Thursday, September 12, 2013

Let God Amaze You

I think I've said this in one of my 3 or 4 posts that I've written....I tend to forget just how BIG God is.  I tend to limit Him to my human capacity. Not only do I forget how BIG he is, I forget that he is a God that so desires to be in relationship with us.  He gave up everything to be in relationship with us.  He is enthralled with us. 
Today, like many other days, I have a song stuck in my head....

You dance over me while I am unaware
You sing all around but I never hear the sound

Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
And how You love me

You paint the morning sky with miracles in mind
My hope will always stand
For You hold me in Your hand

How deep how wide
How great is Your love for me 

This song just speaks to me over and over of his great and awesome love for me and for ALL the people in this world.  I know there are times when I've sinned and I think to myself, " why would he want to be with me or interact with me when I've done (fill in the blank),"  But he says in Romans 5:8, " But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." So even while, I have messed up, he is there, wanting me to repent and run to him.  His arms are always open.  The song says, "How deep, how wide, how great is your love for me"!  There is no limit to his love for us.  "You dance over me, while I'm sing all around but I never hear a sound"...does that sound like a god that doesn't want to be in relationship with us? Absolutely not!!! Today it just puts the biggest smile on my face knowing that he dances over me!!! 
But, we don't just stop there, today I read in Ephesians 5:1-2(The Message),  

"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."  

Wow! Not only do I need to know and comprehend Christ's love for me....I need to imitate him!  I need to love him with the same love that he loves me with..."extravagant love".  I need to love my husband with the same love.  I need to love my kids, my neighbors, my friends, my enemies, etc. with the same love that Christ has for me.  When we truly follow Christ, we have to put this into action....and please don't think I am perfect, I have and am going to mess up....but he cares about my heart, not perfection.  I read this same verse to my kids this morning, and tried to put it into words they might understand.  We talked about imitating Christ.  But in order to imitate Christ we need to know what he does....which lead to the question....What does God or Christ do? Here were some of their answers:

He loves
He serves
He provides/gives
He protects
He sacrifices

He does all these things....and now we need to do the same.  We need to love God and love others.  We need to serve God and serve others.  We need to give back to God (because he has provided for us) and we need to give to others.  We need to protect and care for the orphans and widows. And we need to give even when it hurts...we need to sacrifice.  Hearing and teaching these things are one thing, doing them is completely different....but it is my hearts desire to do them and to instill them in my kids.

So, today be amazed by God and his love for you and then let that carry into imitating Christ and loving others, whatever that might look like! And remember, he dances and sings over you! He delights in you!!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Adoption: Yard Sale Fundraiser

So we had our first fundraiser for our adoption! I honestly didn't know how tired you could get trying to put one on!  It is such a relief when the sign finally gets put out and people start walking down your drive way.  At that is what it is! And you can let out that big breath that you feel like you've been holding for a long, long, long time!!!  We not only did a yard sale, but we did a bake sale(Thank you Maggie, Lauren and Kennedy for working the stand)....
Thank you so much to everyone who donated goodies....they were all so tasty! I would know...I think I tried them all!  We also sold our adoption t-shirts(thank you Shannon and Jaclyn for rolling all of them)...

Yes, that cutie patootie is my little miss Jo Monkey!!! I really don't know how anyone could resist buying a shirt after seeing that pic!  But maybe that's because I'm her mamma and I just looooove every bit of her!!! Well, enough bragging...below is a link to my Etsy shop where you can purchase one of our adoption t-shirts!  I'm working on getting set up for people to buy one off of my blog, but that is just far more than I can try to accomplish right now!

My friend Kristen Dacey over at designed them...didn't she do a fantastic job?!?! I love them! One of our long time family friends had them printed...she is the owner of, Mary Pearia- She is really like a second mom to me and I can't say enough thank you's to both of them for helping us make this t-shirt thing happen!!!

The weekend was packed with selling lots and lots of "things" and we can truly say that it was a huge success!  Thank you friends, family and friends we made, for all your support.  We are humbled and blessed by your generosity and we truly could not do it without y'all!!!  We are that much closer!!  

