Preston Party of Six

Preston Party of Six

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Thankful Heart

Yesterday was quite an emotional day for me, for it was the first Thanksgiving without my precious mom here with family to celebrate all of God's blessings.  Although my mom wasn't usually in our home on Thanksgiving Day because she was too sick to travel to Georgia from Ohio, she was still just a phone call hear her voice, to ask her when I should put the turkey in the oven based on its weight, to ask her how much broth to use in her perfected gravy recipe, to hear her talk to our children, and to tell her how very thankful I am for being such an amazing mother and "Mimi."  However, yesterday I wasn't able to do any of that.  I got really emotional as we went around the table with Jason's family sharing things we're thankful for this year.  I have SO MANY things to be thankful for, but at the top of my list for this past year was my mom and the life she lived, the legacy she left behind, and the love she gave to me and to so many others in her 63 years of life.  I miss her so much!  Our sweet daughter, Shelby (6 years old), got quite emotional after seeing me cry.  I tried to comfort her and share with her that Mimi is experiencing God's blessings of joy and peace and healing in heaven.  I gave her this picture of my mom to hold and that seemed to help, and she carried it around with her the rest of the evening.  Life and death and all that happens in between are hard to explain to a child--I have plenty of questions myself!  Yet I have no doubt that Shelby found joy and peace holding that picture of her Mimi that loved her and all ten of her grandchildren so very much!

My mom was so excited about our adoption, and that was most definitely second on my list of things to be thankful for this year.  One year ago, the desire to adopt was deep in my heart yet as I've shared before, Jason wasn't on the same page at that time.  So yesterday, as I looked into my husband's eyes and shared how very thankful I am for us to be walking together on the journey to adopt, tears of joy and thanksgiving flowed from my eyes.  There is still so much waiting to be done and so many unknowns to walk through, yet my heart overflows with thanksgiving at the thought of it all.  I hope and pray that wherever our daughter is in China, the Lord plants a seed in her heart...a seed of peace and joy knowing that there is a family in Newnan, Georgia that can't wait to embrace her and welcome her into our family forever. 

In Colossians 3:15, Paul says, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...and be thankful."  I confess it is HARD to let the peace of Christ rule in my heart.  I am quite often impatient, anxious, and worried about too many things, including "who and where is our daughter?"  It is a very surreal feeling to know that God has a daughter for us, but I don't yet know who or where she is in the vast land of China.  There are so many unknowns, so much waiting, and so much that is out of our control with adoption.  So for those reasons alone, I am learning more each day to let the peace of Christ rule in my heart.  But Paul doesn't stop there...he says to "be thankful."  Be thankful for the unknowns.  Be thankful for the waiting.  Be thankful that I am not in control.  Seriously?  This goes against my human nature!  Yet isn't that what the peace of Christ is all about?  I can only have peace during the unknowns, the waiting, and the uncontrollable things when I am thankful...thankful that Christ is all-knowing, thankful that Christ's timing is best, thankful that Christ is in control. 

A thankful heart indeed!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

He Can Move Mountains

Rocky Mountains
Today I've heard several songs on The Joy FM about how God can move mountains. Then I got a text from Andrea, an International Adoption Specialist with our adoption agency and an amazing woman I consider a friend.  She texted me some song lyrics about the Lord moving mountains.  Obviously, God knew I needed to hear this truth today.  As I wrote in this blog a few days ago, there are so many unknowns in life, including this adoption process.  Yet amidst these unknowns and "mountains" that seem overwhelming and daunting, I've been reminded again today that God can and does move mountains.  I hope these lyrics that speak truth encourage you today, too! 
Mighty To Save by Hillsong
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Author of Salvation
He rose & conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

One Thing Remains by Jesus Culture

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains

Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me

I Have To Believe by Rita Springer
I have to believe
That He sees my darkness
I have to believe
He knows my pain
I have to lift up
My hands to worship
Worship His name

I have to declare
That He is my refuge
I have to deny
That I am alone
I have to lift up
My eyes to the mountain
It's where my help comes from

Oh yeah
He said that He's forever faithful
He said that He's forever true
He said that He can move mountains
If He can move mountains
He can move my mountain
He can move your mountain, too

