Thursday, March 29, 2012

When Life is Hard

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I guess this is kind of a book review.  I had mixed emotions about this book.  Especially at the beginning it appears that Mr. MacDonald believes that hard times are discipline from God.  I agree this may sometimes be the case.  I agree that God allows things into our lives, as in He could surely stop them from happening.  But a child who has cancer is discipline upon whom??

Okay, so that was the part I struggled with.  But, for me, in the place I am there was lots of good stuff.  Encouraging and convicting stuff.

"You can't make yourself joyful.  Joy comes only from God.  When James says, "Consider it all joy," he's telling you, "Reach out to God.  Get God's heart in this matter."...Joy is a supernatural delight in the Person, purposes and people of God....A supernatural delight in the purposes of God means you know there's something bigger than yourself going on here.  There's something unfolding that is so far beyond the here and now.  God has a purpose.  Joy in trials says, I'm going to find a way to trust Him even though I'm not seeing Him."

"The life of a true Christian is about displaying the superiority of the life lived in God...The contrast is deep between how a son or daughter of the kingdom and how a son or daughter of this world handles hard times...Whatever you are facing-in this moment-your situation is your opportunity to shine the light of Christ to those who observe you.  You can display the superiority of a life lived in God.  Realizing that reality and embracing it with your whole heart allows first a sprinkling of joy...and then a stream and finally a downpour to flood your soul.  But you can't come to that conclusion coping on your own.  You can't consider it joy when you're filling your face with food to dull your pain."

"Only by considering why you are here, and what life is really about and where you will be going very soon can you consider your trial joy.  Paul said, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.'"

"We think the answer is a new environment but the real answer is a new me."

"What God allows for your good, Satan wants to twist into evil.  Sin that hasn't tempted you for a long time can crush you during a trial, when all of your strength and all of your resources and all of your energy are going into surviving!  You're just trying to get by when Satan will come in and make a rush on you.  You can find yourself stumbling and falling into thought and action patterns that you thought were gone forever."

"You con't be successful in trials without Him.  You can't do anything right spiritually without Him."

"...grant to me an unusual submission to You.  This is the life that You have marked out for me...this is Your plan for me here and now...Forgive my rebelliousness.  Forgive my stubbornness, God...I can't get through this on my own...Forgive my stubborn, rebellious ways."

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you" because,  without it, you are up a creek (AMEN)...Grace is the capacity to do anything spiritually profitable...The time that we need most to recommit ourselves to the things God has called us to is exactly when the times are toughest.  Stan desires to have us so that he might sift us like wheat.  Yet the Lord has promised that He will be with us in the hour of the trial."

"Sufficient grace is not just enough to survive, but enough to have supernatural joy in the midst of anything He allows to go through."

"God knows you better than you know yourself.  You don't know what you are capable of when you're resting in God's strength and not your own.  You're going to get through this one way or another.  It's not going to last forever and you will get through it- because God is faithful.  Reassure yourself, I'm not going under."

More tidbits...
1.  Do you believe God is in control?   YES
2.  Do you believe that God is good no matter what you see, no matter what you face, no matter what you feel?  YES
3.  Will you wait on Him by faith until the darkness becomes light?
How will you spend the time waiting?

When life is hard or during your trial...
1.  Guard your behavior.
*display the fruit of the Spirit
*get ready for battle, put your armor on
*it is not the hardship but your response that matters

2.  Grace your relationships
*love, forgive, show hospitality without grumbling

3.  Give away your gift.

4.  Glorify God.
*the centerpiece of God's creation is us, we are here to display His glory

"Strive for peace"  Hebrews 12:14
Absence of relational strife.  Strive for no strife...with everyone!

People are watching my life!

Scary for me.  And don't worry I don't consider my family a trial, most of the time:)  But I do feel like life is HARD right now.  I feel like I am definitely in the midst of the refiner's fire.  Perhaps if I could learn the lessons God wants me to learn more quickly, He could turn the heat down a little!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Who's Asaph?

Last March I began to read the Bible through.  I am embarrassed to say that in a year I have only made it to the Psalms!  But as I was reading tonight I kept thinking, "Who is Asaph?"  I went to a Christian school, shouldn't I know this.  Let me know if you know.

Tonight I read:

Psalm 78:5b-8

"He commanded our ancestors
to teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know
even the children not yet born-
that they in turn might teach their
So each generation can set its hope
anew on God,
remembering His glorious miracles
Then they will not be like their
stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful,
refusing to give their hearts to God."

Father, I pray that Scott and I would do our part.  I beg that You would draw our children unto Yourself.  That they would make their faith in You real and personal!"

