Adoption latest

This may not be news to some, but we are in the process of adopting again.  This time, it's a boy!!  We placed our international adoption process on hold about a year and a half ago and felt strongly that we should pursue another adoption through the foster system in Mississippi.  The beginning of this year, we began doing what needed to be done to be licensed again as resource parents.  In May, we were told of a specific little one that our workers thought would be a perfect fit for our family.  We completed our licensing process at the end of July and last week, we got to meet the new little guy for the first time.  When we walked in to the play place at McDonald's, we saw him playing.  Our eyes met and he flashed one of the biggest and sweetest smiles ever.  I immediately knew it was him, even without the formal introduction, I just knew.  We played with him and talked to his foster mom for about an hour and a half.  He is an absolutely adorable, fun, feisty, loving, determined little man that is FULL of attitude!  And we are in love...  All of us!  Even Ana.  (A few days after our meeting, she wanted to say the blessing before lunch and she prayed "Thank you for this food and thank you for my little brother.")
At our meeting, I gave him a photo album with pictures of our family so that he would be with us even when we aren't physically with him..  When he left the visit, he walked away with that album tucked under his little arm and gripped in his sweet hand.  It was a precious memory for me..  So, we are now in the transition process and over the next month, he will be staying with us for some overnight visits and some long weekend stays so he will have an easy move.  We are excitedly anticipating his move and we are so looking forward to getting to know and love him more.  Pray for him, for us, for his foster family he is with now, and for our social workers.  Pray for smooth transitions and for him to love us as much as we love him.      


Good enough for me

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28, ESV)

This verse is one that I've looked at many times before.  I've needed it for comfort because life is not comfortable or easy.  Here are some things I've realized about this verse.  

* "those who love God" are born again believers in Jesus Christ.
* " all things" means just that..  ALL things.  Everything.. Hard things, fun things, sad things, things that we don't understand or comprehend, things that seem out of control..  ALL things.
* "for good".. Good?  

What is good, anyway?  Because I have a plan that is good..  It doesn't involve pain, hurt, sadness, trials, heartache, devastation, etc..  My plan is good..  It's fun and happy!  I mean, it is sunshine and lollipops good!  My plan is for orphans to have homes and the poor and needy to be rich and generously blessed.  My plan is for justice to always prevail.  My plan is that my friends wouldn't struggle and my family would all be healthy, always...  My plan... doesn't leave room for redemption.  My plan doesn't leave room for weakness.  My plan doesn't leave room for trusting in a holy God.  What is good, then?  God.  God is good. 

Mark 10:18 says, And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 

Only God is good..  And only God can determine what is GOOD.  In the beginning, God created all things.  After each day of creation, God saw that it was good.  He is the definer of all things good.  He has a plan that is good.  His plan is a plan of redemption and His plan allows for us to be weak because He is strong.  His plan allows us to be completely out of control of all things because He is causing all things to work together for good by His definition.  

We live in a world where things seem to be so chaotic and so out of control.  Each day is given to us as an ordained day orchestrated by a sovereign God.  Our responsibility as believers is not to make God look good, not to make all things seem to be working together for good, but to trust in His definition of good and to joyfully submit to His will daily.  We are to proclaim His redeeming goodness to a hurting world and allow our hurts to minister to those that are also afflicted.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Comfort, affliction, redeeming love, grace, bearing with one another in our sufferings, mercy, God.  All good..  And that is good enough for me.


Zim 13

I just returned from a 2 week trip to Zimbabwe and I want to share my time there with you.  Pack your imaginary bags, we're off for a distant land!

