Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Adoption And Good Excuses

Meet Jon & Angel (our clients through Christian Adoption Consultants):  
This is their story of adoption and well meaning excuses.....

Adoption had been on our hearts for years, starting very early in our marriage.  However, we kind of set it aside as we had our 3 biological children.  When our youngest turned 3, God really started to prompt us again to start the adoption process.  However, we had excuse after excuse.  Good excuses we thought.  We told God that we would do it, BUT....once we had so much money in savings, and once Jon's job slowed down, etc, etc. etc.  We basically were putting God in a box setting such tight parameters around our adoption situation. 
But guess what?  I don't think God always works that way.  I think he often waits for us to take the first step purely out of faith, before He'll start opening doors.   One morning when I was sitting down doing my quiet time reading "Jesus Calling," by Sarah Young, God spoke to me loudly!  He told me that He gets it.  He understand that WE can't do it.  But...HE CAN!!!  He told me to go for it!  The next day we committed to starting our adoption journey.  Our first step was calling Dawn from Christian Adoption Consultants.
Dawn and Jason were and ARE amazing!!  We had no clue how the domestic adoption world worked.  We've spent months talking to friends who have been through the process, but what we quickly found out was that every situation was so different.  Dawn was there for me, patiently answering all of my 2000+ questions, making the hard journey so much smoother.  Not only was she informative, knowing all of the facts, but she was so understanding, helping calm my heart and nerves on numerous occasions.  They've been there.  They get it!!  What I loved most about them was their PROMPTNESS in replying to calls and emails.  It was almost immediately that they'd get back to me, which is huge for me.  They truly were a blessing to me and my family.
As I sit her typing, my sweet baby boy, Brady, is napping.  He's 7 months old already.  He's the HAPPIEST BABY EVER!!  He's known by everyone as being the baby who smiles ALL OF THE TIME!  He's doing "patty cake" and starting to crawl.  He is such a blessing to your entire family.  He is just AMAZING!!!  I often look at him in awe which makes me look UP to God in awe!!!  He orchestrated this all!!  What IF we continued to make excuses.  What if we STILL were trying to save up money and waiting for my husbands job to slow down?  I tremble to think of that.  
I promise you this.  If God is calling you to adopt, He won't leave you.  He'll be there not only next to you, but in front of you, opening doors, making it happen!  Trust in His promises!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Take that leap of faith!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Privilege of Homeschooling- Being Together

 First I am going to say this because unless you know me you may be thinking- well I happen to think public school is fine or I am public school teacher.  I AM NOT AGAINST YOU!  You do work that is beyond necessary it is the fabric of our society!  I pray for you and your students!  I am not anti public or private schools, but I am pro our homeschool. 

The above picture is one of the main reasons why we homeschool- I love that our family gets to spend so much time together!  We get to do math, hiking, reading, playing, outdoor exploring, chores, English, watching movies, spelling, Lego competitions, lessons of real life spending, saving, and giving, creative writing, history, and everything is all rolled into one. 

Now some argue that for this reason they couldn't do it.  I will be honest as it is not always easy of course.  There are times when we wear on each other or step on that last nerve.  We are not perfect and our home is not quiet.  However, we have memories galore good, hard, and everything in between. 

Relationships and facing the ups and downs together is not easy.  It would be great to escape and Jason and I have to guard our time together as well as individual time to get rest and retreat.  This includes date nights, Jason takes time to refill and so do I as well throughout the week. 
 I love that our routine can include a family day.  A day every week where we can all say no to staying at home and just go out and play.  We usually go to the theme park for the day- convenience and more cost efficient when you live very close to all the theme parks here.  Sometimes we go to a state park, play board games all day, or go shopping as a family.  Hopefully we will get started in doing some camping soon too (we got camping gear for Christmas). 
 We don't have to worry about what is being taught to our children.  We get to choose the curriculum, and divide the time between subjects the way we want.  We have the privilege of seeing our children grow and learn daily and be a part of that.  We run errands together and don't stress that they have appointments at different times.  We can school around that. 

