Monday, December 24, 2012

A Child Has Been Born

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!! May the HOPE of Christ fill your home as we celebrate the Birth of our King!!



Saturday, December 22, 2012

I'm Going Back!!

 
Oh beautiful Ethiopia how I miss you! The colors, the smell, the people, the joy and peace you feel being there and so much more. I miss it all. The saying is true "I need Africa more then Africa needs me" I do!! I would be lying if I said I don't hope to go back, because I do!! I want to take Noah to see where his brother came from, I want to go and love on the people, share the love of Jesus with those who don't know Him and yes, I want so badly to adopt more children from the country that will forever hold a big piece of my heart.
 
I thought once I came home with Isaiah my heart would stop aching, but it only aches more. It aches for the faces I can't get out of my head, the precious souls who need Jesus so desperately, the children who wonder the streets begging, not knowing where their next meal will come from. My heart aches for the mothers who sadly will continue to have to make the hard decision to place their children for adoption because they know they just can not take care of them, for those who are dying of HIV simply because they are unable to get the medical care that is afforded in the states and for the children who will watch their family die off one by one as a result of poverty and sickness, only to end up alone with no one to love them and protect them. It's been almost 8 months since I stood in beautiful Ethiopia and I miss it more every day.
 
Over the last 11 months I have traveled to Ethiopia twice, battled a sickness that has kept me weak and in and out of the hospital, come face to face with the reality that those who I thought were dear friends, were merely just putting on a good act, only to show their true colors once Isaiah came home and I lost my job right before the holidays, BUT I was also completely healed by the Lord of my sickness and the Lord has taught me so much about what it means to truly rely on Him for my daily needs. To keep my focus on Him and not things of the world, including people. I am blessed that the Lord chose to place people in my life this year who have encouraged, supported, prayed and loved me and my boys through a time of transition, change and at times uncertainty. I couldn't ask for sweeter friends, even if the majority of them do live out of state, Ha!!
 
One thing that has come from this year's experiences is my desire to work with missions. I have always had a heart for missions, and that love grew during my time in Ethiopia. The Lord broke my heart for what breaks His and continues to do so everyday. After I lost my job, I began praying about where the Lord was leading me. I wasn't happy at my job for different reasons, and a couple of months ago I had actually applied for a job at my church working full time with the missions department. I felt the Lord pulling me towards missions but I wasn't sure how that would look? I continued to wait and pray and then my job loss came and I knew I just needed to be still and wait on Him. I found out I wasn't chosen for the missions job and over the last few weeks I have applied for different jobs, interviewed for them but haven't had any job offers? Yet, I have continued to pray, being open to what/where it is the Lord is leading me. Trust me when I say I wasn't expecting what His plans were for this next chapter :-)
 
 
Yep, that's right "I'm going back" to nursing school!! I found out yesterday I got accepted into the online LPN to RN bridge program that starts in just three short weeks!! The Lord continues to amaze me at how He provides, especially during times like this where I could not even imagine going back to school while being unemployed!! The Body of Christ has literally brought me to tears and left me speechless this past month as people have prayed, sent encouraging messages/cards and even blessed me with financial gifts. It has been very humbling to say the least.
 
Let me explain how I came to the decision that now was the time to go back and why? Over the last few months my mom and sister have been asking me when I was planning on going back to school, as having my RN will open more doors as far as jobs and working with medical missions!! My response was always the same "I can't go to school full time, work full time and be a full time single mom" Now of course there are those who will say "yes you can, if you really want to" and to that I say "you're right I could physically do those things at the same time", but I choose to be a mother first and going to school and working full time would hinder my ability to do that, which to me is not an option! So the idea of going back to school never really entered my mind. Around the same time these conversations were going on I was also praying that the Lord would allow me the opportunity to be home with my kids more then I was. Call me selfish, but if I had my way about it I would be a stay at home mom in a heart beat, but last time I checked you don't get paid to do that, lol so that wasn't an option. I was however praying that somehow I could be home with my kids more.
 
When news came that I was losing my job, I didn't get too upset, because I knew the Lord was in control and His plans were greater then mine. As I applied for jobs and interviewed, I also began to apply for nursing school and get necessary documents in order for that, and stayed in prayer that the Lord would make it clear the direction He would have me to go. I never heard anything from the jobs I applied for but I was getting positive feedback from the college regarding the application process. Then yesterday I received the phone call telling me I had in fact been accepted into the program. The best part is the peace I feel about things, knowing the Lord is leading me on this journey.
 
