Friday, December 23, 2011

Confirmation and Praying Home the Orphan

Today God used an unexpected gift and phone call from a friend to COMPLETELY CONFIRM that HE is FOR Samantha, and is working hard on her (and my) behalf.
"I've been reading your blog...I cry every time I read it..." 
"I can't think of anyone who would be a better mother to that little girl..." 
"My dad and I would like to make a donation toward your adoption..."
I won't tell you her name (you know who you are), because I don't want to embarrass her, but I do want to say THANK YOU! It does my heart so much good to have so much loving support. Its as if God is reminding me that this was always His idea, and He'll see it through.

In other news, I want to encourage you all to check out this blog post by an incredible woman and adoptive mother. Adeye's story was a huge inspiration to me when back when I was first considering adoption. I continue to read her blog on a regular basis as she has become a great "teacher" on all things adoption and Down Syndrome. One of her daughters came home from an orphanage in Eastern Europe in a condition similar to Katie Musser, and nineteen months later, is living proof of what love and family can do. Adeye is an incredible advocate for orphans around the world. Her efforts have helped to find families for many children, and raise funds for many more. This post is an urgent plea on behalf of several orphaned children who are running out of time to find a family. From teenagers who are aging out of the system and will soon be sent to live in the streets, to a tiny little boy with Down Syndrome who may not be able to fight for his life much longer. Please share the stories of these children wherever possible! And pray that God will show himself powerful on their behalf.
You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth. Psalm 65:5

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Look What God Did Today!

I just read this blog post from Susanna, adoptive mother of little Katie who I've written about several times on this blog. Check this out and see how God is moving on behalf of Samantha and all of the children in her orphanage.

I don't yet know all of the implications of this change, but it very well could mean that all of these kiddos will begin to receive proper care until their families come to find them.

Susanna won't say as much on her blog, but this GREAT news is due in large part to her and her friend Toni, who were the first to finally report the terrible conditions as well as the criminal abuse happening in this orphanage. I'm praising God for these ladies tonight, and for the work He has done in and through them.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

He Hears Us

I was invited several weeks ago to join a private yahoo group for moms adopting from Samantha's orphanage. I had no idea at the time what a blessing this group would prove to be. Not only has it been a way to stay up to date on what is happening at the orphanage and with other adopting families, but tonight, it seems to have become SO much more. Tonight, another mother who will be traveling to Samantha's country very soon to visit her daughter for the first time, offered to look for Samantha and see first-hand how she is doing!!! AND, if the Lord opens doors for her, she will also do some investigative work and ask questions about Samantha's file! This is a PRECISE answer to a prayer I have been praying and asking others to pray. Thank you, JESUS!!!!

In other news, the Lord has been showering me with blessing upon blessing. Samantha's grant fund is up by more than $1,000. And as I previously blogged, my dear friends from Ord were here today. Oh. My. Goodness. They bless me. Again and again and again, the Lord uses these friends to show me His downright extravagant love. Richard and Tenise, as well as my friends Sara and Jim (also from Ord) have very nearly funded this entire project. I seriously need to pinch myself to see if all of this is really happening. Who could love me and Samantha THAT much? I don't understand it, but I'm so thankful. I also owe many thanks to the Lutheran Chapel for all of the work they put in knocking down walls and cutting out the window and door so beautifully. And Daniel, who has been pitching in throughout the last couple of weeks. He and Mikey and I had a great time this morning preparing the cupboards to come down. I owe a HUGE thank you to Todd who has already put hours and hours (and days and days) into this project. Thank you so much Todd, and thank you Deb for letting me borrow your husband! There is no way this work would get done without you.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:18-19
Here's Todd and Daniel removing the existing cupboards from the kitchen.
These puppies have seen better days.
Rust. Dents. Layers of paint.
And behind and underneath it all? LOTS of mouse droppings, mold and mildew, a combination plastic/plaster/? wall and floor. I am so glad we decided to do replace the cupboards. I was originally planning on a  much simpler project, but I'm very glad to see this mess gone!
And now, where that mess used to be...is a brand new wall!!!! And beautiful new cabinets :) Isn't it coming along nicely? And I even got to help! Richard taught me how to use a drill today, so I got to screw in some drywall. I LOVED it. Who knew drywall could be so fun :) (Granted, I got to do all the easy work...)
The closet is coming along nicely! I have a new wall up in my bedroom. And best of all, a lot of my tree mural will still be visible inside the closet. It actually looks pretty cool. 
And here's the new window into the kitchen. How cool is this?!  It really opens up the whole house. This is going to make such a huge difference when Samantha is home, eating at the table or playing in the living room.
I also have a prayer request for you all. There is a woman, Toni, in Samantha's country who is hugely important in the process of rescuing children from Samantha's orphanage. She is a lawyer and a missionary who works with adoptive families. Satan has really been attacking Toni's health throughout this whole process and she is not doing very well right now. Please pray that Satan would have NO POWER over her, her body, or her family. Pray for healing, and that she would be able to continue in the strong work God has been doing through her.

Thank you all so much for all you are doing for Samantha. I cannot even count the ways we have been blessed by you.

Love to you all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thank you Thank you Thank you

Friends, I just have to say thank you to each of you who have been donating toward Samantha's grant fund in the last several weeks. God is blessing and encouraging me through you. I so wish I knew who you all were so I could thank you in person, but for now, this will have to do...

Thank you!!!

Urgent! Please Pray!

Friends, without saying too much, I need you to know that I continue to learn more about the conditions in Samantha's orphanage and they are not good! Please, please pray for her health and safety, as well as for all of the other children there who wait.

Also PLEASE STORM THE GATES OF HEAVEN TODAY FOR SAMANTHA'S FILE!!!!

I learned that there are people I can contact who can let me know whether Samantha has a Baba (someone paid to come in and hold her and give her attention). If she does not have a Baba, it is possible that I could make some contacts and try and get one for her. However, in order to do this, I HAVE TO HAVE THAT FILE! They need Sam's full, given name...which I do not know.

For some reason, I just have a feeling that her file is lost somewhere, mixed up with a long line of other files. There are many children from her orphanage whose files are probably being put together so they can be listed for adoption. I fear that she has been lost in the shuffle. And at this point, I don't know who to contact or what to do to ensure that someone is working on it.

