The Journey Home

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ponderings from Ethiopia

Does wealth lead to isolation? Does poverty necessitate interdependence? I watch life happening in Addis from my room's window. I watch a wealthy woman in her courtyard ringed with razor-wire. She sits alone with her beautiful toddler boy. Her estate shares its walls with a tiny village of homes made from crinkled sheets of silver metal, scraps of cardboard, and rope. This tiny village of homes has constant activity. A woman emerges from the makeshift gate to pour her dirty dish water from a bright red bowl. A boy walks from his house across the small courtyard to the open door belonging to a man who momentarily steps out to greet the boy, tweak his nose, and send him skipping on his way. Visitors walk in uninvited to chat with a woman starting a fire for the noon-day meal. And I wonder. Does this stark contrast, this picture of abject poverty sharing walls with wealth and razor wire hold a lesson for me? How beautiful it is to watch human beings NEED each other. In my world of the wealthy, no one truly needs another, depends on someone to help them in the hard job of surviving. I watch three children in brightly colored t-shirts scamper into the small courtyard of this tiny village made inside of this city and the quiet walkers passing the gate of the wealthy and I wonder. At what cost does my wealth come?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Transforming Miracle of Marriage Page One

The Transforming Miracle of Marriage Page One

I read this just this morning and was challenged by it. I think he helps me to understand the way God looks at marriage; it rights my perspective in the day to day living of marriage. I pray it challenges and blesses you as well!

Monday, May 23, 2011

"I need Thee, Oh I need Thee...Every hour I need Thee..."

I love this old hymn because it's true.  I used to think that the Lord called us to adopt to care for the widow and orphan as He commands us to do in the book of James.  That's true, but certainly not the only reason.  He wanted to bring our family to a new place spiritually; a deeper place of trust and sweetness of relationship that we were missing.  Yesterday was Sunday.  I love Sunday.  I especially loved yesterday because I got to hear my man preach.  I'm tellin' ya.  The Lord gave me a man who is willing to listen to His voice and learn from Him; a man who is learning to walk the adventurous walk with Jesus and is willing to take his family with him.  I am blessed beyond blessed to be his partner in this crazy life.  After church we had a pitch-in to welcome our new worship minister, Jonathan Smith, and I dearly love me a good church pitch-in.  When we got home, some good friends down the road called my kids to enjoy the day working on a fort they've been building together over the past few months, and what kid doesn't want to spend the afternoon traipsing through a woods and using saws and hammers??  I took the opportunity to pick up a book I bought about parenting an internationally adopted child.  I so want to do this right.  We love this sweet little girl and want for her to know and love the Lord, to know that she is deeply and unconditionally loved by us, to know that we will care for her and care deeply about her.  We want her to have a love for who God created her to be, to love her birth family, birth country, and culture.  The weight of this tremendous responsibility caused me to search for answers in "experts" who disagree on a variety of issues, and I broke.  I cried and couldn't stop.  I needed the physical release of all of those feelings, but this morning I realized that the cause of those feelings was that I was relying on man's limited wisdom.  I need GOD's wisdom.  He created Biruk for a specific purpose.  He loves her and knows her in deep ways that even she may not know yet.  This morning, I asked Him to show us what she needs and to help us to meet those needs.  I asked for discernment as she learns and grows so that we can understand her.  We desperately need Him.  We cannot do this without Him.  We won't do this without Him.  We need Him to fill us, to fill our home, and to tune our ears to the sound of His precious and powerful voice.  "Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you."  There's nothing better we could do for our family.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ethiopia, Here We Come!

