Friday, April 13, 2018

Fasting- Part of my journey.

 When I first heard about fasting in our church last year like the above picture I thought:  Are you kidding me?  I mean actually give up food- why?  What does it really do and why would I do it?  So many questions and I just didn't think it was something that not only I would do, but something I needed so much more than I thought possible.
 See we often think that idols are huge like this massive B-53 Bomber that is now resting at Orlando Airport.  It is something that is in your life that is obvious.  How could I miss something so obvious in my life?  Then I remembered the scripture about the speck in your neighbor's eye and the plank in your own. 

Matthew 7:3-5   “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Remembering that God knows we are so good at seeing what is wrong with other people, and obviously so bad at knowing what is wrong in our own life.  
 Fasting is about taking our dreams and putting them into the perspective of God.  It is fine to go to Disney, but if we are so selfish in our hearts that we can not tithe or give then that is an idol that has to be removed.  It is ok to have dreams of what you want for yourself or others, but what about what God wants.

We have faced a trial in the last couple of years that has thrown our family in such a place that I became desperate.  Desperate to know God in a way like I have never known before.  Desperate to see Him through the muck and nasty of our situation.  Desperate to see how in the world could God still be working in and through us.  Desperate to touch the hem of God's clothes to receive healing.  Desperate.....for something different- God's focus for me.
So take off your masks of it will be too hard for you to do.  Of course it is hard, but what if it is worth it?  If you have never tried fasting this is my encouragement.  There is a great book by Jentzen Franklin called Fasting.  It is amazing at explaining why, how, and when. What I can tell you personally is that when we hand over our lives to Christ we receive Salvation, but when we fast we receive His direct hand on our lives.  It is so different that what I imagined.

Fasting is hard, and there will be times you will want to throw your hands up and throw in the towel.  You will say to yourself what is the point it isn't working.  One thing I learned as someone with a huge list of "needs" and a heart that was so very uncertain of how God would ever be able to do anything ever again in our lives that even resembled hope.  I can say and testify that God is able, and that isn't something that is just in scripture it is a real truth.

A song I found this last time my husband and I fasted (yes I have now fasted different times, different ways, and for different lengths of time over the past 6 months) from FB if you would believe it- is perfect for why we need to fast.

Clear The Stage by Jimmy Needham

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that's the measure you must take to crush the idols
Jerk the pews & all the decorations, too Until the congregations few, then have
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
Until you're broken for your sins, you can't be social
Then seek the Lord & wait for what He has in store
And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful
'Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong
Oh, worship is more than a song
Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper
Beg Him please to open up His mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open
Then read the Word and put to test the things you've heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken
'Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong
Oh, worship is more than a song
We must not worship something that's not even worth it
Clear the stage, make some space for the One who deserves it
Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
And anything I can't stop thinking of is an idol
And anything that I give all my love is an idol
'Cause I can sing all I want to
Yes, I can sing all I want to
And we can sing all we want to
We can sing all we want to
We can sing all we want to
And still get it wrong
Worship is more than a song
Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that's the measure you must take to crush the idols

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

"Desired" - Jeremy and Kari's Adoption Story

Towards the end of 2017 Jeremy and Kari got connected and officially started with us at Christian Adoption Consultants. In less than 12 months they would be holding their precious daughter in their arms! The journey in between was filled with unexpected insights that God wanted for them to experience. Listen to Kari as she shares their story:

“Our family has had adoption on our hearts for years. It all began when God started opening our eyes to beautiful adopted children living in our community. As we sought to foster relationships with these wonderful families our eyes were opened to the need. We became passionate about coming alongside families who have adopted and form relationships with them. We then got involved hosting children who were in crisis through an organization called Safe Families. Through their mini-homestudy process we knew God was opening an incredible door.  After helping families in crisis and hosting children we decided to take the next step and become foster parents, and we hoped to adopt if necessary. Once our license was complete we had many phone calls for placements and we hurriedly got ready to care for these kids, but unfortunately each placement fell through and we didn’t quite understand why. We were beginning to feel the call from the Lord that a move across the country was a door he was opening, we realized this may be why we hadn’t had a placement yet. We knew this was God’s plan, but boy was it hard knowing we would have to start our licensing all over again. Our licensor gave us a copy of our foster care homestudy. We didn’t realize at the time what a huge gift that was. It ended up making our adoption paperwork so much easier.