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
 
This is a verse that a sweet friend sent me in a encouraging Facebook message she sent me a few weeks ago. Little did she know the Lord would use that scripture to speak to my heart regarding the step of faith it would take for me to go back to school. I'm once again so thankful for the Lord's provision and the body of believers He has surrounded me with.
 
SO, why now? Well, for a few reasons. The first being obvious, lol and that is the Lord says so :-) but also with my heart for missions, I am hoping that by getting my RN it will allow me different opportunities to work with medical missions however the Lord sees fit, and I am also wanting to adopt again in the near future and if the Lord sees fit to not bless me with a husband (still praying he does, will you join me) I want to be financially able to adopt at least 1 more child if not two!! Noah informed me the other night I need to adopt a brother his age and a little sister :-) My heart for Ethiopia is also a reason I wanted to go back to school. I know my involvement with that beautiful country is not done and I want to be prepared for when the Lord calls me back there!!
 
My decision to go back of course came with LOTS of praying, thinking and budgeting!! I basically will be living off my tax return next year and praying the Lord provides for our needs as I venture back into school full time. The program itself is 18 months long but I am hoping to finish it in 15 months. I should find out in a couple of weeks if that will be an option. As scary as this new journey is, I know this is the best thing for myself and my boys and that the Lord is leading the way. I of course would covet your prayers for this next chapter in my life. When I found out how long it would take, I couldn't help but think of how all the big things in my life always come in 18 month time frames. Hmmm, wonder if that means anything, lol
 
Thank you in advance for your prayers for my schooling and for this new transition my boys and I are getting ready to go through. Noah is of course super excited to have Mommy home everyday! I love how the Lord answers our prayers. With doing the online program, I will be able to schedule 85-90% of my schooling for when my boys are in bed, leaving me time everyday to be more involved with Noah's homeschooling and spend more quality time with each of my sweet boys!! A big answered prayer!! I will also be able to participate in my church's bible study in February that is offered during the week in the morning. When I signed up for it, I signed up believing the Lord would work out the details to allow me to participate in the study, as it is one that I really wanted to do and I didn't know what my work schedule would look like. God is so good!!
 
As I begin this new chapter of my life I can't help but pray that the Lord continues to break me and mold me, never letting me forget what I saw and experienced. I will never be the same and a part of my heart will always be in Ethiopia!! It is my hope and prayer to always have my hands and feet there in some way, however the Lord sees fit.
 
"Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand" Isaiah 64:8
 
 


This is the start of your sweet little story. The part where your pages meet mine, no matter where your tale takes you tomorrow, our story will always read LOVE
 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

If You Give Your Son Your Phone.......

You will find LOTS of pictures on your phone that your sweet boy apparently took of himself while playing on your phone while you cooked dinner :-)
 
These folks are just the few that made the blog cut! I assure you there were about ten more pictures of super silly faces, lol I love that boy and his silly sense of humor!!
 

Philippians 4:6-7

So it seems that life right now continues to keep me from blogging like I would like. Seriously, how do ya'll do it? I read a lot of blogs where ladies are able to post every day almost, if not every other day. Me, I'm lucky to get to post once a week, lol This guest post comes from my sweet friend Kristen who I was blessed to meet through the blog world. I asked her to share with ya'll her story and how the Lord has worked in her life. Enjoy :-)

My absolute favorite verse in the bible is Philippians 4: 6&7 do not be anxious
about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God! And the peace of God, which transcends all
understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (NIV) Today
I'm writing to tell you "God's good news"  ((:   First off  we should always
talk to God about what is bothering us, ask him for help and give him thanks!
Acknowledge how he has helped you in the past, and how he has provided for you. 
Tell him how blessed we are to have such a loving faithful trustworthy father
watching over us!  If we do these things Gods peace will descend upon is and we
will find rest for our hearts and souls!   Peace with God is only found at the
foot of the cross whereas peace within is achieved trough obedience to the word
of God. God wants peace to be the fabric of your life and he wants you to learn
to trust his heart even when you can not trace his steps.    Now how does this
verse tie into anything that has to do with the advent season... Jesus is the
king of peace in my life! I enjoy everyday of my life because Jesus has
delivered me from my trials and struggles and he saved my soul!  Isaiah 9:6 For
to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon
his shoulder, and his name shall be called. 'Wonderful counselor, mighty God,
everlasting Father and (my favorite) ..PRINCE OF PEACE!   Today Let your heart
pause for a moment with thankfulness and peace as you prepare for the Christmas
season!  Look at the manger scene with the fresh wonder of all he is to you! Let
our sweet savior fill your heart with joy and peace today!  As i close this
today my prayer is that I would look with expectation to what you (Lord) will do
in my life and that you would fill me with your joy!  Fill my heart with the
wonder of what that first Christmas means and thank you that today that you fill
my "anxious heart/thoughts with your peace" Let your word and joy flood my heart
and soul as I lean in you to be my wonderful counselor, my mighty God, and my
everlasting father and prince of peace!

