Monday, March 31, 2014

Math Nerd

I tend to find random significance in numbers from time to time, and I actually believe this is a thing that relates to the mind of God as well. For example, God loves the number 3. His very being is made up by 3 different entities: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. He waited 3 days to raise Jesus from the dead. Etc. He also loves the number 7. He created the Earth in 7 days - on the 7th day, He rested. He talks about the 7 churches in Revelation. God is a numbers guy.

I wouldn't really consider myself an actual "math nerd", but I do find myself seeing significance in random dates or numbers. Sooooo.....

The Adoption will be finalized on 4/14/14. (I really like the look of that number, the double 14's make me happy.. <ahem> NERD!) If you add the digits all together, it equals 14. (4+1+4+1+4=14) Crazy? Maybe!

His birthday is 10/11/13. If you add those digits together, they equal 7. (1+0+1+1+1+3=7) The number "14" is simply 7x2.

Maybe I'm reading a little into this... yeah, ok, a LOT into this. But, these are the things my mind thinks of...

My conclusion from it all: If God really loves the number "7", then what could be better than doubling that number?! I think "14" will be Little Bug's lucky number from here on out!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Intimate thoughts

Thoughts tonight...

Why are we, all humans, so self-focused? Why do we expect people to be sensitive to our hurts and struggles when we are not sensitive to others' hurts and struggles? We expect people to offer support, encouragement, and understanding to us when we suffer uniquely, but we are wholly unable to adequately offer support, encouragement, and understanding to others when they suffer uniquely. Are we even able to accomplish this with our finite abilities?

There are several dear people in my life currently who are struggling through GREAT, UNNATURAL, PAINFUL circumstances. I desire to empathize with them, and I desperately want to understand and support them, but unless I have walked in their individual shoes, I will never fully grasp the depth of what they are going through.

The same applies to my own situations. I would like to share a little more intimately about myself to shed some light on my testimony.

My past is not a pretty picture. My childhood was not wrapped up in a pretty package and set on display for other families to see how a healthy family should be. No. It was quite the opposite. I will not share details for the purpose of not distracting from my message or hurting those involved.

My teen and college years were filled with struggle, wrestling with truth and identity in the midst of family chaos, and rebellion from the Truth God had already revealed to me. The theme of my existence was cause and effect. Hurt then rebellion.

In early adulthood, God grabbed me. He had pursued me all along, but He clutched me tightly and held me close as I progressed into my 20's. He allowed me to live in singleness for several years. I was faithful at times, and at other times, my faith was weak. I walked with The Lord, but I also ran towards the world in times of fear.

He eventually gave me my husband, a godly, sweet man who has loved me well. He gifted me a man who loved me through my sin and saw the heart that God had molded. We wanted children. Desperately. All My heart has ever known was a desire to be a mother. It was my deepest desire to mother many children. We did everything we knew to do. We did everything the doctors told us to do. We allowed ourselves to be poked, prodded, explored, and tested in the most unnatural ways. We were told we were infertile.

My heart has been crushed before. I have experienced the Healing Hand of my Father, tenderly piecing it back together in the past. This time was different. This time I felt responsible. "If only I was a better person." "If only I had enough faith." "If only I could do the one thing a woman is designed to do." "If only I had figured things out sooner, I might've gotten married younger and gotten pregnant." It's almost baffling how I believed I had so much control over something so supernatural.

I am blessed and overjoyed beyond belief to be able to call myself "mommy" to our sweet little boy. Adoption is a marvelous thing created by God, and He is continually teaching us through it.

This brings me back to tonight and the reason for these thoughts.

It is frequent that my sensitivities erupt when I see a healthy, godly family that extends back for generations seem to have no outward earthly struggles or pains. They also flare when I see women so easily get pregnant and proclaim their unexpected fertility all over social media or in conversation. There are real pains in my heart each time stories of labor and delivery or pregnancy are shared. As beautiful and amazing as adoption is, it doesn't heal infertility. As wonderful as my husband can be to me, he can not restore my childhood. There are sacrifices and pains that I will live with until My Father calls me Home to His eternal Kingdom.

Just as I feel my sensitive areas acutely, I know others feel theirs equally as strong. We try to encourage each other, but we can't. The only One who can is Christ. He bore our sin and our weaknesses so that we might be restored for eternity.

The point I want to make is to offer, extend, and receive Grace when you feel the hot flare of your most sensitive areas.  This sort of Grace can ONLY come from Christ. I do not claim to have mastered this at all! I am a work in progress and I will be one until I die.

In my pleadings and questioning of the God of the Universe, I have heard His voice quietly and gently heal some of my wounds, as only He can. He reminds me of what/WHO the true desire of my heart should be. It is not a child. It is not motherhood. It is not my own restored childhood. It is HIM. HE ALONE can fulfill the desires of my heart. A healthy, godly family is a wonderful thing. Motherhood is beautiful and God loves mothers intensely. Children are blessing from The Lord. BUT nothing compares to the richness that comes from knowing, loving, serving, and glorifying HIM for all eternity. Regardless of the earthly, temporary circumstances.