We left on the morning of July 14th and arrived on the evening of the 15th.  We were the last flight in for the evening.  Our guides from ACTS picked us up and we were on our way to the guest house for an overnight stay.  Tuesday morning, we departed early for the ministry sight, Mberengwa Caring Centre, an orphanage... (That makes 3 orphanages I've visited in 3 different locations since March.  Haiti, Honduras and Zimbabwe)

My two weeks in Zimbabwe resulted in sweet fellowship with The Lord. I began noticing that almost every day while I was there, "wait on The Lord" was a theme for Israel in the book of Isaiah. God convicted me of having a longing and a waiting for things other than Him. It went WAYYY back too.. I have struggled with infertility for many years and waited for adoptions to become a reality.. Even as I was sitting in Zimbabwe in those first days, I was trying to not be focused on getting home to meet the newest little guy that we will be fostering to (hopefully) adopt. That's when I was hit with the convicting truth that waiting on or longing for anything other than Jesus is sin. It doesn't produce righteousness... I have repented and am daily repenting. I want for the deepest desire of my heart to be an intense and genuine longing for Christ. I have repented also for thinking that any of my kids need me.. In reality, God is using me in their life, and it is a tremendous blessing, but what they need is their own deep longing for Christ.. So, I have come back from Zim with a new truth. One that I had a knowledge of, but now I am trusting The Lord for the grace to apply it to my life daily.  I think that's one of the reasons that the Lord has had me visit 3 orphanages in 3 completely different pars of the world in 4 months.  I don't know if what He wanted to show me would have been as powerful without the setting being what it was.  I still love and want desperately to meet this little guy that will be coming into our home, but I am aware that the deepest longing of my heart should only be for Jesus.  

Verses from Isaiah on waiting:

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31, ESV)

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 58:13-14, ESV)
And from Psalms:

Psalm 25

Psalm 62

Psalm 112

Psalm 130

Psalm 131

One other resource the Lord used to teach me to wait on Him was Gregg Fort. He spent his days with us teaching us about the temptation of Jesus from Matthew 4.  He shared with us questions that each of the temptations of Christ should cause us to ask ourselves.  
  • The 1st temptation raises the question "What is is that nourishes your soul?"
  • The 2nd temptation raises the question "Who gets credit/glory for your life?"
  • And the 3rd temptation's question... "What is going to become the object of worship in our life?
The bottom line as told by Gregg, "Listening to the voice of Satan is never going to accomplish God's purpose."

May I continue on in an attitude of waiting on and trusting in the Lord, His timing, plan and purpose and in turn, may my life glorify Him.  


We're Just Like Crayons

We're Just Like Crayons(Diversity Song for Young Children)
by Stephen Fite

We're just like crayons
Spread over the world
Just like my crayons
All over the floor
Black, brown, yellow, red & white
It's such a wonderful sight
We're just like crayons
All over the world

I was coloring a picture
Of the earth the other day
When my baby sister decided
That she wanted to play
She grabbed my box of crayons
And turned them upside down
Of course the crayons left the box
And fell right to the ground
And when I looked down at the mess
I knew was waiting for me
A thought popped right into my brain
Then I began to see

We're just like crayons
All over the world
Just like my crayons
All over the floor
Black, brown, yellow, red & white
It's such a wonderful sight
We're just like crayons
All over the world

Now even though the color
Of my skin is not the same
As yours or yours of his or hers
One fact is very plain
I'm no better or no less
Than anybody else now
And if you're wandering why that is
Then let me tell you how
We were all created
Created equally
So we should all just live
Together peacefully

Just like crayons
All over the world
Just like my crayons
All over the floor
Black, brown, yellow, red & white
It's such a wonderful sight
We're just like crayons
All over the world


The Help

This weekend, I finally watched The Help.  The one thing that I can't stop thinking about is this... How are times any different now?  This is the way I understand the slavery/segregation/discrimination situation as it has evolved..
Slavery in the US birthed from the Atlantic Slave Trade which began a LONG time ago (I'm not a history major and I apologize..)
Slavery abolished in the US in 1865 by the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." 

Segregation was born in the Southern states to restrict the rights of the newly freed slaves soon after slavery is ended. Segregation in schools, restrooms, restaurants, water fountains, bus rides, housing, jobs, etc. existed until 1954 when public schools began desegregating.  This began many civil rights acts to follow including voter obstruction (1957), segregation in the workplace and public accommodations (1964), segregation in housing (1968).

