Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bloom, spirit, Bloom

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11
Our orchard is a vivid reminder that the dead looking twigs resurrect into bloom at His command.  I was pondering on the fact that God makes everything beautiful in its time, but then I realized I was pondering wrong.  The verse actually states that God has completed the work already.  What a difficult concept for the free will to understand that the dead looking twig has already been told to bloom and it will obey.  There are no "if"s or "but"s about it.  Because God spoke, the blooms will declare his Breath of Life, his completed work.

In a season of dry twigs, I don't want to hear how God is planning to work.  I am impatient to know he has already worked.  When Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross and when three days later he burst forth from the tomb, the twigs respond and rejoice.  May my twiggy, doubting spirit believe in the "doneness of his doings." 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Nine stones

Our newest family photo. As I count the heads, I'm amazed at where I am today.  I never could have imagined this life.  The person who loved order and tidiness has had her world rearranged by the God of the universe.  There is nothing tidy about adoption.  It is a messy process, because it deals with the displaced, the discarded and the destitute.  I was one of those.  Adoption is a good destruction in that it breaks hard, self-contained hearts to expand our very definition of love. 

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.…
Ephesians 5:1-2

Adoption is a good ugly in that it strewns emotions all over the floor.  Adoption gathers the emptiness of our efforts and takes them to Christ, the perfect lover.  Yes, adoption will first empty you of everything you once were so that you can be that imitator of God.

When Ben asked if I wanted to go on an errand with him after work, I did not expect he was heading to a jewelry store.  He surprised me with a nine stone diamond ring.  It was strange to count the stones and realize that my family is now nine.  It was even more amazing to think that before the diamonds were mined, God had in his mind this brilliant display for his glory. 

Now when I look at my finger, I will be reminded of the crazy, undeserved love my husband has for me but that adoption is like a ring encircled with precious jewels.  And even I know that the best sparkles are cast with the cutting away of sides. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

When God Writes a Love Letter

As the stories of our lives are written from the very ink of God's heart, it is not surprising that he chose for our travel approval to land us in the Philippines over Valentine's Day.  Never particularly sentimental about the holiday, it all changed when I returned home to ponder the significance of that February 14. 

We were fresh off the plane and waiting for the 15th to come when we would meet our newest son and daughter.  You might say love had taken us around the world, but it wasn't the hearts and roses kind of love.  It was scared in your shoes love.  It was the nervous love of not knowing whether it would be reciprocated or well-placed.  It was a very poor sort of love, a human kind of love that perhaps does leak helium like a red balloon.   I felt totally incapable of the task at hand. 

Home now three weeks, I am reminded minute by minute that God wrote the love letter best.  He sent his most precious gift, Jesus, into a foreign country that was marred by indescribable poverty and willful disregard.  He never worried about whether his love was reciprocated or well-placed.  His was a heavenly sort of love that never gives up and doesn't leak out. 

On Valentine's Day, there are hundreds of cards that say: "I love you are sweet, you are beautiful, you are fun, you are smart, you are my everything."  For an analytical personality, you start to wonder what if you cease being sweet, beautiful, fun, smart and that person's everything.  What then?

On the other hand, God writes an everlasting Valentine on the hearts of his children.  "I love you because I love you."  I feel so undone by that.  His regard for me makes me want to be a lover like him. 

Tonight as Ben and I were fixing dinner, Luke grabbed a hold of Ben's leg and spontaneously started praying, "Dear Lord Jesus, Thank you I have Daddy and Mommy now." 

My eyes are brimming with tears and I ask openly, "Why me?  I am so undeserving."  Yet the little child in me wants to grab hold of my Heavenly Father's leg and say, "Thank you for loving me so well.  Thank you for taking me around the world and back again.  Thank you for expanding my family though you knew my love was inadequate.  Thank you for pursuing me with ardor and never giving up.  Thank you for your untiring love letter."

New Beginnings

After much thought, we decided our children needed a new beginning with a new name.  Every time we speak their new names it will be a reminder of our mighty working God.   
Jenny is now Beth ("house of God").  It seemed so fitting since she comes to us from Bethany  ("house of poverty") orphanage.  We speak promise over her that she will have her life redeemed with the richness of God himself.

Jeremy is now Luke ("bringer of Light").  May the Light of the world so fill him that he will draw men to Christ.

So now we get to introduce our children all over again.

Meet Luke.

Meet Beth.

The hand by the face is a typical pose for Filipino boys. 

She was quite taken with our neighbors' pooch.