Friday, August 24, 2007

The Song I'm Singing Today

Every thing I’ve ever wanted
Only held me back from what I see in You
The wonders of Your love are far beyond
What any one could own or do

If I tried all through forever
I could never earn the treasure that’s in store
But now standing in Your righteousness
I reach in faith and cry to You for more

That I may know You
And the power of Your resurrection
That I may know You
The communion of Your sufferings gladly shared
That I may know You
And the Life that’s flowing from Your crucifixion
That I may know You
Until in heaven I will see You there

No one on this earth, except a fool
Would try to say that they’ve arrived
My goal can not be reached
As long as this old sinful flesh remains alive
Still I leave the past behind
Like a runner with a prize that lies ahead
And I press onward toward the goal
The upward call, the resurrection from the dead

That I may know You
And the power of Your resurrection
That I may know You
The communion of Your sufferings gladly shared
That I may know You
Life that’s flowing from Your crucifixion
That I may know You
Until in heaven I will see You there

Higher up!
I hear Your Word of power call me higher
Further in!
The comfort of Your Spirit calms my fears
Higher up!
To live with You is all my heart’s desire
Further in!
Your heart of love forever draws me near

That I may know You
And the power of Your resurrection
That I may know You
The communion of Your sufferings gladly shared
That I may know You
And the Life that’s flowing from Your crucifixion
That I may know You
Until in heaven I will see You there
That I may know You
Until in heaven I will see You there
(Don Francisco)

Thank You, Father, for allowing me into Your presence this morning. Thank You for making a way for me to know You. I know that it is a privilege that came at a high, high price. A price that I will never fully comprehend but will spend eternity thanking You for.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

At Peace

I just wanted to report that I am feeling so much more at peace since my last post. I think I was just able to give it all up and stop wasting energy and time worrying.

This is an excerpt from my prayer journal from this morning's entry:

"I lift our adoption. Sometimes, it is so scary and tiresome. I truly feel like we’ve been on an almost 9 month roller-coaster ride. I just give it all up. I give it to You. I can’t predict what is ahead, so I am done worrying. Benjamin will get here when he gets here. I will trust in You. I hope it is soon. I am still hoping for October. If You have different plans, prepare me for the wait or equip us for him to come home sooner. I trust You for perfect timing. Thank You for giving me peace to do this. Prevent Satan from interfering in this at all. Do not allow him to interfere with Acres of Hope’s ability to minister to the children of Liberia any more. Bind him. Prevent him from doing it. Give Acres of Hope victory over this visa thing. You are bigger and more powerful than he is or over any government interference or power. I am excited to see what You do."

I really feel like the reason I have been on an emotional roller-coaster ride is because of my lack of faith and trust. I've put myself on that roller-coaster, and I have the freedom to step off of it. My peace and rest in this will be proportionate to my ability to trust God.

Our adoption is moving forward smoothly, especially for an international adoption process. I just need to let go of my own expectations, timing, and fears.

Besides, I just read good news. Patty Anglin, the director of Acres of Hope had a very positive meeting with the consular at the US Embassy. It sounds like some good things are going to be put into place to protect children and the consular seemed impressed with the good work that AOH is doing. It also seems that she isn't the "bad guy" I was believing her to be.

Praise God! He is trustworthy.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Please Read and Pray

My heart is heavy tonight because I've been reading emails on our Acres of Hope Yahoo group about a new situation developing in Liberia with adoptions. I have been trying to catch up on past emails that I've missed and trying to figure out the situation and how it will affect us.

The problem revolves around a newly appointed American consular to the US Embassy in Liberia who apparently has stated it will be her mission to slow down adoptions. The word on the group is that the embassy gets its directions from the State Department in Washington. The email I just read felt like the State Department doesn't want to stop adoptions, but that they are trying to slow them down to such a point that parents will be discouraged and not adopt from this country. The email even said that there is concern that they are now considering requiring parents to stay in country for a month, and if the adoption agency cannot locate the birth parent to your child; then they will not issue a visa.

I'm scared and there is something in me that says, "See. You were right to be afraid that something would go wrong." I feel down and afraid. Please pray for us, but more than that, please pray for all of the kids in these orphanages waiting to come home, especially the special needs kids that desperately need the medical care they will get here. Some are dying and need to be united with their adoptive families to live.

Forgive me Lord for my unbelief.

God just gave me this song to remind me to keep my eyes on Him and to trust:

Voyage To Gennesaret
by Don Francisco

Eleven men besides myself in a boat both small and light
Pushed off for Gennesaret in the first watch of the night
A storm blew up at midnight coming hard down on the prow
We started losing headway shipping water stem and bow
When someone shouted loud, "Hey, look to starboard on the sea!"
The men screamed out in terror at the form we all could see
A man was walking on the water, and we trembled, cried and prayed
Till He stopped and turned and spoke to us, "It is I, don't be afraid."

