Friday, July 22, 2011

Do I Really Care?

Do I really care if I must decrease in the sight of man for the sake of the glory of God? Yes, I care. But, I desire His glory more than mine. If no one remembers my name or anything I have done...praise God. May He and He alone be lifted high.

As I was reading in Phillipians this morning, I was reminded of Paul's plight among his peers. He did NOT care if his reputation was being tarnished or if people were gloating that he was in jail. In fact, he boasted that people were preaching out of selfish motives. But, what was the gain...Christ was being proclaimed! Oh, there are many times when I have been critical of someone because of their motives...but oh, that Christ were magnified...that should be by aim! Praise God anytime the name of Christ is exalted.

There are days when we are still drowning in the whole adopted child syndrome. I read a post from a friend in Africa yesterday that described her day. She was referring to the child as one with 2 that is still an orphan and one that is an adopted child fighting the orphan. I could totally relate and understand. I think that is what we deal with on a daily basis....former orphans who crave and desire this life that they are in but still fight the orphan flesh.

Aren't we the same way? I crave intimacy with God and hear Him calling to me as soon as my eyes open in the morning. He calls me to come and spend time in His presence. The flesh wants to take a shower, go for a walk, clean the house, prepare breakfast....but He calls. The battle ensues...the heavenly vs. the worldly. It's a constant fight to focus on eternity.

Even just now I put down the computer for a while to hold a waking little girl. It is far more important that I snuggle, reassure, love and cuddle with her than telling anyone else about the lessons God is teaching me. She is the lesson. I am the student. He is the Teacher.

I must admit that it is really easier to focus on God today as I know my hubby comes home in 33 hours (yes, I am counting). God's design for the home is for both of us to be parents. It is refreshing to know that it will happen soon! But, my delight is in the Lord and the power of His name.

Praising God for His lessons and His calling....let the battle begin today.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I can't title this one...

Seriously, I can't title this post. My initial thoughts were something along these lines:

I don't know you, but I don't like you
How could you have done it?
If JT gets a hold of you, he'd go to prison
I don't know your name but you are about to know mine

So, none of those sound very appealing or Christ-honoring so I think I'll leave it untitled.

Since the very day we saw Ellyson Faith for the first time, my heart has been walking around in a 3 year old body. She was, at first, very quiet and timid. She was fearful of all men and didn't want anything to do with JT. But, over the course of time, God has renewed her trust and security. She loves her Poppa and knows that he will take care of her. He will fight for her and protect her.

We have seen DRASTIC changes in our sweet Elly over the past six months. She went from very quiet to very talkative. We've even asked her to be quiet for just five minutes..... She is vocal. She is now a story-teller. Every story starts and ends with "You mem-ber?" (you remember?). Elly is a vivacious and energetic child with a vivid imagination. She loves life. She smiles constantly and entertains at the drop of a hat. She breaks out in song everywhere we go (she especially has a fondness for singing Jesus Loves Me really loud in the grocery store). When Elly is awake, she is a CHANGED child. But, when she sleeps...that is a different story.

Past memories of pain and hurt are still emerging during sleeptime at night (we don't see this during nap time) for Elly. At first, she was sleeping in the girls' room on a trundle between their beds. However, she was waking them up 5-6 times a night with screaming and groaning. So, she sleeps in our room on a cot with all of her pink blankets and absolutely no pillow.

When she sleeps, she wakes up at least 3-4 times a night with nightmares. Sometimes, she screams out names and hollers, "No!" Sometimes, she just cries and groans. Without going into any detail, it's pretty obvious where the pain is coming from...memories of things done to her. It makes my heart ache and cry. It makes me angry and confused. I want to take the pain away (and to take the pain-maker OUT of this life). But, my God is bigger than my feelings and my desires. He is bigger than Elly's pain and memories. He is bigger than the nightmares.

I'm reminded of Daniel 3 in God's Word. As Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood before King Nebuchadnezzar, they proclaimed that they would NOT bow down to idols. We will not be consumed with fear or anger by these nightmares. They will NOT control our lives.

The same men told of the greatness of God: "We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us." I believe with all of my being that our God can deliver Elly from these nightmares, and He can heal her!

Verse 18 is my personal favorite..."BUT EVEN IF HE DOES NOT, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we WILL not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." EVEN IF GOD DOES NOT DELIVER Elly from these nightmares, we will worship Him and Him alone. He is worthy of all praise. If He chooses to use these nightmares for His glory, then let it be. However He chooses to use this pain to bring glory to Himself in Elly's life and our lives, we submit to His plan. He is abundantly worthy to receive all of the glory and honor and praise forever. Amen.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Oh, for grace....

I love that old hymn that says, "Oh, for grace to trust Him more." The chorus says, "Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him. How I've proved Him o'er and o'er. I'm so glad I learned to trust Him. Oh, for grace to trust Him more." And, I am living that desire right now.

JT left today for Guatemala for another 2 weeks (he had been home for 6 days after a 2 week stint in New Mexico). He left very early so he kissed us all goodbye while it was still dark. I woke up but sadly, the kids did not. That makes this even harder for Z and E.

So, today was the day when Z decided he would push me to my limits. We spent 3 hours this morning in a boxing match of sorts. He wanted to do anything and everything to push me away. The mentality seems to be that he wants to see how much it will take to make me stop loving him. I don't give up that easily. He pushed, and I hugged. He hit, and I administered discipline in a loving way. He screamed and I prayed. He screamed louder, and I ran the vacuum cleaner (and prayed too). He threw himself on the floor and I sat him right back up. Over and over again, this boxing match continued.

All I could see over the course of those hours was a spiritual battle for his soul. I would not give up. I knew God was greater. My other kiddos can tell you that I was talking and praying aloud to the Father. "God, you know how much I can take, and I feel like I'm on the cliff and he is kicking me over...." I know that I cannot do this without the grace of our Father. He sustains. And, He won that battle.

Then, the war began to rage this evening. It lasted for at least 18 felt like 3 days...I think it was 2 hours total. Z started a new technique...laughing at everyone else, taunting me with discipline, and repeating every word that is said (but in a blah-blah-blah way). Nothing was working. Nothing. I was beat down to the core and showing the scars of the battle.

I sat him in my lap and had him face me. As clear as I could see, I recall a picture of my friend Keri holding her little girl Eden when she picked her up in China. What I remember from that picture is that Eden was screaming bloody murder, and Keri was crying for Eden. It broke my heart yet gave me a glimpse into the very heart of our Heavenly Father.

I told Z that my heart was sad for him today. I know that he missed Poppa and that he didn't like it when Poppa was gone. I told him that I know he doesn't have the words to explain or share his sadness. I told him that I loved him. And, then my eyes filled up with tears as I just said that I was so sad for him today. I saw a look in his eyes that I haven't seen before. Tears rolled down my face, and he began to wail. We just cried together. We must have looked like a snotty mess (thank you God that all of the other children were merrily making up beds and cleaning upstairs)..... I held him and we continued to cry.

Then, we prayed that God would heal his heart and be His Heavenly Father. I begged God to show grace and patience to me so that I could give it to Zeke. Oh, Father, I beg you for grace to trust You more!

It's not always easy...sometimes it is painful....sometimes it is ugly...sometimes it hurts like I cannot explain. But, our Father is good, and He has a plan. I don't understand it, but I know and trust that He is holy and He is just and He is Sovereign. Oh, for grace to trust Him more.