Monday, December 17, 2012

A Light in the Darkness

I read the news on my phone, sitting at a small cafe, enjoying a rare moment alone with a plan to do some Christmas Shopping.  Over 20 dead, after a shooter walked into an elementary school, most of them children between the ages of 5 and 10.  My soup suddenly didn't taste good, and I lost my desire to shop.  I quickly paid my bill and headed for my car.  I sat there as the tears began to fall, unable to form a prayer with any other words but "Oh, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus." I made my way home, the child in me taking a moment to call my mom and find security in her voice.  All I wanted to do was go pick up my boys and hug them to me tightly, and never let go.  I turned the TV on and listened as other details began to be released.  And then the images started coming.  Images of the parents.  My tears came unchecked now.  "Oh Jesus."  So Senseless.  No answer would ever come to any of them that would answer the question, "Why?" 

That evening as the news continued to broadcast my husband turned it off.  He just looked at me and I knew it was enough.  There was nothing else they could say that would change anything, those babies and teachers were gone, and families left with an unimaginable grief.  We hugged our boys so tightly that night and talked about what they'd seen and heard.  After they were asleep I gave them extra kisses and prayed a simple pray I often say when saying good night.  "God be with them." 

We went through the motions of our weekend.  I let the laundry go, I let the house go, I let the Christmas Shopping go and spent much of the day making a gingerbread train with my boys.  I don't ever want to take any moments for granted.  I want to enjoy every smile and laugh, I want to remember the feel of kisses and hugs. 

On the way to school  Monday morning my oldest asked, "Mom is it okay for us to go to school?"  I took a deep breath and prayed for wisdom.  I talked about how there was a shooting in a movie theater recently and asked, "does that mean we should never go to a movie?."  I also talked about the recent shooting at a shopping mall, "does that mean we shouldn't go shopping?"  If we never go anywhere because we are afraid, how will we tell others about Jesus?  I turned to scripture, because really where else is there to turn.  I told them both, "God has not given us a spirit of fear."  We live in a world where good and evil collide and sometimes horrible unfair things happen.  But one thing we can be sure of is no matter where we are:  school, a movie theater, a mall, or at home,  "God will never leave or forsake us."  Even if that evil touches or takes my life, "I will fear no evil for He is with me".  I was thankful God inspired me with those words, it helped me as much as it helped them. 

I am sure someday my daughter will want to know, "Why?"  Why didn't her birth parents keep her?  A question I am already trying to prepare for, and will answer as honestly as I can with what knowledge I have. All I know is this.  We do not live in perfect world.  Evil exists. War exists.  Famine exists.  Starvation exists.  Cruelty exists.  In a perfect world there would be no shootings of innocent children, in a perfect world there would be no orphans, in a perfect world there would be no evil. 

But this world is NOT my home.  And until that day, that wonderful day, we have to do the best we can to show the world about the good that exists, about a very real JESUS who instructed us to Go and preach the gospel, Go and give shelter to the homeless, Go and be a father to the fatherless, Go and give food to the hungery, Go and be a light in the darkness.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

We are Number........Six

    Last year at this time we were waiting for our Dossier to receive all the necessary seals and stamps needed to make it official and approved to send off to Thailand.  We weren't even on "The List" yet, so even though I was disappointed to learn we only moved up to #6 this quarter, I am thankful we have made it this far on this ever lengthening journey.  We started this journey unsure of where it would take us, or how we would get there and although we haven't completed it yet, we have come this far and I know God will help us the rest of the way.  I knew, as well as one can in thought, that this process would change us as a family, I guess I never expected some of the ways it is changing me already. 
     Patience.  Many of you know I have a bit of a control issue.  I thrive on schedules and lists.  I perform things methodically and always follow the recipe. In adoption, after a couple pieces of paperwork (I laugh at my own joke), well there is nothing one can do.  And I do mean NOTHING.  You just wait...and wait...and wait...and wait.  For our process we have a referral month once a quarter, when Thailand sends referrals to our agency to be matched with families on the waiting list.  We have now been through 4 of these months, of looking at the phone ever so often not really expecting a call but unable to help wishing the phone would ring.  Feeling beyond happy for the children being matched with their families and every day a love growing for a child I don't even know yet.  Reading scripture over and over about waiting, and about patience, about God's plans and God's will.  I am learning what it really means to be patient.  Patience is not this attribute some have and others don't.  Patience is not a noun, it is a verb, an action, a choice. I have learned that patience is sitting still.  Trusting that after all the work I can do is done, to stop and sit still.  I often find myself wondering if He is constantly taking me back to my place and saying sit here and be still for just a minute. Just like I would tell my boys when they were two year old bundles of energy and I needed just a few minutes to complete a task.  I have learned God just needs a few minutes sometimes and I just need to sit still.  Surely I can manage longer than a two year old.
     Generosity.  I have never considered myself a selfish person.  I have always faithfully tithed and given in church offerings.  I give to charities, and of myself and of my time.  I have learned that one can be innocent of being selfish but fall very short of being generous.  God has been dealing with my heart ever so gently lately.  In the last 17 months I have been blown away with the generosity of others.  People who have known us for years, and more often mere acquaintances.  People God has moved on and they have given of their hearts.  Their gifts have shown me true generosity.  It has made me question if I am always generous.  I want my heart to be open at all times to give and to give generously.  To give in a way, that regardless of the amount, people feel loved and feel they are noticed and cared about.    Others generosity towards us has humbled me and made me look at how I give and question, am I being generous?  I want to teach my sons and my daughter to be generous.  It is in being generous that we really receive the blessing of giving.  It's not that I haven't heard this lesson before and taken note, it's just that I am now living it.
Number 6 it is.  As I sit, fidgiting in my spot and praying God is not going to make me wait too many more minutes!