On another note and probably which is why my blog is titled "Everything In Between", I learned something this weekend as well....I think seeing friends go through the adoption process I have maybe come to think and perhaps expect that God will work in the same way with us as He did with them.  If I am truly honest with myself, I think I had expectations because of that.  It hit me in my quiet time yesterday that, we are all on our own journey, and they are never the same...maybe the lesson He is trying to teach us is the same, but His way of going about doing it is so very different.  So while many of us are going down the same road and feel God calling us to adopt, the way we get there is different.  I have to remind myself not to compare our situation with others!  He brought us here and He will continue to lead us down this road and I pray that I won't miss all of the things that He wants to teach me in the midst of it.  I pray that I won't miss time with Him because I am so caught up in trying to figure out how to raise money, or get all the paper work done...I have seen him work the HUGE miracle of bringing Morris and I's hearts into agreement over adoption, He won't leave us hang'n to figure out the rest...He is our provider and He proved that this weekend! Thank you Lord for you blessings...You are worthy of all honor and you be the glory both now and forever! Amen

And little one, while we are still plugging away on this journey to get to you, we are talking about you, dreaming about you, praying for you, missing you, loving you, and.....
My heart aches just to see a picture of your sweet hold you in my love and squeeze every bit of you, to hear you giggle, to wipe away your tears and to hold you when you sleep.  I had no idea how hard it would be to wait for you....your mamma loves you!! Actually, this whole family loves you! We are a little bit closer....

Monday, July 1, 2013

Adoption: Why China

We said, "Yes" what?  We needed to figure out international or domestic.  Although each avenue is important and needed, we were leaning towards international.  Then comes, what agency and country?  We did some research and through that we had it narrowed down to  China and Ethiopia.  We met the qualifications for each.  However, even with these two as our options, many of the agencies we looked into were not taking applications for Ethiopia.  So, that pretty much leaves us with China!  The agency we decided to use is CCAI (Chinese Children Adoption International) , and I can't say enough wonderful things about them so far!
Through this process I would look at the "waiting children" list of kids in China, I new in my heart this is where God wanted us to adopt from.  It broke my heart knowing that many of them were abandon because of their special need or minor corrective need.  We also came to realize that a majority of China's population are atheists.  So if a child was never adopted, they would be put on the streets at 14 and most likely never hear about Jesus Christ. This solidified our decision even more.  This is a verse that keeps making its way back to us:

"The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

The orphans of the world are overlooked and ignored.  I am sure almost all of them to some degree don't feel cherished, valued or loved.  I would like them all to be able to feel and experience these things, but I can't physically do that...I can however, start with one. So down this journey we go....China...he/she may not look like us, but he/she will be apart of us to the core!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Adoption: How We Came to Say "Yes"!

Warning...this is a long one.  I guess you could say that I've always been open to the idea of adoption.  That was it, though.  Over the past three years we've had a couple friends go through the adoption process and that opened up my eyes.  I had no idea how HUGE and how LONG this process was!  I knew from conversations with my husband that adoption probably wasn't in our future, however, I wanted to be involved some how.  After all, that is what scripture teaches us:  "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27.  Over the past few years, this teaching has been coming up over and over again.  With all this, my heart still wasn't broken over it.  I had compassion, yes, but it wasn't breaking my heart like it was breaking His. 

Time went on.  At this point we have 4 amazing kiddos! I am sleep deprived more than ever and beautiful craziness fills our house!  My husband is gone 4 days out of the week and we have very little (more like zero) time to ourselves!  I home school our oldest and so I am with little ones all day....I love it though!!! Yes, there are times I want to pull out my hair, but I wouldn't trade it for the world! My husband and I, however, were looking forward to having more time to ourselves and doing things with the kiddos that having a baby doesn't allow you to do. But, just when you think that is what you want for your life and your family, God has something different!

I'm in a women's Bible study on Friday mornings.  This last spring we were doing a study on Nehemiah-A Heart That Can Break by Kelly Minter.  The title should have been a warning to me, because that is exactly what happened to mine!!!  I can't say enough good things about this study. There was one day that especially got my attention.  Session 3 Day 2: Laying Down Our Rights, was the title.  Here is a quote from that day that started to break my heart for the orphans of this world.

