Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Adoption Update: Off to Hong Kong

Wow, how this past week has flown by! I had hoped to write this blogpost sooner, but time just seemed to slip away from me.

A week ago, we received "the call"; for those of you who have ever gone through an adoption or are in the process, you know what this means. It is the time when all of the paperwork has been completed, the "red tape" has been cleared, and it is finally time to go.

My parents are leaving for Hong Kong tomorrow. There is much hustling and bustling going on over here, but it is a truly exciting time as we prepare to welcome Conner Matthew into our family.

                              Yes, that's our little man. He's slightly older now, but still so cute!

Note: Because of the adjustment period that takes place after an adoption, my blogposts will probably be more sporadic. But I will definitely work on getting a post together with pictures and updates as soon as possible. :)

For this week, we need prayer, much prayer! Here are some specific requests:
  • Preparation grace-As my parents finish all of the last-minute plans, please pray that they will have grace to remember everything and continue resting in the Lord. It is easy to get stressed out during times like these, but it is so beautiful when the Lord's grace floods our hearts and calms our anxious hearts. 
  • Traveling mercies- Their flight is 18 hours long....yes, it's very long. And as they've already gone through it once before (with Charity), they are not looking forward to the flight. It is very intense, so I hear, and therefore needs much prayer for mercy, patience, and more grace. Please also pray that they will maintain a kingdom-focus throughout this trip, allowing the Lord to use them in whatever way He desires. 
  • An immediate bond between my parents and Conner- According to the orphanage workers, Conner is sensing that something is going on and is becoming more clingy to his caretakers. Please pray that the Lord would prepare his heart to let go of the life he's always known (in the orphanage) and form an immediate attachment to my parents. This is incredibly important!
  •  Joy and unity for Ariana and I- From past experience, we know how the enemy loves to bring disunity and strife in times of tiredness, impatience, or difficulty. It is such a blessing to have Ari as a sister; she is always such a great help. Please pray that we will treat each other as better than ourselves this week and serve one another and Charity with Christ's joy. Also, for friends and family worried about Ari and I being home-alone with Charity....don't worry. Some friends have graciously offered to stay with us! :)
  • Grace for Charity- Our little sweetheart is very attached to "mommy and daddy", so it will definitely be hard for her to be separated from them for over a week. Please pray that the Lord would comfort her and give her the strength that she needs. 
Thank you so much for your prayers! They mean more to us than you know!

Have a blessed week, dear reader! Like I stated earlier, I will try to post an update as soon as possible! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

~An Undivided Heart

"Lord, put in me a new spirit
Remove my heart of stone
And give to me a heart of flesh
That trusts in You alone.
Oh, that I may fear Your name
Each day right from the start,
Oh Lord, please give to me
An undivided heart.

I want a gaze that never wavers
or loses sight of the goal,
To keep its focus on obeying You
With mind and body and soul.
Help me to walk in submission to Christ,
In whole and not in part.
Oh Lord, please give to me
An undivided heart.

I want Your joy to be my greatest strength
Your salvation my impassioned praise,
Your holiness to be my way of living
For all the rest of my days.
Keep me steadfast in doing Your work
And following the course that You chart.
Oh Lord, please give to me
An undivided heart.

Teach me to daily die to self
And to spend much time in prayer,
That I may be discerning of those around me
And treat them with genuine care.
I want to be totally true to You,
To wear Your righteousness as my mark.
Oh Lord, please give to me
An undivided heart.

I want to live the time You've given me,
Committed fully to Your purpose and call.
Lord, consume me with Your awesome presence,
Cause me on my knees to fall
And bow to Your desire for my life
Let no circumstance keep us apart.
Oh Lord, please give to me
An undivided heart."

~Crystal Godfrey

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Be Strong and Courageous

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Every now and then, I pick up Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotional and reflect on the wise words found inside. I haven't read from it in quite a while, but yesterday I noticed the book on our bookshelf and flipped it open to May 11th's evening read.

"Only be thou strong and very courageous." -Joshua 1:7

"Our God's tender love for His servants makes Him concerned for the state of their inward feelings. He desires them to be of good courage. Some esteem it a small thing for a believer to be vexed with doubts and fears, but God does not think so. From this text it is plain that our Master would not have us entangled with cowardice. Our Master does not think so lightly of our unbelief as we do. When we are desponding we are subject to a grievous malady, not to be trifled with, but to be carried at once to the beloved Physician. Our Lord does not love to see our countenance sad. It was a law of Ahasuerus that no one should come into the king's court dressed in mourning; this is not the law of the King of kings, for we may come mourning as we are; but still He would have us put off the spirit of heaviness and put on the garment of praise, for there is much reason to rejoice. The Christian man ought to be of a courageous spirit, in order that he may glorify the Lord by enduring trials in an heroic manner. if he be fearful and fainthearted, it will dishonor his God. Besides, what a bad example it is. This disease of doubtfulness and discouragement is an epidemic that soon spreads among the Lord's flock. One downcast believer makes twenty souls sad. Moreover, unless your courage is kept up Satan will be too much for you. Let your spirit be joyful in God your Savior, the joy of the Lord shall be your strength, and no fiend of hell shall make headway against you: but cowardice throws down the banner. Moreover, labor is light to a man of cheerful spirit; and success waits upon cheerfulness. The man who toils, rejoicing in his God, believing with all his heart, has success guaranteed. He who sows in hope shall reap in joy; therefore, dear reader, "be thou strong, and very courageous."

