“Where Are You With the Adoption?”

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“Where are you with the adoption?”

This is the popular question coming from family members, friends, and our adoption agency. My answer? Money! Whether you agree with it or not, we all know adoption is expensive (but aren’t all children?!). And because there is no insurance that helps cover the cost of bringing your adopted child into your world, you must come up with it on your own. We have accepted that challenge. After all, God has always been faithful with every financial circumstance we have encountered so far. And will He not provide every cent of what is needed for us to do His will?

With all of that being said, we need about $10,000 to get started. That will cover our Home Study and our US processing fees along with a few smaller fees like background checks and the like. We are working on paying off the last of the debt from my clot in February and are saving as quickly as we can. However, I’m the most impatient patient person you will meet. I can wait and wait like a saint. But when I’m finally ready, it’s time to get started and there had better be no delay. God knows this – after all He created me. So I have been praying for a way to increase the flow of funds into our Asher account. And praying. And praying more. I had began to feel hopeless about the idea of any extra funds when God responded in a funny way.

If you know me, I’m quiet, polite, hard-working. If you really know me, I’m the sassiest person you’ll ever meet. Throw coffee in the mix (which I do religiously), and I’m a whirlwind of productivity and sarcasm. I love coffee. I love quick-witted remarks. And I like those quick-witted remarks on my coffee cups. Soooo.. why not make them? And sell them all for Asher’s account? I can’t ask others for money. Call it pride or something else, but taking money is an extremely hard thing for me. However, if you would love to be a small part of Asher’s story, or just really like my cute cups, let me know! Send me a message, friend me on Facebook, hunt me down. I will make a million cups if it leads to our son coming home quicker.

So without further introduction, here’s what I’m doing.

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Custom requests are more than welcome and find me on Facebook for my most recent designs. These babies are $12 and each one goes directly into the Asher fund.. which is a whole other blog post on its own. There’s a part of me that’s terrified that this a terrible idea that no one will be interested in, but God has already shown me an overwhelming response that I will joyfully keep you updated about. So what are you waiting for? If you’ve read this far, you must be interested in a cup right? ūüôā

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The Beginning

When the time is rightI will make this happen, says the Lord.Isaiah 60_22

As you may remember, last Sunday was Father’s Day. Of course the Sunday message was geared towards fathers and fathering. While I’m no father and have no plans of ever being one – I’ll leave that to my sweet husband – the preacher said something that opened up my ears just enough to hear God say something to me. It was one of those words from the Lord that keeps echoing on in the silence of my mind for days and even weeks later.

It was a simple comment that was made to encourage men, fathers or not, to step up and lead others. “Just because you conceive does not make you a father; and you do not have to conceive to be a father.”

Conceive. My world stopped spinning as God changed my focus.

“You have conceived.”

But what do You mean, God? I am not to carry Asher, my blessing. How can you say that I have conceived?”

But as usual, as my brain steps in to analyze and contradict, I can’t hear a response to my questions. I’m forced to shift my focus back to the real world and wait for His timing. Over the next week, as I’m engulfed in silence and only my thoughts before bed each night, His words come back to me and the answer begins to become more evident.

Early in her pregnancy, a new momma experiences so much before there is evidence of that child to others. She immediately feels a soulful connection to one that does not yet exist to the world. She envisions future possibilities for that baby – his first steps, his hobbies, his first love – all before he has taken his first breath. A million possibilities begin at conception for that momma. She carries that baby with her from his first moment of life and gets to feel him grow and move before anyone else.

Conception is defined as “the beginning; the origination.”

And that’s where I am. While there is no evidence of my child, we are at the beginning of Asher. He is very much as real to me as a heartbeat on a sonogram because I know that my God has promised him to me and His word does not fail. So I will dream of his firsts and his bests. I will allow my God to grow my heart and mind into that of a mother as he grows the womb of a pregnant mother. I can’t wait to celebrate with others the physical milestones of our journey to meet Asher. But until that time, I will enjoy the quiet and subtle growth within me of the promise of that boy.

 

Asher: (ash’-er)

Asher: (ash’-er)¬†blessed; happy one.

That is what we are calling him for now. Our little boy – black hair, shining eyes, and a great big, heart-melting smile.

It started as a conversation in our kitchen in November. During the month of December it had turned into an option. And by January, it had transformed into a mind-consuming vision for the future. Then, out of nowhere, February confirmed it as God’s calling for our lives.

We will begin to grow our family in 2016. This will begin with an application to Holt International Adoption Agency. We will eventually travel across the world to find the little boy I’ve seen in my dreams – the one whose soul matches ours so completely and divinely.

He is our “Plan A,” we have no major struggles with fertility, no reason to not “have our own,” as we’ve been asked. But I’ve seen my child, we have heard God tell us to find him, and we won’t stop until we are brought together.

So, in some tiny way, this is our announcement that we are expecting. How exciting is that?

for this child

Give Up the Fight

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I know you took a look at yourself in the mirror today. What did you see? A tired, broken body? Eyes masking the torment coursing through your mind? A reflection reminding you of every flaw covering your life? Forget it all! It’s time you start allowing God to step into your life and change your image of yourself.

“He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:5

You’re actions alone will never be good enough. But that’s okay; God wants you to rely on Him. And trust me, when you stop carrying around the burden of trying (and desperately failing) to do anything without Him, you realize your “good enough” was nowhere near what you wanted anyways. Giving it all, and I mean all, will radically change your life!

