Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
This has been some very difficult couple months for our family. On March 21, 2009 we lost our wonderful father. He was 86 and had been ill for the past months. Heaven is rejoicing for sure. He can now write on many others that he never got to write about. Wow! Below is the article that was in our Chicago Tribune a few weeks ago.
We felt that with some changes in our family, it was good to start a new blog that we will continue with some good news about our girls and our journey to bring them home. Please stayed tuned as I continue this incredible journey.
I THINK I WILL START THE NEW BLOG AT THAT TIME,WHEN THINGS START HAPPENING...OR WE HAVE SOME GOOD NEWS TO SHARE WITH EVERYONE. SO FOR THOSE THAT ARE CONTINUING TO READ OUR JOURNEY, PLEASE CHECK BACK HERE TO SEE WHEN I WILL START OUR NEXT CHAPTER...OR SHOULD I SAY NOVEL. THANKS!
posted at 9:54 PM
Monday, February 9, 2009
Is it possible to be filled with faith and doubt at the same time? YES! You can have faith that God wants you to do something and still be scared to death. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is going ahead and doing what you’re called to do in spite of your fear.You have to begin with the faith you already have: it may be just a little, but you start there. A beautiful example of this is the story of the man who brought his sick son to Jesus in Mark 9. Jesus looked at the man and said, “I can heal your son. If you will believe, I will heal him.”The father then makes a classic statement: “Lord, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.”Have you ever felt like that? “Lord, I have some faith. But I also have some doubts.” This man was filled with faith and doubt, yet despite his honest doubts, he went ahead and asked Jesus for a miracle. And he got his miracle – Jesus healed his son.Mustard seed faith moves mountains. No matter how weak or how frail you think your faith is, it’s enough to get you through what you’re facing because your “little faith” is in a big God.
Matthew 17:20 says, “If you have faith as small as the mustard seed, nothing will be impossible to you.” That’s not a lot of faith; in fact, it’s just a little faith. But what else does that verse teach? “If you have faith as the mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, ‘Move’ and it will be moved.”Mustard seed faith moves mountains.
Don’t get this reversed; we tend to read this verse backward; we want it to say, “If you have faith like a mountain, you can move a mustard seed” – as if it takes enormous faith to do a very little task.Everybody has faith. You had faith this morning when you ate your cereal – faith that your spouse didn’t put poison in your granola!You had faith when you sat down in your computer chair – faith that it wouldn’t collapse.Everybody has faith; the difference is what you put your faith in.Sometimes people will tell me they don’t want to surrender to Jesus until all their questions are answered; they don’t want to make a commitment until every thing is understand.God wants you start with the faith you have; and based on the example of the mustard seed, you don’t need a whole lot of faith to do great things for God.
You just need a little.So here’s a trustworthy equation:
- You take your little faith; “Lord, I believe! Help me with my unbelief!”
- And you place your faith in our big God,
- And then he’ll show you how he works out huge results.
Rick Warren -
posted at 8:11 AM
Friday, January 30, 2009
On Wednesday it felt like I'd been hit by the express train. Around 9:15am our company laid off 45 people. This was a complete shock to most people. With everything else happening with our family...this is almost too much to bare. It still hasn't totally sunk in. Still griefing some. It's like my whole life has been ripped apart. So now what? With no money...how can my adoptions happen? Will I ever be a mom? My heart hurts so much right now.
I spoke with my social worker and I'm going to wait to update my home study. I will then be doing the I-800 instead of the I-171. Found out there really isn't much of a difference which is good. I just can't think straight right now. But then I think "is God preparing me for something even better"? Something that will allow me to have my little one at home? I have no clue right now?
I was reading an excerpt from the Purpose Driven Life and it couldn't have been more perfect for today. I'll include it below.
Over the last two days we have looked at God's omniscience - that he knows everything, specifically everything about you and your life. We have been examining God's presence in your life by breaking it down into five areas. Today we'll look at the final two.God knows your fears. God knows everything that gets you stressed out. For instance, many of us today are concerned about the economy, and so we have financial fears.
And then we act as if God is unaware of our bills. "Don't you see, God?I'm going under! I'm not going to make it!" We're trying to stretch andmake ends meet. We get uptight, upset, and we worry. But worry is theresult of not realizing the omniscience of God. When we think that God doesn't know what's going on in our lives, thenwe think we have to take matters into our own hands. In effect, we'resaying, "I'll be God." Worrying is taking responsibility for things God never intended you to have. The truth is God is aware of all your needs. Prayer is never giving information to God. The Bible says, "...
