Thanks in ALL Circumstances

Happy Thanksgiving!

There is so much to be thankful or rather grateful for…My cup simply overflows…
BUT, stop there. This does not mean that I do not have a (growing) list of health problems, a marriage that has some chapters I would just rather skip over, a house and car that our family is busting out of and never enough hours in the day to get it ‘all’ done. This means that my cup absolutely runneth over because despite all that I lack, Jesus Christ’s grace covers it and THEN even USES my need-my shortcomings and my mess for my own growth. Seriously, He is perfect…He REALLY is!

My prayers have changed dramatically over the years. They use to consist of asking for a lot of help (‘PULEASE fix this, please take care of that, please help with this…’) and Lord knows I needed it (or really wanted it anyway) and yes we SHOULD come to God with our needs (and of course I still do). BUT God has shown me that whether or not I received the answer I wanted, that He has heard and has in fact answered each and every single prayer uttered (cried, blubbered, whatever). AND, (this is the best part) most often the seemingly unanswered prayers were actually the greatest opportunities for growth in knowing (REALLY knowing) our Creator. By walking through ‘the fire’, trusting Christ in the lead, I learned that I can face my greatest fears, cry out in utter desperation and even ask God ‘why?!’ and then in one final act of faith (or perhaps the realization that I have no control over the situation anyway), hand them fully over to Him and rest (yes, actually REST) in knowing “He’s got this” and then survive to tell of it, stronger than ever before.

I don’t know about you but for me it is hard to (truly) seek God when life is going smoothly and I’ve got this on my own. When things are running like a well-oiled machine, I cannot pray with the same passion (fervor) that I do when life is crushing in on me. It’s an amazing perspective (rock bottom looking up) and somewhere along the narrow path I realized that this should always be my posture (in both plenty and in want) and my prayers to follow changed. I still ask for help (yes blubber and what not…I’m not super human) but I no longer fear the trial when faced with it. What a gift!!! Seriously? Priceless.
Had God not gifted me with reasons to fall at His feet each day-to cry out and give them COMPLETELY to Him (to see through the fallacy that a trial is a punishment), I never would have known how beautifully He can bring it all together…in His time…in His perfect way. A blessing not many can understand or are willing to accept as such.
Had I not been given the opportunity to see the depths of God’s beautiful work over my shallow pleas, I would still be losing sleep over an endless list of needs and fears, rather than thanking God for the for the beauty I now KNOW that He is making them into.

Oh so thankful, grateful, undeserving, yet blessed beyond measure.

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Finally Family

Words cannot describe the emotional release I felt this morning as I poured my first cup of coffee saying to myself, “We are family” (no worry of losing her any more).  Ahh…Seriously? Release.
Since words can do no justice to the magnitude of my gratefulness or the fullness of my heart, I will simply have to share in pictures my heart on our adoption hearing day ❤

For 907 days I've shared their Love and their Home...As of today, I also share their last name! Jeremiah 29:11

For 907 days I’ve shared their Love and their Home…As of today, I also share their last name!
Jeremiah 29:11

Daddy gettin' some love at the hearing!

Daddy gettin’ some love at the hearing!

And...We're family!

And…We’re family!

Officially Family!

Officially Family!  (Olivia was crying because Ron and I cried…soft-hearted girl)!

Our Family

Our Family

Sisters modeling their new

Sisters modeling their new “Sisters” necklaces

Adoption Day!

907 Days end today!

God is good!

Getting ready for the BIG day

Getting ready for the BIG day

In just a little over 5 hours, our 2 and a half year (907 day) wait will be over and we will officially be a family!  And yes for those who have lived in Alaska, the # of days actually does add up to our area code!  Pretty awesome I say 😉

Lulu has been telling EVERYONE about her ‘adoption day’, although she does not understand what that entails, she just knows that she will be celebrating with friends and CAKE!
We  spent the day yesterday, preparing for the BIG event.  Each of the girls had their nails painted, I ironed our kuspuks and wrote out her ‘adoption sign’…trying to keep busy as I could not focus on much else.  It is hard to believe that today marks the end of our wait-The receiving of God’s promise and the beginning of our life together as a family (just us, no OCS).  It has yet to fully set it.