And so we PRAY!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Faint Not

Currently listening to this song by Jenny and Tyler. Great lyrics. Lots of heart. I heard part of a Saint Francis quote in the bridge, so I looked it up and included it here for you all to read as well. Both great reminders for me today. "O my soul, faint not. Keep up in love."


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy. 

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.
-Saint Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Guess Who Has a Family?! And An Update On My Progress Toward Samantha

Praise the Lord! A family has answered God's call with a YES!!! This little one will soon have a home, a bed, the medical treatment she's been needing for years, and most of all, she will have the LOVE of a mom and dad. 


Isn't it amazing that this little girl (as well as my little girl!) have been hidden away for all of these years. God could have left them there to die and our lives would have been unaffected. We could have gone on with our business without any awareness of their existence. But He SAW them. He looked at them with Love. And He chose them. These children who were written off by the world were chosen by Holy God  to be redeemed. Isn't that just like Him?

The work God is doing to rescue these precious little ones is such a beautiful picture of what He has also done for you and me. Our sin condition made us utterly hopeless and helpless. We were beyond repair. But our Heavenly Father looked at us with Love. He chose us. He redeemed us. He lifted us out of the pit and ushered us into His Kingdom. I cannot even fathom a love like that. But I'm thankful for it; that He can love even me.

God is steadily continuing to battle it out for all of the children in Samantha's orphanage. Will you please join me in continuing to pray each of these precious little ones? Pray for their release, and pray for families to line up to receive them.

NOW FOR AN UPDATE AND PRAYER REQUESTS FOR MY SAMANTHA!

  • My FBI background check has now returned home from its second trip across the country. It now has two very official looking seals and is ready to be added to my dossier. Hooray!
  • My I-800A form has been received by the USCIS. I received a receipt saying that it arrived safely and that they cashed my check. This is great news! My application is well underway.
  • Still no file!!!!!!!!! Please, please, PLEASE pray that it arrives soon and does not hold up any other paper work. I sent an email today asking for an update on where things are at. I hope to have some kind of answer by tomorrow. 
  • Finally, as always, please pray for Samantha whenever you think of her. Pray especially that the Holy Spirit would intercede for her, as I simply do not know how she is doing. 
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. Romans 8:26

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Light of the World



So, my last post was pretty bold. I've read it, and re-read it. I've thought and prayed about it. I've considered editing it. I've considered apologizing.  (Can you see some of my issues shining through here? Overanalyzing, worrying, sticking my foot in my mouth...) But here's what I've decided... 

I can't apologize because I believe I spoke the truth. Its true for me (and that truth is regularly turning my world on end) and its true for all believers. We are the light of the world. Jesus is making His name known through us! And if we let His Light shine through us, that is if we act as His hands and feet and heart...Jesus' name will be lifted high for ALL to see and MANY will be saved. And if we don't wake up, if we don't let Jesus' light shine through us, we are affecting peoples' eternity.

I've been thinking tonight about people who have been the Light of Jesus to me, spurring me on to love and good deeds. These are ordinary people who are lifting the name of Jesus high and proud. The fruit of their obedience and sacrifice are lives transformed for Christ. I want you all to "meet" them, because I believe they will be just as much of an encouragement to you as they have been to me.

This is Todd and Deb's whole family with a judge on their youngest's adoption day..
Todd and Deb and their two biological children gave up the American Dream to pursue life as missionaries in inner-city Lincoln. They give generously of the resources God has entrusted to them: food, money (even when there is not a lot to be spoken of), time, love, personal space. They have fostered several children, 5 of whom are now permanent members of the family. They each disciple several people who would not otherwise know the love of Christ. Their home is a bright light to an entire neighborhood. There are literally people in their living room every day (It is not a strange sight to see Todd and Deb sharing their table with a homeless person) who come because they know this is a place where they can trust they will be loved, respected, well fed, and where they will meet Jesus. Todd and Deb have also given generously of their lives on my behalf. They have, and continue to teach me what it means to journey with Jesus. If it weren't for their example, and their support, I would probably not be adopting Samantha.



Jake and Penny moved to lincoln three years ago to pastor the church where I work. Jake is a pastor who practices what he preaches. In fact, I've never seen a pastor spend so much time out in the community. He meets people in grocery stores, daycares, and restaurants and invites them into the Kingdom of God. And people are responding! Last year our little church baptized more than 30 people, many of whom were people Jake discipled. Penny has taught me what it means to love someone to Christ. She is consistent and persistent in pursuing souls that need the Lord. These are two of the most loving people I have ever met, yet they also speak the truth, just as Jesus himself did. In the short time that I've known them, Jake and Penny have welcomed several people to live in their home. The young woman who lives with them currently has been COMPLETELY transformed, and is now discipling others to Christ.


Mike and Lenore (with Mike's mom, Nannette) felt led several years ago to serve God by caring for orphans. They sought out to start a small family ministry in Haiti (17 children), but when the Lord saw that they were faithful what they had been given, He grew their ministry to include 2 orphanages, 60 orphans, 3 schools (representing 400 children!), a clean water ministry, and a ministry that has brought the truth of Jesus to an entire mountain village. Mike and Lenore are both extremely Spirit-led. I am in awe of their testimony as well as the way they have humbly allowed me and my church to to join in the work they started. This ministry has changed my live forever. On the homefront, Mike and Lenore have also been involved in fostercare. Through the fostercare system they adopted a sweet little boy, and they continue to foster children and provide respite to other foster parents in their small community.

Richard and Tenise are front and center here.

Richard and Tenise found me in Lincoln's homeless shelter three years ago (or at least that's what we like to tell people...). Richard is a farmer, and Tenise a stay-at-home mom. These two radiate Jesus like I wish I could. When I visit their home, I literally study their family, because they are one of the greatest examples of a Christ-centered family and marriage that God has given me. I first met them when Richard came with his high school youth group to the homeless shelter where I was working. Since that meeting, God has used this couple time and time again as an instrument to show me His great faithfulness. They supported my ministry in the shelter over the course of a year, helping to re-model the children's building where I worked, bringing much needed supplies, and loving on the people there. They have loved me and supported me through months of unemployment (paying my car payments, inviting me into their home, sending notes of encouragement). Two days after praying that God would show me how He would have me be involved on the global mission field, Tenise called and invited me to go to Haiti with a team she was putting together. We are now partners in ministering to the House of Hope Community in Haiti, where I have now traveled 5 times! I could go on and on about these two...obviously. Today, I'm looking forward to a visit from them in less than a week. They are coming next Saturday to help with my apartment re-model!