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:8 NIV). He's aware of every single need you have: financial needs, spiritual needs, sexual needs, social needs,emotional needs.God knows your faithfulness. Here's another benefit from the truth that God knows everything: He sees everything you do that is good and right.Every time you choose not to sin, every time you resist temptation,every time you take a stand because of God's Truth, he sees your faithfulness to him.
The Bible says every good deed will be rewarded, no matter how insignificant and regardless of whether anybody else on earth sees it. Every encouragement you give to other people, every kind word you give to your children, every time you do a thoughtful act for your husband,every time you pick up around the office when it's not your job, everytime you set up chairs in church or stuff bulletins, every act of courtesy, every time you refuse to gossip, every time you're positive instead of negative - God sees it all, no matter how small (Matthew10:40-42).Imagine yourself on a giant stage and you're the only person on that stage. You're acting out your life. In the audience there is only one person and it's God. He's out there clapping and saying, "I see that good thing you just did. Keep on going! Nobody else saw it, but I did. I know that thought you just had and I know it was a positive good thought. I saw it." So what should be my response? If God sees all the good things that I do and he's out there cheering me on, then my response should be, "Don't Be Discouraged!"
Some of you may be saying, "I've been trying to do the right thing in my marriage. I don't see any results. I've been trying to be the right kind of person and respond correctly with my kids or to my parents. I've beentrying to do the right thing at work or at school. And I don't know ifit's paying off. I don't see it making any difference in anybody'slife."God says, "I see it and it doesn't matter who else sees it." Nothing good we ever do is ever done in vain: "So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up"(Galatians 6:9 HCSB). Knowing the truth - that God knows everything in your life, can either be very disturbing or very comforting. It depends on your relationship to him, whether you're trying to fool him or not. Have you been acting as if God is totally unaware of your life in any ofthese five areas? * God know your faults and failures, but he still loves you unconditionally.* God knows your feelings and frustrations, and he sees your hurt morethan anyone else can.* God knows your future, so he can tell what you need to know.* God knows your fears, and he wants you to hand your worries over to him.* God knows your faithfulness because he sees every good thing you do.The fact that God knows everything is a tremendous motivator for me to live a godly life. I realize that nothing in my life is in secret; nothing I face will hinder his ability to help me; nothing that is tocome will catch him by surprise; nothing I fear will be too big for God's strength; and nothing I do in his name is ever done in vain. God says, "I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out-plans totake care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hopefor" (Jeremiah 29:11 MSG). (c) 2009 Rick Warren. http://www.purposedrivenlife.com/
posted at 8:40 AM
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I received a good inspiring message from another PAP yesterday and started thinking about things that she had written. When most of us started this so called race it was more like a fast walk, but as time has progressed our fast walk has become more like an endurance race instead. All a sudden there are many obstacles in our way. Steep hills to climbs--some steeper than others. Sometimes it feels like you want to give up. I've never run a race before but I just know just from running a short distance I have a hard time just doing that. So how do you handle a endurance race? We didn't get good news that we expected from Kyrgyzstan. Things seem to still be getting "organized" right now.
I found something while searching today on the race God has before us and wanted to share this with you.
Running the Race with Endurance
“Run with endurance the race that God has set before you”.
God has a race for you to run! What a challenging and exciting thought—God has given me a race to run. God has designed a purpose for my life—a purpose that I can discover and fulfill. What is this race?
This race begins, not when you are born, but when you receive Christ and his gift of complete forgiveness. The race for me began 37 years ago when I asked Christ to f orgive me and come into my life and lead me. That decision was the end of my lostness—but it was also the starting gun of the race God set before me, and I’m still running that race!
The race is playing the unique role God gives you to influence others for Christ. Paul describes his race in this way in Col.1:28,29 (read; he uses the verb form of the noun translated “race” – agonizomai). My race has revolved around teaching the Bible here and elsewhere. Your race will be different than mine—but it will always revolve around showing and sharing Christ’s love both to people who don’t know him and people who do.
This race requires endurance for two reasons:
It is a marathon—not a sprint. It begins the moment you receive Christ, and it lasts until you die or Christ returns. As an amateur long distance runner myself, I know that the key is not how fast you start the race, but how consistently you run.
It is a steeple-chase marathon—it is filled with obstacles, including opposition from people who aren’t in the race and don’t want you to be in the race, from a cultural value-system that says to live for self instead of for Christ, and from demonic spirits that hate Christ and want to take you out of the race.
The fact that the author calls on us to run this race with endurance means that there is a danger that we will drop out of the race. All who receive Christ automatically go to heaven—but not all who receive Christ automatically finish their race. I’ve seen many start well but end poorly—including many who were key influences in my own life. It’s a very sobering thing, and it makes me want to be able to say with Paul (read 2Tim. 4:8).
How can we do this? What will help us have the endurance we need? The author gives us four keys—we’ll look at the first two keys this week, and the last two keys next week...
