Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mustard Seeds

I just got done packing 6 lunches, five of which are going with my children and I to class tomorrow.  The other, will be accompanying my husband to his first day of his NEW JOB. Yes, God is good.  :)

That's right!  You read correctly!  He got a job!!   We couldn't be more thrilled.  Thank you all for praying for us.  It has been a long, uncertain journey, yet exciting as well.  We have learned much about His provision, as we never went without.  When we were faithless, He was faithful (2 Tim. 2:13).  So very true.

Oh, I wish I could say that we never once doubted.  I wish I could say that I knew all along that a job would open up quickly....but....well, that would be a lie.  Many, MANY times during this process, I stressed.  I worried.  I wondered - What if He doesn't provide??  What if a job doesn't open up in time? What if.....

And every time, God nudged me to look backwards.  He reminded me to look at all the times He HAD provided.  All the times He HAD "pulled through".  We've received many emails and sweet cards over the past few months marveling at our faith.  Friends encouraging us that our faith has inspired them in their journeys.  And you know what??  Every time it would make me laugh.  Literally LOL.  Why?  Because there were MANY dark days where I pleaded with God to increase my faith.  I begged Him to "fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen (2 Cor. 4:18)".  In my own strength, I didn't really have much of anything.  All I could see were my surroundings, and well, they looked kind-of bleak. :)

Yet, as I prayed though, something happened.  My faith would increase ever so slightly.  Not much.  Just enough to get me through the next hurdle.  Then again, the Bible doesn't call us to have much faith.  It merely asks us to have the faith of a mustard seed.  Ever seen one of those??

And so, with mustard seed-size faith we persevered.  Or shall I say, persevere?  It is not over yet.  Now begins a whole new round of paperwork.  With new employment comes updated home studies and such.  Charles' new job will need to be approved by our social worker, and our finances combed through again.  We're praying that all will proceed smoothly, although we're learning when it comes to adoption, there may not really be such a thing.  :)

Here's how you can continue to pray for us...

1.  Pray that Charles' new job would be a good fit for him and our family (he is working for a company that is subcontracted by Merck Pharmaceuticals).

2.  Pray that our updated home study, along with Charles' new employment, would be approved so that we could continue on in our adoption.

3.  Pray that we would continue to see movement in our adoption, and that we would continue to be able to raise the funds necessary (we need about $10,000 more).

4.  We need a car!!!  Pray that we could find a good deal on one within the next couple months. We don't want to take out a loan, so it will have to be for a price we can afford!!  For Charles' previous job, he drove a work vehicle to and from the shop in the morning.  We had one personal vehicle for our family.  Upon losing his job, we went down to one car.  We do temporarily have access to a second car for the time being, however, we will eventually need a car of our own.

5.  Lastly, pray that our faith would continue to increase.  Pray that we would not forgot what God has done.

Thank you, thank you, thank you friends!!!  We are so thankful for your friendship, your encouragement, and your prayers!!  We are so incredibly blessed.

Alright, going to bed now.... 5:00 am will be coming early. :)


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It Just So Happens....Again :)

For anyone who has been keeping up with our story on here, you will know that many curious incidences have "just so happened" to occur over the past couple months or so.  Things that could merely be chalked up to coincidence or chance.  WE know that these "just so happenings" have been nothing short than the providence of a loving, Almighty God.  And so, here we find ourselves again.  Shaking our heads.  Sighing a deep sigh of relief.  Marveling at God's perfect timing.  Saying that phrase over and over to each other at just so happens....again. :)

Well, it just so happens this time, that we received a call from our social worker the other day.  Didn't seem too out of the ordinary at first.  How are you doing?  How's the job search?  Any new news on our part?  And came.  News we weren't even expecting.  Weren't even praying for.  News that our agency had reevaluated their policy on job loss, and had determined that instead of a 3 month grace period, they were extending that to 12 months.


Now, certainly, we are hoping and praying that Charles finds a job MUCH sooner than that.  In fact, he has been called back for a second job interview tomorrow morning.  Still, the weight of a thousand tons seemed to lift off of both of us upon hearing that we were being given more time to secure a job.  Isn't God good??

Today I am praising Him for little glimmers of hope that He reveals just when we need it the most.  Just when we are beginning to feel down...alone...unsure.  He shows up in a "just so happens" kind of way.  Still gets me every time.

Won't you praise Him tonight with us??!?


Saturday, September 1, 2012

It Just So Happens.....