It sounds as if things should have made tremendous strides since 1968, however, there is no Civil Rights act, law or amendment against discrimination in our minds.  In the movie, The Help, African American maids are working for higher class Caucasian families.  A majority of the maids and their families are treated as objects, with no worth, no regard for their well being or their dignity, and looked at as lesser, simply because of their skin color.  The only group of caucasians that are not at all discriminant towards the African Americans are the children that they raised.  These children love the women that cared for them regardless of color, age, socioeconomic status, education, etc.  They loved the women that cared for them because of the care, love and affection shown to them.

Today, in 2012, I still see discrimination and the treatment of African Americans as not too far evolved.  I live in a small town in which Walmart is a major attraction and point of reference, so this blog post will use it as such and again, I apologize..  In my town's Walmart, I am most often greeted by an African American woman.  I go through the check out line where I am most often checked out by an African American woman.  When I leave, I am most often told "Thank you and come again" by an African American woman.  In the parking lot are most often African American men that are moving the shopping carts back to the building.  I go on about my business, most often, and I do not really have much regard for these individuals, their families, their dignity, or their well being.  I went into Walmart with an agenda and left without giving much consideration to the people that I may even unintentionally deem as lesser than myself.  What would happen if I greeted the greeter with something more than a smile and a nod?  What would happen if I didn't think most highly of my agenda but thought most highly of who God is in my life and made it a point to share His love with others, even in Walmart.  What would happen if I just provided more than a little kindness to the man that is collecting shopping carts in the parking lot as a means of providing for his family, his schooling, or whatever the case may be?  What would happen if I thought enough about the freedom I have experienced in my life because of the blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection and I couldn't help but share that with the "least of these"?  What would happen if I got to know the people I see most often at Walmart and got to know their stories and their circumstances because they matter to God?
I am challenged by the movie with the fact that taking the time to get to know someone's story, their circumstances and their feelings can make a huge impact.  I am challenged and motivated to get to know people in my community, and in my community Walmart, so that they will know that their story and their feelings matter to an Almighty God.  That they have validity and worth because they were created in His image and His likeness.  That He loves them and has a redemptive plan for their lives.  May I be intentional and found faithful...


Sometimes I forget

Sometimes I forget what it's like to have a spotless clean house..  A peaceful moment..  Nothing to do.. Sometimes I forget what it's like to go to the bathroom by myself..  Or to read a book that doesn't rhyme or have vibrant illustrations...  Sometimes I forget that I once was just Jennifer and not "mommy".  Sometimes I forget that it is a blessing to forget so much..  It means that I have been allowed to be used and to see a new day.  Today, I am thankful.  Thankful for the 3 kids that call me mom and mommy..  Thankful for the 1 that I have yet to meet but already love tremendously..  Thankful for a husband that loves the Lord with all his heart, mind and strength and loves me as Christ loved the church.  Sometimes I forget to be thankful.  But not today...  Today I remember that I am to press on towards the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


Racism is learned..

Tonight, Jay and I were Christmas shopping and naturally we were on a toy aisle.  TOTAL CHAOS fills the stores one week before Christmas and we were amidst it all.  This particular night, the chaos didn't bother me though.  I guess I've been conditioned by my children with all of the grocery shopping trips I've made with all three kids; or maybe the fact that I homeschool a 6th grader, a kindergarten boy, and preschool princess diva has been a key factor in viewing Christmas shopping on December the 18th a piece of cake.  I bet you're wondering by now why the title of this post is what it is..  :)  Well, here goes..  On one of those toy aisles was a group of three women walking aimlessly without a shopping cart and no merchandise in their hands.  One of the women said to the other two "My daughter is always asking for a black baby doll when we come to the store and I'm always like 'Really?  No, you're not playing with a black baby.'".   As the mom of one super adorable and precious brown diva, I was hurt.  Why would someone tell their child in the most formative years of their life that they can't play with a baby doll because it has different color skin than they do?  What is the harm in having baby dolls that don't look like your family??  Why can't white children have brown baby dolls?  Why can't brown children have white baby dolls?  My little diva has broadened my viewpoint of things.  She has taught me so many things that I never would have been able to learn otherwise.  I'm so thankful to have her, not only because of what she has taught me, but because she is such a joy!!  I'm praying tonight for that lady's little girl.  I'm praying that one day she will get to have a brown baby...  One just like mine!!! ;)