Mimi too!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Proverbs 16:9~

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Thank you so much for all of the love and prayers you have poured out to us and to Eben and Joel.

We have felt your prayers and God has given us a wonderful peace.

We have close family members who are very interested in adopting Eben and Joel's sister. They are a wonderful family. We are very excited about this possibility! Please pray the Lord would guide and direct all involved through this process, and that God's will be done.

We hope our experiences do not discourage anyone from adoption. We have had our share of heart aches along the way, but the blessings have far outweighed them.

If God is calling you to adopt please do not lose heart. It can be a very emotional roller coaster. It can be a frustrating and turbulent process, but it will also bring you closer to God..and the end result will bless you for eternity.

Over the years I have received many e-mails from those who have been called by God to adopt, but who are facing the fear and the uncertainty of the unknown. There are so many unknowns in the process. There is so much out of your control. It can feel like beginning a journey without a GPS or a map...

It can feel very much like Abram and Sarai when God told them to leave their family and home..
God had given them no map. And yet they went and followed in faith holding to the promise that God would be with them.

Or Noah when God gave him plans to to build an ark because a flood was coming..

Or the disciples when Jesus sent them out to preach the Gospel..

How afraid and unsure they all must have been. They inspire me so because when God said "Go!" they went..

One of the reasons I love the Bible so much is that it does not shy away from the very human frailties of the people in it. If it were written by man these would have been glossed over, but God knew that we needed to see a John the Baptist who doubted while he was in jail. We needed to know a Peter who denied Christ 3 times and to see how Jesus still loved and accepted him. We needed to see that we are not alone in our doubts..we can feel very much like Thomas and need to feel the wounds in His hands to know He is real.

If God is calling you to adopt (or calling you to any unknown situation) trust Him and that He will be there. He loves you and will guide you and will help you with all of your doubts, and uncertainty and fear. He will not condemn you but encourage you to take the next step. He will be there holding you throughout. Do not let fear stop you from what God is calling you to. He will be there and He will provide all of your needs. There may be times when you can't see God working with your eyes, but you can know in your heart that He is indeed working.

When the finances seem impossible..He is working.
When some friends and family discourage you..He is working.
When bureaucracy seems to be working against bringing your child home..He is working.

God has placed another wonderful opportunity before us. Please pray as we walk this road that God will give us clarity and wisdom and peace. We know that no matter the outcome that His will will be done and we will praise Him. We are so thankful that He is working out His will in our lives and family.