I'm Kristen and it was an absolute blessing and honor to be able to write for
Sarah's blog! My story isn't anything special. I'm just a sinner saved by Gods
grace! I've had more trials this year.. (Losing my dad to cancer, battling with
fertility issues, lose of a sister) to name a few, but Gods peace has Mended my
broken heart and gives me a new outlook on life daily! I praise him with that
new peace I found in him and praise him for the peace that I know where my dad
is today and for the new body he has in heaven! I praise him for the desire he
has given me to be a mommy one day and I praise him for the opportunity to share
his word! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and remember our prince of peace
is the reason for the season!   Kristen <3

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

There Are No Words

First let me just say a HUGE THANK YOU for the text messages, e-mails, phone calls and most importantly your prayers!! These last few months have been so hard dealing with being so sick and not feeling like myself and it has meant so much knowing so many people are praying for me, interceding on my behalf.

After being diagnosed with Gastroperesis I was scheduled for a test that would show how long it was taking for my stomach to empty, that way my GI doctor would know where he needed to go next as far as treatment? I had done a lot of reading on the subject and the more I read the more nervous I got at the thought of what life was going to look like with this condition. Last Friday I went to the hospital where I ate radioactive scrambled eggs, lol yes you read that right. I had to eat the eggs and then every 15 minutes for 2 hours I was to get an x-ray done so that they could watch the eggs travel through my stomach. Good times :-)

Everything went well with my test and I was really feeling a peace about everything. My symptoms had began to decrease last week and I knew it was because of all your prayers. I was starting to think maybe my condition wouldn't be that bad as far as the severity of it. I was anxious to go to my follow up appointment the following Tuesday (yesterday) Sadly, my peace was cut a little short when I came home and got a phone call informing me I was being let go from my job :-( So I am now unemployed. I can't lie, the timing is just rotten. Any savings I had has gone to pay for all my doctor bills and there are still bills to pay, Christmas as well as my truck needs new tires and brakes before the winter weather gets here, but before I allow myself to go there mentally, I remind myself HE is my DAILY BREAD!! The Lord sees the big picture to what is going on, while I only see piece by piece. I will continue to trust in His plans for my life, even if right now things don't make a lot of sense. I know they do to Him and that's all that matters.

So yesterday was the big day. Time to find out exactly what the test showed and where we were going to go from here. My symptoms have still been easing up, so I was hopeful that things wouldn't be that bad. The doctor came in and asked me how I had been feeling? I told him that my symptoms had gotten better. He then pulled up my results on the computer and the first words out of his mouth were "this doesn't make sense" Of course my heart fell to my stomach at the fear of what was going to follow that statement. The next thing he said was nothing short of a miracle, an answer to YOUR prayers!! He said "your test results show that your stomach is now emptying as it should" I immediately got tears in my eyes and my mom looked at me and almost at the same time we said " God healed me" It feels so amazing to type that!! God HEALED me!!! My own GI doctor still can't understand it. He had pulled up the results from my scope that I had done a couple of weeks ago and was comparing them to the results from my test last Friday and he was literally dumbfounded. Two weeks ago he saw with his own eyes Gastroperesis and now he was seeing results that showed zero Gastroperesis!!! I want to shout from the roof how AMAZING our God is!!!! I am still in awe that He chose to heal me COMPLETELY!!! I had been praying for healing, but had been prepared for dealing with this condition for the rest of my life, but as always God showed up BIG and BLESSED me with complete healing of my GI issues!!

The blessings kept on going that day, as I received an e-mail from a sweet sister in Christ who had found out I had lost my job and she and her husband wanted to bless me with a gift to help with the holidays. I have tears in my eyes again as I type this. He is our DAILY BREAD!!! I have learned so much these last few months and that is one of the biggest lessons the Lord has taught me. Not to allow myself to look ahead at what we need or bills that are going to be due, but instead to rest in Him and trust that He will provide. I have had to remind myself of that since losing my job, but I can honestly say I am at peace because I know He will provide for myself and my boys. His ways are not my ways and I am so thankful for that.

