Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Blessing [May You Know His Nearness and Sense His Pursuit of Your Heart]

1 comment:
The presents surround the tree.  Our woodwork is wound with greenery and ribbon and twinkling with sparkly lights.  It's 11 pm on Christmas Eve and my husband and I sit in our living room with only the tree and the twinkling greenery for light.  Instrumental Christmas music plays in the background.

Our son sleeps - having just turned 2 in September, he's still young enough that we don't think he'll be jumping on our bed at 5 am wanting to open gifts.  Next year... maybe. :)

We reflect on the past year.  The highs and lows.  The wins.  The losses.  [Oh, how 2012 has brought both... incredible victories and heart-wrenching losses too.]  And we reflect on God's faithfulness through it all.  How he's sustained.  Provided.  Kept our hearts close to His.

I reflect on His continual pursuit of our hearts woven throughout it all.  His obvious hand of kindness, how it's been all. over. our. lives.

He is good.  He gives and takes away... and He's worthy of our trust.  

And He's after our hearts in it all.

My dear friends...this Christmas, may you sense in a deeper way than ever before your Father's tangible nearness and His intimate, tender, unrelenting pursuit of your heart.

May you see it woven throughout history, in the prophecies of Christ's coming, in the new-born Babe in the manger, in the spotless Lamb of God who was crucified and rose again to conquer pursue intimate relationship with us... to win our hearts.  Mine.  And yours.

May you deeply know how He has valued you, how He longs for intimate friendship with you.  Everything about Christmas is evidence of His extravagant pursuit.

May you... may we... have tender hearts this Christmas, responsive to His tender, pursuing love.

Merry Christmas, dear friends!
Whether you're a "real-life" friend, or one that I've met through this blog... I love having you in my life.  Be so blessed this Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rescheduling AGAIN!

Oh my goodness, this poor birth mom... she slipped today and broke her ankle!  She still wants to choose a family and said she would get back to our agency about doing that.

Good. grief.  What a ride.  And I feel so bad for this mama!

Thanking God and she and the baby are okay.  It looks like she will need surgery on her ankle, however.  Craziness.  Just. sheer. craziness.

Thank you all for your prayers - for her and for us.

Adoption Prayer Request...and Our First Snow!

No comments:
Just thought I'd share - this is the view from our front window this morning!  Oh, how I love it!!! :)
Dear Friends,

A couple of weeks ago I had asked for prayer regarding a birth mom who was going to view our profile.  She ended up sick in the hospital and was unable to view profiles...and her appointment to do so was eventually rescheduled to today at 1pm.  SO... with this crazy weather we're having here in the Midwest, who knows if she'll make it in to the office today to view profiles or not... BUT, I wanted to ask you all to be praying for her, just in case she does make it in.  If she were to choose our family, we would have a baby next month.  (WOAH?!)  We would be so crazy excited!! :)

Please pray for God's wisdom for her as she selects a family for her baby.  Ask for God's comfort for her heart also... I can only imagine how painful, this decision that's before her.

Please pray for us, also... that God will hold our hearts today, give us peace in the waiting, and that if she does not choose us, we will be steadfast in our trust in His plan for our family.  Stan and I are super peaceful this morning.  I believe we both are deeply trusting God with this situation and with the future expanding of our family.

Thank you so much, my friends.  Both those of you who are "real life" friends, and those friends who I've met via this blog... you are each more of a blessing to us than I can say.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Today, God, Tangibly Be Emmanuel...

No comments:
A nation, a town, a school, and so many, many families... The shock and horror of yesterday's events in Newtown, CT are just beyond belief.

I sat in Costco eating pizza with Stan and Isaac and Stan read me the news off of his phone and I just had no grid for it.  No way to process it.  My jaw hung open and passers by must have thought me strange, not having heard the news yet.  I couldn't cope with what had happened.  The terror.  The fear.  The trauma.  The horrific, profound LOSS.  The precious lives.  The children.  Their parents.  Their siblings and friends.  Oh, God....

I have no mental box or spiritual folder in which to file this away.  No way to make it make sense.  No way to answer all of the "WHY, GOD?!?!"s that swirl around in my mind... in my heart.


He is good.  He is unchanging.  He is absolutely committed to those precious children, those families.

So here I sit, with no way right now to reconcile what I know of His heart, His character, with this horrible.... I don't even know what to call it.  Loss is not a strong enough word.  Not even close.

And this is all I can pray...

Wonderful Counselor... counsel every heart.  Give wisdom to those who must counsel the children even as they cope with their own profound loss.  Intimately be Counselor to all who need You in this the days ahead.

Comforter... You promise that those who mourn are blessed, for they'll receive comfort... Bless them now.  Creator God, who intimately, deeply knows every need of every heart, comfort those hearts today.  May they deeply, unmistakably encounter the God of Comfort.

Prince of Peace... You are capable of bringing peace into even the most horrific circumstances.  Do this now, Father.  Be who You are in all of this.  Make Yourself known as the only Source of perfect peace.  Peace that passes understanding.  

