Saturday, August 17, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

Back when a LID was a Cover for a Pot

My appreciation for abbreviations has grown in this whole adoption process.  I really use to think:

1. EA is a game manufacture
2. PA is an intercom system
3. I800a is probably a model number for a Mercedes
4. DTC is dynamic traction control in a car
5. LID is a pot cover
6. RA is a resident assistant in a college dorm
7. TA is a teacher's assistant

Now I am wise to the other meaning of these abbreviations:

1. EA is Electronic Acceptance of a child's referral by the adoptive family
March 28, 2013
2. PA is Pre-Approval by the country of adoption
April 17, 2013
3. I800a strangely morphs into a 797 (which sounds like a turbo jet) but is really another fancy approval from the US government saying you are suitable to adopt
May 28, 2013
4. DTC is Dossier To China
June 14, 2013
5. LID is Log In Date, when your dossier is officially entered in the computer system
July 19, 2013
6. RA is Referral Acceptance which means all your paperwork that has taken eons to gather, authenticate and certify has been reviewed by the child's government and that specific child is approved to be adopted by you.  It is official!
August 15, 2013
7. TA well, that is Travel Approval to pick up our son.

Now that you are an expert on all these abbreviations, let me just shout, "We got our RA yesterday!" China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA)  are entrusting us with a precious son.  
Meet our gift of God,  "Teddy" Xiaobo

We feel immensely blessed and can't wait till our TA comes.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Confession like a Bottleneck

One of the beauties of knowing Christ is finding yourself inadequate.  It is like entering a narrow bottleneck that seems humanly limiting, but that is exactly where God takes us so we can experience the full immersion in the Wine.  Knowing him is intoxicating, but it is impossible to enter his fullness except through the narrow path of his person.  The world condemns Christians as snobs and bigots, because of this exclusivity.   However, Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  John 14:6
When the world asks how can you know you are so right?  
Well, for me, it all funnels down to I first had to know I was so wrong.  There was nothing in me worthy or commendable.  I was undrinkable poison.  Like in the Old Testament, I was the bitter water that needed the Branch. 
So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink. (Exodus 15:22-25)

Flip to Jeremiah 33:15 and isn't it amazing that the symbolism of the branch in Exodus is fulfilled in the person of Christ, "In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land."

Only when the Branch of Jesus is thrown on the bitter water of our life, do we become fit to drink.  Hallelujah for his transforming power. 

Just as bitter water can't be made sweet without the work of Christ, in the same way the rich grace of his Wine can't be tasted unless you experience a beautiful desperation that pushes you through the bottleneck to the delight inside the bottle.  

Therefore, when we gather on Sunday I find great comfort in this prayer of confession, because I know the atoning work is not in my effort, but it was completed when the Branch was nailed to the Tree.

We confess that we are in bondage to sin, and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart, we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your son, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

Monday, August 12, 2013

How a Grasshopper Spits Scripture

When Alex caught this grasshopper in his hand, I had to think of the Joel passage and marvel that God, the Commander of the Grasshopper, counts the years of destruction and repays us in goodness.

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten -
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm -
my great army that I sent among you.

 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
Joel 2:25, 26

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chasing Life

In hot pursuit. 

Love how the shadows make diamonds in the background. 

My crazy athletic girl.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Faith is the Evidence

This book testifies of how the long, harsh waiting years can be turned into non-wasted minutes in the presence of God.  This book verifies that the poverty existence can be rich in relationship with our Pauper King.  This book recounts the character of God so magnificently that the human wickedness is but a shadow.   I found the book to be uplifting, powerful and timely because the author is wrapped up in the person of Christ.

As Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." 

The Not Seen Part is pretty darn relevant to this book.  When Barnabas asked, "Where was God?", he was burying his friends. When Barnabas asked, "Where was this feast?", he was dining on buffalo hide rope.  His faith was sustained by the Invisible when the evidence seemed missing.

Acceptable Messes and Divine Mistakes

This mess looks like jellyfish on my bedroom floor.  If you took the time to count them, you would find sixty of a deadly variety. You read that right.  These jellyfish are dangerous, because they will kill notions of self goodness and cause hearts to swell on contact.  Those who experience Jesus are never quite the same.  It is a grace that first stings and then strangely salves. May these red ribbon tentacles be used to grip the hearts of men towards the Red Thread of Redemption, Jesus, himself.
It all started with a simple pattern, muslin, straight pins, scissors, a tape measure, ribbon, markers,
don't forget the glue...lots of it.

With five sets of hands, we had an assembly line going.  Turning out the "jellyfish" parachutes by the dozen. It is our third annual summer project.  

We worked hard to construct these fabric parachutes which will be dropped over FARC- controlled Columbia with Bibles, Christian literature and radios. 

Originally I thought that one of my sweet helpers made a mistake in amor, but then God reminded me that He redeems mistakes.  What if Manuel find this parachute in the dark jungle of Columbia and he sees that thick "M" as a sign that the God of Love loves him.  How easily an accidental misprint becomes a divine message.
If you want to learn more about this hands-on mission project, you can visit:

Thursday, August 08, 2013

When Girls have Lashes

and when cars wear mascara, you get a pretty cute photo.

Happy Lunch, Sad Lunch

Sometimes my camera has funny photos on it.  This was lunch last week.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Walking the Border Towns

Luke 17:11
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.  As he was going into the village, ten men who had leprosy met him.  They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"

by DiCianni

So often I have focused on the lepers' call, when I should have been focusing on Jesus who walks the border towns, the places on the fringe.   He knew that the border town is where the outcasts dwell.  He wasn't afraid to walk where others feared to tread.  The lepers didn't initiate their own healing.  Jesus did.  He showed up where flesh was wasted and the beauty of life was discarded.  He showed up to restore not only their flesh but to remove them from the isolation of their disease, to take them out of their border-line existence.   I know that Jesus heals.  And with healing, sometimes Jesus also relocates a person.   In Judges 18:10, I see that God has chosen the best for his called people, "When you get there, you will find ...a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever." 

Sometimes though a leper wants to stay in the border town, because that is where they experienced the authentic God and healing.  Just like that 1 leper out of 10, I want to throw myself at Jesus' feet in gratitude that he walked in the despised places.  He walked in close proximity to me and where the cry of my heart reached his ears.  He chose to heal me in the place of desertion.   Jesus chose to walk where even I didn't want to be.  Why would he do that?

What great mercy Jesus had to meet me where I was.  As a leper, I couldn't travel on my eaten-away nubbins without excruciating pain; I couldn't feel the destruction of my heart; I couldn't even unbandage my own hands.  Oh, but he could and he did.  In Judges, God puts a new land in their hands.  Now I can feel the new land which God has put in my restored hands.  It makes me uncomfortable, until I see that it is a land that lacks nothing.   The only land which lacks nothing is the land inhabited by the presence of God.  Where Jesus is there are no insurmountable borders.  He is the spacious land.  He takes this cleansed leper and relocates her from the place of restriction to the place at his feet.  When you have stared at his feet through your tears, you know without a doubt that they are the most beautiful feet in the whole wide world and where he walks you will gladly go.

Here's to a new border town.