Key #1: Get rid of all suitcases
Last year, when I ran the Columbus Half-Marathon, I saw some bizarre behavior at the starting line. It was cold, and most runners had on extra shirts or even old jackets as they waited to start. But in the last 30 seconds, thousands of runners (including myself) stripped off every shirt but the one with their race number—and threw them on to the street. Everyone got as light as possible—because it’s a long race and you don’t want to carry any more weight than you have to carry! One thing I did not see—I did not see anyone picking up suitcases!
Read 12:1 middle. That’s the author’s point, isn’t it? You can’t finish this race with endurance if20you’re carrying extra weight! If you want to run this race, you need to get rid of all suitcases! Notice that the text speaks of two different kinds of suitcases:
The most common suitcase is “the sin that so easily hinders our progress.” This doesn’t mean that you can’t run the race if you commit sins (we’d all be out of the race!)—it means that you can’t stay in the race long if you are clutching on to and rationalizing things that you know God says are wrong and destructive. When you’re clutching on to and rationalizing sexual immorality or substance abuse/dependence, it will sap your motivation and stamina. When you clutch on to and rationalize bitterness and hatred, it will sap your motivation and stamina (Eph.4:32 context). When you’re clutching on to and rationalizing things like materialistic greed, it will sap your motivation and stamina (Mk.4:18,19).
By distinguishing “the sin that so easily hinders our progress” from “every weight that slows you down,” the author implies that even things that are not overtly morally wrong can be suitcases that we need to lay aside—because they simply don’t fit into the course/race God has set before us. Early in my Christian life, I devoted a lot of time to creative writing. But at a certain point, God showed me that he wanted me to use most of my (very limited) creative talent to de velop Bible teachings. I couldn’t do both to the extent that I wanted to, so I decided to drop most of the writing. And I haven’t regretted that decision. I was talking to a young brother recently who has decided that he needs to radically down-size his living situation so he can have more time and energy to devote to spiritual growth and service. It wasn’t a black and white moral issue—but God showed him that it was a weight that was slowing him down. Other such suitcases include: VIDEO GAMES; INTERNET SURFING; SHOPPING; SPORTS HOBBIES; TV/CABLE. Paul says these things may be lawful, but when they are enslaving you it’s time to put them down (1Cor.6:12).
How about you? Are you carrying any suitcases? Has God shown you that you’re clutching on to some sin that is hindering your progress? Has he pointed out a weight that is slowing you down? Have you been complaining to yourself that living for Christ is exhausting—when the real problem is that you’re carrying suitcases? Get rid of them! Agree with God—call a suitcase a suitcase, instead of arguing that it’s an energy drink. Give it to him and ask him to free you from it—and cooperate with any steps he calls on you to take to be free. It sure helps to have some Christian friends in your life in this area—to help one another identify the suitcases, to pray with one another to agree with Go d on this issue, and to help one another keep the suitcases on the asphalt instead of back into your hands!
Key #2: Get strength from other veteran runners
Read 12:1a. The image here is the stadium at the end of the marathon—filled with thousands of people who are cheering on the runners. Anyone who has run a marathon (or even half-marathon) knows how much it helps to have people on the sidewalk cheering you on. But these are a special group of fans—veteran “runners.” They are “witnesses to the life of faith”—specifically, the Old Testament “runners” that the author highlighted in chapter 11.1 The point is that if you want to run this race with endurance, you need to get strength from other veteran runners. They can give you insight, motivation, and encouragement to keep going when you want to quit. And you have access to thousands of them!
You can get strength from Old Testament and New Testament figures. This is a unique source of strength—the inspired record of how God worked through specific people to advance his plan to rescue a lost humanity. This is one reason to get into a daily Bible reading plan (explain CARSON, For the Love of God)—you will meet and learn a lot from these “runners” who have already finished well.
The Old Testament figures, like those recorded in chapter 11, will teach you a lot about how to run the race. One of the most encouraging things you’ll learn is that they were not super-heroes—they were normal people like you and me, who had weaknesses, character flaws, made mistakes, etc. Noah built the ark—but he also got drunk after the flood. Abraham followed God into a land he’d never visited—but he also chickened out twice about Sarah being his wife. Moses forsook the power and prestige of Pharaoh’s court and stood against his world’s super-power—but he also whined and complained and mistreated God’s people. David was a man after God’s heart who in many ways foreshadowed the Messiah—but he also fell terribly through his adulterous affair with Bathsheba. The point is that God is able to work powerfully through very flawed people—if only the trajectory of our lives is to trust him and follow his directions.
With New Testament figures, like Peter and John and Paul, you can read about what they did in Acts, and then peer into their hearts through their letters.
