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Monday, March 22, 2010
We just returned from our spring break "get away" and for my soul it was like water rushing over a dry desert. This winter has has been COLD, gray, and long. The weather was not perfect (not warm enough for swimming) but the sun was out and we were able to ride bikes, go for strolls, and just be together. The whole trip was a series of "firsts" for Josie Love so we all laughed LOUDLY while watching her explore her new world.
Once again, the child spoke to just about every person that she passed. She had a blast by the pool and on the beach stopping at each and every umbrella to greet each person. Hands on hips, eyes closed, smile broad and head just a shakin...telling everybody exactly what she thought about the waves.
The waves were comic relief alone. She walked to the edge of the water and each time a wave would roll over her feet she would point her finger and scream at the top of her lungs "GO!!! NO! NO! Go AWAY!"
She made a new buddy in my sweet friend Anna Mitchell. I met Anna through Gwen and I stole her for the week.( I have a feeling that Gwen will be adamant that she gets her back once Daisy and Joseph come home.) When I say that she was SUCH A BLESSING, the ENTIRE week, it is an UNDERSTATEMENT. Having an extra set of hands was significant.
Another blessing in my life is Mallory McCullough. She is a TRUE friend to Grace and just blends right in with our family. She always sees the need and meets it. After traveling with us to Uganda, the Lord just connected her heart with Grace's on the orphan crisis. I am so glad that they have each other to dig a little deeper spiritually than most do at their age. AND and another GREAT perk is that my little ones LOVE her! Some days, they'll choose her over me!
Many people stopped to ask about our family. Some apologized before even asking and I quickly affirmed them that it is MY favorite thing to talk about. I had the privilege of sharing my adoption journeys. I absolutely LOVE to tell about how the Lord has changed my heart and life through my desire to care for orphans.
Gwen and I were able to meet with a new friend (Rebekah Wright) for lunch. She is in the process of a domestic adoption. We were able to talk about how during domestic adoption your number one fear in the beginning is the birthmother. By the end of the journey it is the birthmother that your heart aches the most for. We are praying sweet little Caleb home as quickly as possible! It was so neat to see the fire in Rebekah's eyes in hoping to blaze the trail for her community, in bringing light to the great darkness in the orphan crisis. WHAT A BLESSING she was to our hearts!
The only day that was warm enough to spend on the beach was our last day. We were so excited to finally be there that we just let the little ones take their naps in our laps....
I have a prayer request. My sister-in-law is not doing well. Her tumors are growing again. My brother has always been such a pillar of strength. To see his heart hurting in this way makes my ENTIRE body ache. He has given his entire life and heart to discipling people internationally and in the US. The doctors are encouraging their family to go to the beach in the next few weeks for spring break. Please pray for LaneAnn, Tim, Grant, Jessie, Makenzie, and Reed. Pray that the week at the ocean will give them many memories in which to cling in the years to come....
Thursday, March 18, 2010
In March, we went to the beach for spring break. It was not real warm, but the sun was shining and it had been a LONG, COLD, GRAY winter for me. Josie Love had the time of her life and I think it is sinking in...."I'm not going back to Africa and where ever these crazy people go, I am going also. " She seems to be excited about it, smiling constantly and exploring every moment of every day. We took Anna Mitchell with us to be an "extra set of hands". AND BOY WAS SHE A BLESSING! Over Christmas she had a project for school where she had to "shadow" a person for a day. Guess who she chose? Yep! My loco life. And she chose to do it on a weekend that Mike was out of town for work. I thought I'd share the video.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I have heard from quite a few of you that you love to hear "Josie stories" so I thought I'd try to describe our trip to Vanderbilt for her MRI. Although, I will NEVER be able to do it justice....
First, I have to tell you that every black man she sees, she hollers "UNCLE!" Strange men turn and look our way continuously. When our pastor makes his way to the pulpit she screams "UNCLE!", when our infectious disease doctor comes into our room "UNCLE!" In the beginning Mike and I looked at each other in dismay and now we both belly laugh, OUT LOUD every time!
We went last week to have the procedure done. Now that she is walking, she wants to walk everywhere ALL OF THE TIME (i don't blame her, she waited for 4 years to take the first step) I dressed her in her cute little Poppy Dips skirt (thanks Sallee!) and we headed to the hospital. While waiting, she touched every persons knees, checked out every gameboy that was being played, and talked jibberish, giggled, pointed her finger in faces, and talked jibberish some more...all the while her eyes NEVER opened. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how the child sees to get around. The women at the front desk were calling her by name after the first few minutes of our arrival. A man came to the door and called "JOSEPHINE" and off she went! Mike and I were gathering bags, coats, etc...and girlfriend was outta there! While walking to our room, she stopped at each door, spoke to every nurse, every doctor..... hand in the air "HIII" she hollered all the way down the hall. Once in our room, she pulled my ipod out and listened to music. At one point, I realized that there were about 6 nurses gathered around her bed just talking to her and laughing....much to the other patients dismay that had been left behind for a few moments. They ended up sending us home because her tonsils were too enlarged to put her on anesthesia without a specialist there to administer a breathing tube if needed. So, on our way out, once again, she stopped at every door...but this time to give each and every nurse a hug goodbye. Mike and I stood at the end of the hall laughing. She cracks us up EACH and EVERY day.
Fast forward 1 week.
We went back to Vanderbilt yesterday to hopefully have her MRI done (with an anesthesia specialist on hand) and the women at the front desk said "well good morning Josephine!" Once back in or room, the nurses from last week came by to say "hi" and on our way back down the long hall the nurses called her by name..."goodbye Josie!"
