Friday, December 31, 2010

A garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…

Tonight when I put my son to bed he said, "I wish you and daddy were on the plane going to get them now"… I said, “Oh, me too son.” This adoption journey has truly been quite a journey for all six of us. It seems this road of international adoption really isn’t a road at all… it’s much more like a ROLLER COASTER! (and all those who have walked it before us and with us say “AMEN”!!)

You see, Clint and I were supposed to fly out today on flight # 6504 @ 11:48am to go pick up our kids, but yet another “set back” occurred. Early Wednesday morning, Kathy from CHI called. I answered the phone so excited because I was expecting her to tell us the embassy gave the “okay” for us to fly for our assigned tentative date, but very quickly tears were streaming down my face and I could hardly speak. I just couldn't believe it.... I so stunned at the news that it took me a bit to accept what she was saying to me on the phone. We were all being told that we would have to wait until the next tentative date. I ran upstairs to tell Clint that all 6 of us families were denied the “okay” to come for our appointments, and that the embassy was asking for more paperwork for every one of our files.

Even though we both knew this could happen, being the chronic optimists that we are, tickets had been bought, reservations made, and we had been counting down the days all week till we would see our kids! So as you can imagine, we were both completely stunned with disbelief at the news. It was a huge blow for both of us... we really felt crushed... so shocked we didn't get to go, so let down and overcome with sadness…. So we prayed… actually Clint prayed while I bawled like a baby.

Anyway, I had to get the dog to an appointment at the vet, so I was crying and rushing around to get out the door. I'm so thankful that our kids were still not awake yet. As I drove, I cried out before the Lord. On my way home I was such a mess that I determined that today I would thank the Lord OUT LOUD with every wave of sadness and disappointment I felt. So out of my mouth ALL morning came the spoken words, "Thank you Lord", with tears filling my eyes.. over and over… “Thank you Lord” and declaring to Him, "I trust you"… because the alternative was really not a alternative. And that’s when I noticed it, by noon it felt so powerful over my emotions each time I said THANK YOU LORD. It was as if I could feel the momentum building every time I declared it out loud. It was kind of amazing me, and actually by the time I went to bed, I was deeply impacted in my heart. I was so held in His arms... His peace was so resting on me... it was so tangible it was almost weird. I have never done that before to that extent, and I felt a bit stunned by it all as I lay in bed pondering it all after we prayed.

The Word commands us..."In EVERYTHING give thanks" and I so clearly realized that I had just experienced the reason WHY He must tell us to do something so simple, so do-able, so practical in a very tangible way. Gratitude literally lifts us... it so changes our perspective... it even changed my emotions!!! By the end of the day with the "Thank you Lord” still being spoken every time I felt sad about it…. Along with it was coming waves of thanksgiving and praise accompanied by such a feeling of safety and His presence.

There is a song I learned as a child that is based on a verse in the Bible that says, "He gives us beauty for ashes... the oil of joy for mourning... a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness… I am a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that Jesus be glorified."
It was as if the more I spoke out loud "Thank you Lord", that the actual spirit of heaviness lifted and He truly gave me a garment of praise! I was thrilled at what I had just witnessed within myself that day… it was a total “lightbulb” moment... and I've been so profoundly impacted because of Wednesday.

If I could choose all over, I know I wouldn't change it because I've just experienced something amazing, do-able, and powerful! What we speak out of our mouths is powerful over our thoughts and our emotions! Our words are seeds... they have the power of life and death... they can edify and build up...they are effective. I’m thankful that our endurance muscle has really had to grow through this adoption process, it has been so long and even painful at times, but we would do it all over again because the Holy Spirit is so faithful to teach us and grow us through it! And because our children are so worth it!!

As we close out 2010 tonight realizing that we were supposed to fly out today, I honestly feel so thankful because God has taught me a powerful lesson through this whole thing that I know it's going to affect the rest of my life. Although I’ve spoken His Word out loud before as I’ve faced trials, or a bit here and there with challenges, I’ve never THANKED HIM out loud so consistently as I did on Wednesday with so many waves of sadness hitting me… it proved mood altering and life changing! THANKS BE TO GOD WHO ALWAYS LEADS US IN TRIUMPH!!!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TENTATIVE - January 4th visa appointment date

When I opened my email today and read that statement on the memo line, I think my heart skipped a beat!! WE ARE GOING TO GET OUR KIDS!! I’m so overcome with emotion and thanksgiving to our God.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord? Who can ever praise Him enough?"
~Psalm 106:1-2

The agency said that they won’t have confirmation of our appointment until the end of next week… possibly only a day or two before we will need to travel. The email said that our case was filed at the Embassy TODAY for the next visa appointment date, so please KEEP PRAYING that every document and detail would be there, and that they will confirm this January 4th appointment so we can book our tickets!!

AND for some icing on the cake… Clint’s birthday just happens to be Jan. 2nd, which is the day they would want us to arrive in Ethiopia. Can you think of any gift more memorable than to get to travel to get our kids on Clint’s 42nd birthday?!!! It will have been 53 days since we were there…. 53 days of “absence making the heart grow fonder”… 53 days of praying and longing to hold them again when we will finally get to see their faces again… THANK YOU LORD for YOUR steadfast love and faithfulness EVERY SINGLE DAY of our lives. How could we ever praise you enough!
~ Mary

Finishing Touches on the Adoption Puzzle

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Prayer not Passivity… “keep on asking”

Matt. 7:7 Amplified says, “Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened.”

Daniel was such a good example as he consistently was faithful to pray 3 times a day. Prayer shows our dependence on God. I’ve felt challenged by the Holy Spirit that I’m to FIGHT in the place of prayer for my kids…. That I’m not to slip into passivity, but to step up in the place of being intentional in interceding for each of them…. And even praying specifically over the seemly slowed “red tape” of this whole adoption process.

I think it’s easy for me to get passive by just thinking God’s will is done WITHOUT praying…. To forget that the Word tells us that we are engaged in spiritual battle every day of our lives… that our adversary prowls about like a roaring lion, SEEKING whom he may devour….I have to remind myself that we’ve been given dominion and authority on this earth and I daily choose to step up and walk in that authority. His Word shows us continually that prayer moves the hand of God!

The past week I’ve been pondering some of what Word tells us about prayer…. I’m commanded to pray without ceasing…. To pray His Kingdom to come and HIS WILL to BE DONE…. He tells us in His Word that the effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much”…. Do I truly believe God’s Word…. Do my actions (or my daily prayer life) reflect my belief?

If you believe Matthew 18:19, please pray the following in agreement with me today… and everyday:
Father, we ask that you would thwart every attack of the enemy today concerning the details of our adoption. We rebuke every principality and power that would stand in the way of our children coming home, and we ask YOUR WILL to be done on behalf of our children TODAY!! We ask for favor with all the governmental offices that are processing our paper work, that your hand would oversee the entire process, and that YOUR NAME would be honored and glorified. We SUBMIT our lives and our children to you completely today. Thank you that Your Word says… “Submit to God, resist the devil, and he WILL FLEE.” We rebuke you devil in the Name of JESUS, you have NO authority in our lives or the lives of our children… we are bought and covered by the precious blood of Jesus! No weapon formed against us shall prosper! Surround our children with a hedge of protection and pour out your peace and presence upon their lives today. We ask and keep on asking in the Name of Jesus, AMEN!!! (So be it!!)

I John 5:14 & 15 amplified
And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have IN HIM: [we are sure] that IF WE ASK anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) WE KNOW that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that WE HAVE [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.”
~ Mary Sprague