Monday, April 30, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 30!

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no commandment greater than these.
~Mark 12:30-31

It is day 30 of our journey of praying for our adoption!

Colin and I committed to focusing our prayers on our adoption for the month of April. We have been called to turn in our application May 1st.


Can I get a hallelujah?!

Since making a decision to adopt from Ethiopia back in August 2011 (the day Colin said, "It is time!"), we have been busy researching, spreading the news, fundraising, and saving.

Nine months later, we are going to be turning in our official application and beginning our paperwork process, God willing!

It has been such a blessing taking a month to pray for people who have been or will be involved in our adoption, pray for concerns we have, pray for orphans, pray for the birthparents, and today, especially, pray for our children!

We know we have two precious children that will be taking their first breaths in Ethiopia. We don't know who their birthparents will be or what their circumstances will be. But, we love them already.

So. Much.

We want to pray so hard that their time in Ethiopia is safe.
That they are loved.
That they are healthy.
That they are fed.
That they are clothed.
That they are held.
That the eyes looking back at them make them feel cherished, protected.

We are beginning our adventure toward you, babies. Mommy and daddy love you and cannot wait to love on you.

May the praying continue!

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for our 30-day prayer journey. We have learned so much about you and your plan for us. Please watch over our adoption. Please watch over our children's birthparents. Please watch over our children. Please. I pray they all know they are loved by an Almighty God. I pray they all know they are loved by us. We love YOU so much, Lord. Thank you! Amen.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 29

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
~Jeremiah 29:11

I was brought to tears when I saw this video of Michaela DePrince, dancing ballet on Dancing with the Stars. Michaela was adopted from Africa at age 4 after her father was killed and her mother starved to death.

"I thought it was a dream, it took me forever to realize that this wasn't a dream that I was actually being accepted by someone." ~Michaela

Her adoptive parents said they knew she had a gift to dance at a young age. She is now 17 and a leading world class ballerina!
"No matter where you come from, or what you've been through, having a loving family, and support is all you need to achieve your goals."   ~Michaela

Please watch her beautiful story and dancing!

We want to pray big things for our children today. We are praying that they will be little world changers like Michaela. This could look like so many different things!

We pray they are given hope. We pray they are graced with an inspired future.

If in our growing family we can inspire one person, encourage one person, give to one person, etc., our prayers will be answered.

Prayer: Jesus, shower your blessings upon Michaela and all children who are orphans no more! Find homes for all the children who are still lonely without families. Give them all hope and a future. We pray big things for our family. Big things for our children. That we all may become ordinary heroes.

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.
~Romans 8:28

This verse reminds me of the song "Our God" by Christ Tomlin:

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?

Don't you just love those lyrics?

And since you know by now that it is typical of me to get all 'lyric-y', I am just loving the song "Your Great Name" by Natalie Grant:

Lost are saved; find their way; at the sound of Your Great Name
All condemned; feel no shame; at the sound of Your Great Name
Every fear; has no place; at the sound of Your Great Name
The enemy; he has to leave; at the sound of Your Great Name
All the weak; find their strength; at the sound of Your Great Name
Hungry souls; receive grace; at the sound of Your Great Name
The fatherless; they find their rest; at the sound of Your Great Name
Sick are healed, and the dead are raised. At the sound of Your Great Name

We want to pray today that we would not get discouraged during our adoption. We will (and have) encounter people 'against us'.

*People who don't understand why we are adopting from Ethiopia rather than locally in the U.S.
~God told us that is where two of our children are! 5 million orphans (in Ethiopia alone) minus 2!
*People who think it is a bad idea to adopt two children at once.
~We want to provide a home for siblings. We pray they can find comfort in having each other, a familiar bond, bound by blood. And again, God is calling us to do this!
*People obsessed over how much adoption costs and are sure there is a cheaper way--and a way that takes far less time.
~Nope, sorry, there is not. At least, not legally! Because there will be so many people involved in our adoption--social workers, our agency, U.S. government, Ethiopia government, the 'special mothers' at Hannah's Hope in Ethiopia, etc., it must be so. Everyone is working together to ensure that we will provide a healthy, loving home for our children. That we will be able to provide for them. That the children are being cared for in Ethiopia while they wait for a family.