As I've often said, I'll say again...God is on the move. Big time. My friends are only a few examples of what He's been up to. And He can do the same and even more through us, if we will only respond to Him with open hands and hearts. He can feed the hungry, set the lonely in families, and bring peace where there is none. He can change lives. He can save lives. And He can do this through us!

So again I'll say, wake up church! Wake up to the good life. God is calling us.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:16


Every secret, every shame
Every fear, every pain
Live inside the dark
But that's not who we are
We are children of the day

So wake up sleeper, lift your head
We were meant for more than this
Fight the shadows conquer death
Make the most of the time we have left

We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine

We are called to the spread the news
Tell the world the simple truth
Jesus came to save, there's freedom in His Name
So let his love break through

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wake Up Church

Friends, I don't write this post from a pedestal. Believe me. I realize with ALL of my heart that I am a wretch who has no business throwing stones. So I pray this post will come across with great humility.

There are are 210 children in Samantha's orphanage. Sources say that these children are handled as objects. They survive on liquid, non-nutrient diets. Their diapers are changed once a day. They languish alone in cribs with no one to love them. They are kept sedated so no one will have to deal with them. Until now, only 16 of these children have been listed for international adoption. But today, God has begun lifting another little one out of the pit.

This is Kolina. This poor, sad, sweet baby is NINE YEARS OLD. She has Down Syndrome. She has been sitting in this crib for NINE YEARS. I am told that Kolina likely weighs 10-12 pounds.


Folks, this is unacceptable. Kolina is a human. She was created in the image of our God who loves her. But she has been tossed aside thrown away like garbage. She is receiving less than basic care, because no one cares whether she lives or dies. She is literally starving. For food. For love. For stimulation. For human interaction.


God weeps over Kolina. He weeps over all 210 children in hers and Samantha's orphanage. And He weeps over the more than 147 million orphans in the world who face a similar plight. 


This is our problem.

I've had a short phrase running through my head for the last few days.

"Wake up Church!"

I can't help but wonder if this is from God. I'm almost certain it is. We Christians have lulled ourselves to sleep to the tune of worldly comfort. Some days I wonder whether we've lost track of why God put us here. We sing songs asking God to change us, to fill us, to give us His hand of blessing. We ask Him to use us, to break our hearts for the poor, to send us out into the world. We tell Him we want to pick up our cross and follow Him. But we don't move. What are we waiting for? God has already spoken! He has already sent us out. And if the darkness of a sin-filled world has not already broken our hearts, maybe its because we are not facing that world, but instead self-soothing. Lulling ourselves into oblivion.

I pray that God will wake us up. There is too much work to do, too much of God's love to experience, too much of His grace to keep to ourselves. We absolutely MUST wake up and answer God's call to the least of these. To the orphan and the widow. To a life of less of us and more of him-a life fulfilled.

I recently watched a video interview of Katie Davis, a young woman who gave up her comfortable life in the States to move to Uganda, start a ministry that reaches thousands of children, and personally adopt 14 orphaned little girls. The pastor interviewing her emphasized that "God does not call all of us to adopt," but subsequently asked Katie to give advice to anyone in the audience who might be considering it. Her advice was "to pray and seek God." Then she laughingly added, "I don't think He'll say no!

There is a family out there somewhere prayerfully considering adoption. Let's pray that they are fully awake to God's call and prepared for His resounding "YES". And let's pray that God opens their eyes to sweet Kolina.

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do.  God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." -Proverbs 24:12

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Excitement In the Air! (And Dust and Debris)

I am beyond blessed, my friends, to have a lovely group of volunteers coming to my home tomorrow to begin remodeling my apartment. There are some changes I've been hoping to make before Samantha gets home, and God has sent people to help! Every month, my Community House helps to host Servant Sunday in our inner city neighborhood. These Sundays often consist of several churches getting together to help us help our neighbors. We've had volunteers paint houses, put up drywall, fix porches, mow lawns, trim trees, you name it! Tomorrow, a group from the University Lutheran Chapel will be blessing me and Samantha. How wonderful is that? And once they have finished the first phase of work, a very good friend of mine has offered to help me finish. I could not be more excited! So, here's what's happening.

I currently have a fully enclosed kitchen. As it is right now, I am not able to see or hear people in the dining or living rooms. So, we are going to cut a large window out of this wall. And, if I can find a cheap countertop and cupboards at the Eco Store, we will install them below the window, which will provide the kitchen with some much needed work space. This improvement is so important, as I know I'll need to be able to keep an eye on Sam and talk to her while I'm cooking and doing dishes.


Here's the newly naked wall in the dining room, where the wall is ready to be cut. I think it'll look pretty cool opening into the orange kitchen.


 Next we plan to relocate the door to Samantha's bedroom. Currently, her bedroom opens into the kitchen. This space will be filled in, making room for the refrigerator, which fits here perfectly.


We will then cut a new door through this wall, which currently leads into my bedroom. This is not the permanent color of Samantha's room. I was on a pink kick not too long ago, but now I've been seriously thinking about Turqouise and Yellow. (Mom, don't worry! A pink blanky will be lovely in any color room!)


Samantha's door will open on the right side of this wall in my bedroom. Unfortunately, my new tree will not survive. But that is a small price to pay :) This is just the first phase of the project.  


The second phase will be to remove the door to my bedroom and extend the hallway all the way to the end of the room. So from this angle, you would walk down this hall and my bedroom would open on the left, and Samantha's would open across the yellow hallway on the right.  And at the very end of the hallway, I hope to put a floor-to-ceiling closet with shelves which will be useful for storing Samantha's things, as her bedroom does not have a closet.



Sometime soon I'll have to write more about the Community House where I live and the ministry that I am part of. Without the people here, my church family, and my birth family, none of this would be possible. God has ordered my life perfectly, in such a way that I am able to give a child a loving family and a home, even as a single mother (which I never thought I would be).  Because I have an abundance of loving and supportive people in my life and in my home, I am able to do things like remodel my apartment for only the cost of the supplies. I am allowed to work part time, so I'll be home with Samantha, and yet I'll still receive incredible benefits so I can be confident that after years of being neglected in an orphanage, Samantha will have the medical care she needs.  I am able to live very inexpensively, as my friends and I all share the mortgage in this big ole house. And if I ever need ANYTHING, all I have to do is walk downstairs or next-door, and I have friends who are truly "in this" with me. Praise the Lord for His provision; spiritual, emotional, physical, relational. Praise Him for setting me in a family (both biological and otherwise). Praise Him for ordering my steps; I have been on THE best, most exciting and fulfilling journey...all of which I now realize was leading me to Samantha. HE is good. He really does love us, doesn't He? 