It just so happens that I've been listening to a Mark Driscoll sermon series on the book of Ruth this month.  And it just so happens that that sermon series has been speaking right to where I am these days.  I kind-of love how God orchestrates things like that. :)

The story of Ruth is a beautiful story of redemption.  An ostracized foreigner.  A bitter, old mother-in-law.  A godly business-owner.  Each playing an integral part in the plot.  The curtain opens introducing us to the family of a man named Elimelech.  Elimelech, from the town of Bethlehem, the tribe of Judah, moves his family to live among the Moabites when a severe famine overtakes the land.  While in Moab, Elimelech's two sons both marry and start their lives over.  Tragically though, Elimelech, and both his sons die an untimely death, leaving the three widows to care for themselves.  In a patriarchal society such as this one, this is a terrible fate. Upon hearing that the famine has lifted in the town of Bethlehem, Naomi, the widow of Elimelech, makes the decision to return home to her people with her newly-widowed daughter-in-laws.  Along the way, she comes to the realization that her daughter-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah, deserve better than to care for an aging mother-in-law who has nothing left to offer.  She bids them farewell and pleads with them to return to their father's homes and to their marry again, and start their lives over.  Orpah, takes her mother-in-law up on this, and returns home.  Ruth, however, has grown to genuinely love and care for Naomi and insists on continuing on the long, dangerous journey to Bethlehem.  The widows are destitute, homeless, and alone, yet their faith in the one, true God of Israel, just so happens to lead them to a godly businessman named Boaz.  Boaz provides for them, and ultimately ends up marrying Ruth, redeeming her and offering her a second chance at life (the entire story can be found in the book of Ruth).  A foreshadowing of what Christ has done for us.

One thing that stood out to me while I listened to this series, was that God works in two ways.  Obviously, God answers prayer through the use of miracles.  We saw this miracle-working God in the life of our dear sister Anna just this past year.  More often than not, however, God answers prayer through His providence.  Seas don't part.  Manna doesn't fall from the sky.  Fire doesn't rain down from heaven.  We see his care manifest itself in the ordinary, seemingly coincidental providence of a loving God as he provides for the needs of his people.

This is where I have been living the past couple months.  Nothing miraculous has happened.  A job has not fallen from the sky and landed in our laps. Yet, we see evidence of His provision everywhere we look.  To some, it may seem purely coincidental.  But to us, as we've grown to intimately know the ways of this God spoken of in the book of Ruth, the God whom the Bible says is the "same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)", we know it not to be anything other than the hand of a providential and loving God.

When we first received word that our adoption agency would grant us a three-month grace period to secure employment, we were also told that there were a couple stipulations that we had to abide by as well.  The obvious, we needed to find a job that met the financial criteria for the country of Ethiopia.  Secondly, we needed to be careful not to touch our savings account, so as to prove when all was said and done, that we still had the means to continue with our adoption.  Easier said than done, when we still have not received any unemployment checks to date.  YET, through it all, God has remained faithful.  Despite having not received an official paycheck in over two months, we have still been able to pay all our bills on time, provide food for our little family, and continue to provide for our kids in a manner in which they do not even feel as thought they are without.  Only He can receive credit.

Each time I have doubted his goodness, it just so happens that a meal shows up to our home.  Every time I have wondered how we would get by, a gift card has been handed to us.  Or a bag of groceries.  Or a check.  Or an invitation to pick in someone's garden.  When I have worried about paying bills without tapping into our savings, He has so lovingly reminded me how He provides even for the lilies of the field.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow?  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, 
O you of little faith!"
~Matthew 6:26-33

He reminds me how he cares even that much more for me, and then his hand of provision blesses us with a side job.  No more, or no less than we need for that month.  He has left us marveling at His seemingly coincidental providence over and over.

He is so faithful.

So good.

So loving.

Not only has He provided our needs, but some desires as well.  Undeserved grace being lavishly poured out upon our heads.   This is the God that we serve.

To date, Charles still has not found a job.  He has had several leads, filled out a couple applications, and has had an interview.  We are waiting on one job in particular, as it has seemed somewhat promising.  Please continue to pray that God would open a door for him and that the job He just so happens to provide will pay what we need to continue with our adoption.  We are trusting that God has not brought us this far, only to allow us to be defeated.  Pray that our faith would be strong, and that we would set out eyes firmly on Him.

In an ironic twist, as uncertainty has consumed our job-search, our adoption has begun to pick up speed.  We know that God's timing is perfect, though not always making sense to us with our human eyes.  Over the past year that we have sat waiting on the list, we have S-L-O-W-L-Y plodded down a couple spaces each month.  Frustratingly, it has seemed that we would be in this stage of waiting forever.  Yet, these past two months alone, we have seen our numbers drop from #67 to #53.


That's 14 spaces!  About as much movement as we have seen in almost a year. :)

We are thankful for this story of redemption, much like Ruth, that God is writing in our own lives, and in the life of our child, an ocean away.  We pray that His providence would be just as evident in our hearts, as it was in the life of a poor, widowed Moabite woman.  Only God knew the end of her story.  Only God knew, in the midst of her sorrow.....her turmoil....her pain....that He had a greater story yet to write.  That in the end, from Ruth's lineage, would come a Redeemer, much like Boaz, who would come to this earth to redeem the world.   It just so happens that His ways are always better.  And so, like Ruth, we wait.

We wait on our Redeemer.