Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Do you have a list of objections?

I have seen this video buzzing around lately and I was hesitant to post it. For one because as I've said many times, I don't think every Christian is called to adopt and I never want to insinuate that I do. However, I do think a lot are being called but are not doing it. So the question is, why not? My guess is the same reasons we delayed in answering the call. Which by the way.... a friend recently reminded me that delayed obedience is simply disobedience. Anyway, we had a list of reasons why we thought adoption was not for us. As we laid each of our objections before the Lord, He marked every last one off the list for us.

I encourage you to watch this video and then make a list of why adoption is not for you. Pray over your list and let the Lord do what He pleases with your objections. I've heard my husband say many times that he had a mental list a mile long of why we should not adopt but when he finally took "himself" out of the equation his list fell apart. This is when the Lord began showing us that our lives are not our own. Give your list to God and see what He thinks about it :)

(turn off my music at the bottom)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Showers of PINK!!!

Today marks our second pink girly celebration in one week. Last Saturday we spent celebrating and preparing for the upcoming arrival of Bella, who will be coming home from India in just a couple months we hope. Bella is seven years old so she didn't need a baby shower but she certainly needed a big girl tea.... and that's just what we did. She is the most adorable little thing you've ever seen. Please follow her journey home HERE!

Here are a few pics from her special day....

Then today.... pink tea number two!

This special little lady is my niece. My b-inlaw and s-inlaw will be traveling to South Korea in a couple months to bring home Daria.

Is she adorable or what? Both of these sweet girls are coming home to houses full of boys.... so can you imagine how much pink they both got? :)
My SIL's shower was at my house..... she was so sweet to keep all my kids last night so they wouldn't be home to destroy my house. Not sure who's more worn out tonight.... me or her.

I am so thankful for both of these little ladies and especially thankful for the wonderful families they are both coming home to. How neat is it that God is providing friends and cousins for our sweet Esther that are coming home from all around the world. I dream about her birthday parties and how she won't look like her white family but neither will many of her little girlfriends. One of my favorite songs as a child was, "Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World"..... I think God was preparing my heart way back then for more than I even imagined.

I want to leave you tonight with a post from my friend Laine.... you have to visit her blog and see this adorable little brother and sister about to come home to our sweet friends. When I saw this tonight I just about had a fit over these two dreamy little China babies.... Click HERE and get ready to smile!

Tonight my heart is full as I think of all these sweet babies coming home. Praise the Lord that He sets the lonely in families.

Monday, June 20, 2011

When God Guides.... He Provides!

AMEN!!!! When Maggie spotted this sign at a craft show in town, she knew we had to have it. Our kids have heard us tell anyone that would listen, how God promised to provide for our adoption if we would just be obedient to His call. We believed Him but we are still amazed at His goodness every time He provides MORE!

With that said, I thought I'd take a minute to do an update on our fundraising. A couple months ago we had a huge yard sale. For weeks prior to the sale we had lots of friends donating items. Amelia and Carol came to my rescue helping me price the mountain of donations. Then the day before the sale several friends joined us for a day of set up. Our very generous friends, Shawn and Jennifer offered their yard since it is a prime location for a yard sale. Then it was the day of the sale, and way too early in the morning, many of our dear friends who have partnered with us in effort to bring this sweet baby home, joined us to work the sale.

Before I share more about the sale itself, let me back up. A few weeks before the sale I began thinking of a dollar amount to pray for.... the number that came to my mind was huge and not typical for a yard sale.... $5000. Yes, that's crazy so with out sharing this number, I asked Shawn to pray about it and let me know the amount that he thought we should pray for God to bring us from the yard sale. Immediately, he told me that he had already prayed about it and he thought we should pray for a yard sale totaling...... $5,000. This still sounded crazy but I knew that Jesus had not given us both that number for us to choose a smaller one. So, with that decision, we began asking our close friends to pray for that amount as well. As the sale approached, we were feeling confident.... everyone just felt like God was about to do something huge through this yard sale. We had great stuff, a perfect location, 300 fliers had been passed out in the surrounding neighborhoods and tons of friends letting us know they were coming out to show some Esther support!