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Paper Pregnancy

Several of you have asked me where we're at in the long process of international adoption and the answer to that isn't simple.  Several adoption resources refer to the process of getting a son or daughter through adoption as a "paper pregnancy" because there is SO MUCH paperwork that is required...from the beginning application to numerous fingerprintings to writing your life story for the home study to preparing your dossier (a collection of personal documents sent to the foreign country).  Our home study is in the final phases of being completed by our amazing social worker, and last week I mailed all but one of our dossier documents to our adoption agency...the final one will hopefully be completed soon, but it is one that I have no control over the timing of its submission since it is a governmental immigration document. 

So that's my answer to the question of where we're at in the process of adoption...quite a mouthful!

But the key words in that answer are "I have no control."  In essence, that is what I'm learning more and more in this journey and it's NOT an easy lesson to learn, but one that the Lord is constantly trying to teach me because I like to be in control...I like to be organized (as much as possible with three kiddos in the house)...I like to know the plan and if something goes astray from that plan, I feel stressed...I want to know the answers to my questions and feel out of control if I don't have those answers...I have a hard time trusting others to do what I feel capable of doing and I feel anxious if it doesn't get done the way I feel it should get done. 

Can anyone else relate?

I hope I'm not alone! 

But I do know there is good news...GOD IS IN CONTROL!  I believe this with all of my heart, and as much as I often try to yank that control from Him, He lovingly directs me back to the truth that He is in control and He has a perfect plan.  I may not always see that perfect plan, nor will I always "feel" as if He's in control, but I KNOW HE IS BECAUSE I TRUST HIM AND I TRUST HIS WORD!

In Psalm 32:8, the Lord says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you."
Just what I need to hear EVERY DAY!!!

So as we continue on this journey to our daughter in China--through the myriad of documents, appointments, and WAITING--I am reminded each day that life this side of heaven will be filled with ups-and-downs and yet through them all, God is love, God is good, and God is in control!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

National Orphan less more hour

Tomorrow is National Orphan Sunday, a day set aside to specifically remember the 147+ million orphans worldwide.  Christians are called to defend the fatherless (Psalm 82:3), so as Jason and I embark on this journey of adopting an orphan from China into our family, I feel more convicted than ever by this verse.  I realize that not everyone is called to adopt, but all believers of Jesus Christ are commanded to defend the fatherless.  That can take on various forms in addition to may mean being a foster parent; it may mean giving financially to families in the process of adopting; it may mean starting an orphan ministry in your church; or it may mean praying diligently for the 147+ million orphans in need of a forever family.  I am so thankful that one day there will be one less orphan when God brings us our daughter from China!

Tomorrow is also the longest day of the year...don't forget to "fall back" and change your clocks before your head hits the pillow tonight so you can get an extra hour of sleep! As I've thought about having one more hour in the day, my mind can't help but think about my mom and how much I would love to have just one more hour with her!  I miss her so much, but I know she is full of joy and fully healed in the presence of Jesus.  Having "one more hour" reminds me of the importance of relationships...when all is said and done, all that really matters in this life is our relationships--with God and with others. 

Something I found before my mom died that I will cherish forever is a hand written note she did in 2001 while attending a cancer support group I coordinated at my church when Jason and I lived in Birmingham.  I had asked each of the participants to complete acrostics of various words, including LIFE.  My mom wrote:

L--Love is most imporant part of it.
I--I want to make a difference before I leave this place!
F--Family bonds are everything!
E--Eternity with Jesus

My mom "got it"--she understood what mattered most in this life and the life to come.  She knew how to spend all of her hours.  So what does this have to do with orphans?  A lot in my mind!  My mom was the first person I told about our decision to follow God's call to adopt and she was thrilled beyond words.  She knew that every child needs and deserves love.  She knew that Jason and I want to make a difference in all of our children's lives, including our daughter from China.  She knew that every child needs and deserves to be in a loving family forever.  And most importantly, my mom knew that our daughter from China would have an opportunity to hear about the love and salvation found in Jesus Christ, just like our biological children, and hopefully one day spend eternity with Him!

So how will you spend your hours?  Every minute counts!