Darkness

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to You;
the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with You.

Psalm 139:11-12

I recognize it would be easy for someone to stumble upon our blog and think, “Wow, they have been through so much…what incredible perseverance and faith.”  In fact, we’ve been told that several times in the last year.  And while true, that God has grown our faith and caused us to persevere, it by no means indicates that we never have really low moments.  Yes, God has kept us and we continue to trust Him and have faith.  And yes, we still hit major valleys and moments of despair.

This was one such week.  I had been so sure that this week we would finally receive some good news about our boys’ cases.  Its been over a month since our last court date, and all we’ve heard is a deafening silence.  On Sunday, I was once again renewed to pray boldly and expect God to move on behalf of our boys.  Now it is Thursday and nothing.  Sometimes it really does feel as though God doesn’t hear me or that He’s simply indifferent to our situation.  Of course, I know this isn’t true because of His Word, but boy do I have to fight to believe it during weeks like these.  This particular trial is doubly hard because it doesn’t just involve me…there are two very adorable, beautiful, precious children who continue to wait without a mommy or a daddy.  Two little boys who aren’t being taught what it means to be a man after God’s own heart.  Two little boys who aren’t regularly hearing the good news of Christ.  Two little boys who don’t receive oodles of gifts on their birthdays…in fact, their birthday actually goes by unnoticed and un-celebrated by those around them.  Yes, its a particularly hard trial, most certainly the hardest I’ve ever faced.

Please keep praying for us…unless you’ve adopted, you really can’t imagine the agony of watching children that you plan to love and parent grow up for months without you.  Please pray that our all-merciful, all-powerful, God of the fatherless would indeed show His mercy and power by allowing our cases to pass very soon.  Pray that we will press on in a manner worthy of Christ.  May we see the light of Christ and not dwell in darkness.

Some really good news…

Not for us, but for a dear friend that I have made along our adoption journey.  She has certainly been a great source of encouragement and a shoulder to cry on through some really tough times (she too had a sweet baby pass away before bringing her home).  I’m so thrilled that today the Lord has added to her family an adorable new daughter!  Go here to read their story and see precious pictures of this sweet little one!

Molly Kate’s 2nd Birthday

An hour-by-hour glance of Molly Kate’s big day  yesterday…poor girl wasn’t feeling too well, so we had a lot of ups and downs throughout the day.  But in the end, she had a blast celebrating with some of her closest friends, and of course, cake never hurts!  And, typical of my song-loving daughter…we sang “Happy Birthday” twice!  Once just wasn’t enough!!

8:00 AM - Starting the day out right with a balloon and coffee!
8:00 AM - Starting the day out right with a balloon and coffee!
8:30 AM - Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Blueberries
8:30 AM - Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Blueberries
The pancakes are a hit!
The pancakes are a hit!
9:00 AM - Present time!
9:00 AM - Present time!
10:30 AM - A trip to the zoo (carousel ride included!)
10:30 AM - A trip to the zoo (carousel ride included!)
4:30 PM - "Please touch, Mama"...just a sample!
4:30 PM - "Please touch, Mama"...just a sample!
The infamous "Pink Monkey" cake!
The infamous "Pink Monkey" cake!
6:30 PM - Gotta have one family pic!
6:30 PM - Gotta have one family pic!
6:55 PM - Our dear neighborhood friends Cole and Casey were first to arrive!
6:55 PM - Our dear neighborhood friends Cole and Casey were first to arrive!
7:00 PM - Party time...chatting with Asher over cake!
7:00 PM - Party time...chatting with Asher over cake!
7:30 PM - Done with cake, time to play!
7:30 PM - Done with cake, time to play!
7:45 PM - So much fun with all her friends!
7:45 PM - So much fun with all her friends!

Greek Wraps

While great for a light summer meal, these wraps are surprisingly filling!  I received this recipe from a great friend, tried it last year and wasn’t crazy about it, then tried it again last night with some minor improvisions and loved it!  Here’s the link to the recipe: Greek Beef Wraps

My changes are to use 2 1/2 tablespoons of Greek seasoning in the meat mixture and only 1/2 teaspoon of dill weed in the sauce.  The first time I made these, I used entirely too much dill weed, which has a pretty strong flavor!  We only used plain flour tortillas (I searched for the spinach flatbread to no avail!) and they were a huge hit!

To Our Boys…

I simply love this…

Kisses in the Wind (The Waiting Child’s Lullabye)
 
I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that’s how it seems.
 
I know you wonder where we are…what’s taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.
 
Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin…
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
 
May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I’m doing all that I can do.
 
Very soon, you’ll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
 
May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

Six Months and Counting…

Its hard to believe that we officially accepted the referrals of each of our boys six months ago today.  I never would have imagined on January 18th that six months would pass and we would still be no closer to these little men being a part of our family!  But, I also could have never imagined the incredible ways God would purify my heart and strengthen my faith through such an arduous wait and thus, I put my hand over my mouth.

I also thank God for a beautiful day today…we have had an amazing cool front come through (have I ever worn long-sleeves and jeans in July?!?!) so Kevin and I decided to take advantage of the awesome weather.  We took Molly Kate and the dogs (we are dog-sitting my sister’s lab, which happens to be Annie’s sister) to a park on the river front for a picnic.  What a delight to enjoy a playground, the river and a yummy lunch!  After lunch, we headed across the river to a neat little candy store, Schimpf’s Confectionery.  Kevin was happy to see that all fountain drinks were fifty percent off, so our sweet stop actually ended up being pretty cheap!  I love Saturdays with my family…precious mercies of God!