While I try not to let others' opinions get me down, they do rattle me sometimes. But, I do understand that most people are uneducated on adoption, especially on international adoption. So, we are working on being able to provide that information when asked. We know the questions will only grow when we have our children home. Praying God gives us words to speak.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for calling us to adopt sibling from Ethiopia! When people ask questions about our adoption, Lord, please give us your words to speak to them. When we feel the enemy's presence, Lord, let us speak Your Great Name and know that the enemy will flee. Encourage us. We know that all things work together for your good! Help us to give honor to Your Name and to give all glory to You!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 27

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
~Psalm 27:13-14

It is joyful, seeing the goodness of the Lord coming to fruition through our adoption.

Sometimes joy and goodness are seen easily, but sometimes they are difficult to see.

Sometimes, we must choose to see.

God gives us the sustaining power of faith--He is with us not only after our trials but during our trials as well.

He is the thunder that shakes us.
He is the rain that washes us.
He is the wind that moves us.
He is the sun that warms us.
He is the Light that powers us.

We are praying to choose to see through the lightning, the mists, and the sunbeams.

We wait at his window with expectancy of good things!

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your goodness. Thank you for giving us your vision. Give us strength. Give us patience. Sustain us with neverending faith!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 26

She said to him, "Pardon me, my lord.
As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord.
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him."
~1Samuel 1:26-27

Two very exciting things are happening over the next several days:

1) The guys from Colin's church men's group are throwing us a garage sale! Friday through Sunday. We are so thrilled and humbled! We will be there Friday and Saturday, but Colin works Sunday, and I am playing harp for a memorial service that afternoon. My family has donated some items for our sale as well, and we are so grateful for that! We will also be bringing some jewelry, including our new Ugandan paper bead jewelry! So. Excited.

2) We have been eagerly filling out our adoption application through All God's Children. I have been waiting so hard for this big first step. Now that it is here, I want to dive in head first and get on that waiting list! May 1st is THE DAY. The day we will mail in our application, and God willing, begin our adoption process!

We have been praying so hard ever since we felt God calling us to adopt from Ethiopia. And, the small seed planted months and months and years ago is finally budding!

We feel your prayers, too!

Please pray along with us for our garage sale and the completion of our application!

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for calling us to adopt! Our faith has grown so much over the last several months. Please bless our garage sale fundraiser this weekend. May your will be done. Help us to complete our application properly. We praise You for growing our faith, and for growing our family!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 25

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God.
~Romans 8:25-27

These verses are so comforting.

In times that we do not know how to pray for what is on our minds, the Spirit intercedes. God knows our hearts always. The Spirit helps us in our weakness!

Prayer: Jesus, search our hearts, search our minds. When we cannot talk, speak for us. When we do not know what we ought to pray for, intercede according to your good and perfect will. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 24

And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
~Luke 24:53

Last night during dinner, Colin looked at me and said, "You know what? We are really blessed. We have a home. We have clothing. We have plenty of food. We have family and friends that love us."

It is a beautiful thing when we can turn a negative into a positive. A mess into a creation.

Beautiful Things by Gungor
All this pain..
I wonder if I'll ever find my way.
I wonder if my life could really change, at all.
All this earth..
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come up from this ground, at all?

You make beautiful things,
You make beautiful things out of dust.
You make beautiful things,
You make beautiful things out of us.

All around,
Hope is springing up from this old ground.
Out of chaos, life is being found in You.

You make me new,
You are making me new.
You make me new,
You are making me new.

We are so grateful for so many people, so many opportunities, so much love. Above all, we are thankful for God. He has blessed us with so much.