Let us always fix our eyes, not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

What are you focused on that you can SEE? What can you focus on that is unseen and eternal instead?!

"Them's Fightin' Words!"

A few years ago, I was really struggling in the depths of anxiety and fear, mostly surrounding infertility and feelings of hopelessness surrounding God's plan (or what I felt was a lack of a plan at that time) for my life. It was so clear that the enemy was doing everything in his power to try to steer me off course and steal me away from the ONE who loves me and has the best for me, My Heavenly Father. I was drawn to the Scriptures to fight this fear and anxiety, and I compiled this list to be my "Sword of the Spirit" during that time. I wanted to share it with you all. Hopefully it will help some one else FIGHT against the powers of this dark world. Let me know if you need specific prayers or encouragement. I am always happy to help a sister (or brother) out! Much love! 

Put up your dukes, Satan! I'm coming for you!


Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7)  

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  (Psalm 56:3)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7)

Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  (Isaiah 40:31)

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  (Phil 4:13)

But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. Luke 21:14 NIV

I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken..  Psalm16:8 NIV

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  Psalm 62:6 NIV

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  Psalm 91:4 NIV

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

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.  Romans 8:28 NIV

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. Psalm 28:7 NIV

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2 NIV

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  Psalm 112:7 NIV

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding Proverbs 3:5 NIV

There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. Deut 1:31 NIV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:6-7 NIV

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  2 Timothy 4:7 NIV

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1 NIV

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1 NIV

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30 NIV

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  Psalm 56:3 NIV

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut 31:6 NIV

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 NIV

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 NIV

Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 24:14 NIV

I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Psalm 34:4-7 NIV

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.  In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.   1 Peter 5:7-10 NLT

As for God, his way is perfect:  The LORD’s word is flawless;  he shields all who take refuge in him. 2 Samuel 22:31 NIV

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30 NIV

“The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  Exodus 15:2 NIV

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19 NIV

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 NIV

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,  so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 15:5-6 NIV

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Romans 4:22-24 NIV

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Psalm 73:26 NIV

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12 NIV

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:31 NIV

As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.  Psalm 18:30 NIV

Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you?  Job 15:11 NIV

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. Psalm34:17-19 NIV

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.  Psalm 25:5 NIV

They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes;  its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:8 NIV

For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. Psalm 33:4-5 NIV

Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better [to sit at the feet of Christ], and it will not be taken away from her.
(Luke 10:41-42) 

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7) 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:25-26) 

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25) 

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22) 

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. (Psalm 94:19) 

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalm 139:23-24) 

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. (Luke 12:22-23) 

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28-29) 

So do not worry, saying "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or 'What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (Matthew 6:31-32) 

A man cannot discover anything about his future.
(Ecclesiastes 7:14) 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

Scriptures specifically used during our struggle with infertility: 

Deuteronomy 7:14 [NKJV] ~ “You shall be blessed above all people; there shall not be male or female barren among you.”

Isaiah 50:7 [NKJV] ~ ”For the Lord God will help me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.”

Leviticus 26:9 [Amplified Bible] ~ “For I will be leaning toward you with favor and regard for you, rendering you fruitful, multiplying you and establishing and ratifying my covenant with you.”

Hebrews 11:11 [NLT] ~ “It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise.”

Luke 1:37 ~ “For with God NOTHING shall be impossible.”

Monday, March 24, 2014

Borrowed Truth

I read this letter from one adoptive mom to others, and I HAD to share it!! I hope you are as blessed by it as I am. I can relate to this so well up until this point... I know many more hard times are to come.