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Step Forward...Hopefully No Steps Back!

My FBI background check came in the mail today! Woohoo! That is the document that is supposed to take the longest, so I'm relieved to have it in my hands. I still need to mail it off to DC to be authenticated, but there is a form I can fill out to expedite that process, so it's nearly complete. Yay!

Now we just need to pray extra hard for that darn file to arrive! I just figured out today that there is paperwork most families have already filled out at this point in the adoption process. I need to send commitment papers to the Minister of Justice in Samantha's country so I can get her initial approval. However, I cannot do this without that file. I hope and pray this does not become another set back. I am told that there are a lot of children waiting to have files compiled, which accounts for the time it is taking  for someone to get to ours. Please pray that Samantha would be made a priority! She really is an exception, because I'm pretty sure she is the only child in that mix who has a family already working toward bringing her home. Pray that her paperwork would stand out to someone as if God Himself was shining a bright light all around it. Pray that she would be shown favor in JESUS name.

Thank you friends and family! Love to you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ready...Set...Do the Next Thing!

I have IN MY HANDS the finalized home study!!!!!!!

My social worker, who has been waiting ever so patiently for edits for the last three weeks, finally received the information she needed in order to be able to print and notarize the home study. She handed the document off to me in the last hour of her work day, just before leaving for Thanksgiving vacation. Praise the Lord that everything came together today and that I didn't have to wait until Monday to move forward!

After Bible study tonight, I came home and used that home study right away to fill out my I-800A USCIS paperwork. I plan to put it in the mail tomorrow.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being able to do SOMETHING! Today I am thankful for forward motion. Hopefully things will keep moving!

  • Let's keep praying for Samantha's file to arrive. This is another document that could potentially hold up the process. The adoption agency has been regularly checking on the status of the file, but there has not been any word yet. 
  • Praise and thanksgiving for loving friends who have carried me through the last several days when meltdowns abounded. I've received several sweet notes of encouragement, financial gifts, a book, and scripture verses in the mail. I've had friends calling to check on me, praying for and with me, sitting and listening, crying with me, welcoming me into their home, and offering their home as respite. And my family made some adorable Christmas ornaments that I know Samantha will enjoy on her first Christmas at home (next year, of course!). God knew I would be lost without all of you. Praise Him that He is providing for my every need, even when I'm not looking to Him for help.
  • As I put the I-800 form in the mail tomorrow, please pray that it has been completed correctly, and that I have not missed any details. This is a the scariest form I've filled out yet! 
  • Continue to pray for the safe arrival of the FBI clearance. 
  • And of course, you all know the drill. Please keep praying for Sam.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Need Help Trusting

Let me first say that I realize this post, for many of you, will sound like more of the same. More aching hearts, waiting for paperwork....

But I need to impress upon all of you, my friends and family who love me most, that I need your help. I'm having trouble trusting God today, and I'm hoping you'll pray.
  • I was reading about another family's progress today, and instead of being filled with joy for them, my eyes immediately welled up with tears. Families adopting from Samantha's orphanage are instructed to move as quickly through the process possible. Conditions at the orphanage are bad, and the children need out. Samantha needs out. For some reason I'm experiencing a lot of delays in the process, in places where I didn't expect them. So when I see other families flying through the process, I'm regretfully jealous. It's not as if the God of the universe cannot move mountains on behalf of me and Sam, so there must be a reason for His timing. Please pray that God will help me to TRUST HIM in every detail.
  • Will you please pray for my home study? After I posted that the rough draft was complete, I assumed I would be able to move on to the next step right away. But my home study is still caught up somewhere, waiting to be edited. My social worker has never seen this step take so long. This hang up is delaying any other work that needs to be done. All of the paperwork that needs to be finished for the dossier depends on the home study. And the remaining paperwork will likely take a long time to process, so I would like to submit it as soon as possible.
  • Pray for the safe arrival of my FBI clearance. This document is one that I've heard usually takes the longest of all paperwork. I sent in my fingerprints a little under two months ago, so they should/could be back here anytime now. For some reason I worry about this one. Please pray that God will help me to trust that this document is safe in His hands.
  • Continue to pray for the completion of Samantha's file. If there's anything that could do my heart good, it would be the information in that file. Even if its not all good news, at least I'll know.
  • And of course, keep praying for my Samantha. 
Thank you so much, everyone. Love to you.


*Take a listen to this song if you have time. I've had it on repeat for the last 24 hours. Trying to take the wisdom of this old hymn to heart.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Song for Sam

I'm headed to one of my favorite places tomorrow...Ord, Nebraska!  Some of my most dearly loved friends have invited me to speak at their church in honor of National Adoption Month.  If you happen to think of me on Sunday morning, please pray! Any chance to talk about adoption, and especially to talk about Samantha, is a blessing. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give me the words to speak. This is His story, and I know He'll tell it best. This particular church is, as my friend Sara would say, "small but mighty". The Lord has already worked in HUGE ways through them. Friends from this church supported my work with the homeless children's ministry where I used to work, they helped to keep me afloat financially when I was without a job, they connected me to Haiti, they paid for one of my trips to Haiti, and with the help of their community, they raised $26,000 to build a new orphanage for children who lost their families in the Haiti earthquake. There are NO LIMITS to what God can do through these people. It is my honor to stand before them on Sunday. I can hardly wait to see what God will do through them next!

I was also asked to come prepared with a song to sing. I knew right away that it had to be this song. 

