Thursday, April 26, 2012



a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.
a condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change.
a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person's life.
Medicine/Medical .
the point in the course of a serious disease at which a decisive change occurs, leading either to recovery or to death.
the change itself.

I've been thinking a LOT over the past months about crisis.  Seems like every other day I hear about a friend or family member facing some kind of crisis situation: diagnosis of cancer, marriage troubles, infertility, financial crisis, trips to the ER, loss of a job or house, premature birth of a baby, death of a loved one, change in location, change in relationship status.... Over the past months my own family has been touched by some of these scenarios.  My Husband and I are well-acquainted with a variety of crises (change of our plans to move to Zambia and adopt there, health turning points both good and bad ...)  The older I get the more I see that crisis is part of pretty much every one's life.  As I have witnessed people I love (and been involved in crises of our own) go through crises, the thing that keeps popping into my mind is that crisis can either make us better or bitter.  While we may not have control over many things that happen in our lives -  two different people when faced with the same crisis can have totally opposite reactions.  I have seen families torn apart by crisis, but I have also seen families come closer together in love and acceptance of each other's differences through the same situation.  I have seen people turn their back on God because of crisis, but I have also seen people turn TO God through crisis.  I have felt bitterness well up inside me when crisis hits, but I have also experienced great peace and joy and growing through crisis.   I have seen others (and myself) panic and judge others when in crisis, and I have also seen people put aside their differences and love each other through crisis.

So I guess the point of this post is just to remind us all that while we cannot control when or how crisis hits, we CAN control how we respond during times of crisis.  Will we use the turning point to God's glory and the good of others, or not.  We can choose to accept the hard times in life with grace, a generous spirit, thinking the best of others, and growing faith in God.

Don't wait til you are in the middle of crisis to choose how you will respond.

What will your choice be today?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Of Easter cookies and the best news ever ...

"He lives, He lives Christ Jesus lives today!"

It's 12:47 am and this song is running through my head -I should be sleeping but too excited about all the festivities today - I just love Easter and spending the day with lots of church and little nephews is perfect.   All day yesterday I spent getting ready for the holiday - making the cutest little bunny, carrot and flower shaped cookies (complete with frosting), babysitting two of my favorite kiddos (complete with a pre-Easter egg hunt in the front yard), helping Grammie pick out the perfect shoes and purse for early church service (complete with painting nails), prepping Easter food (complete with cinnamon rolls which are still warm), and cleaning up the house.  In all the hustle and bustle I kept thinking about Jesus.  I just can't get over (and hope I never do) the fact that He the Creator of the Universe died for my sins and in three days He rose from the dead defeating death for all who trust in Him.   I kept thinking about what my life would be without everything that Easter commemorates.  If death was the end of life, if there was no hope of a better place, if I didn't know my Grandma and Grandpa, Grampy etc. were in the very presence of God right now.  I am beyond grateful.  I feel like I wouldn't have anything to write about if Jesus hadn't raised from the dead.  The whole purpose of my writing is the live and encourage others to live in the everlasting hope and joy that is only possible because we have a LIVING God who walks with us and gives us a future of pure bliss after this life on earth is done. 

I love Easter - and yes the Easter cookies are so much fun to make and give to little chubby hands, I love singing surrounded by family and friends, I love to get dressed in my best to honor the One who we celebrate but most of all I love the very best news this earth has ever heard:  HE IS RISEN!!!

He is Risen indeed.

Friday, April 6, 2012

What Good Friday Reminds me

I went to bed with a bad attitude last night - and woke up annoyed because of something I have no control over. I was disgusted with my attitude, when all of the sudden it hit me that this is Good Friday. The day we remember what Jesus went through when He died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. For my sins. Even my ugly attitude. wow. So as I sit here contemplating the pain He went through, the utter humiliation and shame of bearing the weight of the sins of every one of us, I am overwhelmed by His love.

I'm overwhelmed because I know my sin. Through my life I've done some rotten things. Things like lying, talking about others when I am mad at them rather than going to them, hating the body God gave me at times, dishonoring authority, hurting others with unkind words and so so much more. I know the guilt that I feel over my sin, and I hate the thought that my Savior choose to take that guilt on Himself even though He was perfect.

I'm overwhelmed.

I'm ashamed that I still sin when I know what He has done to free me from the bondage of sin. I long to honor Him and honor His excruciating (that word actually comes from the cross because they needed a word to describe that pain that was far beyond any other word for pain) death for my sins. I want my life to flow with worship for this beautiful Savior. I know that not one of us is perfect or ever will be on this side of Heaven .. but we are still called over and over in the New Testament to strive in the power of God for perfection. We are called to BE holy. A choice we have to make every moment, even if the moment before we have fallen into sin badly. His cross deserves our devotion, and my soul longs for more of Him in my every moment.

