Friday, April 19, 2013

We serve a God of surprises

God brought Ryan and I our first – and very biggest – surprise in October 2008: a baby boy. As you know, in just 5 hours we became parents to Samuel who has since taken over our hearts with his love, energy and big heart. We are crazy about this kid and can’t believe this year we will celebrate five years of life with him. What an honor. What a blessing. Our hearts are full of gratitude.

In January 2009 God brought us another surprise when we learned Samuel was going to be a big brother. We had tried and planned to get pregnant for more than three years. But we saw our plans erased when two pregnancies and years of waiting resulted in multiple miscarriages. When we least expected it – while we were in the midst of learning the ropes of parenthood – God sent us another surprise and today we call her Lauren. She has captured our hearts and we are madly in love with our sweet girl.

It is with a mixture of great joy and disbelief that I write to tell you that God has granted us a third surprise on our journey to parenthood. Although I have known about this for some time now, as I write these words tears fill my eyes because of the precious and unexpected miracle that is taking place within me. I can honestly say I didn’t ever think I would conceive again and yet I have. Our third child is expected to make his/her arrival on or around September 25.

My mom pointed out recently that all of our children have been surprises. In thinking about that, I realize she is absolutely right. The times when we have tried to control the growth of our family led us to frustration, disappointment and heartache as we waited on God and experienced the grief of multiple miscarriages.

It's only when God had our attention elsewhere, that He saw fit to send us our surprises. That's not everyone's story, but it's ours.

Many friends have asked how I feel about this surprise. Ryan and I knew we wanted a third child, we just didn’t care if he/she was biological or adopted. So my overwhelming response is that I feel incredibly privileged to have this opportunity. I have had one ultrasound that immediately put to rest my concerns about miscarrying. I saw the very tiny flutter of a heartbeat and was reminded again that God is the author and perfector and creator of life. Life does not begin outside the womb – it begins at the moment of conception. Our baby at just six weeks was already growing and developing the heart that he/she will have for the rest of his/her life. And I pray that this little heart would one day come to know and love Jesus.

While I feel incredibly privileged to experience the miracle of pregnancy again, my heart hurts and aches for those of you who read these words and it causes you pain. Because I know. I have been there. I clearly remember when pregnancy announcements put me in tears. I am under no illusions that some of you will not feel that same pain and I understand. And I want you to know that it’s OK. As you wait on God – for a baby or whatever else your heart desires – may you find the God of perfect timing dries your tears and holds you closely as you place your hope in Him.  

I will not be posting pictures of the baby’s nursery or writing daily updates on the pregnancy. That’s not the purpose of this blog nor is it where my heart is. I will continue to write about God’s timing, God’s endless and overwhelming grace in my life and all that He is teaching me through this journey of life. Our family is embarking on a new chapter. It’s filled with anticipation, excitement and, yes, a bit of anxiety about the future as well. But our God is a provider, protector and sustainer.

And He is, most definitely, a God of surprises.

Monday, April 8, 2013

"The right to a family is a basic human right"

Stuck is an award-winning documentary currently traveling around the country that tells the heart-wrenching stories of children and parents who are navigating through the international adoption system.
Stuck shares that:
  • There are an estimated 10 million children in orphanages world-wide waiting for families to adopt them.
  • International adoptions to the U.S. have declined by 50% in the past five years. 
  • "The world has stopped paying attention."
  • "The right to a family is a basic human right."
"The purpose of the film is to help the average person understand the issues and create a movement that will ultimately put pressure on U.S. officials to force a more supportive attitude toward International Adoption."
It's going to 60 cities in 80 days (it's already been on tour since March 1 and continues through May 16). The tour ends in Washington D.C. with a Step Forward for Orphans March on May 17.

I am attending the viewing on April 23 in Minneapolis. If you are local, please join me in supporting this cause and raising awareness.
If the tour isn't coming to your city (or you missed it), you can buy the documentary online for the cost of one meal at a restuarant. And, you support Both Ends Burning with your purchase.

I cannot watch this trailer (embedded below) without crying. Every. Single. Time. Please take two minutes and watch it.

You don't need to be an adoptive parent to support adoption. God calls us ALL to care for orphans. You need only have a heart for His children. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Has God trusted you with a silence?

By Oswald Chambers:

"When he heard that He was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was." John 11:6

Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see Matthew 7:9). He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).

A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious— it gets into you, causing you to become perfectly confident so that you can honestly say, “I know that God has heard me.” His silence is the very proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will always bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy— silence.