My prayer this morning is that God would be greatly glorified today.  His mercies are great and His will (and timing, yes even His timing) is perfect.
Part of me feels like I should build a pillar of rocks to commemorate this day (you know, as in Biblical times when they would build a pillar of stones at a place where God did a great thing, so as to not forget and to remind their children of God’s greatness?).  Truly, I do not want to forget the goodness of this day-The day that all my tears and frustrations over the past 2 and a half years look pitiful next to God’s promise being fulfilled.
I pray that as life continues to throw stumbling blocks in our path, that we can look back on THIS day and be faithful, knowing that God delivers!

Thank you ALL who have interceded on our behalf.  May you see the fruits of your faithfulness and be encouraged in knowing that God hears and He delivers!!!

Counting down the days…

My Blessings!

My Blessings!

I have delayed this post for a couple of reasons…First, the news felt completely surreal- leaving me absolutely unable to write, with no way of articulating my feelings in a manner that would give due justice to the magnitude of what I was trying to say.
Second, I have been told that anything can still happen…nothing is ‘final’ until the Judge records it.
However, all of the people who have been a part of this journey…those I know, and those I’ve never met (but prayerfully will one day) who have been in prayer, petitioning over our little one; YOU have been on my mind and you need to know the good works that God has been doing in response to your prayers!

All that said…we have an adoption hearing date set!  September 25th, 2015 will forever mark the day that our family, officially became a family!
That day will mark the end of our daughter’s 907 days in ‘foster care’ and the beginning of our new life together (just us-no OCS, no checking in, no asking for permissions to travel, no higher authority outside of God’s).  (BIG breath out), oh I cannot wait!!!

I reread Psalm 10 last night as a reminder of the fight that God has fought for our little one (and for us).  This is the same chapter that I held open in my hand throughout the entire termination of parental rights hearing.  That day, this chapter spoke to me (almost audibly), with comfort and reassurance as the text leapt from the pages while Lulu’s fate was being determined.
It ends with this promise…

“…Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will prepare their heart;
You will cause Your ear to hear,
To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
That the man of the earth may oppress no more.”

And God delivered (greatly)!

Right now we are thoroughly enjoying the planning of Lulu’s adoption celebration and in doing so, I find myself humbled as the numbers of those able to celebrate with us are quickly nearing 50!
So many hearts have cried out, carrying us when we could no longer utter a word and God heard each prayer and in each utterance on her behalf you became a part of her story.  I pray that one day I will be able to thank you in person for interceding on our behalf.  God bless you!!!

So for now we are counting down the days, anxiously awaiting the 25th and paying no mind to the ‘what if’s’.  God has brought us all this far.  HIS will, will be done.

I am SO looking forward to posting photos (that include Lulu’s full face and actual name) of the adoption hearing…closing out this chapter and welcoming in the new one!!!

“You keep me safe, Mommy?”

As I was settling our little Lulu the other night, just before ‘goodnight kisses’, she looked up at me with a worried expression and asked, “You keep me safe, Mommy?”.
This is not something we discuss (keep in mind that she is only two years old and has spent all but a combined 6 months of her life with us), so I was a bit taken off guard but I replied, “Yes, baby…Mommy, Daddy and God will always keep you safe.”  She smiled, completely satisfied with the response and settled down into her pillow.

The faith of a child.

“Lord, thank you for your provision…For your hand of safety on my children.  Help me to have the faith of this child-To trust you at your word to provide in all things.  Amen.”

My Mom had this picture hanging in our home, when I was a child.  I remember the amazing comfort it brought to look at it...a visual reminder of trusting God's provision.

My Mom had this picture hanging in our home, when I was a child. I remember the amazing comfort it brought to look at it…a visual reminder of trusting God’s provision.

