Thursday, June 28, 2012

Looking Unto Jesus

"Looking unto Jesus." -Hebrews 12:2
It is ever the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan's work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that "Christ is all in all." Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee--it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee--it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument--it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking unto Jesus." Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.

 "My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name."
~Charles Spurgeon
Morning and Evening Devotional, June 28

This reading encouraged me so much this morning! This is what I am learning and struggling through right now....learning to trust Christ, not based on my experience or feelings, but on His faithfulness and unchanging Word. May you be encouraged to take your eyes off of yourself and your inabilities and look to your Savior today.

And remember, the battle that you fight against the flesh is not your battle, but the Lord's. Only He can give you the strength you need; you are powerless against the enemy, so cling to Him and find rest for your soul.

"For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
~2 Chronicles 20:12b

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Our Precious Gifts~ Pictures of the Kiddos

Over the past couple weeks, Ariana has taken the kiddos out on several occasions to capture some pictures of the two of them. They turned out really cute! I hope you enjoy them....

 Oh, he sure loves bubbles!!! :)

 That smile just melts my heart!

 Even though Charity's one year older than Conner, they're the same height and it seems that he is more intelligent in his basic comprehension. And yet, she can talk, whereas he can't yet. As they grow up together, it'll be interesting to see who takes on the "older sibling" role.

Conner's already really protective of Charity and will help, comfort, and even scold her at times, when he knows that she's doing something that she shouldn't. But, she does the same thing to him as well. This morning, Ari was playing with Conner and Charity in their room. They were both looking at books, when Ari called them over to her, to play a game. Charity obeyed, but Conner didn't. Charity knew right away that he was being disobedient. So, she took on a deeper voice and said in a grown-up way, "Conner Matthew, come here!" He listened. :)

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers (or brothers and sisters) to dwell together in unity!"
Psalm 133:1



Our little lady.

Our little man.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bringing Conner Home...Pictures!

Hello everyone! I'm sorry for not getting this post up sooner! It's been a busy 2 1/2 weeks since we brought Conner home! Wow, has it really only been 2 1/2 weeks? It feels like he's been a part of our family for months! The Lord has blessed us beyond measure with this precious boy and is answering much prayer by providing us with a smooth transition. Also, Conner and Charity have such a darling relationship. They are SO cute together! :)

All of these pictures were graciously taken by my amazing friend, Keilah Engstrom of Vanilla Bean Photography. If you click on the link, you'll be directed to her site, where you can peruse through her incredible pictures! :) 

In a few days, I'm hoping to post some pictures of the past couple weeks that he's been home. Ari has taken some super cute pictures, so I'm excited to share them with you all! Hope you're having a wonderful week!)

For those of you who've been waiting are the pictures from the airport.  Enjoy!

  Waiting at the airport for the crew to arrive. :)

 Meeting him for the first time was incredible. It all seemed so dreamy. Poor Conner was SO tired that day. A new time zone, long plane flight, and adjustment to everything really wore him out.

 Charity was so excited to see Conner. The orphanage that he came from sent us a video of him, so that we could "see" him before we met him in person. Charity loved that video and everyday, she would ask, "See Conner video?" When she was actually able to hug him, her face lit up like a light bulb! It was so good to see!

 He definitely gives the most amazing hugs. :)

 Conner was really interested in Keilah's camera. She was very gracious and helped him take a picture. The above picture is the one he took. Pretty cute, huh?!

 What started as a family of 4, 2 1/2 years ago, the Lord has expanded to a family of 6. We are so blessed!

 Sigh..I love this picture so much! :)

 Doesn't he have such a cute smile?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Adoption Update: Conner is home!

Photo Credit: Keilah Engstrom of Vanilla Bean Photography
 "My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name." Luke 1:46b-47,49

Yes, Conner Matthew is home! Praise the Lord!

Thank you to all of you who sought the Father on our behalf during this adoption journey, and especially the past 10 days of travel.

The Lord has answered many prayer requests. There is an incredible bond between Conner and my parents, especially between him and my dad. It is so sweet to see my dad interacting with his first son. :) The flights, both there and back, were smooth and reached their destinations safely. Charity, Ari, and I had a wonderful time together, while our parents were gone. Yes, there were times of quarrels and impatience, but the Lord continually brought us to repentance and love for each other.

Yesterday, I met my little brother for the first time. And oh, he is so precious! He is all-boy, and continually causes us to laugh at the differences between him and Charity's all-girl personality. They are so cute together and are pretty inseparable! Charity absolutely adores him and cannot stop smiling at his every move.

Conner is adjusting very well for it being his second day home. The only struggles he has right now are adjusting to the time difference and feeling confused with his surroundings at times. Last night, he would not fall asleep unless he was held by my mom. We are all a little sleep-deprived over here, but we are definitely making up for it. It seems like the past day has been made up of eating and sleeping. :) We are definitely looking forward to getting back into a schedule.

Please continue praying for Conner's adjustment to our family. We're not sure how long it will take him to adjust to a 15 hour difference in time, but please pray that it will be soon. It is very taxing to have a little man who sleeps during the day and wants to be awake at night. :) But God is faithful, and He will give us the strength we need!

The pictures displayed here were taken by my dear friend, Keilah Engstrom of Vanilla Bean Photography. (To go to her website, click on the link underneath the pictures. She is an incredibly talented photographer!) Her and her mom graciously drove us to the airport to pick up our parents and Keilah took pictures of our first meeting. I will be posting more of those pictures soon.

It is amazing to think that our second adoption process has ended.....and yet, it is really only the beginning of a lifetime to be spent with this precious little man! Praise the Lord for His goodness!

Photo Credit: Keilah Engstrom of Vanilla Bean Photography