You can also learn a lot about mistakes to avoid by reading about Old Testament negative examples (cf. 1 Cor.10:6,11)—people who dropped out of the race, didn’t finish well. We’ll learn from one of those Old Testament negative examples (Esau) in two weeks...
You 2 can also get strength from reading biographies of other Christian workers—Christ-followers over the last 2000 years. You will learn about ordinary people like you and me who lived extraordinary lives for Christ. Here are some of my favorites: Against the Tide; Great Souls; From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya. You will be encouraged to see that these people had weaknesses and fears and all kinds of problems—yet God worked through powerfully to advance his plan because they stayed in the race.
You can also get strength from workers God has placed in your life. When you get in the race, God sovereignly brings people into your proximity who can help you learn how to run your race more effectively. They also are a unique source of strength because of the tacit knowledge about following Christ you can get from them.
I don’t know where I would be today without the veteran “runners” God put in my life early in my Christian life. They inspired me by their example to sell out to God’s race instead of living for myself. They gave me insight into the specific race God has placed before me. They challenged me to drop the suitcases I was carrying. They were there to urge me to keep going when I realized how difficult the race could be.
Today, I am one of the veteran “runners”—and a big part of my “race” is giving strength to other younger “runners.” But I still have a precious network of veteran “runners” that I lean on for advice, encouragement, correction, etc. I can’t imagine being in this race without them.
What about you? Are you flagging because you’re trying to run the race by yourself? Get strength from these other veteran “runners!” This is one of the best things about home groups—you get to be around other “runners” who have already run through the part of the course you’re presently in. You get to rub shoulders with people who have endurance, and who can teach you how to get it. You get to learn from them how to study the Bible’s “runners” and get strength from them. Don’t neglect this precious resources! Get involved, seek them out, ask them to mentor you, etc.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith 2 Timothy 4:7
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
posted at 3:41 PM
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
It has been a very difficult time in our family these past few weeks. We are just trying to take one day at a time right now. These past weeks have felt like God is really far away. Everything is just been thrown up in the air and waiting for it to fall. We are really struggling with health and finances right now. Dad has been in and out of the hospital and is now in a rehab/nursing care facility for a short while. He has heart and lung problems. They said he will come home to hospice care.
Then on top of that our mother fell a week ago and broke her right wrist. So she is basically handicapped in the fact she can't do a lot with one hand. We have been doing our best to do what we can and be in three places at once along with work and taking care of our five furry babies. But we have had some wonderful, kind neighbors that have been bringing in meals at night. This really helps us greatly.
We still haven't heard anything about Krygyzstan but could hear something within the next few weeks. But we are wondering where the money will come from when the time comes for us to travel. We had hoped for bonus money, etc and now with the way our economy has been it's not looking good. We are really overwhelmed right now with everything.
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9 kjv
posted at 12:19 PM
Monday, December 29, 2008
I was just reading an update I get from ICF and there was something that was in there that I felt was really good to share. Thinking back on 2008 we all had plans and hopes of certain things happening. Those in the adoption world especially. We all had hope that we'd have our little ones for sure for Christmas 2008. But Christmas has come and gone and we still have no children.
But...our paths are really chosen by God even though we have our own agenda...Right? We all have a day planner, but we have to give God the eraser. We have faith and we have to rely on it.
Having Faith in the Unseen
Horton Hears a Who" is chock-full of parables about taking things on faith. While the other animals in the Jungle of Nool where Horton lives believe only in what they can see, hear and touch, Horton has the openness and sensitivity--not to mention imagination--to make room in his heart for a larger worldview. His great (some might say godlike) ears can hear the tiny voices of the Whos on their microscopic world, and his even greater spirit can conceive of something wondrous that exists beyond the visible. Yet Horton's faith is also in himself--when others question his perceptions, Horton stands firm and continues to believe in that little voice he hears in his head, staying faithful 100%. Horton's faith allows for wonderful new experiences to come into his life. It also makes him a steadfast and true person with a strong sense of self. Though it can be tough for him when he's alone in his beliefs, it's ultimately vastly rewarding.
The Highlights from 2008:
Looking back the past year I wanted to list the "good things" of 2008. The past months have been sort of gloomy...either health issues, financial issues, etc...so I thought I'd at least put down the good things that have happened this past year.
- Our wonderful trip to Aspen/Vail in Sept.
- Meeting Ryan from the Bachelorette/Vail - Sept
- Our trip to the Wisconsin Dells - August
- Sharing fun times with friends that we don't see much - May /August
- Our new Church building - July
- Our new Office building - October
- Semi good news from Kyrgyzstan - Dec
Happy New Year Everyone!
posted at 8:13 AM