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.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Sunday night after the kids were in bed, I needed to run to the grocery store. Drove there, parked, opened my door and heard a faint, "meow". At first looked at the car next to me thinking they must have a cat in there, then PANIC. Was Nina in the car? Had s/he just jumped out into the parking lot? I looked EVERYWHERE--no more meows, no cat. Under cars, under shopping carts, up in trees in the parking lot...no cat. I called Jeff to see if he saw him/her at home...to my horror...no cat. I was SICK. Did I just lose Molly's cat? Maybe she was out in the yard somewhere at home. I raced through the grocery store, feeling a bit of nausea the whole time, paid, swept the parking lot again and went home. Parked in the carport, opened the door...MEOW! There is was again!! Louder this time. And continuous. MEOW! MEOW! MEOW! As I walked around the car, puzzled, I heard it coming from the engine!! That quiet, sweet, no trouble cat had taken a wild ride to the store and back under the hood of the car. S/he eventually climbed out (thank goodness, because Jeff & I were looking everywhere and couldn't see anything, just kept hearing MEOW!). A little banged up--a scratch next to one eye and the other swollen and red. But for the most part, she looked good--walked around, ate, seemed fine. 24 hours later, no sign of the adventure left. All good, quiet, easy.
Molly fed the cat about 2 and left with our sitter about 3 with the cat playing in the grass. When we all got home in the evening, no cat. Nowhere to be found! Tears in Molly's eys while she looked in every bush and tree in our yard. Prayers for the cat by Molly. Prayers for my sweet Molly's heart by me. This morning still no cat-I was fearing the worst and trying to figure out how to explain that sometimes God doesn't answer our prayers the way we think best. We talked a little about Romans 8:28 "and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." right before bed last night. I was hoping to plant a seed of truth in her tender heart in case we had to deal with disappointment today. After she left for school, I called our neighbors just in case. When I heard, "We have it!" I about jumped....in fact I think I did. :) I still believe everything I said to Molly, but I am thankful that she doesn't have to learn that tough lesson today.
Whew--9 lives may take some time off of mine!
Now off to get a collar with a nametag that will actually stay on!!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Our adoption of Cynthia has been such an amazing experience in all of our lives. I still ocassionally look at her and think--is she really OURS? Did God really bless our family with such a gift? Now don't get me wrong, ALL of our children are precious beyond words, but her arrival into our family in the 'non-traditional' way still leaves me in awe at times. The words 'adoption' or 'orphan' always get my attention and my heart skips a beat. It will forever be a part of all of our lives and a part of my heart.
Will we adopt again? I get that question a lot. The short answer--I don't know. The longer--I knew for years and years that adoption was going to be a part of our family. I just knew. Before I even met my hubby, I knew. God placed it on my heart long ago and I truly believe Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which he prepared in advance for us to do." Please don't think I am tooting my own horn....I didn't set out on this journey because I wanted to do a 'good work'. I just had this incredible desire to adopt a child...for many of my own reasons--some that I am too embarassed to even write down. Let's just say that it wasn't all noble. But, I think God gives us desires that match his will for our lives and throughout this process it became very evident that God was writing this story, not me. The more we got into it, the more I realized how little control I had, the more I saw this. And I am so glad it was his, not mine.
Now that we are in this 'adoption world', our eyes have been opened. Once you read about adoption or follow someone's adoption journey, or read a book about it, one thing seems to lead to another, then another, then another. And it seems to overtake my thoughts some days. Could we do it again? Can we afford it? Can we shepherd 5 children? It is really hard to see what we have seen and know what we know and say that we can't. The orphan crisis around the world is overwhelming. There is SO much need. They have SO little. Surely we could do without something to bring one more home...then one more....then...well, you get the picture. It is really hard to know. So, for now, we wait. And, for now, I feel a peace about that. I don't feel the certainty that I felt before that we were going to adopt. And at the same time, I don't feel a certainty that our family is complete. So, we wait on the Lord. And trust he will answer--one way or the other. (Maybe through advice from friends--any thoughts??) It would be nice to know for sure. Especially for my planning, controlling heart, but for now, he has given me peace to wait.
So, what do I do with all of these emotions and energies while we wait? There are 2 quotes that keep running through my head.
One from one of our pastors at church when I was asking about how to know if we are complete or not....he said, "Jennifer, your heart is bigger than your home. You can't bring them all home." This was said as we were discussing our Minus 1 Orphan Ministry that we are trying to get more active and moving to help our church and others to be able to serve orphans...more on that another time. But, I think we are fighting against the evil one in trying to get things moving....he seems to be battling us from the start. Finding a time to get together is a struggle. I have trouble getting motivated when I have a few moments to do things, roadblocks all over. So, I start to feel guilty, what should I be doing? Then, I read this...
And it so speaks to my heart. The very first chapter is all about religion vs. the gospel. Religion says, "I have to do something to earn my way to God. Or I have to do something to keep my place with God." The gospel says, "God loves and accepts me. Period." I don't have to do anything. Out of my gratitude for what he did for me--my Adoption, I want to serve him, but there is no requirement, therefore, no guilt! What truth, what grace, what freedom!
The other, I heard this weekend from a speaker at a conference. He was discussing his views on adoption and said, "Children are not given to us simply for our fullfilment and pleasure--even though they do do that (most of the time!). But, there are children all over the world whose natural parents can't or won't care for them, so, adoption should not be seen as a way for parents to fulfill their own longing to have a cuddly little baby to hold simply to make themselves happy. Adoption should be seen as a RESCUE MISSION." Now, I do think, just like God gave us the desire to adopt, that he puts the desire to be a parent in many people's hearts as well. But, the rescue mission really struck home as I have been struggling with all of these thoughts. There is some good motivation.
Because isn't that what God did for us? He rescued us when we were dead in our sins. We couldn't do anything. Now, he most certainly does delight in us, just as we delight in our sweet girl. But, the main goal of all of the events in all of history is his glory, which both Adoption and adoption acomplish. I am longing to encourage others in their journeys or service to orphans in order to glorify the author of Adoption.
So, NOW WHAT? I'm struggling with that answer. I keep pressing on, serving in the little ways I can each day--taking care of my family, praying for clarity on how to move foward with the ministry, waiting for his answers, his directions, and at the same time, even though it looks like I am moving 90 mph all the time, learning to REST in his grace. And my heart is learning to feel the peace in that rest.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
As you may be able to tell, Thomas had a football game, Samuel had Cub Scouts, it was raining, the girls were exhausted, Jeff & I both worked all day and it was after 8:00!! (OK, you probably can't tell all of that from the picture, but....you get the idea!) But, when we sat down at a round table with a lazy susan, took a deep breath, and talked a bit about China and our sweet Cynthia, we had a great family dinner. Then it was run home, showers, pack backpacks....... well, you know...
It was nice to pause for a minute and remember our blessing....one of so many from our Father.