Friday, November 30, 2012

factions in the church and my heart

I've been trying to get a post in for a while but my heart has been heavy with a lot of things going on.  I can't imagine what Paul must have gone through when carrying the burden of the early churches at Corinth, Phillipi, Thessaloniki, Ephesus, Galatia, etc.  And he was far away and probably felt even more helpless than we do at times.  We are just praying (and asking for your prayers) over people and situations that everyone from elders and staff through every person in the congregation would take heed to Micah 6:8:  He has told you, o man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.  We serve a just God and he will have his justice but we are not here to act on his behalf.  Acting justly is on us, how we treat others, not carrying out His wrath.  You cannot simultaneously attempt to carry out God's wrath and love mercy at the same time (or walk humbly either).

We are still humans with feelings of pain and hurt and will do stupid things from time to time.  But if we are selfless, act in love, and think before we speak, we have a much greater attempt to come out unscathed and hurt way less people in the process.

Ok, that aside...as we walk through the holidays there are so many things happening around us.  SO MANY of our friends have recently gotten engaged (I think we will attend 5 weddings between March and July).  I am ecstatic about this but I just keep thinking of more wedding pictures where our family will be incomplete. A lot of our friends are either getting pregnant or attempting to get pregnant.  I think it will be very difficult for me to watch someone get pregnant and have a baby in less time than when I get to bring my baby boy home.  Again, I'm super excited for these friends, it just pulls at my heart to think my baby is alive but not with us yet.  No, I do not technically know that he is alive yet, but we believe very strongly that as we have prayed for him that he is already here in this world.

The most difficult thing at the holidays is that in my core I hope and pray that by the next holiday season we will have both our boys with us but there are no guarantees.  And the thought of us still waiting at that point is very difficult for me to accept as a possibility.  It creates factions in my heart to want to just give up.  Of course we wouldn't because we are fighting for our child here (well, not fighting but sometimes it feels that way).  And we know this is right where we're supposed to be and, as always have to trust His sovereign timing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My political statement...a branch from the norm.


I realize that everyone has the choice to decide who they are and are not friends with on social media and I think that as a whole on facebook I keep my head down and out of any controversial statements/remarks.  However, what I think that has left me is cowering to sometimes not say what I believe in hopes that people will not be offended.  So here it is, let me put it out there.  If you didn’t know before, I’ll tell you now, I am a Christian (gasp). If you choose to unfriend me now based solely on that, then please stop reading.  However, if you are open minded you will not make assumptions about me because of that fact.  The heart of the message of the bible (God’s word), is love.  Not hate, not divisiveness, not segregation, not political party, no, if anything, it is in contrast to those concepts.

That being said, let me clarify some things.  I believe America was created so we could be free from religious ruling and based on the fact that all men (and women) are created equal.  Thus, I believe that gay marriage should be legal.  Whether you agree or disagree with homosexuality, it is not anyone’s place to impose their beliefs, religious or otherwise on someone else.  I have spent enough time in countries where my “religion” (I hate that word) was the minority and trust me, you don’t want that imposition to happen to anyone.  I believe that every person should have access to healthcare (no, this does not mean I believe Obamacare is necessarily the way forward).  I also believe in fiscal responsibility.  I do not think it is right that my husband and I work very hard to pay off our debt while our country continues to spend well outside our means.  I believe that there are some very hard working people that live in this country that do pay taxes and abide by the laws that live in fear everyday they will be kicked out because they were not born here.  I also believe there are many people who were brought here well before they knew any different and know nothing other than this place as their home yet are still not welcome here.  So where does all this leave me politically?  In nowhere land.

Where that leaves me is in disbelief that our system works as is.  More than healthcare reform, we need political reform. And yet when those that make the laws have a vested interest in keeping the system as is, change will not happen.

However, I believe there is another way.  I believe that if we (people who call themselves Christians) and those that may not believe in Christ but still want good for humankind, would focus less on who is in office and more on what it means to love, the world would be a better place.  Love means providing for those that are less fortunate, sharing what we have with those that don’t, opening our homes and our lives to those around us, and truly caring about people…regardless of their gender, sexuality, race, political affiliation, etc.  Some may say this is socialism at its best…and in some regards, the concept is the same.  But socialism put forth by mandate does not work.  Government requirements to feed the poor and other well intentioned government programs just make people that pay for those programs bitter and angry.  I’m not saying this is right or wrong, it is just the reality of what we have seen in societies around the world.  And, unfortunately, that bitterness and anger turns into flippant complacency and selfish ambition which can lead to feelings of entitlement.