 Here is the link to the original post

Dear Moms of Adopted Children

Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,
I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son’s school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident.
It doesn’t matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have.
Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them.
Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life-savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was.
Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it?
I know about all those books you read back then. The ones everyone reads about sleep patterns and cloth versus disposable, yes, but the extra ones, too. About dealing with attachment disorders, breast milk banks, babies born addicted to alcohol, cocaine, meth. About cognitive delays, language deficiencies. About counseling support services, tax and insurance issues, open adoption pros and cons, legal rights.
I know about the fingerprinting, the background checks, the credit reports, the interviews, the references. I know about the classes, so many classes. I know the frustration of the never-ending paperwork. The hours of going over finances, of having garage sales and bake sales and whatever-it-takes sales to raise money to afford it all.
I know how you never lost sight of what you wanted.
I know about the match call, the soaring of everything inside you to cloud-height, even higher. And then the tucking of that away because, well, these things fall through, you know.
Maybe you told your mother, a few close friends. Maybe you shouted it to the world. Maybe you allowed yourself to decorate a baby’s room, buy a car seat. Maybe you bought a soft blanket, just that one blanket, and held it to your cheek every night.
I know about your home visits. I know about your knuckles, cracked and bleeding, from cleaning every square inch of your home the night before. I know about you burning the coffee cake and trying to fix your mascara before the social worker rang the doorbell.
And I know about the followup visits, when you hadn’t slept in three weeks because the baby had colic. I know how you wanted so badly to show that you had it all together, even though you were back to working more-than-full-time, maybe without maternity leave, without the family and casseroles and welcome-home balloons and plants.
And I’ve seen you in foreign countries, strange lands, staying in dirty hotels, taking weeks away from work, struggling to understand what’s being promised and what’s not. Struggling to offer your love to a little one who is unsettled and afraid. Waiting, wishing, greeting, loving, flying, nesting, coming home.
I’ve seen you down the street at the hospital when a baby was born, trying to figure out where you belong in the scene that’s emerging. I’ve seen your face as you hear a nurse whisper to the birthmother that she doesn’t have to go through with this. I’ve seen you trying so hard to give this birthmother all of your respect and patience and compassion in those moments—while you bite your lip and close your eyes, not knowing if she will change her mind, if this has all been a dream coming to an abrupt end in a sterile environment. Not knowing if this is your time. Not knowing so much.
I’ve seen you look down into a newborn infant’s eyes, wondering if he’s really yours, wondering if you can quiet your mind and good sense long enough to give yourself over completely.
And then, to have the child in your arms, at home, that first night. His little fingers curled around yours. His warm heart beating against yours.
I know that bliss. The perfect, guarded, hopeful bliss.
I also know about you on adoption day. The nerves that morning, the judge, the formality, the relief, the joy. The letting out of a breath maybe you didn’t even know you were holding for months. Months.
I’ve seen you meet your child’s birthparents and grandparents weeks or years down the road. I’ve seen you share your child with strangers who have his nose, his smile … people who love him because he’s one of them. I’ve seen you hold him in the evenings after those visits, when he’s shaken and confused and really just wants a stuffed animal and to rest his head on your shoulder.
I’ve seen you worry when your child brings home a family tree project from school. Or a request to bring in photos of him and his dad, so that the class can compare traits that are passed down, like blue eyes or square chins. I know you worry, because you can protect your child from a lot of things — but you can’t protect him from being different in a world so intent on celebrating sameness.
I’ve seen you at the doctor’s office, filling out medical histories, leaving blanks, question marks, hoping the little blanks don’t turn into big problems later on.
I’ve seen you answer all of the tough questions, the questions that have to do with why, and love, and how much, and where, and who, and how come, mama? How come?
I’ve seen you wonder how you’ll react the first time you hear the dreaded, “You’re not my real mom.” And I’ve seen you smile softly in the face of that question, remaining calm and loving, until you lock yourself in the bathroom and muffle your soft cries with the sound of the shower.
I’ve seen you cringe just a little when someone says your child is lucky to have you. Because you know with all your being it is the other way around.
But most of all, I want you to know that I’ve seen you look into your child’s eyes. And while you will never see a reflection of your own eyes there, you see something that’s just as powerful: A reflection of your complete and unstoppable love for this person who grew in the midst of your tears and laughter, and who, if torn from you, would be like losing yourself.

3 weeks until Forever!

We have three weeks from today until Little Bug is OURS. Not just in our hearts. Not just in our arms. OURS. He will bear our name, be in our will, and grow old with us as his parents. Forever.

I feel like, for the past 5.5 months, I have been holding it together (mostly) and pushing ugly thoughts to the back of my mind of all of the things that could happen to disrupt this adoption. In a way, I feel like I've been playing Jenga, (remember Jenga?). All of the paperwork, home study, match meeting, etc. was like carefully stacking the blocks to build the tower. Once Little Bug came home, I felt like every week we have removed a block, so delicately, to signify counting down the days until we can pack up the game and stick it back in the closet. Every time a block gets removed, or time whittles down, more and more anxiety mounts. I hold just a little more breath inside. My hands shake even more. I guard my tower like Gollum with his ring. Now, there are just three more blocks... Three more weeks... The game is almost over. And I COULD NOT be more READY!!!

Even though is has been emotional and, at times, terrifying, we have felt and experienced God's hand throughout the whole experience. I know, without a doubt, that God has ordained for Little Bug to be our baby. I KNOW that nothing will happen to disrupt His plan for our lives. I think this is a perfect example of how many times we BELIEVE that God is working for our good, but we STILL live in fear that something will disrupt His plan. How small-minded we are!!! If I TRULY believed God without my finite understanding, I would dance with reckless abandon around my silly Jenga tower! I would let my baby play on it. Let the dogs sniff around it. Let the box fan blow right on it! I would TRUST that NOTHING can separate us from God's love or His plan for our lives!

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."

Romans 8:31:  "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"

Romans 8:38-39:  "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Can you tell that Romans 8 is my favorite chapter of the Bible?! 

I want to encourage you all - no matter what is going on in your life - to cling to the truth that HE who is FOR us will NEVER be against us. NOTHING can separate us from HIS love. HE will work it all for GOOD in your life! CLING to this! If you must cling to anything in this life, THIS is worth clinging to.