I really really enjoy children's books! I was read to every night as a little girl. My mom worked in an elementary library for decades. I read LOTS of books to the children I have nannied for. I give books as gifts. I even personally enjoy many of them and recite them what appropriate... or not.
I have often expressed sadness for the lack of good Christian children's books/Bibles. I often feel the stories lose much of their meaning and are dumbed down to the children. I also feel like the same 25 stories are recycled over and over while the greater understanding of the Bible as a whole and how it all connects is largely lost. Another sad part of most stories is a blue-eyed fair skinned Jesus... what is up with that?
I was actually talking with a great friend about these concepts and our desire for our children and future children to see all Scripture in the context of the Gospel. Two days later I was walking with another friend who showed me a GREAT book which I purchased later that day!
I read the entire Storybook Bible over the next 24 hours! I was blessed as I read! I was encouraged and excited to share this book with our little ones and with all of you! I want you to keep in mind that this is a storybook! It was written by a human. It is not without error. It does not replace the Bible, but it has a very cool way of weaving Jesus and the Gospel into the Old and New Testament which I think is so often missing from other children's Bible storybooks.
Yesterday at age 29... I don't look older... right? ;)
I turned 29 yesterday. No, I am not a forty-five year old trying to pretend I am yet again turning 29... I actually turned 29 for the first time. I had a great day, even if it started with a few tears. Yes, I admit, I shed a few tears. I guess I just imagined I would be a mom by age 29 so there were a few sad moments, but the rest of the day was so great!
Birthday 2010 highlights: Friday is Brandon's day off so we were able to spend the whole day together! Brandon hid my gifts around the house and wrote special notes for each one. It was so much fun to hunt for them! I was especially excited about the Bananagrams game. We played 4 times yesterday and I was able to win one time!
After lunch we went to our county fair. It was so much fun to see the crafts, animals etc. We didn't ride rides, eat food, or play games, but I felt a new connection to our county and left thinking that 4-H is a really cool thing!
We ate an early dinner of steaks and sweetcorn! YUM!
Last night instead of having our small group Bible Study we had a fun night and played games and ate A LOT of tasty food! Pico, Guac, Hummus etc. So yummy and so Shelly friendly! Don't worry, there was a host of chocolate sugary treats for others to enjoy! We played Apples to Apples and laughed... a lot. It was a good workout after all the food!
Throughout the day it was easy to reflect on how blessed I really am! Sometimes it is easy for worry and doubt to fill my mind, but I am truly so so blessed!
What will the next year bring?? My prayer of course is a crying baby, dirty diapers, sleepless nights, sticky floors, smiles, hugs, cooing, book reading and so on... but only God who sees the whole picture knows what this 29th year has in store. I know that year 28 was great and filled with His fingerprints! I must surrender each day to the bigger picture I can't see!
we both skipped Bible Study last week to have a date night! I am not advocating skipping Bible Study, but we had a date night planned and sadly a woman in the church died and Brandon had to leave immediately. When he came home that night we realized that we ran out of nights and had commitments for a LONG time so we decided to skip our women's/men's Wednesday night study.
We had a great date night. It wasn't anything too fancy. We had a pre-marital couple here until 6:00ish and then had a Chili dinner, took a long walk, and came home and watched a movie, which we had never seen and I rented free at the library. It is called "Did you hear about the Morgans?" and we were pretty impressed. It has some swearing, but the married couple stays married so that is good! Honestly, there are some good lines in it that encourage marriage (even in infidelity) and adoption. This is NOT a Christian movie. It is NOT a family movie. It is much cleaner and pro-marriage than most non Christian produced movies, in my opinion.
You should also know that we attend a Bible study/small group together on Friday nights at our house. We did not skip that study :)
Morals of the story: Marriage is important! Marriage and time together are worth fighting for! Sometimes, we will need to skip the good for the BETTER! I LOVE my husband!
We were just notified on our yahoo group that 8 referrals were offered to families Friday and today. This is very exciting and a HUGE praise! Our God is hearing our cries for the fatherless to be in families! We do not know how many of these children were the part of the 35 "caught in the middle" but this is wonderful news all the same!
Keep praying those prayer requests. Yes, I did say at least 20 INFANTS by the end of August. I am praying that God is going to pull an Eph. 3:20 on us!!!!!!!!
To God Alone be the GLORY!!!!!!
---- For those of you interested in our personal journey to baby. We have seen no movement on our list, but there are many mystery families so we really don't know. We do know they are still processing May 2009 families. We are a January 2010 family. Yes, we have a ways to go!
