Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time ~Oswald Chambers

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Two Days

Two more days and then we leave.
And my thoughts are pretty much all over the board this week.

Ranging anywhere from eager anticipation of what He has planned
to the...
ohmygoodnessIcan'tbelievethatIactuallythoughtIcouldtaketwokids toChinaallbymyselfwhatwasIthinkingthisisabsolutelyinsane
kind of thoughts.

And I bounce back and forth between the two extremes.

I look at the suitcases full of supplies and donations and am in awe of His provision.
And then I look at my little one who's cried himself to sleep a few nights at the thought of us leaving and I doubt.

I remember how intricately He orchestrated everything...the tickets, the timing, the provisions.
And in the same moment I feel a wave of panic at the thought of airports, and airplanes, and customs.

But He knows all this.

And it's no coincidence that we've been in the book of Exodus this week reading about the Israel's deliverance from Egypt.

And I see Him there.

The God who goes before and behind.  Who leads in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  The One who never departs from those He leads.

I see Him and am encouraged.
Because their God is my God.

But I also see myself there.

In that passage that tells of a people who have seen the plagues fall, the seas part, and the enemy swallowed up right before their eyes.  A people who saw and believed in Him whose power had granted them freedom.

And yet...

Before the last notes of the song of praise offered up to their Deliverer had quieted, they raised a chorus of complaint. 

No doubt things weren't easy.
Three days in the desert.
Nothing to drink but bitter water.
But they looked to their circumstances instead of to their God.
And they grumbled.

And I feel that tension this week.
That temptation.
To forget all that He's done to bring us to this point
and to simply feel overwhelmed by what remains and what's unknown, and what's completely out of my control
instead of being overwhelmed by His goodness.

With two days to leave, there is a lot going on.
Tensions rise, tempers flare and tears fall.
The week shortens but the to do list doesn't.
Anxiety and doubt beat down my door reasoning that it only makes sense to let them in given the circumstances.

It is a battle.

But tucked away in this passage of freedom and forgetfulness is one of my favorite promises:

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

It is a battle, but He is the One who fights.

Fear not.
Stand firm.
Be still.

I will fight for you.

And in these next two days
as suitcases are packed
tears are wiped
hearts are comforted
airports are explored
timezones are crossed
and the least of these are loved

that is my prayer.

That the enemies that I see today, the fear and anxiousness and doubt, will not have their way
but that He will have His.
And that He will orchestrate whatever circumstances He think best
be it deliverance or desert
so that all might see His glory in the battle.
and all might know that He is the Lord.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thank You!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

To all who donated.
And prayed.
And called.
And prayed.
And emailed.
And prayed.
And prescribed.
And prayed.

Here is the majority of what will be delivered (in 6 days) to precious little ones half a world away because of His great love towards them as displayed through your generosity!



Specifically...
  • 24 cans of formula for Rosie
  • 12 cans of PediaSmart formula
  • 4 bottles of prescription lactulose
  • several boxes of sugar-free medication and foods for those requiring special diets
  • and lots and lots and lots of nebulizers
We have 3 suitcases filled almost  to capacity.

Almost.

In something completely unrelated to our trip to the orphanage...it "just so happens" that Love Without Boundaries is in need of someone to transport two child walkers to China by the first weekend in March to be used by one of their physical therapists there.  The therapist will be working with a couple of LWB's precious little ones who will be receiving some much needed therapy by using these walkers.

Well, we "just so happen" to be going to China the first weekend in March.

And we "just so happen" to have "just enough" room left in one of our suitcases and "just enough" weight capacity to spare to take two child walkers with us.

So by Thursday we should receive the walkers in the mail.
And into the suitcase they'll go.
Without a minute,
or a pound,
or an inch to spare.

Amazing.
I so love how He does things like that.

Thanks again to you all!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The First Day of Forever


It was three years ago today.
The first day of our forever.

After almost 2 years of waiting
Almost 10,000 miles of travel
3 plane rides
1 blur of a layover in Hong Kong
2 additional plane rides into the heart of a foreign land

It started right there.

On a couch
in a hotel waiting room
in a provincial capital
somewhere in southern China.

A place on the map that we never even knew existed before that day 5 months earlier when her face had come across our computer screen and we were forever smitten.

Three years ago today...