So where does that leave me with my health? My doctor recommended I go on a probiotic, which I had already purchased the day before and planned on doing. He also suggested I go on a vegan diet for a while to give my body a period of rest and to help me lose some more weight, since I had gained some back due to my stomach not emptying for a while. So that is the plan for the next few months. I am feeling better but still not 100% I discovered today just how weak I have become due to this sickness. This summer I was walking/running 3 miles every other day in the dead of summer (ya'll remember that heat) this afternoon my mom and I decided to go for a walk and a 1/2 mile into the walk I was exhausted and couldn't catch my breath. We ended up having to turn around and come home. It was a huge feeling of defeat for me but I am hopeful that I will be back up and walking/running my 3 miles by early next year. I am just so thankful that the Lord HEALED me!!

With all this being said, I would be humbled if ya'll would still keep me in your prayers. I have some specific prayer needs if you wouldn't mind and please if I can be praying for you for anything, please leave me a comment or Facebook me if we are FB friends.

  • Please pray for my current unemployment and financial situation. Pray that the Lord would provide for our needs and for peace for me regarding the future.
  • Pray that my health would continue to improve and I would regain my strength. I am still dealing with some fatigue but am hopeful that will subside soon.
  • This is the biggest! I was due to follow up with a cardiologist next week regarding the halter monitor I wore last week for my heart. Since losing my job, I have also lost my health insurance, leaving me unable to go to the appointment. Please pray that everything is okay with my heart!! Not knowing for sure what is going on, makes me nervous but I am just trusting that the episode with my heart was due to the stress my body has been under?
  • I am still dealing with episodes of shortness of breath. They occur through out the day, everyday, but I am praying that with continued exercise/strengthening that it will go away on it's own? Please join me in that prayer!
  • Pray that the Lord would continue to get all the Glory for what He has done and continues to do in my life!! I pray those who don't know Him will be encouraged by my testimony and would come to a relationship with Him or at least that seeds would be planted!!
I could say it a million times and it still wouldn't be enough, but from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU  for all your prayers!! These last 11 months have been some of the hardest months of my life both physically and mentally. I look forward to the future with anticipation at what the Lord has in store for me and my boys and am so thankful to be surrounded by such an amazing body of Christ!! May God bless each and every one of you!!

I came across this quote on Facebook tonight and it couldn't be more perfect for me!!

"Praise God for who He is- all powerful and all capable. Praise God for being able to see and know things when we feel in the dark. Praise God for being able to give us a wisdom beyond our capabilities. A comfort beyond our reach. A security beyond our circumstance." -Lysa TerKeurst

Praise God for His healing hand, His Grace, Mercy and Restoration!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent & Bethany's Story

As we begin Advent, we light one candle in the midst of all the darkness in our lives and in the world. It symbolizes our longing, our desire, our hope. Three “advents” or “comings” shape our desire. We want to be renewed in a sense that Jesus came to save us from our sin and death. We want to experience his coming to us now, in our everyday lives, to help us live our lives with meaning and purpose. And we want to prepare for his coming to meet us at the end of our lives on this earth.
 
So, we begin with our longing, our desire and our HOPE.

I had the idea to have some sweet friends share with ya'll their stories about how the Lord has worked in their lives. I hope and pray that their stories will be an encouragement to you as they have been to me. How thankful I am for the HOPE we have in Christ! I honestly don't know how anyone gets through this life, let alone hard times or trials without the HOPE we have in Jesus. I have asked my sweet friend Bethany to share with us her story. She and her husband John are in the process of adopting two sweet children from the DRC and their story is a testiment to not only their faith and hope in the Lord but also of the Lord's continued provision and faithfulness for their lives and the lives of their children. I hope you are as blessed as I was when you read Bethany's story!! Praying until these sweet children are home and thanking the Lord for bringing such a sweet family into my life who are not only my family in Christ but also some sweet friends!!

Hi, my name is Bethany. My friend, Sarah, asked me to share a little bit of the story of how God has been at work in my life and my family’s adoption story, so here it goes.
I grew up in a very loving, very Roman Catholic home here in Louisville. I went to Catholic schools from 4th grade through high school, and basically lived in a catholic “bubble”. I was the oldest child and was definitely the “rule follower” of the family. I went to every Youth Group event & mission trip every summer to help the poor. I had also created my own set of moral standards for myself, when many of the kids around me were being outwardly rebellious in high school: I will not drink until I’m 21, I will never smoke, and I will NOT have sex until I’m married. As long as I stuck to these things, I thought I was a very good person and that God would be pleased with me. However, after graduating from high school I decided that I was tired of being the “good little girl” and trying so hard to be “perfect” and please my parents, I wanted to have fun. So I left for college and pursued all kinds of “fun” that I thought would make me happy. I jumped headlong into the party scene from day one on campus. This went on my entire freshman year at UK. If there was a party, I was at it. And boy, did I LOVE my sin. I had no conviction whatsoever. Until it caught up with me and I began to reap what I had been sowing (Galatians 6:7-9).
I returned for my sophomore year hurt, depressed and desperate for healing & forgiveness. So when my new roommate in my sorority house invited me to go to a Christian church with her, which was SO against my upbringing, I said yes. I was searching for answers and willing to try anything at that point. For the first time in my entire life I heard the good news of the gospel: that I was a sinner in need of a Savior and that Jesus Christ had fully paid the debt that my sins deserve on the cross. And that I could never be “good enough.” I could never EARN my salvation. “For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I cried my eyes out every Sunday for months as Danielle faithfully brought me back with her week after week. Finally I had found a source of hope: the Jesus of the Bible that I’d always known about, but never really known. Danielle continued to be my friend and ask me hard questions. One question especially stuck with me and pricked my heart. Danielle asked me, “how sure are you that you would go to Heaven if you died tonight?” I thought I was about 85% sure. I had been very “good” growing up and I thought that would outweigh all the “bad” stuff I had been doing for the past year. Danielle explained that it wasn’t based on me at all- it was based on Jesus alone. She shared Ephesians 2:8-9 with me, “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.”