He is blessing us with a family....a FAMILY!

We will feel lost along the way. We will experience pain. We will experience chaos.

But, God is creating a garden out of our dust. WOW.

What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you from the depths of our souls for all the blessings you have bestowed upon us. We are mightily grateful for your infinite love and your sunrise of hope. You are amazing, our redeemer, wonderful counselor, our rock, and trillions of words more. Let us never stop praising You! You are good, all the time. All the time, You are good!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
~Psalm 23

I read an adoptive mama's blog post over the past couple of weeks that spoke of a common thread among Christian families beginning their adoption process.

It seems that frequently, families will have a sort of financial crisis--unexpected bills, vehicle maintenance, loss of a job, home repairs, medical expenses, etc.

Today, we are joining together in prayer for us to fear no evil. To find comfort in God.

Because unfortunately, we have experienced this exact scenario.

Praise God, it is with my job, not Colin's. I am a music therapist--I will not go into detail, but my main contract agency has been rapidly cutting many of my clients due to budget and 'restructuring the company'. While I am praying they will not get rid of my position completely, I do not know when I will be able to receive any new referrals from them.  

I am uncertain as to how I will proceed. I am currently considering options and praying, praying, praying. If you would, please pray God would give me guidance.

One thing is for certain: this attack is NOT stopping us from proceeding with our adoption! No way.

Prayer: Jesus, please put a shield of protection over Colin and me through our adoption. Let us find comfort in your embrace, and let us give our worries to You. You called us to this adoption--it is your plan, and You will provide a way. Lead us to your cross, where You pour out your love in abundance. Guide us through our adoption, and help us to glorify You through it!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 22

Let us draw near to God
with a sincere heart
in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience
and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
for he who promised is faithful.
~Hebrews 9:22-23

Four conditions are given for drawing "near to God":
1- a sincere heart
2- full assurance of faith
3- hearts sprinkled from a guilty conscience
4- bodies washed with pure water

I want to focus my prayers on the second condition today--full assurance of faith.

Faith is built on confidence and trust without evidence.

Oh, faith is difficult!

Especially when we have been hurt in life. Damaged from wanting something so bad and not getting it when we wanted it. Bruised from not knowing God's plan for us. Pained by infertility.

But God is leading us with cords of kindness and ties of love! (Hosea 11:4)

Our plan was not His plan. We are clinging to faith in our beautiful God on His beautiful journey!

Our God is a faithful God!

Prayer: Jesus, help us to hold unswervingly to hope in You and your promises. Give us full assurance of faith. Let us believe even when we cannot see. We do not deserve your faithfulness, and yet you pour it upon as anyway. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear, and a faith so strong!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 21

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
~Matthew 21:22

Today, we want to focus our prayer onto our application!

We are praying that May 1st, God willing, is the day we can send in our official application to All God's Children International.

November 7th of last year, we sent in our pre-application.

We feel soooooo ready to begin our adoption process! We are praying that it is God's timing.

We have our application and are ready to fill it out!

Part of our prayer today and the rest of the month is that we will receive a letter from Colin's neurologist stating that he is healthy and that his spinal tumor surgery (which was removed in 2007 and non-cancerous, praise God) will have no effect on his quality of life or life span.

This letter is needed before we can be approved.

We have requested this letter once before and never received it. Colin called the secretary's office again, and his doctor is on vacation until early next week. We are praying we get the letter by the end of next week!

Please pray with us.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your direction in the timing of our adoption. We are trusting in your promise that if we ask something of You in prayer according your will, we will receive. Please Lord, please intercede with Colin's neurologist, and have the letter to us next week. Help us to fill out our application properly, and with your guidance. Please allow us to send in our application May 1st. Please.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 20

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

I don't think we will ever fully grasp on Earth, God's power and love.

But, we see glimpses of it in all that He created.
All that He is orchestrating.
All the love He has poured out.