So Happy Good Friday friends. Let this day be a solemn reminder to live in the freedom that Christ Jesus purchased for us with His death on the cross.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What Kind of Adoption?

I've known I would be adopting for over 7 years.  I remember as clear as day a conversation I had with my Best Friend a few weeks after I had my hysterectomy.  I was standing outside in the cold wet December evening (because my cell wouldn't work inside and I probably didn't want my parents to hear what I was saying).   At that point My Farmer Boy wasn't even my boyfriend - but it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that we were best best best best friends in the whole wide world.   I was still in pain from surgery, and I think it was the first time I had really started thinking about the fact that I really couldn't have kids.  I remember saying something like: "I shouldn't have had the surgery, no man is going to want to marry me now that I can't give him a baby."  And he (always the encourager) quietly said: "Someone will."   (I didn't actually know that at the time he was referring to himself - maybe he didn't even know it :)  So, we have both known that adoption would be part of our lives for a long time.  And in that time we have heard a lot of opinions about adoption.  A. LOT.

The most confusing comments go something like this:

"Remember that there are plenty of babies in the US who need homes."
"So, you're going to look into local adoptions right?"
"You should adopt locally because we should be taking care of our own before going overseas."

Our OWN?!   Now, wait just a minute!  I thought that we were ALL humans and that an orphan is an orphan.  The more I read about adoption, the more I see this chasm between different types of adoption: international, children with disabilities, children with AIDS, children who are older, domestic newborns, foster to adopt, "snowflake babies" (adoption of embryos frozen after fertility treatments etc.)... I am so sad to see the groups that form and how each group thinks their way of adoption is best, even "most godly".  It reminds me of how Christians argue about denominations and which church they attend.   I'm not proud to say that at times I have judged in my heart different types of adoption, thinking that some children's need is more profound than others.  When in fact, a child without a family needs a family.  Giving a family to an orphan is a beautiful thing - no matter what made that child an orphan or where they live.

It's time for all of us to realize that God is BIG - and He has made us all unique and gifted us differently.  Some people may have a passionate heart aimed at making sure that every foster child finds a home.  Someone else may have a burden for Eastern European orphans.  Another for adopting babies that would have been aborted.  Someone else may long to help drug babies.  Another may have a special place for teens without families.  And every one of these are GOOD and can be used by God to care for orphans.  I am excited to see that many families do bridge the gap and are speaking out for adoption and caring for orphans of all types and from all places.  We all share this earth that God made, and every child without a family needs love - no matter the color of their skin or the place where they were born. 

When our plans to move to Zambia and work and adopt there fell through, someone told me that maybe we should look into foster to adopt because adopting from Africa is so popular right now, and we should take care of the orphans right in our own state.  While I totally agree that the orphans in foster care need homes (and we have been and will continue looking into this possibility for us), I don't think the fact that more people are adopting from Africa is something bad.  In fact, I praise God that more people have become aware of the children in Africa who are literally being left in sewers, or found in the arms of a mother dying of AIDS.  I also praise God for those who see the truth and deep need of the children in the US who are being abused, or born to mother's addicted to drugs, or abandoned.   Our plan to move to Zambia and adopt wasn't driven by the fact that adopting from Africa is popular.   In fact, more people encouraged us to stay local than to try adopting from Zambia.  I went to Africa 11 years ago and while visiting an orphanage my heart was broken for the children left is such utter poverty, children that were so weak and sick that I questioned if one little girl would die in my arms.  This was 4 years before I knew I would not be able to have children, but as I held that little girl I knew that the orphans in Africa would always be in my heart.   Last fall I fell in love with a precious baby boy who was facing a very tough future, I spent an insane amount of time picking out premie clothes for him (I'm sure the people at Fred Myer thought I was crazy standing in front of the baby section for so long), and my heart bled for the children in our state who are in need of a loving and safe place to call home.  Neither is better or more righteous than the other.  Every orphaned child needs a mommy.  How I wish that I could be a mommy to every orphan, but I know that's impossible.  It's going to take millions of mommies and daddies - each couple different and each couple perfect for the child God will bring to them.

Are we going to adopt locally?  Very possibly.  Are we going to adopt from Africa or any other country?  Very possibly.  God knows the direction that we will take, and we are trusting Him to lead us every step of the way.  I pray that I would never judge someone else for adopting in a way that is different than what we end up doing.  I pray I never judge someone for not adopting (there are SO many ways to touch this world with God's love - adoption is just one of many!).  So, until the day God makes it clear - we will keep praying for our Someday Babies, and continue reading and preparing. 

I have no idea if our baby will have blond hair, freckled cheeks, or smooth dark skin and tight curls.  I don't know if our child will be a boy or a girl.  I don't know how old our baby will be when we first meet.  I don't know where our babies will be born.  Sometimes I feel like I will explode with longing to know.  But God, who made all the children of the world and Who loves every one, knows.