Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? -Matthew 6:26

As we walk through this adventure called life, we remind ourselves that we are all precious children of our Father-- those of us who have walked a little further down the road striving to guide those who have been entrusted to our care for a time. Here is our journey down this path.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Sunday

I went to church Sunday.

Like most Sundays.

Thomas, Samuel & Molly sat with us.

Like usual.

We prayed, sang, listened....worshipped.

Like usual.

But my thoughts kept wandering to another mother in our church.

She went to church last Sunday.

Like usual.

Her kids were with her.

Like usual.

That was Sunday. Monday her world began to change. Her 14 year old son got sick. Tuesday he got even more sick. So much so, that he went to the ER. Where he collapsed. He ended up in the Pediatric ICU where he was fighting for his life. On Friday evening, he lost that fight.

As I sat there in church I couldn't help but think about our God, our sustainer. He gives us each day, each moment, each breath. None of us know what the next moment will bring and I was reminded to treasure the moments I have.

I don't know this family very well, but they are in our circles at church and school. We have prayed for them, hoped with them when he seemed to be turning a corner and cried for them when he didn't. We have also learned from them and their extraordinary faith. Through the whole process, they never questioned the goodness of God. They prayed for healing and knew God would give it and when they said goodbye, they knew even then that their prayer HAD been answered....in the ultimate way. They are still sad, they still grieve and they still understand that death is an enemy. But as they stood by the bed in the hospital, the father, who had just lost his eldest son, said to the medical staff there, "Just in case anyone missed it before, we want you to understand that we grieve, but not as those without hope because of what Jesus has done. He makes all the difference."

What faith. The response of the family had already been noticed by many at the hospital. The response of their community had been visibly seen---groups of kids/teens coming to pray. People constantly coming to support the family. One physician said they couldn't explain why something like this happened, but that for the staff, they had seen grace. Faith refined through the fire, through suffering.

It, of course, makes me wonder if mine is so strong.....a question I even hesitate to ask. How would I respond in a similar trial? Could I claim the promises of Christ at that bedside? Am I unshakeable? No......but the God who holds me in his arms is. That is my prayer for their family. That he will continue to hold them tight through the next few days of services, through the upcoming holidays and through every day of the rest of their lives without their son, until they meet him again.

And they will. Because they are not without hope.

Hug your kids, kiss your spouse, pray for this family.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Orphan Sunday

I have had blogger's block, and computer trouble, and internet trouble.....So am really behind. I have wanted to scrapbook this event for sure, because it was so special. Our church did an 'Orphan Sunday' event during our evening service last week. It included a testimony time about our adoption, a video, a beautiful song by a 6th grader who was adopted and the baptisms of Cynthia and Xin. It was really, really special. My tears started early when one of our sweet associate pastors got up at the beginning of the service and said he had been reflecting on the day, of God's faithfulness and how looking toward this evening service that 'there was no place he would rather be.'

The baptisms were so sweet and just thinking of all of the what-ifs of these 2 children's lives.....even Molly leaned over at one point and asked, "Do China people believe in God?"

The testimony time was TOUGH for me to get through. I really wanted to do it because so many in our church were so supportive as we walked through this last year and I wanted to share God's story and his faithfulness in this whole process. I made it...barely.

As part of that time, I discussed our revamped ministry that several other adoptive mommies and I have been working on. We have all been so blessed by adoption that we want to encourage others to do the same, but at the same time encourage the rest of the church to care for orphans as well, either by helping people adopt, providing resources, etc. We have named our new ministry:

Minus 1 Orphan Ministry

We chose this because we wanted to convey how we can all do our part and change the life of 1 at a time. We are really excited and passionate about it and are praying that God would do many great works through it. There seem to be a lot of heart stirring for adoption and orphan care not only in our church, but in many places around Augusta, we we can't wait to see what God is going to do!
Right now, the children at our church are collecting money for the children's Love Gift offering in a few weeks that is donated to a specific cause each year....this year it is Minus 1. We are praying for some exciting things....to be continued.....
While we wait, I would encourage you, too, to pray about what you can do......

If you can't see this whole screen, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gih8czFSIeg

Monday, November 1, 2010

Once a year...

The kids knew it was today. Our annual trip to Chuck-E-Cheese. That is as often as I will brave going there. I know some of you may love it and go often, but it just isn't my kind of place. I love watching the kids play games and have fun, but when there are 100's of people there with all of the noise, lights, screaming, music, etc, I just can't do it.
So, why today?
Our school was out for parent-teacher conferences.
And NO ONE else was. :)
So, this has become a tradition at our house on this day.
After our conferences this morning (which we had great reports from, so they needed a treat!) we headed over.
We arrived about 10:00 and were the ONLY ones there for an hour....my kind of place.

Molly hit the jackpot with one of those games you have to drop the coin in at just the right place!
Much to my dismay, this hunting game is one of the boys' favorites.
Cynthia played some and then she and Molly explored the playground/slide for a while.

And, just in case you think all of life here is rosy and our kids are always perfect.....like it probably looks on this blog, because I tend to scrapbook the fun days....
After this outing, we needed to go to the grocery store.
Yes, WE. We as in me and 4 kids. I usually end up going late at night or with Cynthia while the others are in school, because it just seems to work out that way better. Well, today, it had to be done.
They weren't BAD, just busy.
I think my comments could explain most of it.
'Watch for cars'
'Yes, you can have a taste'
'Just one!'
'Don't touch the other ones'
'Come over here with me'
'Put that back, please'
'No, we don't need that today'
'We already have it at home'
'Don't touch'
'Don't jump'
'Don't throw the onion'
'Don't touch'
'Let's get out of his/her way'
'Don't put the cans on top of the grapes'
'Pick that up off of the floor'
'Bring the basket back here'
'Cynthia, stop squeezing the chips'
'No, we can't do self check-out'
'We will get a drink at home'

All in all, it wasn't THAT bad, just humorously (is that a word?) exhausting!