If He is able to do immeasurably more than ALL that we ask.......
More than ALL we could ever imagine.........

Why aren't we asking?
Why aren't we imagining?

Prayer: Jesus, I pray that you may strengthen us out of your glorious riches. Dwell in our hearts. Give us faith. Help us to become rooted and established in love. Help us to grasp how wide and long and high and deep your love is! Thank you for giving us imaginations! Help us to use them for your purpose. Help us to ask big things of You. Help us to dream big things for your people. Help us to trust that your powerful hands are ALL over our adoption.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 19

And my God will meet all your needs
according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 4:19

I am just adoring this verse.

The Bible, the Word God gave to us, says that He will meet all of our needs.

A few? Some? Most?


We want to pray today that we will come to God for our needs to be met. We don't want to rely on earthly pleasures or distractions to fulfill our needs. They are fleeting. They are no comparison to the great Love and Resource our Creator is.

I heard on the radio today, for the K-Love pledge drive, that if it is God's will for you to give, it is His debt. He will make it happen for you. Financially. Mentally. Emotionally. He will provide.

He is a pretty cool God.

Prayer: Jesus, teach us to run into your arms to be comforted. When we have a need, lead us to call on your name. Let us rest in your presence and promises. Thank for for continually paying the debt for your call on our lives. We are so grateful. So humbled that we are allowed to serve such a huge God.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 18

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened
in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you,
the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.
~Ephesians 1:18

God has called everyone to help the less fortunate. We are called to show others that their life matters, that they have worth.

We often get caught up in our "needs" and what we "think" we need to make our lives worthwhile. What we forget is that Jesus came to free us from those selfish desires. Jesus instructed us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

What we need to remember is that we are called to always continue caring for each other. When we bring our children home, we need to continue praying for and advocating for the poor, the sick, and the heartbroken. It does not end with one act of love and compassion.

We are praying that the Lord opens our eyes and ears to those in need all across the world. From Africa to China to our workplaces in Wisconsin. At church, at the grocery store, and on every street corner.

"So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a Christian. I can do only what one woman can do, but I will do what I can. Daily, the Jesus who wrecked my life enables me to do so much more than I ever thought possible."
~Katie Davis

Prayer: Jesus, open our eyes and hearts to your people in need. We want to serve you. Break our hearts for what breaks yours.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 17

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
He delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~Psalm 34:17-18

We are praying today to give all of our worries up to God.

It is easy to find ourselves in worry about money, an unknown future, parenting, others' thoughts and perceptions, etc. Sometimes we let these things overwhelm us, and we forget why we are going through them. A greater purpose. A greater calling.

But, we know that God hears us when we cry out in uncertainty. He hears us when we are hurting.

And, we know that God does give us more than we can handle--so that we can rely on Him, cry out to Him, and believe in Him to conquer our struggles.

Prayer: Jesus, remind us daily that You are watching over us and have planned out the days of our lives. Thank you for hearing us in our weakness, and for coming to our rescue. May we remember that You have overcome and that our struggles are in Your hands.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 16

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.
Psalm 16:7, 11

We are in need of Holy guidance!

We will be needing it throughout our entire adoption...and lives!...but today we are specifically praying to be led in our choosing the age limits for our adoption.

We are really feeling led towards siblings! Hallelujah! Twice the joy. :)

We know we would love to have an infant girl, but we are uncertain as to the age range we are going to choose for the sibling. (Twins? Under 4? No limits?)

How does one choose?

I am sure this is something we will be able to discuss with a social worker of All God's Children. And, we know God has already chosen our children for us! We need to focus our prayer on this subject, so we can hear Him over 'our' thoughts on it.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your guidance and the wisdom of your word. Please counsel us through all of our adoption. Direct our decisions. Make your path known to us. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 15

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,
but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
~Joshua 24:15

Recently, Colin chose this verse as his life verse. He wants to always strive towards serving the Lord to the best of his ability.