The day you stop fighting to prove your worth, you will begin to see your worth in God. He created you, He knows you, and loves you despite all of your flaws. He knows the deepest, darkest things you hide from the world. And still loves you. Let Him in. Stop fighting. Start seeing yourself the way He created you instead of the way the world wants you to see yourself. You are worth so much more!! And you don’t have to do a thing to prove it. Let Him prove it to you and it will begin to shine through as evidence.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Psalm 139: 13-15

Prepared for Landing

Lately I have felt like my life has been in a holding pattern. Awaiting the next big thing, idling in neutral preceding a momentous event that will shift my life, my family, or my career into drive. Lacking the time needed to really exert myself forward, I decided to hunker down into a state of suspension. If I can’t see any major changes, I’m not changing at all, right? I’ve been so focused on what’s next that I’ve neglected to see the beauty of what is around me.

On this overcast December morning, as I sat in the stillness of my home, sipping coffee while underneath a warm blanket, I noticed something.

As I listened to my husband strum his acoustic guitar in the next room as I worked on a Christmas gift for a loved one, I heard something.

Even now, as I’m trying my hardest to poetically string together words in the same manner that a child tries to portray a landscape with crayons, I feel something.

I’m already there. That is, where I needed to be today, by the grace of God, I’ve made it. Despite my best efforts, despite my lack of vision, and despite my ungratefulness, God has placed me exactly where He wanted me today. And I know that no matter where I am tomorrow or next year, it will be exactly where He has designed me to be, according to His schedule.

It is only expected of me to use what has been given to me to the fullest potential. That does not mean focusing on what I want next, nor does it mean yearning for what I do not have. This day is a gift. Everything I have is a gift. Everything I do not have is a gift. God knows me better than I know myself. And I must, for the condition of my soul, live fully in the moment that has been gifted to me. It’s time to stop hovering over my life and instead immerse myself fully.

The Beauty in That Mess

This time last year, I was pregnant. I was excited. I was immediately and wholly in love. And I was absolutely scared to death. I’m a girl who survives and thrives on a plan. And this was not planned. But my husband and I were willing to take the plunge into parenthood (and would have been great at it, in my opinion).

Due to a flaw in mankind, I lost that baby. It was heart wrenching. Our entire family mourned with us. But it was ultimately what brought me back to God. I learned a hard lesson last year. I learned that I can not do everything on my own and that, despite my greatest efforts, I do not get to make the plans for my life.  Jeremiah 29:11 became my daily mantra.

For I know the plans I have for you,‚ÄĚ says the¬†Lord. ‚ÄúThey are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”¬†

I bandaged my wounds the best I could and trusted God that this was all a part of His plan and that His plan would be much greater than anything I could ever imagine for myself. During this past year, God surrounded me with many women that I love that became pregnant. At times it was hard, but it’s funny how God can tell you to “buck up” in His most gentle, chastising way. There were many times where I could hear Him telling me to be patient and to trust Him, neither of which are my strengths.

The beauty in this particular mess is that I am now, and soon to be even more, surrounded by beautiful babies that I love as part of my own family. I get to observe and learn from my friends and I also get to continue to focus on building my marriage.

I’ve exposed all of that to say this, I am now expecting. Not in the way I was last August. No, this is something much deeper within me. I wake up with an expectation that I can’t even begin to explain. Something is coming; a lot is changing.¬†And the best part is, I have absolutely no clue what it is! But I know that they are plans for good. I know that it will be beyond my wildest expectations. And that is the true beauty of God in the mess of me.¬†

I suppose my purpose for writing about this tonight is for encouragement. Pain and disappointment are the main offerings of this world. Turn to God. Trust Him. See how the Painter of the heavens and earth can turn your insignificant portrait of life into something great!

 

**PS, check out my fortune from my Chinese date tonight..

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But first, let me…

Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook and Instagram as much as the next girl (show me someone who doesn’t melt when looking at¬†Tuna’s cute little face), but is anyone else tired of the selfie addiction with which our generation struggles?TunaMeltsMyHeart 1

Seriously, when I googled “selfie” today, I got over 310 *million* results – and that doesn’t include the four that you had to take before you managed to snap a pic that makes you look prettier and thinner than the others (don’t pretend you don’t do that too). Aren’t we all just a little tired of seeing our faces plastered all over everything?? Are we really that self-involved?

I believe that two causes exist for the selfie addiction.

1. Your beauty must be shared with the world.

You’re beautiful and you know it. In fact, you are so beautiful that you are truly doing the world a disservice by not sharing your face frequently. If that’s the case, keep on at it, girl. I know that nothing turns my day around like¬†seeing a beautiful girl with the classy and flattering¬†pose made trendy¬†by Miley Cyrus.

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2. The world must share with you your beauty.

The¬†most common desire of a young woman’s heart is to feel accepted, beautiful, and loved. And in a world where the supermodels don’t even look like their photos thanks to photoshop, how is any woman ever expected to hold up to those standards?¬†It’s time to stop comparing yourself to an image or an idea of what you think is beautiful. Quit asking your friends on social media to give you your self-worth!

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…Rather, it should be that of your inner self,¬†the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God‚Äôs sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

Please begin to understand that beauty is not an appearance, it is an essence of what is inside of you. Beauty is not skin-deep! It’s soul-deep and instead radiates outward. If you learn to improve your inward-image, everyone will take notice! I challenge you to replace that daily selfie with an attempt to improve yourself through kindness, gentleness, joy, love, goodness, patience, and self-control. You’ll quickly learn that beauty is not measured by how many likes you can get, but by how many lives you can change.