After we moved we felt God refining us and strengthening our faith even more. We were finally ready to take the financial leap towards domestic adoption. We were always so afraid of the cost before, but seeing God provide during our move we were ready and knew this was our next step in this new location he brought us to. We’d had domestic adoption on our hearts all along. We quickly began our homestudy, got connected with Dawn and signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants. We had been researching adoption for years and they were well recommended. We jumped in and we were SO excited. We began mountains of paper work and the emotional process of creating a profile book. When that was done we began lots of fundraising and I started a business that has not only helped us fundraise but is also helping people around the world out of poverty, funding others’ adoptions, empowering women and so much more. I never knew this process would lead me to a dream job! 

During the fundraising there were months of waiting. The waiting was HARD! We don’t feel like we waited very long, but from an emotional perspective if felt like years. We questioned if this was the right path, we prayed, we longed, but through it all we clung to HOPE. We knew the hope God had given us would get us through this trying process. His hope kept us. His hope gave us strength. His hope guided and got us through the most difficult parts. Hearing “no” from a prospective birth mom was never easy, and it never got easier. Each time we just prayed for these incredible birth mothers making such a hard choice that they would have courage and know clearly which family would be best for raising their child. We trusted God’s sovereignty and clung to it daily. 

Then one day we got the call that we had been chosen! We celebrated and were beyond excited! I was helping a friend deliver a baby when she heard the news, it sure was incredible. But then a week later we heard the hard news that this courageous birth mom decided to parent. We were so sad, yet so proud of her for choosing life and deciding to parent and we wished her all the best. A situation came up pretty quickly after that, we wouldn’t have had the courage to present to this birth mom if we had not had such a wonderful lesson through this long waiting process of how good God truly is and how much we can place our trust completely in his hands. We felt hopeful to present and a part of me felt like this baby may be the one! On November 6th during a fundraising event I got the call that our amazing birth mom had chosen us! We were floored and excited and felt beyond honored! Our baby would be arriving in less than six weeks and we were SO excited, hopeful, and ready!!! We knew this was a God given “yes” and we knew we could fully be excited and hopeful, yes things could change, but we were going to focus on the excitement of the “yes!” After all there was no inclination that things would change and we were not going to live in fear.

God writes each of our stories beautifully. He knows the path we will be on. He guides us gently, lovingly and is always there during the hard times. God wrote our baby’s birth story beautifully. We arrived in Utah the night before her due date. We met the most incredible, courageous, beautiful woman, our baby’s birth mom. She was going to be “our” birth mom. It was surreal. We were so nervous to meet her. Yet so excited! The moment she met us we both knew the gravity of this meeting and we both began to cry. We had a wonderful meal together sharing life and future hopes for this child that would be arriving the next day. Sweet Javeyah Hope arrived right before Christmas. We had the beautiful gift of being at the birth supporting our birth mom through labor and all through the hospital stay. We became a family over those few days. I will never fully be able to express what our birth mom truly means to me. She was such a beautiful person who loved her daughter so much and wanted the best possible future for her. She made the hardest, most courageous decision and we will forever love her for that. Javeyah means “desired” and boy was she desired and longed for. We had her birth mom pick the spelling of her name since she fell in love with the name we had thought of when we shared it with her. Her name has a Hispanic heritage as does our daughter, and her birth mom loved that.

For a few days we were transported to another time it seemed, a time of hopeful anticipation, unselfishness, deep care, respect, deep bonding, and love. It was the most incredible experience of our lives and we are so grateful to have had the privilege to adopt. Thank you for reading our story.”

Maybe you have been waiting, longing, and been uncertain of your own adoption journey. I'd love to talk with you more and share some encouragement. Feel free to reach out to me anytime:

Dawn: (813) 360-7368