Along with his personal relationship and as part of his serving, he wants to work towards leading me and our Ethiopian babies in our walks with God as well.

Today, we are praying that through prayer, learning, and worship, Colin can:

follow the lead of God
lead us with strong hands
stand up when we can't
fill us with love
show us the love of God
be everything he is called to be

*words derived from Lead Me by Sanctus Real*

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for a husband that has a desire to take up his cross and follow You daily. Please fill him with knowledge and strength to lead me in my journey, and to pray for and lead our children in theirs. Show us how You would like us as a family to serve You.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 14

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
~Psalm 27:14

A happy weekend to you!

Today, we are praying for patience through our waiting.

I have never been a patient person. I love to plan, love to know what is going to happen before it does, and if not, anxiety can fill my heart. I am a 'feeler' rather than a 'thinker' at most times. Colin is definitely more level than me. :) Opposites do attract.

While I feel my strong instincts are a privilege to guide my decisions, ultimately, I know 'my' plans are not better than God's. I don't want to worry about tomorrow--tomorrow will worry about itself, right?

We steal if we touch tomorrow. It is God's. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Yes, patience is a virtue. A healthy mix of trust, hope, faith, and patience is what I pray for.

This adoption journey will require patience. 2-3 years of patience in waiting. It is going to be difficult not knowing--who our children will be, how old they will be, or if they will be boy/s and/or girl/s. We will not know when the referral will happen! We will be on a descending waiting list...until we get the call. The one that will make every waiting second worth the patience we put into it.

And then, after two visits to and from Ethiopia over several months....we bring them home.

And, more patience will be needed.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for a voyage that requires us to learn patience before becoming parents! We want to give our adoption up to You. We want to turn worry and anxiety into trust and faith. Give us hope and patience. Help us to rest in knowledge that Your timing and Your plan is PERFECTLY fit for us. Help us to be strong through Your mighty strength.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 13

A new command I give you:
Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.
~John 13:34-35

**I had jury duty this morning. Was not picked for the jury, though. Was not even questioned! Go figure--the wife of a police officer--who just so happens to be a co-worker of two key witnesses in the trial! Happy me. I got to leave after an hour and a half and spend the day at home. On to your regularly scheduled programming. If you are a new reader, or missed the memo, I am taking the 30 days of April to intentionally pray for a specific part of our adoption. It is helping me to focus on our Creator and trust in Him always!**

Jesus doesn't just ask that we love one another, He demands it.

I don't just want to love others, I want to love them well. Intentionally. Always.

There are so many facets of a well-turned kaleidoscope. Endless painted pictures that sparkle in the Light. Colors of every shade--mingling, hugging tightly.

The silhouette of love can shade us when fears or tensions rise. It can wrap us in grace. In Truth.

My blog is titled With Love For Africa, and I suppose someday I must compose a post about why I have so much LOVE for Africa! Soon.

And, this LOVE we feel towards our children that likely have not even been born yet is incredible. Difficult to shape into words. Knowing that we cannot know when their souls are created is enough to spin our minds. But we loved them yesterday, we love them today, and we will love them tomorrow!

God has the ultimate plan for us. He LOVES us, and we are striving to LOVE Him and His people with all our might. We try to give our best love to each other, family, friends, you, strangers, near, far. We struggle. We fall short. We find grace. God picks us up, shows US love, and inspires us to love back, harder, mightier than before.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the ultimate love you displayed to the world, by joining us on earth, serving, teaching, caring, sacrificing, dying on the cross, rising in three days, and living in Spirit within us today. You love us so deeply--we will never know the extent of it during our days on earth. Perhaps it will be unveiled when we join You in Heaven. We enjoy the mystery of the magnitude of your love. It is always. It is forever. Help us to love You with all of our being! Help us to spread your love to others, never witholding it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 12

A wife of noble character is her husband's crown.
~Proverbs 12:4

I wonder if Colin will be excited for today's prayer focus!

