Thursday, March 13, 2014

March Lioness

Every season has it's special moments in time that are inscribed into my memory.
But March has special meaning and purpose in my life. Many "firsts" have occurred in March.
Don't worry, I won't bore you with the list-this time.

It was also in March, 2011, that I flew to China to bring home a teenage daughter,  Arielle.

On the Great Wall

The trip I had was pretty horrible. I got off the plane sick and was sick the entire time. I lost almost 15 pounds in 2 weeks! I thought I had parasites but I think it was a combination of nerves, homesickness, and the food change. But the biggest factor affecting my stomach was meeting my daughter for the first time, it was a tremendous challenge for me.

There were no "warm fuzzies".  Reality was just too much to accept at the time. Creating a new normal was now vital to our whole family... and it didn't happen overnight.
This was the coolest zoo I've ever been to... Guangzhou

Our daughter was nothing we expected. I'm not sure what we expected. And I'm sure we were not the family she expected either. We were all in shock for awhile. But Brad and I were certain that God lead us to our beautiful daughter. One day, with Arielle's permission and input, I want to tell our story. And I can't wait to hear her version!
Today, she is one of the most beautiful young women I know. And her bravery outshines any glimmer of courage I may have lurking inside myself. She is a warrior! Her name, Arielle, means Lioness of God... and she certainly lives up to the "Lioness" part :) She has come through tremendous change and difficulties in her young life, and she still smiles. She is driven to do the right thing. She is helpful, kind, and has a servant's heart. Much more then I do.

I've learned from her.

And her love and loyalty for family is something I rarely see in someone her age. She knows what having a family is. How important it is. At one time it was almost too late for her to have one...

I'm so proud of Arielle, she is transforming into who she is. I'm thankful to God for sending me halfway around the world to bring her home. I'm thankful that He saw who she was before anyone else did. I'm thankful that He choose our family to love her unconditionally, and He's not through with us all yet.

Older child adoption is the biggest challenge I ever endured. Can't say it's all rosy, but I can say we are blessed by it!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

HAPPY Forever Love Day

Four years ago today, on a damp gray morning, a handsome 3 year old ray of Haitian sunshine became a forever part of this tribe.
 re-Adoption Day
 He was given a new name to join the old; a name thoughtfully chosen just for him, and one that suited him perfectly.
Blessed, Fortunate
But what was even more significant then taking our name... he had taken our hearts. He had only been home for a little over 5 months and it felt like we already had a lifetime of history together. That may be difficult to understand, and surely too difficult to explain. 
Happy Forever Love Day

Monday, March 10, 2014

Step out... Crossing the Jordan

Are you WAITING for something? Maybe for that long awaited promise? The following is a journal
entry I wrote in 2008...

In the past I've been so easily discouraged. Swayed by circumstances. Anything that stood in the way, defeat would quickly set in and I would quit. But with the strength of God, I'm learning to stand up against what "appear" to be giants, or obstacles because...

An obstacle is not defeat.
Although it may "feel" discouraging, obstacles aren't the death of a dream or vision.
 It could even be the vehicle God uses to increase our faith, strengthen us, prepare us for the future.

God gives to us that promised land. But unless we move out into that water in faith the miracle won't happen.

That's exactly what God tells Joshua to do.

Step out... Crossing the Jordan

(Joshua 3)
(I found a really cool interactive Bible Map HERE. It's unknown where Shittim was exactly but they crossed opposite of Jericho)

Early in the morning Joshua and the Sons of Israel set out from Shittim and headed toward the Jordan River. They stayed for 3 days at the banks and the Lord spoke to Joshua...

7  “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. You shall, moreover, command the priests who are carrying the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’”

The people needed to KNOW that God was with Joshua now as He was with Moses... remember, (in Joshua 6) on the other side of the river would be a great battle and test of obedience...  
Joshua 3

13 It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are [b]flowing down from above [c]will stand in one heap.”So Joshua had the the priests stand in the river with the ark of the covenant.

But the water wasn't stopped where they were standing. It was stopped up stream near a town called Adam...about five miles away. Five miles of water had to pass by before the land dried up.

They had to stand still in the water and
...Wait for all that water to pass by. They couldn't see that the water was stopped upstream. I think I may have gotten a little nervous thinking that maybe I heard God wrong. I may have panicked. Would I run back on shore thinking "nothing is happening"? Then feel stupid. Five miles of water!
 Oh, and the Jordan was at flood stage (15) that was a lot of water.
If they didn't wait, they would have missed the miracle that took place. God actually preformed the miracle at the exact moment they stepped into the water but had to wait to see it. Was God testing them? He could have dried up the waters right there.

I want to share something I wrote earlier to a group of wonderful ladies I know.

The Lord has really stirred my heart with all this.

Where are we going with Jesus...I can't even comprehend it all, but I
know that God's plan is so much better then anything I can come up
with on my own. His promises are so far reaching and have little to do with
circumstances. So many are walking around discouraged and
just stop walking. They don't understand that across the
Jordan, awaits the promise...and once we get there, we need to stand together
and fight! Do you remember what the Israelites brought out of the
Jordan...12 stones. "Eben". (Joshua 4) And erected them as a memorial
for generations to come to remember how God brought them across
the Jordan and into the promised land.
What has God done in the past for you? Did you forget? Is He less "God" today?

I can choose to go forward, even if I can't "see" the promised. Or I can turn back thinking nothing is happening. Something. is. happening. I'm growing up!
Faith will never increase unless challenged.
There's no strengthening without resistance.
We have all the tools we need. We have the power within us. We just need to grow up! Moving out into the water, holding on to that covenant blessing and knowing the promise is waiting to be taken once we get to the other side.
That dream or vision will manifest. But are we willing to go through the waiting?

I'll end with this...I found this written in my Bible today, I can't even remember writing it:

12/18/07 There have been "things" set in motion by God that we have no idea of - Sometimes, if we are made to wait for something promised, it is for the "greater good" of eternity. And the reason may never be revealed to us this side of heaven. None-the-less, we must continue to trust and believe...
(parts of this post were taken from blogpost 2-3-2008)