Friday, July 25, 2014

Teach them in the way they should go...

and when they are old, they will not depart from it. (paraphrased Proverbs 22:6)  This morning over breakfast I glanced at our marker board that I had my reminder (from last week) to "Be the hands and feet of Jesus."  The reminder wasn't written for my children, but for me.  Last week God hand picked, special delivered four precious souls into my yard.  They were straight from him for me to love on, feed, hug, listen to, provide a safe energetic place to play and relax.  I probably would have missed the whole package (I mean lesson) had I not just been praying and asking God about mission work.  Oh how my heart sometimes longs to work along side those mighty missionaries in Africa with all those beautiful orphans.  I'm in touch with many ministries that are feeding, clothing, nursing God's orphans in Africa...and I LOVE it.  You see their transformation from near death to alive and surviving and joyful, right before your eyes!  I want to do that!  But God in his majestic authority reminded me that I am needed HERE. In America to do the same.  (He told us when we adopted that His plans were not our plans)  Africa and America's orphans needs are the same, some more extreme than others...but needs nonetheless, and its not for me to determine where to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  I (and you) are just called to obey the calling.

Which takes me back to breakfast.  It dawned on me this morning that perhaps my children thought the reminder was for them.  And I realized they probably don't know what the reminder means. Its up to me to TEACH THEM. Over breakfast we talked about what it looks like to be the "hands and feet of Jesus."  How Jesus walked the earth during His years.  My smart little whipper snappers grasped it quickly.  I told them the reminder was for me, not them.  But now they too can join with me to be His "hands and feet."  It wasn't a profound lesson for them, shocker!  I think its easier for them.  Matthew 18:3, might have some bearing on why its so easy for them! (this might be a rabbit trail) but somethings are just easier and more natural for them when it comes to embracing the poor and loving the fatherless.  They don't see what I see.  I think that's beautiful. Probably the way God intended it to be.  Kids don't see the imprints the world has left. I want to encourage my children to be the "hands and feet" of Jesus and then stand back and watch and pray that they too are used for His glory and make an impact on eternity.

We are all called to be the "hands and feet" of Jesus.  It looks different for each person, but God has gifted each of us to do our part. It could be in Africa, it could be in America, it all matters to God.

James 1:27; "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Monday, July 21, 2014

God's Word

This world fights for my attention, the small tiny things to the big things, but in the wide picture they are "simply" distractions, they look different for everyone...for me its stuff from that dirt on my kitchen floor, dishes, cars and legos scattered all over the kid's bedroom floors, bed sheets that need changed way more often in the Summer than in the Winter, the awesome clearance sales, those horrific weeds in my yard oh and my garden, dust and cat hair, mountains of laundry...I could go on and on and on. These things sometimes keep me distracted from training and teaching my children, but more than anything they keep me in a place of internal chaos.  Restlessness.  Not peaceful and eventually angry!  I know, really anger!?!  Yep! They all roll up into ONE BIG BALL of self pity and self defeat.  I can't keep up.  I can't do it.  I have no help.  Its too much. Blah blah blah blah.  But ultimately it keeps me SEPARATED from Jesus. That's the real tragedy. Not that some of those things don't get accomplished, (uhhh laundry never really gets done anyway right and let's be real two-two year floors may never be clean all at once...EVER AGAIN!).  Its sad really, not the floors, the disconnect from my personal savior and the FACT that I'm responsible for that.  Its something that I allow to overwhelm me too often, too much.  Satan knows.  He knows the distractions to use to pull me away from the peaceful spot I long to rest in, stay in, in Christ's presence, His arms.  I got to get back to that place I love.  And often times, that's a battle in and of itself as well.  I have to constantly remind myself what is important.  I already have two, sometimes three "to-do" list (and yes I have those "to-be" lists too).  Satan wants my soul, and yours.  He knows my weaknesses.  I have to redirect myself, just like I have to with my kids...everyday!  I have to make a CHOICE to turn my back from those distractions and open the Word of God and soak up his promises.  So easy, but yet, so hard.  But it is MY CHOICE.  Today I soaked up:
1 John 4:4-6 (TLB)
 Dear young friends, you belong to God and have already won your fight with those who are against Christ because there is someone in your hearts who is stronger than any evil teacher in this wicked world. These men belong to this world, so, quite naturally, they are concerned about worldly affairs and the world pays attention to them. But we are children of God; that is why only those who have walked and talked with God will listen to us. Others won’t. That is another way to know whether a message is really from God; for if it is, the world won’t listen to it.
Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God's Word is reassuring.  His Word is reliable.  His Word is Truth.  Its what I rest in.  Its what I train myself to turn to, to lean into, to trust in, to live break away from the chaos.  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

5am and a Vacation to Remember!

