Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An Inflated Heart

We are on week four of waiting for one last document to come back from Washington DC.  This document would be the last piece to our Dossier and without we cannot send our Dossier to Ch*na.  Over the weekend I was reading in John 11.  This story of Lazarus death and resurrection, as strange as it sounds, really gave me the encouragement I needed to continue waiting on this last piece of paper.  I prefer control and am a take charge person.  When you adopt there are very few things you can control, and I certainly can't control Washington.  (yes, I did just say that in the midst of a heated presidential election)  I like things fast, organized and like to get the job done.  I also lack patience because I want things done 5 minutes ago or in this case four weeks ago.  So the waiting with this adoption can seem like torture to someone like me.  I know it's a good lesson and I'm trying to embrace it.   However, moving into week four for this one piece of paper that we need to move forward with the next big step in our adoption, well, I am tired of waiting.  I want it done and done NOW.

So as I read John 11 verse 41 really stood out to me.   "So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me."  Now if you put this verse in context, Lazarus had died.  He was buried in that tomb for the past four days, long enough to begin decomposing.  What struck me was that Jesus thanked God knowing with confidence that God had heard him.  What struck me even more was this was BEFORE Lazarus' resurrected life had been revealed.  So Jesus was thanking God in advance for a work He knew God was doing.  As I reflected on that I decided it was time to be thankful for what God is doing with this adoption paperwork.  I know God hears my pleas for this last piece of paper to come, He hears my cries knowing we can't move ahead without it and I'm ready to hold my child.  And if nothing else just thanking Him for the many blessings already in my life might actually make this wait a little less torterous.  So that's what I did. I started praying prayer of thanks over the weekend.  This morning as I woke up I prayed "Lord I have pestered you like the persistent widow (read Luke 18) for this document to arrive and I will thank you in advance because I know I can trust that in your time it will."

Later on this morning I was pretty discouraged for reasons completely unrelated to our adoption.  I prayed that God would send some encouragement my way, whether through a verse, through a phone call from a friend, or a visitor.  Lord, some how, some way encourage my heavy heart.  Well that was around 9:30am and at 11:12am I received an email.  The subject line said "Dossier to Ch*na."  It was from our caseworker.  Our document had returned from Washington DC, our dossier is complete and officially on it's way to Ch*na.  I have said it before and I will keep saying it over and over and over again, God once again does exceedingly, abudantly more than we could ask or imagine.  I would have been content with a verse, phone call or visitor, but this encouragement, this email, well it inflated my heart, it was an encouragement of a different kind.

Here's the thing:  I wouldn't see God's hand in this on my own.  If that last document had gone to DC and come back in a week, like it should have, and our dossier was sent three weeks ago, then the timeline would have been mine...not His!  I had to wait, and waiting for someone with an impatient heart like mine, causes me to pray, alot.  Those prayers help remind me that God is in this.  I truly was thankful this morning, maybe even content to wait another week.  But I'm VERY THANKFUL now.  Jesus knew that his Heavenly Father would get the glory when he called Lazarus out of that tomb.  I want God to get all the glory that today we are officially Dossier to Ch*na.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

In preparing for our Ladies Night event I woke up early (5am) on Sunday, Sept 30th with a strong notion to make another batch of meatballs.  I had already made a bunch the day before.  I knew of 21 women coming to our house for Ladies Night, and I had plenty of meatballs for each one of them.  Yet, I had this strong urge to make more.  I was beginning to think I might be caught up in my natural tendency to overdo things and started feeling pretty anxious.  My thoughts were random and cloudy on what to do.  Should I make more meatballs?  I don't want to be wasteful.  Do I even have the ingredients to make another batch?  How much more should I make?  Why am I up worrying about meatballs at 5am, should I just go back to bed?  In the end I stopped and prayed.  As my racing, cloudy thoughts lifted I knew with complete clarity that I was to make some more meatballs and I did.  Now looking back I know God was preparing me for what was about to take place later that evening. 

I am overwhelmed to share that not 21, but 57 women came to our Ladies Night.  I only had 21 confirmations, but our house was filled with women talking, laughing, eating and shopping in every room of my house.  We had jewelry, and hairstyling with fancy clips going on in the living room, food choppers, pots, pans and cooking gadgets galore in the kitchen, and some beautiful luggage, totes and home organizing items in the family room.  Oh, and let's not forget some yummy treats, including Asian sweet and sour meatballs, to enjoy in the dining room.  It was a great night and I am so thankful for all of those who came out to support us.  I am also thankful for those who couldn't make it but placed an online order, or prayed for the evening.  God was faithful.