"Our rights don't get to be god, our privileges are never the final word.  Even if we deserve what's coming to us, if the end result is not the love of God and the love of others, what lies inside the lines of permissible is no longer beneficial.  This is gospel living, as opposed to a life driven by getting whatever is rightfully ours."  Kelly Minter

Inside, I thought I had earned the right to have some "my" time.  That our plates were full raising 4 kids. I wanted to get to a spot where I was comfortable and rested!  And after reading this it hit me, He doesn't call us to comfort, to be rested at all times, to make life as easy as possible once you're a certain age or have however many kids.  He calls us to be uncomfortable, to be sold out...spent.  I sat in church this last Sunday and sang the words to this song:

"Love so amazing, so divine.  Demands my soul, my life, my ALL.....Oh the wonderful cross, oh the wonderful cross, bids me come and die and find that I may truly live..."

He demands ALL of me....I don't get to decide when I've done enough....and like that song says, if I'm obedient to His calling and give my ALL, I'm going to be blessed by Him...I'm going to "truly live"!  So, sometime in the spring, my heart started changing.  But that was me, not my husband.  I never talked to him about it because I was pretty sure I knew where he stood.  Throughout the rest of the study, my heart kept aching over these children.  At night, before going to bed, I would go up and look and pray over my kiddos.  With each one, all I could think about was how children out there will never be loved, held, prayed over, cherished, tickled, kissed, hugged and the list goes on and on.  My heart was burdened and I didn't know what to do about it. 

Around this same time, an old high school friend of mine partnered with an organization called SowingRoots (to learn more about them go to  Their organization is set up to love and care for orphans.  I thought that this was something that I would love to get involved in.  I told my husband about them and that I wanted to help promote their organization and help any way that I could.  He supported me in this.  They had a kick off fundraiser coming up in May.  My husband and I, as well as some good friends decided we would go to it!  Even being involved in small ways, it wasn't helping my heart with this burden that was weighing heavily.  I honestly have never experienced anything like it.  I guess you could say that He had broken my heart for the orphans of this world.  It was a horrible feeling knowing I wasn't able to do anything about it.  The event for SowingRoots approached.  I was telling my husband one day how I felt over the phone, his words to me were, "I will support others in their adoption or however else I can financially, but I flat out don't want to adopt".  There was no convincing him.  All I had left to do was pray (which I probably should have done in the first place).  So, the day before the event, I started praying that if adoption was something that God wanted for our family, he needed to change my husbands heart.

The next evening, we all went to SowingRoots kick off fundraiser.  There were two speakers and both were really fueled my passion for these kids even more.  I didn't want to bring it up with my husband.  I figured if he had any changed feelings about it, he would let me know.  He brought it up some and by the end of the weekend he was more open to it.  He left on another trip and I continued to pray about it for the next few days.  Little did I know that God was working on him in his quiet times.  We continued talking about it.  After five or so days of praying and seeking God, our hearts were united!  I remember getting off the phone with my husband and tears just started to pour down my face because I had just seen the work of God in such a mighty way.  We had both said, "Yes"!  For the next couple of days I think we were both in shock. 

God is way bigger than I ever give Him credit for.  He amazes me time and time again and I am so glad He does.  I am beyond excited to walk down this road of adoption.  I can't tell you how excited I am to see my next child's face.  What a day that will be.  What an awesome picture of how God feels towards each and everyone He has created.  We are coming for you "Bramlett of My Heart"! I love you so much already! I can't wait to hold you in my arms!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This Blogging Thing is Complicated

So, I am starting to blog for several reasons, but three reasons primarily.  The first being that, I have been wanting to journal about our kids and different events that happen within our family. There is a lot that goes on around here and I'm afraid this brain won't remember all of it.  The second is, I want to journal about our adoption.  I want the child we adopt to have something to read and look back on.  To know that they were thought of, prayed for, and loved even before we knew them or saw their face.  The third reason is simply this, I want to be able to share our life with others.  My hope is that this blog will be a help and encouragement to friends, family and people I don't even know! With all that said, I had know idea how HARD it would be to set up and design a blog....and I'm almost certain I did the most simple thing out there!  So that should tell you just how computer illiterate I am!  So here is to blogging....let the adventure begin!!!