This is for you, Samantha. Someday soon I'll be singing this to you.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Update on Katerina

God has again answered our prayers. Here's the update from Katerina's family.
Katie needed IV fluids and now has an NG tube, so she is doing very well now.  She’ll be in the hospital until tomorrow morning.  We have a story to tell and pictures to share, but there is no internet at the hospital where Susanna is.  We are seeing God working; than you so much for praying!  Adam arrived safely, but to an unexpected summons to join us at the hospital.  He will undertake the supervision of Katerina’s care from our Hotel room in the morning when she is released.
As you continue to pray, please consider all the people Katerina has been able to reveal truth to in the past 12 hours that were not included in the our original plan.  May God continue to do mighty works!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Urgent Prayers Needed

Little Katerina needs your prayers. Here's the latest update from her mom and dad:
Katie refused all but a few mouthfuls of her last two bottles yesterday, is refusing to take anything now at 4 am, and is showing signs of dehydration.  Adam won’t be here for 12 more hours.  We are taking her to the hospital Toni recommended.  I hate to say this, but we may not be able to update for a little while, and our tiny girl needs prayer.  Could you please pray?
The last I knew, Katie weighed only 11 pounds (at nine years old). Adam is a nurse and friend of the family who will be helping to transport Katie home. Please, please pray that God, who knows Katie's every need, would comfort, protect, and save. He is good. We trust Him to do this.

If you would like to read more about Katerina's story, or if you just want to be inspired and encouraged in your relationship with the Lord, check out her mama's blog, theblessingofverity.com

Glory to God in the Highest!

Katerina Hope Musser has left the orphanage...forever. She's with her mom and dad, right where she belongs.

I need someone to cry with, so you should go look at the pictures right away!

Let's praise the Lord, together. God did what He said He would do! He is good. He is faithful.

He can do it again.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Inspiration

I've been waiting to write a post about all the ways this precious little friend has been an inspiration to me. Today, as I sit waiting (patiently?) for more information on my own little angel, it seems like a good time to share.


I met Maleska in Haiti, several trips ago. He lives in the neighborhood near Valley House of Hope where Love Maidene lives. We used to lovingly call him "the naked kid" as he would run behind our truck smiling and waving without a care in the world. And without a single article of clothing. In July our team had the pleasure of finally getting to know him. This kid is pure, unadulterated sweetness and joy.


Each day as we would step off the bus, Maleska would be there to great us with enthusiastic hugs and smiles that filled his whole face. He would then grab hold of a hand and lead us down the dusty road to the orphanage where we were teaching a group of area pastors. Other children from the neighborhood would walk with us as well, as they do each time we travel to Haiti. But Maleska's presence in our group upset them.  Well-meaning little friends would scold us for touching him, warning us that he was "sick" and laughing at what was, apparently, quite a strange sight.

We would allow Maleska to join us for the Pastor's Conference. He would sit proudly, quietly in his own chair, seemingly knowing that the invitation was an honor. Throughout the day, members from our team would take turns sitting by him, scratching his back, and slipping him (way too many) pieces of candy. When we would serve lunch to the pastors, moleska would eat too, receiving his very own soda and plate with rice and chicken. Some of the pastors were obviously bothered by his presence, but they respectfully put up with us crazy Americans and our ideas.

In between sections of the conference I would sneak outside to play with the other neighborhood kids and the VHOH orphans. Maleska would often go outside to play, too. Over the course of three days, I watched his interactions with the kids. Though not always mean, the kids kept their distance. Everyone seemed to understand that Maleska was not one of them.

Near the end of our trip, I had the opportunity, with the help of a translator, to talk to the kids about Maleska: to explain to them that God made him special, and that there is nothing wrong with him. I instructed the children to look out for him, and if they see someone teasing him to say, "He's Grace's friend!" I was so pleased to hear this very thing spoken as Maleska walked us back to the bus. Giggling children crowded around us, asking repeatedly, "He is your friend?" "Yes, he is my friend!" I would respond, my arm around Maleska's shoulder.

Even though he was blissfully unaware, saying goodbye to Maleska was terribly difficult. Probably because I was so thankful to God for bringing him into my life at just the right time. He gave me a small glimpse of what life is like for children with Down Syndrome around the world. He showed me just how resilient children can be, and how much difference a little bit of love can make in a young person's life. He confirmed my desire to be a mother to an angel with Down Syndrome. And, he showed me that I could happily parent an older child, and that I should be open to considering it.

Thank you, my little friend. May God bless and keep you, until we meet again.


  • Please pray for Maleska. Pray for his health; nurses seemed to think that he is likely infected with Hepatitis. Pray also for his friends and his neighbors, that they would love him well, and learn to enjoy him. And pray that he will be able to maintain his sense of joy and enthusiasm for life, even in the midst of great poverty and suffering. Thank God for the blessing that Maleska is in mine, and so many other lives.
  • Pray for my sweet Samantha. Pray that God would send people into her life to care for even the most basic of needs. Pray that she would be put to bed in a fresh diaper, in clean and dry pajamas, on a clean mattress. Pray that she would be nourished, even though her food does not contain the nutrients that she needs. Pray that God would give her what her food lacks. Pray that she will receive loving touches and smiles, and that someone will speak to her kindly. Pray that her mind will be stimulated. Pray that she would know the presence of Jesus in a dark place.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Guess what I'm about to do?!

Praise the Lord! I am about to edit my FINISHED home study!!!

The background check from California finally came in, so all documents are present and a rough draft of the home study is at-long-last complete! It still needs to be edited by a few key people, be it's very close!

I am BEAMING!!!!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers. God is answering them one by one.

Keep on praying for the safe arrival of Samantha's completed file. God can do this.

Love.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Silence is Deafening

Its been too long since I've checked in. I'm sorry about that! My sister, Katie, called me last night to encourage me to keep everyone updated with specific prayer requests for Samantha. I needed that encouragement as much as I need all of your prayers! So here we are. If you will, please, please keep praying for us. Here are some ideas, although only HE knows what we really need, so we'll pray for His will as well.