Daddy's Girl
Daddy's Girl

 

My sweetheart!
My sweetheart!

 

Waving at the boat
Waving at the boat

 

The best part of the day!
The best part of the day!

Honey For A Child’s Heart – Book Review

bookThough I hadn’t listed this book in my 2009 reading list, I’m so glad I decided to borrow a copy and read it before Molly Kate got much older.  From the start of my parenting, I knew it was important to read to our daughter.  Hunt, who makes clear her devotion to the Lord, drove that importance home for me with sound wisdom and helpful suggestions.  She insists that children need a well-rounded dose of literature-the classics, fantasy and poetry can all have their proper place in the books we read to our children.  She also gives helpful points in distinguishing good childrens books from ones that are not so worthwhile.  One of the best parts of the book is the bibliography which list title after title of great books, for preschoolers through mature readers.  I found it so helpful  that I copied the list in order to have a portable version for our trips to the library and bookstore.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

 

As Christian parents we are concerned about building whole people–people who are alive emotionally, spiritually, intellectually.  The instruction train up a child in the way he should go encompasses so much more than teaching him the facts of the gospel.  It is to train the child’s character, to give him high ideals, and to encourage integrity.  It is to provide largeness of thought, creative thinking, imaginative wondering–an adequate view of God and His world.  He can never really appreciate the finest without personal redemption.  But many a redeemed person lives in a small insecure world because he has never walked with God into the larger place which is His domain.  We have books and the Book at our disposal to use wisely for God’s glory. (p. 21)

Good literature teaches more than we know.  Example always speaks louder than precept, and books can do more to inspire honor and tenacity of purpose than all the scoldings and exhortations in the world.  (p. 49)

A good book inspires the inner person with hope for the future.  Books that do not stir a child’s imagination are a waste of time. (p. 58)

Practically speaking, my reading time with Molly Kate seems to work best right before nap time.  She naps everyday around 2 pm, so we sit down with a large stack of books and read for thirty or forty-five minutes prior to her nap (the ability to sit still for such a lengthy period of time has only come about in the last three or four months).  Of course, there are always random moments throughout the day when she walks up to me, book in hand and says “Read please.”  As best as I can, I stop whatever I’m doing and read the book as I long to continue growing her desire to read.  We also read a Bible story in the morning (from her Wee Sing Bible book-which she adores because it includes listening to a song!!), one after dinner (from her Bible in Pictures which also allows Mommy and Daddy to read the passage from one of our bibles) and then one before bed (from her Big Picture Story Bible).  I’ve definitely found that having a scheduled time for reading each day ensures that we actually do it and make it a priority!  And I’ve enjoyed watching her grow in her interest in books and finally have “favorites”!

What am I finally waiting for?

Yesterday was one of those Sundays where it felt like God ordered the entire day for my growth and sanctification.  I was so encouraged to be with the members of our local church, and from Sunday School to morning worship to our evening time of prayer, God was speaking to my heart and opening my eyes to see.  Our Sunday School class is currently going through the book of Matthew.  Yesterday’s lesson surrounded the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law at the end of chapter 7.  As we talked about the three healings in chapter 7, our teacher noted the bigger picture of Christ demonstrating what His Kingdom will be like…where every sickness and disease will be wiped away (Revelation 21).  As a way of practical application, we thought about whether we were seeking our final happiness and satisfaction in this world or this life.  Our teacher (and I’m paraphrasing!) said that if we are, we are setting ourselves up for an exercise in frustration, disappointment and unfulfilled expectations because this world is not as it should be.  It is full of sickness, disease, death…ultimately sin.  To seek our happiness here is futile, but there is a world to come in which we can hope because Christ has promised to restore all things, a new heaven and a new earth where He will reign forever as King!  This is what we as Christians are to be waiting for.  As I sat in the room, somewhat absorbed in my own thoughts, I became acutely aware of how much happiness I’m expecting by the arrival of our sons into our home.  In some ways, I’ve sought identity in being a mother to these adopted children and expected this role to bring some type of contentment or satisfaction in life that truly only Christ can bring to my life.  I’m thankful for God’s conviction of these sentiments and that I could repent from a warped thinking about our adoption.  By God’s grace at work in me, I was reminded that I am not finally waiting for our cases to be approved and our boys to come home, but I am waiting for the day Christ returns and removes the plight of all orphans everywhere by ushering in His glorious kingdom.

Happy Birthday Little Sister!

My little sis turns 27 today…I can’t believe how quickly time does fly.  Getting to spend the last week with her, I was reminded what a treasure she is in my life.  God has given me some of the most amazing women as friends, yet there will always be one person who knows me the best…Amy.  I was so encouraged by our conversations last week, even with most of them circulating around the deep waters God is taking both of us through right now.  It was a sweet time to be able to share our burdens and encourage each other with truth.  She brings a vibrance to my life and when she left Thursday, I felt an ache swell up in my heart.  I love you so much my sweet sister and praise God for the friendship He has knit between us these last 27 years.  I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

Molly Kate and her "Mamie"!
Molly Kate and her "Mamie"!