*First a note to those who receive email adoption updates. We sent out the last update on Monday from the yearn4surrender account. If you have not received it check your junk/bulk mail. If it doesn't appear there, comment here (I don't post comments) and we will get one out to you soon!
Many of you know this spring/summer has been a dry time for our agency in the infant referral department. "Referral" refers to the process of the agency calling you and sharing info. with you about a child (including photo, medical etc) and you accepting the child! Anyway, we have waited on the Lord and cried out to Him as we have seen our estimated wait times increase and increase.
We learned recently that there are many children caught in the middle of a paperwork nightmare in Ethiopia. Our agency has 35 children in this situation. They are currently in care and ready for forever families, but are waiting for a judge to sign a form. These 35 children do not include already waiting children, or new children coming into care. We have been told that the judge is willing to sign off on some, but MAJOR prayers are needed that ALL 35 children will be eligible for referral soon! I recently challenged friends to pray for at least 20 referrals by the end of August as I guessed that the number of those children in limbo surely couldn't be more than 20... well I was wrong! Because I have been so focused on 20 I am going to keep praying 20, but focus on the AT LEAST and pray that all 35 of these children will be placed in forever families soon.
So what is the story with these 35 little ones? Well, they were ready for referral when corruption in the area they were born became known. The papers all need to be re-signed. Truly all that is standing between these children and forever families is a signature!
Often on this adoption journey I have felt it not quite right to pray for lots of referrals because that means that something horrible had to happen in ET to a bio family. Things have changed and we need to storm heaven for referrals!!!
I recently read Jan Beazely's book "The Strength of Mercy" which is her adoption story that led to the start of All God's Children International (a pretty big adoption agency). Jan talks about the spiritual warfare they experienced with, among other things, PAPERWORK, as they were waiting for their Hannah! It got me thinking about the battle we are in. It is real. God is the Father to the Fatherless! I think of a line from Hosanna, "Break my heart for what breaks yours." I truly believe that God has a special place in His heart for the orphan. I also know that the kingdom of darkness is working very hard to tear apart care for the orphan, in America and around the world! Are we on our knees for this friends? These children are real and they LONG for a gentle mother's hug and a father's encouraging words. While many American's concern themselves with professional sports and where a player will play these children are dying; physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually! Sorry to get all gloomy, but I am just trying to convey how important our prayers are, and how important it is to support and care for orphans!
We can rejoice because our God never sleeps and never grows weary! Our God never leaves these children's side! Our God is victorious over the kingdom of darkness! Let's live like we believe it!!!!
So friends, join me in praying boldly:
-That no power of darkness would have even a fingertip on these children's paperwork in Ethiopia. Note: sometimes the power of darkness is... darkness! This country regularly has power outages which affect their ability to be as effective as they could be with power.
-That those who process paperwork would be diligent in their jobs, take joy in them, and work more efficiently than ever before. They would process the paperwork quickly with excitement knowing that forever families are being created.
-That the judges and social workers would have dreams of the children their decisions are affecting each night.
-That every child caught in the middle would be referred to families SOON, not so much for us (the not so patient parents) but for the children who need our love!
-That at least 20 infant referrals would be given by the end of August.
-That the Father to the fatherless would so loving wrap His arms around the children as they wait. That they would know somehow that we are praying, that we long to come for them.
-That those caring for the children in ET would not grow weary in their care, but would loving meet the needs of our children as well as they can.
These are just a few of the thing I have been praying. While I pray throughout the day, I also commit to praying for the paperwork and processing of it before bed each night as I know that when I go to sleep the work day is about to begin in ET (9 hours ahead of CST).
Feel free to copy/paste and print these requests so you can pray along more easily... great places to put them could be: near the toilet, next to your bed, on your mirror, in your wallet, wherever you dry/straighten your hair, next to the kitchen sink, in the car (while stopped of course) in your Bible, in your child's room if you sit in there while they are trying to fall asleep thinking I wish I had something to do etc...
I personally have faith that God can do anything! If any of you are willing to pray these bold prayers and others, please do! I know that God is faithful no matter what the outcome of these prayers. May He be glorified as we ask boldly for miracles in ET! We surrender this to you LORD!
Check out this wonderful song which I referred to in the entry!
when my finger heals! I slammed my finger in the garage door this weekend! It is gross looking and totally useless on a keyboard. I am making a list of posts so one day soon get ready for many! I must say, every time I look down at my finger I have an out of body experience... I mean I stare in disbelief... is THAT part of me???
More later... you wouldn't believe how long it took me to type the paragraph above!
I am a wife to the most amazing husband alive, a daughter, a mom to one beautiful son and one beautiful daughter, a friend,a teacher, a mentor, a cook, an encourager,and much more... BUT all this I count as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my LORD!