  • Keep praying for sweet little Samantha. It hurts my heart to not even know what her day-to-day is like. I wish I knew what she needed so I could ask you to pray for that! But since that is not mine to know right now, please just pray God's very best for her. Pray that God will send someone to touch her and talk to her each day. Pray that He will give her reasons to smile and laugh. Pray that God will sustain her and comfort her. Pray that she will know and feel Jesus presence with her.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit would draw me to Himself and that I would increasingly look to Him as THE source of help in this time of waiting and not knowing. Pray also for my quiet times with the Lord; that I would desire to spend quality time with Him, and that I would allow Him to fill up the lonely and empty spaces.
  • I am missing ONE lonely little document from my home study: the California background check. This one document is holding up a slew of other paperwork that needs to be done. Please pray that it arrives now! God can do this! 
  • Praise and thanksgiving that my education courses are complete and my certificate has arrived!
  • We're still waiting on Samantha's file. Please pray that all road blocks be removed so I can have the very important information that will help me to begin preparing a home for my daughter.
  • Please pray that Satan would have NO power over this process or in my life. Pray that God would protect my home, ministry, family, and again, my daughter.
  • Pray that God will show Himself strong in providing for the financial aspect of this adoption. I know He already has a plan in place...Please pray that the people God is calling to help will listen and obey. And praise Him for all He has already provided! He is faithful and good.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your loving support, and MOST OF ALL, for your prayers. Please keep praying. This adoption process is a spiritual battlefield. The enemy hates that God is making good out of something he meant for destruction. I know that GOD already has the victory, but that doesn't make the battle any less wearing.  

Please let me know how I can pray for you!

Love.

Friday, October 21, 2011

THIS is Why We Worship

Katerina Hope is officially not an orphan anymore! A Bulgarian attorney appeared in court today on her behalf, and now her adoption is complete! The Great Love of God our Father is bringing this 9-year-old, 11 pound, little love home. She's about to know family, comfort, sacrificial love, medical care, a full stomach, a warm bed, and a new start.

This is the little girl I've told so many of you about. Katerina is coming home from the orphanage where Samantha still lives. God has been faithful to Katerina, and now her rescue is nearly complete. For this we we praise the Lord! And we praise Him because Samantha will be following close behind!

THIS IS WHY WE WORSHIP, FOLKS!

God is good. He loves us. He never stops fighting for us.

HE IS WORTHY!!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bold and Very Specific

Will you please pray for the swift arrival of these 3 pieces of paper, which will complete my home study?
  • NE CPS/APS checks
  • CA CPS checks
These are background checks from Child Protection Services and Adult Protection services in Nebraska and California, stating that I do not have a criminal history.  My paperwork was submitted weeks ago; now we're just waiting for results to show up in the mail!

Also needed for the completion of the home study is proof that I have completed 12 hours of Hague accredited coursework. My coursework is nearly done, but the person who needs to approve of it and send the certificate of completion is out on maternity leave. Please pray that God will step in and provide a way for the certificate to become available now!


Thank you so much, friends and family! I love you all.

Monday, October 17, 2011

God Is With Us If We Are With Them

I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but my heart just feels heavy tonight. Nothing happened. But maybe that's the problem. Waiting for something to happen is exhausting. Its harder, and hurts worse than the chaos of frantically gathering information and checking things off of a to-do list. At least then I get that feeling of accomplishment, like I'm one step, or one day closer to Samantha. Too many factors are simply out of my control right now.

Actually, there's a lot about this process that's been out of my control.  I was talking to a friend today, remembering how I originally had my heart set on a baby. But God led me instead to Sam (not having control isn't all bad!). Now, I can't imagine wanting or waiting for any other child. I love her. But in addition to love, my heart hurts for her. And I can hardly stand the time and distance that are separating us (ok, I'll take that control back now please!).

Control freaks, like myself, appreciate hearing things from God such as, "If you...., then I will....". I like the certainty of knowing what to expect from Him. God doesn't always honor this desire, probably because He doesn't want to encourage the crazy voice in my head...but tonight...tonight He offered the perfect balm for my controlling heart. The following is a quote from On The Move, by Bono (yes, you read that right), a book I'm reading for my monthly learning community.
God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war.  God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them. "If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places." Isaiah 58:9-11  
"God is with us if we are with them." God is with me, leading me, strengthening me, preparing the way...because I am on my way to Samantha. He loves her and wants her OUT of the terrible darkness where she sits tonight, and His loving protection and guidance surround me, His instrument, as I toil to to bring her home. I can trust that God is in this journey. It was His idea, and He is here. That's the kind of certainty I love, so I'm going to try to take hold it. Our gloom, Samantha's and mine, will become like midday. Yes, the light is coming! Praise the Lord for that! 

If you're willing, here's where I could really use your prayers right now.
  • Pray that the Lord will help me to organize my thoughts! I am to a point in this journey where I am tying up loose ends, and following up on a long list of items that are already in process. Its becoming increasingly difficult to know whether I'm doing (or have done) everything I need to.  And of course, as you probably picked up from the rest of this post, I need help loosening my grip and letting God lead and comfort me.
  • Samantha's file is still not complete. Pray that we will receive it soon! I am SO antsy to have that information, and it would do my heart so much good to receive it. And once I do, I can post her picture for all of you to see!
  • We're still waiting on a couple items for the home study. Please pray that everything will fall into place and that the home study will be complete as soon as possible! There is international paperwork that I can't even start until the home study is done. And some of that paperwork can take a LONG time to process.
  • Please keep praying specifically for Samantha's well-being. She's already waited 6 years for me to come. Pray that Jesus will whisper hope to her, and that as a result she will wait expectantly for her rescue. Also, please pray that Jesus will hold her close; that she would feel his love and warmth, and that she would be comforted.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Grace and Samantha-A Short Film by Sister Natalie

Its a little pixelated, but y'all get the point. Is this awesome or what?! Thanks, Aunt Natalie!

video

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just So I'll Remember

Right after I told all of you about my memory problem, (forgetting the faithfulness of God, and acting as if I carried the weight of this adoption on my own shoulders) God graciously sent me MULTIPLE reminders that He is in control. And that He is GOOD!

So get this!

  • I have recently been offered THREE opportunities to speak out about Samantha's journey. This is amazing news! Not because I enjoy the spotlight. Or because I need to raise funds. But because I've had a feeling that God was doing something bigger than just me and Samantha. He's on the move, providing a way for children to move out of the darkness and into His light. And just as I had hoped, but in an even better and bigger way, He is doing just that. Praise the Lord!
  • My dossier paperwork requires me to be evaluated by a psychologist and receive a mental health clearance. I've heard that it can often take a lot of time to set up an appointment like this.  I called around to several offices last week, before being referred to someone who was able to complete the evaluation. Within two days of calling this doctor, I had an appointment set up for today. And that appointment was a pure joy.  I had the opportunity to share what God is doing in my life through little Samantha, and at the end of the appointment, the doctor informed me that there would be no charge for his time; he wanted me to keep that money as a contribution to Sam's adoption.
  • As of today, I have FOUR documents completed for my dossier! I just need to take them down to the capitol building to have them apostilled. Thank you, God!!!!!
I also need to thank all of you for faithfully praying for me and Sam.  I certainly do not deserve so much support, encouragement, and love. But I can feel your love and the effects of your prayers. Without a doubt God is moving on our behalf.  Please keep praying! Pray that my home study will be complete soon, so I can work on immigration paperwork. Keep praying for Samantha's file to be completed and sent to me. Pray for sweet Samantha as she waits. And pray for the work God is doing to get the word out about kids that need families! 