Emmanuel, God With Us... be Emmanuel to those families affected today.  Even now... Emmanuel to them.  Closer than all of the fear.  Closer than the pain.  Envelop their hearts in Your nearness.  Your "with-us-ness."

These are things we celebrate about who You are, God, in this Christmas season.  Would you make Yourself intimately, tenderly, powerfully REAL in these ways to every heart affected...even today.  Even now.

Father, You are more than enough.  Even in this.  Somehow.  Reveal Yourself, God.  Be glorified.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Dismantling of Our Lives (A Window Into Raw, Unfinished Beauty)

The sink was piled high with dinner dishes.  The table still had crumbs on it and the dining room floor needed to be swept.  It didn't matter. 

Their hearts were so much more important.

Stan and I sat in our living room chatting and laughing with our dear friends who've been living and working on the other side of the planet for the last year and a half... and who will have to return there right after Christmas.  Our one time together as couples and we don't actually know for sure when we'll see them again.  

The seconds were precious.

The conversation meandered from ministry to life in the country that is currently their home to community and life as a part of the Body of Christ.

And then it happened.  It was the greatest gift they could possibly have given us.

Our friends opened their hearts...and poured them out.  About how it's been hard this last year and a half and how they can't understand what God is doing and how life has just. been. so. painful.

As my friend spoke, I listened intently, everything inside of me keenly tuned into the fact that this was a sacred moment.  A holy encounter.

She stopped talking.  We sat in silence and the seconds ticked by.  

I wanted to speak, to let her know that her heart had been heard, understood, that her story and her heart were being held with grace.  But the words wouldn't come.  I was too much in awe of the gift she'd just given.

It's so sacred - God's dismantling of our lives, of all that's familiar, and the secret ways He works in the deep places of our hearts, miles below the surface... how He fashions and molds and shapes our hearts, and how He's so committed to having His way in our depths, to conforming us more to the image of Christ and to intimately revealing His heart to ours and walking right beside us through it all.  

And how all of this is happening in our secret places, deep inside us, even, and especially, when everything around us and everything inside us are so dark that we can't see His hand.  

He's carving raw beauty in the darkness.  In the pain.  So sacred, His processes inside of us.

So the seconds ticked by and finally my friend whispered, fighting tears and staring down at her lap, "Sorry..." and I squeaked out something about "please don't apologize - this is the real stuff..." and my feeble words in that moment just could not come close to doing justice to all that was burning in my heart.

She had given us the gift of beauty.  Exposed the raw, unfinished, painful, gut-wrenchingly glorious process.  All of the unanswered questions and all of the aching and the not understanding and the pulling out of props and the gentle, tender breaking down of the human soul until all that remains is just that heart, and its Creator... and where do we go from here?  

And she shared it all with us.  They both did.

They apologized for complaining and we tried to explain how this was the furthest thing in the world from that.  This is the reality of life and even though they can't see it in this season, we can see the hand of God and their raw honesty was the gift that made the way for us to see the beauty He's forming in them....

So sacred.  So holy.  So beautiful.  So profound and precious.

More time ticked by.  It was nearly midnight and I'd bet you that not a one of us was thinking about going to bed.  I know I wasn't.

We prayed with them and again my words seemed to fall flat.  I couldn't even begin to express how deeply my heart was affected by their vulnerability and the beauty of God's hand woven throughout their story, in all of its not-yet-completeness.

But I know that God will continue and complete the work He has started in these precious hearts.  And I am so crazy, ridiculously privileged to be able to stand here on these sidelines and cheer them on and behold and wonder at the perfect working of God in the lives of our sweet friends.

What an incredible gift.  I feel so challenged - challenged to more often allow those God's placed in my community a window into all of the rawness and beauty of His processes in my own heart and life...

And challenged to continue to intentionally seek to grow in my ability to steward well the hearts of those I love... 

To learn to hold the stories and hearts with which I'm entrusted with compassion and grace... to be one who sighs with and cries with and rejoices with others and doesn't try to fix... 

But one who, with just a few words of grace and compassion and truth, can toss into place a handful of stones that God will use to begin to form a bridge from the hurting human heart back to the tender heart of its Creator.

This is who I want to be.  I don't know what else to say today.  I just couldn't NOT write out all of these things that have been rolling around in my heart.  

Thanks so much for reading today, friends.  Praying that God will encourage you here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

He Withholds No Good Thing... [Inviting You To Drop In Over At A Holy Experience Today]

The pain is more acute this Christmas season.

I'm not sure if it's because we're waiting to adopt... or because she's been in our lives more frequently as of late.  Maybe both.  But for whatever reason, the fact that she's not [anymore] our daughter, it's this physical ache in my heart these days.  Like an elephant sitting on my chest.

She should be here with us, helping decorate our Christmas tree.  We should be tucking her in bed at night in her warm Christmas pj's.  She should be Isaac's big sister.  She should have continued to advance verbally and mentally and emotionally and academically instead of having her entire life ripped out from under her at almost 2 years old.  She should be secure and confident and beginning to read and counting to 50 or 100 even and not struggling to form complete sentences or to count to 10 at age 4.