Ethiopia or Bust!

No, we are not adopting again:)  But, we did purchase six tickets for Ethiopia.  We will be travelling May 30 through June 14.  We are blessed to have our good friend, Daniel, serving as our liaison and travel guide.  Scott's partner and best friend, Brent, will be joining us as well.  We plan to see both Teme and Sabrina's birth families.  It will be the first time that Teme's family has seen him walk!  We hope to meet our World Vision sponsor child.  We hope to explore some ministry opportunities.  We have many prayer requests as we prepare.

1.  And definitely most important, that God would prepare each one of our hearts for the trip.  Noelle, especially, is not at all interested in making this trip.

2.  Specifically for Noelle's anxiety and migraines, that they would both be controlled in a supernatural way.

3.  That time with both birth families would rewarding for both sides.  That it would not be difficult for our kids to leave or heartbreaking for their birth families to see them go, again.

4.  That our time in Ethiopia would open our eyes to God's plans for each of us.  Selfishly, I especially want Noelle and Jake to be forever changed.  Both in relationship to our family and to our Savior.

5.  Safety.

6.  Daniel and Brent's families as they are away from home.

7.  That our family would experience a supernatural peace and patience with each other.

We appreciate your prayers and will most likely update our list as the time approaches.  Teme's United States passport arrived in the mail today:)  Also, I have an opportunity to visit Uganda in August with a very special friend.  Pray that it would be obvious if I should go and if anyone should accompany me.  I have invited Noelle, my sister, Karen and my long lost college roommate, Ann.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I feel like I never post anything of any depth any more.  It feels like my thoughts are to shattered and negative to share sometimes.  Most of all I feel too negative, like I am in a battle for survival.  Some days I feel like I am losing.  Why can't I be less stressed?  More joyful?

Noelle's migraines and resulting missed school fall heavy on me.  They now say she has Chronic Daily Headaches.  Which apparently are harder to control than migraines.  The goal is to lessen the "bad" ones (the migraines).  We are trying a chiropractic neurologist and she is scheduled for botox in May.  It is said to relieve symptoms in about half the teenagers who have tried it to manage headaches.  She actually made it to five days of school in a row.  Four one week and then on Monday.  Probably the first time since the semester began.  I believe she has missed 17 days of school and countless social occasions.  She would really like to go out for soccer at school but can her body handle it?

People sometimes act as if Jake is "off my plate".  In some ways I feel like I "worry" about him the most.  He is making such important decisions right now.

And, Teme.  I praise the Lord every day that he and Scott have the special relationship that they do.  It feels as if our relationship is such a battle.  It brings me back to the all important "Five Love Languages" that Scott and I read so long ago.  He and Teme have practically identical love languages.  Not me.  Which has always made it a little tough for Scott and I.  You have to think about expressing your feelings a little more.  But it is really hard with this young man, my son.  I find myself when I talk to others about him, showing great excitement and affection but I don't know that he sees that:(  It feels especially tough because the bar that I have set for our relationship is very high.  I feel inseparable from the other three.  Our hearts are truly knit together.  Is that possible for Teme and I?  And how do I go on if it is not?

Sabrina is indescribable.  She is amazing.  But...she wears me out.  And I continue to read about other adoptive families that continue to do more and adopt again and I feel like a failure that two  adopted children have frazzled me.  I need to remember what I told my dad when he questioned our second adoption.  He said "there will always be another kid".  And I said,"but we know about this one".  God has not opened our eyes to another one.  And I selfishly think, hopefully He won't, I can't handle it.

See I try to talk about myself and my feelings and all there is are thoughts about the kids.  I feel like I have been lost.  There isn't much of me left and I was so much more balanced and interesting when I had my own life.  Then I wonder if that is selfish.  Then I wonder when do I have time.  Then I wonder what on earth do I add back in first.  I have lost my Bible Study, my exercise, most of my friends, my chances to volunteer, to do theater.  And so many other things.  Right now I struggle to read the Word and do Yoga, at home, occasionally.

Yesterday, God provided a wonderful ADULT conversation for me.  I stopped for coffee and was blessed to chat with another believer and I actually think some of my smarts came out.  It was a great pleasure.

Off to preschool.

Last snow...hopefully

Always hard to capture God's artistry,
but this tree was so beautiful especially 
with the leftover Christmas lights:)

Last Panther game

 We love the University of Northern Iowa Panthers!
We have season tickets to both basketball and football.
I think everyone in the family would agree that basketball is our favorite.
This is before the last home game.
I am not a great photographer, but I had to try!