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Thursday, August 26, 2010
Seek My face, and I will share My mind with you, opening your eyes to see things from My perspective. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid. The peace I give is sufficient for you...... Jesus Calling.
Gwen and I decided to take our little ones to the park on Tuesday. The weather in Nashville is starting to become a little cooler. (We are beckoning it!) We unloaded our vans and they scattered with squeals of excitement! I followed mine to the slides and was quickly approached by a woman that asked "what daycare are you with?" I replied "no maam, we are not a daycare, they belong to us" (all the while my almost 5 year old son, Joshua, is standing right beside me listening to EVERY word) and she said "do you foster them or something?!" and I said "no, they belong to us, we have adopted them" (Joshua's eyebrows are furrowed, looking up at me, at this point wondering how I will respond) "REALLY?!?!? what for?" and I continued my conversation with the lady, trying to have grace, but choosing my words wisely because obviously Joshua was hanging on to my every word. I grabbed Joshua's little hand in mine and led him to a different part of the playground. As I approached Gwen, she could tell that I was seething. We talked through our parts as adoptive Mommy's to spread awareness of adoption, while sheltering our children from the rudeness of the outside world. The look on the lady's face was one of disgust. She did not understand and didn't really want to try. My heart ached for Joshua. My heart felt burdened for the rest of the day. I know that the Lord has me on this journey so that I will call out to him daily. As I left the park, I spoke aloud to Christ..."I do not know how you were able to sit on your throne and watch you son be persecuted time AFTER TIME while He was living on earth. " (Honestly, if I had the power to throw down some lightening on some people, there would be several that would be burnt to a crisp by now!)
I am so thankful that God has me in a place where I can not only see his heart, but feel the pain that he feels for his sweet children.
Do not worry about what other people think of you. The work that I am doing in you is hidden at first. But eventually blossoms will burst forth, and abundant fruit will be borne. Stay on the path of Life with Me. Trust Me wholeheartedly, letting My spirit fill you with joy and peace. Galatians 5:22-23
Saturday, August 21, 2010
A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet that's enough. 1 Timothy 6:6-8
My sweetheart has the gift of numbers. God created his brain to do things with numbers that is JUST NOT NORMAL!! From a very young age he has loved counting and the way that his mind is able to analyze and calculate is TRULY a gift. (there might as well be some type of hi-tech machine up there going cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching) it is TRULY amazing. He is a financial planner and works with a large company here in Nashville. He walks into the "corporate world" each morning while I am at home juggling our life with our children. The balance of his world and mine sometimes can sometimes be quite daunting. As he pulls out of the driveway each morning I pray that he guard his heart and that the Lord give me strength. Through the years I have had to pray through putting on my hat that reads "financial planners wife in the corporate world" because I'm not a big make-up and fancy clothes kind of girl and usually, that's what I need to do to look appropriate. I have now embraced this role and think of it as a time to be alone with him away from our children and feel quite honored to claim him as "my "sweets." (after all he is BY FAR the most handsome man at every event that we attend!) I had a friend ask me the other day how we were able to separate our life from being SO entrenched in the "worldly focus " that can sometime go hand in hand with the corporate world and I just giggled. First we are doing well to just SURVIVE life (ha), but secondly, Mike leaves it at the office. This is very hard for most men. The Lord has blessed us with the most unbelievable staff that support Mike and our family. The support that he has in his office is truly sent straight from God and it is because of them that we can leave for a trip and relax, catch up, and rejuvenate for what is to come when we return home. Thirdly, our home is our life. His job is provision for our family, but our HOME IS OUR LIFE.
Mike and I live in one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. We are surrounded by materialism on a much greater scale than most. As I look around me, there are so many people that the wife has taken on the husbands job to define what their family is about. How many times a day do I hear "her husband is a...blahblah blah.., he does such and such for a living.., his client is yada yada yada" It is SO easy to get caught up in all of this talk. I pray fervently DAILY for the Lord to hold me so close to his heart that my focus stays close to His. I long for my focus to stay on "how much is he home?, what are his children's names? how much does he wrestle with his children? does he open the car door for you? does he take you on dates?"
IT IS SUCH A BALANCING ACT...actually, not even balanced these days, just keeping our nose above water is an accomplishment.