Lots of love to you all. Let me know how I can pray for you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Am Israelite

I hate that its true.

I want to be the glowing example of a woman who trusts the Lord with all her heart, and leans on Him for all of her needs.

But I forget. Again, and again, and again, I forget that He is faithful. 

So I freak out unnecessarily.

I worry about things way beyond tomorrow. Things I can't possibly control from here. And things (when I stand back and get a little perspective) I know He already has in hand.

I am Israelite. 

"Send me back to Egypt, God! Yeah, I was a slave, but at least there was good food!"

Lord, help me to get a grip. 
This is not my life. Its Yours.
She's not my baby. She's YOURS.
This is not my story. Its Yours. 
And You, O God, are FAITHFUL!




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Before the Throne of God Above

If you're willing to bring Samantha and I, and this process before God's throne in prayer, please read through these specific requests. We'll take all the prayers we can get!
  • For Samantha. Please pray that God will prepare her heart to meet her mom! And pray that God will protect her from all evil. I know that some children in her orphanage have a "Baba"; a grandmother-type figure who is paid a meager sum to come in and hold them a couple times a week. Please pray that if Samantha is not already receiving the love of a Baba, that she will soon. This type of interaction would be wonderful preparation for her before she transitions home.
  • Please pray that Samantha's file will be complete soon. Inside her file will be medical information, her given name, her weight and height, and her picture. This file is important, not only because it will help me to prepare a home and care for her, but because her adoption cannot move forward without it. Ideally, it will be ready by the time my dossier is ready to be submitted, if not sooner!
  • I could really use prayers for my heart. I'm a little weary these days. The paperwork, classes, errands, meetings...they take a toll, mainly because I know that everyday this work is not done is another day she sits in a lonely crib.  And that's hard to swallow. If anything is going to delay this process, I don't want it to be me! But I also know that I need to figure out how to press on while also taking care of myself and my relationship with the Lord. 
  • Pray that the devil will have NO POWER over any part of this miracle that God is doing in mine and Samantha's lives. Pray that there will be no more glitches, but that everything from here on out will move smoothly and quickly, maybe even faster than normal!
  • Pray that, even now, God will work on the hearts of the officials whose approval I will need in Samantha's country. Pray that God would prepare the way for us!
Lots of love to all of you, friends. Let me know how I can pray for you.

Friday, September 30, 2011

God really doesn't sleep!

God had a busy night last night, battling it out for Samantha! I can't believe how quickly things are coming together. When He has an idea, He follows it through!!

I had a phone call this morning alerting me to an additional $2,500 gift! Thank you (You know who you are)! I am so blessed.

Again, I just have to say THANK YOU.

2,155 Thank You's!

OH MY GOODNESS!

Thank you so much to everyone who has already contributed to help bring Samantha home!

I so wish I knew who you all were so I could thank you personally...but since I don't...this will have to do...

THANK YOU!

I am blown away.



          You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, 
          O God our savior.
          You are the hope of everyone on earth... 
          Psalm 65:5

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's Official!

My paperwork went through yesterday, and I am officially committed to adopting "Kami", as she has been named by Reece's Rainbow.

But when she comes home, to her new life, and her new mom, her name will be,

Samantha Love.

Samantha, for a sweet, 13-year-old friend from California, who died too young, but whose life of faith continues to inspire me.

Love, for Love Maidene, the little girl who started it all.

I've heard from a few adoptive families, valid reasons for keeping or changing a child's name. My thought is that God is making"Kami"new.  I don't know how many times her name has been spoken in the last 6 years, or whether its ever been spoken with love; but I do know that she's been imprisoned in a crib, day and night, with very little human interaction. Her name, in a way, represents that old life.  But her new name, Samantha, which means, "God has heard," will carry her into a new life.

Now that my commitment to Samantha has been made official, I am finally able to start raising funds for her adoption grant. This grant will help to pay for agency fees, travel, and other adoption expenses.  Samantha's adoption ransom is estimated at $20,000. That's a lot for my tiny brain to wrap around, but its nothing to God. I can't wait to see Him come through for her!

If you would like to contribute to Samantha's grant, you can use the handy new button in the side bar.  The grant total, as seen here on my blog, will be updated every hour, so if you don't see your donation show up right away, have no fear! You can also check our total on the Reece's Rainbow's website. My profile is currently on the New Commitments page, titled, "A Girl for the Knuth Family."

Thank you friends and family for your support. Lots of love to you. More updates soon.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Can't Believe I Forgot to Tell You...

I was just re-reading my journey so-far, remembering how I got here, when I found an old post titled "Please Pray".  I can't believe I forgot to tell you all that my little girl is indeed at the orphanage you were (and hopefully still are!) praying for!

There was a reason God was breaking my heart for that particular place...

God is moving BIG TIME setting children free from this orphanage...

It is my privilege to be used by Him for this purpose.

Soon and Very Soon

So much has happened in the last couple of weeks!