In the end we raised another $950.00 toward our adoption.  I want to say the exact same thing I keep saying because I don't know what else to say. And that is that God continues to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. 

Oh yeah, one more thing, at the end of the night when were cleaning up there were seven meatballs left in my crockpot! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Very Little "Fun" About "Fun"draising

So the past few posts have been a lot about fundraising.  Between the Spaghetti Dinner back in May, to Promotional Hope sponsoring us this summer, to our yard sale and most recently our Ladies Night Event.  It's been fundraising, fundraising, fundraising.  The truth is I find very little "fun" about "fun"draising.  Not that the events themselves weren't fun and being with our friends and family wasn't fun, but the reason was always, well, awkward.  I would much rather be posting things about our adoption that are directly related to our child or the process it is taking to bring them home.  And if I had to guess, you would rather be reading about our child more than reading about fundraising. 

So if you don't mind I would like to share my heart on fundraising, where my heart was and where it is today.  We knew at the very beginning of this adoption that the financial commitment was not one we would be able to meet. Before we even contracted Scott shared with a few men he respects and trusts that we were feeling lead to adopt but didn't have the finacial resources for it.  He sought wisdom and shared his thoughts on not wanting to go into debt to adopt but believing God was saying now is the time and not to wait.  They prayed for him, for us, and they gave their input and wisdom and when it was all said and done everyone agreed we should move forward and not wait. 

Our agency, as well as others, encouraged us to find ways to fundraise for our adoption.  I'll be brutually honest, my pride and everything in me wanted to find another way.  I even prayed that the Lord would just move on someones heart to drop the money in our lap so we would not have to ask people to help.  Asking people to give you money, yet alone money for a child you don't even have a picture of, is really really hard.  But I suppose that's the point.  We didn't sign up for this thinking it would be easy, the process is hard, the wait is hard, the financial burden, well it's hard.  When I start to feel down about it I remember it might be hard but it's not impossible, because with God all things are possible. 

With fundraising I struggled at every bend.  If you only got emails, or saw Facebook events, but I never talked with you about it, I'm sorry.  If you felt you weren't included because I didn't personally invite you, again I'm sorry.  I found it much easier to do everything via the internet and then pray that people would see it and respond.  After each event got posted, I would fret obssessivly over it.  I would hang my head low in church, at school, or bumping into people we know in public feeling bad that we were once again asking people to give.  I struggled to trust God with each fundraiser not knowing how it would go, or how much money it would raise.  Every insecurity I had rose to the surface. 

The very first post written on this blog is titled "A Journey of Faith With Limited Sight."  This is a step in faith and back then we couldn't "see" how this would go.  There are still many things we can't see, but when I look back on the last six months I see that the Lord has provided every cent we have needed so far.  We never had it ahead of time, but we always had it when we needed it.  There are still many payments to go and I am believing in faith, without seeing it in a bank account, that God will continue to provide every cent until our child is home.  Now I won't lie, it's much easier to type that than it is to truly believe it, but it's at least the dialogue I play in my head everyday. 

When we signed our contract back in March we pretty much needed $25,000 of the $30,000 it will take to complete this adoption.  We are at the halfway point, so there is still along way to go.  We just hosted what we are praying and hoping might be our last fundraiser.  Not because we have all the money we need, because we don't, but because you all have already given so much we can't fathom asking again. 

Someone asked me today if I had to do it all over again would I?  I hesitated, but the truth is as I really thought about it I believe I would.  I would do it for our child because I have no other way of bringing them home.  I would do it because through each fundraiser we saw God's mighty hand move and work and lead.  We felt His love for us and this orphaned child through His people, through you.  We felt His love through His provision and through His guidance.   We can testify to the truth that God will and does do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or imagine.  We pray that our child will someday hear these stories and know and understand how deeply they are loved, not just by us, but all of you, before any of us even knew them.  Even more importantly that they are loved by their Heavenly Father who has been their provider from the beginning.  We look forward to sharing with them how everyone worked together to help bring them home.

If you have been one of the brave souls to read this long-winded blog post and got to the bottom then we would also ask that you pray. We have applied for a grant and we need prayer that as this organization reviews our application we find favor. We are hoping this grant will help in answering our prayers to not have to do any future fundraisers

Thank you so much for taking this journey with us in fundraising.  Thanks for showing up at our events and supporting, encouraging, helping and giving.  Please know that you are giving so much more than your time and money, you are completing a family.