Oh, how challenging this is! How many times have I been overcome with worry, fear, or grief? How many times have I dwelt on those emotions, allowing them to effect the way I live instead of giving them over to my Savior? And oh, how it must grieve His heart when we give in to unbelief in this way.

"But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me."
~Micah 7:7-8

What hope we have in Christ! May we ever keep our eyes on Him, for when we do, how can worry or grief remain? Our merciful Father holds us in the palm of His hand; what do we have to fear?

"O let my trembling soul be still.
And wait Thy wise, Thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see,
Yet all is well since ruled by Thee!"
~Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Falling in Love...

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Tis' true. I am falling in love...

No my friends, it is not an earthly love that I speak of, but a Heavenly one.

My Love is Jesus Christ and He is altogether beautiful, altogether sufficient for me! His grace carries me through days of weariness, confusion, and sorrow. His love is more faithful than the morning!

Oh, it has been a confusing, difficult past couple weeks, but my Beloved is leading me once again to His arms, holding me ever so close to His heart.

Tonight, I am overwhelmed by His love for me...and I just had to let it out by writing. :)

Isn't He incredible, my friend? Doesn't His endless grace amaze your soul? Again I am reminded (why do I ever forget?) that my Beloved is outstanding among ten thousand, my All in All, the greatest Treasure in all the world! Oh, to love Him more, to follow Him wherever He might lead! How could obedience be a sacrifice when His love for us is so great?!

Yes, I am rambling....but oh, I don't care. He is altogether lovely and my soul is overtaken with its Husband. Thank you for bearing with my randomness.  :)

I stumbled across this song tonight and had to share it with you. It is such a simple song, yet beautifully puts to words the swelling joy of my heart. As you watch this video, look at the beauty of the creation that your Beloved has made! Look at what He has created for you to enjoy! Gaze at the cross of Christ and be overwhelmed by His great love for you; look at His nail-scarred hands outstretched to you, desiring you.

Reflect on your Beloved tonight, my friend....and fall in love with Him!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Joyful Obedience


Ah, yes...joyful obedience. That is the title of this post, but it is this very attitude that I've been struggling to give the Lord recently.

Can anyone out there relate?

Oh, it's a struggle, such a struggle! So many times, I know the Lord is calling me to do something. But, what do I do? I sit there, grumbling and arguing with my conscience, trying to think of some excuse that would be reasonable enough to disobey my Lord. (Is disobedience ever reasonable or excusable?)

Now, it's not that I never want to obey the Lord. The cry and passion of my heart is to obey Him. And yet, I still see so many little areas in my life where I exemplify grumbling or foot-dragging obedience. I remind myself of a toddler so often; arguing and fighting when my Father asks something of me, instead of immediately obeying with a joyful attitude.

But then, I am reminded of verses like Philippians 2:5-11...

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Christ, our Ultimate Example. The Lord Himself was obedient to His Father and joyfully submitted Himself to His will. Did Christ complain when the soldiers mercilessly flogged Him to a pulp? Was He seeking a way of escape when they threw His open body upon a cross, nailed His wrists to the planks of wood, and He bore the wrath of Almighty God? How many times did Jesus argue with His Heavenly Father before He gave into submission? Not once.

What was our Lord's prayer in the garden? "Not my will, but Yours be done."

Open hands. A willing heart. Surrender to the will of God.

I need these attitudes, long for them, am praying for them. But oh, it is so hard. That struggle with the flesh is so continual, so tiring at times. It is during these times of struggling that I need to remember to rest, in Him and in His Word.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Praise the Lord that He has gone ahead of us and has paid our way, won the ultimate victory, and given us an example to follow. "Consider Him....so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Let us consider Him, my friends, as we run this race together. We do not run it alone, for the Lord is the One who gives us the strength to press on. May we rest in Him, knowing that He is faithful and is continually sanctifying us ever more into His precious image. Oh, I pray that we would have open hands and a joyful heart, ready to serve and obey our great God in whatever He might be calling us to.

And may He give us the grace to say, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38)