Is a wonderful hour.  Its super quiet at my house.  I love the stillness, the quietness where me and the Lord connect, and the coffee is hot and fresh.  I think it my favorite hour of the day.  Its been a very busy last couple of weeks.  We went on vacation to Nashville TN, came home to 3 baseball games (so exciting), our 9 yr anniversary- celebrated with a two hr Kayak float and then a six hour vehicle shopping extravaganza (if I never do that again, it will be too soon) traded in my four wheel love (that van was good to us) Town & Country for a newer T&C. And we are missing one of our four pets.  I'm sure there was more chaos, but that is what I can recall right now.
I MUST talk about our trip! We stayed with a couple I friend'd on FB. They have a son from Ethiopia too. I LOVE getting to know other families with Ethiopian children, I like the common bond me and the moms share and I want my children to know and have relationship (as much as possible) with other Ethiopian children. Michael & Amy offered to put my family of SIX up four nights in their home (which they just moved into the week prior)!!!!  It reminds me of God's word encouraging us to be hospitable to one another. Hebrews 13:2 "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." They were amazing hosts.  I don't think we are angels (haha) but I'm sure we have angels among us! They were incredibly kind to us and made us feel very welcome.  They took time to show us Nashville and she let me cook in her kitchen! And we shopped Goodwill for TWO HOURS! We played in their community pool (and managed to get all the way home with their pool key...opps).  And Michael entertained Eli for some hours with Playstation, and a crazy game of Life...Eli was in "heaven."  He even cried when we left. (I love that he bonds with people and feels the loss when its time to sweet). Amy was kind enough to snap some pics of me and my kids together because I really don't have many. (A nice thunderstorm is moving in...I love it!!!)
On Sunday we went further south to meet another friend I met on FB who has 12 children, only four bio and the rest were adopted a sibling groups from Ethiopia.  This jewel has been precious to me from day one on FB.  She is committed to her children and I love reading about her adventures. Her children are wonderful.  We took them a blessing basket (that is a basket me and my children fill with goodies we think people will be blessed by, they are always FUN to give, its always FUN to be a BLESSING).  I wish I would have had more time to get to know each of the children, but it was truly fun.  Z got to meet two of the girls she has been pen pals with, she introduced them to Polly Pockets.  They played with side walk chalk and explored the woods.  Miss. Z managed to make it home with two tickets and two legs covered with chigger bites (hey...thats country living sister, I remember!) Eli lego'd it out with the boys.  Brett & I chatted with the Momma for awhile while the kids played and she gave me samples of her wonderful homemade products...I MUST say the Ouchie Butter is worth ordering.  Kenenisa LOVES it on his scrapes!  "Put ouchie butter on my blood!"  And it works!
Ok back to a super cool part of this trip.  I friend this Momma of 12 on FB probably b/c we have ONE mutual friend, maybe, and well come on...she has a LOT of beautiful Ethiopian children and I'm so inspired by such wonderful people (some would say crazy, but no me...I think she is an angel).  Brett gets to talking to her about their adoption timeline and asks when she brought her second sibling group home, b/c he thinks he recognizes her.  Brett had met her on the flight bringing our children home...they all came home on the same plane!! He chatted with her on the plane about her big family and remembered her well!!  How crazy is that?  What are the chances of Brett having met her BEFORE I facebook'd her 1 1/2 yrs ago!?!  For was a God moment.  God doesn't do coincidences, he does devine blessings! Moments that make you go Wow. Moments where you know the hand of God orchestrated the whole thing.  I must say too because we have yet to ever tell our whole adoption story, this is NOT the 1st time God has moved like this in our adoption.  We have many more magical God moments.  This gets me so pumped up, I have now lost my I'll add pictures now.  :)
Oh I did I mention my childhood friend Cassie?  She lives right down the street from Amy & Michael, I did not know this til I texted I got to meet up with her too.  I got to meet her triplets for the first time. So cool, so God!
 Anniversary Kayak float

 The coolest baseball team ever!
 All of us at Amy & Michael's right before we headed home.
 Penpals!  I can't wait to hear more from them!
 Blessing Basket dig in.
 Group photo
 This is a photo of Brett showing them Haile (the famous Ethiopian runner) that Brett met at the airport.  They didn't believe him, so he showed them the pic of him and Brett together.  Then when the boys realized Haile was on the flight with all of them, "MOM...WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME!"  Mom, "Uhhhh I didn't know who he was!  How am I suppose to know?"  (Poor Mom!)  Its kinda like finding out you were on the plan with Michael Jordan and didn't know it, its kinda a big deal.  I told him I would send him a picture of Haile if he wanted one.  :)
 Farmer's Market!
 Opryland Hotel Gardens, my favorite spot.
 Family pool pic!
 Amy is such a gentle sweet precious soul.
 Me and Cassie and all of our children-Micayla. Its a bit weird when you think about having grown up with someone from the beginning of time and moving through life with them, but not really with them.  Cassie has always been special to me.  She has always treated me with kindness.  She too is a precious soul.
 I'm so glad we didn't spend two hours in the car to see the Hendersonville Freedom Fireworks because let me tell you...this subdivision was having their own little (I mean BIG) Firework Wars and it was AHHHMAZING!  I have been to tons of firework shows in my lifetime, my Dad always took us, but this was incredible.  BIG works from almost every angle.  They would light up the whole sky right above our heads.  Super impressive!
One of my favorite shots!

Oh and a super special THANK YOU to my Girl Amy Plummer and Lakers for taking care of our furry family while we were away.