So, my question to all of the women out there.....Do you find your self worth in your job or how well you are provided for? Have you told your husband lately that you love him just because of who he is and not for his "accomplishments" in the eyes of our world? Have you told him that you would live in a shack as long as you were with him!?!? I think a lot of the problems that we are faced with as women is because we desire these worldly things and our husbands feel the pressure to provide them for us to make us happy...and the cycle goes on and on and on!
Tell those rich in this world's wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage-to do good, to be rich in helping others: to be extravagantly generous. If they do, they'll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19
The Lord does not promise to shelter us from all of the brokenness in our lives. He does not promise to shower wealth upon us. He DOES however tell us that He will give us refreshment for our minds and bodies. He also promises us that as we increasingly find fulfillment in HIM that all of the other pleasures become less important. I continue to pray that He will fill my heart with His presence and love so that I will not seek the things of this world that are SO VERY empty!
Ask and you shall receive...
Saturday, August 14, 2010
"thanks mommy! this is the best night of the summer!"
This week has been FULL of fun. Gwen (oatsvallteam.blogspot.com) and I started the week off with the Justin Bieber concert. Our four girls were ECSTATIC at the thought of going out on the town with their mommies and it being a "girls night out."
After the concert we awoke to our sweet friend Emily Alexander and her family (teamalexander.blogspot.com) from Texas coming to visit. Through a mutual friend, the Lord knitted our hearts with Emily's three years ago when Gwen was leaving for China to get Maggie. We were all three in the adoption process and Gwen was the first one to travel. We sat on my bed, hands locked, and prayed her off to a foreign country where she was going to hold her abused, burned, child for the first time. Little did we know, a week later I would travel. While Gwen was on the other side of the world holding Maggie, my lips touched Caleb's little cheeks just hours after he was born. All the while, Emily was in Texas fervently praying for the both of us. A few months later, she traveled to Ethiopia and wrapped her arms around sweet little Abe.
our stories in a nutshell:
Gwen and I had traveled the adoption road once before and it had been relatively smooth (Joshua/domestic, Emily/China). On our second Journey, while the health of Caleb was perfect, our journey walking alongside his birthmother was very emotional. Gwen traveled thinking that Maggie was "missing hair"...an easy problem to solve. It only took a few moments to look into her eyes to see the depth of pain and abuse that this child had once suffered. After having Abe home for awhile, an MRI showed that he was missing part of his brain. While Emily's heart broke in half, Gwen and I prayed fervently for her from our homes in Tennessee. Fast forward two years.... Emily goes back to Ethiopia to bring Eyasu home. Mike and I traveled to Uganda to bring Josie Love home....in the process find out that she tests positive for TB and HIV. and several months later Gwen travels to bring Daisy and Joseph home from Uganda......still waiting for tests to know EXACTLY what is going on with Joseph.
We laugh now, saying that how we once thought that the Lord "knitted"our hearts together, we believe now that He "tied, chained, locked, and bolted....and threw the key away!" We look back on the last three years and KNOW that our friendship is divine. If we had not had each other during these times, we would have crumbled. We often talk about God's plan for our lives not being the road that we would have "chosen" but if given the chance to redo it we would "choose" it ALL over again. Our lives have not been filled with happiness. But have been OVERFLOWING with joy. We do not feel like smiling all of the time. We are tired of doctors appointments, medicine, and laundry. BUT we are all three filled to the rim with joy each and every day. It's the kind of joy that only our sweet Savior can give. Not only does He give it, but he gives you someone to walk the journey with(other than our spouses), someone to SHARE the joy with because THAT IS JUST WHAT HE DOES!!!!!
We all went to the HIV/AIDS awareness exhibit together on Thursday night. After walking through it, my heart felt SO heavy. Heavy for all of the people that live around me on a daily basis that have NO IDEA what REALLY goes on around the world. I have NEVER felt so privileged. I left thinking....The Lord has entrusted me with one of these little angels that is infected with this AWFUL virus. He is depending on ME and Mike to love her and care for her. He has given me the opportunity to walk alongside this little girl and see life as she sees it instead of the cloudy goggles that most wear on a daily basis that are smeared with our "worldly joy." Now hear me say, that it doesn't give me the warm fuzzies and make me happy. It gives me sorrow and makes my heart ache.....like never before. It makes me ANGRY that she has to go through life taking meds just to stay alive. But it brings me JOY to feel the Lords presence daily. It brings me peace that only He can give me.