Today, I am praying that God would shape me into a wife of noble character.

He has got a lot of work to do!

I pray that He would mold me, as if I was clay in His hands. A wife of noble character is described in Proverbs 31:

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 
 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

I hope I can become more and more like this wife of noble character every day, every month, every year.

For my husband. For God.

I hope I will soon become a momma of noble character!

Prayer: Jesus, put me under construction! Sculpt me into a woman of noble character as described in Your Word. Help me to grow daily into the perfect pattern You chose specifically for me. Help me to bless my husband by serving him, loving him, speaking with wisdom, trusting in him, and honoring him.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 11

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.
~Proverbs 11:25

Today, we want to say an extra helping of prayer for those who have blessed and helped us!

YOU, my faithful readers
Those who have donated
Those who have purchased jewelry from our Etsy shop or coffee
Those who have prayed
Those who have encouraged us
Those who have written loving comments on our posts
Those who have embraced our decision to adopt from Ethiopia

Oh my, we pray for you, too!

We want to pray that God blesses you and helps you! If you have a specific prayer request today, or anytime, please do let us know. We would be excited to pray intentionally for you.

We have two fundraiser events we are looking forward to that dear friends are putting on for us--how amazing is that?!? The owner of Mama Z's is having a brat fry for us on Memorial Day weekend. Wow! We are thrilled! AND, Colin's church men's group is throwing us a 3-day garage sale at the end of this month!

We are so humbled that so many individuals are thinking of us and sacrificing for our adoption. I mention these blessings not to brag, but to show how faithful God is. 

We can't wait to share with our children someday, the multitude of people that helped them get to us.

We appreciate the prayers, blessings, and kind words. We appreciate YOU.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you so much for filling us with faith and hope. Thank you for sending us friends all across the world that want to help us become parents, and give little ones a home. We feel so blessed from Yours and their love. Please shower blessings upon them! Give them the desires of their hearts according to Your good and perfect will for them. Help us to bless them! Thank You, Lord Jesus, thank You.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 10

If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
 and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
~Isaiah 58:10

With a heavy heart, we are praying for the birthparents of the children we will be adopting.

I think often of the parents.

How old are they?
What are they doing at this moment?
Are they a couple? Are they strangers today?
Is one of our children already born? Is the birthmother with child?
Are there siblings?
How are they living? Are their needs being met?
Do they know God loves them dearly?
Do they know they will forever be in our hearts?
Do they know the precious gift they will be giving us?
Do they know we pray for them?
Do they know?

It is likely we will never meet our children's birthparents. I have heard of some special cases in which the adoptive parents did meet the birthfamily. I pray that if we would ever get this beautiful chance, God would give us the words to say. Because I will probably be a nervous, weeping fool.

It is a love unexplainable, how I feel towards the children God will be entrusting to us, and the birthparents who will be making the decision to give their children someting they could not. God is arranging a precious sacrifice.

Oh, what a sacrifice.

My heart aches.

Prayer: Jesus, we pray for the birthparents of the children we will be adopting. We pray they know You. We pray they know they are loved. We pray they know there is purpose in living in Your light. We pray they know we already care so deeply about them. We pray they have shelter, clothing, good health, food, and water. We pray that their light will rise in the darkness, and their night will become like the noonday.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 9

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: "They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever."
~2 Corinthians 9:6-9

What stands out most for me in this passage is that God loves a cheerful giver.

I want to focus on intentionally having a cheerful heart while giving to others. I believe it is not just the gift that changes lives and touches souls, but the heart behind the gift. The joy behind the giving.

Giving of gifts.
Giving of my heart.
Giving of my time.
Giving of my talents.
Giving of forgiveness.
Giving of love.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the blessings You have gifted us with! Help us to share our gifts, heart, time, talents, forgiveness, and love with others. Help us to give with a joyful heart! Let us have compassion towards others--by trying to feel what they feel. Help us to bless people with the riches you have lavished upon us--both inside our souls and outside.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 7 and 8

Happy Easter everyone!