Mama and Daddy were pumped, although we ain't looking it in this picture. If you've done a yard sale then you know.... just preparing will wear you out.
Our oldest girls had on their game day face early in the morning, ready to meet the customers.
Esther's sweet Aunt Kelsie is always right by my side.... no matter what I need her to help me with. Every girl needs a Kelsie :)
Maggie sold drinks with the help of a few cousins.

Y'all ready for THIS?

At the end of the day, we had sold over $3,000. in stuff and received donations totaling more than $1,500... is that crazy or WHAT?!!! Again, we were amazed at our generous Father. I left the sale with my body worn out but my heart so full from Jesus' love that I could hardly even rest.

We had two more fundraising projects on the calendar but a natural disaster would change our plans temporarily. Another friend of mine, Jana was planning to host another 31 Party for us, when the night before the party, the deadly tornado that killed hundreds and left thousands without a home, ripped through our neighboring communities. She and I quickly decided that we would rather our friend's time and resources be directed toward the tornado victims and we would have the party weeks or months later. Little did I know, she went ahead with a catalog party bringing in many orders and donations.

One fundraiser is still postponed for later in the summer. More details about that coming soon.

Our adoption shirts were a huge success.... we have been so thankful for our friends who have not only purchased them for their own families but sold them to other friends and family for us. Including our friends, the Boggans. Check out Dr. Boggan's staff showing some Esther support.

They set up a display in their dental office and sold tons of shirts for us. It is so cool to see "HOW" God planned from the beginning to provide for this adoption.... by having our family, friends and mere strangers join forces with us in determination to bring this precious baby girl home. We have sold around 400 shirts and have a few left. If you would still like to purchase one, we have size medium, X large and XX large left.

One year ago, we set out to raise $30,000. to bring our little girl home. That number seemed so far out of our reach.... I thought surely we'd be taking out a bank loan to ever get our child home. Today, all glory to God, we are only $5,000. from that goal. WOW!!! That is a wildly generous, providing Father!

The excitement doesn't end there. It still gets better :) All of our older kids want to travel with us to Ethiopia... of course they don't want to miss this unbelievable moment of meeting their baby sister for the first time in an orphanage half way around the world. After all, they have spent the last year or more praying their hearts out for her. So, we said YES. BUT..... they would have to raise the money for their plane ticket. They all said, "deal". Dallas has already saved over half and by working all summer will have more than enough. However, he has a dirt bike for sale that will pay for most of his ticket if it sales. Uncle Jeff is working on that one for us.... I'll keep you posted. Lexie and her friend Kayla have a great fundraising idea that they are working on for the end of the summer.... no doubt, Lexie should be ready to purchase a ticket in a couple months. Maggie was the one concerned. She keeps saying, "Mom I'm ten.... how will raise enough money for a plane ticket to Africa?" I just keep reminding her that God will provide.

Over the weekend.... our precious friend Kari who is about to head to Africa on a mission trip, offered Maggie enough sky miles to get her to Ethiopia and back! I'm crying for the hundredth time just typing that....

Please give the Lord some praise right now! Show me a family that wants to adopt but says they can't afford it, and I'll show you a God who will provide every stinking dime to bring a baby home. Our God is good and HIS love endures forever!

If you are reading this and you have prayed for our adoption, or helped us financially raise $25,000. please know how much we thank you. I can't wait for Esther to see the pictures and hear these stories when she's older and realize how much she was loved before we ever laid eyes on her. God knew her before the foundation of this world.... and He knew she belonged to us.

Last of all, please jump over to our friends, the Wilbanks blog, and check out their new adoption shirts they are selling to bring their sweet girl, Bella, home. The shirts are very cute! You can find them HERE!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mac and Aimee Powell's adoption testimony

Since this interview, the Powells have also adopted an adorable baby girl, Birdie Clare. Be sure to scroll down and stop my music on the playlist before watching this video.