I shouted out to Jesus, "If it's You, then call to me,
And tell me how to come to You and walk across the sea."
Without a second's thought He looked at me and answered, "Come!"
My insides turned to water and my mind went blank and numb.
I climbed across the gunwhale looking straight into His eyes
But long before I reached His side, the wind began to rise
I forgot Him in an instant and I sank just like a stone
I cried out, "Jesus save me!" and His hand was on my own."

"Oh man of little faith," He said, "What made you doubt My word?
Have you been this long with Me without knowing what you've heard?"

We climbed into the boat and all at once the wind was gone
The sea turned calm and gentle and the day began to dawn.
We knelt amazed and worshipped Him for the power He displayed
For all that we had seen had left us wondering and dismayed
It was not till after Pentecost I could really understand
But even when I doubted Him,
He did not let go my hand.

Two New Links Added

I have just added two new links to my "Links of Interest." They are:
A Flicker of Hope is a fundraiser for Acres of Hope Liberia, Benjamin's orphanage. They donate all of the proceeds from their candle sales to the orphanage.


This is a link to a fundraiser for a family that is desperately trying to raise funds for their adoption. Their little girl is very sick. She is six years old and weighs only 22 pounds. She can receive the medical care she needs when she gets home to her new family, but they are struggling to raise the funds they need to get her home. The hope is that if they can get enough people to donate just one dollar, they will be able to bring her home.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Before I Could Earn It

The guest speaker at our church's Women's Summer Dinner was a local pastor's wife who is working in Malawi, Africa to build an orphanage there. It was interesting to hear her stories of Malawi, and I think I felt a special connection with her love for Africa because of Benjamin.

The theme of her talk was "The Heart of God" and was based on 1 John 4:19 "We love because He first loved us."

The dinner was in July, but I keep remembering a story that she told us about her daughter's pregnancy with her soon-to-be-born first grandchild. She was laughing about how her daughter and son-in-law talk to the baby, read to the baby, sing to the baby and are fully, and completely devoted and smitten with this baby whom they have never met and who has never had an opportunity to earn that love.

She spoke about how this is an illustration of God's love toward us. This baby's value has already been determined by his or her parents before he or she is even born.

I began thinking about Benjamin and how once again this adoption process has proven to be a beautiful illustration of God's adoption of me. Pat and I and the girls love Benjamin so much and we are so devoted to him and committed to him, yet in reality we don't know him yet. He has never had an opportunity to earn that love. Our commitment to him is a choice, and not based on his behavior or his character or anything he has done. We have chosen to love him.

This past year, God has been working on my heart so much and trying to teach me about who I am in Him, my spiritual identity. He has been shining light on places in my heart and areas of my life that need work. I love how God never shows us what's wrong without also providing a solution. He led me to the book The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee. This book has been life changing for me.

I have been a believer my whole life. I don't even remember when I gave my life to Christ. I have had a head knowledge of grace, but lately God has been revealing to me how I have not been living with a heart knowledge of grace. I have struggled my whole life with wanting to be significant or special. I have tried so hard to be perfect and not break rules or to fail in any way. I've based all of my self-worth on what other people think of me, and I've desperately sought their approval. I knew in my head that I could not earn my way to heaven or earn God's favor, but I was desperate to do everything right so that God and everyone else would think, "Wow. She's special."

I can't stand it when I fail or when I think people don't like me or are angry with me or are judging me. I get jealous easily, and I long for the approval of people who are in leadership positions. I can say with my lips that God's opinion of me matters more than anything else, but I don't live that way. I keep trying to find my self-worth, when God has already given it to me through what Jesus did on the cross. Through this book and through this adoption process, God has been showing me that He has already proven my worth and that He loved me long before I could earn it, and there is nothing I can do to lose it.

Anyway, I am so thankful for a God that loves me, is intimately involved in my life, and who proved His love for me long before I was born. He is so faithful and good. What an awesome God we serve. : )

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I'm leaning toward the car theme.....

I think I'm leaning toward the car theme for Benjamin's bedroom. (Not that I got much comments on my last post....Boo Hoo!!!! I thought my readers might be more opinionated. Hee Hee....)

Thank you, Darbi for leaving this comment:

Hmm...well since you
wanted opinions I'll leave mine! I love the car theme. When we lived in Zambia,
the children were just fascinated with cars and trucks! I think he would love it
That is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. Thank you!

I tend to lean toward the Pottery Barn for Kids look (I mean, I try to copy their look for cheaper) and I was struggling with the idea of doing a theme like Pooh or Mickey, but thought I'd go with it if it would be familiar and comforting to Benjamin.

Today, I picked out a quilt and I think I'll buy that for him and build the room around that and then throw in a few car accessories.

Here's the quilt I'm thinking about:

This picture shows the color scheme I'm going with. It sure is fun to be doing something that isn't Princess or pink. I loved decorating for my girls, it's just fun to get to do something new.

It feels good to be pushing myself into doing this room. My excitement is building again. : )