I had a lifelong girlfriend(Amy Drane, whom I love with my whole heart) meet me to go through the exhibit. Amy has two little angels from Guatemala. Going anywhere with my brood is always an adventure for her I am sure. She loaded up with Gwen, Emily, and I and ALL OF OUR KIDDOS and ventured out. After the exhibit, eating out, and heading home, Amy and I were able to talk about the night. She said "I could do life with all of ya'll EVERY DAY!" It made my heart feel SO good to feel that she was not TOTALLY overwhelmed (maybe just a little..haha) with how crazy our lives are. She pointed out how everyone stared at us at the restaurant...which I do not notice anymore, and the joy that we all seem to have while life is HARD. It was at that moment that this blog came to mind.
Life does not always bring happiness...actually, MOST days it does not. BUT IT IS FULL OF JOY.
the Mayernick's, Oatsvall's, and the Alexander's...can you find the mother's? (just look for the dark circles and wrinkles under our eyes!!) too bad Josie is looking down..her head looks like an over grown sea urchin!
sweet baby Abe and "gee gee" Gwen
Joseph Oatsvall...the sweetest smile on earth!
Monday, August 2, 2010
The end of summer is nearing. As I look back over the last few months I have realized several things. The transition from THREE children being at home all day everyday to SEVEN being home every day has been a HUGE transition. One that has left me longing for my bed and pillow once my younger ones were finally in their beds asleep.
I am EXTREMELY aesthetic. I love colorful flowers in the spring and summer. This year rather than just planting flowers in the front, I have planted 5 HUGE planters on my back deck full of the most colorful and beautiful flowers. I have gardenias in several of them so that I can smell their sweetness as I sit on my deck, drink my coffee, and read my bible. I have put up a hummingbird feeder and a golden finch feeder so that I can watch them. The hummingbirds are so intriguing and the golden finches are some of the most beautiful birds that I have ever seen. I realized last week that I have subconsciously done all of this for encouragement. So that I can see glimpses of Christ as I look out my kitchen window after just spending 20 minutes sitting in the floor with little ones rolling all over me. I have needed to feel HIS presence roll over me like the scent of the gardenias as I walk out my back door. The wings on the hummingbird remind me of our lives, moving so rapidly that we can hardly breathe. The only time they stop the flutter is to drink a few drops of nectar to keep them in motion for the next few moments.
I realized that I have moved my "special space" from the front porch to the back porch. Haven't we all? What has happened to the culture of a "neighborhood?" Everyone use to sit out on their front porch and greet people as they passed. Now, we pull up, push the button to our garage door, pull in, and close the garage door behind us. (unless you drive a van like mine that won't fit in my garage..hahaha) We have gone from large families to small families. We say that we have done all of these things to "simplify".....which in reality, haven't these changes done just the opposite? Our lives continue to get faster and faster each year. I am laughing as I type this because I am thinking about my life. I am VERY conservative in starting my children in any kind of organized sport at a young age, we usually do not attend birthday parties before they are school age, and I try to be intentional about "going and doing" with my younger ones. HOWEVER, with each child added, our lives continue to get busy INSIDE my house! Which really doesn't leave TOO much time for business outside our home.
I think that our TB nurses are completely bumfuzzled by our family. Everyday they look around and just shake their heads at all of the commotion. I have gotten to where I just giggle at their expressions. Friday is Josie Love's LAST DOSE of TB meds! I AM SO EXCITED, I CAN HARDLY STAND IT!! We have had to alter her HIV meds because of the TB, so I am ready to see what happens when everything is measured out as it should be.
AND GUESS WHO IS STARTING PRESCHOOL THIS YEAR?!?!?! YEP! Little Miss Josie Love. Sister is SO excited! When we go to church she cannot get up the steps quick enough to make it to her class. Just at the mention of "school" she gets giddy! More to come on her preparations.....
- 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.