But she's not.  And all of these "shoulds" are obviously more my own idea than God's.  Because He allowed her to be taken from us.  His plans for her life are good, and yet this, the way it's all playing out, it's SO not the life story I would have chosen for her.

Today Ann Voskamp's blog contains the words I sense the Lord speaking into the deep places of my pain... into all of us who feel the ache of our losses so much more sharply at Christmas time.

He withholds no good thing from us.  

No good thing.

And Ann asks the question that's pounded in my own heart in the years following our great losses: Can all the hurting hearts believe that He withholds no good thing from us?

Can mine?  

Can yours?

Could I invite you to stop in over at Ann's blog today?  Her words are more than worth your time...and your open heart.

[PS - For a little more info on "our" baby girl's story, read here.]

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Brief Adoption Update

(My computer is working terribly this morning… So I'm posting this from my phone. Pardon my brevity.)

Thank you so much to all of you who prayed last night when our profile was supposed to be viewed by a birth mom. Really means a lot to have so many standing with us.

I found out this morning that the birth mom who was supposed to view our profile last night is actually in the hospital with pneumonia. Apparently they have admitted her and are planning to keep her for 24 hours. So, obviously, she was not able to view profiles last night.

We appreciate your continued prayers for her, for quick healing, and for protection for the baby. We will let you know when we find out that she is again scheduled to view profiles.

Thank you so much, friends!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Asking For Prayer Today [My Times Are in Your Hands]

Image Credit:

Reading this "Birth Parent Situation Form" from our adoption agency for the 6th time won't make this birth mom choose our family.  


I sigh.  Make myself tear my eyes away from the computer screen.

It seems to be the perfect situation for us.  PERFECT.  Semi-open adoption.  African American baby.  Birth father is on board and willing to relinquish rights.  Baby due in January.

JANUARY.  As in, a month and a half from today.

Tomorrow evening, this precious birth mom will, if all goes as planned on her end, be handed a stack of profile books by the birth parent advocate at our agency.

Our profile will be in that stack.

Our agency representative says that our family's profile has consistently been in birth parents' top 3 choices.  We just haven't been number one yet.  But we WILL be picked, she says.  She's confident about it.  Probably soon.

And even now, I want to click over to that email and read the Birth Parent Situation Form yet again.  For probably the 7th time.  Grasping for some form of control, or at least to be able to guess what will happen.

And, once again, I have to surrender to the truth that I can't make this happen.  NOTHING I can do, in addition to what we've already done, can make this birth mom choose our family.  Nothing I can do will bring our baby into our family any sooner.

And there's no way to know right now whether this precious baby will be ours... or not.

It's a helpless feeling.  I am SO aching for our baby to come SOON.  Every time our profile is shown and not chosen, the ache is a little harder to bear.

Time is ticking.

And God knows.

Even now, in this very moment, this scripture, this sacred place of profound encounter and peace whispered to my heart, it comes cascading anew down from Heaven and crashes over my heart:

My times are in Your hands. (Psalm 31:15)

And they are.  Every season of my life, every desire of my heart... all of it - the aching, the waiting, the longing, the wondering... it's all in His hands.  THIS season.  THIS ache.  THIS longing.

And the invitation is to trust, to rest, to abide.

I'd be lying if I said this is easy.  But His grace is there... and it's always enough.  ALL-sufficient.  For this moment, this circumstance.

This waiting.

Father, You are worthy of my trust.  Your plans for my life and my family are good, and You are worthy of my trust.  

So I trust You.  Now.  In this season, with this ache, this longing that I believe has been divinely placed in our hearts.  Hold us now, even as we wait.  Draw us into the embrace of the Prince of Peace.

Friends, could I ask you to pray with us over the next 24 hours?  By the time many of you read this, it will be Tuesday morning and it's Tuesday late afternoon/evening that this birth mom plans to view profiles.  If all goes as planned, we should know something one way or the other that evening, or by Wednesday morning at the latest.  Please pray....

  • For wisdom and the leadership of the Holy Spirit for this mama as she makes her decision.  Pray for His comfort over her heart as well.  I can only imagine the agony of her decision.  Oh Father, hold her heart...
  • For our hearts as we wait, that we'll rest and trust and abide in Jesus.
  • For us if we are not chosen, that God will hold and sustain and bring peace to our hearts.  That we'll be confident in Him and His heart and His plan for our family.
  • For this precious baby, that the Spirit of God will be tangibly present with him/her, even in the womb. That he/she will supernaturally know his/her Father's nearness and love even now. That God will protect this baby and set him/her in the family that He has already chosen.
Thank you all for standing with us.  So much.

You are loved and more appreciated than you know. 

Be blessed today to know His grace, to deeply abide in Him in the midst of your own season of waiting, of not knowing... whatever it looks like.  He is there.  He is enough.  There is intimacy with Him to be found in the midst of the waiting.  May this reality blanket your heart today.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...