Sunday, April 30, 2006

More than I Can Imagine . . More late-night thoughts!

Well, it's not exactly midnight thoughts . . .How about 11:00 p.m. thoughts? I don't have any news to report - no consulate date yet. The U.S. consulate is closed Monday - Wednesday, so I may not hear anything until late in the week. I was a bit bummed out about that Friday evening and Saturday morning (I wanted to **KNOW**, I wanted dates, I wanted to take control!) . .but God's been readjusting my attitude. I haven't been in control at all (and that's a good thing) so now's not the time to take over. God has done an amazing job so I really should let Him finish what He started!

When I wrote my thoughts at midnight a few weeks ago - I had been thinking about how God has truly done more than I can imagine in my life lately. And that's kind of been my theme for this whole chapter of my journey. I've thought about it often, and said it often. It's from Ephesians 3:20.

As I look at how this process has gone, how smooth it's been (and overall, it has been incredibly smooth - even though it's felt like a rollercoaster at times!), how God has met and continues to meet EVERY need, how my community has surrounded me with their support, love, and prayers, and how my heart has fallen in love with a little girl in Wuhan, China, all I can say is God does indeed do more than we can ask or imagine!! And the thing is, I haven't even met her yet. I "can only imagine" what more God has in store! I imagine what she'll be like. I imagine what God is going to do in her life and through her life.

Not too long ago, I mentioned to some friends that God was doing more than I could have imagined. One friend answered back, "imagine more". As I thought about that, I realized how limited our imaginations often are. We are so good at imagining the worst at times. But, it's not often we let ourselves imagine the best!! And then to think that even if we do imagine the best - God has more in store. His blessings don't always come in the packages we thought - but they came in packages that are better than we thought! It's mind boggling! And I admit, there are times I think "but I don't deserve all those blessings . ." And it's true. I don't deserve them and neither do you. But God gives them anyway. He delights to give GOOD gifts to children. And the thing is, the blessings are not meant just for us. They're meant to flow through us to those around us. God has poured His blessings out on me THROUGH YOU! And my prayer is that He will pour His blessing out on others THROUGH Me! And one day soon, He will be blessing us all through a little 3 year old girl! Have I said it's mind-boggling yet?!! I won't ever be able to grasp all He's up to - but I pray to grasp a little of that vision!

So go ahead . . take some time and imagine. Imagine the really important stuff of life. Imagine a closer relationship with God. Imagine what blessings He might want to pour through your life into those around you. If life is tough right now, imagine how it could be different. If it's ho-hum okay, imagine it's an amazing adventure. If life is GREAT right now, thank God, and then dare to imagine even more. Then remember that. .

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

TRAVEL APPROVAL / Pictures of Hannah's Room

Yes, many of you know by now that I do in fact have my travel approval. YEAH!!
So, now I wait on my U.S. consulate appointment and then I can begin making travel plans. I'll post the dates as soon as I know.

In the meantime, here's some pictures for you to enjoy. My friend and co-worker Lisa came over this weekend to paint in Hannah's room. I think she did a great job!!!! Thanks, Lisa!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Random Thoughts at Midnight!

Well, I SO should be in bed at the moment. But, I’m wide awake. (Could it be the time change? The caffeine? Or the nap I took this afternoon?) And I’ve been thinking. And when I’m wide awake and thinking, sometimes I just have to write it down. And there have been several thoughts on my heart and mind the last several days – so I thought I’d share. In a way, they’re related to my adoption. But in another way – they’re just about LIFE in general. So, for your free reading . . .

1. Faith. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). I’ve said before that this is a journey of faith for me. And it is. There are so many unknowns in an international adoption. So many opportunities to practice walking by faith and not by sight. And some days, I do that well. And some days, I don’t do so well. I look at Hannah’s picture and I want to leave right now and go get her. But sometimes, I just find myself thinking “When I show up in China, are they **really** going to let me bring her home?” But, a quote I read a long time ago in a book sort of serves as my guide on this. It said “I believe in God, more than my ability to follow Him.” I remember that God is bigger than my doubts and fears. I remember that He planted the desires within my heart. He set my foot on this journey. And He will see me through it.

But, enough about MY faith. What I’ve really been thinking about is YOUR faith. “YOU” are all those around me who have encouraged me, prayed for me, and given of yourself to help bring Hannah home. There are those among you who have financially donated to my adoption fund. There are those who have helped me with fundraisers. There are those who have totally planned and carried out fundraisers for me. There are those who donated things to the yard sales or used your talents in Discovery’s craft sale. There are those who have sent me encouraging e-mails, or called me, or offered to babysit when Hannah comes home. (Or offered your teenage children to babysit!) And mostly, you have joined me in praying for a little girl you’ve never met who lives on the other side of the world. Those are acts of faith. And YOUR faith inspires me. To know that I am so much supported by my community, to know that so many people believe in me and what I’m doing, well . . .that’s almost mind-boggling! And it inspires me in two ways. First of all, it just reinforces what I already know deep in my heart – that this journey is a God-ordained journey. And I will do all I know to be faithful to what God has called me to. I know I won’t be a “perfect parent”. Is anyone? But, with God’s help and the support you’ve all shown me, I will do the best job I can! And my daughter will be surrounded by people (MANY people) who love her and care for her. Some of you have said that Hannah is a lucky girl. Well, the truth is, **I** am the lucky one. I get to watch God fulfill the “desires of my heart”, and I get to be a part of God’s promise for a good future filled with hope for a special little girl! And I get to do that surrounded by a community that will love and support us both! Wow! The second way your faith inspires me is to do for others what you have done for me. You make me want to open my eyes to what God is doing in the lives of those around me, and then to do whatever I can to support them in living the life God has for them. Because I know, God does have a future of hope for each of you. It may not be to go to China and adopt a child (but if it is, call me! We’ll talk!). But God has something for you – and living out whatever God has planted deep in your heart will be an amazing, faith-building, grace-filled adventure. It has been for me!

Well – I had other “thoughts” to share, but that one was a bit long. So, the next time I’m up late at night, you’ll get part 2.

With a grateful heart,