I am waiting to hear what the doctors have to say about her MRI results. They checked the puffiness over her eyes, sinuses, and tonsils and adnoids. Step by step we are getting healing for her little body. I had two different nurses tell me yesterday after reading her chart..."you have a little miracle child..do you know that?" and I smiled and said "I serve a mighty God!"
I believed without doubt, that she was going to run through my yard and call us all by name. I am watching it happen right before my eyes! If I am honest, there are days when my alarm goes off and I think "do I HAVE to get out of bed and chase these little ones AGAIN today? Mama is so tired! But once I lift my head and feel their little warm bodies up against mine...I'll do it everyday of my life if I need to! I will admit that I haven't mastered taking my four youngest to target alone yet. MillerAnne tries to help, but Caleb and Josie are CRAZY QUICK and what one doesn't think of ...the other does!
This is what the Lord promised me this morning.
Walk by faith, not by sight. As you take stepsof faith, depending on Me, I will show you how much I can do for you. If you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you. When I gave you My spirit, I empowered you to live beyond your natural ability and strength. that's why it is so wrong to measure your energy level against the challenges ahead of you. The issue is not your strength but Mine, which is limitless. By walking close to Me, you can accomplish My purposes in My strength.
Those very words are what I live on day by day. I KNOW that it is NOT in My strength that I am able to get out of bed each morning but HIS!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I just returned from the Nashville airport where we welcomed the Mihnovich sibling group from Ethiopia. There are FOUR of them and these children are BREATHTAKING. I remember when Tracey told me that they were going to start the paperwork on them....my thoughts were "a sibling group of four? now THAT IS RADICAL!" I even thought that same thought on the way to the airport tonight.... FOUR at one time? RADICAL.
I am going to be very vulnerable and share my heart. I am struggling. I have a significant battle going on between my heart and my mind. There are "truths" that I KNOW from scripture and there are "truths" that I feel just from my relationship with my sweet Savior and then there are "beliefs" that I am surrounded by on a daily basis because of our culture.
As I looked at each one of the Mihnovich children I thought about how their parents passed and they were left as orphans with NO ONE to care for them. I got ANGRY. Not just a little angry...a LOT ANGRY. which leads me to my question..." WHAT ARE WE DOING? There are MILLLIONS of sibling groups living alone, with no running water, no bathrooms, no blankets, and no pillow. I often think.... If people were driving down the street in Brentwood (where I live) and saw children digging through the trash for food...what would they do? turn their head? If you were walking out of Kroger and saw a child shoeless, sitting on the ground asking for money to eat..what would you do? turn away? I know that not everyone is "called" to take a child into their home.....but why not? If "believers" are not "called" to care for these children THEN who is? My head is telling me "not every believer can take an extra child in" and my heart is asking my head"why not?" I cannot understand how people that have a personal relationship with Christ can KNOW that this is going on all around them and not do anything to help. So, my head takes this a step further....if Jesus Christ (in the flesh) was digging through the trash, how many people would stop and feed him? If Jesus Christ did not have a home, who would take him in? Wouldn't all believers be HONORED to have Jesus live in their home? Even if it was a bit of an inconvenience? I mean, it would be an extra mouth to feed. It also would totally change the dynamics of your household (sleeping, clothing, grocery bill, laundry). You might not even have "time for yourself" because you would have an extra person to think about. NOW, the truth that I know from scripture is Matthew 25:45 which says that Christ will reply "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." Sometimes I try to take things out of context in the bible but this one is pretty clear...don't you think?
Now, hear me say, I KNOW that there are families out there that are dealing with significant issues that leave them unable to bring other children in . BUT, also hear me say that the bible says that if you are a born again believer in Jesus Christ then you are RESPONSIBLE for these children.
One of the first things that we strive for as believers if to be Christlike. If Christ KNEW that there were children with no one to hold them, what would HE do? turn away? If Christ KNEW that there were children that needed a home, what would HE do? If Christ KNEW that there were children that were hungry, what would HE do? As believers, if we are doing all that is possible to be Christ-like..then why are there hundreds of MILLIONS of children with no one to love them? I simply do not understand.
I have a friend that when she traveled to get her child, he would purr like a kitten every time she would hug him. when I heard that, my heart broke in half. He was longing for love so badly that when he finally felt those warm arms around him, he would purr with contentment. A CHILD longing for love so BADLY that he couldn't contain himself when he FINALLY knew what it felt like to be loved. while this is sweet, how heartbreaking is it? I do not think that children are suppose to long for love this badly. I think that as the body of Christ we should NOT be able to go through a normal day KNOWING that there are children out there with such longing in their hearts. It ought to bother us so badly that we can't sleep at night. How did we get to this point? How did we get so numb to these facts? So, what is going to be our response when we stand before Christ? What will we say? "I bought some Ugandan beads?" (while that feeds meals to children in Uganda...probably not going to cut it when we stand before the Savior)
Now, I must admit that it wasn't until I haven't had time to myself or my days are filled with preschoolers that I even stopped to think about what I did with the time that I had. I want to challenge you. For 1 week, let's write down each day what we do to serve someone else. Every time you do something that is serving someone else write it down. At the end of the week,
compare the hours that are spent serving others to the rest of your day. Be honest. If your job consists of serving then you must have a heart check and see what parts of it have eternal value.
We might get just a small glimpse of how Christ sees us. scary huh?!
- I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.