I cannot believe what I'm about to type:  We are leaving for Ethiopia to finally meet Biruk in nine, count 'em, NINE days!  Every time I think about it I get anxious and excited butterflies in my stomach.  Every night for the past week I've laid in bed thinking and wondering, planning and scheduling.  I've finally got the kids' week planned, and THANK YOU to all of the fantastic people who are helping us feel confident that they will be loved and cared for while we are gone. My thoughts have now turned to Biruk.  Thoughts fly through my mind, and just as quickly I offer a prayer up to the Lord.  He commanded me to be anxious for nothing and to pray about everything; I've taken Him up on it in a big way.  Will she be afraid to meet us?  (Oh, Lord, please fill her with Your peace and somehow prepare her little heart to meet us for the first time.)  Will I burst out crying the moment I lay eyes on her?  (Of course I will Lord; please fill me with the fruit of self-control so I don't freak her out.)  Will she want to stay close to the nannies who have so lovingly cared for her while she's been at the orphanage?  (Please, Lord, bless those who have been a blessing to Biruk, and thank you for anyone who has shown her Your great love during a most difficult time in her sweet life.)  What I know is this:  The Lord will go before us to pave the way, and come behind us to be our rear guard.  Through all of the wondering I can know that God is with us.  God is with our daughter.  His Spirit will be thick (and most welcomed) at our first meeting.  I will not fear.  I will not be anxious.  I will hang onto my Jesus and enjoy the adventure about to come.  It makes me smile to think how sweet He is.  He commands us to do things far beyond our capacity, and then blesses us with an abundance of His presence.  He will never leave us nor forsake us.  Please pray with us as we prepare to go and we'll let you know what He does as soon as we get back!  Much love to you all!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Thoughts...

Happy Mother's Day to all of you Mommies out there, and also to the women who are waiting for children but are already Mommies in their hearts.  I do pray a blessed and relaxed day over each one of you.  This morning, the Lord woke me up at 4:00 a.m. to pray for a friend.  I did pray and fell back to sleep, only to be awake again at 5:00 with the same thought:  Pray for your friend.  Now, I don't know what all of that's about, but I've learned over the years to trust the Spirit's leading and do what He tells you to do, when He tells you to do it!  After praying, I got up in my dark and very quiet house, made some coffee, got settled into my "quiet time chair" (as my children call it) with my dog, and spent some time with the Lord.  What I heard from Him was very eye-opening for me.  Before I begin, I need you to understand that I am not against holidays by any stretch of the imagination.  As a matter of fact, they give me a great excuse to cook up some food and enjoy time with friends and family.  This year, though, has been tough, and I found myself thinking this morning about Mother's Day.  What did I want to do (or NOT do!) today?  What do I hope to "get", both emotionally and physically?  Didn't I kind of deserve this day?  

I have to preface this part by telling you a little bit about yesterday and a lesson I was helping my third-born daughter to learn.  Her younger sister got a beautiful headband for her birthday, and big sis wanted to wear it.  Little sis, however, was having none of it.  "It's mine, and I just got it!"  she told us.  Third-born retorts with, "I let you use my bike yesterday, so you should let me wear you headband!!"  I sat down with her and explained that she should have allowed little sis to ride the bike out of the kindness of her heart, not expecting anything in return.  She made it sound like she was entitled to wear the headband. 

Well, this morning, the Lord helped me to see that I was doing the same thing.  I was feeling "entitled."  What I heard Him whisper to me was that I should love and serve my family out of the kindness of my heart, out of love for my Jesus and to bring Him glory, not expecting anything in return.  There is not a thing wrong with celebrating mothers.  I accepted the well-wishes of other moms at church today.  I received sweet homemade cards from my kids.  I squirmed and blushed over the praises of my handsome man.  The Lord just helped my heart to be in the right place as I did. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011


As I type this entry, I am still crying tears of gratitude.  I am overwhelmed and at a loss for adequate words.  Today, I was showered with love, support, gifts for Biruk, encouragement, hugs, kisses, and did I say LOVE?  More love than I've felt in one room maybe ever.  My family was thrown a surprise baby shower by my wonderful, one-of-a-kind, lovely, amazing friends.  These are the kinds of friends that you would call at 3 a.m. if you really needed something and not hesitate doing it.  I was kidnapped this afternoon by a former youth group member (now blessed to call 'friend') having no idea where I was going.  I was brought to a roomful of people who love us and we love just as much.  I walked into that room completely aghast at the scene in front of me; women whom I've had the privilege of pouring into over the years, women who have sacrificed time and love to pour into my family and I, family who mean the world to me, and women who have supported me by being faithful prayer warriors through many a difficult situation, not the least of which has been this adoption process.  Not only do they love me, but they made it abundantly clear that they already love Biruk Abigail (we've decided to keep her beautiful African name as her first name and the name we've loved for a long time as her middle name).  To say thank you seems so very, very small.  Gratitude wells up inside of me thinking about each one of those precious women who are such gifts from the Lord to me.  I stand amazed and grateful before such a gracious God who bestows blessing upon blessing on His kids.