I began reading my Bible for the first time in my life and slowly became convinced by scripture that the gospel was truth and that a lot of what I’d been taught growing up wasn’t based on the word of God. Eventually I decided that Jesus was far more precious than pleasing my parents & following the Catholic tradition of my family. And in February of my junior year, at a Campus Crusade conference for Greek students, I surrendered my whole life to Christ. I finally let go of the idols I had been holding so tightly onto, my drunken social life and my immoral relationships, and I placed my faith in Christ alone for my salvation. I memorized 2 Corinthians 5:17 and had to constantly remind myself that I was “a new creation in Christ, the old has passed away and the new has come.” God was so kind and merciful in immediately giving me fellowship with believers who encouraged me in my new walk with the Lord at Campus Crusade. The believers I met helped me grow in my walk with the Lord, study my Bible, and eventually introduced me to the godly man who is now my husband!
My husband, Jon, and I had always talked about adopting “one day,” but around our son’s first birthday we decided to officially start the process to adopt internationally after praying about it for years. That was almost 2 years ago. We’ve been humbly reminded many times throughout our adoption process that WE are not the ones writing our adoption story. Our Sovereign God is the one in control; He is the author of our story and only He knows the twists & turns and how it will end. We would never have dreamed that we would lose our first referral, that the precious 9 month old baby girl who we were in the process of adopting would die, or that we would have two legally adopted children in the DRC who are both “missing.” But that is all part of our story.

And here’s what I want to share with you: if you are a Christian and you desire to care for orphans through adoption- DO IT! But don’t go into the process all na├»ve and dreamy the way I did. I thought that because we were doing a good thing, by rescuing orphans, that it would be easy. Oh was I wrong! God has NOT promised that caring for the fatherless would be easy. But it is WORTH IT. Every single orphaned child on this earth is worth fighting for. They are worth mounds of paperwork, many fundraising events, months of waiting and constant prayer. They are precious children made in the image of God, just like you and me! So by all means, please consider showing a child the love of Christ through adoption! But please, come prepared with the full armor of God on, ready to fight for them and advocate for them if and when Satan attacks. I have learned that adoption is not simply a “process,” it is a battle. Do not fear the battle. No one can know how the process will go for them. Every single adoption story is different, but the Author is the same. And He will not abandon you when the trials and the suffering comes.

 I was greatly encouraged by our friend, Matt Delaughter’s, sermon this morning at Immanuel. The text he preached from was Romans 5:1-11; my heart was especially encouraged by verses 3 through 5: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Matt reminded me that all the suffering weaved into our adoption story is not in vain. It is producing endurance, character, and hope as we have never known it before. The fact that we have been able to persevere thus far is encouraging to me. Why? Because I know without a doubt that my flesh would have given up a long time ago, and therefore, the Spirit of God truly is dwelling inside of me equipping me with the fruit of the Spirit to help me persevere and not give up!! Further proof that God’s word IS trustworthy and true. And I have HOPE in the midst of all the unknown because of the gospel of Christ.

I do not know how our story will end, when it will end, or even what chapter we are in! But I don’t have to have it all figured out, I just have to hope and trust in my Creator, my heavenly Father, who went through far more than Jon and I have gone through, just to rescue me to be His daughter! Afterall, he sacrificed His only son for me.
“ But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-7
We wish you a Merry CHRISTmas! Believers have so much to celebrate this time of year in the ultimate gift God gave the world: His only Son, Jesus!
You can read more about our adoption at www.wewillcometoyou.blogspot.com

 
 
 
 
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