HA!  We even homeschool year round because I happen to like staying inside some of those super hot days in the summer.  It also allows us to focus on different things at different times of the year.  Let's be honest- we have several learning struggles in our home from ADHD, dyslexia, auditory processing issues, sensory processing issues, and everything in between.  However, we can completely tailor everything we do to help our children as we school together. 
 I get to encourage my children in their learning throughout the day.  I get to see when and how they are making progress.  I also see the struggles up close.  It allows me to be "all in" and do my own research into how to help them and encourage them more. 
 We get to talk about world issues, community issues, and even our own family issues in real ways.  It does allow us to protect them from a lot as well, but not in the way most people think about.  It allows us to wait until their age is appropriate to share with them about things, but we do have real talks around the table about tough issues as well.  We are not here to completely shelter our children, but to prepare them for life through the lens of a relationship with Christ. 
 Let's be honest the field trips are great too! 
 It is something that started out as a necessity as our camp ministry life was so busy on weekends and summers we would practically never see our children.  Before we were married we talked that if it was at all possible one of us should stay home with our children.  It was a conscience decision that we both felt strongly about.  We wanted to spend time with our children and be there for them as our parents had done for us. 
Is it easy?  Does it all get done every day?  Is it perfect?  Do we always enjoy it?  The answers are a resounding no. 

Every time Jason and I speak about it though our hearts come back to the huge privilege we have.  The privilege of bonding as a family, doing projects together, teaching in and out of the "classroom", creating fun memories, and being able to be there for our children.  So even though it isn't perfect it is ours- together! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Daily Manna

 Exodus 35 talks about manna which was a (vs. 31) "It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey".  I was thinking in my mind as I read this passage a few things that really hit me. 
 The first thing is that it stated over and over that God heard their grumbling.  I thought- now that I can relate to!  I know what it means to have escaped the slavery of sin and yet I still grumble.  I may not like the way my child is behaving, or the fact that I didn't get something I wanted, or maybe I want my own heart to change quickly and I feel like I am at war within myself.

But in this passage it says God heard their grumbling.  He didn't condemn them or tell them to shut up.  He heard them and took action.  What a mighty God to think that He hears us even in our grumbling.  In our "sour" attitudes He still listens.  Even when we continue to sin God loves us where we are.

Side note:  Maybe he gave them a sweet bread so it would sweeten their attitudes ;). 
 They could gather only enough for the day.  No more and no less.  God provided their "daily" needs.  He didn't say gather enough for the year or for a month, but only a day.  If they did try to gather more- by morning it was filled with maggots.  Sounds yummy.  The only exception was the day before Sabbath they were to gather twice as much so that they didn't have to work on the Sabbath.

Another thing to note is that everyone had to same amount.  It was equal (vs.16-18) "This is what the Lord has commanded:'Everyone is to gather as much as they need.  Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.'"  The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little.  And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much and the one who gathered little did not have too little.  Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed."

It blows my mind that God created a specific bread for them to eat that "just appeared" every morning and then melted away when the noon sun came up.  It is crazy!

The other crazy part is that they ate this manna for 40 years!  Now we just got done fasting with our church family and I admit I grumbled sometimes to myself that would sure be great right now.  I wish I could.  Then I would try to refresh myself with prayer and asking God to be my everything.  To fill the "voids" I think I have in my life.

The Isrealites ate manna for 40 years!  Now it may have been great, but that is pretty ummm.....repetitive.  I know because of the other circumstances of not thinking they could take the promised land that they were kind of stuck in the desert for that time.  However it really was a time of refining.  Refining of the people God had chosen.  They had to learn to trust God with everything. 

So in this year of healing I am thinking of refining.  Refining who God wants me to be.  What is His desire for me?  It isn't something I can do, but rather something I can get only from Him daily.  I can't take it on myself, or try to do it all on my own because like the manna it is provided by Him and I can only do today what God has directed.  I can't create days, hours, or even seconds.....I can only live by His sweet provision for today and do my best.