Beautiful Chaos Returns

My Husband and I had a wonderful weekend planned.  We were going to celebrate Valentine’s day (yes, a week late) by splurging on a fancy dinner…ALONE!  In our home this happens no more than twice a year and I am completely fine with that.  Let me stop here and reiterate…I really am fine with that.  I love our simple life (that is totally anything but simple in our eyes) and we both love spending time with the kids in tow.  So expensive dates out alone are not a priority at this time and we’re both okay with it.  BUT, come time for that date, I am so ready to dress like a grown up, drive in the car with my handsome date, talk about grown up things (okay, it’s still usually about the kids) and even enjoy a glass of wine and desert (without sharing the latter)!  So our weekend was planned and the girls were looking forward to spending a few hours away from home with my dear Aunt and her friend.  Perfection.
Then, the night before our ‘big date’ just before the ‘bed time prep’ began, my phone rang and it was OCS.
“I understand that you used to foster Lulu…can you take a placement tonight?”.  Everything stopped.  My heart began to race as I asked “Does Lulu need us?” I asked.
“Yes. Can you come pick her up?” Half an hour later I was buckling Lulu up in our car and as I shut the door, I was overwhelmed with these words, “God LOVES you, little one…He has got you covered.”  And he does.
Since we have kept a good relationship with Lulu and her Mama, coming to our home again was an easy transition.  She was still used to the house, LOVES the girls and couldn’t wait to ‘love on’ the cats (poor cats)!
Ron had put the play yard together while we were gone and she was sleeping soundly within 30 minutes of arriving.  I, on the other hand was full of adrenaline and stuck in high gear.  Full of mixed emotions that I could not process, I laid awake till 5AM (stopping to read the Bible at some point…praying…seeking and waiting for sleep).  Once I did fall asleep however, it was short-lived.  A sound woke me at 8:30 and I was up…mind racing again.  “Lord please give me the strength needed today to love on these girls” I’ve prayed this a lot and God has ALWAYS provided.  That night was our date-night and I was still determined to make it so I called my Aunt to see if she was up for ‘one more princess’ and she was more than happy to see little Lulu again (thank you, Lord for those who are willing to love with us)!
I opted to wear ‘trendy/comfy jeans’ with my new boots instead of the feminine dress I had received from Zulily…3 1/2 hours of sleep does not allow for uncomfy dress wearing.  But Ron, being the amazing, God-sent Husband he is, raved over my ‘metro-cowgirl style’ throughout the evening.  Yes, he’s pretty awesome.  We dropped all the girls off with my Aunt and spent the next couple of hours, RELAXING and taking a much-needed breath over an overly priced, but yummy dinner with a glass of wine, desert and even a cup of coffee.  Ahhh…perfection, still.  We spent the evening dissecting all that had happened the night before…trying to process what it meant for us, for Lulu and for her Mom and in the end we were just happy to take it all one day at a time.  Once we had stretched dinner to its ultimate max, we headed to Wal-Mart…Don’t laugh (okay, laugh a little…we did)!  Yes, we headed to Wal-Mart to buy some socks and other miscellaneous items for Lulu that she needed.  I know, it’s all so very romantic 😉  We had a wonderful time (even with painting the town red at Wal-Mart) and topped our evening off with a couple of hours at my Aunt’s home, catching up, laughing and taking in the madness of all the little ones playing wildly into the late night.  Lulu has grown so much (walking….rather RUNNING all of the place) and she now insists on wearing a purse over one shoulder at all times.  Have to say, I think our house of princesses left an impression!
It’s now been 5 days and life has returned to beautiful chaos with a toddler in tow.  It’s wonderful.  Lulu is a blessing and I am amazed at how easily she fits right back in where she left off.
We are still praying for God’s will and praying also for Lulu’s Mama and her struggles.  Over the past few months we had grown much closer to her and both Ron and I hurt for her and her loss.  I am still trying to figure out just ‘how’ to pray for her now.  Hm.
So we do not know for how long Lulu will be with us (a meeting is scheduled with OCS for next Tuesday, to hopefully shed some light) but somehow it doesn’t matter all that much.  My ‘theme’ this time around is “One day at a time“.  I have to say, it’s so different going into this, the second time around…after having been so fully covered by Christ the first time.  It’s amazing to see God work in such great ways…providing fully in all things that truly it leaves nothing to fear.  I only wish that I could have learned this truth, earlier in life but am thankful to know it and to benefit from its peace now.

Thank you Lord, for watching over this little one!  I pray your continued protection over her heart and against any confusion she might feel.  I also pray for her Mama…that you would keep her safe and that your will would be done in hers and Lulu’s lives.  Please provide enough for today, to do your work.  Amen.