Today, we are praying with and for past and present orphans with The Orphans' Easter Prayer. It was written in an e-mail we received from All God's Children, our adoption agency.

Dear Lord,
Thank You, our Father on this Easter Day
For the love that you shared, the gift that you gave.
We really don’t know what we would have done,
If you hadn’t planned Easter and sent us “Your Son.”
In the fields of despair we all would have stayed,
Lost and alone…and, oh so afraid.
Helpless and hungry, begging for bread,
Longing for love, so weak and distressed.
Thank you for hearing each “orphan prayer” said,
For the promises you whispered, the hope that you sent.
On this Easter morning we rejoice and we pray,
For the families you sent us, and the ones on their way.
For those who give care and bestow gifts of love,
For others who come to help and share hugs!
Our Father in Heaven we ask in your name,
Please watch over the orphans needing help and who wait.
Please fill up their hearts with Your Hope and Your Strength,
Bless all your orphaned children on This Holy Easter Day.
Rejoicing Together This Day!
With Love,
Your Children...
...who are orphan’s no more!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 6

Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the Lord's people.
~Ephesians 6:18

Greetings on Good Friday!

If you read the lyrics below of While We Sing by Leeland, and watch the live video, you will know what we are praying for today. Continual prayer. Alert to others near and far. We want to rise and SHINE. We want to stop sleeping in an empty tomb.

As we remember Jesus rising from His tomb, let us, too, come to life with His light, as a city on a hill.

Note: The actual song is minutes 3-6.
Please pause my music at the bottom of my page before watching.

I've sat by far too long
And I've watched the hurting suffer on their own
I have chances everyday
To live like You, die to myself
Give Your love away
And I wonder why I feel so empty inside
While I sing la la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees
La la la la la la la la la
I keep singing

We are frozen, we are still
But we're called to be a city on a hill
And as our melodies resound
We cannot hear the silent cry
This world is screaming out
And we wonder why we feel so empty inside
While we sing la la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees
La la la la la la la la la
We keep singing

Remember salvation's day
When Jesus washed our sins away
The lost are crying out to be saved
While we sing la la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees
La la la la la la la la la
We keep singing

But just a song won't heal
The bleeding wound
Church wake up
We're sleeping in an empty tomb
Church arise, arise and shine
Shake yourself from the dust
God is calling us to go

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for coming to this earth, dying for our sins, and rising after three days. Help us to pray continually for Your people. Help us to dream big and act big, with Your light always shining through us. Help us to see the needs of others near and far. Lead us in giving ourselves to Your purpose.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 5

You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day.
~Psalm 91:5

Today, we are praying for deliverance from fear throughout our adoption process.

What do we fear (or fear we will fear)?

Fear of the unknown.
Fear of the uncertainty of how many children and what ages God has chosen for us to adopt.
Fear of first-time parenting.
Fear of money.
Fear of bumps in the road of our adoption journey.
Fear of flying to and from Africa (that's me). TWICE.
Fear of our children's broken hearts.
Fear of loooong waits.
Fear of fear itself.

God says to fear Him, nothing and no one else.

Trust and obey.

Beth Moore said:

"We will miss the greatest adventures of our calling if we remain compelled by comfort. We will be bored stiff and wonder why God never called us to anything. How willing are we to just flat out GO for God? And it is important to remember that in order to go anywhere, we first have to leave someplace else (usually that means our safe place, our comfort zone). If we choose comfort to motivate us, we will risk our callings…because this I can promise you -- your calling will always be WAY outside your comfort. God is a whole lot more interested in your calling than your comfort.”