  • I received my very first video of Baby Girl. May I just say that I was previously unaware my body was keeping that many tears in storage. Just the sight of her rendered me completely paralyzed. Of course I've seen her picture; I can see it in my sleep. But watching her move and breath, sitting up, pulling to a stand on the side of her crib, and looking intently at the camera...there's nothing else like it. Or there won't be, until the day I get to hold her. Oh, and she really seems to like people! You can hear a couple of women talking in Bulgarian in the background of the video, and it really seems like she is interested in them. I know my little girl has been neglected and sinned against for many years, so this small interaction gives me great hope!
  • I've been plugging away, finishing all the details of my home study. After what seems like months of fretting, the long awaited "home inspection" is now complete.  It went great, thanks to many WONDERFUL friends who helped to clean, do yard work, change electrical outlets, organize...the list goes on. I have a few pieces of paperwork left to collect, and several more hours of online class to complete...but the end is in sight! (the end of the home study, that is)
  • I've now begun working with Baby Girl's adoption agency. My application was approved on Thursday! So, now I'm hopefully only days away from the long-awaited completion of the commitment process. I'm also ready to begin compiling my dossier. I had my first taste of what this process will be like on Friday when I spent an unholy amount of time pouring over the instructions on an FBI website figuring out how to mail, apostille, etc., etc., my fingerprints. Whoa. Let's hope I get better at this stuff as time goes on!
  • I found out that there was has been a mix-up! And I'm told that this is a first for the agency. It so happens that there are two little girls with the same name and date of birth in the same orphanage...one of whom is my little girl. And while Baby Girl is still available for adoption, we now know that she had the wrong file attached to her picture. For this reason, she can not currently be viewed on the Reece's Rainbow site, and I cannot publish her picture. Please pray that her file can be put together quickly! I've chosen to continue moving forward without the file, so we don't lose any valuable time, leaving her to sit in a crib any longer than necessary. But there is information in that file that will be very helpful in preparing a home and proper care for her. And, I so badly want you all to see her sweet face!
Thank you all so much for your help and support. This little girl is already VERY loved. She has no idea, but God is on the move...for her.  Hang on, Baby Girl! I'm coming. Soon!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.

Thank you, Aunt Gail, for pointing me to this perfect Word from God.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Almost Somewhere!

Oh my goodness, friends.  My heart is full. And overwhelmed. And nervous. But again, it is full! All day today I've been running around town; making copies, overnighting documents, emailing, phone calling, filling out forms, asking for huge favors, crying, praying, rejoicing, and crying some more.

Why so much crying, you ask?

Well you see, there's this little girl.  She's 6 years old. She has Down Syndrome. She is perfectly adorable. She has been laying in a crib her entire life. And she very well may be my daughter :)

Name an emotion. I'm probably feeling it right now!

Among many other thoughts going through my head today was this one...After 6 years of merely existing (surviving, really) this little girl is about to start LIVING. I cannot wait to experience the world with her. I can just imagine what she'll think about sunshine, butterflies, ice cream, a pink princess room, a full stomach, hugs and kisses, a warm bath, trips to the zoo...

This innocent, 6-year-old baby has been in a tiny prison, unaware that there is a whole world out there waiting for her. She doesn't know yet what she's missing, but I so long to help her make up for lost time.

I should probably try not to get ahead of myself, as there are still plenty of things that could go wrong. But I just want to hold on to this hope, and the joy that it brings.  And I will try to do just that.  Because my God, who made this sweet baby girl, loves her far more than I do. And even if this whole journey I've begun falls to pieces, He will still be holding her. He is Father to the fatherless, Defender of the weak, Hope to the hopeless. He is good. I'll cling to that.

If you would, please pray that I will be able to make an official commitment to Baby Girl, so she can be removed from the waiting child list, and instead be on a page entitled, "My family found me." When God answers our prayers, I'll be able to show you all a picture of her sweet little face.  I can't wait!

Again, please feel free to comment with any prayer requests you may have. Let's be in prayer for each other!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The "M" Word

I woke up this morning feeling a little anxious.  Actually, fearful might be a better choice of words.  For the first time, I was letting the "m" word bring me down. Its weird.  I'm really not worried about whether God will provide. I know everything will come together in His time.  Mostly I worry about other people's approval.  I worry whether my income level will be satisfactory...for my homestudy, for the adoption agency, for a judge halfway around the world who will make the final decision about whether I'll be able to take my baby home.

I hate that I'm worrying about money. Its kind of been my mission these last couple of years to try and forget about that stuff.  I do realize its necessary, but I'd just assume close my eyes and trust that God will catch me when I jump, as He always has.  At any rate; here we are.  I'm a little scared.

BUT how good is God that He would speak to me this morning, through His word, specifically, directly, purposefully...about money. And about worry.  No kidding.

I had an 11:00 date with a friend this morning at a diner within walking distance of the Bolivar House.  That 15 minute walk gave me just enough time to read a devotion from "Jesus Calling" and to look up the corresponding verses in my Bible (in case you're wondering, I only tripped once).  Not only did these passages speak directly to my need this morning, but God gave me fresh eyes and new perspective as I read.

The first scripture was a familiar one about worry found in Luke chapter 12. Only today I noticed that the section was titled, "Teaching about Money and Possessions".  Here are some things I took away from that reading, as it applies to my situation (and maybe yours, too!).
  • I am not to worry about "everyday life" stuff, or more specifically, "little" stuff. (I like that connection. My 'needs' fall under the category of "little" stuff)  These are the things that "dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world," but my Heavenly Father already knows I need them. Among these "little" things? Money.
  • I am to seek the Kingdom of God above all things. If I do this, God will give me everything I need. My worrying does not help Him procure the things I need.  It does distract me from the Kingdom.
  • It gives the Father great happiness to give me the Kingdom.
  • Finally, I am urged to "sell [my] possessions and give to those in need."  In other words, I should care for those less fortunate without fearing for my own well-being.  And while I care for others...God will care for me.  And no where does it say that this is irresponsible or careless, as the world might say. Because this is KINGDOM talk, not worldly wisdom.
Now, that chapter alone would have made my day.  But then I turned to the next passage and was blown away again by this:
"For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly spaces." Ephesians 6:12
It hit me that if I cannot trust God with the "little" stuff (even a lot of money is a little thing for God), then how will I be able to trust Him in the BIG things (spiritual warfare, evil in the world, sin all around). I've got bigger fish to fry than the way my income looks or the measly $30,000 it will cost to adopt.  There is an enemy who doesn't want us to care for orphans, whom God loves and commands us to care for.

The last verse I read today was this one from Proverbs 16:
"Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed." 
So, it appears I need to learn how to trust Him.  In everything.  Trust that He "who began this good work within [me], will continue in His work until it is finally finished."

Gosh I love that God!

If you'd like to pray for me, I'd love prayers that God will help me to continue to trust Him and for that spirit of anxiousness to subside. Also, please pray that I will be able to get an initial approval from my home study agency so I can commit to a child. This is the biggest desire of my heart today.

I'd love to pray for you all as well.  If you'd like, leave me a comment with your prayer requests, and we can pray for each other.

Lots of love to you all.