No, the only way this concept works is if love is the motivation.  And for those of you/us that are Christians, shame on us for not making love the motivation of every aspect of our lives.  Yes, we are going to mess up, we’re human, but the world would be a much better place if everyone who claims Christianity would live by this concept.  So many times the “Love” passage in 1 Corinthians 13 is used at weddings and yet, it was not written for that specific of an audience.  While it applies to that, it does not ONLY apply to that.

If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing. If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever.

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant; it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. We know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.

I could go into all the details about how we have enough food in the world to feed every human yet people starve to death everyday and how families in America have the wealth and space to house all the orphans of the world if we would open our homes to them. Shoot, the money spent on the two biggest political campaigns this year could change entire third world countries!  If love is our motivation and driving factor, these problems could be completely stamped out.   

I hope you got to this point and didn’t shut down as soon as I said the word Christian.  I think Christ would be sickened by what is said and done in his name both today and historically. I realize that these thoughts and desires about “saving the world” are a bit idealistic. The good thing is, part of my belief system is faith and I do have faith that we, as humans, are inherently good.

If now, at this point, you still want to unfriend me please do so.  And in the future, if you have questions about who I am, please ask me before making assumptions.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

the list

As I've seen the money take shape in our Lifesong account, people learning more about our adoption and adoption in general, our car dying and us buying a minivan in preparation, friends getting pregnant and having babies, our baby growing...as I've seen life happen around us, it sometimes feels like my heart is not moving. It's November which means we have been on this journey for 11 months.  But it took Justin and I about 3 months to pray over our decision and submit our application so for us, it seems closer to 14 months.  And yet, with the wait times increasing to 12-15 months for a referral, we are now looking at an estimated 5-8 months of wait time. Still.

Yes, I am despondent this month.  We knew that it was very possible to see a wait list with no movement and alas, that is what this month has brought.  But as I stated above, there are some amazing things that are happening around us!  Just because a random number which we've been given hasn't changed doesn't mean God is not working.  In fact, one thing we found out was that our organization has partnered with another babies home in Uganda and is in the process of doing research on the availability to adopt the children there. That's very promising to me!  Not just in the selfish, speed up my timeline aspect.  But the bigger picture is, more resources, more children in forever families.

Last month I reported to you that we were #19 on the list.  And what I have to report this month is that we remain #19 on the list.  I'm trying to be patient and know that not one ounce of this is in my control.  Holding on to Psalm 27:13-14 "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."


Sunday, November 4, 2012

kids (plural)

In an effort to be frugal and good stewards, we have been trying to drive our old beater car into the ground while not wasting money sinking more into it.  As I managed our budget both for our household and our adoption I saw that after we got our tax return we would finally be in an ideal place to look at buying our next car...a minivan.  This idea is exciting to me for so many reasons.  First of all, I am so tired of driving a 1997 Infiniti QX4 that sounds awful and every time I drive it I wonder if I'll actually get where I'm going.  It has been a trusty car for us and has lasted us a very long time.  But right now I think the tires on the car are worth more than the car itself.

For a bit of background, we do have remote start on this old beater.  Yesterday, we got a knock on our door.  It was our next door neighbor coming to tell us that our car had been running for two hours.  What??  We thought maybe Jack had gotten a hold of our keys and turned it on.  But the problem with that theory is that when using the remote starter, if you don't put the key in the ignition after about 20 minutes the car turns off.  Throughout the night we would randomly hear the car turn itself on and we'd push the button and turn it off again.  Creepy, right?  Finally, we moved the car and when doing so, the RPM gauge went nutso.  Needless to say, we realized it was not going to make it another 4-5 months.

Excited that I get a new car but sad we didn't get the chance to make more debt payments/adoption savings before doing so, we trekked out to test drive.  Now I'm sure you don't come here to read about the details about our family car buying experiences.  And to be honest with you, I don't think it's a big enough deal to talk about.  And yet, a piece of this is important to me.  A minivan is only really relevant when you kid two or more kids.  Families with only one child know it's not as imperative to have a minivan.  Now, don't get me wrong, minivans are great for more than that, shoot, my parents went and bought another one a few years ago because they loved their old one so much!

The point of this...sorry, it took me a while to get there.  As we were at a dealership talking to a guy and he's learning a bit about us I found myself referring to the need for a minivan because of our "kids" plural.  I didn't say it with the intent to deceive or mislead, just a pure true sense of our (hopefully) very near future.  As the funding is coming together, the timeline is ticking by, and being bombarded by the reminders that it's national adoption month, I realize on a daily basis that we will soon be a family of four!  And I am so excited about it!  I love the stage Jack is in now and am hopeful we will not miss this stage in James' life.  But no matter when he joins us, I just want him here!!  We should be getting our monthly update this week so stand by for where we are on the list!  And here's hoping and praying for a referral in the next 5 months!!