We were exhausted.
And unbelievably nervous.

And before we even had time to catch our breath,
it would be taken away once again because suddenly...

There she was
making her way over to us
carried by her ayi
into our arms
into our lives
forever.

So tiny.
So beautiful.
And so very scared.

For the second time in her little life she would lose everything she had ever known.
And for the first few days her silent suffering was obvious.

It was in her eyes (oh those eyes).
It was in her body language (so stiff and rigid...her means of defense in the midst of all the change).
It was in that little mouth of hers that never turned fully up or down but seemed to stay perpetually puckered.

But then after our first few days together,
days of waiting,
and nurturing,
and love,
yes, the greatest of these, love,
it was as if new life had been breathed into her.

Her eyes had light.
Her body relaxed.
And her smile....

That glorious smile.

Nothing in all of our touring of that ancient, majestic land could hold a candle to her smile when it finally made its appearance.

And where there's a smile...
there's life.
And that's what began to unfold right in front of us.
A new life.

Gracious, I love her story.
Like I love all adoption stories.
Because by them I am reminded of my own.
And the stories of all who believe.

How we were all
without hope
and without home.
Alone and defenseless.

But God...

Rich in His mercy
Lavish in His grace

He considered the cost
And for the joy set before Him
He endured the cross.
Breathing His last,
He made it possible for new life to be breathed into us.

Eternal life.
Abundant life.

He comes to us in our hopelessness
And embraces us with His everlasting love.
He anchors us with His hope, firm and secure.
And He gifts us with His constant presence,
until that day...
the day when all of us
who are called by His name
and who are adopted into His family
are once and for all
in our Father's arms and forever
home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Her Turn

And then it was her turn.
She was one of the last ones to venture out.
Apparently, finding just the right snowsuit ensemble takes awhile.
And by the time she had her pinks and purples all coordinated, everyone else had already headed back in.


So she recruited someone extra special to escort her outside.
Someone who doesn't have a snowsuit ensemble to assemble.
Someone whose entire winter outerwear collection consists of a hooded sweatshirt.
Seriously.

Although it did take some time for him to lace up the snow boots.
But she waited patiently.
Offering a pointer here and there.


And before the sun sat high and melted all the fun away, off they went.

One well-accessorized four year old.
And her kind-hearted (yet slightly fashion-deprived) older brother.


Monday, February 20, 2012

My Little Calvin

Everyone else had already come inside.
But not my little Calvin.
I watched him from the window as he meticulously worked each snowball to spherical perfection.


Then as carefully as he had crafted them, he lined them up on the chair.
Counting and re-counting his arsenal.

And then he waited.
And waited.
And waited.
Passing the time by making snow angels.

Knowing that it if he waited long enough, maybe just maybe, an unsuspecting Susie Derkins would eventually come his way.
And my little Calvin...
...he would be ready.

Snow Day

While the big kids slept in and the little ones lounged about
 these two were up and at it this morning
 as soon as it was discovered that snow had accumulated overnight.

They wasted no time getting right down to business.
Making snow balls...

Playing with the pup...


 ...who always enjoys a good snow day himself.

 Then it was off to build the first (the only?) snow man of the year...
 
...complete with blueberry eyes and a carrot nose.

And then perhaps the most anticipated part of all...

...enjoying a little taste or two of  her very first snowfall.

I think she agrees with the rest of the household...

...snow days are simply the best.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

First Snow

When you grow up in southern China, the chance that you'll see any snow during the winter months 


is pretty much slim to none. 


And when you make your new home in the southeastern portion of the US, 


though your chances are slightly improved, there's still no guarantee. 


So when the weatherman says there's a possibility, 


and you look out the window to see big, white, fluffy flakes suddenly falling from the sky,


you better stop whatever you're doing and run outside to enjoy every last bit of it before it's over.


And that's exactly


what she did.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

They Danced



He wore his signature mock turtleneck with clip-on tie.

She chose the Sleeping Beauty pink taffeta dress complimented by her tan and mauve “I’m sassy and I know it” suede boots.

They met in the middle of the foyer as the crowd pressed in around them.

And then to the sheer delight of all who were present…

they danced. 

video

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Little Life Lesson from Lia

Because sometimes going it alone....
...isn't  ..isn't nearly as much fun.