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Hearing From God" for Dummies

Okay so I don't think there is really a book with that title but if there was.... I would buy it. I love it when I know beyond a doubt that I am hearing a message from God. I believe God speaks to all of us in different ways, though He usually speaks straight from His Word. Another way that God often communicates to me is through a single word or two that He constantly speaks into my spirit. I know very simple,...right. I don't usually hear big elaborate messages from Him... just really short, simple and easy to understand. Works for me!

Anyhow, as I have shared with several friends lately, over the past few months God has been communicating with me through a couple words. Here are the words I've been receiving clearly from Him:

"Relationship" and "Linking Arms"

It has taken a little while but through His Spirit I have come to discern the message with these words. I believe God is calling us into "relationship" with those He allows us to serve. Calling us to "do life" with the people He is placing in our paths. The more we allow this to happen, the more it just makes perfect sense. Isn't that what He calls us to with Himself? A relationship. He doesn't just want to be a means of fire protection for us. He wants to be right in the center of every part of our life. And mine can be really messy.... so that speaks volumes about His love and desire to "do life" with His children.

As for the words "link arms", He is reminding me that in order to accomplish His greatest glory, WE will need to link arms. The church, His children will need to be a family united together for the common purpose of sharing His goodness with all of creation. My pastor at our home church says every Sunday morning "the church is not a building, it's people".... it's God's children. That statement has never resonated with me more than it has lately.

I share all of this with you today because of the post I read this morning on the Together for Adoption blog. It was more confirmation of this message that sounds so simple, yet so powerful that God has been speaking to my soul. I invite you to take a minute and read it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Who is the"real" Royal Family?

Yesterday, while at the hair salon waiting on my hair to change colors, I flipped through several magazines trying to decide what I would look at while I waited. I saw an issue of a very popular magazine that had the royal wedding couple on the cover. I knew this wedding had taken place already but I hadn't seen any of the photos or heard about any of the hoopla; so I decided I'd give this one a shot. As I strolled through the pages, I was intrigued by the beauty of the couple, well her anyway. The dresses were amazing, (I thought you only wore one dress on your wedding day, apparently not, she had like 3 different dresses for that one day) and the suits of armor on the men were interesting to say the least. So impressive were the carriage rides, the castles, gorgeous dresses and weird hats on the guest, and the gazillion onlookers with cameras as the wedding party entered and exited every destination.

As I took in all these details I couldn't help but wonder how this young lady must feel now to be a part of "the royal family"..... to be a princess. I dreamed for a minute about my own girl's future weddings and how they would be a bit scaled down from this extravagant event :). Then, thoughts flooded my mind that I actually know how it feels to be part of the "the royal family"... and to be a princess... because I am one. My daughters ARE princesses.... not because of who their earthly father is but because of who their Heavenly Father IS! He is the King of Kings and the LORD of Lords.

I smiled as I closed the magazine and focused my thoughts on how shabby this wedding party was compared to the one that awaits all believers when our KING returns. These 50 or so pages had just given me a visual to remind my mind and heart of how all the preparations for this earthly wedding was nothing compared to what our King is preparing for HIS bride.

THEN.... this morning I'm reading from a book with stories compiled by several of the people that run the organization, Show Hope, when I come across this quote:

"Orphans truly are members of God's royal family, and He has a plan for each of His princes and princesses."

WOW! Is that the picture we see in our minds when we see pictures of the orphans of the world or when we look into their faces on the mission field and in orphanages? Do we see them as royalty? As princes and princesses?Do they resemble the images I saw yesterday in the magazine? Better yet, do they see themselves as royalty? How might we treat orphans differently if we saw them as God's royalty? What lengths would we go to, to make sure they know they are royalty? Would we travel hundreds or thousands of miles to visit them? Would we bring them into our homes and be a family to them?

I believe that if we are convinced that EVERY SINGLE orphan in this world is a member of the King's Royal family, our lives will look radically different from this world. I believe that instead of dreaming of being guests at celebrity and royal events.... we won't rest until we are "doing life" with our royal brothers and sisters with the temporary name "orphan".

"A father to the fatherless.... is God in his holy dwelling."