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for calling us to this grand adventure! Help us to not fear, but rather to trust and obey you, no matter the cost. Let us fear you only, and give the rest all to you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 4

Rescue the weak and needy.
~Psalm 82:4

I read that in the Old Testament times, a first-order task of kings and judges was to protect the powerless against all who would exploit or oppress them. In the days of 147 million orphans, slavery being at an all-time high, and people fighting all across the world to feed their families, clothe them, provide a shelter for them, school their children, etc.......................

.......................what a world-changer it would be if governments ALL across the world would have their primary focus be on protecting their people from poverty, exploitation, and oppression.

What a world-changer it would be if "unpowerful" people ALL across the world would rescue the weak and needy. Provide jobs for those without. Sponsor children. PRAY. Adopt. Donate.

And PRAY some more.

I need to pray more. We need to focus our prayer onto people--God's children all across the world. United by God, but separated. God gave the world enough resources to feed everyone, clothe everyone, etc., but He did not disperse the resources equally across the world.

That is a GIGANTIC task! But, He entrusted us with it.

Would you join me in praying for God's people?

Prayer: Dear Lord, please protect the powerless, please provide jobs to the unemployed, please feed the hungry, please provide shelter and clothing for the poor, please deliver everyone from slavery, please allow all children an education, and Lord, please show us how to be Your workers. Allow us to be Your hands and feet. Thank you for the blessings You have showered upon us. Show us how to spread the blessings and share Your incredible LOVE with all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 3

Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
~Hebrews 12:3

We are asking God for strength today!
Strength to walk through the steps of the adoption process. Strength to endure the long wait to know who our little ones will be--to hold them for the first time--to bring them home.

Jesus suffered infinitely more than any of us are asked to suffer. This is a great encouragement for us when we are weary and tempted to become discouraged.

We know we cannot do this alone. We need to rely on God. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of us every day! He is readily available to give us strength when we are weak.
When we are weary, the Spirit will give us JOY.
When we feel like complaining or giving up, the Spirit will help us to OVERCOME.
When we are lost, the Spirit will give us DIRECTION.

Prayer: Jesus, please clothe us with strength and endurance. Let us look to Your Spirit for joy and direction, and to overcome. Thank you for being the Great Source of everything good!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 2

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
~1 Timothy 2:1-2

Today we are led to pray for those in authority over our adoption. God is the ultimate authority in all things, but there are a number of people that He has purposed to direct or influence our adoption in one way or another.

We want to pray today specifically for the staff at All God's Children, the government of the United States, and the government of Ethiopia.

We are very thankful for the effort they will be providing to help us on our journey of adoption. We pray that God will bless them and that He will be looked to for direction in all decisions.

God has placed all these people in their positions for a reason, and we pray that God's plan be lived out in their lives and actions.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for those you have called to leadership. Please surround these people with Your love and strength. Guide them to do Your work and provide them with unending blessings.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Praying Through Pre-Adoption Day 1

God is calling me to a month of prayer for our adoption. For every day in April, I will choose a verse that coincides with my prayer focus, and write a post on praying through pre-adoption. I am excited for this journey, and I hope that you will walk with me through it! We are looking ahead to May 1st--the day we we will prayerfully send in our application to All God's Children for the Ethiopian adoption program and begin our process!

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling,
fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
~Hebrews 3:1

While searching for a verse to meditate on, I came across this beautiful one. Today, I want to focus on praying about fixing my thoughts on Jesus, and giving God glory through His weaving of our adoption.

Today, our church did a theatrical production of The Borrowed Tomb. The storyline, coupled with the amazing acting, brought to life Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. It truly brought Jesus to LIFE for me! It reminded me that Jesus WAS alive, walking this very earth, and Jesus IS alive today.

Hebrews 3 goes on to say that the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. Every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. EVERYTHING!

He is building our adoption. He is starting with the foundation, building us a "house". A family!

Prayer: Jesus, help us to fix our thoughts on You daily. We want to reflect on the blessings You have given us. Breathe in us Your liveliness! Revive us and let us always give You honor and praise!